My inspiration for this record of my days:

“The biggest mistake I made [as a parent] is the one that most of us make. . . . I did not live in the moment enough. This is particularly clear now that the moment is gone, captured only in photographs. There is one picture of [my three children] sitting in the grass on a quilt in the shadow of the swing set on a summer day, ages six, four, and one. And I wish I could remember what we ate, and what we talked about, and how they sounded, and how they looked when they slept that night. I wish I had not been in such a hurry to get on to the next thing: dinner, bath, book, bed. I wish I had treasured the doing a little more and the getting it done a little less” -Anna Quindlen

Monday, June 16, 2014

Caleb's Eagle Project

This story started in November, when our family was in Mexico.  We had gone with a humanitarian group (A Child's Hope Foundation) to serve free breakfast to the people who live in "the canyon" of Tijuana.

The canyon used to be a dump.  At one point the government came in and poured dirt over it, and now people live there.  They scavenge for things from the dump to build their houses.  Tires, old metal or wood, garage doors... whatever they can find.  Many of them don't have running water or electricity.  And when it rains, the dirt gets washed away, making rivers of trash.

This was in November 2013

Caleb was really moved by the poor conditions he saw there.  He decided then and there that THIS is where he wanted to do his Eagle project.  His first idea was to try to improve the sewer system.  (We smelled the raw sewage running down the ditches.)  We quickly decided that was too big of a project for one Eagle scout!

But I started researching and asking and emailing around, trying to get in contact with someone who could help us know how to help.  At one point I was starting to get discouraged, and tried to talk Caleb into just doing something easier and more local.  But his heart was set on Mexico!  He wanted to help people that really needed help!  (And maybe he kinda wanted an excuse for him and his friends to go to Mexico.)

Anyway... we finally found the perfect contact.  Dave- who was already doing work in that community, and needed help to get a community center up and running.  It will be used to host free medical clinics, as well as a counseling center and other things.

Caleb and a couple of helpers made up flyers and went door to door (hand-picked doors) to collect donations to fund the project.  He raised over $1000!

There was a lot of coaching from Mom and Dad, but Caleb really did a lot of the work himself.  I think he learned a lot about leadership, and how much planning it takes to pull something like this off.  And I hope he learned how important it is to have good followers!  He got frustrated when he tried to give an assignment, and people wouldn't follow through with their jobs!  (I kinda know how he feels!!)

We had more than enough unskilled (and somewhat hesitant) workers.  There were a few super helpful ones, and they were much appreciated!  But I think everyone had a good time, and hopefully had their eyes opened to how other people live.

After a morning of hard work we headed to the beach for a little fun.

 Lunches were made for us by some local ladies (included in the group shot) and they were delicious!  Dinners were taco stands.  SO GOOD!

At one point somebody started shooting hoops, and soon we had a friendly game of basketball going on.  The teams were mixed with Spanish and English speakers on both sides.  It was fun to see everyone enjoying each other regardless of their differences.
(This was just the beginning of the game, by the way.  It got much bigger)

Saturday morning we ate breakfast at the beautiful La Fonda restaurant on the beach.  Almost everyone ordered the banana pancakes with coconut syrup.  (It's just now occurring to me that the food was kinda a highlight for me!)


Then all the girls went over to the Door of Faith orphanage for a tour and some fun with the babies

And here we have pictures of our finished projects.  We fixed a roof, straightened and re-enforced the fence, did some trash pick up, and dug a trench.

 Good job Caleb!  And... if I do say so myself... Good job mom and dad!

One Eagle project down, four more to go!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

I am a flood gate

Sometimes I feel like a floodgate.

A floodgate is put in place to control the flow of water.  It has to hold back a powerful force, but it must be moveable to allow just the right amount of water to get by.

I am standing in my place as the floodgate in my home.  There are powerful forces trying to get by me to flood my home and wash my family away!  There are cell phones, with their accompanying texting and games and internet access.   There are friends to play with and meetings to go to and sports to practice.  Not that any of those things themselves are bad... they are all good things!   Just like the water behind the gate is not bad.  It just needs to be controlled.  Too much can be dangerous.

Yesterday I had kids spending too much time, in my opinion, on their phones.  I had kids wanting to hang out with friends on family night, and a meeting on that same night.  I had one kid asking for permission to see a movie that I wasn't so sure about, and one wanting more video game time.

And I felt like a floodgate.  I felt like had water in my eyes and forcing its way up my nose.  It gets exhausting sometimes.

But I am reminded of Julie Beck's General Conference talk "Mothers Who Know."

Mothers who know do less. They permit less of what will not bear good fruit eternally. They allow less media in their homes, less distraction, less activity that draws their children away from their home. 

And I am determined to be a good, strong floodgate.  One day my family will thank me.