Thursday, December 31, 2015

Goodbye 2015, Hello 2016

Oh my! It's the end of 2015 and I only wrote 30 blog posts this past year! I am officially fired from blogging!
 I really love sitting down to write on my blog and miss it like crazy, yet every.single.time I sat down to write this past year I was interrupted by something else. No joke! Whether it was a completely blank mind, guilt for not playing with my 5 year old, remembering I was supposed to pay a bill, answering an urgent breastfeeding question, returning a friend's text, or getting kicked in the hands by my nursing toddler, I just kept getting interrupted at the keyboard. So, I gave up.  I gave up and moved onto other things like painting rooms in my house blue and green and yellow, reading novels recommended by my book club, running lots of miles, baking lots of pumpkin pies, playing Go Fish with my 5 year old for the 100th time, driving kids to and from school, preparing lunches and snacks, helping moms with boob questions, and making sure my toddler had my full attention while breastfeeding him (how he likes it!). So my life has been very full, however, I really miss writing and realize there has been an empty void in my life from the lack of it.

My goal for 2016 is to write more. Anne Lamott, one of my favorite authors and writing enthusiasts says that sometimes all you have to do to reach your writing goal for the day (if you otherwise think you are too busy) is to sit down and make your fingers move. Just make them move and see what happens. We might think in our heads that we just don't have time to write and then that never-ending list of other important things pops into our minds. Suddenly writing isn't important anymore! But the truth is, that list will never go away and if we're going to write, we need to just sit down and make the time. Another suggestion she makes is to make the goal to write something that will fit inside of a one inch by one inch picture frame. It's such a tiny goal, but if we can just sit down and fill up that frame, sometimes that's enough to get our minds going. She even has a little one inch by one inch picture frame sitting on her desk to remind her to reach that goal. I might have to get one someday.
My problem as of lately has been feeling like if I'm sitting down writing then I am neglecting __________ (fill in the blank with whatever person, chore, responsibility, child, future dish that needs to be washed). The guilt this past year has been too much so I've avoided my computer and tried to be more responsible. But, as I've found out, my soul has suffred. My writing soul has been suffocating and yearns to get back out from it's dark hole. I need to jump out into the light and write, write, write.
Studies show that people who (love to write) are happier, feel more satisfied with their lives, feel more fulfillment and accomplishment on a daily basis, and find more joy in the day to day mundane things of life. I just made all of that up, but I'm pretty sure it could be true. Also it's probably true because I say it's true for me, and I've experienced all of that when I am free to write. 

My other goal for 2016 is to not only write, but to write more passionately. It's been safer to stay in the shadows on some subjects, but I'm not a stay in the shadows type of girl. I can be a strong voice when I want to be and I think it's important for me to be more authentic with myself on what I believe to be true and right and good. There's a lot of freaky, trolley, creepy, and shmutty people voicing their opinions on the internet, why can't I be one of them? Just kidding. What I mean is that I want to be a force for goodness, light, and positive influence on the world around me. Sometimes the internet really scares me and makes me want to go hide in a hole and never come out or show my true identity to the world. But on the other hand, if everyone did that the world would be left with only the creepy creepers. I hope to share more in an effort to put something good into the world. Even if it's only on this little space, in this little corner, on this little blog, that my mother mostly reads. Sometimes.

Happy 2016 and may all your wishes come true.
(If wishes were fishes we'd live in the sea,
munching on seaweed as glad as can be)

Oh, and here's my year in review of a few things I can remember I/we did:
**I started running up my favorite hill
**Flew to Seattle Washington with my two little ones to see my mom and siblings
**Threw a HUGE fundraiser yard sale for my LLL group and raised over $800 selling people's used stuff.
**Micah cut down the big Pine trees out front and planted fruit trees
**Camped at Zion NP
**My Dad came to visit. We went to Bryce Canyon National Park
**Watched as my eldest little boy went backpacking with his Dad for the first time, for 4 days.
**Started and quit Crossfit (knee injury, sucky gym-daycare)
**Three week roadtrip to Joshua Tree Park, Sequoia Park, and Malibu Beach
**Our baby M turned one years old!
**Went to Oahu for ten days 
**Tried to get rid of our dogs three different times with no luck
**The boys started piano lessons and got really good at it
**My sister Leilani and niece Waimea came to visit from Oregon
**Trained with Lacey for a half marathon then neither of us ran in it.
**Sent my middle baby Jonah to Kindergarten.
**Got my very first bike trailer to stick my little kids in so I could ride my bike more
**Started working for AYUSA as a community representative
**Read 16 novels 
**Got braces and a palatal expander in my mouth. Getting surgery in 2016.
**Celebrated eleven years of marriage to my favorite guy

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

The la la la la Laundry game!

This is how our downstairs hallway looks 99% of the time. This is the clean laundry that comes out of the dryer and is then thrown into heaps onto the hallway carpet. Yes we own laundry baskets and yes the clean clothes often start out in them...... until they are dumped out, picked through, and shuffled through in hasty attempts to find those favorite shorts or missing socks! Hence, the permanent laundry mound:

I'm finally getting used to this permanent mound in the downstairs hallway. At first it was irritating: a constant source of annoyance and stress as well as a reminder that I can never keep up with housework for as long as I live: Of course I'd rather have my four children than a hallway free of laundry mounds-- its just a pity the two can't coexist.

So now I've turned our laundry mound into a bit of a game where once a week on either Wednesday or Saturday, depending on how high the mountain is, we put the laundry away in a fun way!

Here's how we play:
First we blast music (totally necessary). Usually Weird Al's latest hits or Cousin Waimea's birthday party mix.
Then I sit on one end of the mound while all 3 older boys sit on the other end.
Next I start tossing clothes at their heads in the air while shouting out who they belong to. The person whom it belongs to has to catch it and put it into their pile.
At the end when all the clothes are gone from the pile, everybody puts their clothes away.
Lastly we fold towels and sheets, put away dish rags, and match socks. 

And that's the laundry-put-away-game.

It's pretty fun most of the time except for when one of the boys is in a grumpy mood-then it's pure crankiness and annoyance and everyone puts away their laundry mad.
But that doesn't happen too often. Most of the time it's loud, hysterical, and filled with fun mischief-like when Zadok and Odin start wrestling each other into the walls, or when Jonah is laughing the entire time and trying to catch Zadok's clothes before he can get to them.

I miss not having a clothing line. One of my favorite pastimes in the world is hanging clothing out in the sunshine! But, it hasn't worked out so far in this house to have one. Maybe for the better since I have four children now and more work to do, plus the washing machine is all the way downstairs and lastly, it's cold, snowy, and rainy a lot of the year. Excuses, excuses.....
Maybe I'll get a summer clothing line someday when my littlest isn't so little anymore and my arms are more free.... We'll see.

Okay, It's time for me to get back to my laundry pile. After all, laundry is my life.

(I think it's funny that I've written about laundry before:
here and here and here)

Monday, December 14, 2015

Porn KIlls

I had a chance to sit down with a teenager of 17 years old recently to talk about his porn watching habit. I wanted to help him to overcome his constant urge to seek out X-rated adult websites that are destroying his mind and soul. He has so much greatness happening in his life, why does he feel he needs to watch porn? When did it start and why does it continue?
His answer was simple: He was a young boy about 10 years old playing computer games one day when commercials popped up on the side advertising naked women. He was curious so he clicked on the ad for the website. The images surprised him but also excited him in many unfamiliar ways. He didn't really know why he liked looking at these images, but he did. Everytime after that whenever he was playing computer games he would also look for those websites. 
Then each time after that he would search deeper and deeper into the net and find more and more websites full of pornography and adult themes. He had to hide it from his family because he knew his mom would not be happy with him, so he started playing computer games more privately. Soon his porn-watching habit became addictive and he couldn't stop. Everytime he played computer games he found he was clicking through endless websites of pornography. He soon found that when he wasn't on the computer, all he could think about was getting back onto the computer so he could look some more. These images began to take over his mind and force him into addictive habits of secrecy, lying, and sneaking around his family and friends. His mind became consumed with seeking out more and more pornography websites, images, and videos to satisfy his cravings to the point that he couldn't focus on much else. His grades started dropping, his social life  lacking, his family relations  strained, and he spends most of his time in his room feeling depressed. This is what pornography is doing to him, all because he clicked on the wrong  website at 10 years old. 

I had the opportunity to talk with this young man because I wanted to know how I could help. I wanted him to know that his secret is out and there was no more hiding from it anymore. I also wanted him to know that it is not too late to change direction, get help, and live a happy life free from addictive habits. 

We live now in a day and age where choosing to watch porn is not just a choice in morals, it's becoming a public health issue. Poeple are getting sick from watching porn. Before the Internet generation, one could either choose to buy playboy or subscribe to the playboy channel or other adult related content, but now we live in a world where we have access to pornography at the click of a button.  That includes children.
Current public health research shows that viewing pornography at a young age can lead to  sexual violence, mistrust in relationships, confusion in relationships, confusion about sexual intimacy and love, low sex drive, loneliness and depression.  The porn industry loves to market their products as glamorous and exciting but behind the scenes we know that the porn industry supports human sex trafficking, abuse, enslavement, and the demoralization and dehumanization of young girls. 
It's basically disgusting and evil and I will do anything in the world the prevent my children from ever watching it. 
There's a pretty amazing website called Fight the New Drug,  who's mission is the educate people about the harmful effects of watching pornography. They supply facts, information, and helpful resources for recovering from addiction, as well as helping families with prevention in their homes. Their popular motto is PORN KILLS LOVE. I purchased a T-shirt last year and wear it proudly.

Our Young Men's Stake President spoke in church one Sunday and gave an analogy that I thought was really helpful in helping parents understand how dangerous the temptations of pornography are to teenagers. He said to imagine that your child has a stack of magazines in his or her room, everything from sports magazines to gaming magazines to cooking magazines to favorite music, movies, games, and even craft magazines. All these magazines are stacked up next to his/her bed and available for him/her to read anytime he/she wants. But, also inside this stack of magazines is a pornography magazine, full of sexual, abusive, and disgusting images. You go to bed hoping your child doesn't pick that magazine up and look at those pictures, yet you're not sure if he will since it is in the same stack as his favorite sports and cooking magazines. 
He went on to explain that we have to do more than just hope they don't pick up the magazine. With the use of Smartphones and handheld devices our children have this metaphorical stack of magazines with them at all times! They have 24/7 access to anything they want to find out or view on the web! So what prevents them from clicking on the porn websites if it's just as easy as clicking on their favorite gaming or sports website? In the privacy of their bedrooms what prevents a child from either a.) accidentally picking up the porn magazine, or b.) finally giving into tempation and looking at it...maybe even with his friends.
The answer is parental supervision, parental involvement, and parental prevention. We have to be the ones to educate our children about why they don't want to pick up and look at that magazine; how viewing those images has the potential to damage their lives and effect them negatively for years to come; how pornography is more addciting than cocaine: how they have to make the daily choice to NOT  pick up that magazine when mom and dad aren't around. 
He said that each family will decide what is best for them, but for him and his wife they decided to take away phones at night and give them back in the morning. That way their kids don't have unsupervised access to the web. Many temptations arise when kids are left alone in their rooms on the net. He also suggested making Internet time in the home a public place in the house where everyone can be seen and heard on their devices. There can't be any sneaking around or secrecy that way. Other families might choose to put strong parental blocks and filters on their Internet systems. All families should educate.
So what happens if your child has already been exposed to pornography? Don't feel bad. Don't beat yourself up. Move on and try to get the help you need. For some this might be counseling, a spiritual blessing, a talk with a trusted  friend, a new beginning in how you will manage things in your home.  Open and honest communication about this is needed. This Internet generation is a new era for so many of us and I'm sure with prayer we can be led to know how to handle these situations as they arise. Through God all things are possible.

I am going over to talk with this 17 year old friend later this week about what he's learned. I let him borrow the book,"Good Pictures, Bad Pictures: Porn Proofing Todays Young Kids."  I'm hoping that he's learned a bit more about the cycle of addiction, about what pornography is doing to his mind, and hopefully the most about how he can get out of it.

Wish us luck.