Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Mud and Worms

Welcome back, sweet spring time.

Oh, how I've missed you!

Monday, March 29, 2010

A field

When you do things from your soul, you feel a river
moving in you, a joy.
-Rumi
Interesting thoughts and emotions seem to be running through my mind right now. 

I feel so keenly aware of my blessings right now...probably more aware than I have ever been in my life.  Each day causes me to step back and marvel at our life. 

Interestingly, when others see me right now, it seems that they also step back and marvel...but not necessarily in a positive way. :)  And that's to be expected.  It's not every day any more that you see a mother with five small children, particularly one who is thrilled to be doing what she's doing. 

I find that the more I become who I want to be, the less I fit.  Anywhere. 

In this current social/political climate, I am quite odd.  Many people look at me and see a woman who should not be smiling, but who needs liberation.  I am a contradiction to any idea of the "modern woman," in many ways.  I am a mother.  I am a wife.  And I LOVE it.  I drink it in like warm breath.  Surely, I must be brainwashed?  Hardly.

I am stretching myself more and more, and as I do, I find myself entering circles of new people...good people, wonderful people.  But it is also difficult at times, as I am quite conservative and staunchly supportive of motherhood, and my life is quite a contradiction to some of the more liberally-minded acquaintances I have, and everything they stand for.  It can be hard to feel like I belong, like I can make a difference.

But I am also a contradiction in many circles that I feel more "at home" in...more conservative circles, because I believe so much, and hope so much, and truly feel that I will have the time, means, and help to change the world, if I just try.  I feel like it's worth the effort.  I can't brush things aside easily.  I'm a bit stubborn.  (Well, maybe more than a bit...)  I am not afraid of teaching my children to be different.  I am not afraid of being different, myself.  But that does make me stand out and feel a bit more alone at times. 

So where do I fit?

Where do we fit? 

I am doing what I love, in many aspects of my life.  All of my passion and love is caught up in my family.  So much of my heart is also striving to change the lives of women who are suffering.  I can't do both of those things without stepping out of my comfort zone, and out of the "norm" in different areas.
Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing,
there is a field.  I'll meet you there. 
- Rumi
 I will never be what some of my more liberal friends think I should be, as a strong, modern woman, because I delight in being a stay-at-home wife and mother, teacher to my children, and have no desire to change my lifestyle.  I will never be what many of my more conservative friends feel comfortable with either, as I can be a bit bold and forward in my views, and cannot ignore the problems of the world. 

But in all of our differences, we can truly change the world together, each in our own way, each with our own gifts.  I pray we can meet in that field, and make a difference. 

By the way, this little snuggle-bug is two weeks old today.  Holding her, being her mother...pure joy.  I pray I can teach her to view herself and others through the open eyes of a bright, compassionate, thinking woman, who can value what each person has to offer, and who can become the best version of herself, doing things from her soul, meeting others in that field as well, and making a difference.




Saturday, March 27, 2010

Him

It's late.  But as I lie here next to Matt, I find that I can't sleep.

Not out of restlessness, and certainly not out of a lack of tiredness.  

I've just been lying here, in the near-dark, watching him and listening to his quiet breathing.  Not long ago, he crawled back into bed after getting up to comfort our two-year-old.  

I love him so dearly, it brings tears to my eyes.  He has worked endlessly, tirelessly, to serve, bless, and comfort me.  He has been constant, patient, and forever kind.  

He has made it his constant effort to ensure that every dream I have ever had has become a burning reality.  He sacrifices each day so that I can be more at ease, more comfortable, more happy.  

He has made my life so full of joy, that it truly aches with love and happiness.  I can't think of another word to describe it tonight, unusual as it may sound.  How could I have ever been so abundantly blessed?  I really do not know.  I know he is far more than I deserve, but I also know that I was made to be with him.  
 
It is not possible to express the gratitude and love that I feel, but as I lie here beside him tonight, I truly want to fill my life with good works, to try to give something back, to repay all that I have been so abundantly given.  

Monday, March 22, 2010

Quite a week

This has been quite the week. So many things to blog, or not to blog, about.

For instance, we shall blog about this girl:

This dear child broke her leg the day I gave birth.  Yes, indeed.  Poor thing. :(  She has been so cheerful and so pleasant about it, and even tried extra hard to be brave about it, so that it was difficult at first to ascertain just how serious her injury actually was.  :)  But yes, indeed, a break occurred, so it was off to the emergency room for she and daddy.

We shall blog about the exciting cast signings that have ensued.  Thank goodness for fun little traditions that seem to lighten up painful situations.


(Furthermore, we shall take a moment to note in all of this blogging that it has taken the work of three adults to make up for the help that this one girl normally gives me.  Perhaps I am a little grateful it happened, if only to re-open my eyes to how much she does for me, and how much she means to me.)

We most certainly shall not blog about the amount of time spent in our pajamas this week.


We shall blog about our wonderful daddy, who missed his head shaving on St. Patty's day, because he was taking another one of our children to the urgent care.  He still honored his commitment, and the girls got to help him shave his head.





We think he's mighty good looking. :)




So does someone else.




(His page is still open for donations, if you're interested, by the way.  I love that he cares about how someone else's child feels, even in the midst of a week where his own children are having a hard time.) 

We shall not blog about the amount of time spent in front of sunny windows this week, nor the amount of snow we got, which made some children ecstatic, and one child very sad indeed, as new pink casts and new wet snow do not mix. 





We shall blog about the indescribable comfort it is to hold this little one in my arms.  Incredible how holding her calms and soothes all of the little troubles of the week, and all of the hormonal uprisings that occur. 


We also shall not blog about the fact that one of these children visited the urgent care due to a very horrible and painful virus in her mouth which has caused her to loathe any food of any kind, nor shall we blog about the fact that another of these children threw up all over the store today as I was brave enough to pick up more syringes and an ingredient for dinner while I was at it. 


(Nor shall we blog at this time about the fact that I find it rather silly that I can go to any pharmacy in this country to purchase syringes, without a prescription, without proof that I am taking injectible medication of any kind, without showing any form of ID.  On the other hand, I cannot buy cough medicine without showing an ID and getting entered into a tracking system.  Odd.) 

We shall blog about the overwhelming gratitude we have in our hearts for family and friends who have been there for us this week.  They have done more than they can imagine.  

Most of all, we shall blog about the miracle it is that this little one has lived one full week of life with our family.  How did we ever live without her?  It doesn't feel as though any of us could ever have really lived without her in our lives.  She has definitely been along for one wild ride.

We love you, dear little one.  Happy one week birthday. :)




Thursday, March 18, 2010

Arrival

She's here.

So many have said to me in the past few days, "You've arrived.  You're finally here, where you've been waiting to be."   

The funny thing about this arrival, and really all arrivals, is that they never happen quite how we plan.

They are often more difficult than we could have anticipated.  But when you look back, the blessings of the arrival are astonishing.

The tender mercies are so abundant, it isn't possible to number them. 

Another thing I have learned about arrivals is that they aren't really "arrivals" at all, not like I always envision.


They are brief, glorious moments in time along a longer journey.


I always imagine the "arrival" being a place to slow down, stop, and rest for a while.

But really, it never does stop or slow. 

We arrive at a new moment, and quickly, life moves us forward.


The journey is full of ups and downs.   








High points...




...and low points.




Our little family has been so blessed this week, though it has been a week full of new and very unexpected experiences, we have been blessed, so much so that it brings tears to my eyes to try to think about it.




We have been blessed with a new daughter, precious, perfect, and beautiful.






She arrived safely, early Monday morning, in spite of a difficult birth and exhausted parents.




The heavenly help was palpable.  The spirit this new little one has brought to our home has been one of heavenly presence.

I am in awe.



We have been blessed with love this week.  The kindness of friends who have gone out of their way for us has been astonishing.  It has been a challenging week, and I find myself being grateful at every moment for my parents coming.  I have no idea what we would have done without them this week.  Matt's parents have also provided a love and a sense of constancy that I have needed so much.  





Our family is traveling on this road together, making our way through this journey.  The bumps, turns, and occasional arrivals are all wound together.






In the arriving moments, we see a glorious glimpse of just how blessed we are, and just how merciful the Lord has been. 


Sunday, March 14, 2010

Just what I needed

Lately, in this rush before I have the baby, I have been trying to focus on many people's needs.  How will my daughters be feeling once this all happens?  How can I make it better for them?  What in the world will I DO with them when I leave?  How can I help my husband with the huge load he will be carrying soon?  How can I best accommodate this new daughter into our lives?  How can I get as much possible done with some of the other things that I care so deeply about before she arrives? 

It has left me busy and happy, but also tired.  I don't think I realized how tired, until yesterday.

Yesterday, a dear, kind, sweet friend from my old ward held a very lovely baby shower for me.  To be honest, when she first asked if she could, I said yes because I love her and I could tell she wanted to do it, but I felt kind of foolish in a way.  I mean, not only was this my fifth baby, but it was also my fifth daughter.  What possible need could I have for a baby shower?  I had clothes and everything else.  But the chance of spending a morning with this lovely friend was too good to pass up.  :)  So I said yes. 

When I actually got to the shower, and saw what she had planned, and what she had done, I had to hold back the tears.  She could not have planned a more perfect morning for me, and for what I needed just then.  There was nothing that I didn't need, but so much of what I did, not only physically for the baby, but also emotionally for me. 

I hadn't talked to her much about the shower, so I know that everything she did was inspired in her mind.  It struck me...the absolute love our Father in Heaven has for us...for me.  He knew what I needed, and He cared about what I needed, even when it hadn't crossed my own mind.  And He sent someone who could fulfill that.

It gives me hope.  If He knows what I need, and can make sure I am blessed with it, I can also be sure that He knows what those I love need, and He will help me to give it to them.

(By the way, my friend, who this little one affectionately calls "May-er-weeze," fashioned a perfect little blanket for the new baby.  But it came just in time to comfort this wee one, who has been so sad and sick again today.  Thank you, May-er-weeze.  :)  Your gift has blessed us so much already.)    




Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Women

Yesterday was International Women's Day.  I'm not often big on many of these "days of recognition" (though I must say, National Potato Chip Day and Companies that Care Day often rank high on my priority list....).

However, this one was different in my heart, as women from the Democratic Republic of the Congo and women from neighboring Rwanda met together on a bridge to stand and call for peace and hope.  This, in countries where women cannot walk to get water or go to a field without the verifiable fear of being raped or killed. 

(photo by Women for Women International) 

What is it that gives women this special hope, resilience, and light?  I believe we were given it from the beginning, from before we were even born.  Life and goodness spring forth from women, and as Sheri Dew said, "No woman is a more vibrant instrument in the hands of the Lord than a woman of God who is thrilled to be who she is."  I think that one of the greatest sadnesses, in any culture, is the devaluing of women.  The influences, both stark and subtle, that convince them that they are nothing, that they have nothing to offer, that they are of no worth. 

Nothing could be further from the truth.

I learn this a little more each time I am blessed with another daughter. 


The light, the hope that is born with each and every woman is something remarkable.  Something I have been truly blessed to behold.  I count it among my chiefest blessings.  Every day, I get to see their hearts and their minds, open and loving, ready to help, serve, and love anyone that they meet.  So much in this world tries desperately to take that natural gift out of women, before they ever realize they have it.  

As I prepare for my fifth little woman, I count myself truly blessed, and I know just how much I have been given.  I am humbled by so much unearned mercy in my life, which mercy I will endeavor all my days to be worthy of.  My heart longs to fill each of my little women with as much hope and confidence as I can.  I want each of them to be "thrilled to be who she is," so that they may each take that light out into the world and change it for the better.  "We are the ones we have been waiting for," I recently heard from an inspired woman.
"One woman can change anything, but many women can change everything."

Going Bald


It's that time again...Matt will be getting his head shaved again this St. Patrick's Day to help cure kid's cancer. It is a great cause, and could really help someone. (I cannot imagine facing such a difficult disease so early in life.) Take a minute to visit the page and consider donating! Thanks! :)

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Hope Smiling Brightly

It can be so easy to get down and to think that our lives are so hard.  But so few of us actually suffer, as so many others do.  Today, I am so grateful for my blessings, one of the greatest of which is my knowledge of these women:

(photo by Lisa Shannon)

Unspeakable horror has been a daily reality for them, and yet look at those beautiful faces!  Hope and love smile brightly from those women, as they run for others who have been through what they themselves have been through.  It fills my heart with joy, love, and perspective. 

(photo by Lisa Shannon)

I am beginning to understand more and more why Christ commanded us to love and serve others.  It was just as much for us as it is for others who may need our help.  Nothing can fill your heart with love, peace, and healing more than helping another person who is hurting.  Nothing can empty a soul more than selfishness.  Nothing fills it more than selflessness.

These women have been some of my greatest teachers in that area.  Are you down today?
"Find someone who is having a hard time...and do something for them."
- Thomas S. Monson

So simple.



(Find out more about the women of the Congo at their incredible run at Lisa Shannon's blog.)