Wednesday, March 23, 2011

My Husband Always Brings Me Roses

(But they're rarely from the florist)

The first part of this is from an article in the Ensign back in 1988. It captures what I consider to be one of my greatest blessings in life -- the way my husband showers me with roses. You should be jealous, because I married one of those men who gives me flowers DAILY!"

"Growing up as an incurable romantic, I was certain that when Prince Charming came along on his white charger, his arms would be filled with red roses. My tall, dark, and handsome prince would bow deeply, then shower me with the roses before sweeping me away on his trusty steed.

"Indeed, I did find my prince. He was tall, dark, and handsome. But I should have recognized some flaws in my plan when his white charger turned out to be an Arabian bay mare. At first, I was so caught up in the excitement of love and marriage that I completely forgot the roses. Later, though, as daily routine dulled some of the excitement, I began to wonder about the armloads of roses I’d been expecting. Somehow, they kept eluding me.

"True, at the births of our first three babies, thanks to some broad hints dropped throughout each pregnancy, he had remembered the roses—one dozen long-stemmed beauties each time. Then, with number four, his practical nature finally got the best of him, and he presented me with—a cactus! It was a big, beautiful cactus—but still I longed for roses.

"Several completely flowerless years passed. Then, as I was about to resign myself to a life without roses, a wonderful thing happened. I began to see that roses are where you find them, and they don’t always have red velvet petals or long green stems. This prince of mine had been showering me with roses all along. I had just failed to notice.

"When I was young, I foolishly prayed for a life filled with romance. But a wise Heavenly Father has blessed me with something far richer—a life filled with genuine love.

"I thank my Heavenly Father, too, for giving me the maturity to recognize roses where I find them. Support, kindness, thoughtfulness, and generosity may not be the kinds of roses I dreamed of as a romantic young girl, but as I discover and treasure each blossom, I become more grateful for this strong, kind, and gentle Prince Charming who showers me each day with roses.

"One night, I was awakened by the sounds of a sick child in the room across the hall. I called to him, warning him to hurry to the bathroom. But down the hall, I could hear undeniably that he had not been successful. I hurried to his rescue and helped him bathe and change clothes. When I returned our child to bed, I found my prince on his hands and knees, scrubbing the hall carpet. It was only after we had finished cleaning the carpet and had returned to bed that I realized what a lovely rose my husband had just given me.

"Since then, I have found roses everywhere. I love to jog, but my prince doesn’t share my enthusiasm. Still, he will take me miles out of his way to find a new route. Then he tends the children until I return home. It was also my nonathletic prince who gave me my beautiful new running suit.

"I see his roses in everyday loyalty. He hauls my paraphernalia to every Relief Society meeting I conduct. I won’t say he has never complained, but there is always a goodnatured, lighthearted feeling in his teasing. This bouquet of support is one of lasting beauty.

"When my father passed away, my prince again was there, with perhaps his finest rose. My mother was left with a big home and yard, as well as the everyday problems of living alone. My husband took responsibility for two households without a second’s hesitation. And he has done it in such a sensitive way that my mother feels his sincere love and is not uncomfortable or embarrassed by his care. Could any other rose have smelled as sweet?"

This article was written 23 years ago, but I found it a few years later. It was after a time when I had felt so successful in our marriage (all 9 years of it). I was working and had finally figured out the right way to drop the right hint with the right amount of longingness to have my husband send flowers to me at my work for some special occasion. (sadly, I can't even remember which one now) They were gorgeous! I was tickled that everyone finally knew the I had an amazing Prince Charming of my own. 

Then along came this article, and I found myself feeling like such a shallow person.  It had such an impact on my life, and my marriage. It was 1995, I was working full-time, teaching early morning seminary, and had two young children. I had just gotten a grand idea of teaching 3 Nephi 11 in seminary via a multi media experience - long before true multi-media resources were easily available (unless you're married to Mark Carlile). I remember it was midnight when we went to my classroom at church to set up tape decks, speakers, two vcr's, a projection unit (the giant beast kind), window coverings, mini lights, screens, etc. It took over 3 hours to set it up and make everything work right. 

Gratefully, every single element contributed to a very very moving teaching/learning experience the next day. It went exactly as I'd envisioned it. Parents even commented on how that spiritual experience had lingered with their child for a long time afterwards. 

At 7am Mark arrived to take everything down (going into work late), while I ran home to take kids to their sitter, and then off to work. That night, and for a few nights afterward, he spent hours putting all the 'gear' we'd used away.

It was about a week later when I came across the article above. I read it, and then I just sat there and cried. I realized that I didn't know a single other person who had a husband who would do what mine had just done for me. I don't mean who 'could' do that. I mean, who 'would' do that. And not complain, or roll his eyes, or do anything but give support and help just because he knew how much it meant to me to be able to carry out a vision of mine.

Then I sadly remembered how important I had thought it was to be one of those women who got roses at work. And why? To 'prove' to others that I had my own Prince Charming. Really? Talk about feeling shallow, and immature, and ungrateful. And so I cried some more.

I can't begin to list the ways my husband showers me with flowers. As my helpmeet. As our children's father. As my partner and 'crew' behind all I want to do. In the way he supports me in my callings (most of which I literally could not have done without him). And how he encourages me to get away at times to Women's Conference, or Girls Camp, or Ed Week, or with friends to be renewed & to take care of 'me'. How he builds with his own hands and talent all the many things I get visions of in our home. How he makes my crazy ideas turn into reality. How he never never NEVER complains, or speaks to me in any way but encouraging and supportive.  

If I never see another flower in a vase - I will still forever know I have found my Prince Charming.

Sounds kind of funny coming from an almost 50 year-old, but of all my young girl dreams, this one has, without a doubt, come true!


Can I just complain...sort of...for a minute?  I have tried and tried to find a blog-to-book company that can print just my family awards in a hard-cover book. We have done family awards since 2002 and I have used the same layout/format every single year.

When I started blogging, I really wanted a place to share this weekly chronicle of our lives, and especially looked forward to being able to print them annually, as our family journal. So I commited to post all of our awards last year - even though many were late, I remained diligently commited to finishing - because the end result was so worth it to me. I was ecstatic when I was done, but now I can't find a single company who can print them in the layout I want and have always used, with one week's worth of awards per page. I am so .... fill in the blank ... sad, frustrated, disappointed, bummed.  I have spent so many (too many) hours trying to find a solution, with no success.

Now I have to decide if blogging is the way to continue sharing our weekly family awards. I want it to be. But that most likely means I will have to change the way I create them.  Do I abandon the one page per week printout book I keep at home, that the kids can look through? I hope not - because Cole looks back through them all the time.

But then again - to just use the blog format alone would save SO much time. It's pretty tedious to convert my original award into a format that i can post here on our blog.'s tradition. One we've had since just after Cole was born.  I don't like messing with tradition.  But i may just have to swallow hard and make a change (boo hoo).

Sunday, February 27, 2011

The Moulding Process

A few months ago after sharing a sweet experience with the young adults in an Institute class, I sat thinking about what had just happened. I remembered clearly the overwhelmed and inadequate feelings I had when I received the calling to teach Institute. Yet that night, a few months ago, I felt like every single thing went right.  I loved whenever I had that feeling after hours and hours of preparation. In the more than three and a half years I taught Institute, the young adults and I shared some incredible spiritual and learning experiences together. And though not every lesson went like that, by and large I could pretty much count on having a spiritual experience with them every Tuesday night while discussing the teachings and applications of the Gospel.

It was a privilege to serve them, to learn from their insight, and to be a part of their lives. I felt the Spirit in abundance in that calling. Often the Lord would tell me exactly who needed to hear what on a certain night, and so that is the lesson I would prepare. So many of them needed a clearer understanding of the Atonement, and so, as a result of studying it, literally for years as part of that calling, I was personally blessed to come away with such a rich and truly deep understanding of the Atonement myself - in ways I had barely scratched the surface of understanding previously. 

Then I thought back to the first calling I had as a teacher in church. I was a very young adult and I was called to teach Spiritual Living in Relief Society in Florida, and I was BAD! It was a struggle/fail experience almost every time. I remember thinking, "Surely I'll never be called to teach again."

Funny how one of my primary self identities now is that of being a teacher. I LOVE teaching! (something I never dreamed I'd hear myself say...ever!)  Teaching comes very naturally to me now on many levels. Lessons at church. Music at school. Speaking in church. Substitute teaching as employment.  I must concede that the Lord was wise to call me to do something I knew nothing about - as part of my moulding process - to help me discover who He knew I could be, and become who I needed to be to fulfill the mission I was sent to earth to accomplish. 

I think back to who I was before having all the many callings I have had in my life. Each one has molded me in an important way. Each one has contributed to who I am today. And I like this "me" much better than the "me" I was before those moulding opportunites.  If you stripped away who I have become because of my callings, I would be so unhappy and undeveloped as that person.
Isn't that a common occurance in the cycle of callings in our lives? We go in unlearned and inexperienced, and we come out the other end of a calling having 'mastered' it (except, of course, when I taught RS!) and having become a person more closely resembling our better eternal selves as a result.

I have no idea why I have the new calling that I do. When I was called I instantly flooded the Bishop's office with tears - a lot of them! I think he was caught a bit off guard. I know I sure was.  But I submit and commit myself to the Lord's service, and to the service of His children, knowing I will probably have a few more notches carved in my eternal growth chart before all is said and done.  And I will thank Him for it. This I am sure of.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

6 feb awards

30 jan awards

23 jan awards

16 jan awards

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

9 jan awards

2 jan awards

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Carliles are...revision number ? (I lost count!)

Brittany and I had a long talk about our Carlile Family Identity last night and decided a couple things were still missing. Only problem to add one of them in without sounding bratty.  I mean, really? "Carliles Get What They Want"...nope, makes me cringe! And yet we talked about how they've always been taught to go after things the things they want. Talk to the manager, principal, teacher, director. Collect your thoughts. Present your plan. Lobby your cause to the people who can make it happen. ASK. Not in a bratty or entitled way, but with confidence, respect - and earnestness.  

It happened again this week - a little thing, but not really. Mark gives his daughters flowers on Valentines Day. He always has. He wants them to know that he is their #1 Valentine - until their Eternal Valentine comes along.

Well, lets just say a certain Provo florist didn't exactly deliver Jenni and Brittany's flowers, but instead, left Mark a message that they'd made an attempt to deliver them, but since no one was home they left a tag letting them know they could come pick them up at their convenience. REALLY? You're joking, right? I said "Give me their number."   (Yes, I could hear him rolling his eyes) I called the florist and explained that one daughter had no car, the other gets home later in the evening, and that the "pick up" option defeated the sweet treasure of having your Daddy have flowers delivered to you from three states away, and by the time they could get them - Valentines Day would be over. You certainly wouldn't expect a wife, girlfriend or fiance to "come and get them", and this really should be no different. They explained that the cold weather precluded them from leaving flowers when no one is home, but I explained (which the delivery person had to have known) that they live in enclosed corridored condos, and I gave them permission to leave them...which, by the way, they promptly returned to do.  See. Lobby your cause. Get results.

Jenni will soon enjoy the fruits of going after what she wants in bigger way. She will soon finish up her student teaching in 4th grade. Her first choice for her next placement was in the Kindergarten on the BYU campus, but almost a year ago she was told that it was their policy to not allow student teaching placements there. She had several good reasons why she wanted that placement, and, as Carliles do, she went for it anyway. She identified reasons she felt it would be a good placement, lobbied her cause to the people who set the policies, heard thru the grapevine that they might consider it, and then waited....for MONTHS.  Well, she texted me this week that her second student teaching placement would in fact be in the BYU Kindergarten!! It really was against the odds, but see...that's what Carliles do. We ask & lobby our cause. I texted her back..."Way to go for what you want...and get it!

That's it! ...Carliles Get What They Want...Carliles Go After What They Want! (Doesn't sound too bratty, does it?)  I have updated our list in the last post to include it...and a couple more. The other two were pretty important to us as well. See if you can find them. This is definitely a 'work in progress', but well worth the effort.

I love being a Carlile. I love having a family identity! And most of all - I love that our children are clear on what that identity is!