Friday, November 6, 2015

Sometimes it Takes Courage to Kneel

I have had the impulse multiple times to write my thoughts on this subject but because I view this to be so personal I have chosen not to.  The problem is that I am seeing so many dear associates of mine who are struggling to understand current standings within our church that I feel I have to say something.

To question is human nature.  Whether you are of the same denomination or not we all question what our thoughts are in different aspects of life.  Why do we do this? Because it’s part of growth.  Even as a child “why” is a word that comes as an automatic question to come out of little ones.  We need to know why so we can understand how things work.  This can be a challenge when it involves others (whom we love) and their personal beliefs.  We don’t want them to pull away from us because we love them. 

I have often heard through my life that as members of the Mormon (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints) faith that we are blind followers.  We are told what to do and we do it.  To say that that is not true would be a lie.  I do think that there are some who don’t really know where they stand on certain topics within the church but they have to hold on to the little thread of faith that they have in knowing what the church brings to their lives.  I have to admit that there have been times in which I have done this because faith is a process in which knowledge comes.

I have questioned many things within the church that I belong, and at times I have found that I had to lean on my husband’s testimony to get me through.  Mine just wasn’t strong enough to weather the storm of hatred.  But what I found, is that, for me, questioning was personal. 

You see, I needed to know for myself what was right.  So many opinions are like the game of telephone; by the end you are left with nothing but a mess.  So how does one get answers then?  Oh you can look to opposing articles if that’s what you’re looking for; or you could look to those who align with your beliefs for support and that might work for you.  What it comes down to, is that you will find what you are looking for… but what if the answer isn’t something you’re looking for?  For me I had to have the courage to kneel.  I had to be humble enough to get on my knees at a time in which I wasn’t even sure that there was a God and ask.  I had to take that seemingly simple step to go to my Father in Heaven.  But what if I didn’t get an answer?  What if I didn’t like the answer that I was given?  These were daunting and scary ideas, but isn’t that what faith is… work on things unseen?  If I didn’t get an answer right away I kept praying. 

This might seem so innocent minded or simple that it could never work.  But I can promise you it can and does.  Just like I am waiting for my kids to come to me so I can help them, so is your loving Heavenly Father waiting for you.  I know this to be true.  So why don’t you give it a try?

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Tradition & Paper Flowers

I think it is normal to wonder if you’ve done a good job in raising your kids and there are moments in which you realize… I think I’m doing okay J I had one of those experiences today that changed me.

Halloween is my son’s favorite holiday. To him it is better than Christmas.  He has always been this way and has planned his costumes a year in advance.  Once one Halloween ends, he starts planning for the next year (he’s a funny guy).  But even with this he’s also a teen and teens love the craziness of socializing and look for opportunities at every corner.  But for some reason this year was different. I found him by himself a lot and there wasn’t much desire to “branch out” so to speak.  He finally had 2 days off of work on a weekend (which was unheard of) and he wasn’t out doing anything.  I started to worry, so I would say things like, “why don’t you texts some of your friends and see what they are doing?” and he would calmly say, “nah, I’m good.”  So then I’d try, “why don’t you find a girl to go on a date with and go to Cornbellies or something?”  and he’d follow up with the same, “nah, I’m good.” This phrase wasn’t working for me.

What was going on here?!? This is a boy who loves adventure and fun; and ps… Halloween is full of all that.  But he was also a boy that isn’t an open book.  He’s also a son that you have to pull away the layers to find out what he’s thinking.  He doesn’t talk about his feelings much, so after a brief moment of freak out I told all the kids to start working on their Saturday jobs and honed in on him.  I told him that I knew there was something going on and that I needed him to talk to me.  His eyes started to well up and he said, “It’s really hitting me mom. This is the last Halloween for a while with the family.”

For those of you that don’t know we are Mormons (LDS).  When boys reach the age of 18 or older they have the opportunity to serve a mission for our church.  My son turns 18 in November but still needs to finish his senior year before he goes.  You might ask, why would parents be okay with this?? Or you may ask, why would young men/young women choose this??  Well the reason for this is simple, because we love the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the happiness that it brings to our lives.  We love it so much that we would love for others to find this same happiness.  I’m not going to lie, giving up my son for 2 years of his life is the hardest thing I have ever chosen to do.  I kind of like my kids.  I like having them around.  I like his teasing, joking way about him.  I like his smile. I like his laugh.  I like the special relationship we have been able to create over his 18 years of life.  He is a blessing and a joy.  But his desire to serve is real and his love of the gospel is real; and he is so excited for this great adventure that I can’t deny him. But that being said, even though he wants this great adventure doesn’t mean it isn’t hard for him… and me.

So back to my story… after his confession he said, “I don’t want to spend Halloween with anybody other than my family.  Those are the only people that matter.”  He was right.  I had let the busyness of the holiday lose my focus of what was really important.  It was time to regroup.  We called a family meeting to collect what was left of this Halloween.

In my room I have a flower collection that to most may seem really weird but to me it is a treasure.  I will NEVER throw this away because it is a reminder of what is most important and that is each other.  Life is fast and sometimes we will let it pass us by if we don’t choose to slow things down a bit.  I have put on the brakes this year and I will probably have to remind myself to do so again and again, but I hope when I see my flower collection it will remind me to keep the focus.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Patience, Persistence & Potty Training

The roller-coaster ride of potty training is never a fun ride.  And although it has been many years since I have had the privilege of jumping on this ride I still remembered it… I remember it well.  My memories of this aren't pretty.  Anxiety would kick in whenever I would think about the inevitable journey that was waiting for me.  There is no magic recipe to this; no fairy godmother will be waiting to fix things; no magic star to wish upon.  Every one of my kids produced a different experience.  Some easier than others but one thing was constant… crap was always waiting to hit the floor and accidents were just a ticking time bomb of stress.
When this most recent (and last I might add) child became ready for this crossover into “big-girl-land" I knew it was time to dig deep.  The dread and stomach dropping feel was real but I had to do it, so it was time to suck it up.  I wasn't ready for the cheering squad that would follow me every time I took her to the bathroom (to say I felt claustrophobic is an understatement).  But her siblings were excited and wanted to celebrate with her, so I had to suck that up too… most of the time;-)  On about day 2 or 3 my husband was done!  He didn't see her connecting the dots, and I must admit I was starting to question whether or not she was really ready as well.  But there were moments of awesomeness… although few, there were moments, so I had to hold on. 

As we did this I started to see that there is an analogy between life and potty training.  No one can avoid crap in their life; it happens to us all.  Accidents will happen; sometimes it’s our own fault and sometimes it’s because of others. Whatever the reasons might be, we all have to go through difficult times.  In those moments sometimes we just have to hold on a little longer.  Sometimes the patience required for ourselves and others is tested, but if we could just persevere and see the awesomeness it can become a little easier to bear.  There are times that we might need a cheering squad because there will be some who think we can’t do certain things.  We need to search for or be the person who believes in others, because people can do extraordinary things.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Call me old fashioned… I like it that way:)

The other day I was driving my daughter to school and we saw something that left an amazing impression on both of us.  Now before I tell you what we saw I do need to tell you that I believe in teaching youth to be strong no matter what gender.  I feel as though there is a huge difference in trying to prove your strength by being over powering and being strong with who you are and not trying to prove anything.  Some of the strongest people I know are the most quiet.  Now this can be a journey for some and doesn't always come easily.  That being said I also LOVE old fashioned values.  I like a world in which men value women.  I like a world in which women are proud of men.  I like a world where it’s not a “gender competition”. I like a world where we work together… That to me is the most beautiful idea that sometimes gets lost in this confusing world.  But the other day I saw hope in the future as I watched some teenage kids… that’s right, I said TEENAGE KIDS.

My daughter and I were in a rush to get her to school and I was a little frustrated when we had to stop because of a bus across the road that was picking up some Jr. High students.  Impatiently I sat and waited as this large group of kids filed onto the bus.  But I was blown away as a group of about 10 boys or so stood aside to let every girl get on to the bus before them!!!  My jaw hit the floor of my van as these girls politely nodded their heads as they passed these boys.  It was like something out of an old-fashioned movie that makes every girl who is watching go “Awwwwwe!” and then giggle.  This promoted a very good conversation between me and my daughter. 

It can be confusing for boys and girls to navigate this every day when the world teaches them to under-value each other.  It is these simple but seemingly small things that remind them how to value each other.  I don’t think this group of kids did this for the recognition but that is what makes this even sweeter.  They did it when they didn't think anyone was watching.  Another thing that I thought about was it might have been just one boy who decided to do this and the others just followed; or they might all have been taught the same thing and so it was such a habit that they really didn't think it was a big deal; either way, it doesn't really matter.  The fact that they did it is what matters.  Thank you parents, whoever you are, for teaching your kids something that made a difference to me and my daughter.  It left us with an amazing feeling for the rest of the day.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

If I did lie... I didn't mean to.

Recently I read a blog titled, "I'm not a liar but Facebook sure is." and I LOVED it!  It made me think about the various things that I post on Facebook and the secret "lies" that I might put out there.  If I did lie I didn't mean to.  I think that most often (when I post things) I'm just trying to hold on to a moment.  The realities of life hit me on a daily basis.  I live with the many imperfections that are mine and humility is a lesson learned at every corner.  

The chaos that is the Zellerszoo isn't a pretty picture at times, but I don't post those moments because I'm trying to lie to myself and others about our situation.  Most often I'm just trying so hard to focus on the good things in a day.  The realities are that I know firsthand about feeling very alone with a traveling husband and the other demands that he has to balance; I know firsthand about the delicate nature of teenage years and the many contemplations that they face that have life altering consequences; I know firsthand the crazy demands of a toddler and her mischievous nature; I know firsthand the realities of change coming our way and the fast approach of our oldest moving on to his own adventure.  With all that said the truth is, I wouldn't have it any other way.  When I say I'm holding on to a moment, I am saying that because I know how quickly those moments are gone.  The realities of life can be difficult, lonely, and sad; but they also can be rewarding, loving and worth it... we just have to find those moments in the midst of everything else.  That is why I love my family every step of the way.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

"LIBBY DO IT!!"... well kind of:)

A switch has been flipped in our home lately that has allowed me to reflect on something.  Liberty has decided that her new motto is, “Libby do it!”  She is insistent on doing EVERYTHING herself.  I find myself smiling in these moments as I sit back and watch her struggle to do something (and sometimes I know that there is no way she will be able to accomplish various tasks she wants to) but I want her to try. I know she will feel so good once she has completed her mission.   The part I find interesting is that for the older kids it has been very hard for them to not jump in and rescue her in doing something wrong.  This inference sends Liberty in a tailspin of sorts because she soooo badly wants to do it.
The other day she was determined to get her pajamas on.  As she struggled in getting the shorts on and then the shirt the other kids could not control the urge to lend a helping hand which made the process longer because she was so protective of her independence.  When she felt that she had finally done it she stood proud that she was dressed!  Then it set in slowly that what she had done wasn't so comfortable.  Her arm was stuck uncomfortably out the same opening as her neck hole… confused she struggled to figure out how to fix this.  This is when it became extremely difficult for the on-looking children.  If they could just pull her arm out for her and show her the right arm-hole this would all be over… but that wasn't going to happen because, “Libby do it!”

Embarrassment and fear that one of the kids would laugh or take over sent her into the other room to allow her the time she needed to sort this out.  She was in there for some time and wasn't getting any closer.  A bit of a meltdown was coming but she wasn't ready for help yet.  She continued to walk into the kitchen as she struggled in her efforts.  I watched as her older sister followed her, quietly telling her she was doing a good job.  As Liberty heard this she slowly started to soften and her older sister started telling her where her arm needed to be.  Slowly Liberty allowed her to help her get her arm in the right place.  Success!!... Well kind of… everything was on backwards but she was happy!
It made me think of our own struggles that we have in life.  We have a loving Father in Heaven who is waiting to help but far too often we are insistent that we can do it!  He is quietly encouraging us as we go trying to allow us to see the right course to take.  If we would rely on Him right from the very beginning it would be so much easier but we are so determined to be independent in all we do; so we learn, over and over again the hard way.  Don’t get me wrong, I believe in these struggles because it is through our struggles that our hearts will soften and allow us to lean on Him.  Our learning curve might be rough but the reality that our Father in Heaven is smiling with encouragement and love is real.  He just needs us to be ready and willing to let him in so He can help us.
I am so grateful to have a loving Father in Heaven that I feel in my heart on a daily basis. Some days I feel it stronger than others; it all depends on me and where my heart is.

Monday, October 27, 2014

I'm not Afraid of the Dark, I Just REALLY Like the Light:)

So this morning was the first day of my “start my day right” challenge.  My niece has been my inspiration to this one because of her upbeat perspective on changing things for the better (you can read about her journey on her blog at  I am not trying to lose a bunch of weight but I am trying to keep myself balanced.  The only way I can do this is by starting it off first thing in the morning.  So I decided to get up early and go walking.  Not huge, I know, but it’s something. 

When I stepped outside I realized that it was REALLY dark this early in the morning.  I mean that the streets weren't that well lit.  They have street lamps in my area but it’s not like Canada, where it seemed that there was a street lamp every few houses.  Although I did find that I was extremely pleased because the darkness helped the stars to be the brightest I had ever seen in Utah.  Not a cloud in the sky and they were crystal clear; I think I even could see the Milky Way.  This beautiful sight gave me the boost to keep me going, so off I went. 

As I was going I started to notice that the pattern in which I was subconsciously walking that I was trying to stay in the tiny patches of light that I could find.  Some people might find it weird that a 37 year old woman is afraid of the dark, but the way I look at it is that I’m not afraid of the dark I just really like the feeling of safety when I can stand in the light.  I find the things that bring light to me make me smile, just like the stars that lit the night sky, so does the smile on my children’s face have the same effect.
Some may find the cloaking of the dark to be comforting… they aren't as easily seen and so there is something that they might find comforting in those moments.  To some degree I can understand this thought process, but then I step into the light and I remember how good it feels.  In today’s world there are a lot of dark moments, sad moments, scary moments, and we may feel like the darkness is closing in; but at those moments I have to step closer to that something that brings light and joy to my life.  

As I continued on my walk I was listening to talks that were given during General Conference for my church.  A talk came on titled, “Which Way Do You Face?” by Elder Lynn G. Robbins.  This talk was just what I needed to add onto my journey of walking closer to the light.  There are so many things that could point us away from the things that we know to be true, but if we realize that the ultimate source of light is our Heavenly Father and returning to Him, then stepping closer to those things that leads me there becomes easier to do.  As I do this my hope and prayer is that my children will follow because the joy won’t be as complete unless they are there with me.