Friday, July 24, 2009

First hair cut

I tell you what...this is the fourth time I have done a "first hair cut," and it doesn't get any less tender than it was the first time. :)
I couldn't get her to hold still for the scissors or for the camera afterward, but I love my little Bugaboo. :)



Friday, July 17, 2009

Reach out

When I first became a parent, something inside of me got scared.

Not of parenthood...I think I had longed for it so much every moment of my life that it didn't take my knees out completely. :) But, I became very aware and very scared of the world.

I started to see everyone and everything as something that could break into my little home, my little world, and hurt my family. For a few months, it was a bit overwhelming to me. I eventually moved past that point, and on to a little calmer state, which basically felt like this: "I will protect and care for and nurture my little family, and the rest of the world and all its problems can just go to...wherever they want to go."

You see, the problems of the world were so bad, and so very overwhelming to me, that I just shut them out and tried to quit caring. Every time I tried to care, I felt one of two things: intense anger, or intense sorrow. So I shut down inside just a bit and took care of my family, my church responsibilities, and my own little sphere.

But then the Savior began to play more and more a role in my life, because I let Him. I felt His constant love, peace, and happiness reaching out to me. I felt joy as I had never felt, and I was confused by that.

Why confused? Two things.

One, because I just wished He would just STOP the bad people from doing horrible things. I wondered for so long why He wouldn't. Then I realized the answer: Agency. Agency is truly our greatest gift, as it is the only way we can progress...choosing for ourselves. He would never take that away from us. So that led me to my next confused point:

The Savior understands better than anyone the evil of the world which had so crippled a part of my heart. How can He feel and be such joy when He knows (because He suffered for it all) firsthand the horrific things that people do to each other? How can He still feel happy? How can He go on loving like He does?

I pondered it for a very long time. I looked at this picture every day. It hangs over our fireplace.


One day, it came to me.

Compassion.

Healing.

Kindness.

There is nothing but joy and love to be found in those things. It's so simple, but it had eluded me for some time. Compassion and healing are everything that the Savior is. And truly, I've learned for myself that "Earth has no sorrow that Heaven cannot heal."

So I began to open up my heart again. I allowed myself to think about the things that I wouldn't think about for so long. I have two sisters...this one and this one, who really care about things that bother them, and they want to change them. They began to inspire me, because they are willing to think about the ugly things, and try to do what they can to change them.

I began to think about things more, about the things that bothered me. Things I couldn't stand. Things that used to make me feel angry and powerless.

Well, I'm still angry about them, but I don't feel powerless any more. I may not be able to stop the horrible things from happening usually, but I may be able to help heal someone who is hurting. The Lord may not take away agency from horrible people, but He has given each of us gifts to heal wounded people in our own way. To show them His love. To help them as He would do.

I began to reach out, in multiple directions, with the gifts that I have. I chose some things I don't like about this world, and with His help, I feel like I can help to heal people in my own way. The more I reach out and open my heart, the less I feel crippled by fear and anger. I feel like I can change the world. And you know what? I can.

And so can you.

What bothers you? What gifts do you have? What can you do to help?

Don't try to force yourself on someone. The Savior would never do that. Don't help in the way that you think is best. Help in the way that they need. No one knows that, except for Him. So listen to Him and what He tells you to do, not what you want to do.

Amazingly, all of the pain in my heart seems washed away when I try to reach out as much as I can. I am healed, as well, and my life and time has opened up immensely. And I feel joy, even though I am constantly thinking of many different kinds of pain almost all the time now.

No one can do everything, but everyone can do something.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Closed for business

Yesterday, as we were getting ready to head out for some errands, I saw my daughter hurriedly scribbling on a piece of paper. She asked me for scissors and tape.
As we left the house, she put this on the door:


What funny kids I have. :)

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Underestimated



I love my girls. :) I love to watch them be kids...to see them pretend and laugh and play.

My second and third daughters love to pretend to be a different character each day. One day, they're Cinderella, the next, they're Tiffany (their swim teacher).

At times, though, I have worried about our oldest, because it doesn't seem that she pretends as often. Sometimes, I find myself telling her, "You know, sweetie, you can pretend to be anything you want to."

She'll always say, "No, that's okay, I'll just be me today." And that's fine with me, but I just want her to know she can play and be silly sometimes.

She is such a good girl, and she helps me so constantly, that I tell her almost every day, "I just don't know what I would do without my [child #1]!"

The other day, when I was away and daddy was with the girls, they were all pretending and playing, and again, #2 and #3 were pretending to be princesses and having a great time. #1 was again being a bit more serious and "just being herself." Matt mentioned to her that it was just fine if she wanted to pretend to be a princess, too. Again, she declined. Matt asked her if there was any reason that she didn't ever want to pretend to be something else. Her answer surprised us both.

"I just don't know what you'd do without your [child #1]." Just what I have been telling her every day. She went on to say, "I want to be here for you, so I like to be myself."

After initial feelings of guilt that I was somehow stealing her childhood, warmth and love flooded over me for this girl who is trying in everything she does to help and love her mother.

"We underestimate how genuinely and frequently our children want to please us."
-Neal A. Maxwell
It may not be obvious to us right away, but we can all be a little better about trying to notice the little ways that our children, truly, are genuinely and frequently trying to please us.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Calm

There seems to be so much to worry about lately...our house just seems to mount with problems. My baby is struggling tremendously right now. And there are many other things on my mind which weigh even more...deeper, more personal things.

It can be easy to get swept up and away by worry and by doubt, especially when the storm is raging.

Sunday was Fast Sunday, and as I fasted, I found myself both full of gratitude for our blessings, but also pleading more earnestly for help. Things were so difficult that day, particularly with my little one, that I truly felt the "storm" raging.

I pleaded that things would change, that they would get better. I hoped for a quick change in the baby. I hoped that everything would just be alright.

As my fast closed and the evening went on, things were still difficult. All of the things I was worrying about had some difficulty to face or another. Nothing was really easier.

But it wasn't as though nothing had changed. Somehow, even though none of my problems were any easier right in that moment, I was more at peace. I had changed.
Sometimes, the Lord calms the storm.
Sometimes, He lets the storm rage,
and calms His child.
Somehow, even though everything was very difficult and I would have really loved if the storm had been calmed, I felt calmed inside, and I knew that, somehow, it would all be alright. Somehow, this is what I knew inside:
"Know ye not that ye are in the hands of God? Know ye not that He hath all power?"
-Mormon 5:23
I know that He truly does have all power, and that everything that is happening is for a purpose. With that knowledge, there is a great deal of peace. I know He loves me, and that's knowledge enough. Everything else will work out.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Sweet Land of Liberty

I am grateful every single day that my children are blessed to grow up in this wonderful country.

We've been trying to help them understand lately that freedom comes at a very dear price.

Thank you to my grandfather, my father-in-law, brother-in-law, grandfather-in-law, and all of those who have served and are serving now.

And thank you to your families and all they sacrifice.



Thursday, July 2, 2009

Special Delivery

Today our girls got a very special delivery in the mail! Grandma had sent them a very wonderful package, with beautiful dolls made special for each girl. Also included was a darling little tea set, to have a tea party with the dolls, since Grandma can't come to have a tea party herself for a little while longer. The girls have been in heaven! What a special evening!

video

Thank you, Grandma!