Sunday, April 22, 2012

My Time in Prison

About a month ago, I had one of the most special experiences EVER, and I don't know why I forgot to share it here, but now MUST be the time. 
After Time Out for Women, I was on a Spiritual high. I was happy, I was also working on the whole forgiveness thing, but things were about to get MORE Spiritual, and MORE emotional. I was invited to go to the Women's prison for a special fireside put on by one of my good friends. She was going to share her personal story with these women about her journey from prison bars to temple walls. 
I have to admit, when I first volunteered to go to the prison, read through their list of rules and filled out the papers, I was SO nervous. What kind of place was I going to? Were the women going to bully me? Were they all scary looking, covered in tattoos with piercings and short spiky hair? What was I getting myself into?
All of those emotions left me as we pulled into the parking lot. 
I was more excited to hear my friend's amazing story, and help support HER. She was so nervous, and who could blame her, really? She was reliving all of those emotions she'd had when she had gone to prison the first time. We reassured her that this time she would be able to leave WITH us, and that she was there to inspire those women. She was doing a good thing, and we would be with her 100%. 
We walked through the metal detectors, got scanned, then waited to be let inside. We walked the blue line to the gym to find that some inmates had set up the chairs, ready for our arrival. My friend asked us (my friends J and D) to sit on the front row, right where she could see us, then began one of the most precious, amazing things I had ever attended. Before my friend spoke, we got to shake hands with some of the women. It was against the rules to hug or give them items, so a friendly smile and handshake were ALL that we could offer. Many women looked just like anyone else I would meet. Neatly combed hair, beautiful eyes....the only difference was that these women were wearing jumpsuits. 
As my friend told of her story and the miracle that is the Atonement of Christ, I felt the spirit of these women. THEY were the ones who were humble and teachable. They were amazing to behold. 
After my friend spoke, the women were allowed to share their testimonies or experiences. I didn't have enough tissues to wipe the tears that were shed. These women now felt hope and strength that someone had been where they are, and came out on the other side with hope and happiness. 
I learned a lot about judging others. I learned that we are truly all children of God. That he loves us all unconditionally. He wants ALL of us to repent and return to live with Him. There is hope for all of us, those with big, red, ugly sins, and those who only have the red kind. He truly will forgive us all, and loves all of us. 
A month later I barely remember the names of the women we met. I don't remember much of the words that were said, but the ONE thing that has stuck with me is the feeling of being in the presence of angels. Angels in jumpsuits, who are just trying to do what we all do....fix our mistakes, and move on. Their faces and spirit will FOREVER be apart of my life. I'm SO grateful for them, and their acceptance of someone so judgmental and imperfect.

Thursday, April 12, 2012


We've had an adventure today already....and it's only 9:30. 
I woke up a little earlier than I usually do and went upstairs. Cameron got ready and the morning started pretty typical. Then when Cameron was dressed, he came into the family room and said, "Mom, I keep hearing meowing." 
 I said, "Oh, it's probably outside...." and then I heard it.
It was in my house. 
I listened to figure out where it was, and once I opened up my fireplace insert, I knew. The cat was stuck IN my chimney on top of my insert. 
I have to admit, I freaked out a bit. The boys were cooing to the cat while simultaneously asking if we could keep the cat. I didn't know what to do or who to call. 
I went and woke up Steve. I told him there was a cat stuck in the chimney, and asked him what we should do. He groaned and I told him, "No, really....there's a cat stuck in the chimney." 
I immediately got on Facebook, asking for advice. Someone suggested that we call the non-emergency police or animal control. Well, I decided to call the police and then maybe THEY would direct me where to go. It turns out our local non-emergency number is also animal control. The dispatcher promised to find someone to come out. 
About a half hour later (Steve had been working on getting the cat out the whole time...) animal control arrived. Jake instantly hugged the man, I'm sure it was because he knew he'd save the kitty. 
Then they went to work. 
Mr. Animal Control had a 6 foot long noose stick that he tried to grab the cat with, but it wasn't long enough. He called for the longer stick. 
At this point, Cameron was gone to school, and we had 3 people working on the problem. I called my mom and asked to borrow a drill of some sort in case we needed to remove our insert to save the cat. My brother had something, and I left to get it. 
When I came home, Animal control was gone, and the cat was out. We had thought that it was a kitten that had gotten stuck, but it was a full-grown fluffy, gray cat. The cat had a collar, so it has an owner....
I was told once the cat got out that it wanted to run. (Who could blame him?) 
We now need to get some chicken wire and cover our chimneys, otherwise this will happen to us, again!!! 

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Sticking With It

...parenting, that is.
Monday night we had a big blow up with Mr. Cameron. In the last year he's shot up about a foot or so in height, he's inches from being as tall as his short mother. When I have to drag him anywhere (which isn't very often) it looks ridiculous. Anyway, he refused to come home with me from Grandma's house. I gave him multiple chances, and finally I'd had enough fighting, so I drove home....leaving him screaming on my mom's front yard. I couldn't very well drag him into the car...he's getting too big, and WAY too old for that. I was reamed the whole way home by a certain-almost-4-year-old, and I told that same boy that you do NOT treat your mommy badly, or something like THIS would happen.
I got home and called Steve to pick Cameron up, and told him what happened. He was NOT all.
Earlier in the evening my mom had mentioned that if Cameron wasn't good, then he couldn't go out to dinner with us the next night for my youngest brother's birthday, so I figured that was as good of a punishment as any other, and grounded Cameron from the birthday dinner.
I was scared.
I've never left my kids at home alone for ANY reason. I thought about hiring a babysitter, but remembered that it was mutual night (when youth between 12-18 participate in fun activities at our church). I couldn't pull anyone away from that. So I decided that it was time he stayed home alone, after all, why should I be punished for his tantrum?
I prepped the boy all afternoon. He could watch TV, if he got scared he could even go to my bedroom....
Then came the time to leave. I left a sticky note on the computer monitor with Steve's cell phone number, told him to only call in case of an emergency, and then I left.
The sad face chased me out of the house. I wanted to run to him, tell him how sorry I was for being so tough with him, and hug his little body, but I couldn't. I'd said something, and I NEEDED to stick with it. If not for HIS sake then for mine.
I had to practice singing a song with some ladies, so I went to dinner late. When I got to the restaurant, Steve informed me that Cam had called 10 times. So much for emergencies....
Dinner was a rushed event for me. I didn't want to make the boy more miserable than necessary, just enough to teach him a lesson that he can't act that way and plan on getting away with it. We could have gone to visit my mom afterward, but I was done making the boy wait. We went home and he was waiting AT the window for us.
He promised me that he will not act that way again. I told him that I hoped so, and we were done. I'm sure this is one lesson that he will remember for a VERY long time. Now he'll know that I mean what I say...even if it's the hardest thing in the world for ME!

Monday, April 09, 2012


I was in the mood for something new, so I asked my favorite hair-stylist to cut me short with something fun. I can say that I absolutely LOVE this hair cut. I haven't had something this fun in YEARS!! (And the best part was getting all of the compliments at church yesterday....can we say "ego boost?!")

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Forgiveness is Liberating

For a while now, I've been struggling with my bitter feelings for another. I had thought that I had already forgiven them and moved on, but when I saw this person I was suddenly overcome with feelings of anger and bitterness. I was NOT pleasant to be around. I thought bad thoughts about the other person, and I KNEW that I needed to truly forgive and move on.
I mentioned Time Out for Women and Sister Pierce's talk. I was already working on these feelings. The bitterness was more in my heart than in my head. I already KNEW what I needed, but I needed my heart to agree.
Then came General Conference. It was marvelous. There were SO many talks that spoke to this exact subject. Forgiveness. It was something that I must have needed to hear.
On Sunday morning one talk hit me particularly hard. It was from President Uchtdorf. I must admit, I have a bit of a crush on him, and I love to hear his talks. He always makes me feel happier and more uplifted after his sermons.
Anyway, part way through he spoke about harboring bad feelings for others. Judging others and having unChristlike feelings. Then he spoke his magical sermon:

"This topic of judging others could actually be taught in a two-word sermon. When it comes to hating, gossiping, ignoring, ridiculing, holding grudges, or wanting to cause harm, please apply the following:

"Stop it!
"It’s that simple. We simply have to stop judging others and replace judgmental thoughts and feelings with a heart full of love for God and His children."

That was all it took for me. I thought about how silly I'd been, harboring these rotten feelings and feeding them over and over....stop it. I thought about how I'd perceived the actions of this other and realized that it was most likely my bitter attitude that made her seem so angry. I'd decided that I had better give her the benefit of the doubt and move on.

And that was the main key: I CAN MOVE ON! I don't have to worry about her life. I don't have to feel angry that she's having happy things happen to her. I can simply live my life, wish her well, and move on.
I feel like a 2-ton weight has been lifted. It's SO wonderful.
Since I'm not crafty, I tend to "borrow" from others. On this blog, there are many of the top quotes from Conference. I'm definetly sharing my new one: