Monday, July 28, 2014

Richard and Linda Eyres' New Book: The Turning

Richard and Linda Eyre are like a second set of parents to me.

About 15 years ago, I knew them only through their books (which are amazing), but over the past seven years, as I have been running Power of Moms with their oldest daughter, Saren, I have had the chance to really get to know them.

And if there is one thing they absolutely stand for, it is the family.

Well, today is the first day of the launch campaign for their most recent book--The Turning--and I just ordered my copy on Amazon.

If you'd like to learn more about their book or join their book launch team, simply click here!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

EFY "Power of One" Class

Especially for Youth (from this point on written as EFY) is a conference organized by a group of amazing individuals at BYU for youth between the ages of 14 and 18. There are sessions held all over the U.S. (and maybe the world...I'm not sure), and I feel so grateful to have had the chance to be an EFY teacher since 2008.

I first attended EFY when I was 17, and it was honestly a life-changing experience for me.

To dedicate a whole week to spiritual growth and enjoy great friendships with like-minded individuals was empowering, and I always had this secret wish to get to teach there.

Well, back in 2007, our friend John Hilton--who has been involved in EFY for years--came to visit, and he said, "You know, April, there aren't a lot of mothers teaching at EFY. Why don't you apply?"

I'd never even considered the idea before. I didn't even know I could apply. For some reason, I had assumed teachers were chosen by invitation only.

But that little idea took root, and within a couple of months, my application was in.  (There's a funny story that goes with this about how I had to write out my application in little bursts of time because I was nursing Spencer at the time, and it was a period of my life where I rarely changed out of my pajamas...but I did eventually get my application in, and I was thrilled to be accepted.)

This is the Monday evening gathering at the session of EFY I attended this month:

And, really, what made this extra special was having my 14-year-old daughter, Alia, with me this time. In the past, I've gone alone, and it was 100 times better to have Alia there. She came to every class and even helped with one of my classes.  Love her.

Here's my "teacher view" of one of my classes (so fun that the room they assigned me is the EXACT room where Eric and I met 16 years ago).

And just in case any of you are wondering what kinds of things we teach in these classes, I recorded my "Power of One" class and thought I'd include the link here.  (You can click here or on the image below to watch it...)

I'm not sure if my schedule is going to make it possible for me to go back to EFY again, but I'll keep my fingers crossed. It is a fantastic experience, and I feel blessed to have been a part of it.

With love,

Friday, July 25, 2014

Introduction to the Book I Need to Write

Dear Friends,

I've been thinking about you a lot lately. I don't know most of you personally, but for those who do comment here on this blog, I feel such a close kinship with you.

In fact, I keep feeling the desire to write here more often--just so I will have the chance to interact with you and learn from your wisdom.

It's amazing how we can gather together online, even when we're living our separate lives in different places around the world. This is a true miracle to me.

Right now I'm in the middle of our family's bustling summer activities.

We got back a couple of hours ago from a pool day with some friends, I just completed some computer work, and I'm heading downstairs in a few minutes to make snacks for my children and tidy the kitchen a bit.

But my heart has been full these past couple of weeks as I've been thinking about the book I need to write this year.

And since everything is quiet right now and the impression to type it here is coming strong, I decided I better pay attention to these feelings.

So here we go...the first draft of the introduction to my book:


My mom is currently in the last stages of Alzheimer's. It started a few years ago when she began to forget minor details--like where she put her phone or who had come to visit her that day. Then she started forgetting major things, like how to drive herself home or which bank held all the money she and my dad had saved.

I still remember the first day she couldn't recall the names of all her children--because my name was one that she'd forgotten. And now, as I write, she is in bed full time, with hospice care coming in three days a week because her legs have forgotten how to stand.

With millions of people suffering from Alzheimer's, our situation isn't entirely unique, but I have felt a consistent impression to write this book, and I'd like to explain the "why" a little bit more.

A couple of years ago, I wrote an article for my Power of Moms website called "Your Children Want YOU!" That article, which was read by more than two million people, included the first public mention of my mom's memory loss (we didn't know then that it was Alzheimer's).

Since that time, as I have continued to write about our family's experiences and the powerful lessons my mom taught me, I've discovered that the story of her life isn't something I can keep to myself. People who have similar feelings of adoration for their mothers seem to want someone to put words to what they feel. And people who have painful memories of their mothers want to know how they can break the cycle in their own families. (These are brave, beautiful souls.)

So an idea came to me to write a follow-up book--this book--and share the stories that illustrate how my mom exemplified deliberate motherhood and how I am trying so hard to be like her.

As my mom's health slowly declined, I decided to write a chapter at a time and read it to her during my weekly visits.

But as her decline became more rapid, I stopped writing. I felt like I didn't have time and that maybe I should wait until she goes back to God. And then I can write.

But on a recent visit to my mother's bedside, the instructions came clearly:

April, you need to make this record. There is time for you to write. It will be a gift for you to read it to her. And even though she may appear not to know what you are reading, she will know. And she will feel the love you have for her. And she will see clearly that her work in this life has been worth it.

So I am writing--imperfectly at best--because I don't think it is possible to adequately capture the immense love I feel for my mother and for her lasting influence on my life.

But I do what I feel the Lord wants me to do, and I hope through this process, these stories that are so close to my heart will be helpful to you, as well.

With love,

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Recording the Ordinary

We just got home tonight after traveling for two weeks as a family. (It feels so great to be in our own little place again!)

Grace had a basketball camp at BYU the first week, and Alia and I attended a conference called "Especially for Youth" the second week (I was a teacher, and she was a participant), 

and in the midst of all that, we spent lots of time with family and friends, attended Eric's high school reunion, and simply enjoyed the beauty of the mountains, lakes, and rivers in Utah.

I don't typically write up vacation details on this blog (because I worry about leaving anyone or anything out), and I always feel like I need to write about "important" things so I don't waste the time of anyone who happens to stop by and read this, but tonight I had the feeling that I need to start recording more of the ordinary (because someday the details of this "ordinary" life might mean more to me than I know).

So here's what happened today:

- We had a ping pong tournament in my sister's basement:

- Then the cousins ran down the street and chased our car while we all waved goodbye.

- We drove for 10 hours to get home--singing our favorite songs for at least three of those hours, reading books and watching movies for a few more hours, stopping for lunch at Cafe Rio, and (of course) Eric let me take a great nap. He's so good to me.

- We also had a wonderful talk on the drive and read through the "Entertainment and Media" section of a little pamphlet from church called "For the Strength of Youth." (You can google it if you want to see what it says.) We talked about how media can be fantastic for helping us learn, communicate, and become better people. And we discussed how easy it can be to get distracted by screens and waste precious time. Today was also the first day I really talked with Spencer about what pornography is. He's only six, but I wanted to start the dialogue now so that he will know which things are appropriate and which things are not.

- I read on Facebook today about a friend of a friend's whose husband of 16 years died in a car accident, and how she and her six children have been so blessed and cared for during this traumatic time. (I can't even imagine...)

I held Eric's hand tight during the whole rest of the drive and thought deeply about how I want to live every day with no regrets--making sure my family members feel my love and doing everything I can to listen to God and be an instrument in His hands. I want to be totally ready to go whenever it is my time.

Yes, it's easy to get caught up in the insignificant details of life, and yes, I am anxious to get our garage organized and our bedroom painted.

But when I really think about what's most important, it's the people I love and the work God wants me to do. (Doesn't that feel so simple?)

So that's my record for now. Hope all of you who are reading this are feeling strong and supported today. I wish we could all just sit around and really talk at the end of each night, but for now, I invite you to share any thoughts you've been having lately, and I will just consider this the next best thing! 

With love,

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