How eating popcorn could kill you, or make you wish you were dead.

I love popcorn. I do. It’s been my favorite snack since I was a little. I’ve raised my children with this little love affair as well. Every movie night is celebrated with a great big bowl of this buttery yumminess.

Lately, I’ve been using it as my nightly snack. My son Julian will pop me a big bow full of it and I’ll eat it over a few days time. Last night was Ethan’s Halloween Orchestra Concert, so I made dinner early. By the time it was over I was starving and I was on the hunt. After rummaging through our pantry, I went upstairs defeated – resounded to going to bed hungry. As I entered my room…complete joy flooded my memory!!! I remembered I still had a half a bowl of popcorn!

Wait…did my kids get to it? Is it already gone? I was panicked, hoping the kids had not sniffed out my treats like the bloodhounds they typically are when any kind of goodness lurks within the walls of my room. Just as I was about to give up, I noticed the bowl on the floor behind my office chair and jumped for joy! “Woo hoo!!!” I cried out. Craig was already in bed and laughing he said, “What’s got you so happy?”

“The kids didn’t eat my popcorn!!! Now I’m about to get in my bed, snuggle up to my honey, and watch a movie til I fall asleep!” The lights were all out and I climbed into bed about to snarf down my bestie snack with a vengeance. Then…the thought came to me- I better go wash my hands first. I can’t stand putting things in my mouth with the thought of dirty hands. I set the bowl on the counter and went to the bathroom while I was at it, cause ain’t nobody got time to  interrupt a deep sleep because of a full bladder.

Ok….Handled my business, check. Washed my hands, check.

I grabbed my bowl of yumminess off the counter and went to shut the lights off. Just as I was flipping the switch, I noticed something out of the corner of my eye. Double take….was something moving in my bowl? So I turned the light back on for better inspection. I leaned my head into the bowl and again had to adjust my eyes….what is thaaaaaat?

Is that a WORM? Oh my gosh, YES!!! I continued to scan the bowl and there lied a second, but smaller worm!!! I refused to look for anymore at this point… but I can tell you from my observation,  they were the happiest worms I have ever seen. They were practically dancing all over the place as they mounted the various kernels of popped heaven clouds. Soooooo GROSS!

Now a word of warning, I’m not typically a cussing type person – however I reserve the right to belt out profanities in times of extreme fear, extreme pain or creepy crawlies in my food.

I screamed out, “Craig!!!!!! There are worms in my damn popcorn! Oh my gosh! Oh my gosh! Ewe ewe ewe ewe ewe ewe ewe ewe ewe!!!!!!!!”

Craig, “the hero” comes hopping in to save the day… (he’s only got one leg) and is like,

“Whoa…those are huge!”

Grabbing his arms I was like…. “I KNOW….!!! I almost ate them! I almost ate these nasty things! What if I wouldn’t have stopped to wash my hands?

What if I would have just jumped into bed in the dark and started chowing down?!

WHAT if I picked up a kernel with a worm on it and it touched me?

Or I put it in my mouth and squished it?

Oh my gosh Craig! I could have died!

Where did these worms come from?!

I bet they hatched in the bowl! Ewe! Wait?!

I’ve been eating that BOWL for two days!


What if they are alive inside of me?

What if I ate some kernels that’s had worm eggs in them and now they’ve are hatching inside me while we speak?

What if they crawl up my throat with all of their disgusting little succor feet and come out of my nose or mouth? I almost died Craig! I almost diiiiiiieeeeeeed!”

Craig laughing at my ridiculousness (that’s a daily affair for him) tried to convince me that they must have gotten in there somehow. That they didn’t hatch. Blah blah blah.

“There’s no way dear, that one worm was HUGE. He couldn’t have gotten that big in a day.” he says.

“Craig, of course they can! They’ve been eating my popcorn!”

Sorry, I just couldn’t take his word for it. So I took to the internet. Low and behold, worms and popcorn are a thing. Even found pictures of my worms. They are the ones in the photo below. 🙁 And for your viewing pleasure I have included a video on youtube of little larvae that hatched inside a movie theatre popcorn bin. That’s what these worms look like before they fill up on popcorn. 50 shades of nasty.

The tiny worm on the left was the size of one of the worms. The second worm was the size of the one of the  far right. I want to cry right now.

I spent the entire night paranoid….thinking of how many worms I had ingested over the course of my popcorn loving life. I’m probably infested and they are swarming through my intestines as we speak.

Craig thinks the acids in my stomach would probably kill them, but I’m not convinced. I mean if they have survived pesticides, harvest, treatment and packaging facilities, transport, storage, sale and cooking at high temperatures in oil….then what are my little ole stomach acids gonna do? Nothing. I’ve probably been pooping worms my whole life. How can I even move forward after this?

This morning, all I could think about is how I can get rid of my critters.

Some ideas are as follows….(warning! DON’T try these at home – this is dangerous crazy talk)

1.Drink the equivilent of worm drano – hopefully clean all the “pipes”.

2. Drink through a firehose. Maybe the sheer force and velocity would blow them all out the back side. But then I’d probably need a colostomy bag for the rest of my life from all the damage.

3. Colonics (poop shoot irrigation) to lure them out nicely. That’s a lot of trauma for them and for me.

4. Taking deworming/parasite pills and swearing a blood oath to not to look in the toilet after doing my business until I know the coast is clear. Maybe a life time. If I so much as see a worm in the toilet….

I’m still deciding on the most effective form of treatment, but there is one thing I know for sure.

Popcorn – it’s over. We’re through. We had a good run, but you’ve crossed a line- and sometimes there’s just NO. WAY. BACK. This is the ultimate betrayal. It’s time we part ways.

Team Moms and Room Moms –  this is no longer funny. It’s traumatic and PTSD inducing.

Oh and hey God- when you were up there’s creating worlds and such, I know it’s alot. I also know that when Adam and Eve ate the apple, you had no choice but to give us thorns and weeds. And then of course, now we all have to work by the sweat of our brow –  I get it. I really do. It all just kinda makes sense, ya know?

But doing this to our popcorn? Now that’s just rude. I’m not being disrespectful God, but this has to be for your own amusement. I know you’re laughing at me. I’m sure you get bored up there with all the problems and the whining, and the evil doers…..but why you gotta do me like this? Sigh.



PS.  Wash your hands before you eat!  Good Hygene literally saved my life! Happy Halloween. Don’t eat this if someone tries to serve it to you. You could be getting more than you asked for.

if you liked this post….read the one next for a good laugh!

Breakfast in Bed




















Elder Armstrong, Take 2 – Called to Serve (AWESOME Video)

It’s been about three weeks since I’ve been on social media…and I haven’t posted on my blog since just before Drew got his mission call. Once his church mission call came…honestly, I couldn’t keep up. We had eight weeks before his departure date. Eight short weeks to get him ready. Eight weeks to make final memories with him at home. Eight weeks left with my child, who clearly is a man now. Just try telling my heart.

Quite literally, I was chasing time.

I tried to keep up with all that we were doing, but it got to a point where honestly, I craved not living my life through a seven-inch screen. I just wanted to make it last, and for time to crawl. I wanted to savor each day, really living and breathing in every second. I was constantly taking snap shots in my mind at every precious moment. Cherishing every giggle and group hug we had left as a family. I craved intimacy and quiet, something that I didn’t realize I missed so much until I took it back for this season.

Now, while all these precious memories are fresh in my mind, I’m ready to put them to script. I’ll start with the night it all began. We weren’t expecting his call to come that day, so I had to throw together a party in like an hour and a half. A little stressful, but it was a big day that deserved some fan fare.

As we got closer to the time Drew was to open his call, I could feel my anxiety level rise. As much as I love what this means for him, there is a certain amount of dread I feel knowing what it means for my family. This isn’t my first rodeo. So…I took a quiet moment to center my thoughts to where they should be. I escaped up into my room, got on my knees and I prayed.

I prayed so hard for Drew to go where he was needed, and most importantly, where he’d promised. I prayed that as he read those words, he would feel peace and regain the knowledge of that promise. You see, I believe with all of my heart – that we made promises to one another before we ever came down here. That there would come a time in each of our lives, that we would need someone to nudge us towards God. Towards a life that would reveal our divine gifts and purpose, towards grace, and a love and depth of healing that we had forgotten was possible.

Through his missionary service, Drew isn’t really called to teach. It’s more that he’s called to learn. To learn the Lord’s way. He also isn’t there to save, it’s more to BE SAVED. To be saved by the lessons, the heartbreak, the love he’ll give and receive. It’s his sacred chance to convert himself and his heart… completely towards God and Christ’s teachings.

If it is our desire is to truly become like Christ…we have to spend the majority of our time here coming to the rescue of one other. We can’t save each other in the same way Christ did, but there’s no doubt that God needs us to save one another. He needs the change that happens in our hearts and character when we do. We are his hands for a reason. It will be through loving, serving and sacrificing for others that Drew will find his power and purpose. You give a young person that kind of knowledge, and I’ll give you a miracle that will unleash a lifetime of miracles. Get the hence, Satan. There’s a new game in town. 🙂

Anyway…enough preachin. I closed the prayer asking God to help my heart relish a day and goal 19 years in the making, and finally – to remind Drew to be grateful for the beautiful gift he was about to receive. The gift of opportunity. It’s rare in life when we get the chance to throw the world at our feet and put God first to this degree. It is a privilege as much as a sacrifice.

The thing about this prayer, is that everything I was asking God for..I knew he had already given it to us. But there is something very sacred in the asking. For me, it keeps my heart in a constant state of humility. I am reminded of where all of the good in my life comes from, and I feel peace and comfort keeping him by my side. Isn’t it beautiful, when we invite God into all the spaces of our life, and not reserve our conversations with him only in times of despair.

I headed downstairs to a moment that was about to change everything. Mostly, change a boy I had been in love with for nineteen years.


Isn’t he the cutest? Man…I’m so proud of his gentle heart. He’s got such a sweet and sincere way about him. I loved watching him take center stage and cheering from the sidelines as he read the words that would change his life. It was a red letter day for Craig and I. We couldn’t be more proud of him. The second he read those words….I had a flight of calm came over me. It was like I was in a room by myself…and God swept peace right into my heart. I knew instantly, that it will be the perfect experience for him. I have to say…that as a mom who’s lost a child, I’m not a big fan of foreign missions. I don’t like my babies far away from me at all. South Africa about killed me last time with Anthony. I got through it ok (just didn’t sleep for two years), but when Drew said, “DC”… I wanted to scream “YES, YES, YES!!!!” I don’t tell my kids that, cause it’s not about me. This is their journey and I’ll support whatever God needs them to do. Needless to say though, I WAS THRILLED.

This video just makes me cry dang it. Watching my children run around the house…it got me. They are growing up on me and there’s nothing I can do to stop it. I’m deciding to take in the joy though…and be grateful for the beautiful gift I have in each one of them. I am in awe of their goodness and light.

I’d like to thank my dear friend RJ Idos, who shared his incredible talents with us making this stunningly perfect video. What a gift he has given me in this memory. I’ll cherish this forever. Thanks, my brotha. <3

Hurrah for Israel! What a gift of a good day.



Some pics of our beautiful day!

























Dear Missionary….It’s your call

My son Andrew (Drew) is due to receive his mission call literally any day now. He’s been checking the mail several times a day, hoping for that much anticipated white envelope. I remember going through the same anticipation with Anthony. I was a ball of nerves! Yesterday he checked the mail like four times, even though he knew the answer wasn’t going to change. Not today friend, not today. It’s killing us!

In the past few years, social media has let us share beautiful moments with those that wouldn’t otherwise get to be a part of watching a mission call being opened. Mission call parties are becoming a fairly common occurrence. With these developments, have come some unintended consequences.

This season of our lives always strikes up a lot of comrade with members all over the world. Get missionary parents in a room and proudly, it’s all we talk about. Mom’s are the worst. 🙂 This makes me privy to a lot of stories and experiences, some hilarious, some informational, and some very eye opening.

I share the following story with the permission:

After much self reflection and prayer, my friend’s daughter made the amazing and heart wrenching decision to serve a mission. Several appointments, interviews and hours spent on the computer later, she clicked “SUBMIT”. Everything in her life was about to change. How, when and where it would change, all depended on that “Great White Envelope”. Everyone was on high alert, just waiting for the word on when it arrived.

After several trips to the mailbox that week, it finally came!!! She was beside herself with joy. Blissful calls went out to friends and family. She wanted all the people that mean the most to her to come and witness her big day! She couldn’t wait to share this moment with them.

With her cherished ones gathered around her, she read the following words,

“Dear Sister ______, You are hereby called to serve as a missionary of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints – You are assigned to labor in the Charlotte, North Carolina Mission.”

Tears went down her face. She was thrilled. She knew when she read those words it was where God wanted her to be. When you watch the video, she was completely joyful. She looked like she won the lottery. Everything about it felt good, it felt right. Her parents were through the moon.

As her friends came up to hug her, she anticipated congratulatory remarks, and a lot were. However, a lot of what she heard was the following:

“Awww, Are you ok?”
“Are you disappointed?”
“Are you so sad?”
“Do you still want to go?”
“Are you still going to serve?”
“Awww, I was hoping you’d go somewhere cool.”

By the end of the night, something that had been a very joyful and sacred moment for her in the beginning – turned into a three hour sob session, where her pillow was drenched in tears. Not tears of her own disappointment, but the disappointment of others. She was made to feel that her offering to the Lord just didn’t measure up. It took a little time for her to block out their words out of her mind and become centered in her own feelings again.

All I can say to that story is, First – Not cool. Second – Completely inaccurate way of thinking.

When my friend told me this story, she shared it with me to somewhat protect us when Drew opens his mission call. She didn’t want what happened to her daughter, to happen to Drew. Her word of warning made me rethink sharing this beautiful moment with others, because their reactions may be less than ideal.  I’m grateful that she was honest with me, because she confirmed a trend I had been noticing and what other parents had also shared with me.

I have a million people on my social media feeds. I get the honor of watching a lot of mission call openings.  If it is a foreign call, its met with cheers and loud screams of exhilaration. If it’s state side – I hate to even say this – but a lot of times its an awkward pause, followed by a few sharing a little “Woo hoo” condolence cheer. Now to be fair, there are some families and friends that ROCK being excited no matter what – so I need to put that out there too.

It merits the discussion though. The thing about culture – we use it to create beautiful traditions or we can use it to do unintended harm.

In an effort to course correct, I’ve taken some time to poll a ton of missionaries. Both in person and online.  Some were recently returned and some seasoned vets. Here is what I found: (and my commentary to these findings, lol)

1. Most Missionaries to varying degrees feel pressure to get a “good call” when opening that envelope. The excitement/acceptance of their peers and family is crucial. That weighs heavily in their own personal joy of the experience. This was less of an issue for older returned missionaries, but has become more prevalent because of social media.

2. “You’re not a real missionary.” – Missionaries expressed that getting called to the states has varying stigmas associated with it.

East and West Coast Missions being more desirable or more culturally accepted, especially when a foreign language was attached with it. Hence the “I was called to the California, Riverside Mission – Spanish Speaking” responses, in hopes that it validated their call more in the eyes of some.  State side Missionaries want it to be acknowledged that they can have just as foreign of an experience. Some may never speak English their whole mission, or even teach American whites at all.

The most stigma associated (and therefore highest experienced anxiety) were calls to Utah, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, Arizona, Nevada. Missionaries who served there say that often times they get the, “You’re not a real missionary” speech. Due to the high concentration of members, some view their mission is/must have been a cake walk. That the members line up all of their friends in front of the font and after taking a dip, have baptism dance offs. Missionaries serving in those states are pampered with dinners and gifts. To this I say – Lol! Are you for real? I am a ward missionary. Our missionaries work their tails off. They may get more meals than some other places in the world, but then those missionaries get more of something else.

The second most culturally “less desired” was a call to the Midwest. (Whaaaaaaaaat?!) I’m from Iowa dudes! Nebraska and Missouri are practically my close cousins. Craig served his mission in St. Louis! The Midwest ROCKS. It took an army of missionaries being called to the Nebraska, Omaha Mission to get me in that font. A years worth of people investing in me, one by one. Miracles happened, generations were changed. And now…look at that circle as it continues to grow, it’s crazy beautiful! And none of that happened abroad in some remote tropical location. It happened right in the middle of nowhere, Iowa. I am so grateful that my missionaries didn’t turn their nose up at their call, because of the expectations of others. I wouldn’t be here writing this blog post.

Some other Funny (and sad!) Utah Mission Call Misconceptions

– One Elder got called serve on temple square for part of his mission. He reported that he kept having to explain to people throughout his time there that he wasn’t slow or special needs. That he really got called there while being completely normal. Wait, Whaaaat? Elders aren’t special needs because they work on temple square. That’s disrespectful to anyone who is special needs and to anyone who isn’t. The work is the work, no matter who’s doing it, or what they are doing. 

– Only pretty Sisters get called to Temple Square, or any visitor center around the world for that matter.

Let’s just call this “debunked.” First, I haven’t ever met an ugly person. Not once in my life. Second, my friends daughter is gorgeous – (seriously, I don’t think I have seen a more beautiful human being on the planet.) She didn’t get a call to the visitors center, she got called to the Philippians and served the poorest of the poor. She tracted in the literal jungle. She would write home about living in a shack next to a pig slaughter house, and how she would hear the screams of the pig all day and night. Her sleeping conditions consisted of a foam pad on the floor, each night further mastering the skill of staying just awake enough to chuck huge spiders against the wall on instinct. Her testimony floored me. She had immeasurable depth and beauty, none of which had anything to do with her face. Sister Missionaries are warriors too – so much more than a pretty face. Please tell me we can give them a little more credit than being Barbies at the Church Visitor Centers. That’s laughable. The ones that get called to Temple Square and Visitor Centers throughout the world work just as hard as anyone else.

Here is the heart of the lesson friends,

Every time an 18-26 year decides to go on a mission, we know that at minimum almost two decades have been put into this moment in time, at huge sacrifice to both the missionary and the parents. On a daily basis, parents step away from the world and choose the harder road to raise their children in righteousness. As a mother of eight, I can attest that this is no small feat.

By the time most children are raised up in the gospel of Jesus Christ, he or she has attended:

988 Sunday Services
624 Weekly Activities
720 days of Seminary Attendance (for some kids that’s at 6am every morning)
12 Spiritual Summer Camps (that’s if they don’t go to EFY in addition to the normal ward or stake level camps)

At minimum, they have given hundreds if not thousands of hours of community service throughout their association with the church and held numerous leadership positions.

Young men and women have had ecclesiastical interviews every few months throughout their teenage years. Interviews that hold them accountable to gospel standards. Sometimes a great deal of repentance has been required to get back on track.

They’ve had countless leaders invest in them. A minimum of 120 people serving them per year since 18 months of age. Including bishops, counselors, primary leaders, youth leaders, seminary leaders, stake leaders, various teachers, etc.

The missionary has sacrificed greatly just to be worthy to go. They will sacrifice everything, when they go – Family, friends, school, work, holidays, and all the comforts of home. For the missionary and their family, that separation is brutal.
They are trading being loved, nurtured and celebrated at home for grueling 15 hour days of rejection, culture shock, loneliness and some days – complete despair. There are beautiful moments too of course, but lets be honest – it’s mostly hard. Like everything worth doing is.

Wanna know how many people are actually willing to give up a year or two of their lives to be a missionary? {to our church standard}

Current world population –  7.5 Billion*
Current Missionaries Serving – 70,946*

That means that in the world, at any given moment – there less than
one-ten thousandth of a percent of people are willing to do this work. (.00000945946 to be exact)

So I guess what I am saying is this…STOP MINIMIZING THEIR SACRIFICE. Sometimes – within in the culture of the church, we are so flippant about missions. We don’t give credit where credit is due. Like a mission is just something kids do, no biggie. I’m sorry, but this is HUGE! Maybe it’s because I am a convert, but I don’t understand this mentality. I know we should “beware of pride” and all that, but I think we take that a little too far. I think we are being aware of the wrong pride. We should be thrilled and verbally praising to our children who are in every sense WARRIORS. They fought their to be worthy to go and do the hardest things that can be asked of an 18-26 year old. That is a pretty impressive resume in my book. These kids are a pretty big deal, no matter where they serve (or in some cases, how long they serve, or if they serve in this way -but that’s a whole other box we will open on a different day.) The pride we should be aware of in our culture, is always feeling the need to put one thing above another. Like mission calls, or church calls, or people. If you have a spring in your step cause you are proud of yourself or your kid for doing a beautiful thing – that’s just as it should be. However if you feel your nose or arrogance rise when sharing your mission or your children’s mission, then there is some growth that needs to take place. There is no better than or less than. The pride should be in the WORK. Not the place.

We shouldn’t be saying anything to diminish what any of these missionaries have worked so hard to achieve. We need to stop making comments and jokes about certain places being horrible to get called to. I’m sorry, but are those souls living in the Intermountain West less in the sight of God? No, they aren’t.

As for me….I’m more of the “LOOK ERRRRYBODY! MY KID LOVES HIM/HER SOME JESUS!” kind of Mom. Not that I am arrogantly boastful, cause no one wants to hear that.  However, I do think it is important for our children to hear that we are proud of them. That we are thrilled at their choices and sacrifices. Acknowledgement of how far they’ve come in a world that teaches dramatically different values is vital. Come on, this is amazing!!!! It’s so beautiful and I can hardly talk about how proud I am of ALL of our kids without tears!

One thing that is incredible to note, every single missionary I have talked LOVED THEIR MISSION! Even if they felt some cultural pressure in the beginning, it didn’t take long before they knew it was where exactly where the Lord needed them.

So I say this to you missionaries – BE DANG PROUD!
Your contribution is irreplaceable. The work is just as sacred no matter where you go. You WILL have a foreign experience, no matter what. It will be different than how you grew up, what you have witnessed, etc. God’s gonna use your good heart for his sacred work. You’ve worked so hard to be here, and I am SO PROUD OF YOU. Shout your call out proudly. You’ve earned it.

BOTTOM LINE – You are called where YOU PROMISED. I believe that a long time ago, we all made promises. Promises to find each other. To help each other. To save each other. Jesus Christ is the only one that can atone for our sins, but if we are to truly live a Christ like life – saving each other to the degree of our capability is a vital part of our own earthly ministry. Sometimes saving each other is just a matter of showing up. Of loving and serving even the ones that aren’t ready for the truth. Love is the most vital thing you can give another human being. Do that and watch it change everything about yourself.

So I say ROCK ON CHRISTIAN SOLDIERS! Go where you promised! Love the ones your with! Be thrilled you have this beautiful chance to leave the world for two years and do only God’s work. It is the only time in your life you’ll get this chance, to this degree. Man…..I love you!

P.S. You can bet your bottom dollar that I’m gonna be screaming just as loud for Ogden, Utah as I would be for Scotland! Hurrah for Israel!


Dawn Armstrong Family

My Favorite Child

As a mother of eight, you might be shocked when I say that… YES! I DO have a favorite child.
It has always been the one that is sick, or needs me the most at the time. The one that needs a little more love, a little more nurturing and a little more reminding that it not only is it OK, but it is BEAUTIFUL to unapologetically be themselves. They also take turns being my favorite as we celebrate their individual achievements. The thing about being a big family, is you have to be aware. We are always so careful to safeguard their individual times to shine. They deserve their moments…and this week it was so beautiful because each of them had one!

Oh how proud I was of Drew a little more than a week ago when he graduated from elementary school. He is such a great kid. He is such a good person, morally clean and strong. He is a good leader, and of course so bright. He cares about his siblings, and helps me so much. He is definitely my favorite.

Julian was the student of the week and I had the opportunity to come into the classroom and tell everyone about him and show him off through pictures. The night before I drafted a powerpoint presentation to show his class. It had love bugs all over the slides (that is what I have called him since birth, he has always been my love bug). Julian is so shy, so for him this was such a HUGE deal. As he giggled and fought so hard not to be embarrassed that he was the center of attention. He was so shy and so sweet, my heart was so full. He brings such a softness to my heart.  Yep, he is my favorite for sure.

Ethan was my favorite as I watch him act in his 4th grade school play this week. He did such an amazing job. I was so proud of him. My favorite part was watching him giggle and turn red as he had to propose marriage to his other cast mate with a straight face. He is so fun loving and kind. His heart is so tender, and he always wants to make those around him happy. He is SO my favorite kid!

Ava was gifted to me as my first daughter. I felt her presence before she was born. There was a day when I was around three and a half months pregnant that I literally felt her tiny spirit enter my body. (A story for a different day) Right then, I knew she was a girl. Her tiny spirit entered my body and stopped right at my heart, and she will remain there forever. Her sweet and sunny disposition….wow. There is a kindness about her that is so endearing, and it’s been there from the very beginning. Oh, how I look forward to our closeness in a way that has been so different from the boys. Equally special, but just so different. We will be close forever. SHE is my favorite.

Then there is our “tiny tot twins”, Payton and Sophie!! Oh my goodness I couldn’t be more in love with two people. The way they talk, walk, laugh, get into mischief, dote on one another… I love it! They crack me up all day every day. Sophie is so sweet and soft. Payton is rough and tumble. He is all boy, she is all girl. He bugs her like brothers do, she bosses him around like sisters do. My favorites…oh my favorites!!

Today, Anthony was to receive his patriarchal blessing. (evangelist’s blessing) I got up at 6:30am and woke the boys up. We started this morning with a fast to make sure the moment was perfect and we were in tune. Clothes were ready for the most part, because I didn’t want any distractions or typical feelings of wanting to kill my children before 9:00 am church. I carried a song in my heart this morning as I do every Sunday morning, however typically around 8:15 the notes turn sour as my patience wears thin trying to rally the troops. I struggle to get Anthony and Drew out the door to set up the church with their hair combed, teeth brushed, white shirts, ties that actually match their slacks, scriptures, and then off to pick up the brood of teens that go with them.

It is Father’s Day today, and I wanted it to be special for my husband. Knowing that I couldn’t fit in too much more before 9am, I made his Father’s Day breakfast yesterday. I treated him to home made {HUGE} cinnamon rolls. His gifts were all ready. Cards signed by the kids and everything. Man, I am on it. I had the little ones dressed, everyone’s hair combed, shoes and socks, belts…you know the drill.

Today I came, I saw, and I sang the happy notes. Then quickly realized that we couldn’t find our keys to the suburban. GRRR. After an hour of searching every nook and cranny, I remained calm. Well played Satan, well played. Instead of freaking out like I normally would, we took the BMW without missing a beat. Even though we were seven in car that seats five, it was 8:56 and we were going to church even if we had to walk. We got out of our “clown car”, and heading inside.

Church was wonderful. We had three great speakers and the primary sang to the dads. I loved every second. My heart was so full knowing that it was Father’s Day, and for the first time in my life, I would hear what it was like to get a patriarchal blessing. (a blessing from God that details the purpose for your time here, and the blessings you can expect from living worthily, in a nut shell.) I have never gotten mine. I guess I just felt like it was something I wanted to make sure Anthony did before I even considered it for myself. It’s all the mattered to me honestly, was getting him here.

So, homeward bound to finish the preparations for the big turkey dinner to come. Anthony and Craig went to visit some families in the neighborhood after church. Shortly after returning home, it seemed like in a blink it was quarter after two and time to go to the patriarch’s home.

We walked outside to a beautiful, bright sunny day. The weather is perfect. We headed to the car. I decided to sit in the back seat. This was Anthony’s moment and I just wanted to be the spectator. Craig started the car and turned on the radio. “The Voice of the Children” by Kurt Bestor played in the background. As I listen to the words, my eyes filled with tears. We were about to go hear my child’s special blessing from his Father in Heaven. I was filled with so many emotions. Pride, joy, and some sadness that is all happening so fast. How did I get here so quickly? It was just yesterday I was going to Anthony’s promotion ceremony from elementary. Now he is entering his senior year, with a mission shortly after. There is never enough time. I’m not ready for how quickly things are coming. God, please let this next year go slow. I’m not ready to let him go. I wipe away the tears and I look forward. The view from here is perfect. I see my two white shoulders. One is my husband, one is my son. Both are men I love, both are my best friends. Both wear a white shirt and are worthy to do so. Both love and serve a mighty God, by their own convictions. Both have my heart forever. I thought about my husband, and what a great man he is.  He’s the prize for doing all the hard stuff.  I thought about what a great Father’s Day present this must be for him, to see his son make good choices. His example of being a good man has been fruitful. Anthony has watched his father respect his mother, and that it is ok to be tender. He is a great provider and loves his children. Craig is loyal, in every way.  Ironically, Craig’s patriarchal blessing says that his children will mimic him. Anthony has had the opportunity to watch his father and mirror these qualities.That has proved true on so many occasions. My husband is the best, no doubt about it.

We arrive at the beautiful and modest home of the patriarch. His home is so warm and inviting. He is warm and inviting. His home feels just like the temple, clean and appropriately adorned with items that invite the spirit. He tells us of his wife and children with pride. He starts to explain the importance and the sacredness of the blessing that Anthony is about to receive. He asks Anthony why he chose this moment in time to have his patriarchal blessing. Anthony states that he has thought about it for some time and at the last general conference, they encouraged the youth to get theirs and he also felt it was time. Anthony said that he felt as if this blessing would help him with his goals in sports, school and his mission. The patriarch responded positively. He asked a series of questions both personal and spiritual. Before he began the blessing, he asked Anthony again what he wanted from this blessing. Anthony without a second thought said, “I want to know what the Lord has in store for me in my life.” Then the patriarch did something I wasn’t expecting. He paused and asked us individually what we loved about each other. Wow…I was floored. As each one of us took turns answering, the spirit was so strong. What a gift to leave no words unspoken about how we felt each other. With tearful eyes, we each took turns expressing our love and gratitude, and acknowledged the role we play in each others lives. The pride and admiration we had in Anthony as he spoke so openly about his was so incredible! I just sat quietly, watching him in awe of his good heart. The patriarch shared so much with us, it was so amazing. There is no question he is called of God.

After 40 minutes of visiting, which felt like a gift in itself, the patriarch then laid his hands on my son’s head. In an instant, he became a mouth piece for our Heavenly Father. Tears didn’t stop flowing through the entire blessing. It was incredible. I felt my Heavenly Father’s love for my earthly son. It was a perfect moment. When the blessing was over, I felt a great peace. I also felt a beckoning in my heart. To rise even higher to the occasion. To take this job seriously. God needs us to do his work in teaching his children. Sometimes we forget that our children are on loan. That they were His before they were ours. There in lies the great responsibility, that they remain HIS. Everything we do to teach our children should lead them back to their Heavenly Parents. There is no higher calling than this. They are with us for such a short time before we send them off for the world to do it’s worst. This world is eventually going to preach against everything we have taught this kid, and it’s our job to make him spiritually bulletproof. To help him become deeply rooted in the gospel of Jesus Christ. It was a beautiful moment that I will always cherish, but I was amazed how much it seemed to also wake me up to this responsibility. In a year and a half, he is going to walk away from me and all I can think about is are we doing ENOUGH? Note to self: DO MORE.

Today was a beautiful reminder that my children are a gift. My goal as a mother is to return these gifts back to God better than what I received them. I know the next year and a half is going to go by so quickly. I hope God can slow time down just a little so I can cherish all of these last moments with him at home. I am excited for Anthony, and I know he has wonderful things in store for the future. He is a valiant servant of God. His commitment to his faith and his family are strong, and I honestly couldn’t ask for a better older brother or example for the rest of my children.

Anthony…definitely my favorite ;).  *** Journal Entry from June 20th, 2010



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