Friday, March 29, 2013

In Which I Draw My Line In the Sand (In the Name of Love)

I'm a Christian.  I'm a Mormon Christian to be more specific.  But I'd like to talk about something that I have been thinking about for awhile now.  It's my opinion.  It's just that, and you don't have to agree with it.  I expect it will also make some people not want to speak to me any more.  You can even "unfriend" me for it if it makes you that angry.  That will make me sad, but I really don't expect to change your opinion any more than you will change mine.
When I was growing up, I was taught that being gay is a choice.  Hmmm.  I wondered about this.  I even believed it half-heartedly for awhile.  I've never understood bullies.  I've never understood why people can't just be nice to each other no matter what.  But why would you choose to be gay when so much hatred will be thrown at you as soon as you make that choice?  The truth is, you wouldn't. It's not a choice to be gay.  The church that I belong to acknowledges this.  They call it same-gender attraction.  It's not a choice to be attracted to the same sex, but everything you do after that is a choice.  I agree with this completely.  That's where our agency gets to be exercised.  I'm a pretty big fan of agency.
When I was twenty-two, I heard about a problem that I never even knew existed (yes, I lived in a bubble and yes, I still pretty much do.  I like my bubble.  Leave my bubble out of this).  There was this gay couple who had been together for quite some time and now one of them was in the hospital.  Their partner was not allowed to visit her (or it could have been a him - I can't remember) because the family of the person in the hospital did not approve of this union and they were not married, so she had no spousal rights.  I was horrified.  How could this be?  What kind of injustice is this?  What a load of poo.  Then I started learning about all the other reasons it sucks to be gay and not able to marry the person you love.  No filing for taxes jointly, having to pay inheritance taxes that you would have been exempt from if you were married.  All of this is bull to me.  It's bull just plain bull shit.  There, I said it.
I don't talk about this much.  It's frowned upon in my religion to agree that same-sex couple should be allowed to get married.  My church believe that marriage is sanctified by God.  I do too.  I believe in the teachings of my church.  But I also believe in agency above anything else.  I believe in equal rights for all people regardless of their sex or sexual orientation.  I also believe that not everybody believes in my religion and to deny people equal rights based on my religious beliefs is unconstitutional.  That's pretty much where my argument begins and ends.
That being said, I don't think people who have religious convictions about marriage being between a man and a woman should be told they are wrong either.  Our religion has what we like to call the plan of happiness.  I think it's a wonderful plan.  Heavenly Father created our spirit bodies and he called us to a council.  He said, "I have this plan.  It involves leaving me for a little while and going to a place I like to call Earth.  You will receive a body, like mine and you will learn and grow and become more like me.  While you are there, you will forget about where we are now and you will have to make choices.  Some will be good and some will be bad.  But I will send a Savior to make it possible for you to return to me."
We were all there.  Lucifer, stood up and said, "Oh, hey!  I have an idea!  I would like to be that Savior and I will make sure that everybody makes the right choices and then everybody will come back.  It's a good plan!  It really is!  Because mumble mumble everyone will give me the glory and worship me mumble mumble"
Jesus rolled his eyes* and looked at Lucifer and said, "That's great, buddy, but you forgot something.  If people aren't allowed to make choices of their own fruition, they will not grow and they will not learn anything.  They will not be more like Father in the end."  Then he turned to God and said, "I will do it.  And the glory shall be Thine."
Lucifer (aka Satan) did not like this one bit.  He turned to the spirit children and tried to convince them to join him and to vote for his plan.  It was not a really good plan.  I didn't vote for it.  But one third of the spirits thought it sounded great.  You wouldn't have to think for yourself and you would just go through life doing only what you were supposed to (I honestly haven't figured out how that was to work myself.  There are too many ways to screw things up) and when you died, you would be with God again.
Mormons call it the war in Heaven.  Only it wasn't a war with guns and tanks and bazookas.  It was a war of words.  Are you wondering if you were one of those people who choose to follow Jesus or Lucifer?  Well, here's the good news.  You know you choose to follow Jesus while you were there because you are here on the Earth.  Excellent.  I'm so glad you're here!
God wasn't even going to consider Satan's plan when it comes right down to it.  He had his plan and he knew it was the plan he was going with, but you know God.  He's patient.  He listens.  He loves us all.  But then he just goes and does what he knows is best whether you like it or not.  God always wins.
Of course, this really enraged Lucifer and all of his followers.  They haven't stopped trying to get us to "come to the dark side."  Temptation, feelings of fear, shame and worthlessness are all tools he uses.  He's pretty good at it.  It's like an art to him that he has been refining and mastering for - well since the dawn of time, really.  If it wasn't so evil, it would be inspiring.  We're kind of down here, going, "Um.  We won that war.  Why are you still fighting it?"  But it's part of the plan, really.  To see if we will continue to follow Christ.  We can't give up, or give in.
Then God created the Earth and all things therein.  Don't confuse this with Creationism.  We don't profess to know how God created the Earth, nor how long it actually took him.  We love science.  We do believe He used matter that was already in existence, and that could explain a lot.  But that's another blog post (and mere speculation, really).  He placed man and woman on the Earth.  We even believe that He married Adam and Eve.  This is why marriage is so important to our faith.  It's part of the plan of happiness.  Men and women fall in love, marry, and have cute babies in order to bring His spirit children to the Earth.  That's why family is so important to Mormons.  Because we are all just one big family.  It's a beautiful plan.
But I get that not everybody believes in this plan.  And I don't believe that everybody should be required to.  The thought makes me say, "Hey!  If rights are denied to certain people at all, then what did we fight for before we came here?"

I almost forgot that it is Flashback Friday.  Here is a picture of me and my love on our wedding day.  Everybody deserves to be happy.  Everybody's experience is different (even if you grew up in the same house).

*Jesus didn't really roll his eyes.  He wouldn't do that.  I'm just making up all the quotes, too (except mine).  You know, using my imagination and all. :)

Monday, March 25, 2013

Often the Quiet You Long For Comes From Unexpected Terror

The drive to school this morning was eerily quiet.  It was my fault.  I haven't screamed at my children like a banshee in a very, very long time.  Sometimes, screaming like a wailing woman warning of your death is the best policy, though.  Please make note of the sarcasm in my tone there.  It never is.
I was putting the rest of my laundry into their piles before taking the kids to school.  They were getting a little rowdy and I looked up to see them starting to encourage the dog to romp all over my Stampin' Up! orders.  I really don't know what was going through their heads, but yep.  I. Lost. It.  They are lucky nothing is damaged because I don't have $$$ to replace all of that merchandise.  "Get away from that stuff and get in the car!"  are the only words I uttered after the wail of terror.  They ran to the car.  I hurt Kaleb's feelings because he was coming down the stairs and had nothing to do with it, but he still got a very harsh "Get in the car, now!"  I was more repeating it for his brothers, but it was for him, too.
When I got in the car myself, I explained to them in as calm of a voice that I could muster at that moment (at least I wasn't yelling any more), that those things were my customers' orders and if they ruined them, I would probably kill them (I didn't use those exact words.  I left out the kill them part, but I can't remember exactly what I said).  Kaleb said, "I didn't do anything."  And I said, "Then I am not talking to you."
Thus the silence (usually it's fighting).  They were actually listening to me and taking me seriously for a change.  People think I am exaggerating when I tell them my boys only listen to their dad, but I'm not.  I ask them to do something and everyday, they ignore me, or pretend like they didn't hear me.
But screaming like that has consequences that I do not enjoy (most of them selfish), so I try to avoid it at all costs.  Today, I lost.  Tomorrow, I get to try again.  So do my kids. ;)

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Because Church Is the Best Place For Exercise

Today was an adventure in teaching Primary.  These happen occasionally.  I teach the four and five year old kids  lessons about the gospel.  Today, our lesson was about the Holy Ghost.  But this isn't a story about that.  I didn't teach today.  Today, I was in charge of wrangling the children and keeping them on their chairs.  Because sometimes, learning about the gospel is so exciting, you just can't stay sitting down.  True story.
One of my friends in this class has Autism.  We'll call him Harold (Nope.  Not his real name because I love him!).  This means he has a harder time following the rules.  We also usually have three teachers.  One to focus just on this Harold and the others teach or wrangle and we all take turns.  Today, one of our partners in crime was sick.  There were also just four kids (there are seven on the roll) who came today, so we thought we would be okay.  For the most part we were, and our friends did their best to sit on their pockets.
But then it was time to clean up their crayons.  I was on the floor helping Harold.  He likes to tell you the colors as you put the crayons back in his box.  I turned to help another young lady in our class put her crayons away, too when out of the corner of my eye, I see Harold take off and leave the class room at a a dead run.  "Aaand he's out the door," says my partner in crime (who is surrounded by the two other children and can't really do anything to stop him).  I scrambled after him.  What else was I going to do, really?  As I'm running (literally) down the church hall, we pass two men just standing in the hallway.  Not in class, not doing anything, not holding any crying babies.  All I could think was, "Really?  You're just going to let this kid keep running and make me chase him!?"  Seriously, people!  I'm in heels!  Yeah.  They were no help at all.  When I catch Harold, I convince him that we need to go back to our classroom.  He's an awesome kid, but he really needs to work on the concept of walking.  He just doesn't.  So we jogged back to class together.  On the bright side, I did get in a super small workout today, and that's nothing to scoff at. ;)

Friday, March 22, 2013

Such A Lovable Lamb To Me

It's Flashback Friday!!

Awe!  Isn't he adorable?
It's Zach in 2003 looking for Easter eggs.  He's almost two.

Here's where the title for this post came from:
It's a great song.  And the video is pretty fun, too.  Next time I go to the airport in the middle of the night, I will have to try dancing on the moving walkway.  ;)

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Other Than That, It Was A Pretty Uneventful Day

I should have blogged yesterday.  But I was busy working.  Yes, working. Crazy, I know.
So St. Patrick's Day was Sunday!  I love St. Patrick's Day!  Because you get to wear green and paint your nails green (if you want to), and eat green foods.
So when I was a kid, we celebrated St. Patrick's Day, but the only thing my mom did was buy us green M&Ms and divide them up into equal piles, so we all got the same amount.  Then she would put them in the fold-over sandwich bags and tie them up with green and white yarn.  I loved it.  It was awesome.  But when I joined facebook, I heard about all these moms who did other stuff for their kids like pretending there was a mischievous leprechaun that came during the night and dyed their milk green and did other things.  I always thought they were cute ideas, but never really thought about it the rest of the year until it was too late.  Then I was like, "Oh, I should have done that!  That would have been fun."
So while I was looking on Pinterest for ideas for my Stamp Club projects in March, I came across the idea for this:
After the kids went to bed, a leprechaun came to visit.
He dyed the milk green, too. ;)

When Riley woke up in the morning and went to go to the bathroom, Kurtis and I heard his reaction.  We were awake, just not quite up yet.  "What?!"  He said.  Kurtis and I couldn't help but giggle, and Kurtis had a really hard time stopping laughing.  Kaleb came in our room and said, "Mom, can I use your bathroom?  I don't want to use that one with the green pee in it!"  Ha ha ha!  It was hilarious. 
Then, I overheard the boys eating breakfast, and they discovered the green milk.  Zach said, "Oh, man!  The leprechaun peed in here, too!"  Gross.  But so so so funny!  I wasn't thinking that was where they would go with that, but they did!

Here's the upstairs bathroom.

Here are my green nails. :)

For dinner, we had this.  There is spinach and pepper jack cheese stuffed inside the chicken and the succotash is delicious.  You can get the recipe here.

The kids reaction to the succotash was really awesome.  Especially because Zach told Kaleb what was in it. If he hadn't said there was squash in it, he probably never would have known.  Riley was freaking out because there is lime juice in it and he said he didn't like it.  But he liked the lime jello.
When my kids are acting really immature, I like to whip out my video camera and record them.  It's my way of punishing them and getting them to realize they are acting dumb at the same time.  It usually works.

And finally, the green jello.  Which was gross.
I don't like jello any more.

And this is what me made for Stamp Club on Thursday (the 14th).  I got the ideas off of Pinterest for the Pot O' Gold and how to make the clover and the bunny, but the cards are my creations.  
We all had a fun time making my designs that night. :)

Monday, I made this wreath for my door.  I don't have many St. Patrick's Day decorations and I can't find the ones I do have, so I made this.

The Friday, I made this and went to the dollar store for a frame.  I found it on Pinterest.  You can check out the board that is called Kiss Me, I'm Irish! for the directions, but it's pretty self-explanatory how to make it.  The leaves are just heart punches.  Then I took the punch and punched a sliver of paper next to the heart I had just punched out for the stems.

Friday, March 15, 2013

No Tears, Party Time Is Here Again

On my Facebook page, I started doing Flashback Friday where I show you a picture from my past.  I've been scanning all my old photos from the memory book my mom put together for me (but I'm not finished), and I've decided to bring it over here, too.  If nothing else, it will give me something to blog about.
Oh, and no, it wasn't my idea.  My friend did it, and I copied her because I thought it was fun.  So thanks goes to my friend Michele (not to be confused with my sister Michele because they are not the same people even if the do spell their names the same way).

Today's flashback Friday honors my brother Ryan.  It's his birthday today!  So happy birthday, Ryan!  I hope you have a good day today!  :)

This is my tenth birthday.  I would use a picture of him on his birthday, but those are in his memory book.  Besides.  I can't really think of a better way to sum up our relationship than that, right there.

And I remember this was his favorite band when we were kids, so enjoy this song.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Maybe To You, She Was Just A Dog

But to us, she was our friend and a member of our family...

Today, I just wanted to show you something:

Remember I told you the Animal ER we took Abbey to after she died was going to do a paw print for us?  They called me Thursday night to let me know it had arrived.  I love it.  It's perfect.  I'm so glad we did this.  When I picked it up, it was hard not to start crying all over again, but I managed.  Deep breaths, and my eyes filled up with tears that did not spill over.  I had to get to rehearsal, and I didn't want to be a mess.  But we miss her a lot.  It's weird not not have her running around in the backyard, or laying on the kitchen floor.  I still tell the boys to "Feed the dogs," when I should just say, "Feed Neji."  I still remind Zach to give the dogs water, when I shouldn't.
It's just hard not to get emotional.
But I do believe she is in Heaven.  I do believe she was in pain and she isn't any more.  I do believe that she loved being with our family.  She was often a little too protective of us.  Kurtis said once that he thought maybe because we took her out of a terrible situation (we really only make conclusions based on what freaked her out), she felt overly protective of us.  I was wondering why she didn't like other dogs so much.  And I like to think that maybe when I die, we'll see each other again and we'll be able to talk and she can tell us everything.  Maybe it won't really be that interesting, but I'm a romantic that way.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

It's Time To Join These Kitties

It was Kurtis's birthday yesterday.  He is getting so big!  I can't believe how much time has gone by, and how much he has grown!  He he.
No, I'm not referring to how fat he has become.  I'm making fun of all the people who say things like that about their kids as they get older.  Really?  You didn't think your kid was going to get bigger?  That's kind of what they do. ;)
Any way.  Kurtis is now officially 39 years old.  Next year, he is going to be 40.  Today, I told him I needed to start planning his awesome "Look Who's 40!" party of the century.  I said, "Who do you want me to invite?"  "I don't know."  "I think what you mean is: 'Nobody.  Because I don't want a party.'"  He laughed because I'm hilarious like that.  True story.  It's why he married me.  It also happens to be the truth, so it makes for not really knowing what to do because I think he needs to be more social and what a great way to be social and celebrate a milestone.  But it's his birthday, and he should do what he wants.  I mean, it's his day after all.
Yesterday, for his birthday bash, we went to Texas Roadhouse.  We even let the kids come with us.  They were amazingly well behaved for a change, too.  I was quite shocked.  Kurtis wanted to go to there because we've never been there and he loves steak.  I hate it.  I was worried there wouldn't be anything on the menu for me, but there was a lot to choose from.  We actually all really liked it and had a really great time.
Then we came home and he opened his present and cards.  He got Munchkin Deluxe   It's the original game, but with a board that makes it easier to keep track of everyone's level.  We had a blast playing it and then we ate some brownies with Nielsen's Frozen Custard on it.  His favorite flavor.  Caramel Cashew.  It was yummy!

 And he was pretty distracted by this video while he was opening his cards.
This guy makes some pretty cool videos. :)
Those kitties are so cuuuuuute!!!

You know, I thought this post was getting a little long, but for my family that isn't on facebook, one of my facebook friends randomly does a Flashback Friday and shows us a picture from a long time ago.  I totally stole this idea and I want to do it every Friday (last week I did a picture of me and my brother Rodney).  So here are this week's Flashback Friday photos:

 This one is from 1994 (most likely) when Kurtis was 20, and I was 15.  He was on his LDS mission in Tennessee and I was trying to stay awake in my Algebra class.

This one is sometime after we met four years later.  I was taking pictures of all the guys who lived upstairs from me for my girly scrapbook.  He was pretty cute back then.  No wonder I fell for him. ;)  He's still cute, and was probably about to make himself some macaroni and cheese.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

We're Just Two Friends...

I'm supposed to be working out and getting ready for the day, but I decided to blog instead.  Well, not instead, just first.  I'll get to that other stuff later.
Keeping on this "good things" theme, I have something to show you.  My bestest friend Nicole and I were shopping at a store one day while we were waiting for our movie to start (I don't remember the movie, but it was probably in October last year or maybe even July - who knows, really), and she pointed to a painting of a tulip and said to me, "I would love a picture like that, but only lilies.  And I want them to be red lilies."  I said, "Oh, I could paint that."  "You could?"  "Yes.  That would be easy.  But I've never seen red lilies in real life, so what shade of red do you want?"  "Just red.  I don't know."  "Okay, I'll paint you some red lilies."
And then I bought the canvases, but didn't have enough for the paint, too.  So I didn't paint them and I forgot about them.
Fast forward to February 2013.  "What do you want for your birthday?"  I asked.  "Maybe we could go out?"  "I would love that, but I want to get you a present, too!" (No response.  This was on the 15th.)  Then on the 20th, we had this text conversation:
Me:  Happy birthday!
BFN:  Thanks ;-)
Me:  You still have not told me what you want. :)
BFN:  That sounds like me...
Me:  I know.  It's like pulling teeth to get it out of you.  :D
BFN:  Hahaha.  Yeah I have no idea what I want.  The older I get the harder it is!
She's only a year older than me.  She's really not old.  Seriously, she's making herself sound like she's fifty-nine or something (still not old!).  But I thought and I thought and then:

Oh, yeah!  I totally said I would paint her some lilies!  I know what to get her now! :D  My plan was to start on Thursday, but being an extra ended up taking all day rather than just two hours of my day (which is typical).  Friday, the 22nd, was the day I was going to take her out for her birthday, so I wanted to at least have them started, but no.  So Friday, I started and finished them.  It made me later for our date than I wanted to be, but it worked out.  They turned out pretty nicely, too.

I started with this one.  I feel like I made the flower too small for the canvas and I told Nicole that if it starts to bug her later, I will paint over it and start over.

This picture is upside down.  So is the one above, but that one is harder to see.  He he.

There.  That's better.

Then, I did this one last, and it is the best one. :D

I think I did a bang up job despite being pressed for time. :D

Then I said to Kurtis, "Well, honey.  You get to make dinner tonight.  Make spaghetti or something."
"Will you take me to the store and get us some hot dogs instead?"
What?  Ugh!  I'm already late leaving to pick up Nicole!  "Fine.  But we have to hurry."
I finally was about to leave and Kurtis comes running out of the house with the chocolate covered gummy bears I had bought her while I was at the store.  "Oh, I forgot her card, too!  Will you go get that for me?"  He ran inside and got this for me (because we really do like each other, I promise):

Fancy!  I make all the cards I send out.  It's cheaper that way.

I took my bestest friend Nicole bowling for her birthday.  There was a really long wait, so we went to dinner at Archibald's.  I'd never been there before, and I thought it was really good!  I got the turkey croissant sandwich with fries.  They have really, really good fries there.  Really good.
Then we went bowling and after we'd bowled for an hour, I looked at the clock.  It was like 9:30.  "The night is young!  Do you want to do something else?" I asked.  So we went to a movie.  It was a really fun night, and I'm glad I got to spend it with her and that she loves her paintings.  I did a good thing there, I suppose. :D

 We kind of got off to a rough start.  I has been over a year since we last bowled.

 My ball.  I like the light ones.

First game.  :)  It was a tie.  He he he.

 We had a lot of fun.  Obviously. :D

 Second game.  We're getting better.  Weird score, though.

 My shoes. :)

Third game.  :)  I'm the come back kid!
This picture is just art. :)  I mean it.

We paid for an hour of bowling, so we didn't get to finish our last game, but Nicole clearly won.  It was about time. :)

Because my life is always like this. ;)  No, not really.  It's just where the title of my blog comes from.  :)

Saturday, March 2, 2013

I Know What's Out of Frame

Last night, I had more good things to talk about, but for some reason, I couldn't think of them.  I went through my phone this morning to delete some of the pictures of me.  I take waaaay to many hoping that one of them turns out, and sometimes, I forget to delete the other ones right away.  I don't know why I bother though.  I hate all pictures of me except for the ones from when I was a kid.  Because I was a really cute kid. ;)  Looking through all the pictures reminded me of a couple more things I can blog about.  Which is often the hardest part of blogging.  Figuring out what to say.  That and coming up with a title that works. ;)
So any way, on Tuesday, February 21st, I got to do something I have been trying for years to do.  I put myself into the LDS casting log such a long time ago, and I often get emails from them asking me to submit myself to be an extra or for roles they have open.  I've never been chosen....UNTIL NOW!  Ha ha ha!  It felt like this:

I'm totally serious.

So I showed up at the time I was asked to be there, and I waited and I waited.  That's typical of extra work, and the reason I'm not super fond of it.  It's actually typical of all film work regardless of the part you have, but at least when you are the star, you have actual face time and lines to perform.  But once in awhile, it's nice to be an extra.  I love film making and when I am an extra, I get to watch it all happen.  I get to observe and learn, and be a part of something that excites me.
The Young Women's President of the LDS church asked the film department to make a short film for the upcoming General Young Women's Conference (it will air Saturday, March 30th).  It follows a young woman from the time she is born to the time she... I don't know, really.  The part I got to be a part of was the scenes in the young woman's sacrament meeting.  I am sitting in the sacrament meeting when she receives her young womanhood medallion from her bishop.  They were also asked to show the young lady partaking of the sacrament, and so I was there for that as well, but you won't see me.  I'm wasn't in the line of the camera for that shot.  But you might see my shoulder (I'm wearing green) when she receives her award and the cut away to show her mother.
Fun facts:  The girl being baptized had to be dunked about eight or nine times for the shot.  They would pull her out of the water and dry her off (apparently, the water was not very warm and her lips were turning blue at one point), and then dunk her in again.  The girl receiving her young womanhood award and the mother playing her mother are actual mother and daughter.  The young woman was also hand-picked by the Young Women's President herself.  She looked through casting pictures and chose the young lady herself.  Pretty cool.  The man playing her father, is not her father, though.  The young lady actually in real life received her Young Womanhood Award in September last year.  When it was time for the young lady to take the sacrament, she thought it was weird, and her mother agreed.  The bread was not blessed, though, so I thought it was weird that they thought it was weird. :)
I was nervous about taking pictures, but everybody else was and the director and camera man said it was okay, so I finally started taking some during the second half.  Here they are:

It was a fun day.  But then I had to run home and get dinner and run off to rehearsals again. :)
So yeah, if they include the part where they cut to her mother to show how proud she is of her daughter receiving her award, you might just see some green fabric, and you can say, "That's Melissa's shoulder!  Woo hoo!"  Hahahahah!  You never know, though.  I've been extras in a few things, and most of the time, they don't even use the footage.  :)