Saturday, August 14, 2010
Most names have been ruined for me. I am a teacher. And I have taught for 10 years. I have seen many unusual names like KeVaughn, Unique, and even, Marajuana. Finding a name that hasn’t been ruined for me has become somewhat of a challenge, but here’s my story:
It was a beautiful Sabbath day, and I was sitting uncomfortably in the wooden pews at church. The hard back benches were agonizing at the best of times, but at 9 months pregnant they seemed almost insufferable. Focusing on the speaker seemed impossible, as I wiggled trying to find a comfortable position.
My youngest daughter leaned her head against my round abdomen. The baby inside kicked at her sister, and Katia stifled a silent giggle. My husband shot us a warning glance to be reverent. I put my arm around my sweet baby girl, who was no longer a baby. “When did she turn 9?” I thought.
Kiara, my 10 year old daughter, was resting her head on her father’s shoulder. She had stayed up late the night before and was fighting to stay awake during the sacrament meeting. I was content with my small family of 4. Scott was a fabulous father to our two beautiful daughters. I loved having children old enough to talk too, sing with and share adventures with. I also questioned my sanity as to having children at my age. Was I crazy?
Abruptly, the routine birth pains began. I silently began timing the contractions. “One Thousand One, One Thousand Two, One Thousand Three…” I had already gone into false labor twice before. I was prepared this time to count and wait it out. But then another cramp began and I knew the pain was too close together.
“It’s time” I whispered in my husband’s ear, while the speaker droned on about the plan of salvation.
“Are you sure?” Scott asked quietly, shooting me a nervous glance.
“Of course, I’m sure!” I snapped, a bit irritated at his lack of faith in my diagnosis. I clumsily plodded out toward the parking lot leaving my husband to find a friend to take our children for the rest of the day!
I continued counting my labor pains as I waited impatiently for Scott to show up. “The Bishop’s wife has our daughters,” he explained as he got behind the wheel to the Hyundai, which would be too small for our family of 5 in a few short hours. We had purchased the car to save gas a year ago when we believed we were done having children. Surprise!
Although the hospital was only 6.3 miles away, it seemed to take us an hour to get there. We hit every red light, and got behind every aging person going 25 miles under the speed limit. Didn’t they know I was about to have a baby? I wanted to scream at all the drivers on the road, including my husband, that I was in agony and frightened of the birthing process.
Although I had given birth twice before, I had completely forgotten the experience. I felt like a novice rugby player about to be pummeled by the opposing team. What was I supposed to do? I couldn’t remember. I just wanted my doctor.
Arriving at the hospital, we walked (actually Scott walked, I hobbled) through the double doors. The receptionist noticed my condition (the huge bump in my belly cued her in) and waved us through to the third floor.
After a quick examination, from a nurse with REALLY frigid hands, I was admitted into a delivery room. The room was bathed in soft light. And the bed was as comfortable as a hospital bed could be. My husband pulled a stool up near my head so he could hold my hand and coach me. (I think it’s funny that men are coaches at something they will never experience personally.)
I was dilated to a five. The attendant only had to poke me three times before the IV stuck in the right place. By then, I didn’t care about the contractions, I was too focused on the needle. Scott kept trying to soothe my distress, by reminding me to breathe and count. (At least he remembered something from our Lamaze classes 11 years ago.) I had had natural child births with both Kiara and Katia. But this one, I was required to have an IV. By now, I was missing the warm showers that I had taken while in labor with Kiara.
Time is different when you are in the throes of childbirth. It seemed like I laid on the birthing bed for over 3 days, but Scott said it was only an hour.
“She’s crowning,” the doctor claimed proudly, as if he had done all the exertion!
A moment later, my husband exclaimed that she was “Beautiful!” The nurse practitioner, who aided in the delivery, quickly wrapped her in a white blanket and handed me the precious bundle. Tears came and I saw Scott wipe tears from his eyes also. She was beautiful! The Spirit of God was definitely present at this momentous moment. “I love you, little one.” I whispered as I handed the little girl to her father.
“What are we naming her?” Scott asked. We knew we had to use a name that started with the letter ‘K’, but we hadn’t found one we liked yet.
“I have no idea.” I said lamely.
“Did you see the name of the nurse practioner?” he quizzed.
“Well, it started with a K. It was different. What do you think?”
What did I think? I thought I was tired. I thought I wanted to go to sleep and wake up skinny. I thought I wanted some chocolate. But instead I inquired of my husband the nurse’s name.
“Karabasque,” he said simply.
I looked at how lovingly my husband held our newborn daughter. I smiled, “O.K., her name is Karabasque. I hope our family likes it.”
“They will love Karabasque!” Scott confidently announced. But will they love the name? I silently wondered.
“You’re kidding! Right?” Mom exclaimed when she heard the name.
Sunday, August 8, 2010
Brother Call asked me to tell you a little about our family. My name is Sundy – like the day without the “A.” I was raised in the beautiful state of Colorado. My parents are both educators and I am the oldest of 4 kids. My best friend is my sister, G.J. and I have two awesome brothers. I decided to study music in college because it made me happy. I was actually better at computers and math, but music got my vote. After college hopping for a few years, I ended up back in Grand Junction at the local college.
Scott grew up in Wyoming, and served a mission in Brazil. While he was serving the Lord, his family moved to my home town. So when Scott came home, he didn’t know the area and he didn’t speak any English. He attended the local singles branch, which is where we met. He was assigned as my home teacher. I didn’t know right away that I was going to marry him… but my father and sister did….
Six months after we met, we were sealed in the Denver temple by my grandfather. I finally graduated with my music education degree and began teaching in Colorado and Scott got his bachelor’s in business management. Two years later, we had a baby girl and named her Kiara. A year and a half later I was a full time mother to two beautiful little girls as Katia joined our family.
Scott moved our small family to Las Vegas so he could attend UNLV for his master’s degree in marketing. We spent 8 years in Las Vegas and decided to relocate to Arizona. I went back to work, because of the economy. And Scott looked for work.
In January, Scott moved here to work for CPS. I had to finish my teaching contract, so the girls and I stayed in Arizona. I moved here 3 weeks ago following my job and bariatric surgery. So far we LOVE it here! Everyone in the ward has made us feel right at home and we are excited to serve and get to know all of you.
With this brief history of our family, focusing on the highlights, you might not realize that Murphy’s Law could have been named after me. Trials and tribulations seem to follow our family wherever we are. Of course, none of us are immune from “trials and tribulations.” Wilford Woodruff said, “It is impossible… for the Saints of God to inherit a celestial kingdom without their being tried as to whether they will abide in the covenants of the Lord or not.”
I have learned a great secret in dealing with hardships: There is only ONE source of Peace. Jesus Christ¸ the Prince of Peace, has promised us that “our adversities and our afflictions shall be but a small moment.”
Turning to the Lord during difficulties has not always been easy. Brother Hallstrom of the Presidency of the Seventy said last conference, “If you feel you have been wronged – by anyone or by anything – deal with the matter directly and with all the strength you have. … Giving up is not an option. … Turn to the Lord. Exercise all of the faith you have in Him. Let Him share your burden. Allow His grace to lighten your load.”
One of our biggest trials as a family was when Scott was separated from us twice. The first time was when we moved to Arizona. Our home in Las Vegas hadn’t sold and Scott couldn’t find work in Arizona. So he stayed in Las Vegas while Kiara, Katia and I moved to Arizona so I could start my job. Scott would drive 7 hours and “come home” two days a week and live in Nevada the other five days a week. We lived this way for almost an entire year. It was a struggle. And the girls and I cried every time he left…. The second time we were separated was the past 6 months. Scott was here with you, while I was in Arizona. During this time, I had surgery three times and many health problems. This time he didn’t even get to come home so we kept in contact through cell phones and the internet. Turning to the Lord was the only way we got through both separations.
I made a list of things that we have done that has helped us turn to the Lord in times of trial. I love lists. I love to write them. I love to read them. I love to cross things off of them. So I made a list of 7 things that helped our family “turn to the Lord” during our trial of separation. Upon reflection, I realized that this list could help others who are going through tough times.
#1 PRAYER. Prayer is what held us together during our time of being apart. Every night, before bed, Kiara, Katia and I would call Scott, put him on speaker phone and have family prayer. Those prayers really helped ground us as a family and keep us close to the Lord. Susan Tanner said,
“How often have each of us fallen to our knees with . . . feelings of inadequacy and need for divine reassurance? . . .
"[As did Joseph Smith,] we too can receive spiritual reassurance in response to our prayers. We can receive a witness that our Father in Heaven knows us by name and that He has an earthly mission for us to fulfill."
#2 GO TO CHURCH. Every week, no matter what, we went to church. Kiara and Katia were 8 and 9 years old when we moved to Arizona. I was called as the ward organist. So every week, my daughters would sit on the front row as I sat at the organ. It was extremely difficult to manage two young girls and the music without a husband. But we got blessings out of the deal. Kiara and Katia quickly learned how to be reverent without parents. And I did not have to worry about them at all. Church edified all of us and kept us close to our Heavenly Father.
#3 SCRIPTURE STUDY. We daily strived to read our scriptures and discuss them together as a family. We weren’t perfect. But we continued to improve. Elder Christofferson said, that “through the scriptures, God does indeed 'show forth his power' to save and exalt His children. By His word, as Alma said, He enlarges our memory, sheds light on falsehood and error, and brings us to repentance and to rejoice in Jesus Christ, our Redeemer." Scott and I felt that we could definitely use those blessings while enduring the trial of our separation.
#4 TEMPLE ATTENDANCE. Scott was really good about this one. While he was on his own, he attended the temple at least once a week. He often told me how that was what kept him going when he missed me and the girls. There are blessings from the temples that have helped to shape our family and renewing those covenants and blessings often helps during times of trouble.
President Faust told about the difficulties the pioneers faced. Just like today, we face problems and turning to the temple is one of the greatest sources of spiritual strength we can get. President Faust said,
“There were over 5,600 members who received their blessings in the Nauvoo Temple. … John and Jane Akerley and the others of the multitude who waited in the bitter cold to enter the majestic Nauvoo Temple received within its walls the greatest blessings offered by the Lord in this life. They endured much, but their suffering was just beginning. Their temple blessings helped strengthen them for what lay ahead. Separated by death in Winter Quarters, they were able to endure all things because of their faith and the blessings received that cold February night in 1846.
“As the pioneers had the larger vision in their daily challenge for survival, so also we need to have a greater vision and understanding of our eternal destiny. Our challenges are more subtle but equally hard. Maintaining our spiritual strength is also a daily challenge. The greatest source of that spiritual strength comes, as it did in their time, from our temples.”
# 5 GOSPEL DISCUSSIONS. While struggling with our separation, having gospel centered discussions with our daughters seemed to really help strengthen our family and our trust in the Lord.
Sister Grassli said that “Children can understand and should witness marvelous events – events like priesthood blessings, special ward and family fasts, the testimonies and prayers of their parents and leaders, and gospel discussions with people they love.”
I truly believe our kids are smarter than we give them credit for. My daughters would often compare books they were reading in school with the Book of Mormon. We would discuss similarities and differences over characters from novels and the heroes of the scriptures. These gospel discussions helped us through our trials.
#6 FAMILY HOME EVENING. I grew up in a family that truly believed in the blessings of family home evening. My parents had the most awesome family home evenings ever! And Scott and I have tried to incorporate family home evening in our own family. When we were separated, we still had our weekly family nights. We missed daddy, but it helped us through. Family Home Evenings helps families fortify themselves against worldly influences.
#7 FAMILY COUNCIL. Family Council was something my husband felt was extremely important to our family. Every Sunday, even when long-distance phone calls were our medium, we held Family Council. These weekly meetings helped us to organize our home and share our spiritual experiences that we had during the week with each other. We also had time to express concerns and express our love for each other. We called it Kudos and Koncerns. We would open with a song and prayer to invite the Holy Ghost into our council. This helped us endure to the end during our struggles.
Using this list, we were able to stay close to the Lord. We grew as a family. And made it through our tribulations without too many scars. I know that if we had not turned to the Lord during these trials, it would have been much more difficult.
Joseph Smith is a fabulous example of enduring hardships and trials. While suffering in Liberty Jail, this profound revelation was given to him: “If fools shall hold thee in derision, … if thou art called to pass through tribulation; … if thine enemies fall upon thee; … if thou shouldst be cast into the pit, or into the hands of murders, … and all the elements combine to hedge up the way; and above all, if the very jaws of hell shall gape open the mouth wide after thee, know thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good.” Then the profound statement: “The Son of Man hath descended below them all. Art thou greater than he?” This is followed by clear direction and great promises. “Therefore, hold on thy way, and … fear not what man can do, for God shall be with you forever and ever.”
Over the following years, Joseph Smith continued to suffer and went through many trials. He stayed righteous. He turned to the Lord. As Elder Hallstrom said, “Never let an earthly circumstance disable you spiritually.” I like that quote so much that I’m going to cross stitch it. It is my prayer today that we will make it through our trials and tribulations by turning to the Lord. … Amen.
Thursday, November 19, 2009
I’ve misplaced it.
And even Scott can’t find it.
It is forfeit now.
By default it is gone.
Others has questioned it’s disappearance.
But it remains absent –
Hidden from view.
I can’t tell you where it went,
But it is irrevocably cast away.
I pray I’ll never find it.
Some things are left for lost.
I’ve mislaid twenty-five pounds.
And I’ll never get them back!
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
I know most people associate their mothers or women with lullabies, but I don't. I associate lullabies with my father!
One of my earliest memories is of my dad singing and rocking us to sleep every night. My sister, brother and I would all lay down on mom and dad's bed waiting for our turn on my father's lap. Dad would sing two songs to each of us as he held us and rocked us in the wooden chair. The other two siblings would eagerly await their turn in dad's arms.
Dad sang six songs every night. His rich voice made the songs magical. We were all entranced in the lyrics. We rejoiced in his musicality. We were caught in his spell - a spell that made us feel happy, comfortable and loved.
Dad still keeps lullabies alive. Even now, his own children have children of their own, he continues to carry on the tradition of tranquil, alluring music to his grandchildren. As each grandchild is born, they receive an original lullaby. The joyful, safe, loving feeling that I felt as a child is now instilled in my own daughters, as they listen to their very own song.
Katia, my youngest daughter, listens to "Katia Come Home" her lullaby every night before bed. She always says she KNOWS Papa loves her because of her song. Kiara begs me to play "The Grand Valley (Kiara's Song)" for everyone we meet... even her classmates!
I'm grateful for the legacy I have of listening to lullabies. I'm thankful my father sang to me as a child and continues to sing to my own daughters! When I struggle with insomnia, I listen to lullabies and beautiful calming music to help me sleep. And unlike Brahms, I do sleep like a baby when the music plays.
Friday, October 23, 2009
Waiting for my daughter's name -
Enthusiastically listening -
Impressed by her achievement.
Other scholars are announced...
Their accolades are not why I'm here.
My beautiful child is beaming as she, too, waits.
I'm blessed to be here.
I'm honored to be her mother.
And still, I wait...
Then, her name is proclaimed.
I glow with pride.
Knowing that the true gratification is hers!
She earned the grades.
She labored diligently.
The honor belongs to her, alone.
I share in the joy because she is MY girl!
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Here's the writing prompt I gave my choir students: Singer and songwriter Barry Manilow is well known for his pop music hits. But Manilow has written other tunes that millions of people hear every day: the jingles for products including Band Aids, State Farm Insurance, Stridex and Chevrolet. What is your favorite commercial jingle? Have you ever purchased the product it advertises? Why? And this is my reply:
Commercial jingles are so much fun! I find myself singing them all the time. My husband says I’m susceptible to them. Maybe it’s true. But I think in some WEIRD way, they have enriched my life!
One of my favorite commercial jingles from when I was a kid was Oscar Mayer’s bologna commercial. I loved that the little boy would sing about his bologna’s first and last name. I still sing this song when I fix sandwiches.
“Plop, plop, fizz, fizz Oh what a relief it is!” That little melody always pops into my head when ever I have a stomach ache. Alka-Seltzer is a life-saver sometimes!
I can’t stand Dr. Pepper. My husband likes it. But I want to be a Pepper when ever I hear the song “I’m a pepper. He’s a pepper. She’s a pepper. Wouldn’t you like to be a pepper too?”
Coco-Cola’s classic ad “I’d like to buy the world a coke” brings tears to my eyes. It was simple, yet refreshing. But it hasn’t made me a coke fan. I still prefer Diet Pepsi.
I’m allergic to cats. So is my husband and daughter. I’ve never been a real cat fan. But Meow Mix commercial can definitely get stuck in your head. Singing “Meow Meow Meow Meow” really can drive you crazy! But it’s a lot of fun too!
And one that drove me absolutely crazy was Desert Automobile’s add in Las Vegas. They took the Ghost Buster theme and sang “Who you gonna call? Call Desert!” My daughters loved the song, but didn’t realize it was really a rip off. I had to rest Ghostbusters for them so they could hear the “real” song!
So yes, commercial jingles have enhanced my life! I hope I get to hear many more memorable ones!
Saturday, October 10, 2009
We converged at the contemporary site
Assembled for pep talks and positive orations
Words like “World Class” and “Excellence” are tossed around
Inspiration dispersed on imported, vogue, paper plates
My eyes compete to stay open
Weariness and fatigue struggle to be overcome by exhilarated vitality
But relief comes, through thoughts of the Harry Potter movie this evening!