Author Archives: BriAnne Huwe

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The past several months have been an amazing journey for me. I've been navigating the unfamiliar waters of homeschooling and a new network marketing business. To say I've been stretched would be a gross understatement, but I'm not sure I have the words to describe it all either.

It probably seems like learning to work a direct selling business and learning to homeschool my children don't have much of anything in common. But the one thing they do have in common matters. And it matters deeply. Perseverance matters.

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When I started homeschooling I spent a lot of time worrying about which curriculum would be the best fit and working up a schedule that would fulfill all of our various needs. And I wouldn't go as far as to say that those things don't matter at all, but if you can't stick with it when all of your best laid plans are lying in a heap on the floor under 18 loads of unwashed laundry, then you're not going to make it.

I impulsively joined a network marketing company. Well, I shouldn't say impulsively because the reality was that I felt prompted to do so. I didn't know why then, but I understand it more now. The company I joined was a naturally-based, anti-aging hair care company called MONAT. I have struggled for years with hair loss and after my first wash I knew why I'd felt that prompting. My hair has done a complete turnaround. It's phenomenal really.

But it's not just my hair that's completely changed. When someone tells you that network marketing businesses are personal development businesses, they're telling you the truth. As an introvert who absolutely dreaded the idea of selling anything, I spent a lot of time worrying about what to say and how to "get comfortable" doing something that seemed so against my nature. And again, I wouldn't go as far as to say that those things don't matter at all, but if you can't stick with it when your excitement for a product leaves you throwing up ridiculous amounts of information all over unsuspecting friends and family, then you're not going to make it.

As I've stumbled further along the trail in both of these endeavors, my characteristic stubbornness has turned into perseverance. Suddenly my mindless inability to quit anything has taken on tremendous purpose. That, my friends, is perseverance. It is one of the lessons that has entered my soul with perfect clarity.

I screw up every, single day. I get frustrated with my kids' lack of cooperation and I respond poorly. I teach a lesson that totally rocked in my mind, but ends up being completely worthless. The routine slips and our day looks like an unmitigated disaster. I see a friend who could totally benefit from a MONAT business and I approach it all wrong. Sometimes I sample and sample and sample our products, but don't see equivalent results.

But here's the thing. The value I've found in both of these endeavors is perseverance. I've learned to just keep going because I see something in the future that is much greater than all of my mistakes. And guess what? Sometimes the brilliant lesson goes off just how I planned. And sometimes, others see the same value in my business or my products that I do. Sometimes I see MONAT change a life just like it changed mine. Sometimes all of the chores get done and the schoolwork gets done and everybody is still smiling.

We work for the sometimes because perfection isn't ours to own just yet. There is value in the doing and the believing. There is value in endurance and dedication. You don't have to have extraordinary talents to succeed in business or homeschooling or life. The only thing you need is perseverance. Loads and loads and loads of it. Commit and move your feet. You'll find happiness and success beyond your wildest dreams.

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I was warned by numerous people that at first homeschooling would be hard. Words like detox and chaos and exhausting were thrown around. I felt like maybe the struggles with the transition period were slightly exaggerated. I felt like I was prepared for it. I wasn't.

I have pretty good kids. They're not perfect. Some days their energy levels are through the roof and sometimes they choose poorly. Sometimes they stress me out, but mostly life is good. So I was emotionally unprepared for the detox and the chaos and the exhaustion. By day three I felt nearly comatose.

Everybody was right about what they said. The warnings were appropriate. The truth is, I just couldn't have imagined it or prepared for it. I was surprised by the level of bickering, the complete lack of cooperation, and the deep down in my bones tired that I would feel. I felt like I was broadsided . . . by a barn.

This past week has taught me two very important things about our family's new homeschooling adventure.

We're doing the right thing. I felt we were doing the right thing when this decision was finally made and I'm even more certain of it now. The greatest opposition always precedes the greatest joy. The hardest battles fought lead us to the sweetest victories. I've been forced to remember that difficulty doesn't mean you're doing anything wrong. Difficulty teaches and it leads. Difficulty leads us to greater heights than where we originally stood.

We're going places. This family is on its way upward. I'm more certain than ever that this family will come through this more refined and more sacred. We'll swim through the chaos and the exhaustion, even if we just tread water for a while. We'll adjust and we'll change and we'll become better. We're on an uphill trek that will bless us on into the eternities.

So for those who have been asking how the first week went, the answer is probably hovering in the vicinity of awful and crazy. I will do things a little . . . or a lot . . . differently this week. My understanding of my purpose in all of this has deepened. My direction has shifted and my resolve has stiffened. Because even amidst the turmoil, I caught a glimpse of something that shows me exactly why I'm leading our family down this road.

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Onward and upward we go.

 

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It seems like everywhere we go the questions are the same. Kids are spoken to in terms of their grade level. People wonder if they're excited to go back to school. They always want to know which school they attend. Random strangers in public settings seem to always approach my children this way. I'm pretty sure it's always one of my first questions to new children I've met too. A child's education is such a huge part of their life that that's how we identify them and classify them. It's a conversation piece because they spend so much of their lives in an educational setting.

Lately we're fielding questions about who our kids' teachers are going to be this coming school year as well. Their friends want to know if they'll see them in class. I figured I should probably make some sort of formal announcement.

So the answer is me. This year, I'm their teacher.

I have enough reasons for this that I could write a novel. That list of reasons has grown and grown over the years. I've wanted to homeschool for a long time. Kyle hasn't had such a favorable opinion of the whole thing. Finally, he's agreed to let me go for it. He'd be the first to tell you that he's still not in love with the idea, but out of respect for me, he's letting my mom heart take a stab at it this year.

I know I don't owe anybody an explanation as to why we've chosen to educate our kids at home this year, but I also know that questions will still inevitably come. I'll spare you from the aforementioned novel's worth of reasons and just share with you my main one.

Every year when I would drive my kids to school on their first day, we would have a similar conversation. I would tell them that I didn't care what their grades were. As long as they did their best, that was enough for me. I cared about whether or not they were kind. Period. That's it. I never wanted to hear that they had made any other kid feel like less than they were. I never wanted them to participate in bullying another child or hurting another child. I never wanted to hear that they had been disrespectful to their teachers or anything less than polite. I wanted them to be honest, helpful, decent, and above all, kind. I care about my children's characters more than I care about calculus or reading fluency or social studies.

We are a busy family. We have five children with a broad range of interests. The majority of my children are gifted athletically. They love to play sports and I love to watch them to play. Because of those interests and talents, a typical day at our house looked exactly like this last year: bus ride, school, bus ride, sports, homework, and bedtime. That was it. No family dinner. No time to spend talking individually with my kids about their day. No time to build those characters I'm always so concerned about.

We've become a culture that worships busyness. We feel like the more activities we involve our kids in, the more opportunities they have for success. The time kids used to have to run wild and free, to explore, and to create are all but a memory.

We are also a family that believes in and worships a loving God. In this home we pray and read scriptures. In this home we learn about the character of the Savior of mankind and we try to instill those traits in our children and ourselves. We try to serve and to lift and to leave this world better than we found it.

So in a nutshell, we're homeschooling this year because I want our family life to look differently than it does. I want time to spend with my children teaching them about integrity, goodness, and kindness. I want to instill in them a love for God and the rest of humankind. I want them to have time to run around being silly and enjoying nature. I want baseball games that interrupt dinnertime to be irrelevant because we had breakfast and lunch together already. I want my kids to learn that when they encounter struggles academically or in any other way, that they have a family of supporters here to help and to lift.  I want my children to know that in their mother they will find someone in their corner who cares an infinite amount about who they are and what they choose to do with their lives.

Basically, this is me taking my family back.

I have a secret. Okay, it's not so much a secret as it is a tool. My number one tool.

I have five kids. Five. Energetic. Kids.

IMG_7586 blog Some days they are bouncing off the walls. Literally. Tanner damaged the drywall in one of my parents' bedrooms. With his head. Just ask my mother.

Sometimes they get downright snippy with each other and I wonder how we go from a loving family to the breakfast scene in Cheaper by the Dozen. Bonnie Hunt is masterful. "Okay. Mom's losing it!"

Some days nothing I do has any effect. On those days I feel desperate. I feel like I have no idea what I'm doing. I feel like we're all going to end up regretting what happens on those days.

We're outdoorsy people. We love being up in the woods or at the beach or in the park or anywhere really. Sometimes we almost quit before we quite make it there. A few weeks ago we had one of those days.

We had told the kids we were going for a hike. The morning was awful. Fighting, crying, screaming, terrorizing. We almost bagged the whole plan because we couldn't even get them out the door in under 30 minutes. I could feel my remaining hair falling out.

We persevered. And I've never been more grateful.

Our feet touched down on that mountain soil and it was magical.

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I kid you not, in less than ten minutes my kids were smiling. They were helping each other not to get hit in the face by branches in the denser areas. (My husband is a walking GPS so we pretty much shoot from the hip. Unless you want to be eaten by mountain lions, I wouldn't recommend this route unless you have one of those in your family.) The kids were suddenly chit chatty. And they even liked their parents again. They wanted to discuss everything about the wonder of God's creations. And when I say everything, that's exactly what I mean.

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Thank you free range cattle for giving the boys the opportunity to explain to their sisters how different your poop is from elk and deer.

IMG_7579 blog IMG_7597 blog IMG_7599 blog Life was good again. We spent time together, we learned, we grew, and we were happy to do it. Fresh air is one of the secrets to a happy family life. I firmly believe that. I also believe that hiking up and down hills for 3 miles works the edginess right out of children and adults alike. In a matter of a few hours we were all each other's best friends again.

IMG_7602 blog IMG_7600 blog IMG_7595 blog Basically what I'm saying is, to save yourself from moments of desperation, just go play outside.

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I had an interesting experience after my last blog post. I had an anonymous commenter who chose to make sarcastic judgments about my intent and my character because she was seemingly offended by what she perceived to be my heartless judgment of others.

She was upset because she thought I was judging the two women whose conversation I used to help illustrate a point about our personal responsibility for our own happiness. She declared that I was judging them without knowing their intent or their backstories or their hearts. She essentially thought I was drawing mean conclusions without knowing the entire story.

I attempted to explain my actual intent, which only seemed to enrage her further. In the end, I ended up erasing our dialogue and turning off comments on my blog for awhile. I was truthfully kind of perturbed that someone would hide behind internet anonymity and insult me without knowing my intent or my backstory or my heart. The irony of the situation seemed to be completely lost on her.

But as annoyed as I initially was, the situation has had me thinking quite a bit about judgment.

Our society has accepted a really big lie. It is now a common belief that we cannot make judgments between right and wrong. We can't judge situations. We can't judge actions. We can't judge the things people say or do. Because to do so would be to judge them. And it might hurt their feelings to know that we disagreed with that particular choice.

I apparently can't disagree with same-sex marriage without hating homosexuals. I can't be repulsed by abortion without offending the women who think it's their right. I can't be disgusted by rape or murder or lying or cheating without it being taken as my personal condemnation of the offender. And I most certainly can't say that we're responsible for our own happiness without upsetting the masses and being declared a hypocrite.

But we absolutely can judge those things. And we should. It is our duty to draw those lines in the sand. We're supposed to stand for all that is right and good. We do that by making judgments. We make judgments every day. The Savior himself has shown us how.

15 For behold, my brethren, it is given unto you to judge, that ye may know good from evil; and the way to judge is as plain, that ye may know with a perfect knowledge, as the daylight is from the dark night.

16 For behold, the Spirit of Christ is given to every man, that he may know good from evil; wherefore, I show unto you the way to judge; for every thing which inviteth to do good, and to persuade to believe in Christ, is sent forth by the power and gift of Christ; wherefore ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of God.     (Moroni 7:15-16)

Judgment is not only okay, but necessary.

Sometimes people feel that it is wrong to judge others in any way. While it is true that we should not condemn others or judge them unrighteously, we will need to make judgments of ideas, situations, and people throughout our lives.     (True to the Faith)

We have to go back to understanding the difference between judging between right and wrong and judging or condemning an individual. To judge a person we would most definitely need a backstory. We would need to know the state of their heart and their intent. And the truth is, we won't have sufficient knowledge of those things, even about our own spouses. Ever. That's why that final judgment is left to the One who knows all.

We don't, however, need to know any of those things to make a distinction between good and evil or right and wrong. We are given the light of Christ so that we have the ability to make those judgments every second of every day.

I can stand toe to toe with an abortionist and declare that what they're doing is wrong. I can make that distinction without knowing a thing about who they are or where they've been. And I can make that distinction without judging the person and condemning them to eternal misery. That's not my job.

But it is my job to defend light and truth and all that is good in this world. It's everyone's job.

I can say that we are responsible for our happiness because God says that we are. I can say that it's not right for any of us to shift that responsibility elsewhere. And I can do it without condemning myself or condemning the two women at school that morning. I can recognize the wrongness of it every time I do it and every time someone else does it. It's called spiritual discernment and I hope I always live in such a way that I retain that ability.

All of that aside, I honestly do try to be kind and compassionate. I don't feel like I've ever used my blog to condemn anyone or to make them feel badly about themselves. If I have ever done that I sincerely apologize  and would hope that someone would tell me so kindly. As I told that commenter, I write this blog in the hopes that people will leave here uplifted, even if it's simply because they could laugh at my kids' antics.

Her only response was "Heaven help anyone you're trying to uplift." My only reply is this: If you sincerely feel that way, please don't read my blog. I'm serious. Please, don't. I don't aim to make anybody feel like a lesser version of themselves. I am full of my own faults and my intent is never to pretend like I'm not.

I will, however, not stop sharing what I know to be true. I will continue to defend what I know to be right even if it offends every person that I know and even if I can't always live up to it myself. Right is right and wrong is wrong and there's nothing about that that's meant to be offensive.

Note:Blog comments have been enabled once again. I sincerely do care about what others have to say, even when they don't agree with me. I do like for my blog to be an uplifting place, however, and therefore comments containing vulgarity and profanity will not be published. I would also prefer an absence of rude sarcasm, whether you agree with me or not, but as one of my friends said, it says more about you than it does about me, so those comments will be still be allowed through unless they contain one of the aforementioned "forbiddens." 

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Last week I dropped my first grader off for her first day of school. She was feeling a bit nervous and wanted me to take her. And I secretly dread the start of every school year so I was more than happy to comply and bask in the glow of being needed. It was especially helpful to my ego that she clung to me and wanted me to stay in her class. I talked all about her bravery and her love of school and we both moved on.

On my way back down the hallway there were two moms that I assumed had just completed such a mission engaged in conversation. Hence my surprise at the tone and direction of said conversation. It became abundantly clear that they were there to pass the buck, to shift this endless responsibility of parenting elsewhere. I didn't exactly mean to listen to their "private" conversation the entire way out of the building, but as they stomped and fumed and vented behind me I couldn't exactly help it.

One mother was adamant that she was going to switch her child to another district because she has "these same issues every year." At first I was wondering how you could possibly have issues before the first bell of the school year even rang. But mom #2 cleared up my confusion. "Seriously! I called yesterday and chewed them out until they switched my daughter into the class with the male teacher. I mean, she has no male influence in her life and she doesn't listen for crap. Maybe he can fix her. I'm so sick of them not doing what's best for my kid." Uh . . . surely I'm not hearing this correctly.

But I was. I heard it loud and clear. And it's the same thing I hear everywhere. Somebody else is responsible for our happiness. Nothing is anybody's problem. The responsibility is someone else's. Our children's behavior. Their success. Our success. Our behavior. Our happiness. Blame when the said area of our life is less than stellar can be swiftly and easily placed elsewhere, anywhere really, but it never seems to be placed right where it belongs.

We, as a society, have literally wiped away a basic truth from our existence. Maybe "wiped away" is extreme. Maybe "chosen to ignore in all of our narcissistic glory" would be more appropriate here. But we have failed to take responsibility for ourselves. We have failed to be the masters of our own happiness. We've shifted that responsibility to a plethora of external stimuli, blaming everyone and everything and every circumstance.

Please, let's be clear, happiness is a state of being, not a result of being.

Honestly, anyone in any circumstance can be happy. That might be tough to hear, but it's the truth. And this is something God intended for us to figure out. The most critical part of our existence falls squarely on our own shoulders. That misery that we feel that we claim to be unable to do anything about is completely ours to own. We parade around sporting our victimhood as if it's the blue ribbon of a hard knock life, earning us the right to wallow and to complain and to blame. We do it because we're weak.

And the Messiah cometh in the fulness of time, that he may redeem the children of men from the fall. And because that they are redeemed from the fall they have become free forever, knowing good from evil; to act for themselves and not to be acted upon, save it be by the punishment of the law at the great and last day, according to the commandments which God hath given.   - 2 Nephi 2:26

Did you hear what he said? We're free. Free to act for ourselves and not to be acted upon. Our freedom to choose gives us the ability to control the very state of our existence. We do not fall prey to misery because of circumstance or outside influence, and we most certainly do not stumble upon happiness as we bound through fields of butterflies and rainbows. We're stronger than that. And we've been created to be more powerful than that.

I'm as guilty as anyone. I'm an angry grump because my kids choose not to listen or because my husband doesn't do exactly what I think he should. I choose misery because sometimes things are hard and it's easier to wallow in self pity than it is to choose to find the inner strength and character to rise above it.

Look, I get it. We are frequently victims; victims of circumstance, victims of crime, and even victims to the poor decisions of myriads of other people. But I'll tell  you what. We are NOT victims to misery. We voluntarily join that club.

Happiness is my responsibility and it's your responsibility. It's not my husband's job to "make me happy." The responsibility doesn't fall to your child's teacher. It doesn't fall to my friends or to your neighbor down the street. My children's momentary disobedience doesn't send me spiraling head first into a pool of misery. I voluntarily dive right in.

We're suddenly failing to take responsibility for everything. We act like helpless pawns being forced to agonizingly suffer through life. We shift blame to all sorts of places where it doesn't belong.

The truth is simple. It's been the truth since the beginning.  We are free; free to choose, free to act, and free to be. We're free to be miserable, but we're also free to be happy. We don't need to be bogged down because of the decisions or behaviors of others. We don't need to despair because life is hard. We can choose happiness every morning when we wake up. And we can continue to choose happiness under whatever circumstances we may be in.

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I didn't want to let today pass by without honoring my son, Hunter. I already told him how proud I am of him and I know that he hears me, but I'm not sure how much it actually sinks in. I hope that someday when he's an amazing, grown man that he'll read this and know how much I appreciated all that he was and how hard he fought to overcome his weaknesses. blog1

Hunter has battled anxiety since he was two years old. At least that's as early as I remember it starting. It alleviated some when he was 5 and 6 years old, but then it came back with a vengeance.

Most things make this fantastic son of mine anxious; playing sports, going to school every morning, taking tests, talking to people (adults and kids alike) that aren't his nearest and dearest, being in front of people, and trying absolutely anything new. He is anxious to the point of tears every time he walks to the school bus or out onto a baseball field or like this weekend, out into a 4-H show ring.

I have no personal experience with anxiety in any way and therefore I can't even imagine the level of panic or the insane emotions he must experience on ordinary days, let alone what he must feel on extraordinary ones. And I can only guess at the level of courage it takes for him to fight it. But he does. He fights it every day. Sometimes we push him to fight it and sometimes he comes out throwing punches all on his own.

When we moved to Naches Hunter wanted to join 4-H and show pigs. He has practiced and worked so hard for this weekend. It was his first time showing an animal.  blog2

He made the All Star Baseball team this  year and I cannot even express in words the breakdown he experienced before tryouts. He almost bailed and we cajoled and nearly forced him out the door.

But this weekend we didn't have to push. I could see the anxiety all over his face. The emotions raging through that tired boy were almost too much for him. He wouldn't even talk to me. If he had he would have cried. So he's moped around for two days fighting his own internal battle. But he's also walked into that show ring twice.

Today was a rough one. His pig ended up being in heat and there was a male pig that wouldn't leave her alone. It kept running her into corners making it fairly difficult for Hunter to show what he could do. I could see the frustration and the panic, but he continued to work. He came out of that ring with his head up.  blog3

I don't tell this story because it turned out perfectly or because he walked out of the ring with a miraculous comeback victory. In fact, it turned out a far cry from where he would've liked it to. But there my sweet 9 year old was . . . continuing to work until they told him to stop, braving every emotion he's working so hard to learn to control.

I'm incredibly proud of this boy of mine. This year I've watched him walk into a brand new classroom and sit down. I've watched him stand in a batter's box almost paralyzed by nerves. I've watched him victoriously walk to a pitcher's mound with mastered serenity and confidence. And now I've watched him walk into a show ring and give his all when everything went wrong.

I know that everybody loves their children as much as I do mine. And I hope everyone can find reasons to be proud of them. Today my pride in my son turned into an incredible amount of respect. I admire him for the internal and very emotional battle that he fights every day. I admire his goodness and his sweetness. And I very much admire his courage and his willpower to fight the battle that's fallen into his lap. He will forever have my respect. I can't even imagine the strength of the man that will leave my home in the not very distant future. I love you, Hunter.

 

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Lying about it would be futile. The reality is that I spend an enormous amount of time thinking about my children. I put a lot of mental, emotional, and spiritual effort into them. I worry over them, I pray for them, and I try to anticipate problems. I do my best to teach them the principles of courage and strength, obedience and faith.

Lately, as I've watched the state of this country spiraling out of control at an ever increasing rate I've darn near had a panic attack because of them. The political chaos, the rapid moral decline, and the attacks on our God-given freedoms leave me feeling almost desperately afraid when I focus on them too much.  And by too much I mean any longer than 3 minutes.

I've sat around wondering how my children are going to survive it. I've prayed for answers on how to help them survive it.

I didn't discover a magical solution, but I did remember a time-tested one.

There's so much more going on with a tree than what we see on the surface. The healthiest trees have root systems underneath the ground that are larger than what is visible. These trees have extensive and efficient tangles of roots that not only nourish them, but that also help all that is visible to withstand the blows. Trees make sure that there is the same amount of work, if not more, going on underneath the surface.

About 65 years before Christ, Helaman led an army of young, teenage boys to battle in defense of Captain Moroni's Title of Liberty. That Title of Liberty was flown throughout the land. It said, "In memory of our God, our religion, and freedom, and our peace, our wives, and our children." This battle had raged on for years when these young boys joined the fight.

But even a man as faithful as Helaman was nervous about these boys. He didn't want to lose any of them in battle. However, his observation of them helped quench some of his fears. "Now they never had fought, yet they did not fear death; and they did think more upon the liberty of their fathers than they did upon their lives; yea they had been taught by their mothers, that if they did not doubt, God would deliver them. And they rehearsed unto me the words of their mothers, saying: We do not doubt our mothers knew it."

When the Lamanites surrendered as prisoners of war, Helaman went to count how many of those 2,000 boys he had lost."But behold, to my great joy, there had not one soul of them fallen to the earth; yea, and they had fought as if with the strength of God; yea, never were men known to have fought with such miraculous strength; and with such mighty power did they fall upon the Lamanites, that they did frighten them; and for this cause did the Lamanites deliver themselves up as prisoners of war."

History has taught me two incredible lessons. First is that even amidst incredible fear, deep roots of faith instill courage and hope. The faith of these boys didn't grant them some invisible force field that guaranteed their protection. But what their faith did do was give them the courage to fight. It gave them the courage to lose because truthfully, they knew that even had they lost that battle, they were still winning an even greater one. Their motivation to fight was greater than any possible outcome.

The second thing I've learned that has planted itself firmly in my heart is the incredible power of a faithful mother.

I have come to know that faith is a real power, not just an expression of belief. There are few things more powerful than the faithful prayers of a righteous mother. -Boyd K. Packer

So to mothers and fathers everywhere: Hang onto hope. We are not helpless. We don't have to sit idly by while a decaying world steals our children. We have power; power granted to us from on high; power to lift and power to save. The conversations and the prayers and the scriptures that are being shared in our homes will do more to combat the insanity that is occurring every day than any amount of worrying ever will. Be courageous. Be faithful. Make sure you leave no question in the hearts of your children about the reality of your faith or the power of the Savior of mankind to save. Stand on the winning side, regardless of how small that side becomes. Victory is certain. Just make sure there is more good happening underneath the surface than storm raging up above.

 

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It's taken me days to write this post, not necessarily because I haven't had time to finish it, but because my feelings have been raw and my mind restless.

WRDD A couple of days ago was World Rare Disease Day (WRDD). Rare diseases touch so many lives. And these diseases seem to be multiplying at an ever increasing rate. I haven't heard of most of them, nor can I attempt to pronounce their names.

I'd never even heard of PLEVA (Pityriasis Lichenoides et Varioliformis Acuta) until my son woke up one day, suddenly in its grasp. And while WRDD is meant to inspire and raise awareness for so many of this Earth's strongest warriors, it also left me feeling somewhat melancholy. It left me thinking for too long about the disease that has taken up residence in my sweet son. The fact that there is even a need for such a day sprinkles salt into an already gaping wound.

Prior to the 28th I'd already been obsessively thinking about Tanner's disease and his future more than I would care to admit.

Thanks to a dear friend of mine that connected us, I am suddenly in contact with another mother of a child with PLEVA. We chit chatted via social media about this horrible disease. For the first time since Tanner's diagnosis I felt like we weren't silently fighting this battle alone.  We were suddenly part of a team, however small it may be, fighting this beast together. It was uplifting.

But it was also sobering. This little girl has been fighting for a year longer than Tanner and she's right in the thick of it.  Tanner's in the middle of a slight reprieve and it's been easier to ignore for a little while. This little girl even sees the same doctor at Seattle Children's. The scariest part is that her current reality is a look into our most likely future.

The rosy picture painted by our doctor was most likely wishful thinking. In the event that Tanner never has another full blown flare, that might be how our future will look. She was probably being hopeful and extending that hope to us.

When I checked him the other day he had 11 spots in various stages. If we get to 20 active spots he starts chemotherapy. It's the only time in my life I've ever been truly frightened by numbers.

This sweet, little girl has been on chemotherapy for 17 months already. And she was just barely able to successfully lower the dose for the first time. And yes, it's a lower dose than what a cancer patient would be administered so she still has all of her hair, but she gets really sick and exhausted and had to be pulled from school. She receives monthly cancer screenings because the risk of mutation is higher. Listening to this sweet mother explain her daughter's situation to me opened up every fear that use to overcome my thoughts. I felt my hope waning. Realistically, this will be our life.  This will be Tanner's life.

I am not without hope. I have hope in the Savior of mankind. I trust that all things work for our ultimate good and that things are as they should be. But my humanity and my motherhood have no problem screaming at the top of their lungs that this whole situation is a far cry from fair. It's humbling to submit my will to God when this avenue is so contrary to everything that I want for Tanner. I am certain that my Father in Heaven and I have the same end result in mind when it comes to our son and I am even more certain that He knows better than I the best route to get us there. But in my weakness I am incredibly afraid of the path He's chosen.

On days like World Rare Disease Day, days where I don't want to close my eyes for fear of my own thoughts . . . on those days I humbly have to acknowledge that there are powers in force far beyond my capacity to control. I humbly declare that God loves my son more than I do and He is fully aware of our needs during this life's journey. He is conscious of that feeling of fear that lingers just underneath the surface of my every day life and never goes away. He is keenly aware of all of us and in that I find peace.

It's been a long time since I've had a 3 minute conversation that covered like 56 topics. It's probably been since I myself was five. But now I have a daughter who is 5 and the luxury is mine once again. Luckily Haylee was in the backseat . . . and it was dark, so she couldn't see me trying to suppress my laughter.

Me: Oh, dang it! It's getting foggy. I hate that!

Haylee: What makes fog?

M: Well, it's kind of like clouds that are really close to the ground.

H: Tanner told me that rain is clouds so angry that they're pooping.

Silence . . . okay, and then laughter

H: Tanner's a liar, isn't he?

M: Well, I think Tanner likes to tease you.

H: Okay, so what makes rain.

M: (A brief explanation about evaporation and precipitation and blah, blah, blah.)

H: Where did you learn that?

M: Probably in school.

H: Like college?

M: No, probably long before that.

H: You went to high school!?

M: Yep. Believe it or not, I even went to Kindergarten.

H: (gasping) Was Mrs. Hall your teacher too!?

M: I hate to break it to you, but Mrs. Hall wasn't even born when I was in Kindergarten.

H: Oh, so she was still in heaven with me then?

M: Yep.

H: Then we go from heaven to being born to growing up to getting married to having babies! I'm never getting married. That's embarrassing.

M: Why is that embarrassing!?

H: Everybody's staring at you!

M: But you'll look so pretty! If you don't get married how are you going to have babies?

H: Do you have to be married to have babies?

M: (long awkward pause about the technicalities of that question) Um, yes, you most definitely do.

H: I guess I won't have any then.

M: But look how cute babies are! Look at Parker! Don't you want to be a mom?

H: Does it hurt to push out a baby?

M; Well, yeah, it does.

H: Yeah, not doing that. I'll hold other people's babies.

Stifled laughter

And she went right back to talking and singing to herself. There you have it folks, fog to an aversion towards marriage and childbirth in less than 3 minutes. Admit it. You wish you were me.