The Watchman

The Watchman

Friday, February 25, 2011

Sometimes a Girl Just Has to Let Her Inner Nerd Show

So my secret is out - I'm a nerd. And even worse, I am a sci-fi nerd. I grew up watching Star Trek, Quantum Leap, Buck Rogers and Battlestar Galatica - the real one with Lorne Green and the oh so dreamy Richard Hatch. I was in awe of all the gadgets, beaming up, travelling so fast that the stars were mere streaks on the intergalactic highway and most of all, the interesting characters that one could meet as you travelled to planets planets that were so different from Earth but had so many of the same day-to-day problems that we had.

My life truly changed when I was in sixth grade and the great George Lucas brought his vision of the Galactic Empire to the big screen. It is hard to look back and believe that the success of the franchise was ever in doubt. The epic story of good versus evil, sacrifice and redemption, love and friendship resonated against the wonder of space. There has never been anything like it since.
But how was my obsession outed to those outside my inner circle. It wasn't the collection of Star Trek and Star Wars Pez dispensers or the Death Star, X-wing, Tie Fighter and Millenium Falcon models. It wasn't the Darth Tater or Spud Trooper next to the complete DVD collection of the shows named above.

Nope, my secret was revealed by none other than R2D2, my own personal Droid. To be exact, it is my new smart phone - the R2D2 Droid 2. He is the sweetest thing. He chirps and whistles and beeps just like the George Lucas character that I fell in love with all those years ago. Tonight we are hanging out together while Rick is in a meeting. I'm using my new toy to write this post while listening to the also oh-so-dreamy Randy Travis with the music feature.

This is so cool. I have a communicator that once only could have been considered science fiction. Now it is so real that today I caught myself responding to R2's chastisement for hitting a wrong key just like Luke would. Maybe one day I will meet a Vulcan too.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Life = Change

I want to start by saying that I am not one who has ever believed that a woman's place is in the home and that a mother should be home at all times with her children. There are many reasons a woman who is a wife and mother may choose to work; financial commitments of the family, preparing for the future, maintaining certification, need for fulfillment. These come to me immediately and I have been in one or more of them most of my life. I also know that there is nothing wrong in making the choice to be at home fulltime. This is a great blessing in the lives of those women and their families.

I was attending Ricks College when Ezra Taft Benson, then President and Prophet of the LDS Church, made the statement that a mother should be at home and raise her family. President Benson qualified his statement with the phrase "where possible." Even at that young age, I could see that it was a goal to strive for, but not a reality for many. Within five years of that statement, I had friends who had been married, had a child or two and were now divorced; friends whose husbands had become ill and no longer able to work; friends whose husbands had died unexpectedly; and friends whose husbands could not on their own financially support the family.

I had been blessed to be raised in a family where, except for one year when there was a financial necessity, my mother was home. The cost was that my father worked many jobs or took on additional assignments at school to make sure there was enough money. There were still many things that we did not have and I can remember begging my dad to let me go to work with him in the evenings as he ran the community school program, often making up assignments that could only be done at the school, so I could spend time with him. The other side of the coin was I never had to worry about going to daycare, I always had a ride to and from activities, I had someone at home to help with my homework, etc.

My point in this long introduction is that I do not believe that we should judge anyone for the choices they make, because we do not walk in their shoes. We can only make the best choice for us.

For the last six years, I have had the privileged to work with the most wonderful group of people. The officers of the Hurricane City Police Department are a truly dedicated group of individuals. They do their job for the people they serve and protect with professionalism and integrity. I am inspired by them daily and will be forever grateful for the time I have spent with them.

When we first moved to Southern Utah, Hunter refused to move with us. He had been the child most impacted by our moves with the military; attending three different schools in three years and at one time telling us that he would never make another friend because we would just make him move again. The impact of the constant moving and the time apart from the family were key factors in Rick's decision to leave the active duty military. So we moved back to Utah and family and our kids were able to put down roots.

After six years in the same neighborhood, with the same friends, attending the same church and schools; Rick was informed that he was going to be the target of an upcoming lay-off. He started looking for work elsewhere and decided to put his Master's degree to use. He interviewed for jobs close to where we were living, but ultimately was offered employment as the Town Manager for the Town of Springdale. This meant that our family would now need to move south and Hunter did not want to go.

It was one of the hardest things we have ever done, but after much prayer, the decision was made to let Hunter live with Grandma at least until the end of the school year. At the start of a new year, in the worst snowstorm in years, we left our son and set off south to new adventures. Hunter lasted one month away from us. When he moved south, we asked him what had changed his mind. His response was very profound from a 13-year-old boy. "When you know what Heavenly Father wants you to do and you don't do it, you will never be happy." He too had prayed and known that moving south was what our family was supposed to do, but his fear of leaving his friends and the known for the unknown had kept him where he was. By moving forward, he received blessings he could never have imagined.

Fast forward seven years..... 2010 was a year of upheaval. The foundations that anchored our family were literally burned to the ground. We have spent the last months working to rebuild a sense of security in our lives. We have all suffered from panic attacks, anger and depression; all the things you would expect with Post-traumatic stress. In September 2010, I realized that I could not do what I needed to do to support my family emotionally and continue to work. I went to the Chief of Police and to the City Manager and expressed my concerns. At that time, they proposed a six-month program that would allow me flexibility to deal with my personal life while continuing to work. I so loved my job and the personal validation that it provided me, that I agreed to this plan.

In January 2011, I came to the realization that I absolutely needed to be home. At this time in the life of my family, Heavenly Father was telling me my children needed me more than Hurricane City needed me. I have spent the last four months feeling bad when at work, because I should be at home, and distant at home because I knew what was at work. That 13-year-old boy was much wiser than his 44-year-old mother. It only took him a month to realize that he would only be happy when he did what he knew he should do. But those words uttered by him all those years ago have resonated with me and I know their truth.

So now I am off into my own unknown - full-time motherhood. Hold on tight, it could be a bumpy ride, but that is life.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Birth and Building

So my baby is turning eight on Friday. For many this may not seem like such a big deal, but in the LDS faith, eight is the age of accountability; when a child is baptized and becomes responsible for their own sins. Prior to a child turning eight, it is the parents' responsibility to teach a child right from wrong and how to discern the good when making choices. So this is it, have I done everything I should have done to prepare my daughter for this step?

We have always made our children's baptisms a big deal with lots of family and food. The kids have always had a special outfit to wear after the baptism, they received a set of "adult" scriptures and they each wore the same outfit to be baptized. Like everything else this year, Emily's baptism will be different. She will still have the special outfit to wear after, but she already has her "adult" scriptures courtesy of the ward and the outfit that her brothers and sister wore to be baptized burned with the house, so she will be baptized in an outfit borrowed from the ward.

But what will be truly amazing and different about Emily's baptism will be that we will be in our new home. If all things were normal, Emily would be baptized on Saturday. This is the first date scheduled for baptisms in our area immediately after her 8th birthday. She has told us she wants to wait for our house to be finished to be baptized. She wants her baptism party to be the first big family event in our new home.

So now we wait. Building a house is alot like being pregnant I've decided. Eight years ago I would visit the doctor every few days waiting to be told it was time to have my baby. Now instead of "Maybe next week", we hear "Maybe in six weeks", but here we are waiting again. I am sure the result will be worth the wait just like it was eight years ago. Happy Birthday Emily!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Retreat, Remember, Re-evaluate, Renew

I was fortunate to spend last weekend with a marvelous group of women in one of the most beautiful places on earth. My friend, Michelle Ennis, enjoys putting together retreats and holds this retreat annually to allow her friends and clients to enjoy uninterrupted time scrapbooking. Michelle is a great believer in the strength a gathering of women can give to each other. I have always come away from these retreats feeling rejuvenated and ready to face life. Taking a break from the daily stress has allowed me to look to objectively at my life and I have often used these weekends to refocus and make tough decisions. That happened this weekend as well, but that is another story.

The retreat is held in a cabin on the east side of Zion Canyon, about an hour from my home. It was actually designed to hold scrapbooking retreats. The cabin can sleep 18 people comfortably. For this retreat there were sixteen women in all. There were older women and younger women, grandmas and new mothers, mothers and daughters, sisters and friends. I went with my friend Katie and it was fun to have time just to laugh about the things our kids do.
Lots of the women made bets on whose husband was going to call first. My husband, Rick, is a trooper and made it till Saturday night. In fact he even had a party with the girls eating pizza, nachos and ice cream sundaes while watching Shrek.
In addition to scrapbooking, there were wonderful meals, incredible views, and activities like running, Zumba and Pilates. Women brought projects other than scrapbooking to work on as well. There were also mini-classes if you wanted to take them to learn more about an aspect of scrapbooking or how to set up Skype on your computer. My focus was on scrapbooking - I have a lot to get done. As Katie said, we can Zumba any time, but it isn't often we get time to scrapbook. By the way, Katie won the prize for most pages done with 78.

I was able to complete 60 pages including the journaling. I was so excited since I hadn't been as prepared as I usually am and didn't think I would accomplish that much. Here are some of my favorite pages:
My friend Yvonne Poulsen sent me the following layout in a care package of scrapbooking supplies. It worked perfect for my daughter's first birthday pictures. She shares her amazing ideas at Just My Scrapbook!
It was a fantastic weekend!!! Michelle explained at one point, every woman in that room had gone through something very difficult during the proceeding year, yet we had all come through stronger. Thank you everyone for the memories and I took lots of pictures to crop next time.