Thursday, January 28, 2010

Thankful Thursday

I'm sure many you are tired of reading about how thankful I am for my family. But family is such a huge aspect of life, and mine is so awesome, that you'll just have to take it when I gush.

I am so thankful for my family. Last week I watched our wedding video and it brought out all these big lovey feelings:) And it's lasted for days! I have an aunt who passed away three years ago. In the video, most of the shots with her in it you can only see her from behind, or she's bent over; rarely do you see all of her because she and another aunt were taking care of my dress and making sure it was safe from the snow outside. The first shot you see of her is the top of her head behind me taking care of my train. Made me cry just seeing the top of her head. Because for me, it represented all the behind the scenes things she did for us all; and I miss her.

I can't watch the wedding video without my love for Bret growing bigger. I sure do love my husband!

And every time I watch it I can't believe how I got so lucky to be born into such an amazing family.

Now my younger brother is engaged and I can't wait to be in the temple with everyone when he gets married and gives me another sister:)

Families are wonderful. I will love mine forever and ever.

What are you thankful for today?

Monday, January 25, 2010

If only...


But actually, who I really miss is not only forty-one presidents past, but long dead.

I'm reading a biography of Thomas Jefferson and I would very much like for him to be President right about now.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Walking to church

Does it get any sweeter? I think not:)

Kudos to you, Judge

"A judge ruled Friday that Roman Polanski must return to the U.S...."in defense of the integrity of the justice system, he needs to surrender."" (AP)

Everyone is very focused on Polanski's crime involving the 13 year old (understandably so), but I haven't heard any mention of consequences for fleeing the country and avoiding arrest. Is he going to face any repercussions for that?!?

For pity's sake, c'mon back Polanski and own up to what you did. Quit with the appeals and the delays.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Thankful Thursday

I'm in a weird mood. I was all but sickened yesterday after finding out something I would rather have remained ignorant about. I felt so gross because of it that I turned on some hymns for a couple hours to try to keep from blubbering in front of my kids. I don't know how to tell you what I discovered without ruining someone else's blissful ignorance or giving you that roadkill feeling of "I just have to know." I'll just say it was about abortion and leave it there. How's that?

Today, after reading just a few sentences of junk about homosexual marriage, I've come to a conclusion that I reach every so often- this world is a sick place and I'm grateful to not be a big part of it. I am so thankful to be a stay at home mom for so many reasons. One of those reasons is that I can be in and focus on creating and maintaining this place called home. A place separate from the ways of the world, where my family and I can feel safe in our beliefs and enjoy a higher spirit than we find most everywhere else. A happy place. A place full of love. A safe haven. A refuge from the storm.

Just a few weeks ago I learned that the f-bomb is dropped in civilized society more than I ever imagined and that my husband has to hear it ALL the time at work. What the heck?!

I don't want to live in a world where abortion is commonplace. I don't want to live in a world full of homosexuality and promiscuity. I don't want to live in a world where even and especially the well educated and civilized swear like sailors.

But here I am. And I'm here for a reason. I'm so grateful to be a stay at home mom and I'm able to stay away from most of the junk out there. I'm thankful for the opportunity to be my sons' most seen example, even though that responsibility is often daunting. Though evil is creeping into every crevice of society, I'm grateful that there is still so much good in the world.

Haiti was hit hard and so many are rushing to their relief. Sunshine. A little lost boy in the grocery store was seen safely to the service desk by at least five of adults. Strangers still smile at each other. The rally of friends and support given when a loved one dies. Phone calls. Thank yous.

The light of Christ still shines through so many.

What are you thankful for today?

Patience is a virtue

Al and Goose have figured out how to manipulate toys to turn lights on and off.

I had hoped to avoid this trying ordeal for a long time yet.

The light going off when I'm working on something.

On. Off. On. Off. On. Off.

It drives me batty.

And it will take at least 200 variations of "don't play with the lights/don't touch/leave the lights alone-if it's on leave it on, if it's off leave it off/no no no" and 50 time outs before it finally sticks enough to only subject me to the occasional light change.

Patience. Patience. Patience.

(If you're here for Thankful Thursday, don't worry. It's coming later:))

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Sometimes, I do know what I'm talking about

Tonight at dinner, my four year old didn't want to eat part of his meal. He kept asking me to put ketchup on it so it would taste better. I kept telling him that ketchup would make it taste pretty gross and it would taste best by itself. After the fifth, "Mommy, will you pleeeease put ketchup on this so I can eat it?" I did.

A couple bites later he turned to me and said in a voice of disbelief and with a look of disgust, "Mom...I think you were right. Ketchup makes it taste more yucky."

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Strange stranger comments

Every once in a while, I get a comment from a stranger that just baffles me.

Like people asking me whether my boys are triplets. That one is happening more often now that my twins look bigger in their stroller. I can understand it then, but when they're all walking together and there is such a stark difference in height and ability I'm quite confused by that one.

Or there's the classic, "You got enough kids there?" All I can do is shake my head in disbelief at that one.

And then there's this week's installment. A woman and I approached an elevator from opposite directions. I entered the elevator first, she followed and said, "Three boys?!?" I replied in the affirmative. She then said, "What were you thinking?!?"

I wondered whether she was asking about why in the world I had three children or why they were all boys (neither of which I had control over) while I turned the stroller around so Al and Goose didn't have to stare at the wall.

She saw that the boys in the stroller were obviously twins and said, "Oh. I see." I understood her to mean by that that she was a member of the two-or-less-children-only camp and that she realized I couldn't help having three since the last two came at the same time.

But then she threw this out this gem that has really got me confused: "I have four boys of my own."


Thursday, January 14, 2010

Thankful Thursday

Oh, Thursday. Why do you come so quickly sometimes and so slowly at others? I can't keep up with such erratic behavior.

Today I am grateful for family and all the joys mine brings to me. I have a husband who stands with me through thick and thin, makes me stronger, and brings smiles to my face without even being with me. My sons are some of the sweetest human beings on the planet and I hope I can nurture that quality so it hangs around long after they become aware of the not so sweet things this world has to offer. I have a wonderful extended family that continues to grow and I find incredible joy with each of them.

I am reminded of this passage from The Family: A Proclamation to the World:

"The family is ordained of God. Marriage between man and woman is essential to His eternal plan. Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity. Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities."

The joy I have in my family, the joy I see in other families, and seeing how founding family life on the teachings of Jesus Christ brings immense joy in families are all testimonies to me that there is a God.

I am thankful for the family institution and all the blessings God gives us through it.

What are you thankful for today?

P.S. I'm also thankful for antibiotics today:)

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Thankful Thursday

This lovely busy Thursday I pause to think about how grateful I am for the temple and for nature. I was able to take my boys to the zoo today and then go to the temple with Bret this evening. Sure it was cold at the zoo, but it was so peaceful! There were birds chirping. I love the sound of birds singing (unless it's extremely early in the morning)!

The peaceful trip to the zoo to enjoy some of God's creations and the peaceful time at the temple this evening make me so grateful that there are places on this earth where I can just enjoy the peace and beauty of God's work. Whether it's admiring creatures, enjoying the view after a hike, or participating in sacred work at the temple, there are many places within my reach that feel so peaceful.

It was so wonderful to have some "peace breaks" today:)

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

It's not about me me ME

Warning: this is a very very long post, but worth the time in my opinion:))

For much of last year and so far this year, I've been experiencing this on-going epiphany about life and how motherhood (and fatherhood) fits in it so nicely.

It started out when I attended a Q&A with a female leader of my church, Sister Beck. One woman asked, "What would you say to the young mothers who go to church, but don't really go to church because they're in the halls with babies?" The answer was, "At this season of your life, you don't go to church for you. You go to teach your children the patterns of the gospel."

That was a strange experience for me- hit me like a ton of bricks and at the same time lifted this huge weight off my shoulders and mind.

Last summer I was blessed with another dose of this epiphany. I was hanging from the end of my rope with my four year old and 20 month old twins. By 8 o’clock in the morning I was already continually pleading with Heavenly Father to help me be patient. I sat down on the couch with my chin on my hands and was suddenly struck by how much I was concentrating on me: I just want the screaming to stop. Why can’t I have a moment of peace? When do I get to eat breakfast? I just want to lock myself in a room and read a book today, etc. I realized (for the thousandth time- yet it hit home more this time) that motherhood is not about me. I desperately want my sons to grow up into physically, mentally, and spiritually sound men. I constantly fear that something I do or don’t do as a mother will permanently harm them in one or all of those areas.

I thought of that lesson I learned from Sister Beck again and changed it to fit the situation. I’m not living life right now for me. My life right now (and for the foreseeable future) is to live for my family. Motherhood requires sacrifice. If I was going to be making innumerable sacrifices as a mother what was the point of trying to hold on to any of my selfish (don't read that with the bad connotation, think more literally: self-ish) desires; of sometimes sacrificing and sometimes not? I might as well make this simple and give all of myself up. So I got back up and went back to work determined not to think about what I wanted. The rest of the day went so much better! The day wasn't easy in the least, but I was able to go about things more cheerfully when I wasn't thinking about what I wanted for myself or how the boys kept interrupting me.

I'm sure this is hard for some to understand. And I'm sure some people might read this and think I'm an idiot, that I've lost myself and become a prisoner to my family, and/or that I'm wasting my talents. But really, honestly, truly I feel so free when I am focused on this perspective and choosing to put my family before me. I'm happier. I'm more fulfilled. I feel like I'm being more impactful in the world and leaving a better, longer-lasting mark; whether the world, or even my family, knows it or not.

I've realized that motherhood is not about me. BUT, by losing myself in this work for my children and my husband, I will be formed into the daughter my Heavenly Father knows I can be; someone who knows how to serve and to work. The things I learn as a mother and the person I become as I experience these years of motherhood will help to serve others and shape who I am even after my children are grown. If I put all of myself into this work, I am much more likely to get what I want more than anything else- an eternal family.

The most recent part of this epiphany came just a few days ago. I was reading a forum titled "stay at home moms versus working moms" (why is it always versus?!? Are we at war here?? sheesh. I'm thinking of doing another post on this subject, but unsure of delving into such a touchy subject...). I was becoming sickened by the judgements being passed, despite not reading anything that I haven't heard before, and then read: "It's the SAHM's who whine about never getting any help from their husbands (who are out working a real job), or never leaving the house...those are the ones who really bother me!"

Yes, the "real job" thing gets under my skin. But what struck me here was the thought that Bret doesn't go to work for himself. He isn't defined by his job. He goes to work to earn money for our family and then comes back to his life at home. I spend my days giving of myself to my family at home. Bret spends his days giving of himself to his family at work. Motherhood is not about me. Fatherhood is not about him.

LIFE is not about individuals.

That thought has led to the beginnings of understanding this seemingly contradictory idea. I am here on this earth for myself; to have a body and to get back to my Heavenly Father. But if I want to get back I can't act in my own self interest. I have to learn to give up the one thing that is truly mine: my agency, my ability to choose for myself. I have to learn to submit my will to His.

What in the world is going to teach me that principle better than motherhood? Where else will I find such a rich opportunity to practice giving up my selfish (remember, literally:)) desires? Of course, there are plenty of other opportunities in this life to practice this principle- marriage, any family relationship, friendship, church service, etc. After all, if this is what we're all supposed to learn there are going to be many ways to be taught. Not everyone can be a mother, especially men:) And I like to think that I'm taking advantage of those opportunities, too. But the greatest lessons for me come from motherhood; from the day to day, hour by hour, moment by moment decisions to live for something bigger than me.

Now that I understand this better, you would think that I've become this incredible mother who is constantly happy. But such is not the case. I've also learned that understanding is easier than application:)

And the more I learn about the value of motherhood, the more it saddens me to know there are so many others who can't see it.

I read this in a recent interview of a contemporary author:

Interviewer: You tell a story in the book that is pivotal for you, about your grandmother. She was born with a cleft palate and thought to be unmarriageable, so she got an education and took care of herself, one day rewarding herself with a $20 fur-trimmed, wine-colored coat, which she adored. Eventually she does marry. And when she gives birth to her first daughter, she cuts up the coat to make something for the child.

I thought, "What beautiful symbolism of motherhood!" and read further:

Author: That's the story of motherhood, in a large way. You take the thing that is most precious to you, and you cut it up and give it to somebody else who you love more than you love the thing....

Me: "Holy insight, Batman! She's got it! Someone in the "real world" understands what motherhood is about! YAAAAAY!"

And then. This:

Author:..And we tend to idealize that, and I'm not sure we should. Because the sacrifice that it symbolizes is also huge. Her marriage and her seven children, in a life of constant struggle and deprivation — it was heavy. And that beautiful mind, that beautiful intellect, that exquisite sense of curiosity and exploration, was gone.

Me: "No-ho-ho-hooooooo!"

Giving of oneself completely does not sacrifice one's worth! It allows us to be part of something so much more amazing and so much more beautiful than we could ever be by ourselves.

I felt better when I read a friend's facebook status later in the day. I think it sums things up quite nicely. It's a quote by that infamous and brilliant, Unknown.

“...Be willing to surrender what you are for what you could become.”

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year!!!

Well, it's been awhile since this happened! It's Friday and I'm just posting a Thankful Thursday post. My excuse is that yesterday turned out to be much more full and busy than I expected it to be. It was a wonderful day and a great evening.

As yesterday was the last Thursday and the last day of the entire year, I figure this Thankful Thursday should be a look back at some of the things I'm grateful for in 2009.

It was a really good year. We improved and sold our first house. We bought a great house in a great neighborhood. We made a mammoth and awesome trip to California. We all had milestone birthdays. We avoided the hospital for an entire year!

It was a great year. Really, it was a great decade. Between 2000 and 2009, I graduated from high school and college, been married for six years, gave birth to three wonderful boys and made it through four+ years of parenting alive, bought two houses, and grown exponentially.

I'd write more, but I'd like to go spend some more of this holiday with my family. Happy New Year everyone!!!

What are you thankful for today?