Monday, January 27, 2014

for chicken

Until opened, a treasure chest simply remains a pretty box that potentially has something amazing in it. 

Each one of us has one. 

It is a gift from a heavenly parent

Each one of us has the ability to open our own and marvel at the wonders that lay inside.

Some choose not to open theirs at all…the reasoning being known only in their own soul.

Some choose to watch as others open theirs, and choose to be jealous or intimidated because of what lay inside.

And then there are a special few who open theirs and not only look inside, but touch and taste and feel of the treasure within.   They experience the treasure and life is fuller because of it.

I have a dear friend.  She belongs to the last group mentioned.  

She has taken that treasure box and has done what was intended to be done with that treasure. 

But every so often, she worries. 

Maybe it is a comment, or a quiet whisper of a taboo word like “perfection”, which causes her to look at her beautiful treasure box and wonder if maybe she shouldn’t have opened it quite so wide.

What she may not know, is that by opening her box, she in turn is giving others permission to do the same, to find within the treasures that are waiting patiently to be enjoyed.

Until opened, a treasure chest simply remains a pretty box that potentially has something amazing in it, until one brave soul chooses to open theirs and by doing so, inspires others to do the same.

Sunday, December 25, 2011


Last year, we had a lot of issues with our daughter Londyn. It started one evening when she was a week old. I heard her screaming and I ran in to our bedroom to find her struggling for air. I grabbed her and ran to my husband full of panic. It seemed like hours that she struggled to breathe, but it was only about 5 minutes. This "episode" was the beginning of many "episodes" to come and many weeks and months of fear.

The burden began that night in the hospital. I walked down the hall carrying her. I felt very small and helpless. But a spirit of resiliency began to grow. I was going to take care of her no matter what. I would not allow anything bad happen to her. I would watch her every moment. I would stay by her side. I could save her.

For weeks, I could not sleep. Sleep felt so selfish. Why would I choose to sleep when it could potentially mean my daughter's life? So I watched her. I rarely had her out of my sight. Nights were the worst.

The event that will forever stay etched in my mind began one evening when the night began to fall. I felt the familiar feeling of panic start to slowly creep into my chest. I was completely spent. I hadn't slept for what felt like forever. I could not allow myself to sleep because I needed to watch her. I needed to make sure she was ok. I needed to be strong and be the hero. But I was spent.

I sat on the edge of my bed and eventually ended on the only place I could go for knees. I pled for Heavenly Father to make Londyn breathe. I pled for Him to make her all better. But as my prayer evolved, a new idea began to grow. It was hard to hold on to the idea at first. I fought against it. It felt unfathomable and yet was accompanied by enough peace I wanted to entertain it.

Heavenly Father loved my daughter more than I did.
How could that be?
He would do everything in her best interest because of His love for her. (and this didn't necessarily mean life)
I could pass on the burden that I had been carrying. He could take that burden.
Could I possibly do that?

We are meant to fight through this life...I mean really fight. We take the punches and roll. We walk the extra miles that are set before us. We keep going and enduring and pushing and pulling. But sometimes, the hardest part is having to give up the fighting and allow the Savior to pull us while we rest.

That moment came when I was able to completely give my will and my burden to the Lord.
When the prayer turned from please make Londyn breathe to please allow me to wake if there is a problem, but if not please let me be ok with whatever happens. (and believe me...I could imagine many "whatever happens" scenarios).

The moment I said this prayer, the burden was lightened. Peace filled my whole being and the fear was muted. I was placing Londyn in much more capable hands then my own. I was giving up the control.

And the most wonderful thing happened.

I slept.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

My Trip

My son is wading into new waters. He is turning 11 and this year it doesn't just mean a number. There are things happening to him. He is a little more emotional. His is having changes. (you know the kind of changes you need to buy deodorant and Noxzema for?)

I feel like I am about to go on a trip.

A very long trip.

I have known that this trip would be coming. I have tried to prepare...but you cant pack a year early. Although the prospects of this trip have exciting things to come...I am afraid. Afraid of the unknown. Afraid of what might happen.
How odd that you can look forward to a trip and wish it would never come at the same time.
I am nervous about how my fellow traveling partner and I are going to change.

Will we still like each other after this trip?

Will we still enjoy each others company...and want to bake and exercise and talk together?

Will we be gone so long that we forget how it used to be? How it used to be fun to stay home? How an awesome weekend included simply chicken nuggets and a red box movie? How a night with mom was the best thing ever?

With this trip, ever-present and looming, I cant help entertaining a feeling of panic.
Are we prepared?

Have I taught him enough?

Enough to be grounded?

Enough to eventually bring him back home?

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Educational Madness

Tomorrow is the last day of school.

Tomorrow my son will end his 4th grade year.

Tomorrow he will only have one more year of Elementary School and elementary problems.

Tomorrow will be the last time Jared will be Taelor's teacher.

I love the last week of school. I especially love the last day of school. I get to experience this end of school excitement on three levels. The first is having a son in school. He anticipates the summer vacation like I anticipate a date with his dad.

The second is having a husband as a teacher. Very little sadness...some gratitude to NOT be teaching certain students again...and a lot of relief, excitement, and giddiness.

The word "giddiness" brings me to my third level of end of school madness. We live across the street from a junior high. I actually love it and hate it. I love the ginormous field that is our extended front yard...I love that practically no one is around during the summer months...and I love that we don't have neighbors across the street that can see into our windows. I hate the garbage (about 15 chip bags blow our way each day)....and I hate that in the spring "love is in the air"( enough love that we tend to close all the blinds during the lunch hour).

But I digress.

There is a certain restraint that each teacher or educator possesses. It is in their manner, in their walk and in their posture. A certain dignity if you will of educational employ. They are the masters of the intellectual mind, the sorcerers of the imagination, the discoverers of brilliance. With this being said...a certain madness descends on even the strictest of educators on the last day of school.

Believe me...I have witnessed it.

I see those teachers walking into the school day in and day out somber and ready to inspire, but that last out. Across the street was a perfect example of that phenomenon. It was the last day of school. There were girls hugging, guys shrugging, and lots of year book signing with promises of summer re acquaintance. The students were lingering....stalling the inevitable. Suddenly on the field, in the maintenance vehicle no less, came 4 male teachers. To be honest, based on their driving, you would have thought they were teenagers aside from their beer bellies and receding hairlines. There were driving in a crisscross pattern, going faster than you think a maintenance vehicle should. One of the teachers had a megaphone yelling and laughing (a bit on the hysterical side) "Go Home Go Home School is over Go Home".

The students, obviously never having witnessed such a scene, stood watching. The teachers maniacally driving and fit with laughter were oblivious to the stunned students. They continued shouting and then drove off into the parking lot. The students looked at each other, shrugged, and meandered home.

I love the last day of school.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

There are stories to be told...

There is an older man that lives somewhere in Brigham City (I am assuming).
He has walked the roads enough to wear them thin.
I just saw him walk past my house with a cane...swinging up and down...not using it to help him but more like a suave Dick Van Dyke with a prop sort of cane.
The significance of his walking past my house is that it is almost 10 am. I saw him on my morning walk this morning at 6:30 am.
I have seen him as early as 5:30am and into the late hours of the evening. I see him during the day...always the same walk with the cane swinging.
Seeing him makes me just ache to hear his story. I have imagined several in my mind. I have been sorely tempted to run out and just ask him...but somehow that just doesn't seem right.
I love peoples' stories. I think that is why I love the elderly. They have so much to tell. So much wisdom. They have seen and heard and experienced things that are so foreign to me in my life right now.

Everyone has a story. I sat in a meeting a week or so ago and judged the speaker. She is so so so perfect. Her hair, her family, her finances, her body, her calling, her everything. I keep telling myself "no one is perfect...she has her problems just like the rest of us" but it is so hard to imagine her in a messy home, or without perfect skin and hair. This got me thinking about peoples' stories. You just never know what people have gone through, are going through, or will go through. It makes me want to learn her story. Not to solidify my current opinion or to make me feel better that she is not perfect, but to understand what events and choices and experiences have led her to where she is now. What sorts of things does she struggle with...and how does she handle those things?
It just fascinates me to think of what we could all learn about life if we just knew peoples' stories.

I have this weird suspicion that if I could know Mr. Van Dyke's story...I would be a better person...just from knowing it.

Maybe, just maybe I can find out his someday.
I know that it would be better that anything I have imagined.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Myths about women

There are many myths about women...but I think the most destructive myths come from ourselves. I have followed a lot of myths throughout my life. I have clung to them, and believed them, and have based (essentially) who I am against them.

My mom told me the other day (a very wise woman) that somewhere and somehow in my life I have clung to the belief that if I do not do things PERFECTLY, I am not lovable. When you type it in and read it, this sounds ridiculous...but I have clung to, believed, and have based who I am on this myth....this falsehood.

When I was in young womens, my leader would be giving a lesson and she would say something to the affect of...."now you girls should really work on having more faith...except for Chersten because she is perfect". At that time, I really believed that I was pretty close. I did things right, I was an example, I had integrity and faith and all the rest. I felt that I had been lifted to another standard...a higher one than everyone else. We all like to feel like there is something special about us right...something that makes us different and stand out? This was mine. It was fine for a while...I had defining things throughout my school years that helped me to feed this myth. I had very outward talents, I was involved in school and church, and generally people liked me. I graduated...fell in love...and had a baby. Perfect right?

Marriage wasn't easy...we really struggled. This definitely didn't fit my perfectly mapped out life. I had a baby. It was not love at first sight. I actually didn't like him much. That little thing had caused me a lot of pain, tears and a broken tailbone. Nursing was horrible, I did not lose the weight that I planned, and I was depressed all of the time....enough to be medicated. I felt horrible I had failed. I was a shame to all of those who once believed in me.

The years went I couldn't have kids...(probably because I hadn't fallen in love with my son at first sight)...I gained weight, was still medicated, struggled with "loving to be a homemaker", and so on and on and on.

I wish now that I could say that I found the key. The key to destroying this myth. But the truth is that I fight a daily battle. I struggle each day to not let what is around me DEFINE who I am. I like to be clean and organized and crafty...but when I am not perfect in these areas I feel like I am not showing who I really am. If my house isn't perfectly clean (which it NEVER is or has been)...I struggle because I am not showing who I really am. If my children make is a reflection on me right? Maybe that is who I really am. I feel tired just writing this all down.

What a sad myth to have clung to for so long. If I am not the perfect mom, the perfect daughter, the perfect wife, housewife, friend, and counselor...I am not lovable. I have been demoted from that lovely stand my leader set me on.

When we believe in myths and what the world teaches us...we will fail. It is just like the scripture says about building on a firm foundation. If your foundation is built on myth...and not gospel will be washed away. So I guess right now I am trying to get back to the bare essentials that make up ME. Not the fluff that I feel defines me...but who I really am.
The core of my being.

This is where I will begin to build a new me.

I will learn about who I am based on truth...not myth.

and I will love who I am based on truth not myth.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The time machine

I have been in a time machine.

I have seen years rewind and features refined.

She had Alzheimers and I was "grandma watching".

They called just days after my son was born. Would my husband and I consider living at their home for a week while they went on a trip? We would watch after their kids, send them off to school, and simply maintain a bit of order while mom and dad were away. It didn't seem too bad. Quite easy actually...and to be honest the money they offered was the clincher. Oh and by the way we also have a "grandma". She has Alzheimers. She really is harmless. She kind of just wanders. You will have to explain who you are each day...but no big deal.

With a bit of hesitation and a little reluctantly ...we said yes

So we went. Jared was in school, so I spent my days alone with the baby and "grandma".
Because she couldn't remember from one day to the next, I heard all of her stories...a lot of times. She was a teacher and loved her students. She was a mom and loved her kids. Each time, I would ask her questions trying to get more meat to the stories I had all ready heard.

Being a new mom for me was overwhelming. Taelor and I were getting used to each other. I didn't know how to comfort him or sooth him. (They inadvertently forgot to give me that pamphlet when we left the hospital).

Now here is where the time machine comes in. Did you think I forgot?

One especially hard day, Taelor was really fussy and I was really frazzled. I was trying to make dinner for the kids while holding and bouncing and humming and doing whatever I could think to calm him down (again.,.a simple pamphlet would have been nice...a little bitter).

"Grandma" had been sitting on the couch watching me with that blank she always did. Suddenly, she got up, came up to me and held out her hands.

I momentarily panicked.

She was not in her right mind, could she hold this precious baby without dropping him? What if she didn't give him back? What if she hurt him?

Reluctantly, I handed my son to her.

She was stiff and awkward.

I was nervous

This is where I entered the time machine. That's right. I just jumped in and typed in a year 60 years earlier.

A sudden moment in time came over her.
I could see it in her eyes.
Her whole body relaxed as she gently took my son and the years melted away. She was a mother. She held that baby and rocked him. She did the mom bounce (you know the one) taking her weight from one foot to the other to the other. Taelor calmed instantly falling blessedly asleep in her arms.

Humbly, I blinked away the tears...and stirred the spaghetti noodles.