Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Strong Woman Spotlight #6

Welcome to spotlight #6! Here is where I highlight one woman I know to be a "strong woman". I believe we are here to learn from one another and be strengthened, so what better way to both learn from and celebrate a beautiful friend than a special blog post dedicated to her? I'll ask questions that I personally want to know, as well as questions I think others might be inspired by.

Serene is probably one of the funniest gals that I have ever read.  Although I have not met her in person, I have been so impressed by her take on life (perhaps because it is a REAL take on life.)  Her attitude screams imperfection..and truly..what better example of womanhood is there?  I truly adore her.  And her love for chocolate.  So break out the m&m's that are hidden in the freezer, pull up a chair (or pull it up closer) and let's get to know this awesome gal.

You have 4 children under the age of 5. Was that on purpose? (I told her I was kidding with this question but she answered anyway;)   Okay honestly, ummm... no, no it wasn't. Haha. If you had told me when I first got married that this is how things would go, I may have just hiked up my wedding dress to make the running away easier!

However, that being said, with three out of the four kids, I had felt very, very strongly that we needed to stop prevention. But I can honestly say I never expected to get pregnant so quickly each time. It was Jacob, baby three that really threw us for a loop!

After baby two, I was ready for a break! I was really struggling with the adjustment and dealing with some postpartum depression. I didn't have it in my head at all that we'd have another one anytime soon.  So, when Joseph was only five months old, I called up my husband at work, sobbing, to tell him I was pregnant again. I didn't think I could do it!

Number three baby was born in May and my oldest didn't turn three until August.

Baby number four WAS on purpose though. We felt VERY strongly that she needed to come when she did.

And now? I wouldn't have it any other way! Usually... most of the time.... :D

How has this challenge (and of course, blessing) made you stronger?
I really think children have a way of showing you what your strengths and weaknesses are. Although admittedly, sometimes it feels like they ONLY bring out weaknesses because you get tested in ways you could never imagine! And true to female form, we tend to demand perfection in ourselves and notice only where we fail.

But it has forced me to stay aware of my priorities, of who I am and what I can do. It has taught me to make sacrifices, all while finding ways to take care of myself so that I can be a good mom. These things in and of itself I think have made me stronger.

You are an artist. How do you incorporate that talent and passion into your busy every day life?   Of the four kids, only the youngest still takes naps. *sniff sniff* So when she goes down, I will sometimes put on a movie for the kids (since we don't do television) and call it "quiet time." This gives me an hour or two to get some work done. Otherwise, I always have to do it when the kids are in bed.

Every once in a while, if I'm feeling either ambitious or just plain crazy, I will move all my stuff to the kitchen and let the kids craft or draw next to me. It's just more tricky now that my 18 month old can climb everything.

What is your most embarrassing moment?
Hmmm... let's see.
The time I fell down the stairs and quite literally landed at some one's feet at college? Nah.
The time I accidentally walked into the men's room that also had showers in it? Eh... no.
Ooh, I've got it!
I was talking to a man from another ward, one I hardly knew, who was holding his toddler. Suddenly the toddler leaned forward, poked me right in the chest (aka boob) and said, "ball?"
I think I could have died on the spot.
Come to think of it, that happened another time right after I had a baby and was subbing for nursery. Only it was in front of a young couple.

What is your favorite part of day?
Whichever part of the day involves children who play well together, eating chocolate, or a husband who pushes me against the wall and kisses the mess away.

Your blog is very funny because you turn the every day mommy challenges into humor. How has this concept been helpful in your role as a mother and wife?
Perhaps I will get laughed at for saying this, but it wouldn't be the first time so, here it goes. There have been times when I've walked up on a huge mess or something really frustrating, and have quite literally stopped myself from reacting in anger as I think to myself "*sigh* well, at least this will make for a funny post!"

So I guess you could say blogging has made me a better mom! LOL! Plus, when I'm writing something awful in a humorous way, I can't help but see the actual humor in the situation. It makes me feel better and I can remember it next time one of my kids dunks all my curling irons in the toilet.

What do you love to do in your spare time?
Spare time? Um, I'm sorry, I don't think I know what that means.

Just kidding. When I do get a minute to myself, I love to read, browse used bookstores, craft, browse craft stores, draw, make flower arrangements, make treats, eat chocolate, and if I had a lot of money, I would have to add shopping to that list. But since I don't, well, we might as well just scratch that last one.

What has been the biggest challenge that you have faced and how did you face/overcome it?  Well, I was going to say it was when my baby girl had to have cranial reconstructive surgery last year, but in all honestly, I would have to say my marriage.


Did I actually just say that!? Sorry, did someone in the audience just faint? Well, it's true.

The first three years were tough to say the least. There were several times when we both wanted out. Not that either one of us had any serious problems or anything like that. In fact, I can honestly say that we've never even yelled at each other.

My husband is a great man. We just turned out to be very different than we expected, from very different backgrounds. And most of all, we didn't know how to communicate. I guess you could even say our "love languages" are completely different from each other!
By about five years we were finally figuring each other out, changing and growing together. And now, at seven years, things are really good. Not perfect by any means, we still have our struggles to be sure, but I can honestly say, things are good.

It took a whole lot of prayer, fasting, crying, talking, and mostly, willing to and trying to work hard together. We never gave up, even when we wanted to.

How do you keep up the 'spice' in your marriage?
Oh ummm... well, I often tease my husband that he was born without a romantic bone so this is a tough one. Haha.

Growing up in a family of eight children, I remember my parents going out on a date night almost EVERY Friday night. My mom had always told me that having a date night is essential to having a good marriage because it gets you away from the stress of kids, work, and anything else that is wearing in your daily life. It gives you a chance to stay in touch with each other as a couple, to keep the romance alive!

I can honestly say that though we are not perfect at it, during the times when we do try and have a weekly date night, things have been better between us.

What motivates you?
Dangle a piece of chocolate in front of me and I'll do anything.

Just kidding... mostly.  My dad always taught me that "whatever man can conceive, he can achieve". There are many things in this life that I want to accomplish, that I want to be.
But my faith is motivates me to keep trying, to never give up, knowing there are eternal consequences to my actions. My family motivates me to be just a little bit better everyday and to try and achieve my best self. My blog motivates me keep a good perspective on life.

What is the most important quality that you seek for in others?
Kind Honesty. I want people to be real and not hide behind a fake persona of who they think people want them to be. But there's no need to be mean or harsh. I think being honest, while being kind, is a real talent and should be more sought after.

What advice would you give to all mothers?
I'm not sure I qualify as someone who should give advise but, first, I would say that it's okay to have a secret stash of candy. It just is, okay?

And second, every mother on the face of the planet, has made mistakes. We've all lost it at one time or another and done things we wish we could take back. But hind sight can be a terrible thing if you let. Just try a little bit every day, to be just a little bit better.

Oh, one last thing, pray for help as a parent. Every. Single. Morning.

Oh, wait... last thing for real this time. Cute shoes. It makes church with toddlers barable, because whenever you have to walk out of a meeting for the gazillionth time with screaming or stinky children, you'll feel confident in your cute shoes!
Just sayin'.


Unknown said...

I love this. I love the whole idea of your spotlight. Perfect.

And secretly I have been wondering about all those young babies so fast :)

Pray for help every single morning. That's what I need to hear after a day like today. Thanks Serene!

Love it!

Serene is my name, not my life! said...

Oh wow, I sure wrote a lot didn't I?

Anyway, I had a blst doing this and am super honored.

Thanks again!!

Jenny P. said...

I love Serene! So glad to read all about her. And glad to find this blog, because it highlighted her. Now I have another great one to read!

Jocelyn Christensen said...

Serene - You are wonderful. Love your kind honesty. I've always put a lot of stock in that quality, but now I have an actual name for it! Nice spotlight! Very very cool!

CB said...

Great interview. I just found Serene's blog not too long ago - she is quite the woman with so many little ones! I think she's adorable and a great example!!

P.S. I like your blog too - I'm your newest follower!!

Happy DAY - Cherie :-D

TisforTonya said...

I've got the cute shoes... I should be able to make it through church... oh wait, I suppose my new Converse don't count for church...

love the honesty, love serene :)

Amy said...

I've never met Serene either but I adore her!! She truly is the most hilarious person in the blogosphere!
It was great to get to know more about her.

And I'm glad she introduced me to your blog, I'll be back!

Susan Anderson said...

What fun this post was! And you're right, Serene is GREAT.


Jessica said...

Love this! Serene is great. I really appreciate your honesty -especially about marriage. People say marriage is hard work, but rarely say it's so hard you will want to quit at points. Thanks!

Welcome to the Garden of Egan said...

Very cute!!!! I am enjoying my tour around your blog!

See Mom Smile said...

Serene is one of my favorite moms too because she keeps it real. And she likes chocolate. And she is as cute in person as on her blog.

Larsen said...

I LOVE SERENE!!! She is indeed the best!

Kristie said...

I totally connected with what you said about marriage, it is almost verbatim my experience, and at around 7 years, I realized we were through it -and we were finally good, really good.I think it's valuable advice to tell a person considering marriage that there will be a point when you'll wish there was a back door, so be prepared for that time and committed to push through it. The reward is huge. Anyway, i loved your wit and wisdom, thanks for sharing, Serene.
(and Carrie, for giving her the platform)

Braden Bell said...

Good for you, Carrie and Serene. I really think it is important that those of us who believe in the institution of marriage be honest about it. It is WONDERFUL and like all good things, it is very, very difficult. There's a way to be honest and positive. Great job, both of you!

Mama Smith said...

Do I get a "gold star" in my book of have a child turn out so "adjusted"??? (smile) Sarah "Serene" was the kind of child every mother dreams to be able to raise up...She made me look like I was a "really good mother"...When in reality, she...had a GREAT SPIRIT from the very beginning! LOVE YOU!!!!!

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