Friday, April 30, 2010


About two weeks ago – okay, maybe three – I put one of those car fresheners in our 15-passenger family van.

It was to fragrance the air of the unmistakable smell of active, energetic children.

I think the packaging said that the freshener is supposed to last SEVEN weeks.

Here we are three weeks into it and all I have is this yellow tree decoration hanging in my van because no yummy vanilla smell exists at all.

In fact, I am afraid to put a name to the fragrance it is now emitting!


Because my children have sniffed every. single. bit. of the good, sweet air out of it!


Every time we get in or out of the van, they have to take a little sniff.

Sniff. Sniff.

Sniff. Sniff.

And now our van is back to smelling like a locker room.

Because, as you well know, I have SEVEN boys and ONE girl and adding that up equals SMELLY VAN!

Which makes me deliriously aware of what people may think if, by chance, they risk their very lives to ride in our family van.

Not like they would.

But maybe they would.

And if they do, then they will know how much our family s.t.i.n.k.s.

Stinks to High Heaven.

Which made me remember a story told by a Relief Society president.

She was a high school teacher.

Well, she was more than JUST a high school teacher. She was the Home Study teacher – you know the one who oversaw the students who school from home.

Usually because of emotional or social problems or teenage pregnancy.

Things like that.

She would go and make home visits regularly to these students to give assignments and collect the ones that were due.

Those visits helped her to assess each student’s progress, as well as their home environment.

But there was one student who didn’t want her coming into his house.

So she would meet him at the school or in his front yard to give testing or check up on him.

She found out that this student was a young man who recently began to go back to Church and had recently enrolled in seminary - the only class on campus he took.

He was trying to live what he was being taught in those classes.

He was trying to be worthy to use the priesthood he had been given.

And after many months this student finally told his teacher why he didn’t want her to go into his home.

It was because his mom smoked!

And he was so extremely self-conscious of it!

For the smell covered everything.

It covered him!

Which made attending seminary everyday and Church every week so difficult and embarrassing.

And so to his Home Study teacher, in whom he could confide, he said, “I am so afraid people will smell the smoke on me think that I stink!”

To which this wonderful woman – my Relief Society President – responded, “You know, if each sin had a smell, none of us would smell nice. In fact, ALL of us would stink!”

So today, when I saw that overdue air freshener dangling in my van, I was reminded of how much I stink.

And why I have a Savior.

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