Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Stronger than sight

Lately, I feel this oppressive darkness that is constantly trying to press itself on me. Things have been so difficult lately, and it has been so easy to begin to feel discouraged. I am trying so hard to stay uplifted and to remain rooted in faith, rather than allowing myself to fear. But there have been times that I feel like the little light inside of me is just about out.

This past weekend, I was feeling exceptionally low. I felt like I was so heavy I could barely feel anything. There was a church meeting that night. I prayed and prayed for help...I was given the strength to go to the meeting, but I was still very heavy.

As I sat in the meeting, the opening song began. I felt a little whisper to my heart: "This is for you, Ann." I lifted my head and tried to sing along.

"The Lord is my light!" I found myself singing. I prayed even harder for that light.

As I continued to sing, I felt the darkness finally lift, and hope return. I felt so strongly the love of my Father, and His knowledge of every struggle we are facing, as well as His knowledge that it would all be okay.

Things are so hard right now that I cannot begin to imagine how they will work out or be okay. But as I sang these words, I felt warm, bright, and peaceful again:

The Lord is my light; though clouds may arise
Faith, stronger than sight, looks up through the skies

I feel my Father constantly calling me to have faith, and to "look up." Even though there is darkness, bent on my destruction, there is a much stronger light, in Whom is "no darkness at all!" Though I cannot see what will happen to us, I do have faith, and that is "stronger than sight."

Fighting through darkness and despair and pleading for the light is what opened this dispensation. It is what keeps it going, and it is what will keep you going.

Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward.
For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. (Hebrews 10:35–36)


I acknowledge the reality of opposition and adversity, but I bear witness of the God of Glory, of the redeeming Son of God, of light and hope and a bright future.
-Jeffrey R. Holland

Little Butterflies

My little angels!






Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Sleeping




I'm a normal mom. I have a hard time being patient sometimes. Today we had the nap battle that you all understand...and I found myself being grumpy.

But once the girls fell asleep, I heard screaming outside. A child was screaming in absolute terror, and I went outside to see what was wrong. When I found the poor little boy, he was frozen to his spot because he was terrified. He was ten feet from his apartment, but too afraid to move because, as he put it, "I'm surrounded by wasps!"

My heart melted and I put my arms around him and ran him to his door. He thanked me through a very wet little face and a very runny little nose. I went back in to our home and, with a much softer heart, peeked in the bedroom at my own sleeping angels.

I felt tears of my own well up. What is it that goes to sleep inside me, that makes me forget how short childhood is and how precious they are? I should shower them with as much love as I can, all of the time, because I truly know how fragile and precious life is.

When they woke up, I did, too. I smiled and hugged and loved and kissed. I laughed and held them and did their doll's hair, instead of saying, "Maybe later."

Amazing. They're listening again.

True blue


Our 5-year-old was getting ready for bed, with her blue t-shirt on, putting blue wall-e toothpaste on her blue toothbrush. While she was brushing her teeth, she said, "This day is very BYU-y!"

Monday, February 23, 2009

A brand new sister




My little brother got married this past weekend to the love of his life. :) Don't they look incredible together? I am so happy for them, and so happy to have a new sister in Libby. Joe is one of the best men there is, and Libby is an incredible woman. I know they will bless each others' lives.

Congratulations, you two! Welcome to the family, Libby! I love you!

This is a note that our oldest wrote to her new aunt, after we looked at their wedding pictures this morning:



Translation: Aunt Libby (There are L's and W's...I think she was trying to decide between "Libby" and "Wibby," like her younger sister says.) I Love you. I Miss you so much. We loved your wedding (We lovd yro weden).

Anyway, I thought I'd put that up here, just in case I never get a chance to send it, as often happens with me!

I am so proud and happy that Joe and Libby were married forever in the Temple. It is such a blessing to have these good people in our lives and the lives of our children! We love you!

Friday, February 20, 2009




I Love him.

He is the kindest person I know. He fills my heart with joy. He makes me laugh every day. He kisses me in the morning when I wake up to him looking at me. He stayed home from work even though he shouldn't have, because he knew I was exhausted after being up for days with the kids. He took care of everything, even though I know he was just as tired as I was. He plays with my hair and lets me cry. He holds me every day. He still flirts with me and tells me I'm beautiful. He listens. He really listens. He doesn't let me be less than I should be. He is the rock of our family. If I had no other blessings, I would still consider myself more blessed than any other woman, because I have him. Blessed am I. I will Love him all my days, here and after.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Reaching out




My baby does the sweetest thing every time that she sleeps...she will periodically reach out, searching for me, even in her sleep. Whenever I peek in on her, she always has one little arm extended, and I know she's been reaching for me. Sometimes, I lie down next to her and hold her little hand, just to let her know I'm there.

There are times when she can't find me there, and it worries her. Sometimes I can hear her fussing, restless, and when I go to check on her, she is reaching to see if I am lying next to her. As I lied down next to her today, quieting her, I wanted so much to reassure her that, even when she cannot feel me right next to her, I am always close by.

It made me think of our Father in Heaven. There are times that we seem to reach, to try to find Him, but we worry whether or not He is really there. How He must long to reassure us that He is always there, and if we quiet ourselves, we will feel Him.

Just as I sometimes let the baby try to rest on her own, making little noises now and then so that she still knows she's okay, there are times when it feels that He does allow us to walk a little further on our own, without the constant, clear answers we would like to have.

But it doesn't mean that He is gone or is removed from us. He is allowing us to grow. But I know that we can always be assured that He is there. Just as I would never leave my baby to be alone, He will never leave us alone. I may not take a nap with her every day, because she needs to learn to do it on her own. But I will come to her once in a while, and whisper reassuring words. Just the same, if we strive to grow as our Father wants us to, we will hear Him, as well.

And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity, and the water of affliction, yet shall not thy teachers be removed into a corner any more, but thine eyes shall see thy teachers:

And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left.

Isaiah 30: 20-21


Monday, February 16, 2009

Which way?


A common phrase in the New Testament is one the Savior often uttered after He had healed someone. He often said, "Go thy way," after He had healed someone or comforted them. Those who were healed usually went on their way, some proclaiming what Christ had done for them.

There is one man, however, in the book of Mark, who surprised me when I read about him. He was blind, and asked the Savior to heal him. When Christ had restored His sight, He said to the man, "Go thy way; thy faith hath made thee whole."

But the man did not go his own way. Instead, he "immediately...received his sight, and followed Jesus in the way." (Mark 10:52.)

He made his way Christ's way.

It made me think of all of the times that the Savior has healed and blessed me...is my way His way, or is it my own way?

Saturday, February 14, 2009

An incredible example

I am always trying to draw nearer to the Savior. It's a lifelong goal. I have had many examples in my life. There has been one person in our lives lately, though, that has touched me so much, and shown me such a pure example...someone I need to try to be more like.

We had some pretty bad news this week, and a dear friend of ours was there for us from the minute we needed him. He served us tremendously, missing out on his own working hours to help us, doing something we could not do for ourselves. He did it so cheerfully, and so willingly! When I saw all that he was so happily doing for us, just because he loves us, I wept, because I realized there have been times that I had not helped others as cheerfully as I should have, and I also realized how sad it is that it has been so hard for me to ask for help at times, when there are those who are so lovingly waiting to do something to help me.

Tonight I learned of the same friend, standing up boldly for his testimony of the gospel in a difficult and unfortunate situation, and I was touched again by his faith and example. Christ taught by example, and those who truly serve Him do, as well.

I am so grateful this evening, not only for a dear friend and his vast service to us, but also his incredible example of loving service, which has changed my heart forever.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

A snowy and long-awaited day

Okay, we're horrible parents, but our daughter has been waiting forever for us to put the training wheels back on her bike. We just haven't gotten around to it since the move. Yesterday, I finally got the chance! The girls were so excited to go out and ride! Of course, half-way through bundling up for the cold, it started to dump snow. I couldn't bear to tell them we wouldn't go out after being so close to being ready, but WOW. I think we had an inch of snow on us after only about 10 minutes!

It was still a great time, though!


This girl was so funny...she was riding her little trike with her tongue sticking out, to catch the snowflakes. :)

Such a trooper! :)






Funny quotes of the day...

5-year-old (after I had done something that tickled her, not quite sure what it was...) :
Dad, your wife is pretty silly.

---------------

(We rarely hear our neighbors, but once in a while, we hear the pipes when they use their water...this often makes the kids nervous.)

2-year-old: Jesus lives in Heaven, but Satan lives in those pipes.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Little Wonders

The feelings of today called for more "Thankful Therapy." Today, there was no time for scrapbooking to remember. So today's thankful therapy involved a camera in my pocket, for every moment that touched me and made me grateful.

I am amazed. I am grateful. After a while, there seemed to be more moments than I could snap. Here are just a few. :)


I just had to add this one...#2 did this to her sister last night:



There's nothing like the comfort of mom and dad's bed. :)

Our little school room...every morning it greets us as though it's happy we're there, a safe sanctuary where we can learn and little minds can dream.

Ready to learn.



She's always got a smile for mommy.


Ready to start school, and I can't seem to locate #2, though I can hear her talking to herself. :) She was under her desk, dreaming away.

Remember making tents when you were young? I feel such joy when I see my children finding magical moments.




Making lunch with my sidekick.

Pooped.
(In more ways than one.)



Blessed am I.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Numero Uno

I can't believe it! It's already been a whole year!

Our little "bugaboo" turned one this past weekend, and it was wonderful. What a year this has been! This has been probably the year of greatest growth that our family has ever had. How grateful I am for our tremendous blessings, one of the greatest of which is this little angel!

So happy...already she had plans for tearing off the words and eating them. She will eat anything.



See? Here she is, not 15 seconds later. Her name is gone, the words are askew, and she's eating paper. Yum.

Her butterfly cupcake cake. :)



She loves it! :)

She devoured her cake! We've never had a baby that actually ate the cake before. But she did! :)





All tuckered out...no better place to sleep than on the bear from her daddy. Our family has a little tradition that there is always a special teddy bear from daddy on the first birthday. :)


We love you, sweetie!! Happy Birthday!! :) Thank you for coming to us.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

A continuation of my weekend :)

This weekend has been perfect. :) I just had to sit in the moment and write about it for a minute.

I love my life. Have I said that lately? Even though there are lots of things I wish I could change right now...I love it. :)

Yesterday my baby turned 1. I can't believe it. It was wonderful...what a day to recall this past year, and to truly "remember how merciful the Lord hath been." More about the birthday tomorrow. :)

Today has been so pleasant. We went to church and I watched my little girl be so incredibly kind and loving to a new girl that it brought tears to my eyes. I also saw my new neighbor (you know, the one who visited me on Friday?). I smiled at her and waved a little wave, and though she was nice and smiled back, it was with the look of zero recognition. She had no idea who I was with normal face and hair! :) That's really funny. :) She looked perfect and lovely and looks like a really nice girl. I will try to invite her over on a cleaner day soon...speaking of which...I promise I really do try to keep the house clean, but with 4 kids 5 and under, that is just a laughable attempt most days. And though there is at least a 5 minute period each day that it might be clean enough for someone to just "pop by," they never do just "pop by" during that 5 minutes. (Probably because that 5 minutes happens in the middle of the night after the kids are in bed. But hey.)

So speaking of "popping by." Yesterday, we had a birthday party for my baby complete with cake everywhere and wrapping paper all over the place. Then it was time for bed, and so there are clothes from yesterday in the middle of the floor. I was going to clean up the cake and plates and clothes and paper and toys after the girls went to bed, but I fell asleep (FAST asleep) while nursing the baby last night, and Matt fell asleep, too, so it never happened. Then we got up this morning to hurry to get ready for church, so in addition to cake and clothes, there were now pjs all over the floor and breakfast things out. Yes, the house was trashed again, but we were off to church. When we got home, I was just beginning to clean up with a trash bag in hand, laughing and talking to Matt about something (probably the neighbor not recognizing me), when all of a sudden, our door opened, and a man walked in to our apartment. A man we do not know. I don't know if he was more stunned by the fact that he had accidentally walked into the wrong apartment, or by the stunning mess that we seemed to be wallowing in. Either way, the poor guy was stunned. I didn't know who I felt sorrier for...him or me. :) I don't think Matt and I stopped laughing for 20 minutes at least. :)

The kids went to sleep after their lunch, and Matt and I talked until he fell asleep, too. I curled up next to him and listened to him breathe. How I Love him.

We had chocolate chip cookies and Sunday night waffles for dinner. The baby keeps doing the elephant walk all over the place and talking to everything and everyone. Matt and I laid down next to each other to talk for a minute and I just reveled in his warm arms and breathed him in.

Some of my girls came in and crawled up on the bed and we tickled each other until my 4-year-old stopped me to tell me something important.

"Mommy, I want some of those shiny things on my teeth."

"What do you mean? Braces?"

"Yeah. Can I have some?"

It's time for bed. :) Life is lovely. Blessed am I.

PS - The house is clean right now...anyone feel like popping over?

Friday, February 6, 2009

My day :)

My day started out with one baby nursing in bed with me, and a 2-year-old cold, bare bum nudging in beside me. One of my eyes peered open through matted eyelashes to see two big blue eyes staring at me through curly bangs. "Hi mom. You're not modest."

"I'm not? Well neither are you, sweetie." :)

Take a quick shower, during which I decide to do something "different" with my hair today. My beautiful sister Chantile told me how she'd done hers last Sunday...I'll try it. :) The first step of this different hairstyle requires wearing my hair in a towel for a while...no problem.

Wait. How do people in the movies get these towels to stay? I'm flipping it, I'm twisting it, really...hard...ow, ow, owwwwch...I think I got some hairs twisted in there. Oh well, I'm not fixing it because it's finally staying.

Kiss my Love out the door and pour some cheerios for the kids, all the time trying to balance this massive towel on my head.

"Mom, you look strange."

"What honey? I can't hear what you're saying with this towel over my ears."

Eat a petrified "soft" pretzel that was leftover from baking time with the girls a few days ago, try not to break a tooth, and roll out the old yoga mat for some yoga time.

I must say, this towel wobbling on my head produced variations on poses which I don't believe have ever been done. I'm not sure they were all good for me. I considered taking the towel off of my head during yoga, but I don't want to because I really want to try to look nice today and try this new 'do. C'mon, towel, work with me.

Warrior I with a towel in my eyes. "Mom, she spilled her cheerios!" I pretend not to hear through the towel around my ears.

"See, mom?" Now there are soggy cheerios on my mat. Oh, well. Focus. Breathe. Come up, but don't step on the squishy cheerios.

Yoga finishes with the towel in various stages of disarray. Plow pose was fun, legs straight up in the air today, because bending them over my head made the towel suffocate me. I send the girls on potty trips preparatory to getting dressed and starting school. I return triumphant to my bathroom to unleash the gorgeous, curly hair.

Unleash it did. And though it brought the curly, it forgot the gorgeous. But that's okay...we'll work with this. I start to scrunch mousse into it. Getting curlier, but no gorgeous yet. More mousse? More? Maybe some hairspray. Let's see, poof that part up, and...WOW. That's some big hair. Really big hair. Not like Chantile's at all. But wow, it's curly. And big.

Hairclips? Let's try it. Well....

They hold the hair down in places, only to allow it to spring up with all the more energy all around them.

I emerge from the bathroom to my fashion critics.

"Mom, that's interesting hair today."

"Mom, you look strange."

"Let's do school," I say.

"Okay, but can I keep my hair like it is right now?"

School passes pleasantly enough and we catch up on some things we've needed to. Then comes the dreaded time when I need to print something.

We just got a new computer as our old one died the same weekend that our baby destroyed someone's camcorder. (Expensive weekend.) This new computer is great, but has intermittent (read that: most of the time) issues with our printer. It just won't print for me, and no amount of purging and spooling works for me. So I fight with the dumb printer for an hour, because what I need to print for school today is very important. I finally have success and print off item number 1, number 2, and finally....nope, it freezes again. Of course I waited until the last item to print the thing I needed most for school.

Meanwhile, the house is getting slowly more destroyed by the girls. The baby, who has been told twenty times, "Just one more second, baby, and I'll feed you," finally crawls to a pile of pjs in the middle of the room and crashes. I pick her up and try to feed her some yogurt through her sleepy stupor. Most of it ends up on my brown shirt...white streaks everywhere. Cool. I nurse her and put her down, intermingled with making beanies and weenies for lunch for the girls.

The girls have been so patient this morning with the printer issues that I give them a special treat with lunch: koolaid. Of course, lunch that makes it down them is 90% koolaid, 10% food. :) But the orange koolaid-staches are to die for. :)

Too wound up now to stop giggling, I run them through the potty and warm up some milk to help settle them down.

It doesn't work. One of them, the 2-year-old, just can't stop giggling. I ask her to sleep. I plead. I beg. I threaten. (No bodily harm...just "no doll house.") I give up.

5 minutes later, while I am finally eating some lunch, she comes out, and giggling like crazy, asks if she can sleep in the bathroom.

"Can you sleep where?"

"In the baffroom."

I figure, what the heck. It might stun her enough to get her to settle down. I didn't think she'd stay there. I made her a fast little bed in the bathroom. (Child services: It was clean-ish and she asked.) She laid down giggling. I came out to wait out the 30 seconds I figured it would be before she asked to be taken back to bed.

She fell asleep instantly. And with her out of the picture, so did her sisters.

Ahhhhhhhhhhhh. FOUR ASLEEP AT ONCE. It was so....I don't know...what's the word? I can't quite seem to think of it.

Oh yes.

Quiet.

I couldn't believe it. What to do with myself?

I surveyed the damage of the morning. I wasn't feeling well at all yesterday, so it's particularly bad today. Hats all over the floor. (They love hats.) Doll house open and little family strewn about. PJs piled in the middle of the floor. About five blankets lying in heaps here and there. Coffee table anywhere but in the middle of the floor, legs slightly askew. Couch pillows squished into unrecognizable lumps, tossed about. School papers dripping like confetti across the table. Brown bananas on the counter, along with an empty milk carton. Trash overflowing. Toys and books everywhere. Groceries from the night before still in bags by the door, except for the bags they opened and began to trail across the floor. Breakfast and lunch dishes still on the table.

I could go on, but you might begin to think I'm a poor housekeeper. We wouldn't want that.

Trying to decide what to attack first, I'm at a loss. I peek in the school room. I just close the door.

I decide to just read my scriptures for a minute...maybe that will give me the get-up-and-go I need to clean this bear pit. :) Before I sit down, I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror. Brown shirt streaked with white yogurt and baby spit. Probably poop, too. Oh, and there's the little booger my 2-year-old wiped on me (see? she's getting better!). Hot pink yoga pants (and by "hot," we're going with the "neon" definition). No makeup, showing a sleep-deprived face in all its' glory, and hair...wow. Still with the hair. It's literally sticking out everywhere. That mousse is effective stuff. Ah, well. :)

So, I start to read, and when I'm done, I decide to pray. Don't think I'm trying to sound saintly...I'm just trying to survive. :) I lean my head down on my scriptures and close my eyes. I'm a little chilly, so I wrap a blanket around me as I huddle in mommy prayer.

30 minutes later, I shoot awake with my forehead indented by my scriptures to a loud noise.

"Huh? What? Who am I? Am I alive?"

It's knocking.

And it continues. I stumble up and fall part-way over, as I am still tangled in my prayer-blanket. I stumble to the door in a drunken stupor, willing the girls to stay asleep through the knocking.

I fling the door open, and blink fast to make my contacts unstick from wherever they are and recenter themselves on my eyeballs so I can see who it is.

Well, I don't know her, but she's lovely. Dressed in a gorgeous outfit with about three different coordinated layers, sparkling jewelry glittering in the sun, perfect, glistening hair, holding a plate of steaming cookies in one hand and a perfectly-dressed infant in the other. And to top it off, her hair is exactly what I was trying to do to mine today. Only it looks good. :)

"Hi!" Then the shock of my appearance hits her. It's 3:00 in the afternoon and I look like...well you know that cat in Opus?

Anyway, bless her little heart, she's my new neighbor and very sweet, and she tried to cover her shock at seeing me, yogurt and booger smeared, with wild woman hair and a scripture dented forehead.

I invited her in, and we stepped over the diapers that had been pulled out of their package and the complete mayhem all over my floor. I invited her to sit. I was still trying to blink my contacts into place.

I sat on a pile of blankets and pillows on the couch. She very kindly tried to find something in the apartment to compliment, a feat on a day like today. :)

"So tell me about yourself. What do you do all day?"

"I homeschool."

I'm sure that after seeing me, every crazy back-woods homeschooling rumor just got confirmed in her mind. Poor lady!

My brain was still asleep. I desperately tried to wake it up. I can't even remember what we talked about for ten minutes. She was very sweet and then she left. I think I finally woke up when the door closed. I felt awful for the impression that I made...mental note to go over later and try to look more presentable this time.

Bathroom-sleeper woke up and the rest soon followed, and school resumed. We picked up the house a bit first. (woooow.)

I needed to nurse the baby, so I had my 5-year-old read to me while I did. She crawled in the chair with me while I nursed our big baby. Then the 4-year-old climbed up. We were a cozy group. The baby finally kicked them out. :) The 2-year-old came over and handed me the soggy 1/4 that remained of her cookie. I was hungry. I ate it...not bad.

Everyday we have ASL time (read more about that soon on my Homeschooling blog). It's always combined with something else, and today it was combined with art time. Normally fine, but some genius of a teacher also planned red paint into art time today. Oh wait, that was me.

So there I am, trying to show the girls in sign what to do with their red finger-paint. The imagination can fill in the rest there, especially since the sign for "red" involves touching your face with your index finger, which I had just dipped into the paint.

It was a very colorful and giggly ASL/art time, and when we cleaned up, I just hugged them. :) I love my girls.

I came out to take a minute to play the piano. It was a fun little break. Then I heard a crash. I ran into the girl's room to see the baby's playpen completely upside-down, and all four girls trapped underneath it. I exclaim and ran in to free them from the cage, when the 5-year-old stops me.

"Mom, it's our tent."

"Your tent?"

"Yes. We want to be under here. We're camping." :)

And that brings us to now. The giggle-fest is going on in the next room and I can't wait to see what happens next. :)

They just came out to show me how they've changed clothes. Again. I forgot to write about that, but that's for another day. :)

The 4-year-old is taking pictures of the 2-year-old making crazy faces. They can't stop giggling. :)

My Love will be home soon, and though I am still yogurt and booger covered, I know he'll run through the door, pick me up and kiss me. I Love him with everything I have, and I love my life. :)

Blessed am I among women, and I know it.

-----

PS - He just got home. He laughed out loud when he saw me, and then he kissed me. :)

----

Later addition -- in Matt's defense, he wasn't laughing at me, just with me. I can't blame him...the hair was pretty bad. It's the next day and it still hasn't recovered. :) Anyway...Love that man!! :)

----

MUCH later addition -- my new neighbor has not given up on me and has become one of the dearest people I know out here. It's taught me not to be too embarrassed to try again with someone, even if you make a stupid first impression, like I so often do.

Where else should we go?

I keep pondering over my life these past few days. I find myself grateful, over and over again, for the times that have stretched me, humbled me, and been a struggle. These times always bring me ever closer, when I choose to be, to my loving, kind Savior.

Yesterday I was really saddened by something. Someone came to tell me that they had known the Bishop was considering asking me to do something, but they had gone to him to tell him that there was no way he should ask someone busy with young children, like me, to do something like that. My heart broke that she would, with such seemingly good intentions, do that. The Lord has given me everything that I have...how could I not give back to Him? I want to give Him everything I can. I'm not always the best at it. But I want to be.

So much of the time, I think we get caught up in all that the "church" asks us to do or to give up. But the Lord asks us to serve Him because He knows the joy and the faith we will be blessed with for doing so. Everything He asks or commands is for our own happiness.
"By diligent service in the Church we come not only to know the character of God but to love Him. If we follow His commands, our faith in Him will grow and we may then qualify to have His Spirit to be with us. Vibrant faith in God comes best from serving Him regularly." (Eyring)
I have been thinking about Christ in the New Testament. In the Book of John, we read about Him teaching His disciples that they needed to do the Father's will if they wanted to be with Him. For many, this was just too hard, and "from that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him."

How sad.
Doing the will of the Father was too much to ask. It's easy to be critical of those people. But we do that, too. The sweet friend who had "intervened" for me said to me, "It's just too much to ask someone with young children to serve so much." I admit those thoughts have crossed my own mind, especially when I am asked to give up my Matt for a time. Time with him is so sacred to me.

But. To serve the One who gave me Matt, gave me the children, the life, the joy that I have? Never.

After those disciples had turned from following Him, Christ asked the Twelve, "Will ye also go away?"

I love what Peter said:
"Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life."
To whom else could I ever want to go? He alone has the words of eternal life. He has given me everything. I constantly want to strive to remember that, so that I can continue to desire to give Him everything I am.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Salty thoughts

Things have been tough for us often lately, just as I know they have been for just about everyone. I must admit, it's been tempting at times to look back. There is a sweet little house in Ohio with no one in it, and swings in the back yard. There are dear loved ones who are missed. It was a life that could easily have gone on forever...we were in an easy pattern there. Though we faced many challenges there, everyday life itself was an easy, plodding, day-in-day-out course. But we wanted to grow and progress, so we chose to break out of it and change everything. And I don't regret it.

But there are those nights when things are so hard and when we are so tempted...when we look at each other and say, "We'll just deal with the drudgery and that we knew we'd face if we never changed...let's go back."

But, though it's so tempting, we know in our hearts that we want to progress, to grow, to become everything our Father wants us to be. But that is never so easy.

What an answer to prayer when I felt prompted to listen to a BYU devotional this week. Elder Holland spoke this month at BYU...love that guy. :)

He spoke about Lot's wife. As soon as I heard that, my ears perked up. The little Lot's wife in my heart did, too. I wanted to write a few of the thoughts that touched me from his talk. You can find the entire talk here.

In short, her attachment to the past outweighed her confidence in the future.

I plead with you not to dwell on days now gone, nor to yearn vainly for yesterdays, however good those yesterdays may have been. The past is to be learned from but not lived in. We look back to claim the embers from glowing experiences but not the ashes. And when we have learned what we need to learn and have brought with us the best that we have experienced, then we look ahead, we remember that faith is always pointed toward the future. Faith always has to do with blessings and truths and events that will yet be efficacious in our lives. So a more theological way to talk about Lot’s wife is to say that she did not have faith. She doubted the Lord’s ability to give her something better than she already had. Apparently she thought—fatally, as it turned out—that nothing that lay ahead could possibly be as good as those moments she was leaving behind.

God doesn’t care nearly as much about where you have been as He does about where you are and, with His help, where you are willing to go.

Robert Browning wrote:

Grow old along with me!
The best is yet to be,
The last of life, for which the first was made:
Our times are in His hand
Who saith, “A whole I planned,
Youth shows but half; trust God: see all, nor be afraid!”
[Rabbi Ben Ezra (1864), stanza 1]

I call out, “Remember Lot’s wife.” Faith is for the future. Faith builds on the past but never longs to stay there. Faith trusts that God has great things in store for each of us and that Christ truly is the “high priest of good things to come.”

I am so grateful for a Loving Father, who cares deeply about where I am willing to go, and is constantly working in my life to help me get there. It is a painful journey at times, but at those times, I need to remember to not focus on the past...faith is for the future. When I think of that, I find joy knowing that Matt will "grow old along with me," and that, surely, "the best is yet to be."

This one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,

I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.


-Philippians 3:13–14


Family

It has been so painful to be apart from our Ohio family, and so joyful to be near our Utah family. Life seems so full of these give and takes that we truly must make every moment matter that we have with our loved ones!




Tuesday, February 3, 2009

On top of the world

Today somebody said something nice about me. I have felt so criticized lately that it was a surprise of enormous proportions. I couldn't believe it! A complete stranger, saying something nice!!

It is just something that has become too common, too easy, to criticize others...to demean them, to put ourselves above them. We never consider how they feel, what they are going through, how hard they try.

Now please don't get me wrong...I have so many loving family and friends who are constantly kind to me. But people who do not know me or anything about me have seemed to be very harsh lately, and a kind word from a stranger was such a boost to my spirits.

Say something nice today. Say something kind. You never know how much someone needs it. :)

"Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle." - Plato