Thursday, September 30, 2010

Reasons to Celebrate

REASON #1....Cory turned 32 yesterday. We went to Texas Roadhouse for dinner and had a great time. Especially when they made him ride the bull and sing to him in front of the whole restaurant. Of course, he loved it and was totally not embarrassed but he pretended like he was because the girls thought it was hilarious. The other day my sister told me about a co-worker of hers who lost their spouse unexpectedly in the night. It has really effected me. I couldn't imagine how boring and lonely my life would be without Cory in it. He is not only an incredible husband and father, he is also my very best friend. Nobody..and I mean NOBODY...can make me laugh like Cory can. He is a romantic, an optimist, a hard worker, a hard player...whether it is on the ball field (football, basketball, tennis, get the idea), in the swimming pool, or at home with his girls. He is also loyal, faithful, charitable, patient (unless he is driving), kind, and charismatic. AND one of the best things about him is that he just keeps getting better and better with age. :)

REASON #2... This last Saturday was our "5 for 5 on 25" 5k. At the same time that we were running (and our girls were biking), so was all of the rest of Amber's family and friends. We were celebrating because as of the 25th, Amber is officially in remission because she has been cancer free for 5 years. As I was running my 3.1 miles (actually, it was 4) I had a lot of time to think about Amber. We began our friendship when I was 15 years old, which means that she has been my best friend for half of my life. Have you ever heard the quote, "God knew that I loved you so much so he made you my sister."? That is exactly how I feel. She is AMAZING!! I have so MANY memories with Amber, but none of them are as vivid as the one when I found out that my best friend/sister had been diagnosed with renal cell kidney cancer. I remember the exact spot where I was sitting. I remember being in shock and trying to process what I had just been told. I remember when the tears started flowing. I remember the first time that I heard her voice after I found out and my desperate pleading prayer that it wouldn't be the last. Thankfully, it wasn't and hopefully it won't be for a very long time. Amber has been with me through the hardest moments of my life, as a teenage girl and as an adult. She has stood by my side, wrapped me in her arms and held me together at times when I felt like my life was shattering all around me. I truly believe that our friendship on earth is only a continuation of one that started a long time ago and one that will continue on throughout eternity.

Yesterday I received an email from my friend Tonya, who is the mother of Audrey (the sweet little girl who I referred to in my previous post). Here is what she wrote...."I wanted to send some pictures that you could add to your blog if you would like so that your readers can know Audrey a bit too. The first picture [sorry, it is actually the last] is just a few days after her second birthday. We discovered the lump on her back that turned out to be a very rare malignant Rhabdoid tumor. The tumor was removed the week of Halloween 2009. The second picture is Audrey showing her happy spirit toward the end of her chemotherapy and after she had already completed radiation. Audrey completed her last hospitalized chemotherapy May 28th (the same day her baby sister was born). Chemotherapy ended just two weeks after that. In the past three months we have had scans that indicate there are no lasting cancer cells. Her immune system is still very weak and we are constantly worried about fevers and illnesses as they will still require hospitalization (has happened once since treatment stopped). Audrey will have a second set of scans in early November. Today Audrey is celebrating her 3rd birthday!"

And that my friends, is REASON #3.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Haircuts for LOVE

The long awaited day finally came last Saturday. The girls have been growing their hair out for the last couple of months so that they could send in their 10 inch ponytails to Locks of Love. They have made me measure their hair everyday for the last 6 weeks. They have also diligently drank lots of water and took a vitamin everyday so that their hair would grow faster. :) They finally just couldn't stand waiting any longer. I was hoping to grow it out a little bit more so that their hair wouldn't be so short, but there was no talking them out of it. When Cloey was telling someone about why she cut her hair, she said (in her dramatic voice), "I cut it for love."

[The Locks of Love donation was in honor of our sweet little friend Audrey who has been battling cancer over the last year or so. She has touched our hearts and reminded us of how much we have to be grateful for. We love you Beadle family!]

Monday, September 20, 2010

Optimism at its best...

Yesterday in Primary, Cloey's teacher was asking all of the kids what their talents were. When it was Cloey's turn, she said, "I can play the flute....well actually, I've never played one, but I know that I would be good if I did."

I LOVE that optimistic attitude. That is Cloey. Oh, how I love her!!!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Why yesterday was so awesome....

*Starting and ending the day with a walk around the neighborhood with the best baby in the world who is growing up WAY too quickly!!
*Watching the girls ride their bikes and enjoying the cool (cool is definitely being used loosely here) evening air.
*making "jazzy jars" with the girls to take to school for the annual Harvest Hoedown.
*buying the most awesome Halloween ribbon (notice the thick orange and purple) at the Dollar Store.
*having a VERY successful trip to the thrift store. I LOVE the challenge of leaving the store with AMAZING stuff. I bought all sorts of Gymboree, Children's Place, and Gap clothing (I've posted my two favorites...when it comes to baby girl dresses, I'm obsessed). I also got the awesome 4 wick pumpkin candle pictured below. It is making my house smell AMAZING (you have to say amazing in your best sing song voice, haven't you heard me say it like that?) And, no trip to the thrift store would be complete without some good children's books.
*eating McDonalds for dinner. Okay, I normally hate McDonalds, but have you ever had their Southwest salad? My sister, Andrea, told me about it and I was very impressed. But, the best part about eating McDonalds for dinner was the fact that there was no cooking involved or dirty dishes afterwards (we also went b/c it is a new location near us and for the rest of the month they have 99 cent happy meals every Wednesday...oops, I found out it was actually Thursday but there was no turning around at that point or else my kids would've gone ballistic)

...and that is why I had such an awesome day.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

cleaning...a never-ending job

I spent the day yesterday cleaning all of those spots that just don't get cleaned often enough, well at least not in my house. I am not very good at staying on top of dusting. Everytime I do it I wonder why it is not something that I do every week. But seriously, who dusts their ceiling fans every week. Okay, don't answer that because you probably do, but I don't. As I was cleaning the molding around all the doorways and noticing all of the dirty and sticky fingers that have so lovingly left their mark, I was thinking about how amazing it is how dirty things get so quickly when left alone. There are some messes that are more obvious and get much more of my attention, for example, a sink full of dishes. But for some reason, the messes that are not as noticeable and the dust webs that are not as obtrusive, get overlooked way too often at my house. It just feels so good today to know that the fridge is cleaned out, the shelves and pictures are dusted, and the clothes are organized in their drawers. To somebody else, my house may look just as clean as it did last week when I cleaned it, but really it is on a whole new level of clean.

Isn't that just the way it is with who we are. Every so often it is good to dust out the cobwebs in our own life. To have a self-inventory and decide what things need to be worked on, what things need to go, and what things need to be repented of. I started doing this yesterday and I realized that lately I have started to let a couple little things in that I really shouldn't. I think I have been a lot more judgemental and cynical lately and a little less merciful and meek....those are just to name a few of the things that I thought of.

I find it very interesting, and frustrating, that almost every single job that I do as a mother is undone within a minute/day/week. If things are not kept up, fixed, or redone each day, chaos follows and the whole flow of our home is totally thrown off. This is so symbolic of our spiritual, physical, mental, and emotional well being. When I am not daily reading my scriptures, I am not as close to the spirit, which means that my intentions aren't as good and my thoughts aren't as pure. When I am not regularly and consistently exercising, I am not as happy. When I eat too much junk for too many days, I feel horribly. When I am not doing frequent service, I find myself less grateful and more self-consumed.

It is just in our natures, when we do not frequently take stock, throw out, repent and recommit, life tends to get bad and things that may not be obvious to everyone, will gradually become a bigger issue and pretty soon we will wonder what happened and how we got where we are. I have seen this very thing happen to a close friend of mine. Luckily they were able to make changes before things got too bad, but it was a great lesson to me. One that I will never forget.

So here is to clean homes, clean hands and clean hearts....may we never stop seeking for each of them.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Transitions and Succeeding

Today I went shopping with two of my good friends. One who is 40 and the other is 50. I just LOVE being with them! There is just something to be said for older women. They have such confidence about them and are just happy with who they are. I admire that so much.

As a teenager, I felt confident at times, but of course, there were moments of self-doubt and awkwardness that just comes with teenage life. Then I got married. All of the sudden, I had an identity crisis. I don't know why but for some reason I just felt so alone. I had Cory (which is exactly what I wanted) but all of the sudden I had nothing in common with all of my unmarried friends and it was hard for me. Then after we made friends together, I felt comfortable again...until I became a mother. Then all of the sudden the self-doubt and lack of confidence came flooding back in.

I think that with every new stage of life, there is a time of transition. A time where your identity is redefined. At such times, I feel like that awkward teenager who is trying so hard to fit in and yet at the same time trying to not compromise who I am. These moments of transition are never-ending. Sometimes they are big transitions and other times they are small. But, they always seem to make me become more introspective and critical of who I am.

A couple of years ago, I ran a half-marathon with my good friend Austyn. After she moved to NYC, she sent me a video in the mail of a slide show that her husband had put together of us from that day. Along with it, she wrote me a letter that I still have in the drawer of my nightstand. She said that in life we will have many different titles but many of them will come and go. She said that what she loved the most about the video is that when she watched it she saw me as Melissa. Not Katelund's mom, Cory's wife, YW president, or any other title...just me. I think of that letter a lot because all though a majority of my focus and attention goes to my calling as a mother, wife, visiting teacher, etc., I don't want to lose myself in the process. Not that I shouldn't lose myself in the service of others, but when I remember and am content with who I am, I'm a much better mother, wife, friend, sister, daughter, etc.

Sometimes I just try so hard to be like other women who just seem to have it all together. In my eyes, they seem so perfect. But as hard as I try to be like them, it just doesn't work. I will never be the woman who has a completely organized home with labels in every drawer. I'll never be the perfect wife who has a beautiful 5 course dinner ready on the table by 6 o'clock every night, or the mom who looks like she just stepped out of a salon. I will most likely have a ponytail in my hair, spit up all over my shirt, dinner on the table at some point that night (even if it is a rotisserie chicken that I bought at the grocery store on my way home), and at least one room that looks great, one drawer that is organized, and at least one or two unfinished projects that are scattered around the house. It's just me, and all though I will still continue to try to be better and improve, I have to be happy and content with who I am. I often remind my girls of the story of Esther. I tell them that they too were born for such a time as this. It is so easy to tell them that with confidence because I know that they have a divine plan and purpose, but it is also something that I have to remind myself about...and then believe it. My divine role and purpose is obviously not to be a Martha Stewart, but I believe it is something significant...even if it is just being a mother to beautiful little girls. One of my favorite poems that I have loved since I was about 14 years old is called "To Have Succeeded" by Ralph Waldo Emerson.

To Have Succeeded

To laugh often and love much:
To win respect of intelligent people
And the affection of children;
To earn the approbation of honest critics
And endure the betrayal of false friends;
To appreciate beauty;
To find the best in others;
To give one's self;
To leave the world a little better,
Whether by a healthy child,
A garden patch,
Or redeemed social condition;
To have played and laughed with enthusiasm
And sung with exultation;
To know even one life has breathed easier
Because you have lived...
This is to have succeeded.

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