Life of a Real Mom

Unedited Mothering

Tag: confident parent

When I Saw My Husband for the First Time: 25 Years Ago

On our honeymoon in front of the Vermillion Cliffs near Lees Ferry in Northern Arizona

When Duncan and I saw each other for the first time I was 23. Duncan was 26, a TA at ASU and about to get his masters degree in geography. I had been ward hopping, which you were allowed to do back then, and prayerfully settled in on University 1st Ward. As is customary, I spoke in church shortly after my membership records arrived. This is the first time Duncan saw me, January 26, 1992.

In his own words, “I was in the back of the old ASU LDS Institute chapel preparing my Sunday School lesson during sacrament meeting. I was listening, but my eyes were on the manual. I heard: ‘Kristin is a college graduate, a 6th grade teacher, served a mission in Texas…’ and on and on. They gave quite a long introduction. ‘… and she will now speak to us.’ I had set a goal to marry a returned missionary and, coming from a family of teachers, I had a deep respect for all teachers. I picked up my eyes to see who they were talking about… and gazed on your beauty. I listened to your whole talk instead of preparing my lesson. I don’t remember what your talk was about, but I DO remember what my Sunday School Lesson was about. Lehi’s Vision.”

After the meeting, Duncan rushed to teach his Sunday School lesson. Somehow I chose Duncan’s class, one of several options, and sat in the back. When I saw him, the lesson had already started, I thought, “Wow! Where did he come from?! I have flirted with every guy in this ward and haven’t seen him these three weeks while going to this ward.” Later I realized that I hadn’t seen him because he had gone home to Clovis, New Mexico for Christmas break and this was the first Sunday after ASU started the new semester. Back then, ASU would start later in January, after Martin Luther King day, which would have been Monday the 20th.

He was (and still is) absolutely gorgeous. I still have never seen a man as handsome as Duncan – in my entire life.

I didn’t notice how unprepared he was. Besides, he WAS and STILL IS a talented teacher. For the rest of Duncan’s lesson, thoughts ran through my mind on how I was going to meet this guy. I was determined to introduce myself as soon as the lesson was over. This particular classroom was set up different that most classrooms. There was a door at the back of the class and another door behind the presenter, both leading to hallways crowded with desperate single adults. I hesitated long enough for most of the class to empty, then stood and walked toward Duncan. Quite surprisingly, I CHICKENED OUT! I walked right past him – through the door – into the abyss of singlehood once more. I now know why I was so nervous. He was going to be my lover for the next million years. This was a big deal. OK, I guess I’ll have to wait until NEXT Sunday, which is the day we met.

Duncan doesn’t remember me walking straight past him after his lesson. But he has never forgotten seeing me when I spoke in church. He says I was wearing a red pleated dress with a square collar trimmed with a white stripe. Interestingly enough, that remained one of Duncan’s favorite dresses of mine and I wore it for our engagement pictures just 3 short months later!

Our engagement photo!

Remember the Value of Family

by Claudia Goodman

Who will raise their voice for the family?
Who’ll defend the rights of our liberty?
Come preserve your own, in the srength of God and home.

All who will rejoice in this privilege
Let them now maintain freedom’s heritage
Come with fervent zeal. Join us on the battlefield.

Remember our homes, The safeguard of peace.
Remember the children who look to you to keep tomorrow free.
Remember God, Remember His love.
He calls to us, Remember, Remember, Remember.

Fathers, join together in your brotherhood.
Mothers, stand united in your sisterhood.
Rally round the cause, Come before the battle’s lost.


Now the nations stray forgetful, heedless to the past.
If we fail to plant the standard, how can the family last?
Who’ll receive this charge?
Come and show a valiant heart!


He calls for us, He cries to us, He pleads with us
Remember, Remember, Remember!

Cutting the Commercialism of Christmas

Reflecting on Christmas traditions with a few of my sisters

Having Christmas on Sunday in 2016 may, at first, have seemed inconvenient. I understand. We all want to enjoy our family and open gifts and stay at home on the biggest holiday of the year. Upon thinking about it longer, what is good about having Christmas on Sunday? Well, most of all, we dressed up and went to church together. The focus was on worshiping the Savior of the world, not on the gifts. Many of my siblings are exemplary in teaching their kids the real meaning of Christmas. Here are just three examples:

Sister #4, who has 6 kids from ages 18 to 8 already has her kids draw names. Each child gives to 2 siblings and the dollar range is between $15 and $20 per gift. The parents’ gifts were mostly repairs/replacements for the trampoline, basketball hoop, and such this year, which as we all know can really add up.

Sister-in-law #2, who has 6 kids from ages 10 to 6 months has seen an increase in sibling gift giving pleasure. They have tried to emphasize the giving part of the Christmas, by using teaching moments in November to talk about buying a gift for a sibling instead of buying something for themselves. As a result, their kids used their hard earned money on each other and the added awareness and sacrifice translated into excitement for each giver. As mom and dad, my Sister-in-law and brother give three gifts. One for the Heart, one fort the mind, and one for the body. This year that meant a Musical instrument ($5 – $20) — such as a harmonica, melodica, piano horn, xylophone; a book, and a scooter. “Santa” only fills stockings with treats, an orange, and small things. They have told their kids for years that “Santa uses the money that parents give them. That is why some kids get more than others.” Finally, this great family helps remind their children about the meaning of Christmas by focusing on service throughout the month. This year they discussed the daily invitation in #LIGHTtheWORLD during their morning scripture study.

Sister #5, who has 9 kids from ages 17 to 4, only gives her kids pajamas – which they open on Christmas eve and then only the sibling gifts are given on Christmas day. So each kid gets 8 presents on Christmas morning. Santa only gives things in the stocking. She used to give three gifts. One for each: fun, practical and spiritual, but has discontinued that. This year she did give a “name sake book” to each child. She and her husband discussed Christmas budgeting years ago: $20 per child for 3 gifts. But, since they have discontinued this, there has been no change in how much they enjoy Christmas morning. These changes have all been discussed and tested. The result is that Christmas morning is still exciting. Throughout the month she will often ask one of her kids, “How are you liking your Christmas?” This is to teach that Christmas is all month long as they learn about traditions around the world, sing, perform, and give to others. Christmas expectations are not met or failed between 8 and 10 a.m. on Christmas morning. Also, for their family giving happens all year long. The parents may give a trampoline in September (more weather appropriate for Illinois) and they replace the kids socks and clothes when they need to. She wants her kids to know that “We love you and take care of you year round.”

In conclusion, it is easy to get Christmas mixed up, but we shouldn’t feel bound by tradition or what the Jones’s do. Remember how sad Curt was when he found out that Santa was really Duncan? Or should I say me. I did most of the decision making and “shopping” to relieve Duncan’s stress. (THANK YOU Amazon.) But he still feels like the kids got too much. He doesn’t like clutter and we don’t like worldliness in general. Christmas has a lot of both. We can start to de-emphasize Santa. I am so thankful for a fresh start. No doubt about it: 2017 will be full of worshipping the Savior all year long.#LIGHTtheWORLD

Parenting Adult Children

What advice do you have for parenting adult children?

This is a big and very good question. I have three adult kids, but am new at this because they are only 23, 21, and 18. It reminds me of when I would ask my mom, who had eleven children, a question about potty training. “Well, there are eleven answers to that question,” she would say. Every kid/adult is so different:

– How much emotional separation they WANT from you. (My kids want to be further from me than I would like them to be, but I have to get over it. Just because I want to know what they are doing every minute of the day doesn’t mean my desire is a healthy expectation.)
– How often they WANT to come over. (Duncan and I have decided – for now at least – to have Sunday dinner at 6:00 p.m. Our adult kids that live locally know that they are invited to Sunday dinner, but don’t HAVE to come. We look forward to the holidays when we will all be together!)
– How much they WANT to contact you. (I often, not always, let them take the lead in contacting me so I can get a sense of how often they want to talk or text.)
– What they WANT to hear from you, etc. (Wait from them to ask for advice. I am still learning from my mistakes on this one.)

Notice the constant? The question isn’t what YOU want or even what THEY NEED, it seems to be what THE ADULT CHILD WANTS. We raise them to be independent. Once they are, we must let them think, act, and live on their own.

In science, constants are values that do not change during the course of a particular experiment. I am afraid that parenting usually feels like an experiment to me. However, there are proven truths in parenting adults that must not be forgotten in this “experiment” to keep it from failing. These are:

– A relationship is a living thing. It takes nourishment and care to be healthy.
– Love is the glue in a family. Couple LOVE with CHRIST and you have a winning formula.
– A parent still has an important role to play in his/her adult children’s lives. (Be an example of righteous and responsible living, organize family events, AND express and show support for aspects in their lives.)

“Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Charity never faileth:…” (1 Corinthians 13:4-8)

A variable is anything that can be changed in an experiment that could affect the results of the investigation.

– Each of my children are different. Their personalities and stages in life seem to cause different responses to and needs for Duncan and I. Following the Holy Ghost’s promptings is the best help available to every parent.
– Duncan and I are also different. We have different strengths that serve our children in their adult life. Duncan and I realize these differences are gifts and we are getting better at appreciating and working with both our abilities and approaches. We must check our motives. We try to be humble. We must forgive and say sorry. We must love unconditionally. We must try and try again.

I know that even though I have made many mistakes in parenting adults, the Lord is aware of my efforts. I pray that my children and husband will forgive me for messing up and let me try again. Even though parenting appears to be an experiment at times, it brings great joy. I have felt it! All the effort is SO worth it.

Families are the pattern of heaven.

More sources:
“3 Little Pigs” by Kristin
“The Price of Priesthood Power” by Russell M. Nelson
“A Plea to My Sisters” by Russell M. Nelson
“The Healing Ointment of Forgiveness” by Kevin R. Duncan

Why Do I Post? Why Do I Care?

Why do I post?

– I post because I have a billion things going through my head and I want to write them down.
– Because I want to spread the FACT that raising a family is rewarding, even though it is a mixed bag of hardship, pleasant surprises, pain, sweet love, disappointment and long lasting joy.
– Because I would love to know that someone learned from my mistake or experience instead of having to make it themselves.
– Because I want to bring some reality to the media. I am a great mom who makes mistakes, avoids cleaning, and can’t get-it-all-done, like most people I know.
– Because, LIKE YOU, I am extraordinarily blessed with a great family, and opportunities to make a positive difference in this world – one day at a time.

As people gain more experience, they perceive more information. (I give you the information I have.)

More information allows capable people (you) to learn more efficiently, succeed quicker and achieve more.

Why do I include a photo of myself every day?

I want my daily posts to feel like a conversation. If you can see the way I look in front of the computer while I share, maybe my thoughts will seem more personally given.

Why do I care?

I have been all around the United States and even in many foreign countries. I love everyone I meet. There are 7.5 billion people in this world today and most of them are good, kind individuals who love their family. I KNOW that we are all Children of a loving Heavenly Father. We are connected as brothers and sisters.

“Ye are a light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” – Matthew 5:14-16

I hope that by putting myself “OUT THERE” I am letting the light of Christ that is in me shine on a hill. I know that so many shine their light for me to see the way. This is just my own way of doing my part. I hope it helps you, or someone you know come closer to Christ and become a happier parent.

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