Sometimes I am shocked at the timing for when grief hits. This is a truly stunning video that filled me with light. It is joyful – truly joyful. Yet as the first little boy reached out to moved the Baby Jesus figurine, I was slammed by a wanting pain of missing my little boy that never got the chance to play with our piles of nativity figures or hang ornaments (like my other kids did tonight) or even play the role of the sacred Baby in a recreation of this event. Most of the time I simply take comfort in the power of Hid glorious resurrection that will provide also for the same for my son. But that is someday, and this is now. Tonight, I just want to hold him. I want him in my arms, just for one night. What I want is to hold my little one and hug him and kiss him and sing him my favorite Christmas carols and stroke his soft cheek. What I want, I can’t have. So I think instead, what I need is for my Savior to hold me. To help and to lift me and my heart sits broken once again for what I can’t hold myself. And perhaps, just for one night, my baby might be allowed to help Him hold me tonight.
Seriously?! Not the “Junk Bucket!” July 14, 2014
Oh boy. Well, I just finished writing in my journal and thought I’d finally go to bed. HA! That’s what I get for thinkin’! I went to go head in to sleep and realized that the sticky remnants of our watermelon pizza feast was still all over the table. My stomach had been hurting after eating it, so I went to lay down a bit while others were finishing. I had hoped, that perhaps, someone else might have cleared up after finishing up. Again. HA! That’s what I get for thinkin’! Naturally it was all still waiting for me at bedtime. I went with HUBBY to go clear the melon mayhem from the kitchen and to grab a quick something to eat.
Side note – am I the only one that has to eat before sleeping if I have waited too long after dinner before heading to bed? ‘Cause man, if I don’t eat it’s gonna be ugly. Gaggy attempts to fall asleep, followed by either a rough night and a wake-up-and-wanna-puke kind of morning or giving up and going back out of bed to find something to eat after all.
Anyway, as we cleaned up (mostly my good HUBBY while I ate my roll), we chatted about the day and the upcoming week. It was great! Then we were so ready to tie up one more loose end and head to bed. I sat down to tackle that last loose end – to gather the flannel board figures of Noah’s ark folks and critters and put them all into their handy little zippered pouch. That’s when the midnight mothering crisis kicked in. Of course! Because I was SO close to finally meeting my pillow for a much needed reunion. Duh! (more…)
Keeping it Simple June 22, 2014
We have “Quiet Time” at my house for a while every Sunday after church. This started as a matter of self preservation when we lived in a tiny tiny trailer with multiple kids (I think we only even had ONE and TWO back then). The oldest thought she was too old for naps, but she was SO in that phase of almost never napping, but really needing a nap after several days of not having one. Sundays seemed like a perfect solution! That seemed all the more obvious when TWO so desperately NEEDED a nap after church every week. There was really NO functional way in our tiny house to GET sleep to come for TWO (not keep, that we could do, but getting her there was another story) if ONE was wound up after church and noisily telling all about every detail of what she did in nursery or primary.
Hence the introduction of “Quiet Time!” ONE and TWO were sent to bed with quiet activities – books, issues of the Friend, characters from their Noah’s ark set, lacing cards, quiet books, etc. – and the requirement that they play with quietly so the other sister could sleep if she needed. 9 times out of 10 (in those early days) both girls would be sound asleep after just a short time playing quietly in her bed. I LOVED IT!
Then I realized WHY I loved it so much. It was NOT just because both my girls got their naps in happily. It was because I knew they were being edified with their play time, getting needed sleep, AND I got some honest to goodness time to ponder things of the Spirit. Perhaps I’m the only mother that has ever struggled to feel like she has enough time to pray or study scriptures or write in a journal or ever ponder anything without distraction or interruption, but I sort of doubt that I am alone in that challenge. Either way, I was LOVING the feeling of renewal I started being able to gain on the Sabbath like I had when I was in my high school and single college days.
I had always LOVED Sundays! That was absolutely my favorite day of the week! As a mom, I was starting to feel stressed rather than rejuvenated on Sunday. I did not like that one bit! I honestly don’t think I had even noticed how bad it had gotten until we started Quiet Time and I started to feel that replenishing of my soul again each week. I knew that I NEEDED that! Since then, we have had more kids and moved into a home with more space, but Quiet Time has remained. (more…)
Rewarding Glad Hearts this Summer May 29, 2014
We don’t pay our kids an “allowance” ’round here. They have lots of jobs they can do to earn money and I post extra ones on our job board when there are special things they can do. But generally helping in our family is something that is expected without needing to be paid for it. It’s how I was raised and is something I wanted to continue with my kids because I feel like it helped me understand the need to help and to do it just because I love my family, not because I am getting paid for it.
While I was struggling to survive motherhood, nursing a baby, entrepreneurship, and going to school this past semester, our house was COMPLETELY falling into a pit of ridiculous messiness and simply becoming filthy dirty. Yes – I said FILTHY DIRTY. I mean, ewwwwww kind of dirty! We decided it was time for the kids to step up a bit (more…)
Choose the Right Way and Be Happy May 28, 2014
I have tried DOZENS of different reward systems with my kids. It seems inevitable that each system and method falls apart eventually – usually when I start forgetting to support it. ;) But, then we regroup and try something new, with fresh energy and dedication. It’s actually a cycle that, while frustrating beyond reason some of the time, I actually mostly enjoy.
I love systems that help me focus on good behavior and right choices. I also love to reward kids for getting things done well. We’ve tried all sorts of reward charts and pom poms in a jar and pennies for positive choices and many many more. This summer we are coming back to one that I really loved and that was SUPER simple to remember and enforce (for good and bad). We call them “Choose the Right Path” boards. I had so much fun making these for my kids and they LOVE them!
Here is how they work at our house… (more…)
Fear and Pressing Forward January 29, 2014
I have been hibernating (from social media – including this blog!) for what feels like ages, but it has been so good to step back and allow myself to regain my footing. I finally took steps to get a better handle on the needs of my family, my home, my business, my personal development and reflection, and my educational direction. It has been enriching and I am so grateful that I did.
In this process of re-centering and rediscovery of who I am and who I want to be, I realized that far too often I have allowed myself to pause and avoid trying something that I was unsure I could ever possibly accomplish. I almost did that today with my laundry. I thought it would be absolutely incredible to actually get my entire laundry – all of it – washed, dried, folded, AND put away by the end of this week. (This may seem unambitious to some, but trust me, this is monumental in scale!) Then as I hit my tired point this evening, just after the utter chaos that accompanies bedtime for 6 kids that included a baby with tummy grouchies and a 7-year-old with unfinished homework, I thought about taking the next step towards my laundry goal. Suddenly, it all felt so completely overwhelming. The thoughts that raced through my bedraggled brain went something like this…”That’s not even remotely possible with all the other stuff I’ve got this week. Why should I even try anyway? It’s not like it’ll stay completely done for more than five minutes anyway!”
Fortunately, I allowed myself to pause before giving up on my challenge. I stepped back and cuddled my baby. I took a deep breath and a cool drink of water. I sat and allowed my mind to wander through the random things posted on Facebook for just a few minutes. I read a scripture verse or two. And then, I determined to reconsider abandoning my quest. I had taken the steps to revitalize my spirit and reconnect me to things more important than that Everest-height mountain of laundry awaiting me. It was enough. I swapped another load from the drier to await my attention on the couch to be folded. I dumped damp jeans and tees from the washer in the freshly abandoned drier. I even bravely deposited another load of mess into the washer, knowing full well that would require repeating the swapping process yet again later tonight. I flipped all the dials on both washer and drier and listened as they both began their work to make the process unfathomably easier. In other words, I did it! I took one more step. I made one more push towards doing what I wanted to.
Now, I know these all seem like such small things, but it’s when the small things add up together that huge battles are won. I might have ignored this experience tonight if it were not for the joy of being inspired by someone I have never even met just now. Her name is Amy Rees Anderson. She is an entrepreneur that is now spending her time helping other entrepreneurs to do great things. I am lucky enough to attend a lecture series put on by my university specifically focused on entrepreneurship and she will be the speaker there tomorrow night. I had the idea that I would like to get to know more about her before she comes in order to have a better feel for what I might expect. I am SO glad I did. I have now been highly inspired in just a short review of a few of the things she and her company seem to stand for. I was inspired enough that I simply had to read some of her blog. I am glad that I did. I have homework yet to finish tonight, but had to share some of what she has taught me tonight.
First I read “Feeling Old? You might when you hear this…” that was posted just today. It did indeed make me feel old, but I also felt empowered by what I read. She wrote, “…when you aren’t looking in the mirror you see yourself as this young adult who never ages, but when you look into the mirror you see this other person who just keeps getting older and older.” Unfortunately, I often find myself focusing so heavily on the ageing, tired, frazzled creature looking bedraggled, round, and sagging in the mirror that I forget about that other part of me. I love that part of me. It is that young, vibrant, energetic, happy, optimistic, and eager person inside of me that I have been working to reconnect to. I have been worried that if I didn’t do some things to support the development of that part of me, I might loose that part of me all together. I NEVER want that to happen and Amy Rees Anderson’s blog post reminded me of that.
The other article of hers that I simply had to share was on the Forbes website. It is entitled “Face Your Fear; the Result Might Be Amazing.” It is what essentially inspired this whole blog post that I am currently writing. My favorite part is hard to select when the entire thing was so incredible and spot on. However, I do need to share one small part. She discussed a handful of loosing our youthful optimism, and I would say energy as well. Then she wrote, “Whatever the cause, we began creating barriers and limitations for ourselves that caused us to either try, fail, and give up; or even more prevalent, caused us to fail to try at all.” It was that exact thing that I ALMOST allowed to keep me from conquering the laundry like I wanted to. What it made me realize is important enough to warrant finally taking the time to add to my blog after stepping back for so long. It made me realize that even if there is a chance, even a very big chance, that I will not accomplish something, there is an absolute certainty that I will not accomplish it if I fail to even even try. I would rather try and fall short than never try at all. I will surely gain at least something in my efforts, even if it is not exactly what I would have wished for. That is worth at least trying. Knowing I tried is perhaps even reward enough all on it’s own. And I have NO doubt that when I go to bed this Saturday night I will be grateful that I pushed on and faced my mountain, even if there’s one lost sock that makes it into the laundry basket before I put the last stack of baby blankets away all freshly folded. ;)
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Better Late Than Never! October 4, 2013
I am sitting here – yes, at almost 11:00 the night before General Conference – trying to print out and organize some things for tomorrow. The funny thing is, is that I know I am not alone. There is a magic thing on a blog (something I never knew existed before last General Conference really). It’s called a stats page. It can tell me how many people have viewed my blog and what they were here to see. It has just made me giggle today to see that I am not the only one that has not got her everything together yet as those numbers of visitors looking for trains or paper dolls or whatever all else (essentially exclusively Conference oriented) has continued to rise and rise tonight. So I say to all ye other folks trying to gather activities at this point in the game, BETTER LATE THAN NEVER!!!!
Let’s just throw a party! Wouldn’t that be fun! To gab with each other as we all hustle about to print that one magical activity page that will work wonders for one kid just when they are starting to be overtaken by a mad case of the ants-in-their-pants bug – just when a speaker starts hitting on something you knew YOU needed to hear. I almost always print WAY more than I can logically need for my kids during Conference. But, hey, that’s what makes our Sunday bag such a delight the six months following – Conference leftovers become great Sacrament Meeting quieters. I was actually hitting the print button with such speed tonight that I may have literally just blown the motor on my printer. HUBBY is working to see what he can do with it, but somehow the very prospect made me laugh tonight. So, however you do it, whatever great things you find, from wherever you find them, thanks for letting me play along a little. It makes me feel less lonely in my last minute preparations. :)
And, with that, I bid you all a happy General Conference filled with the Spirit, fun, and peace! :)