Thursday, March 5, 2015


About a month ago I gave a lesson in Relief Society on Unity. This is a huge subject and I decided to devote the lesson to what I think are some important components of unity, mainly deferring judgement and practicing compassion.

While I was doing my research and preparing for the lesson I happened upon this episode of Brain Games. On a side note - it seems like whenever I am preparing for a lesson I have experiences or I find that inspiration seems to come from so many different directions that correlate with my subject. I'm sure this happens to many other people as well... I just think it's pretty cool.  Anyway, we had the TV tuned to the National Geographic Channel which was running a "Brain Games" marathon.   This show is AWESOME!  It's one of those shows that the entire family can watch and it is fascinating. This particular episode was entitled "compassion" and how it works in our brains. We are physiologically wired for compassion and for those who aren't (there is always an exception to the rule, right?) compassion can be practiced and strengthened - like a muscle.

Here is the link:  - I bought it on Amazon Instant Video for about $2.99 and it was worth it.

WATCH THE VIDEO!  It's 21 minutes long and I highly recommend watching it.

Or you can skip ahead to my favorite part which begins at 14:58 through the end of the video. If you don't feel like watching it, you probably won't understand what the heck I am talking about.

In this part of the episode an experiment is conducted using three different hot sauces - mild, medium, and death.  First of all the volunteer checks in at the front desk.  Then the volunteer is greeted by a scientist (an actor) who explains that they must choose which hot sauce to give the test subject (who is an actor as well) in the other room behind the one way mirror.  The test subject (actor) has to eat a bowl of chili with the hot sauce.  The experiment is conducted in three ways. In the first experiment the volunteer just walks into the room, is presented with the hot sauces and chooses which one to give to the test subject.

The second version has the volunteer checking in a the front desk and then is rudely bumped into by someone on their phone. When they go into the room and sit down with the scientist they realize that the person on the other side of the one way mirror is the jerk that bumped into them at the front desk. Let's just say that vengeance is swift and the hot sauce labeled "death" gets a lot of use.

In the third version the same thing happens at check in - the jerk (the actor) rudely bumps into the individuals as they make their way in. BUT the scientist, instead of just giving them the low down on what to do, exercises kind towards the volunteer. The scientist asks them how they are doing, makes a kind comment about their way of dress, name, etc, and offers them some water. The fascinating part is how they react. Instead of giving "death" to the test subject, a lot of them chose "medium" and some chose "mild".  COMPASSION IS CONTAGIOUS!!

When we discussed this in Relief Society the first comments were about how Christ is like the scientist (in the third example) and helps us to practice compassion.  And then we moved on to how we can be like the scientist ourselves and practice compassion towards others, without even knowing what their situation is - merely taking individuals AS THEY ARE and practice compassion towards them. This in turn elevates the individual receiving the compassion.

It was a fun lesson to teach and I am not done with this subject. I plan on writing more, because it is my favorite topic to study right now.

If you have more time to spend (because we all have a limitless supply, right?) here is an essay that I found on line that I love!! Chabad Essay on Compassion.

In the meantime - have compassion on me and my rough blogging skills. I'm slowly learning this skill  with all that spare time I have with 4 kids (one of them is a feisty, busy toddler who can understand English very well but chooses not to acknowledge it), home, church job, meal prepping, online study etc.

Monday, March 2, 2015

I'm back and things are different.

I'm a little nervous/hesitant about blogging again. I have been following and reading a lot of blogs for the past couple of years and the amount of talent and writing and cognitive ability is astounding. I'll admit that I quit writing because it just didn't seem up to snuff. 

BUT NOW.... so much has happened I can't seem to keep it in. I have asked myself, why is it something that I even want to do? Why would I want to put my thoughts and my beliefs out into the public forum?  Why would I want to make myself vulnerable in that way?  I'm not really sure why.  When I write in my journal it is a bunch of disjointed thoughts that ebb and flow in a train of thought way.  It works for purging my thoughts, but sometimes it is nice to imagine an audience that is kind, and interested in what I have to say.

The only problem is that I think this blog had one permanent follower and that was my mother. In the beginning of October, my mother committed suicide.  My kind, interested audience didn't value her own life the way I did and that breaks my heart.  I miss her every day.

Now I face a different direction. In October, everything that I knew was altered, turned on it's head - whatever phrase you wish to insert for completely changed.  I am anxious about my own future because she was a lot like me.  A stay at home mom invested in her children and her husband.  And somewhere in her lifetime she stopped being a person and became someone who didn't resemble the beautiful woman she once was (though I still thought she was beautiful).  She laid aside her interests, her talents, her passions for her children and her spouse even though we didn't ask her to.  I took piano lessons, sang in a choir, took theatre classes, she invested so much money in my artistic pursuits, but rarely did I see her do something that made her feel alive.

One time I walked in on her playing the piano.  She noticed me listening and smiled, embarrassed.  She quickly shut the piano book and stood up. I asked her why she didn't play and she told me that she wasn't very good.

Who cares?

Do what you love even though you may be terrible at it. 

Thus begins my own pursuits. I love to draw, paint, and write.  I am working on squeaking these things in somehow every day.  I am not always successful and sometimes I fail miserably... well a lot of the time. Change is frightening and hard but I feel that if I don't change, don't do something hard, then time will fly by and I will be left with the dried up shreds of my dreams and desires.  I know that sounds a little melodramatic and extreme, but something huge has happened in my life and as I said earlier, I am altered.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Halloween Party 2012


Well, I did it – or rather we did it.  Mike and some gracious helpers (thank you Liz and Grady) were along for the crazy 2 hours. 

It all started the week of – getting all the decorations prepped and figuring out the menu.  On the day of (Friday, October 26th) my brother Joel was visiting and he got suckered into helping me get everything ready.  Luckily, he is a good man and willingly accepted whatever challenge I gave him. He taped balloon spiders to the wall, made a disgusting witch’s cauldron full of primordial ooze and skeleton bones, and helped me with the kiddies as well.  I was sad when he left before the party began.

This is the Primordial Ooze.  Pretty Cool, Eh?018

We started off the festivities with dinner – hot dogs, seven layer dip, veggie tray, chips and dip and plenty of desserts.  I love Pinterest and got lots of help from there.  Then we played a game of “Pass the Pumpkin Left and Right”.  I read a spooky story that had a LOT of the words “left” and “right” and whenever I said those words the kids had to pass it in the right direction.  For future reference I need to teach Gabe his left and right. 

Here are some pics of the dinner/eating.



Next, we headed outside (where it was cold after a week of 80 degree weather).  At least it wasn’t raining.  We opted for traditional games – apple bobbing and donut on a string.  It was hysterical to watch the kids try to eat the donut while it was swinging around on the string.  Here are a couple of my favorites.





After freezing our costumed butts off we went inside to have an eyeball treasure hunt.  We ended with some ghost stories and more goodies.  All in all it was a crazy, fun time.  I say crazy because I believe there were about 20 children there and most of them were wild boys – the wildest of them all was Ben, of course.  He seems to thrive on chaos. 

I had a great time doing all of this, although there were many points where I questioned my sanity – why am I throwing a party for kids that doesn’t involve the word birthday in it?  As a matter of fact, most every parent who responded to the invitation asked whose birthday it was.  I think they were a little shocked when I said, “Nope, it’s just a Halloween Party.” 

My philosophy is – the kids are only young once and next year I probably won’t feel like throwing a Halloween Party… or maybe the year after either.  Maybe when they are teenagers.

Oh – and I just want to post this awesome picture of Mike and Sam (otherwise known as Steve and Blue).  They looked so cute!!!!


Ben and friends ready to take on the neighborhood on Halloween Night.


Gabe and his buddy Luke on Halloween Night.


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Halloween Party

I am doing something I have always wanted to do, but never quite had the energy to do it.  The boys are crazy for Halloween and I happen to enjoy the holiday as well.  I love this season.  So, we are having a Halloween Party and it is for no other reason than that.

I have combed the internet and Pinterest and I think that I have found some fun decorations, food, and games.  Ben and Gabe have invited four friends each and I have invited neighbors and friends.  I am excited to say the least.  A little nervous as well.  There is a lot of prep work and I tend to be a procrastinator.  So, I am going to block out my week next week and do my best to have it all ready.  I asked some friends to help so I won't be alone putting it on.

I will keep you posted and definitely take pictures!!

Is it October already?

We had a very exciting summer!! I can’t believe that it is already October and we are already making a beeline towards Christmas and 2013!!!
Some highlights from the summer:
It was an extremely hot summer and the only thing we really wanted to do was be somewhere in water or air conditioning.  But we decided to brave the weather, hope for the best and take a family vacation.   We packed out bags and went to Nauvoo and attended the Nauvoo pageant.  Luckily, the weather was AWESOME!  It was actually breezy and cool.  We were able to spend the day outside and thoroughly enjoy ourselves. There were even some people from our ward in the pageant so it was fun to watch.
The boys really enjoyed trying on the pioneer style clothes and playing traditional pioneer games.
Here are some of the pictures.
Our next big adventure was a road trip to spend 2 weeks in Colorado.  It was a looooong drive, but well worth it.   We broke the trip up into two days with an overnight in a somewhat middle location.  On our second day of the journey we went to church in the town we were in and then headed out around 10:30.  Our GPS said we would arrive at Mom and Dad Fairchild’s house at 6:00.  7 1/2 hours – not so bad.  Then when we were at the CO border we realized we had forgotten to adjust for the 1 hour time difference!!!  UGH.  When another hour was added to the journey it started to feel really long.  But, fortunately, it ended and we made it safe and sound and very happy to see family.
The highlight of the trip was a weekend in beautiful Crested Butte.  We couldn’t stop exclaiming over how incredibly beautiful this part of CO is.  I can’t even fully describe it, but it was lush, green, huge mountains, cool mountain air, crisp green lakes.  Oh my.  It was a lot of fun to be holed up with family and to let the children get reacquainted.  Ben was fully enamored by his adorable little cousin Ella.  He loved trying to make her laugh.
Here are some of the pictures.
While in Colorado we went to Waterworld (awesome), the zoo (a family favorite), the Museum of Natural History, the boys went tubing on the lake, and a fun bike ride with Grandma and Grandpa.  I can’t forget to mention several trips to the Urgent Care for ear infections and eye infections, and other fun issues.  I guess that it’s par for the course.  With the awesome comes some yuckiness – fortunately it’s more awesome than yucky.
Here are more pictures.

Monday, May 14, 2012

More photos of Sammy and his birthday


We celebrated Sammy’s birthday with Grandma and Grandpa, but we couldn’t just let the actual day of his birth go by without any fanfare – no matter how simple we kept it.

I took him to the mall (to run an errand) and while we were there, I cashed out five dollars and let Sammy ride in every single one of the little moving rides – you know the ones the rock back and forth or up and down and play some video game song.  Needless to say – he loved it.

Then, after dinner we went to the park and played and opened presents.  Of course we had to go get his favorite treat – chocolate shake, which everyone else enjoyed too.  We love that little Sammy – he is such a funny, lovable little guy. Happy birthday little dude.



Here’s Sam yelling at Gabe “MOOOOVE!”  He can be a little bossy at times.