It can seem part of parenting or part of marriage for your children and spouse to bear the wrath of the mother. Sometimes we don't even realize we have a wrath. Kids do things they aren't supposed to sometimes, don't they? And men intentionally leave their stuff everywhere just so you will be bugged, isn't that right? And they know I love them even though they drive me crazy, right?? When you get married or when someone is born into your family, it is so easy to love them. But little by little we get comfortable, and we can become somebody we don't want to be without even realizing it. A mother's wrath is more than just unfortunate. It takes away a gift that every person needs in their life: unconditional love (Elder Christofferson calls it divine love). How do you feel when you are loved unconditionally? Isn't that a gift you want to give to your family? When you degrade your children with your words, they don't feel accepted by you. When you nag your spouse constantly, they don't feel like your equal, they don't feel validated. If husbands don't receive unconditional love at home from their wife, who else could possibly give it to them? Their boss at work? Their friends at church? Their mom, whom they only see occasionally? If not their wife, then who? If children don't feel accepted and wanted by their parents, then who else will provide that for them? Their friends? Their church leaders? Through the phone from their grandma? If not their mother, then who? When children don't feel accepted and loved, they turn elsewhere for those foundational feelings. When husbands don't feel validated by their wives, it creates a chasm that only grows with the years. This is why I fight everyday with my natural inclinations towards yelling, frustration, nagging. Only sometimes I win, but someday, maybe in the very distant future, I will always win, because Jesus Christ makes change possible. Because I am the only one that can provide all-inclusive love, acceptance, and validation to Ben, Cheyenne, Delaney, Ephraim, and Frank. If I don't, who will?
No, it's not Cheyenne's birthday or any type of special occasion, I just loved the way she looked on Sunday and I wanted to always remember how pretty she is. She has beautiful clear eyes and golden hair. Her skin is smooth and she has a beautiful smile. She looks innocent and wholesome, happy. What a gift children are. I'm so grateful to have young children in my life. They offer a gentler reminder about what we are trying to be, and the One we are trying to be like. I think the adult form of innocence is purity. We may not be able to turn back the hands of time and un-live the experiences of our life, but we can, through our choices, decide to make our own thoughts and actions pure.
A while ago I was asked who one of the biggest influences in my life was. I had to say my dad. My dad is unique in a lot of ways. He is a humble man, and so in that way unassuming, but when you talk to him he is larger than life. My dad is EXCITED about everything. He loves the gospel and has a lot of enthusiasm for it. It is infectious. When I teach Primary, I often find myself giddy. Yay! I get to teach about this topic. It's because my dad loves everything, and his enthusiasm has molded how I approach everything about the Gospel. My dad taught me to INCLUDE OTHERS and how to make small talk, to make people feel comfortable. He tutored me over and over as I watched him seek out visitors at church, or get people involved in conversations, or spend time asking questions and getting to know someone who might be new and feel uncomfortable. It's a skill that is invaluable. No matter how comfortable he felt with other people in the car, or people at the party, or whatever it was, he always turned his attention to those with which he was unfamiliar, and set about making them feel welcome. We all came to learn that that was our duty-- ask questions, be interested. I am always surprised that this is a rare skill. It was a big part of our growing up and it has served me well in countless situations. It's one of my favorite things I have learned from my dad. My dad taught me to be FLEXIBLE AND FEARLESS, willing to adapt. I was never afraid to get up in front of a crowd, or teach a lesson on the fly, or add my thoughts in a discussion. He taught me to not fear change, to look for the good in it, and embrace it. We moved three times when I lived with my parents, and my dad set the example of enjoying change. My dad is, in a word, PURE. He doesn't think nasty thoughts, he's not capable of harm. My dad is in so many ways, not of this world. He seems immune to pitfalls that beset many of us mere mortals, and I've learned so much from his example. I feel honored I get to have him as my dad! P.S. This is a picture of my mom & dad who will be celebrating 43 YEARS of marriage this month. Wow!
I was cleaning off a table tonight and I was bone dead tired. It had been a long day of keeping kids on task, trying to stay ahead of the messes, and keeping Frank out of trouble. Then, at the end of a long day, it was time to pick up the house again. Only 6 short hours after we had originally cleaned it this morning. I remembered something I had journaled a few years ago. Taking care of a family is so. much. work! I had wondered at that time if it was really worth it. But this time I had a different attitude. Work is not the enemy. Time will pass, why not build something. This is what it takes. This is what raising a family takes. There is not other way around it. Be not weary in well-doing, for ye are laying the foundation of a great work. Work may not give you the same kind of butterflies you get when you hear your kids giggling together, or you push a child on a swing, or you cuddle close together as you read a story. But it gives you satisfaction. It gives you relief to see a job done well. And there's no way to keep from working when there are little people that you love in your life. When Adam left the Garden of Eden, our Father explained to him, By the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat thy bread all the days of thy life. My work right now is raising children. And if that means I'll be bone tired for awhile, then that's okay.
Pics from May on my blog today
My goals for the month of June! More details about why I picked these goals on my blog. Are you trying to change anything this summer? Making any goals? I'd love to hear!
I had some inspiration no too long ago that I needed to make this summer a summer to remember for my kids. I wrote down some of the ways I'm trying to do that on my blog. I would love to hear how you are trying to be intentional with your summer/ build your family relationships!
There is only one way to describe Indiana forests: magical. I absolutely love hiking. I love being away from the world and seeing green for miles. There's something about it that is so rejuvenating for me. I feel happier, lighter. I love the organic shapes, the earthy smell. I love the sound of the birds chirping and the gentle breeze. Time seems to slow down when you are in the forest.
Do you remember taking those career aptitude tests in college? They would measure your strengths and weaknesses, your likes and dislikes and tell you what would be a fulfilling career for you. I always scored positively in the careers that were helping people. I think it's a common thing people feel would make their career fulfilling-- they want to be able to make a difference in others' lives. I've been thinking lately about that, how I've always wanted a career where I could help people. As I get older and think more deeply about this desire I have and my own strengths and talents, I recognize that the best way to influence and help someone is in person and one-on-one. You are best able to influence people you spend a lot of time with. You are best able to help people you know intimately-- their likes and dislikes, their struggles and strengths. I realized that that's exactly what a stay-at-home mom does. All of her life is devoted to creating opportunities, crafting situations for her children to learn who they really are, and give them wings to fly. Her role is influence. Her ultimate quest is change and understanding in the people she stewards. So I am grateful for my 'career' in stay-at-home motherhood, a career where I get to help people and see people change, by my influence.