Saturday, September 23, 2017

PARENTHOOD 101--PART 2--LOVE THEM!

Yesterday I posted on Parenting 101--Trosper Style.  Again I want to remind you that no one can be the parent you can be to YOUR child.  Sometimes, we think we have to listen to other people, and that is okay.  It is okay to listen to other opinions and consider them, but don't follow someone else's advise "willy nilly" because they say it worked for them.  Your parenting style, your children, and your circumstances are different from anyone else's.  Your children are your stewardship and no one else can do the best job raising them.

This, however, is my soapbox so I get to share what worked, and didn't work in the Trosper house. No parent is perfect all the time, so these suggestions go with the disclaimer that it may not work for you just because it worked for Bud and I, and it didn't always work for us either. We found if we focused on these things then at least we are parenting with a purpose, not just flying by the seat of our pants.  Intentional  (Proactive) parenting always seems to work better than Emotional (Reactive) parenting.  When we respond to situations in a reactive way we can say or do something we regret, or that can damage our children.  So it's better to be prepared.  To remind you our Seven Elements for parenting are to :

LOVE THEM
TEACH THEM
PLAY WITH THEM
RESPECT THEM
DISCIPLINE THEM
SACRIFICE FOR THEM
LOVE THEM UNCONDITIONALLY

Today we will start with the First and most important element, LOVE THEM.  I thank God for his amazing design that allows us 9 months to prepare for each child.  While the baby is forming in the mommy's belly in such a well planned organized process, we as mother's get to change too.  We have the chance to prepare our bodies, spirits, and minds for the upcoming birth, and for many years of motherhood to follow.  Father's watch and play there part in the process preparing themselves as well.  We are bonding with this "wee one" during this period carrying them with us wherever we go.  We have to connect don't we?  If the baby is a "surprise" then the 9 months can give us time to go from that surprise, to acceptance, and adoration.  Even birth mother's choosing to give their babies up for adoption bond with the child and desire to make the best choices for a whole life.  Adoptive parents usually have sooooo much time to plan and prepare for the little one as they pray a baby into their lives.  Oh we certainly go through a lot of fear as we are preparing as well.  "Will I be a good mother?"  "Will he be a good father?"  "What if we break him?"  "How will we teach him?"  "What will we name her?"  "Will she be teased about her name?"  We have fear about the actual birth process too, but we will realize for the first time that "what is bought with coin of pain is dearly kept." 



We are so primed and ready to LOVE the baby as it is born.  No one ever can imagine just how much they love that baby though.  When looking into the newborn's eyes, feeling their skin, counting their toes, smelling their smell, we are hooked.  Our hearts seem to stretch way out of our chests to encompass this little spirit straight from heaven.  The love grows beyond the baby, the family, the room, it seems to stretch out to all human kind because LOVE for a child is a gift that can't be explained.  I have heard it said that it isn't that dramatic for the daddy's, but I don't believe it.  All the daddies in my family have been swept into love and tears immediately by their newborn.  

So this one is easy, right?  

Luckily we have people to turn to for help.  New grandparents are usually very willing to lend a hand, neighbors, community members, church friends, but mainly God.  God is in partnership with you in raising these children.  He understands.  He has children of His own.  He has been frustrated with us at times, He has seen us not reach our potential, He keeps telling us over and over again.   Yep, he understands.  He mostly understands and tells us that LOVE is most important because He loves us.  

Even when that first child is laid on your chest, or your arms you can't imagine how much more your love will grow.  There will be times you may wonder if you "like" your child, but you will never not LOVE him.  

This might be a good time to tell you, or remind you.  These are not steps, they are elements of raising children that you will pass through again and again.  They will not go in order either.  It would be nice if we could get one down, and then the next.  

This is by far the easiest element though.  You did all the thinking and planning 9 months ago.  Now just go and LOVE THEM. 




Friday, September 22, 2017

Parenthood 101--Trosper Style

A few weeks ago I volunteered to speak at Toastmaster's the next day to replace someone who wasn't able to be there for their speech.  I just had a couple of hours to prepare so I had to choose something I felt comfortable to talk about without much research and preparation.  So I decided to speak about Parenthood.  Now I'm sure I could find really wise advise if I did research.  After all Parenthood is one of the most difficult, and important subjects.  It is also one with many varying opinions. So, I decided to just consider it from my point of view and my own experiences.  

Parenthood 101.  "Wouldn't it be wonderful", we all say, "if each baby came with a manual?"  Why yes it would!  Especially if it was particular to that specific child.  Heaven knows one manual wouldn't work for all children.  I found that out raising my three boys.  Each one was incredibly unique.  There are a few general points to start from but then we have to individualize raising each child.  What works for one kid certainly won't work for the next.  That would just be too easy.  

I am not an expert on Parenting.  However, I do have some expertise because I was a child once.  My parents were great parents.   I didn't start admiring them after I became an adult, I thought they were pretty amazing even when I was a teen.  .  There were things I wanted to follow that my folks did, and things I wanted to change.  Added to the things I learned  as a child being parented, there were even more bounteous lessons in the 47 years I have been a parent to my three son's.  Again, some good, and some bad choices taught me what to do the next time I needed to use those skills.  There was no option.  I couldn't fail, and then give up.  There was no abdicating on Parenthood, so I needed to learn from challenges, successes, and failures.  Furthermore, my kids are now Parents and I can continue learning from their styles of Parenting.  I personally think they are doing a great job of Intentional Parenting their sweet adorable children.....my grandchildren.  So you see I do have a bit of a soapbox I can stand on here.  

Back to Toastmasters and my speech on Parenting.  Time was an issue.  It always is.  I have so much more to say on any given subject than the clock allows.  Silly me to think I could cover Parenting in 6-8 minutes.  It just couldn't happen and didn't.  I need to learn to break huge subjects into much smaller bites.  I will try to do the same with these blogs.  

I feel there are seven key elements to Parenting.  These are....

.....love them

.....teach them

.....play with them

.....respect them

......discipline them

......sacrifice for them

......love them, unconditionally

My intent is to write a blog on each of these seven elements for the next seven days.  It will be a challenge for me.  Maybe you can gain something as well.  Maybe it will  be a springboard to a conversation between you and your spouse for your kids!  

One thing I want to clarify right now is that even though I have expertise on Parenting, and there are certainly other experts on Parenting that you can research.  YOU, however, are the most important person raising your children.  YOU and the other parent you parented with, have the clearest cut expertise for your child.  There will be times in your life that you will think anyone can do a better job, but that is not true.  

Combine your efforts with your Heavenly Father and your stewardship over your children will flourish.  When you forget to work with your spouse (or the other parent) and your Heavenly Father you may flounder.  Also, you will have many challenges along the way.  As stated earlier the challenges will differ with each child.  We also need to keep up to date with possible chasms that our kids can fall into in each generation.  

Those of us that willingly choose Parenthood as our main career don't get to get off the ride before it is completed.  So buckle up and enjoy this "white knuckler ride".  

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Why Am I So Blue?

I encourage people to write when they are depressed, grieving, or having emotional issues they don't understand.  So I encouraged myself to do this today.  I am blue.  Is there really a reason?  No.  Probably not.  I'm not down in the dumps, severely depressed, but definitely feeling a little less than.

So, I don't know what good it will do to write because I don't really know what it's all about.  I think I will explore a bit.  I stopped taking my anti-depressant a few weeks ago.  I ran out and didn't get any right away.  After I refilled my prescription I didn't start taking it right away because I wasn't sure that it was to my benefit.  I was prescribed this medicine many years ago to help with my fibromyalgia and lupus, not for depression.  Last year I tried getting off it and had a major lupus flare lasting several weeks, so I decided to get back on it since it was apparently doing more good than I had realized.  But, this time I was discovering that the pain I had in my muscles was definitely more significant.  I always have knots all over my body, but now they were massive.  I can only imagine the toxins in my body to create them.  I also was feeling each joint in my body much more distinctly.  The good news was that I wasn't feeling the complete lethargy that I have been battling lately.  Perhaps the anti-depressant was creating much of the total fatigue.  I find I would much rather deal with pain than with chronic and overwhelming fatigue.  That is the reason I haven't started taking that Lexapro again yet.  Maybe my "blues" could be attributed to that too.

Or maybe it's still unresolved grief.  The other day I had another of my "moving" dreams.  I have had those dreams for years.  Ever since Bud and I divorced.  They aren't every night, just every once in awhile.  Probably an average of once every one or two months.  They are always changing in part.  One time the kids will be little, sometimes they are grown.  Once in a while the kids aren't even in the dream at all.  The house we are moving from isn't one we actually lived in, but the dream does include our Chino neighbors.  We always have a time limit on staying in our house.  It is always imperative that we move quickly, for some reason.  Sometimes it is to move to a new unplanned foreign place.  Once in awhile it is because we either are losing our house or have sold it.  Sometimes it is even because the house is falling apart due to earth moving underneath it. In these dreams over the years Bud has become more and more aggressive in his actions, and I have become more and more frustrated.  In the beginning he just procrastinated packing and renting a truck to move things.  I used lots of polite encouragement to move it along and failing miserably in the dream.  Then Bud's actions toward helping moved toward passive aggressive and apathetic in nature.  Mine matched in a level of frustration and angst.  The dream this week had Bud downright impossible to move and very angry.  Nothing like the real Bud's character.  I was then yelling and screaming to create action.  Nothing like my real character.  In the dream I recognize it's a reoccurring dream and question what is it supposed to mean.  When I wake I recognize that I want to remember details and do remember more than one usually recalls of a dream.  The feeling of the dream affects the entire day and sometimes I have to recognize that an incident or feeling is from the dream not reality.  So maybe that's the reason my shoulders are down, tears are at the edges of my eyes, and I just feel uneasy.

Then maybe it's because I just spent the evening last night and the morning with Scott, Cynthia, Grace, Jane, Lucas, Marque, Sarah, Leah, and Dax and I'm missing that family that I'm not around more often.  I feel sad for the relationship I don't have with the kids.  I think Grace feels connected to me, but Lucas and Jane do not and that does sadden me, though I don't take it personally.  Or try not to.  I understand, logically, that it's because they don't see me enough, not that I'm not lovable. However, we can't always help the feelings that sneak in around the logic.  Scotty gave me a couple extra large hugs but it makes me realize how far we have drifted apart.  Again logic gives me plenty to help me understand, but I actually grieve those old connections we had. I actually feel more comfortable with Cynthia than I do him.  Cynthia's mom was with them.  I think we had the best connection we ever had.  It felt genuine on both sides I think.  I was so grateful for that.  But,  maybe still a little jealous to know she was going on this trip with them and they never considered including me.  I'm glad she was going, and I certainly wouldn't want to impinge on their trip together just still a little sad not to have been invited, or at least considered, or even told that she was going with them.  Also, Marque and Sarah didn't invite me.  I know that is a matter of space, time, and alot of other reasons but since the other grandma was going I just felt a little left out.   I am very grateful for Donna (Samantha's mom), Cheryl (Cynthia's mom) and Christine (Sarah's mom).  We share grandchildren so they are very important to me too.  It's great the the grandkids love their other Grandma's but I think I wouldn't be normal if I didn't get jealous of Cheryl because she does get to see the kids more.  Perhaps Christine and Donna have the same feelings.  I am sure they are happy I grandparent their grandchildren, but also feel some jealousy for time spent with them that they don't have as frequently.  Maybe none of this has anything to do with my blueness either.   Just not sure.

I am so excited about Jim and Samantha's upcoming endowments in the temple and the opportunity to be there with them. It is just a blessing to know how much they are enjoying their new involvement in the church.  It ties a few more ends up when we think of the Trosper Family continuing into the eternities.  There are so many things to be grateful for and of course I am really good at counting my blessings and usually can turn things around pretty quickly when I am down.  Maybe I am supposed to be in this moment a little longer to distinguish what the pain comes from, or maybe I am supposed to go read my scriptures, communicate with friends, have a conversation with the Lord and get over it. Hmmmmm.....I guess I will just go and ponder. I'm sure I will be back to normal tomorrow if not sooner.

It does do good to write it out.  Just to let the thoughts wander, and spend some one on one time with Leslie.  She is a pretty good listener.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Questions to Ponder


Sometimes I want to write, just to practice, but I don’t know what I should write about.  So I googled “Questions to Ponder”.  There are obviously many people in the world that have the same dilemma.  I found a few questions that will give me the opportunity to write, but also are probably are some good ones that I ponder, and leave the answers to my kids and grandkids.  So here they are.

  1. What are the things that stand between you and complete happiness?  To be honest I would have to say my health. I had back issues from the time I was 24-44 when I had back surgery finally.  But I have had blood pressure, acid reflux, fibromyalgia, heart, kidney issues, lupus and chronic fatigue syndrome.  These kept me from always being the mother I wanted to be, and now keep me from being the grandmother I want to be.  When I have energy and health I AM completely happy!
  2. What will people say at your funeral?  This is an interesting question and one that I actually do consider from time to time.  I try to live into what I want my legacy to be.  But of course, I fail miserably sometimes.   My mission statement pretty much says what I would like to be said about me.  “I want to be the me God created me to be.  I will face the world with integrity, unconditional love, a sense of humor and gratitude. My greatest desire is to be a light of faith to my family and friends.  My life will be bountiful as I experience growth, nurture others and recognize God’s gifts and glory, and live each moment to the fullest.
  3. Standing at the gates of heaven, and God asks you “Why should I let you in?” What do you reply? I want to be able to say, “Heavenly Father, I hope you would let me in because I love you, and because you love me.  You have watched me struggle.  Sometimes I have failed and sometimes I have met and overcome my challenges.  I do hope, however, you can see my desire to be righteous, to live the way I should.  I hope you know that I loved my fellow man and tried to serve my family and friends.  Will you let me in because I want to help you scatter sunshine, and distribute rainbows of joy and sing in a Heavenly chorus.  Dear Lord, please let me in so I can continue to grow and learn.”
  4. If you lost everything tomorrow, whose arms would you run into to make everything ok?  I actually did lose so much and I did run into arms that loved and supported me.  My most agonizing loss was my marriage.  After that I lost money and my home and my health.  I will say the first person I ran to was my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  Then he taught me that I didn’t have to feel alone because He was always there and so were my children.   Shortly after this all happened I had a dream that I have thought back on many times since.  There was a new addition going on to my home.  My three sons were up above the garage being in charge.  They called me up the ladder to review the options and help me make decisions to see where this addition was going. Down below were my Daughters-in-love running a garage sale to help me remove the things I no longer needed, and choose what I wanted to keep.  When I started going down the ladder my boys supported it from above and my three daughters-in-love came over to support the bottom of the ladder.  This dream was pretty clear to me.  The new addition was the new chapter in my life. My sons were helping me but letting me choose what to add to my life.  The girls at the garage sale were helping me go over the things that had been a part of my life.  Which things should I keep, and which should I leave behind.  The ladder was my life.  My whole family was there to support me.  It is a very real answer to what I feel about moving forward after losing everything.  I am so blessed. 
  5. Does this person know how much they mean to you? When was the last time you told them?  Oh yes I think they all know how much they mean to me.  I tell them all the time how lucky I am.  My sons are my sons and I know it’s not a given that sons love their mothers, but in spite of how goofy I am they love me.  I hope they know that I am here for anything they need that I have the capability of giving.  My Daughters-in-Love are exceptional.  They are each unique and have special talents and gifts.  I’m grateful that we have a good relationship. 
  6. If you could send a message to the entire world, what would you say in 30 seconds?  Friends, Countrymen, and world neighbors.  I want to speak of you about LOVE.  So many wars have been fought over religious and moral differences and it makes no sense.  Even if we may all believe in a different God, each God is all about LOVE.  Please elect to go to your God and beg for an answer that will help you do as He asks us to do “Love one another”.  In the name of religion we cannot turn away from God and hate our fellow man for being born into a different country, culture, religion, dynamics and different God.  We must LOVE each other for our similarities and embrace the differences.  It would be so easy if we could just get that message.  Part of loving is not judging.  Making war may be necessary, but it shouldn’t be necessary.  It is each individuals choice and we can create a movement of LOVE if we each individually choose it.  Because Karma is real.  What is put out into the world is what we get back. 



These questions were very thought provoking.  I’m sure I will continue to contemplate them.  I look forward to finding more to answer at another time.  That last question, wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could send a message that was heard to the entire world?

Thursday, April 6, 2017

KIDS SAY THE DARNDEST THINGS

Kids Say the Darndest Things
March 28, 2017
11th Speech

My 3 year old grandson, Dax, is quite a character.  He keeps me laughing.  Depending on what day you are talking to him his name could be Daxie, Daxilicious, Poopypants.com, or Captain Underpants. 

One day he was supposed to say the prayer at church.  This was his first time in public so of course Mom and Dad coached him about being reverent, folding his arms, and being grateful. He walked up to the podium so slowly and quietly then he pulled the microphone down to his mouth and said “Poopypants.com!”  The crowd of munchkins roared with laughter and approval.  Mom not so much.  She stepped up and removed him as quickly as possible and said the prayer.  Of course this little guy with his new found power and gift for creating laughter continued “Poopypants.com, poopypants.com”.  Don’t kids say the darndest things?

Toastmaster, Ladies, Gentlemen, and friends:

How many of you have heard of Art Linkletter?  He had a program back in the 50’s and 60’s called House Party.  A small portion of that was devoted to talking to children.  He didn’t have to do much to draw the funniest comments from them because kids are just so willing to share. 
How many of you have children or grandchildren?  Then you too could tell us stories of your kids being silly, making you laugh, or embarrassing you!  Too bad, my turn!

My oldest son (Dax’s dad) had a habit when he was young of taking off all his clothes and running into the front yard.  Of course we put protective knobs on the door but he figured out how to use a rope, tie, or purse handle to pull on it so he could bypass the knob, and out he would go.  He was under a year old and we just couldn’t seem to think faster than him to prevent an exhibition. 

My youngest son Scott had a gift for laughter.  Seriously, it was amazing.  He would start laughing about something and he could not stop and it would be so contagious.  Soon everyone was laughing.  That was great, right?  Not so much in church, or a Dr’s office or movie theater, or playing games with a serious game player like his great grandma.  She would tap her card on the table and just wait for us all to stop laughing. 

My friend is a kindergarten teacher.  She teaches her students not to say bad words but also not to tattle.  Children are always coming up and saying “Johnny said the “S” word, or Susie said the “B” word”.  She says to them.  It’s not nice to say bad words but you don’t have to tell either.  One day a young boy came up and said “Billy just said the “Q” word.”  Q word?  She was curious so she said “Can you whisper it in my ear?”  The little boy came very close and whispered “Quap”.

Sometimes if we listen to our kids they give us teaching moments.  My 3  year old and my 2 year old   were fussing in the back set and I had been a patient mom but I leaned back and swatted my older son and said “You don’t hit your brother, ever!”  He folded his arms, pouting and thinking.  In a few moments he said “If we aren’t supposed to hit why did you hit me?”  Some might think that was insolent, but I learned from it and realized it wouldn’t make any sense to a little boy at all. So I changed my parenting after that. 

One time I was frustrated with something that Marque (Mark then) was doing.  I took him by the shoulders and tried to have him focus.  After my explanation I could tell he wasn't listening.  I asked him to repeat what I had said.  He sighed, shrugged his shoulders and said, "Mommy, I can't.  My battery ran down."

Another son, Jimmy, wanted me to read a book to him.  I was busy paying bills and asked him to wait.  “I don’t have the time right now, in a little while.  Okay?”  He went away and came back a little later and asked again and got the same reply.  After what must have seemed forever to him he came and asked again.  “Do you have time NOW mommy?”  “No I’m sorry, in just a while”.  He said “You don’t have any time and I have lots of time so I will give you some of my time so you can read me a story.”   Yah.


Two and three year old kids are super funny.  They can communicate now and they have been stacking up questions and wisdom for a long time.  Jimmy was 2 when he was hanging around me while I was paying bills.  Something that he wouldn't do later in his life.  He was playing with the calculator.

Jimmy:  Mommy what is this?
Mommy:  It helps mommy add and subtract.  It's a calculator.


Jimmy:  No mom, It's a calcu"now".

I was one of those Mom’s in the 70’s that didn’t want her children to have toy guns, but somehow they came into our lives.  My son was playing cowboys and shooting the bad guys.  I told him not to point even a toy gun at anyone.  I said Real Cowboys use their gun to shoot in the air to herd the cows because they don’t want to lose them.  So if you want to be a real cowboy do that okay?  Daddy came home in a little while and asked what he was doing? “I’m making the cows go through the right exit!”

Sometimes the funniest comments come from misunderstandings or kids just hearing things differently than it should be.  Like the little boy who told his parents that they sang the song at church about a crosseyed bear.   Oh, this cross I bear. 

Or the little girl who wanted to sing the song about the Silver dishes?  Anyone? (The Golden Plates)  Jimmy was about 6 when he was taking Gymnastics.  Little 2 year old Scotty loved watching him doing cartwheels and walking on the beam.  He said, "Mommy, when can I take Scottnastics?"  [Jimnastics.  Yah!]  Marque was born with a small birthmark on his cheek and foot.  It was only later that Marque thought it was called a birth.  How would he know different when we would always say things like "Show Grandma your birth Mark."  

Jimmy once was rebellious about having chores.  His friends weren't required to help around their house so why does he have to.  He was about 10 I believe.  I explained that as members of a family we all have to help each other.  But, I took his name and chores off the chart.  Pretty soon he wanted to go to soccer practice but I was too busy doing his chores to take him.  Another time he was wanting  Dad to play catch with him, but Dad was too busy doing the dishes that used to be Jimmy's chore.  Soon I noticed that his name was back on the chore chart with some chores listed beneath,  

One time we were getting home very late with 3 tired boys in the back seat.  My husband said, “Okay boys when we get home I want everyone to go in and hit the sack right away”.  Our 2 year old son walked right in quickly obeying his dad got into the closet grabbed a paper bag and started hitting it.  He had no idea why, but he was a very obedient son.

One day I was showing Dax all the popcorn popping on the trees and he said “Gramma you know that’s not popcorn.  It’s flowers.  That’s just silly to think it’s popcorn cuz popcorn doesn’t grow on trees.”  Yah that may be silly but the day before he was telling his dad that the Princesses went to the money store to buy some money to get a cowboy balloon for his dragon.”  Yah, that’s not silly. 

How many of you have adopted some of their words to add to the English language.  We now watch Tarcunes instead of cartoons.  We love susketti.  No, you don’t want a burrito, you want a debrito.  Two cars are the “same as” but “fifferent”.  Dinosaurs have all disappeared into the hot wabba just ah cuz. 

Yep, Kids say the Darndest Things and it never gets old.  Nowadays we don’t have Art Linkletter or Bill Cosby, but the internet has created instant stars from so many cute kids.  We do have Steve Harvey and Ellen Degeneres bringing those munchkins right to our device wherever we are.  It’s a world of laughter!

It's fun to hear the silly things that I said when I was a wee one too.  A few that I remember hearing about were going on a roller coaster at a very young age, three I think.  As we were coming down the hill I was shouting "I'm gonna shwow up.  I'm gonna shwow up!"  I gave my dolls interesting names Belonk and Golonda were a couple.  Also, when I was two and a half my baby sister Lynette was born.  My Grandma Johnson was there to help.  She had worked and worked for me to sing "If I Knew You Were Coming I'd have baked a Cake".  I had it down perfect.  But when mommy and baby came home I just rushed out saying "I baked a cake, I baked a cake."a

I'm grateful to remember these things.  Some were written down, some just remembered.  But I wish I had excellent recall because my kids had me laughing all the time, and now my grandkids do.  But I just don't remember them all.  Enough to be reminded that "Kids Say the Darndest Things!"










Monday, January 30, 2017

....but you don't look sick.

I am giving a speech tomorrow at Toastmasters.  It is my 10th speech in the Competent Communicators manual.  It is supposed to be inspirational.  I considered many subjects and decided to do it on my autoimmune diseases.  I'm not sure it is inspirational.  I hope some value will be found in it.

Remember this was written as a speech, not a blog, or a story.  

Last time I was at my Dr. as I was leaving the office he said, “Leslie, “  “Yes?”  “As far as your Lupus goes, you’re doing great.  Most people have died by the time they are 69!” 

Friends and Toastmaster,

I am ill.  I am very ill.  I know I don’t look very ill.  That’s a good thing. I work very hard to NOT look ill and to not act ill.  But the truth is, my body tries very hard to keep me from functioning. 

How can I look this AWESOME when I am not?  Sheer determination at times.  

How many know what an autoimmune disease is?

Do any of you know someone with an autoimmune disease?

What are some of the autoimmune diseases you are familiar with?

Are there other disabilities that you know of that are chronic and invisible?

I have more than one autoimmune disease.  That is not unusual.  Because it deals with the immune system breaking or wearing down it is possible that having one disease can trigger others. 

I have Lupus, Fibromyalgia, and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.  

Even though I don’t feel normal pain my body does deal with it, so I will tell you that my biggest problem is the CFS.  I hit a wall suddenly without realizing how much pain I’m in.  When I hit a wall, it’s over.  I’m done.  My sister has MS and I recently saw her hitting the wall.  She was visiting and was enjoying her family totally when all the sudden I could see that she could hardly function.  Her only answer was to go directly to bed.  You could have offered her the greatest treasure at that point and it wouldn’t matter.  I’ve felt that debilitating monster but it was sad to see her suffer so. 

What issues do you think we deal with that are not directly related to pain and lethargy ?

1:  feeling judged
2:  Not being dependable
3:  Having to be proactive by always measuring my “Spoons”. 
4:  Easy tasks become undoable
5:  Missing out on important life moments
6:  Explaining which makes me feel broken
7:  Remaining positive
8:  Not becoming the disease

Some days I’m okay.  The smile is legitimate.  Most days I’m not.  The smile is to protect everyone I love.  Sometimes it becomes prideful because it is so dishonest.   People say “Hi, how are you?”  But they don’t really want to know.  Or maybe they do, but how do you know which ones do?  Then when you do find someone to share with and you regurgitate it all…..you immediately wish you hadn’t because now they will see you as the disease.  They may protect you, avoid you, feel sorry for you, or think of you only as your disease.  So why we hate hearing “but you don’t look sick”, we strive so hard to not look sick.  It is such a double edged sword. 



I wear the hairstyle I do because of my illness.  Some days I can’t lift my arms above my head to shampoo my hair, so it is greasy.  Some days I can wash it but nothing more, so it is straight, and has no style whatsoever.  Sometimes it gets so bad that it is easier to go to Fantastic Sams and have them wash it, than to do it myself.  But sometimes it is too painful to do that. 

Who ever thought taking a shower would become my to do list for the day:  I used to not even think about it.  Now, because I am a believer in doing anything difficult in small bites, it is an 11 step process.  Then I go to bed and spend the entire day getting over a shower. 

But these are the negatives.  And this speech is supposed to be inspirational so let me tell you about how I am learning to face my illness, and maybe how YOU can help those you love.  


I had a funeral one day. (Oh Leslie that sounds positive--but it really was) I eulogized the amazing, outgoing, capable, dependable, socially active Leslie.  The one anyone could count on.  The person who would do anything for anyone.  The leader, the mother who could be room mother for 3 sons, team mother for 3 teams, PTA President, Relief Society President, and caregiver all while cooking up the best Banquet dinners ever.  I had to let her go.  It was hard because I didn’t think she was that awesome until she was long gone.  Then I realized how amazing she was.  Isn’t that the way it is at funerals?

Does that sound awful?  It wasn’t.  It allowed me to accept me with flaws and I’m FLAWESOME!  I want each of you to go away from here knowing that your friends who can’t be what they want to be anymore are FLAWESOME too.  Cheer for them, praise them for their efforts, tell them that you love them because they are who they are, not for what they do or can’t do. 

After I accepted the me with limitations I was ready to kick the world in it’s butt my way.  First of all I needed to become a spokeswoman among my friends and family for the unseen people with invisible illnesses.  

Why do you think I believed I should do this?  Because people see me as “Little Sally Sunshine” scattering smiles and hugs.  So the truth might come easier from me than it might from someone who sees the world with a little darker eye.  I might not just be complaining, it might actually be true. (Is it working?)

Also, I am a person who doesn’t accept the darkness of reality I have to find a solution to brighten up the black truth.  I don’t have a research grant, and I can’t cure the incurable disease, but I can figure out ways to live with it, and help those who are living with these invisible diseases.   I can also educate people to be tolerant of those of us who are sick but don’t look sick. 

Last year I had one of my worst flares.  It knocked me upside the head, and down on the floor.  I was visiting my friends and family in CA.  I spent the entire 6 weeks in bed.  Well, I did get up for the really important things and then I got even worse.  I realized that I needed to learn how to survive if I couldn’t get out of bed anymore.  So this last year it has been my goal to find ways of living and contributing from my bed. 

Within reach of my pillow I have tons of books to lift my intelligence and sensibility if I can’t get up.  I have tablets, both paper and device, so I can research, listen to music, write speeches, blogs and keep in touch on Facebook.  Facebook.  Some people deride social media as a waste of time that is pulling us away from each other.  To me it is my connection.  I can keep in touch with my grand kids; Yesterday, two of my granddaughters shared successes in their lives.  I can face time if I can’t be there in person.  I can share positive memes and personal thoughts.  I can continue to scatter sunshine, smiles, and at least virtual hugs. Someone who has really affected my life in a similar way,  is a woman named Christine Miserandino.  She has lupus and administrates and writes for a web site called "butyoudontlooksick.com".  She developed the "Spoon Theory" which gives many of us a way to explain chronic and/or invisible illnesses. I hope you write this down so you can help others.  


When I’m not in bed, when I’m not bad, I have to be proactive always considering that what I do today will affect my tomorrows.  I have to count spoons.  My exercise program at Curves and my walks keep my body moving. I’m always considering eating plans and medications that might alleviate pain or symptoms.    There is never a moment, a time, that I’m not living in Lupus.  But I am not Lupus, Fibromyalgia, or CFS.   I REFUSE to be.



Getting a grip on Lupus is like tying Jello up with a string.  
Imagine that.  
How do you tie jello up with a string?  
You don't.  Just tie a bow with the string, and eat the jello.  

If you know someone who needs a friend, tell them I am available.  Who am I?  I am the new and improved the FLAWESOME Leslie.  



Monday, January 23, 2017

My Life as a Fluffy Girl

When I was born I was the cutest little thing.  What made me so special?  My little round face with my plump little cheeks.  So kissable.  I had that little pug nose and those sleepy eyes.  My neck was almost disappearing with rolls of fat it just cried out for zerberts.  I responded with lots of laughter.  My  little arms and little legs were chunky and short.  My aunt tried to eat me one day because I was so cute.  Do you know what?  I still have that round face, plump cheeks, a pug nose and sleepy eyes.  I have no neck and yes it is still has those rolls.  My arms and legs are still very short and very chunky, well FAT actually.  So my problem is that I never grew out of that baby look.  As a matter of fact one of my friends, Sherri Johnston, posted a little picture of me that I totally identify with.  A little baby girl dressed stylishly and flaunting some swag.  She said that it reminded her of me.  I loved it.
Yep totally me!
So, I was a chunky, cute, loved little baby and now I am a 69 year old woman who now accepts and loves who I am.  But what about the time between?  Did I always accept myself?  Did others accept me?  What were some of my experiences and feelings as a "fluffy" girl?  I think my blog today will deal a bit with what it's like to be a plus size person growing up and living in a world where skinny is in.

I was not heavy through my life.  When I go back and look at pictures of me as a child and young girl I don't think I looked overweight at all.  However I always remember feeling like a little fat girl.  My build was muscular and muscles are heavy.  So I am sure that those who picked me up as a child thought I was definitely heavier than most little ones. I find that to be true with some of my grandchildren.  There are a couple of them that are built just like I was with those chunky thighs and heavier arms.  They wear the same size as the other kids their age. They don't look overweight in any way, but if you lift them they are solid, and much heavier than their cousins.  My father's mother, Grandma Bliss was short so I probably got my height from her, but I don't know where the rest of my build came from.  None of the rest of my siblings got the muscular frame I had.  So the gene didn't seem that strong, but two of my sons got my build, and several grandchildren did, so obviously the gene passed on pretty significantly.  So genetics played a part in my build.  I would say 30%

What a doll!
   Look at that baby.  Pretty cute if I do say so myself.  By Christmas though I was really chunky.  My mom must have fed me well.  I do know she nursed me till I was 13 months.  Always sporting the chubby cheeks, pug nose, and those solid legs I didn't look too big.  Healthy but nothing to worry about.
2 1/2 Looked like Shirley Temple

 My mom was a good cook.  She described the difference in a gourmet cook and a good cook to me when I was young.  A gourmet cook can make a beautiful dish with a recipe and all the right ingredients.  A good cook can make something delicious out of whatever is on hand.  We always had a good breakfast, healthy lunch, and well balanced dinner.  Our meals could have been put on a "how to" for the food pyramid.  So my issue with food didn't come from a bad example.  But I think I started being concerned about being fat by the time I was 8 years old.  I did always weigh in heavier than my friends, and I wasn't as active as some of them.  Being such a "girly girl", sometimes called "prissy" I would prefer staying inside playing tea party than outside playing red rover.  I never learned to ride a bike until I was an adult, and I did awful at some of the activities in "gym".  But again I didn't look heavy in my pictures.  In my mind I was though.
7 years old
I remember even at 7 & 8 years old I was worried about being bigger than all my friends.  That was back in the 50's.  It is so much worse for little girls now than it was then. I do think parents and society gave mixed messages.  It was certainly the time the world was concerned about not wasting food.  At times I felt personally responsible for the kids in China.  I didn't quite grasp how eating everything on MY plate would help those kids across the world.  I was just being taught to be grateful.  I did learn to be grateful, and I also learned to clean up my plate and that nothing should go to waste.  When I was older my own kids thought it was ridiculous that they had to drink all their milk, soda, or juice when at a restaurant.  We would often sit longer just to get that job done.

Made that dress and won a blue ribbon at 8 years old 
While my parents were telling me to clear the plate they were also telling me not to each too much.  That translated to me that they saw me as "fat".  Afterall they didn't remind the other kids that they shouldn't have a 2nd donut, or cookie. I found myself eating when I perceived my mom had gone to the effort to cook something because I didn't want her to think it was not appreciated.  I was in Brownies/Girl Scouts and 4H as a child.  I made the dress above and won a blue ribbon.  Not too fat there.  I sewed a lot of my own clothes from 4th to 8th grade.
I was 10 in this picture.  I see a very slender girl here.  You couldn't see my muscular arms or legs though.  I do remember being aware that I was much shorter and heavier than any of my friends.  Probably not a big deal, but it was a big deal to me.  
12 years old
I really think I am quite a young beauty here.  My eyebrows were a little thick, but I think I'm darn cute in this picture.  But I remember when we took a family picture at this time I was not self confident.  I remember thinking I would stand out as a "fatty" in my family pictures.  It's hard to imagine why I went down that road, but I did.  

13 years old
The holiday picture above is probably the last time I was the tallest sibling.  The summer following this holiday we went to California for the first time on vacation.  So many new things and new people.  I remember being terribly concerned about how I didn't match up to young "California" girls.  I remember watching videos after the vacation. We came to one where Lynette, my Dad, and I were running in from the surf to the beach.  While we were watching my Dad said, "Look Leslie, your thighs are bigger than mine".  I absolutely don't believe my parents EVER had the intention of hurting me.  They probably didn't even realize I had a low self esteem because of my weight, but I feel probably by this current posting I have replayed that comment in my head 2,953 times.  It just added to my own concerns.

16 years old

When I was 15 1/2 we moved to California.  It was extremely hard to be taken from my friends in Denver.  My high school years were:  9th grade at Merrill Jr High (cherry red and grey), 10th grade starting at a new school in Denver George Washington High School (Go green & white!). The last of 10th grade I went to Buena Park High School in CA.  11th and 12th grade I was at Sunny Hills High School.  Imagine how difficult it was for a girl who was really a little shy, and was embarrassed to meet new people.  I became even more aware of beautiful people around me and that I didn't measure up.  I remember on my 16th birthday we had lived in CA for 6 months.  We had a small family party and my mom and Dad let me get my hair done special and I wore a semi formal to that party.  I look at the poor picture which I won't post here because it was a poor picture camera wise.  But I remember I had put myself on a pretty restrictive diet {the grapefruit diet where I at grapefruits, hard boiled eggs, and more grapefruit.}  For my birthday dinner I just had a salad and put dressing on it.  I must have had more dressing than salad because I gained 3 pounds that day.  I walked around always feeling embarrassed and fat.  This was in direct opposition to my life because I have always had so many friends, and so many boyfriends.  I got married at 18 but I don't think I ever went to dances {We would go hear the popular bands of the day in this big hall.  You would go single and then dance.)  My friend Pam, reminds s me I danced always.  I couldn't figure that out.  Why would someone be so eager to dance with me?

I felt the same way with dating.  Never without a date on Friday or Saturday nights, many boyfriends telling me I was beautiful, but I couldn't get it. I asked a friend who was first my friend, then my boyfriend, and then a friend again why guys were so interested in me.  He said, you're cute, you're fun, and you've got those sleepy bedroom eyes.  None of my friends, or boyfriends ever saw me as fat, or even fluffy.  But I still saw myself that way.  I would never have french fries or milkshakes like my friends.  Whenever I was out with them I didn't eat because I didn't want to embarrass myself .

Another problem was Twiggy.  Twiggy was the icon of beauty at the time.  I don't know what Twiggy's measurements were but she was 90 pounds and 5'6", more than 6 inches taller than me.

 If Mae West was the icon of beauty I would have had no problem.  She was my height, 5'0", and was known for her large top, tiny waist, and larger bottom.  Just like me.    At 18 when I got married I wore a size 5 dress and was devastated because it showed how huge I was in my mind.  I weighed 108 pounds, and my measurements were 34-19-35. Yes 19 " waist!

But I wasn't in my teens during the time that Mae West, Jayne Mansfield, and Jean Harlow were popular with their womanly bodies.  I was growing up in the time the "boyish" Twiggy and Mia Farrell were the icons.  So I starved myself even more.


In the two pictures above I was 19 years old and married to this amazing guy who thought I was cute from the moment he saw me.  In the top picture with my family the 19' waist was pretty apparent.  But, then I went from embarrassing my parents because I was big to feeling like Bud would be embarrassed because he had a fat wife.  I was constantly dieting by this time.  When I would go to Dr's they would just tell me to eat less.  That was the answer back then.  If you are overweight, eat less.  So I kept eating less and less.  I tried all kinds of diets through the next 10 years while I was having my children and building a home.  My weight was forefront in my mind always.
Leslie at 24 right before Jim was born.

 When I was 24 I had just had Jimmy. I didn't gain weight during my pregnancies because I had morning sickness morning noon and night,.  With Jimmy I gained only 11 pounds, but I could enjoy any food I wanted because I would just throw it up.  It was pregnancy induced bulemia.  Problem was after I had my babies I gained because I was no longer throwing up.  I went to a Dr. daily after he was born to receive a shot of pregnant cows urine and I was on 500 calories a day.  I also exercised daily.  I was on that plan for 3 months but I only lost 5 pounds in the first 2 weeks and never lost any more.  It wasn't working to eat less to get weight off.  Now what?

Well I have done Weight Watchers multiple times and followed the program religiously each time,  And each time I gained weight while everyone else lost.  I have had pills, programs, even had apparatus put on my mouth to keep me from eating anything solid.  With Body Blue Print I gained weight in the first 1 week  "lose quick" plan.  I ate only fish and vegetables the whole time.  I called to receive help and was told for the first time.  "Oh, I'm so sorry.  You are one of those people who gains weight because they don't eat enough"  I was about 55 when I heard that.  What????  I don't eat enough?  All these years putting my every thought and effort into eating less, and now you're telling me I am getting fatter and fatter by not eating enough??

By the time I had heard that, I had gone from 108 at marriage to about 180 by eating less and less and less.  I had had a nervous breakdown about my weight.

mental breakdown (also known as a nervous breakdown) is an acute, time-limited mental disorder that manifests primarily as severe stress-induced depressionanxiety, or dissociation in a previously functional individual, to the extent that they are no longer able to function on a day-to-day basis until the disorder is resolved. A nervous breakdown is defined by its temporary nature, and often closely tied to psychological burnoutsevere overworksleep deprivation, and similar stressors, which may combine to temporarily overwhelm an individual with otherwise sound mental functions.

By the time I had heard that, I had gone from 108 at marriage to about 180 by eating less and less and less.  I had had a nervous breakdown about my weight.  I was having out of body experiences.  Described by me as sitting on a shelf watching myself up high in the room { kind of like Samantha in Bewitched) perceiving me going through daily activities while not being really present.  I would be imagining what people were thinking and saying about me. If I would go into the front yard I would imagine every person in every car laughing and mocking me.  It was a dark time.  So many dark times due to my weight, that I didn't fully enjoy my happy life, or my wonderful kids, neighbors, community, even my faith.  I was so wrong to make my outside projection take precedence over who I am inside.
 



There weren't a whole lot of pictures of me during that time.  I took them, but I avoided them.  I also was inactive for years in my church because I wasn't going to go until I lost weight.I didn't put on swimming suits. One year when Bud and I were having a once a year argument I realized we did that every year about the same time as the Ward Beach Party.  Without realizing it I became so tense about being at the beach with friends that I would pick an argument. My weight affected every single thing I did or thought.

 Something had to change.  I had to like me for who I was, fluff and all.  It has been a long quest.  I only wish I could have learned this at a much younger age.  I do like me!  I am not my weight and if I set that qualifier aside I'm not so bad.  When my funeral comes I do not think anyone will get up and describe me by my weight.  It's not that important.

I stopped trying to lose weight.  I don't ever go on diets.  I DO continually try to eat better for my health.  I recognize that I am morbidly obese which means that someday I will die and my weight will have a great deal to do with why.  I went back to Curves too.  But again to strengthen my health not to lose weight.

God created me.  He didn't make junk so to speak badly about myself is mocking Him.  I know my picture is in his wallet.  Maybe in heaven my exterior is the perfect exterior.  It's only in this world that we put "Twiggy's" on pedastels,  I am as good as any skinny little model in my own way.

I can now laugh about being fluffy, just like I can tease about my squinty smiling eyes, or my T-Rex arms.  It's all part of who I am.  God loves me, my family loves me, my friends love me.  They do not care what package I am in and neither do I.

I used to describe that my greatest challenge was my weight, now it's one of my greatest gifts because I had to learn to love me in spite of it.

So my weight problems are a combination of:  genetics, mixed messages from home and in the world, trying to be something I'm not, way way way too much dieting, and self hate.  I love me all 200 pounds of me.  Wish I had learned it back when I was 16.

We are all divine creatures no matter what color skin,. eye shapes, height, weight, strong or weak.  God created us!