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Word for 2017

12 Jan

I really love new beginnings. There is so much hope in a fresh start.

In December, I was thinking that my word for the year would be

DIRECTION

To help me remember not to focus on where I am or how far I am from perfection, but instead to just keep moving in the right direction.  So that’s definitely part of what I want to keep my focus on this year.

But then another word crossed my path and repeated itself several times and I know that it is what I really need to work on this year.

REMEMBRANCE

As we raise our children we teach them the remembrances of our culture.  I don’t mean we make them memorize facts and dates and state capitols.  I mean we teach them what we have learned as humans over the last 4000 years (plus or minus) .  We read to them our Mother Goose Rhymes and our fairy tales and folk tales.  We teach them folk songs.  We tell them the stories of our family members who lived and died.  We tell them how our family lived and how they died.

All these remembrances create an anchor for our children that tethers them to the past.  In the rushing ever changing river of now, they have a safety.  Their present and future have meaning because they can see it in the context of the past.  They can overcome hardship because they know that in our family we have had hard times before, and we overcame them.  Without a tether to the past, there is only the present.  The past and future have no meaning, and we are tossed about by each new meme on facebook.  We are touched or aghast or amused, but in the end it all means nothing if we have no tie to the past or responsibility to the future.

Jesus Christ broke bread and gave of it to his disciples and said, “This do in remembrance of me.”

He gave us an anchor, a tether that keeps us connected in the rushing river of life.  Through the power of his grace we overcome the trials large and small of life.  We can also overcome our own selves.  We are reborn in Christ and become his children as we take His name upon us.  This is why his name is “The Very Eternal Father.”  Thus remembrance of Him is remembrance of family.

Remembrance isn’t just remembering.  It is also doing.  We don’t remembrance.  We do things in remembrance of.  I know this has deeper significance than I can articulate right now.  It is something I want to spend a lot of time studying and thinking on this year.  I am looking forward to the learning.

 

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Christmas Eve

24 Dec


I like the part of Christmas Eve where “not a creature is stirring, not even a mouse”. 

( not quite there yet this year.) 

 Then I lie still and remember the magic I felt when I was young and anticipate the kids’ excitement in the morning. Sometimes I sneak to a window and open it a crack and smell the frosty cold air and check the starry sky (just in case Santa is flying over.) 

Then I close the window and look at the stars a little longer and think about the new star that shone down on a little stable in Bethlehem. For me, Christmas is about feeling awe and wonder at the Love of God, that He sent His Son to us, for us. I wish for you my friends to feel that wonder in your hearts tonight with me. 

🎄🎄🎄Joyous Christmas and Much Love to you all.

❤️

Glow Worm

I can’t Think of a Better Way

16 Jan

Yesterday as I pushed my double stroller with the 5-month old scooter pies up the sidewalk to the YMCA, flanked on either side by Baby Bean and Banana Cream Pie (who are 2 and 4, but look the same size.  People have started asking me if they are twins, too)

An older Y patron said to me something I’ve heard eleventy-billion times since I got brave enough to start leaving the house with the four baby pies.

“You sure do have your hands full.  You sure are busy.”

Usually I just nod and smile, or maybe add a “yep,” before continuing to press forward to my goal.  (Little tip:  moms of twins are generally running late to whatever it is they wanted to be to.  If they are also chasing a toddler, they don’t usually have time to stop and answer your well-meant questions.  They’ve answered these same questions so many times for so many strangers, the time investment isn’t worth it any more–especially if the toddler might run into the street/parking lot at any moment. ) 

But today Baby Bean was holding onto the stroller handle to help me. And suddenly I knew what the perfect response to this comment was.  So I looked that old guy right in the eye-ball and said,

“I do have my hands full, and I can’t think of a better way to spend my time.”

And I meant it. 

He said, “You’re right, and it’s a good thing you are young enough to do it.”

I didn’t tell him that I’m almost 40.  That would have baked his brain. I don’t look my age (woohoo). Most people still think I’m in my twenties. I know, 40 isn’t as old as I thought it was back when I was 17.  But it isn’t 28, and it isn’t even 35.  Most people don’t expect a mom of 4 kids 4 years old and younger to be over 32ish.  Heck, I didn’t expect to have 4 preschoolers at this stage of my life.  I’ve been in the enviable position of having my youngest child be 3 years old and all the other kids in school.  

My house was so clean and orderly that year.

I never planned to have so many kids so close together.  (Until Banana Cream Pie’s birthday in December, I had 4 kids 3-and-under.). I didn’t do it when I was a young mom.

But God had a plan for me different than my plan.  

It’s been scary. It’s been overwhelming.  And I don’t deny that sometimes I feel a little spark of something like envy when my friends talk about all the projects they get done while their one remaining child at home takes his nap.  

But it’s also been miraculous, joyful, amazing, and incredible.  I’ve learned a lot.

Also, apparently I’ve become patient.  That’s the number 2 most frequent comment I get from friends and strangers.  

“Wow, you are so patient.”

“I could not be as patient as you.”

“You have so much more patience than I do, that’s why you have 9 kids.  I didn’t have that much patience.  I stopped after 2 (or 4) kids.”

Here’s the thing: what they are calling “patience” is just me having a deeper understanding than I used to have of what is important and what is less important. 

And when I say deeper, I mean DEEEEEEEPER.

Ocean deep.

Dark side of the moon and back again deep.

So that I can look at a puddle of milk and Cheerios on the floor and say, “meh. Oh well. Let’s clean it up.” 

I’m not saying I always keep my cool.  There are still days when I close my eyes and turn my face to the sky and silently ask, “Why is this so hard?”  There are days I grouch at my kids.

But I quickly realize how truly blessed I am. 

In her book, The Hiding Place, Corrie ten Boom beautifully explains how God gives us the strength we need when we need it, and not before.  

When I only had 2 children, I did not have the patience or understanding for 9 children. I did not have it when I had 6 children.  I did not have that until I had 9 children.  

Don’t limit God’s plan for you because you don’t think that you have the patience or the skills or the whatever you lack to do the job. 

The Lord gives us the strength we need when we actually need it and not before.  Sometimes it’s after–long after–we thought we needed it.  But He knows we are capable of so much more than we think we are.

~~~~~

Psalms 32:7 Thou art my hiding place; thou shalt preserve me from trouble; thou shalt compass me about with songs of deliverance. Selah.

1Nephi 3:7 … I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them.

Ether 12:27 And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.

Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. 

Happy Mother’s Day 2014

11 May

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Today was Cherry Pie’s first time to give a talk for Sacrament Meeting, she being newly 12. I looked up several stories, scriptures, and quotes for her. She chose a story from our family history to share and the quote she wanted.

*********************************************************

Today is Mother’s Day. Today we remember and honor our Mothers. Our mothers give us life. They teach us the gospel. They feed us. They keep us from eating too much candy. They help us feel better when we are sad.

President Monson said: May each of us treasure this truth; one cannot forget mother and remember God. One cannot remember mother and forget God. Why? Because these two sacred persons, God and mother, partners in creation, in love, in sacrifice, in service, are as one.

I would like to share with you a story about my great great great grandmother, Lucy Ann Bingham. Lucy Ann had 13 children. In the spring of 1908, her youngest child, Florence, who was 6 years old, became very sick with scarlet fever. Lucy’s husband was away. Her neighbors were so afraid, they passed by the house on the far side of the street. With humble faith and patient work, Lucy Ann nursed Florence back to health. But before Florence was quite well, her 12 year old daughter, Bertha became sick. For 2 whole weeks, Bertha’s fever burned at 106*F every day. The doctor said there was no hope. He told others in town that he did not know why or how the child was still alive.
Lucy Ann worked and fasted and prayed. Bertha asked for a priesthood blessing, but the family was quarantined and no elders would come. After 2 weeks, suddenly Lucy Ann could tell that her daughter was dying. She gathered her children together around Bertha’s bed and prayed, “Heavenly Father give us wisdom to know what to do, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.” Just then, she heard out in the street, one man call to another. She went out and called to them, “My daughter is dying, are you afraid to come in and administer to her?” The 2 men left their horses in the street, came in, washed their hands, knelt by Bertha’s bed and anointed her with oil. Before they had finished the blessing, Bertha’s eyes were closed in peaceful sleep and her fever was gone. Lucy Ann’s prayers and the prayers of her children had been answered.

Later, Lucy Ann’s daughter wrote:
Mother’s hopes were high; that we, her children, would always remember and do the things she taught us, by her life, her words, and especially her deeds.
“Are there any sick among you?” She was there.
“Are you burdened with sorrow or shame?” a touch of her toil worn hand or words of encouragement she gave with a smile. Honor the Lord’s anointed. Remember the Sabbath Day to keep it holy! If you cannot say anything good of people, say nothing at all. But if you look you will find good. Remember a tenth of your earnings belong to the Lord. These are words of our Savior, but they came to us from our mother’s lips.

I think all of our mothers have the same hope that we will remember and do the things they teach us and that we will obey the Lord. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Testimony Art

1 Apr

Preface: this all happened a couple months ago and I’m finally writing about it now. Anyways …

We finished reading The Book of Mormon as a family, so for Family Home Evening we re-read Moroni 10:4-5 with the kids. We talked about what we had read in the BoM (that’s right, the Book of Mormon is the BOMB!) over the past year and how each of the kids could choose to pray and ask God for themselves to know it was true. The man of the house showed the kids this article from The Friend about a man who painted his testimony of Jesus. Then we got out paper and crayons and colored pencils and drew our testimonies. Here is our awesome artwork:

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Blueberry Pie drew this picture of his recent experience at the temple.

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Tamale Pie is 7 and very literal. Here she is giving her testimony.

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Pumpkin Pie drew herself getting baptized and the temple. (I realize this is an unneccesary caption, but I can’t help myself.)

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Cherry Pie also drew the temple.

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My drawing of the tree of life and Jesus.

 

It sounds kinda lame maybe, but we had fun.

of Shores and Ships

18 Oct
Twice in my adult life, I have received a message on my phone from my Mother  that went like this, “Everybody is okay, but call me as soon as you can.”
Once I received that same message from my sister.
The first time, my family’s house had burnt to the ground, but my parents and all 8 of my siblings still at home had gotten out safely.  The next time, my sister’s house had burnt to the ground, but she and her 4 month old baby and my 3 little girls whom she had been watching that day all got out safely.  The last time I got that message, a tornado had taken the second story off my parent’s house, but the 9 people who were in it at the time were all okay.
That message on my phone that begins with “everybody is okay” is one that sends my heart racing with fear because I know something scary has happened.
But a message far worse would be a message missing that reassurance, “everybody is okay.”
A sweet relative of mine lost her mother to ovarian cancer 2 weeks ago.  She wrote a very touching blog about her mother and included this thought:
I am standing upon the seashore. A ship at my side spreads her white sails to the morning breeze and starts for the blue ocean. She is an object of beauty and strength and I stand and watch her until at length she hangs like a speck of white cloud where the sea and sky come down to mingle with each other. Then someone at my side says,“There, she’s gone.”
Gone where? Gone from my sight, that is all. She is just as large in mast and hull and spar as she was when she left my side, and just as able to bear her load of living weight to the place of destination. Her diminished size is in me, not in her; and just at that moment when someone at my side sighs: “There, she’s gone,” there are other eyes watching her coming, and other voices to take the glad shout,“There, she’s coming!”
 I am sad for my sweet relative who has lost her closest friend and glad for her mother, who is gone to peace & rest, and many other feelings all at once which I cannot put into words that satisfy me.  Each day that we have is a miracle and a gift.

To judge or not to judge,it’s not a question

25 Mar

image from here

This week I have caught myself a couple times passing judgement on others around me. Doin’ too much gossipin’. I’ve had to remind myself that I don’t know the whole story and those people are probably doing the best they can. Perhaps there’s something I need to find in myself and root out–something I’m trying to hide from by stirring in everyone’s business but my own.

~~Don’t Find Fault by Edgar A. Guest

Don’t find fault with the man who limps or stumbles along the road,
Unless you have worn the shoes that he wears or struggled beneath his load.
There may be tacks in his shoes that hut, though hidden away from view;
Or the burdens he bears, when placed on your back might cause you to stumble, too.

Don’t sneer at the man who’s down today unless you have felt the blow
That caused his fall, or felt the shame that only the fallen know.
You may be strong, but yet the blow that was his, if dealt to you
In the selfsame way or at the self same time might cause you to stagger, too.

Dont’ be too harsh with the man who sins, or pelt him with words or stones,
Unless you are sure, yea doubly sure, that you have not sins of your own.
For you know, perhaps, if the tempter’s voice should whisper as soft to you
As it did to him when he went astray, it would cause you to falter, too.
~~~~~~

My amazing cousin has written a short essay about this and is trying to win a scholarship. You can vote for her to win here:

We could all do with more mercy and more understanding. I know I could.

Luke 6:37

Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven:

Ether 12:27

And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.