03 September 2015

The grass is always greener, I guess

Now that we've air conditioning for most of this summer, I can say it's nice to have a house that is a comfortable temperature.  However it has more than quintupled our electric bill.  In fact, our most recent bill is TEN TIMES higher than our lowest summer bill ever.  Ouch.  Another thing I've noticed is that lately, the temperatures have been dropping.  And when it's not hot enough outside to raise our indoor temperature, the AC doesn't kick in.  Right?  It makes sense, if you are naturally maintaining a temperature of 75 degrees that you don't need your air conditioner on.  The problem is the house is all closed up.  So even if it isn't "hot" it gets so stuffy, it's almost more than I can bear.  Dead, stale air with no breezes.  No refreshing of the air that we are breathing in and out of lungs.  Ugh.

This morning I sent Mack and X out the door and the outdoor temp was almost exactly the same as the indoor temp.  But outside there was a stiff wind and fresh air.  I stood there for a long time with the door open.  Then I came inside and tried turning down the thermostat to kick the AC on.  That I remembered that huge electric bill and just sat in front of the fan.

I miss my open house.

02 September 2015

Little Things

*  Kelvinator coming in to our bedroom and giving Baboo a kiss on her cheek while she was telling us about he had helped her study the Old Testament for her Institute class tonight.

*  Apparently X sent Baboo a series of selfies from school today where in he called her "Sis" and melted her heart.

*  JJ coming home from work while Baboo and Kelvinator were still in our bedroom talking to us and we had three teens/young adults hanging out on our bed again, talking about evolution, the age of the earth, how long man has been on the earth, dinosaurs, etc...

*  Our fourth teen/young adult just joined us up here with his electric guitar, playing a song he wrote himself.

12 Steps to Change

About a week or so ago, I saw a trailer for a series of videos on addiction recovery.  I watched the trailer and really wanted to see the videos.  They are out now and I watched them all yesterday.  It's a series of 12 videos, where each video highlights that particular step and illustrates the story of an individual addict and how they applied it to their situation.

I was very touched by these stories and by the humility of the people telling the stories.  You don't see that kind of humility every day.  I had compassion for many of their situations that led to their addictions.  I was surprised by the choices that they made from the midst of what seemed to be a "perfect" life.  I mean, there was no sliding into this state, it was just like they turned a switch one day and decided to do it.  That part was shocking to me.

What I noticed about the stories and the steps, though, was that it was a practical guide to repentance.  In other words, the process that they went through is really no different from how we teach repentance to anyone.  But there are just more practical applications, laid out step by step to get you there.  And I also noticed how changed these people felt in their own relationship with God and with their loved ones.

That reminded me of articles I have read recently that say that addiction is correlated with relationships.  When we have a strong support system and don't feel isolated and have loving and uplifting relationships, addictions don't really take hold.  But addictions, in whatever form, replace social connection.  And basically the 12 step program is aimed at primarily restoring that relationship with God, and secondarily with family, and by meeting together, the addicts are embraced into a social group where they are able to form new connections with people.

I also remembered that I met a friend when I was on the set shooting the Life of Christ videos who told me she had gone through the Addiction Recovery Program because of an addiction she had to books.  She raved about the program and told me how it changed her life.

Anyway, I started thinking about my own life.  I don't think I have any major addictions.  But what is an addiction anyway?  Is there such a thing as a minor addiction?  Are there things in my life that I wish I could change about myself?  That I've TRIED changing about myself for years or decades?  Those recurring behaviors that I can't overcome on my own through sheer force of will...Are those addictions?  Why wouldn't they be?

So I decided that I would try this 12 step program as a way to practically apply gospel princples and try to improve my life, my self and my relationship with God.  I certainly have nothing to lose.

The first step is Honesty.

This is how we do crafts at the Beautopotamus house!

Crafts by Winkleberry

1.  Don't involve mom at all.
2.  Remove staples from the stapler.
3.  Wrap one end over and over again in masking tape.
4.  Scavenge earring backs from someplace.
5.  Present to your oldest sister who will wear them around the house for hours.

Little Things

*  At church on Sunday, Kelvinator gave me a kiss after sacrament meeting before heading off to Sunday School.  Lots of people saw it and gave me looks of amazement and awe.  He always kisses me.  In fact, my three youngest boys give me kisses all the time.  JJ isn't much on physical affection but yesterday, he came up to me, put his hands on my shoulders and stared deep into my eyes--forehead to forehead.

*  Wink:  Mom, I love this backpack.  It's awesome.
Her school backpack broke about a month or two from the end of last school year.  Rather than buy her a new one, I just scavenged through out old 72 hour kits (that had been packed in back packs) to let her use.  They were all marked in permanent ink with people's names, though.  So I gave her my old one because it was dark purple and word "Mom" didn't stand out too much.  I've felt a lot of shame that she's still using this backpack that says "Mom" on it.  I have felt embarrassed for her.  I guess I can let that go.

*  Sunday night I had a tense moment with JJ.  The reason why this is a little thing is because that's all it was.  He was doing something I didn't approve of.  I let him know.  He was irritated, but didn't say anything.  And I had expressed myself.  We clearly disagreed.  So I let it go.  The whole thing lasted maybe 30 seconds and it's the only time in my recent memory that I can think of any other "tense moments".  Dang, that is GOOD!

*  In fact, I could go on an on about my relationship with my kids.  And their relationships with each other.  And also their relationships to God.  It is deeply pleasing and satisfying here in the Beautopotamus household on a daily basis.  There are rarely cross words, let alone fighting.  There is hardly even crying (just one child who needs extra love and support).  There is LOTS of laughing.  And helping.  Like Baboo helping X ask his homecoming date.  And JJ running around with X getting supplies and getting it done.  Like Baboo constantly telling all her younger sibs how smart and beautiful/handsome they are.  Like this morning when X was in a rush to leave for school on time but still took a moment to give Pink a giant, lingering hug before he left.  Kelvinator and Mack writing a book together and leaving their hand-made maps all over my living room and constantly discussing character and place names.  Like my 13 and 11 year old boys still enjoying me coming in to their room to sing them a song before bedtime.  Or how frequently the words "I love you" are spoken in our house.  Or Winkleberry's sweet prayer last night that included "all the missionaries in the world" and "all the people in the world who have struggles".  Pinkleberry's desire to bake cupcakes for people who are having a hard time.  It is not a perfect home by any means, unless by "perfect" you mean working hard to put forgiveness and repentance to work through the Atonement of Jesus Christ.  It's a good life.

*  I'm proud of myself because after quitting facebook again for about a month, I needed to get back on to contact someone.  After I made contact, we exchanged email addresses and then I deactivated my facebook  account again.


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