Friday, June 29, 2012

Let's pretend it's still Thursday

There's much to blog about as far as deep gratitude goes.

But I feel like being trivial today.

I am thankful for sugar snap peas, long showers, lazy summer days, sprinklers, camp fires, solitude, gummy worms, ice water, sparkling little boys' eyes, and puzzles.

What are you thankful for?

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Sheesh, lighten up.

I'm tired of all the heavy blogging. 

So, to lighten things up- here's a picture of my seven year old catching butterflies (his latest scientific escapade)...

 ...and all my boys searching for the elusive polar bear at the zoo.

We do have lots of fun around here.  Promise:)

Thursdays keep creeping up on me

Happy Thursday, everyone!

Today I am thankful for food storage.

For years I've said, "This is the year I finally get our food storage in order."

Guess how many years I've actually made any headway...

This year however, I'm actually doing it.  We're halfway through the year and there's still lots I don't know.  I still need to figure out exactly how much we need to feed our family and how long what we already have will last.  I need to get a wheat grinder and figure out how to make bread from our lovely stores of wheat.  And I need to figure out the ins and outs of water storage.

But we've got bigger stores than we've ever had.  We're definitely going somewhere.

I'm thankful that my husband works hard and provides the means to obtain this various food.

I'm thankful for the LDS church dry pack that gets me lots of long term stuff for cheeeeeap (and the fun of packing it myself).

I'm thankful for local grocery stores and their regular case-lot sales.

I'm thankful for space to store what we have.

And mostly, I'm thankful that we have no reason to use it right now!

What are you thankful for today?

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Another book review

Three blogs that I read posted reviews for a new book called, The Gift of Giving Life: Rediscovering the Divine Nature of Pregnancy and Birth.  You may have seen it and you might have even read it.

It's a book written by a handful of LDS women and they include lots of scripture and general authority quotes.  As a woman who still struggles to be at peace with the way I have given birth to my children, I was very intrigued by this book and looking forward to learning more deeply about this pinnacle of creative works that I have been immensely blessed to take part in.  I thought it would help me to look past the c-sections and instead focus on the gift that it was for my children and me in the process of giving life.

And so I set out to get my hands on this book.  The library didn't have it, but Barnes and Noble came through for me with a much better price than the GoGL website and so I bit the bullet and bought a book that I'd never read (a rarity for me, despite my intense love for literature).

It arrived the next week on my doorstep.

Two weeks later I finally finished it.  That's very out of character for me.  I LOVE to read a good book.  Once I start a book, I usually devour it in a matter of hours or days.  Weeks is unheard of.

My take on this book- it needs a new title.  Something like, The Gift of Natural Childbirth.

I was quite disappointed really.  The great majority of the book was natural (and usually home) birth stories from women of various backgrounds and situations.

They made mention of the fact that birth is different for everyone and one can receive divine direction that c-sections, epidurals, inductions, etc are the best method to get one's child safely here.  But the message I heard loud and clear was "natural childbirth is the right way and anyone who doesn't give birth drug-free and at home is doing it wrong and denying themselves intense spiritual experience."

Believe you me I would love nothing better than to suffer through those hours of pain the natural high that follows the arrival of your brand new addition.  Especially when I think of trying to nurse a crying infant while my midsection is on fire attempting to heal from surgery and debating how much pain I can tolerate before I take another pill so I pass as little amount of drugs to my helpless child as possible.  Or when I think of lying on the table being sewn back together while my little baby is taken away to be poked and prodded by strangers while still trying to figure out "what in the fweak just happened?!?!"

 But hey, that's what I get for doing it wrong. 

So no help from the book on that count.  I know the intent was not to make me feel this way and I don't in any way believe the authors would wish me to feel this way.  I suppose it's my own fault for setting my expectations the way I did.

I was also put off by the amount of speculation in the book.  I see no benefit from trying to figure out the responsibilities of Heavenly Mother, the complete character of Eve, or what goes on beyond the veil in the premortal realm.  There are things we just don't need to know right now and more than enough for us to come to understand in this life without digging into the mysteries of God that do not pertain to our salvation.  In fact, that can be extremely dangerous for some.

Tangent time!  It bothers me that so many people are sad that the LDS church is so male-centered.  IT'S NOT!  Nowhere else in this world do I see an organization or way of thinking that gives so much honor, responsibility, power, and glory to women.  There's no "the men are more important than the women" or "the men are in charge here so the women must be in charge in the premortal world."  There IS this-
Nevertheless neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord. -1 Corinthians 11:11
I am not oppressed.  I am not under the thumb of any man. And I am not brainwashed.
That's all I have to say about that:)

The book wasn't all disappointing.  There were good things I took away from it.  The very title reminded me that giving life is a priceless gift.  Here are some more highlights:

"There was something holy around me, protecting me, something beyond the ordinary, a feeling, a spirit about being a part of God's creation of a child."
"...his angels attend birth everywhere."
The means by which mortal life is created are divinely appointed; not only conception, but the spiritual and physical processes of pregnancy and birth as well.
"There were times both in pregnancy and during labor that I felt I couldn't go on.  But after feeling the sorrow and the pain, I was able to recognize the joy."
"I have felt the strength of the adversary's anger, opposition, and terrorizing efforts intensifying toward me."
"I was created with the ability to bring a child from one side of the veil to the other."
"The simple act of experiencing pain for the sake of another brought me closer to the Savior..."
"There was one entirely other person that would derive lasting and eternal benefit from my suffering."

So that's that.  I don't recommend it really.  It did serve to give me some great reminders that pregnancy is miraculous, a tremendous gift to the child and mother, something Heavenly Father cares very much about, and something Satan hates. If you need reminders like that, don't worry about an entire book.  Let's have a chat instead:)

Disclaimer: I think natural childbirth is wonderfully amazing and hope no one takes my dislike for all the stories as anything more than the personal disappointment I feel in not being able to do that.
I also hope no one takes this less-than-glowing review as a personal affront.  After reading so many wholly positive reviews on this book, I thought another voice could be useful for women like me out there who may read here.  I actually have much stronger opinions about it, but couldn't write them without feeling like someone would definitely find them hurtful (which they aren't intended to be) so I tried to simplify my thoughts.  This long post doesn't make it seem that way though, does it?;)

But there you go.  I reviewed a book.

Thursday, June 7, 2012


I'm tired of not knowing what to expect.

Life seems to be one big mass of unknowns.  Just when something gets settled or resolved, two more unknowns pile onto the plate.

I feel like most of the major aspects of my life are "we'll see's."  You know:

"We'll see how this ends in a few months." "Hopefully we'll see how this goes soon."  "I guess we'll just have to wait and see."  "One day we'll see why things are happening this way."

Way back in my university days, I was studying a political theory in a class.  I can't even remember what the theory was...Marx is ringing a bell.  But I do remember that a table with blocks or such was involved and that things came crashing down when the table was removed.  Boy am I slaughtering this!  This would probably be so much cooler and make so much more sense if we were working with a full theory, but I have no inclination to search for it so you'll just have to roll with me...

The important thing I remember is discussing said theory with Bret.  He shared with me something that he had been taught in relation to this theory.  And if only one thing about this sticks with me, I'm very thankful it was this:

In life, there are a number of things we can place as our "table" and stack our life-blocks on top of.  Some people build their lives on tables of fame, intelligence, wealth, athleticism, beauty, etc.  Some people build the lives on seemingly more stable tables (I like that- stable tables:)) like friends, a job, church, or family. 

Absolutely all of these tables can be taken out from under us, thereby bring our world crashing down into one jumbled, lost, and sorry mess.

The wise thing to do is to have our table be a sure foundation; something that can't be and won't be taken away from us.

The one and only thing that could possibly be...Jesus Christ.

 Block pyramids may shake as certain foundational blocks are removed, life may bring blocks crashing to the table, but with our ever faithful Savior underneath us we can always rebuild.

I AM tired of the "we'll see's."  But I am thankful for a loving Savior who comforts and supports me as I take each step into the foggy future.

And I am thankful for this:
Yea, they shall not be beaten down by the storm at the last day; 
yea, neither shall they be harrowed up by the whirlwinds; 
but when the storm cometh they shall be gathered together in their place, 
that the storm cannot penetrate to them; 
yea, neither shall they be driven with fierce winds 
whithersoever the enemy listeth to carry them.
But behold, they are in the hands of the Lord of the harvest, 
and they are his; and he will raise them up at the last day.
Blessed be the name of our God; let us sing to his praise, 
yea, let us give thanks to his holy name, 
for he doth work righteousness forever.
Alma 26: 6-8
What are you thankful for today?