Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Our Family Video

We had our family portrait done by Sam and Chas from Kelly Arts Films. We couldn't be happier with the results. It was so fun to do- it was just so natural. We felt like it was just a fun day of family time- we didn't have to keep telling our kids to stand up, hold still, stop wiggling, all those things that are hard for sweet young boys with ADHD. It really was such a wonderful day I can't thank them enough. I could tell that my kids also appreciated their happy attitudes, there wasn't ever a time where they felt like they were in trouble. They were so patient and sweet and seemed like they were having as much fun as we were.

Thank you ever so Sam and Chas.

We Love Love Love it.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

My heart Aches.

I was able to attend an ADHD symposium on Friday @ UVU. IT. WAS. WONDERFUL. Several times I felt just overwhelmed with emotion to the point of choking back tears! This was a group of hundreds of people all coming together to learn more about a devastatingly hard disability. Wanting to learn more- wanting to help someone in their lives fight this with everything they've got. Some may question my use of the term "devastatingly" in conjunction with ADHD. Here's why I use it that way. It's invisible. It effects their entire life- it doesn't have a cure. All areas of life use some skill that is usually a problem for ADHD kids and adults. Some kids aren't lucky enough to have parents that are willing to go the distance to get them the help they need and deserve. It is the single most studied childhood disorder in the world- there's not a shortage of information.

Many many ADHD children are abused, physically, emotionally, and mentally. Parents telling them that they're stupid for forgetting to turn in an assignment is like telling a diabetic child they're stupid for not processing glucose properly. Seriously.

Patrick McKenna from the Red Green show was the keynote speaker. He was diagnosed 2 years ago on a documentary called ADHD and loving it?! You can click the link to learn more about it. It was heart wrenching to listen to his childhood story unfold. ADHD used to be coined: Mild Brain Dysfunction- He spoke a little about what that means to a kid to be told they have mild brain dysfunction (his poignant joke was: how does that sound? you're retarded, but you're not even doing retarded right) He was sent to a catholic school run by nuns. He would get "disciplined" regularly for not doing things right. They just assumed he needed more discipline, so they made him an altar boy. That's great. A child that can't stand still- lets hand him a job dealing with a large robe, fire, and lots of holding still quietly. Didn't go really well. Then you get to the teen years. Teenage years with ADHD are harder than just raging hormones. Without active parents that are helping their child understand what their disorder is, and how to deal with it there is a much higher risk of drug and alcohol abuse because it's self-medicating. Self medicating often proves to the child that there is something wrong because these drugs help them think more clearly, they can slow down, they notice a calmness in themselves. Even at a young age they notice that difference. Patrick was fortunate to get himself away from those things after witnessing friends go too far down that path. He also had a very in tune teacher that took him to a show of Second City (a knock off of SNL where he saw martin short co-starring in an improve night). He had an epiphany- that's how he thinks, that's how he acts, that's where he fit in- he should be on stage. So he began to hyper focus on that goal. ADHD people have the AMAZING ability to hyper-focus on something they desire, or enjoy doing immensely. Ex: video games is a common one. Again he was fortunate to be found by the man writing the Red Green Show and became an actor. Doesn't mean his ADHD went away, it meant he was now using it regularly as a strong point. I haven't mentioned the fact that ADHD often presents with a co-morbid disorder (meaning something else that you have to deal with, another disorder. Commonly it's depression, dyslexia, and anxiety) Patrick is dyslexic. He would have to learn his parts by doing readings with his infinitely patient wife from the ending to the beginning. To keep his interest peaked. If he started a script at the beginning he would just guess the ending and get bored and not finish it.

So that's a tid bit of Patrick McKenna's Story. I highly suggest going to the website and looking up a bit of info.

ADHD also comes with a higher propensity for addiction. A dangerous combo don't you think? It takes parents, teachers, and anyone else that loves this child to work together to help them EVER SINGLE DAY with many different facets of life. It takes vigilance and a good relationship. The most important thing is your relationship with your child. Nothing, not even failing classes, doing drugs, or ANYTHING else is worth ruining that relationship.

ADHD kids AND adults struggle with self esteem issues their whole lives. I would too if I were in a world full of round holes but I was a square peg and didn't fit in. They need people around them that buoy them up with praise about their good traits because they have many. The next time you are working with a child or an adult with ADHD, remember that they have a disability. Take a breath and look for the positive. Have a laugh. Go out for ice cream together. Hug them and tell them that they're doing a good job.

My heart aches for the children in homes that don't believe in this disorder. My heart aches for the adults struggling in their work place, or lack there of, without knowledge that there is help out there.

So here is my plea. Do some research. You know someone affected by this, probably many people. Get to know a bit about it. It is a real disorder. These kids don't just need a good spanking. They don't need more punishments. They need more love. More understanding. More compassion for the fight that they go through every day to accomplish every day tasks.

Please visit www.chadd.com

On behalf of my loved ones that are working with this disorder- thank you.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

new ward=speaking assignment

So we managed to dodge the speaking assignment that was inevitable for a few months. They caught jack though. So we spoke in our ward and I thought I'd post my talk. enjoy.

We are grateful for this opportunity to speak about two topics dear to our hearts.  Bishop Brown was inspired to assign us two very specific conference talks. Mine is from the October 2010 General Conference entitled “Trust in God, Then Go and Do” By Henry B Eyring.

This was, and has been, one of my favorite talks ever given. It struck a chord in my heart and soul as I sat listening to those words in 2010. Many of you have seen, or more likely heard, our three kids. After having our two boys we contemplated the idea of being done building our little family. In April 2010 we visited the temple to bring our decision to the Lord. We knew then without a shadow of a doubt that we were not to be done building our family. We were not to be a two child family with only boys. I felt prompted that I was made a mother on purpose and that I could indeed handle another child and that child was ready now. As a little bit of side information- I don’t do pregnant well. And that is an understatement. I honestly didn’t know how I could handle having a third child if I were expected to carry this baby. However, we leaned on that inspiration and did continue towards that third child we knew we were supposed to have. It was in October of 2010 that I was 6 months pregnant and struggling with remembering how clearly I felt the Lord leading us down this path. Around that time my hips dislocate and make it hard to perform regular mommy duties, let alone continue doing people’s hair for fun. This conference talk is one that helped me to remember clearly that day in the temple, and even in painful times realize that we were trusting in God’s plan for us, and we were doing what we were supposed to be doing.

President Eyring “prayed and pondered to learn about our personal needs and what message the Lord wanted [him] to give.” And he said: “I found in Alma’s reflection the direction for which I had been praying: “For behold, the Lord doth grant unto all nations, of their own nation and tongue, to teach his word, yea, in wisdom, all that he seeth fit that they should have; therefore we see that the Lord doth counsel in wisdom, according to that which is just and true.” 2

As I read that message from a servant of God, my errand for today became clear. God sends messages and authorized messengers to His children. I am to build trust in God and His servants enough that we will go out and obey His counsel. He wants that because He loves us and wants our happiness. And He knows how a lack of trust in Him brings sadness.

That lack of trust has brought sorrow to Heavenly Father’s children from before the world was created.

Those who lost the blessing of coming into mortality lacked sufficient trust in God to avoid eternal misery.

The sad pattern of lack of trust in God has persisted since the Creation.”

President Eyring then gives a few examples of those in the scriptures that did indeed lack faith enough to trust him. “Naaman could not trust the direction of the Lord’s prophet to bathe in a river to allow the Lord to heal his leprosy, feeling the task was beneath his dignity.” 

Neil A. Maxwell stated: “most forms of holding back are rooted in pride or are prompted by the mistaken notion that somehow we are diminished by submission to God. Actually, the greater the submission, the greater the expansion!”

I love this quote because I’m a big believer in delegating tasks. Anyone involved in any task with me knows it. I love delegating because it’s an assignment to each person involved to be accountable. It gives everyone purpose, it creates order, and organization. It takes a large project and changes it into several small tasks. You don’t have to keep remembering what all the different steps are in your project, you only have to remember your specific part. I most enjoy delegating my stress to the Lord. When I realize I’m worrying about something I can take it to the Lord in humble prayer. I can ask for peace, and comfort. I can ask for inspiration on what needs to be done next. Quite often I have noticed that I am gaining peace before I ask for help because the Lord knows our hearts and our minds. If we are troubled the Lord knows it all we need to do is ask for help. I love testing that promise from Nephi- almost like saying: “Okay, I understand what you’ve asked me to do and I’ll do it, but I’ll need your help every step of the way.”

President Eyring reminds us of what Nephi’s promise is: The young Nephi in the Book of Mormon stirs in us a desire to develop trust in the Lord to obey His commandments, however hard they appear to us. Nephi faced danger and possible death when he said these words of trust that we can and must feel steadily in our hearts: “I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them.” 5

That trust comes from knowing God. More than any other people on earth, we have, through the glorious events of the Restoration of the gospel, felt the peace that the Lord offered His people with the words “Be still, and know that I am God.” 6 My heart is filled with gratitude for what God has revealed about Himself that we might trust Him.

That bit of scripture has always given me great strength. This is a prophet of the Lord reminding us of the Lord’s promise to EACH AND EVERY ONE OF US. He will NEVER give us more than we can handle. I love promises. I love testing them. I think I gained this love because as a child I would request permission to have sleepovers with friends all the time during the summer. My dad’s answer was always the same- “we’ll see.”  And I’d get frustrated and I’d beg and plead “why can’t you just say yes???” and he’d reply, “I don’t want to promise something if I’m not sure.” This taught me that a promise is an important thing. It is an unbreakable thing- especially coming from the Lord- who cannot sin. He cannot promise us something and then say oops…that’s not going to happen sorry.

Why not lean on the Lord’s promise? I have a picture of Jesus Christ on my desk where I pay bills, I added a caption in large bold letters that says three little words: Lean on me. Every time I sit down to pay bills, search the internet, email, or anything at this desk I’m reminded that the Lord is always there both figuratively and literally on my desk- waiting for me to rely on his strength and promises. To Trust in Him.

President Eyring told a story that amazed me then and continues to amaze me every time I read it: That trust has blessed my life and the lives of my family. Years ago I heard President Ezra Taft Benson speak in a conference like this. He counseled us to do all we could to get out of debt and stay out. He mentioned mortgages on houses. He said that it might not be possible, but it would be best if we could pay off all our mortgage debt. 9

I turned to my wife after the meeting and asked, “Do you think there is any way we could do that?” At first we couldn’t. And then by evening I thought of a property we had acquired in another state. For years we had tried to sell it without success.

But because we trusted God and a few words from the midst of His servant’s message, we placed a phone call Monday morning to the man in San Francisco who had our property listed to sell. I had called him a few weeks before, and he had said then, “We haven’t had anyone show interest in your property for years.”

But on the Monday after conference, I heard an answer that to this day strengthens my trust in God and His servants.

The man on the phone said, “I am surprised by your call. A man came in today inquiring whether he could buy your property.” In amazement I asked, “How much did he offer to pay?” It was a few dollars more than the amount of our mortgage.

A person might say that was only a coincidence. But our mortgage was paid off. And our family still listens for any word in a prophet’s message that might be sent to tell what we should do to find the security and peace God wants for us.

This story led us on our crazy hard path to getting out of debt. We’re still working on it, and each time we look at bills due, and realize tithing needs to be paid as well- we pay the lord, and the rest falls into place somehow. Usually in the form of a new hair client, or an extra shift opens up for Jack.

I’d like to share a quote I found in a book I’ve been reading called “I am a Mother” by Jane Clayson Johnson. She quotes a Time Magazine article where a reporter asks Mother Teresa to describe herself: “I am like a little pencil in [God’s] hand. That is all. He does the thinking. He does the writing. The pencil has nothing to do with it. The pencil only has to be allowed to be used”

That rings true in my lazy ears. I delegate so I don’t have to do the whole project. I ask the Lord to bear my burdens, and now I just want him to do the thinking for me. But in reality it’s not actually thinking, it’s just plain knowledge! He knows us better than we know ourselves. He knows that through adversity and trials we can become the truer form of who we really are when we are unafraid to Trust in God first, Then go and do what needs to be done.

President Eyring goes on to tell about a small town in New Jersey, “Our branch of the Church had fewer than 20 members who regularly attended.

Among them was a woman—an older, very humble convert to the Church. She was an immigrant who spoke with a heavy Norwegian accent. She was the only member of the Church in her family and the only member of the Church in the city in which she lived.

Through my father, who was the branch president, the Lord called her as the president of the branch Relief Society. She had no handbook to tell her what to do. No other member of the Church lived near her. She only knew that the Lord cared for those in need and the few words in the motto of the Relief Society: “Charity never faileth.”

It was in the depths of what we now call the Great Depression. Thousands were out of work and homeless. So, feeling she had her errand from the Lord, she asked her neighbors for old clothes. She washed the clothes, pressed them, and put them in cardboard boxes on her back porch. When men without money needed clothes and asked her neighbors for help, they would say, “Go to the house down the street. There is a Mormon lady living there who will give you what you need.”

The Lord did not run the city, but He changed a part of it for the better. He called one tiny woman—alone—who trusted Him enough to find out what He wanted her to do and then did it. Because of her trust in the Lord, she was able to help in that city hundreds of Heavenly Father’s children in need.”

President Eyring also tells of a group of men sitting in the front row of a meeting held in a large sports arena. He asked the General Authority of the Church near him who the men were. He whispered that it was the mayor of the city and his staff.

“As I walked to my car after the meeting, I was surprised to see the mayor waiting to greet me, flanked by his staff. He stepped forward, extended his hand to me, and said, “I thank you for coming to our city and to our country. We are grateful for what you do to build up your people. With such people and such families, we could create the harmony and the prosperity we want for our people.”

I saw in that moment that he was one of the honest in heart placed by God in power among His children. We are a tiny minority among the citizens of that great city and nation. The mayor knew little of our doctrine and few of our people. Yet God had sent him the message that Latter-day Saints, under covenant to trust God and His authorized servants, would become a light to his people.”

President Eyring reminds: “I know the servants of God who will speak to you during this conference. They are called of God to give messages to His children. The Lord has said of them: “What I the Lord have spoken, I have spoken, and I excuse not myself; and though the heavens and the earth pass away, my word shall not pass away, but shall all be fulfilled, whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same.” 12

You show your trust in Him when you listen with the intent to learn and repent and then you go and do whatever He asks. If you trust God enough to listen for His message in every sermon, song, and prayer in this conference, you will find it. And if you then go and do what He would have you do, your power to trust Him will grow, and in time you will be overwhelmed with gratitude to find that He has come to trust you.”

I know that trusting in the Lord may seem difficult at times but I assure you it is always the right thing to do- In the long run it’s easier than trying to go it alone. I testify that I know these things are true. I know that the Lord speaks to us through his prophets and our local leaders. I know that we can all lean on Christ for strength no matter how small you think your trial is or how monumental. He is there, he is waiting for us to say, “I’m trusting you, I’ll go and do that which is asked of me.”

I challenge each of us to look back on our conference talks and see what the Lord has asked of us through his prophets and apostles and renew our vigor to succeed in these goals. Pray and ask for guidance on how these goals can be achieved. I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ Amen.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

As Promised:

The Family with our newly assembled coop and our new chickens!

Gabe wandered off during a rain storm, Jay and Florence weren't home so we didn't know where he could have gone! While I was walking back from their house I heard a little voice yelling: "Daddy I'm in here!!!" We found him inside the coop safe and warm. Luckily it was nice a clean because it was the day before we picked the chickens up.

 Jack holding Gabe's chicken: Iron Man and Chloe petting her softly.
 They were both so excited!
 They were kind of just past the awkward, super, duper, ugly teenager chicken age when we got them but the kids thought they were awesome.
 This is Buffy and Chloe. Buffy knows chloe usually gives out treats ha ha.
 KFC got her finger just after I snapped this picture and she just told kfc "no no no." then went about trying to pet her again.
 This is Chubby, she was a real piece of work but as soon as she started laying she turned into a softy.
 Leslie (corban's on bottom left), "Iron Man coble chicken" (Gabe's in the front left), Bus (mine- total meanie head in the back) and Chubby very front.
Corban Loves his chicken Leslie. Sometimes he says "her other name is les-les. That means chicken."

We've had fun with these feathered dinosaurs- and now they're laying like crazy so we're getting 5 or 6 eggs a day from 6 chickens. lots of eggs for breakfast around here.

A few little tidbits/references in case anyone is curious:
  • www.backyardchickens.com great website for all sorts of help
  • Fresh (movie on Netflix) about sustainable food culture- really wonderful and leaves you feeling kind of empowered- like we can do this!
  • Food Inc (another movie on Netflix) pretty harsh at points but I think it's totally relevant to see what really happens in factory farming ex: chicken houses, beef farms, ect. It's good to know where your food comes from and not just remain ignorant of what is happening. If you're squeamish I'd suggest Fresh instead.
  • Chick Days: an absolute beginner's guide to raising chickens from hatchlings to laying hens by Jenna Woginrich.
  • Go to the Library and flip through all the chicken raising books. Some I loved, some were too dry and too...rigid. Enjoy!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

So...we totally have chickens. ha.

The kids have been buggin out for a pet for several months, and we wanted to get something in order to give the kids some real responsibility since Corban's new statement is: "Do I have to do everything around here?!" and I just really really really didn't want a pet in the house. This decision crossed out: Dogs, Cats, Gerbils, Guinea Pigs, and Reptiles. That left me with two options I wanted to investigate: a goat or chickens. he he. seriously I looked at goat books- need more space :( Anywho, I checked out TONS of library books, read lots on the Internet and got around to ksl classifieds late one Saturday night (after taking the kids to look at the chicks at IFA while jack was hard at work). In one of the books it stated-in reference to chicks- at the top of a paragraph: "you don't want sealed-up bums". YIKES. no we certainly don't! and that also means I don't want chicks just yet. So in my search to find some chickens that were past that scary...pasted up situation phase...I found LOTS of people that raise a bunch of chicks to the point where they don't need a heat lamp/brooder box anymore and I jumped on the chicken train! I had done lots of research on which breeds I was interested in and found a family in Spanish Fork that had 9 wk old pullets (girl chicks up to 1 yr old) for $9! Major steal! So I called them the following Monday and explained that we didn't exactly have a coop built yet and asked if they could hold on to them until the weekend. They agreed and we were off. Long story short: The coop building process was not an easy one considering I wasn't aware that 2x4's don't actually measure 2"x4"...he he. I learned this after my mom and I had cut ALL of the donated lumber to my specs on my HAND DRAWN plan. It was in the "putting all the pieces together stage" that I started realizing something wasn't working.

So after working all week we still weren't done by Fri. They agreed to keep them another week for $5 extra just to cover feed cost- WOO WOO! we finished it in time and drove down to get our silly new pets/future dinner. Daniel was a hero and drove with me. It was a less than pleasant drive with a torrential down pour happening so we couldn't open the windows...do the math on the 1+ hr drive with shut windows and scared chickens...PEE-EWW. We ended up with 6 chickens because they only had one left from the group and asked if we wanted the extra. Sure!

So the breeds we have are as follows:
  • 2 Black Stars- Bus Pronounced Boos (I was told it was short for Busalorf sp???- meaning little darling in dutch) and Chubby Because she started out pretty mean like the guy on My name is earl.
  • 1 Red Star- Iron Man Cobble Chicken- Gabe's chicken
  • 1 Barred Plymouth Rock- Leslie- Corban's chicken
  • 1 Buff Orpington- Buffy- Chloe's chicken
  • 1 Delaware- KFC pronounced cuff+k-Jack's chicken
They've been a hoot! The kids are loving it and I'm loving the fact that cleaning the coop is a once a month job :D ha ha.

My pics aren't working right now but I will post some as soon as they are!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Just Poppin' in!

hello! I'm going to sit down in a few days to jot down some extremely funny funnies to share with my little neglected blog. You should be on the edge of your seats. seriously.

with love

The Larsens