"If Everyone is Special, Nobody is Special"

I recently watched The Incredibles for the first time in a long time and became mesmerized by this scene between mother and child. Watch this:


So many messages in this short little clip!

#1 - "You always say, 'Do your best,' but you don't really mean it.  Why can't I do the best that I can do?"

I remember a moment when my oldest was working on his handwriting.  He started to throw a fit because it wasn't as easy as he wanted it to be.  My response at the time was, "It's okay.  Just do your best."  Looking back I noticed that such a response was really saying, "Don't try too hard to be perfect."  His handwriting is not horrible today, but I wonder if asking him to do his best rather than giving him an opportunity to improve and truly reach his potential taught him the adverse principle.

For example, fast forward about 5 years.  I'd been teaching him piano and he came to a tricky song or technique.  He immediately began to throw a fit because it wasn't easy.  For who knows how many minutes I sat there and made him practice that line over, and over, and over again.  I have to say, his piano playing is much better than his handwriting!

My point? What do we really mean when we tell our children to "Just do your best?"  Are we using this as a phrase in such a way that they simply settle for mediocre or are we really expecting them to reach for their best and to achieve what is seemingly impossible?

#2 - In response to #1, Mrs. Incredible says, "Right now, honey, the world just wants us to fit in and to fit in we just gotta be like everybody else."

What is it about fitting in that seems so enticing?  What does "fitting in" even mean?  Why are we sometimes afraid to stand out?  I have a couple of teenage daughters right now going through this lovely identity discovery.  One wants to wear name brand clothes so she doesn't look different than her peers.  The other is hesitant to talk in class because she doesn't want to draw attention to herself (and her strong thirst for learning new things!).  I love this quote I found online:

"There has always been a tension between freedom and equality. This tension does not only exist in the world outside of us, but within us as well. We want to belong and yet we want to be true to ourselves. If we pretend to be someone else that we are not in order to fit in, we are always insecure that we will be found out and that we will lose the love and respect of those around us. At the same time, though, we fear that if we are true to ourselves we will never be loved and respected for who we really are. And so we are driven by our fears and our insecurities, unable to be content with that we have or able to grasp and seize our deepest dreams." from https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2012/07/15/if-everyone-is-special-then-nobody-is/

C.S. Lewis describes this "fitting in" phenomenon as an "Inner Ring."  We all want to be part of an circle of some sort, he says.  He states, "Until you conquer the fear of being an outside, an outsider you will always be."

I know when my own insecurities start to take the better of me it's often because I'm worrying about being accepted by others.  Or, I worry that my personality is such that I might come off a little too strong and thus offend someone.  We all have personal fears for why we don't embrace our true selves and we all desire to be accepted.  Maybe showing acceptance to others is the key to overcoming our own worries of being accepted.

#3 - "Everyone is special, Dash."
        "Which is another way of saying no one is."

There is also clip toward the end of the movie where Syndrome says, "I'll give them heroics...And when I'm old I'll sell my inventions so everyone can be heroes, everyone can be super!  And when everyone's super, no one will be."

Brene Brown calls this phenomenon scarcity.  If someone has a talent, then I can't have it.  If someone speaks highly of another, then I must not be so great.  If they have a big house, I will probably never get one.  These are obviously thoughts from the adversary, for nothing can be further from the truth!  The Lord has promised everyone all that He hath (Luke 12:44).  God is no respector of persons and will grant to each of us that which we need in order to return to Him.

Lynne Twist, author of  The Soul of Money writes, “We each have the choice in any setting to step back and let go of the mindset of scarcity. Once we let go of scarcity, we discover the surprising truth of sufficiency....Sufficiency resides inside of each of us, and we can call it forward. It is a consciousness, an attention, an intentional choosing of the way we think about our circumstances. " 

So, next time we think, "I must not be great because look at her!" Let us quickly tell ourselves that's a lie and remember that we truly are children of a loving Heavenly Father who is watching over us.  We have enough.  We are enough!

 - - - - -

There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. ...It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest most uninteresting person you can talk to may one day be a creature which,if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship..."

C.S. Lewis, Weight of Glory


A Visit from Sister Wixom

Sister Rosemary Wixom, former General Primary President, came to speak to the women of BYU-Idaho last night.  What a precious, gentle and loving woman she is!  Her words were timely and beautiful.  I just want to record some of the messages I received from this sweet woman. 

Question:  If your life were a book, what would be it's title? 
Have you ever thought of the answer to this question?  It's one I've been chewing on since Sister Wixom first posed it.  I'm still pondering....

Question:  How do you see eternity every day? 
My friend and I discussed how scripture study is essential for keeping our eye on eternity.  Sister Wixom then introduced us to a beautiful phrase: 


What is sacred idleness?  It is purposeful time alone; a focus on sacred (highly valued) things;  a moment in our day that rejuvenates, renews and restores us!  Don't you love that?!  

Sacred idleness is not about wasting time or filling your quiet moments with distractions like social media and television.  

Sacred idleness is personal time in which we focus our lives on the things that matter most. 

Sacred idleness is about pursuing small moments that matter, those things that give you energy back! 

When we focus on creating a sacred moment in our days, we will be able to live in the moment while keeping our eye on eternity! 

Question: How do we take control of our lives? 
The adversary wants to keep us "busily engaged."  We need to seek the light of Christ in our live, determine what the essentials are and focus on the big things in life.  

We do this by keeping our covenants.  Covenant keeping is about trying - - maybe failing sometimes, but always getting up and trying.  Elder Maxwell has said, "It's good to remember how young we are spiritually."  

There is an abundance of blessings for keeping our covenants.  Keep your covenants to bless your family! 

Then, she said so cutely, "If we Mormons can't have fun, I mean, crazy fun, then we are missing the mark!"  

Final Invitatiton
Lastly, Sister Wixom invited us to make a list of those things which have enriched our lives the most.

 - - - - - - 

"Wherefore, be of good cheer, and do not fear, for I the Lord am with you, and will stand by you; and ye shall bear record of me, even Jesus Christ, that I am the Son of the living God, that I was, that I am, and that I am to come."
D&C 68:6


Why Gender Matters

"Teach your children: Being a real man means using your strength in the service of others...Being a real woman is who you are inside."  
 Dr. Leonard Sax, Why Gender Matters, p.240

Since 1995, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has boldly declared, "All human beings - male and female - are created in the image of God...Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal destiny of His children."

When The Proclamation on the Family first came out, I understood the importance of it, but honestly questioned why this particular paragraph was included.  I didn't understand why it needed to be stated so explicitly.  For me, at the time and even now, being female was not a question.  Understanding the need for both male and female was not a question. It seemed pretty clear.  And so, being a teenager, I just went on my merry way and questioned no further.

Fast forward over 20 years and I can now see why this particular paragraph was so necessary, valuable and important.  I understand, also, that for some gender distinction is not so clear.  I can validate that there are real questions and doubts circulating out there in our society.  Most of this uncertainty is being inflamed by media, social media to be exact.  As we hear and see more about gender and identity confusion, we begin to assume that such thoughts are normal and even may begin to adopt them ourselves.

Gender is the focus topic for the Proclamation tips in the March Ensign of 2017.  Though it may not be so clear out in the world, President Uchtdorf explains, "We know some things but not everything...But there is someone who sees all things clearly.  There is a source of truth that is complete and correct. That source is our wise and all-knowing Heavenly Father (emphasis added)."   As with any wrestle we may have with gospel principles, this one is no different.  We must go to the Lord for answers on such matters.

How do we come to terms with what conversations are being had in the world while teaching our children in our homes?  How do we teach compassion and understanding when what is shown as normal is not how God intends it to be?

First of all, I think we need to distinguish equality from being the same.  Dr. Leonard Sax is a renowned physician who has worked extensively on this subject.  He is a strong advocate for same-gender segregation in schools and has some very valid points as to why he believe this.  Ultimately his stance is this:  BOYS AND GIRLS ARE DIFFERENT!  Period.

For years scientists have been showing us that male and female brains are different.  John Gray, author of Men Are From Mars, Women are From Venus, states, "Not only do men and women communicate differently, but they think, feel, perceive, react, respond, love, need and appreciate differently."  I think when this book first came out (and since) this idea of men and women thinking differently has become almost comedic.  We use these differences to make fun of or make light of certain situations.  I think of the commercial where the wife has a nail sticking out of her head.  It's hilarious.  And we laugh.  And that's a good thing!

However, we also need to take into account that these differences are REAL.  Dr. Sax adds his expertise to the puzzle when he expresses our need to acknowledge physical differences as well.  In studying youth sports programs he has found unaddressed distinctions between boys and girls. He says, "Today we all agree that girls and boys should have equal opportunity to participate in sports.  But that doesn't mean that girls and boys should be treated the same...As a physician, I have seen first-hand how this confusion results in more girls injured on the field....If we pay attention to the hardwired differences between girls and boys, we can decrease the risk of injury.  If we ignore the differences between girls and boys because it's politically correct to pretend that girls and boys are the same...then we put girls at risk."

Equal does not mean the same.  I think this is where the conversation becomes skewed.  I think this is the understanding we all could come to.  EQUAL opportunities for women, YES!  I am all for that.  But treating boys and girls the same can be very detrimental.  Dr. Sax gives warm-up suggestions that are more appropriate for the muscle structure of girls than boys.

 Academically, Sax also advises that we teach boys and girls separately, at least in certain subjects, because the boy brain develops differently than does the girl brain.  With such knowledge, teachers and parents can adapt their teaching styles and have much better success in raising girls that love math and boys that love to write (our stereotypical society may be founded on scientific data here).

It is true that gender identity and confusion are a part of our culture now and our children may have many questions to answer for themselves as they become more immersed in this world.  This is a valuable discussion to have with them as they seek out answers for themselves.  I find solace in knowing that we do have a loving Heavenly Father who knows us, who prepared us years ago for this current wave of curiosity and doubt.  I trust in His all-seeing clarity on the matter and I will raise my sons and my daughters equally, but not the same.

 - - - - - 

“[Gender] in large measure defines who we are, why we are here upon the earth, and what we are to do and become. For divine purposes, male and female spirits are different, distinctive, and complementary. … The unique combination of spiritual, physical, mental, and emotional capacities of both males and females were needed to implement the plan of happiness”  - - Elder David A. Bednar


God is Good!

image from lds.org

I believe we all have righteous desires simmering in our hearts.  For days, weeks, months and years we plead for these desires to come to fruition.  We hope for and seek the promised blessings to come into our life.  As time goes on we may become filled with doubt, tears, even anger that we are not receiving what we feel is something good.

And then, sometimes and miraculously, our will aligns with the timing of our Father in Heaven and the promised blessing is realized.  This, in turn, brings forth a whole new range of thoughts and emotions.  First, we are extremely grateful and filled with joy.  Then, reality sets in and we think, "Wait!  Is this really what I wanted?  I'm not so sure this is really what I was asking for."  And yet, we are still grateful.

Then come the more destructive thoughts.  "I don't deserve this.  All I did was whine and complain for all those years.  I begged and was angry and frustrated.  Why am I receiving this blessing when I was such a murmurer?  And what about all those other people still praying for their desired blessings?  Why have am I getting what I want?"  These thoughts and questions lead to feelings of unworthiness, a different kind of doubt, and despair.  This is where the adversary wants us to stay.

But if there's one thing I've learned it is this:


Our Father in Heaven is kind, loving, patient, understanding, trusting and compassionate.  I believe that Heavenly Father wants to give us what we want.  However, "there is a law irrevocably decreed in heaven," a law that He is bound to, a law we may not fully understand.  I believe that even though He would like to give us every desire or our heart, He cannot.  He is bound.  And I believe He cries when we cry.  He mourns with us as we are to mourn with others.  He is also there to bless us immeasurably!  I believe this brings Him great joy when He can finally grant us the blessings we desire.

Our Father in Heaven is not some vindictive parent wagging His finger at us saying, "If you just stop whining I'll give you what you want."  Or "If you would just learn this one lesson...."  Or "Well, you've messed up this time, now you cannot have that cookie."  No!  This is not the God I have come to know. Again, God is so good and I believe He wants us to be happy, which often means giving us what we want when He can.

Now, in the waiting period that is oh so excruciating, we have a couple of choices.  We can continue to pray in faith (which is different than whining, but still has a pleading element to it), asking for that which we desire.  Or we may need to change course and simply accept that there must be something else in store for us.  Something better that we just can't see in the moment.

In my own searching and pleading for another baby, I tried the latter.  I tried with all my heart to change plans, to change my desire, to hope that Heavenly Father would lead me to a different path if the plan I had was not correct.  But each time I tried, it didn't work.  There was no change of plans (this time).  I simply needed to be more patient, keep praying, and even change my prayers to some degree.

And so when I go back to those debilitating thoughts Satan wants me to have: you are unworthy, you don't deserve this, why would you get this blessing?  I push him away and remember that God is Good and He wants this blessing for me as much as I do. No, I don't deserve the blessings I receive.  After all, we've been taught no matter how much we do we are still indebted to the Lord.  But I can turn my heart from those negative thoughts and simply be grateful to a God who loves, gives, cares and blesses.  I can always remind myself that GOD IS GOOD!

 - - - - - - - -

"O how great the goodness of our God, who prepareth a way for our escape from the grasp of this awful monster; yea, that monster, death and hell, which I call the death of the body, and also the death of the spirit." 
2 Nephi 9:10


Between Parent and Child

image from amazon.com

Just a quick shout out to the best parenting book I've read in a long time!  I used to tear through parenting books, finding purpose and vision in my calling as a mother.  Then, I took a hiatus...maybe I got a little prideful not thinking I needed to read them anymore. And then I had teenagers and was not prepared for the transition.  After a great discussion with my dearest friend I felt inspired to get to reading some more.  This was the first book I picked up and loved every minute of it! 

A couple of quotes: 

"Children whose parents do not consider their feelings and point of view may conclude that their ideas are stupid and unworthy of attention and that they are neither lovable nor loved (p.84)." 

"Emotions are part of our genetic heritage. Fish swim, birds fly, and people feel.  Sometimes we are happy, sometimes we are not; but sometimes our lives are sure to feel anger and fear, sadness and joy, greed and guilt, lust and scorn, delight and disgust.  While we are not free to choose the emotions that arise in us, we are free to choose how we express them, provided we know what they are...Many people have been educated out of knowing what their feelings are.  When they felt hate, they were told it was only dislike.  When they were afraid, they were told there was nothing to be afraid of.  When they felt pain, they were advised to be brave and smile (p.27)."

The last couple of years I feel I have become more of a manager than a mother. Dictating became my #1 form of communication with my children.  Dictating, managing, scheduling...this does not create a relationship with others.  This book gave me a glimpse of how better to connect with my children; it's helped me to think about them as people with feelings, not as my children who need to be taught and trained all of the time.  

Looking for motivation in your role as a mother?  I recommend this book!


As a Mother of Young Children

"Just enjoy them." 

As a mother of young children, I remember hearing this all the time!  Every time I heard it I would privately roll my eyes and think defensively, "Duh! I am enjoying them."  And I was.  I did.  I loved having my kids around me.  I loved the busyness and the constant chatter in the background. 

BUT...Being a mother of many young children was also really hard.  I remember going to bed some nights thinking, "What am I going to do tomorrow?"  I remember calling my mom crying because of a particularly challenging day.  I remember the child who would never sleep - - day or night - - and the child who never took a bottle.  I remember days in a row when someone would spill something at dinnertime. And there's the time I walked into my daughter's room ten minutes before church to find her entire body covered in Desitin!! Being a mother of young children is challenging!  

But all of those memories were just days, moments.

I have now been a mother for 17 years.  To some, my children are still very young.  Yet, I can look back at that time and recognize what I truly miss from those younger years. I'm beginning to better understand why people would tell me, "Just enjoy them."  

What I MISS from those younger years: 

Laughter coming from their bedroom.

Hugs and kisses (my teens just don't give these quite so readily!)

Play groups and park days.

Being needed constantly (hard to explain).

Complete control of my little brood - - in control of our schedule, their bedtime, our daily plans.

Childlike messes - the unfrozen otter pops cut open, the flour fight, the 2-year old getting eggs out of the fridge (thus all over the floor) - these are all just funny stories now!

Simple days.

The magic that only a child can bring to an ordinary day - - everything is new and exciting!

Quiet nights holding a baby (I appreciated this most with my current youngest).

Being forced to sit still to nurse a baby - best time to read a book! 

Cooking dinner with my children all around me (now they scatter!).

Halloween and Christmas are much more exciting with younger kids! 

Their childlike innocence and darling things they would say.

What I DON'T MISS from having younger children:

Car seats


Walking the halls at church

I'm sure in another 17 years I will be doing the same about this particular stage, but for now...
 I'm just going to enjoy them.

 - - - - - 

“'Children are an heritage of the Lord' (Psalm 127:3). Parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness, to provide for their physical and spiritual needs, and to teach them to love and serve one another, observe the commandments of God, and be law-abiding citizens wherever they live....The family is ordained of God."  


The Lord's Timing

I just read this tender article on lds.org and it made me think about my own experience with the Lord's timing.  In the article the young woman easily recognized the purpose behind the waiting.  Though I have finally received the thing I've been desiring (a new little one coming to our home!), I still don't understand the timing of it all.

Why did we have to wait?

Why did I have to go through so much pain to get to where I am?

Was it just in the struggle that I needed to learn the lessons or is there really a greater purpose to why now instead of then?

There have been other times in my life when I have been able to see what the Lord's purpose was in the end, but this time I'm still kind of baffled!  Ultimately, it's nice to know the Lord knows what He is doing with us.  I try to take comfort in that knowledge as I wait patiently for more answers to come.

 - - - - - 

"For behold, thus saith the Lord God: I will give unto the children of men line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little; and blessed are those who hearken unto my precepts, and lend an ear unto my counsel, for they shall learn wisdom; for unto him that receiveth I will give more; and from them that shall say, We have enough, from them shall be taken away even that which they have." - - 2 Nephi 28:30 - - 


Whoso Receiveth One Such Child

A few years back I was released from teaching Gospel Doctrine and called to primary.  I remember the first sharing time I gave.  I was teaching them about faith from Alma 32.  I had them stand or sit every time I read the word "seed."  Then I asked, "What is the seed Alma was talking about?"  The children piped up:




I laughed and thought, "I am not in Gospel Doctrine anymore."

I have to admit, I have missed Gospel Doctrine and digging deep into the scriptures with other adults. It has taken me awhile to adjust to the simpleness of primary.  And then there is that one profound answer given by a believing child and I am smitten!

When asked, "Who is the greatest in the kingdom?"  Jesus draws a little child into the circle and says, "Whosoever humbleth himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven."

Children are humble.  They are innocent and believing.  Their desire to love and be loved is contagious and a testament to me of what Christ truly means by this statement.

And then Jesus says this, "Whoso shall receive one such child in my name receiveth me."

What does it mean to receive a child and how do we do that?

Receive: to accept; to take as due or reward; to allow, to hold, to retain; to admit, to welcome.

We receive children by accepting them, welcoming them, loving them, holding them dear.  In doing so, as the verse says, we receive Christ.

In Mark we have some clarification of what that means, "Whosoever shall humble himself like one of these children, and receiveth me, ye shall receive in my name  And whosoever shall receive me, receiveth not me only, but him that sent me, even the Father."

Not only do we accept Christ when we receive a child, but we also welcome our Father in Heaven into our lives.

And it gets even better!  Going back to Matthew we read, "Except ye be converted and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom heaven."

So...We receive a child and thus receive Christ.  In doing so we receive the Father also.  And if we receive such with humility, we receive the kingdom.  Isn't that amazing!?  Receiving all that the Father hath begins with a child (at least, that's how I look at it)!

After reading these verses and putting the pieces together, I have a newfound love for my calling - - both in church and as a mother!  I believe the Lord knows what He's doing.  He knows where to place us and when.  He knows our hearts and the lessons we need to learn.  Though it's taken me too long to admit, I am grateful to be in primary where I can learn to in simple yet profound ways how to receive the Savior in my life.

Matt. 18:1-6
Mark 9:36-37
Mark 10:13-16

 - - - - - - 

And it came to pass that he commanded that their little children should be brought. So they brought their little children and set them down upon the ground round about him, 
and Jesus stood in the midst; and the multitude gave way till 
they had all been brought unto him. 

And it came to pass that when they had all been brought, and Jesus stood in the midst,he commanded the multitude that they should 
kneel down upon the ground. 

...and he said unto them: Blessed are ye because of your faith. And now behold, my joy is full. And when he had said these words, he wept, and 
the multitude bare record of it, and he took their little children, one by one, and blessed them, and 
prayed unto the Father for them. 

And when he had done this he wept again;
And he spake unto the multitude, and said unto them: 
Behold your little ones.

 - - 3 Nephi 17:11-13, 20-23 - - 


Where Does Your Genius Lie?

While homeschooling people often assumed I must have really smart kids.

Well, yeah. Sure.   Academically, I'd say my kids are pretty average.  They do well in school, but they are not what we'd put in the "genius" category.  But I've been thinking about what it means to be "smart."  When I tell my kids, "You're so smart," what am I really saying?

To me, being "smart" isn't about knowing stuff, or acing tests.  To me, being smart means a person is utilizing the gifts they have effectively.  Each individual is "smart" in their own way.  Many "smart" gifts are featured in our home:  musical, academic, analytical, organizational, creative, etc.  These all play a role in our home.

With these thoughts on my mind, when I heard Elizabeth Gilbert's TED Talk a couple of weeks ago...WOW!  I was struck by her message.  You'll really  just need to go listen to it yourself, but she says this:

In ancient Greece and Rome, "people did not believe creativity came from human beings.... People believed creativity derived form a divine attendant spirit that came to human beings from some distant and unknowable source for distant and unknowable reasons."

In other words, a genius was not an individual, it was a magical identity who invisibly assisted the artist.  This in turn protected the artist.  For example, if the work was brilliant, the artist couldn't take full credit  (good bye narcissism!);  if the work was awful, it was the spirit's fault (good bye fear of failure!).

Isn't that brilliant!  Yes, we need to praise our children for their goodness, even their greatness.  But maybe the how we praise needs to be fine tuned a little bit in our culture. Do our kids worry too much about being the best?  Or are they concerned about taking risks for fear they will mess up?  Do we give too much credit to ourselves for the things we accomplish and blame ourselves too much for the things that go wrong?  This idea of a genius being an out-of-body entity sounds so liberating to me.  (And realize, I'm talking in the creative sense, not the "making bad choices in life" sense - - for those we obviously need to take responsibility.)

I find myself then asking, "Does this concept fit into my spiritual paradigm?"  I think Ammon had the right idea when he says, "I do not boast in my own strength, nor in my own wisdom; but behold, my joy is full, yea, my heart is brim with joy, and I will rejoice in my God."  When we praise our children or ourselves, are we giving credit where credit is due?

C.S. Lewis also purports: "Almost our whole education has been directed to silencing this shy, persistent, inner voice; almost all our modern philosophies have been devised to convince us that the good of man is to be found on this earth.  And yet it is a remarkable thing that such philosophies of Progress or Creative Evolution themselves bear reluctant witness to the truth that our real goal is elsewhere."  Weight of Glory, p.31 (see p. 30 also for more on this).

So, no.  My kids are not smart.  My kids have simply been given different gifts with which to navigate and share in this life.  When I hear my son play the piano, I relish in the gift he was given, I don't usually think of how amazing he is...and I tell him that, too.   Rather than saying, "You are so good!"  I prefer to say,"You have been given such a gift, don't waste it."  (Maybe that's a different kind of pressure I need to explore??)

I'll end with more from Elizabeth Gilbert.  She poses the question, "Is it rational, is it logical that anybody should be afraid of the work that they feel they were put on this earth to do?"  If we believe we are put on this earth to really do something, then let's do it!  And then, as we find success in that personal mission, let's remember to acknowledge from where we got that gift.

 - - - - - - 

For all have not every gift given unto them; for there are many gifts, and to every man is given a gift by the Spirit of God.  To some is given one, and to some is given another, that all may be profited thereby.
 Doctrine & Covenants 46:11-12


What Do You Want?

It's a simple question really.  Or is it?

Psychologist Abraham Maslow tell us, "It isn't normal to know what we want. It is a rare and difficult psychological achievement (The Temple Experience, Wendy Ulrich, p.169)."

So, what do you want?

Do you even know?

Our family frequently shops at thrift stores.  However, I have one daughter who currently refuses to do so.  She wants "nice" things, she says.  Though she wants to be thrifty (and have money for other pursuits), she also has a desire to have new and nice things.  So, I am trying to teach her that it is OKAY to want "nice things" and that choosing such will limit her options in the future.  Neither is wrong.  She works hard to make money, she saves money, how she spends it is really up to her and what she truly wants.

Sometimes in our culture we are afraid to ask for what we want.  We may feel that doing so is selfish or silly.  Like my daughter who feels "bad" that she wants nice things, we question our desires and think maybe we are bad for wanting what we want.  Sometimes, therefore, we shove down those wants, hiding them away and feeling ashamed they even exist.

Likewise, there may be some negative connotation with wanting things because of the teaching that we must give up our will for the Lord's will.  Now, before I go further, it is true that we need to submit our will to God, understanding that ultimately He knows what is best for us, but I think we sometimes look at these wills as though they are always in conflict with one another.

Doesn't the Lord tell us, "Ask and ye shall receive?"  Similarly he asks, "Or what man is there of you, who, if his son ask bread, will give him a stone?"  I truly believe the Lord wants to give us what we want.  I have come to understand that it is we who do not know what we want, therefore we don't really know what to ask for!

I think it is human to want a lot of things.  I want to travel.  I want to watch movies all day sometimes. I want to read books all day sometimes.  I want junk food.  I want lots and lots of money (so I can travel).  I want nice clothes.  I want my children to be healthy and to not fight with each other. I want people to like me and to like all people all of the time.

And then there's the fact that many of our desires actually contradict one another.  I want to sleep in and I also I want a quiet morning before the kids wake up.  I want my husband to work less but I want him to work so we can have money (to travel, haha).  I want to serve my neighbors and I also want to have time for myself. I want to be a mother and I want to have some sort of career.

All of these conflicting desires actually then make it very difficult for us to know what we really want, deep down inside.  And yet, the conflict also gives us the opportunity to "educate our desires," as Elder Maxwell would say.   It's this educating of our desires, this fine-tuning, I think that brings us closer to the will of God.  He has blessed us already with certain gifts and personality traits that lead us to want certain things - - good things.  Also coming with us from heaven are weaknesses and traits that may lead us to want not so good things.  If we are truly seeking to righteously follow God, we will move more toward the good, thus following His plan for us anyway.  Right?

I have recently been on my own search for what I truly want.  Heavenly Father has given me time (too much, in my opinion) to kind of "go it alone," to seek out what I truly want. I have had some conflicting thoughts and ideas of what to choose and where to go in my life.  I've also been asking what His will would be for me.  His answer has pretty much been, "It's your choice." (Sometimes I dislike agency!) Though painful, hard and a little lonely at times, this experience has made me more confident in what I've always wanted, yet forgotten.

We need to remember that Satan is the one who wants us to be miserable.  Heavenly Father wants us to have joy.  Seeking what we want, in accordance with what God has already given and desires further for us, brings us closer to that joy.  When we keep this open conflict with God - - my will vs. Thy will - - then there is misery, we are left to "kick against the pricks."  Though we ultimately will submit our will to the Father's, I don't believe we'll find our righteous desires much different than His in the end.

 - - - - - - 

"Glory...turns out to satisfy my original desire 
and indeed to reveal an element in that desire which I had not noticed.  
By ceasing for a  moment to consider my own wants 
I have begun to learn better what I really wanted." 
C.S. Lewis, Weight of Glory p. 39


The Presidential Election with Kids: 14 Issues in 14 Days

My Kids!  We just happened to dress patriotically for our family pictures this year! 
With the upcoming election I have been so overwhelmed trying to sort out the truth from the false, the fact from the lies.  It has been mind-boggling and mind-consuming as I have tried to sort it all out this year.  Who to vote for?  (Don't answer that.  It's a rhetorical question.)

After a couple of discussions with friends about the trickiness of this decision I was somehow drawn to thinking about two things:  the policies and my children.  I want my kids to know what the ISSUES are in our country.  What are both sides really fighting about?  I want them to see what the prophets, scriptures and their parents believe in and have said about these issues.  And, because THREE of my children will be eligible to vote in FOUR YEARS  (crazy thought!), I want them to start learning and discovering how they stand on the major issues of our nation. Most importantly, I want them to learn the process of searching, asking questions and discovering truth. 

Soooo...I went a little crazy....


Maybe I'm missing my homeschooling days a little too much.  Or maybe I have too much time on my hands.  Maybe this is just how I needed to get a handle on my own stance on the issues. I don't know.  Either way, this is just one of those things I knew I had to do.  And every time I thought, "This is too much work," the tiny little voice inside my head would say, "But it's going to be worth it." 

This is the simplified version.

The idea's pretty simple.

A picture of each candidate.  A flip book telling their stance on the major issues. 

A picture of the child.  A blank flip book for them to jot down their own beliefs or thoughts. 

14 Issues will be discussed in 14 days...At dinnertime, in the car, at family night, whenever!  


As I was working on the project one night my 14-year old daughter exclaimed, "Mom!  This is so awesome you are doing this!  I wanted to know what each person thought, but I don't want to look it all up myself."  Yes!  Confirmation of that little voice in my head (I love it when that happens). 

It's going to be an interesting two weeks. I'm really not sure what to expect as my children discuss the topics with us.  But, I know whatever we learn as a family...it will be worth it!

Some Final Thoughts: 
This election is fraught with so much emotion - - so many doubts and worries and fears and questions.  I'm confident that most of us are truly pondering our decisions as to who will lead our country next.  Democrat, Republican, Independent...Whatever your party or story may be I just pray that we can rally together as a nation to make our country what it was meant to be.  Good luck as you study, pray and seek for personal revelation in this season and always. :-)

 - - - - - 

"But, behold, I say unto you, that you must study it out in your mind; then you must ask me if it be right, and if it is right I will cause that your bosom shall burn within you; therefore you shall feel that it is right."  
Doctrine & Covenants 9:8


Loaves and Fishes

In our family scripture reading this morning, I was struck by one particular verse.

We all know the story of the feeding of the 5000 with only five loaves of bread and a few fishes (See Matt. 14:16-21; Mark 6:33-44; Luke 9:11-17; John 6:5-14).  Being moved by compassion towards the multitude, Jesus holds a great counsel with his disciples as they try to solve the dilemma of how to feed these people.  A young boy holds only the few loaves and fishes and the disciples question how this little amount of food will feed so many.  But Jesus takes the food, blesses and gives gratitude for it, and the company is fed.  "...and there was taken up of fragments that remained tot them twelve baskets (Luke 9:17)."

Fast forward some verses to Matthew 15 and Mark 8.  Here we read of yet another great multitude fed.  At this moment the people have been following and listening to the teachings of Jesus for three days.  Again, compassion takes a hold of Jesus' heart.  He asks the disciples to find food for these people, "for [many] of them came from far" and he is afraid they will faint of hunger on their journey home (Mark 8:3).

And now we come to the verse our family read this morning:
"And his disciples say unto him, Whence should we have so much bread in the wilderness, as to fill so great a multitude?"  

Wait!  Didn't they just witness the miracle of feeding the 5000?  And this time they are feeding less people (1000 less +/-) with more food (7 loaves of bread and a few fishes)!

I was struck forcefully with how easily we forget the miracles of our God!  These faithful disciples had just witnessed such a miracle and still they doubted how it would even be possible to feed this other crowd.  They doubted even though they had seen!

Aren't we all like that?  I think about my own life and how easily I forget. I think, "There's not way God will do this for me," even though I've seen Him do such things already!  Maybe part of my doubt comes because I think, "He did it once, but there's no way He'll do it again."  Or I think of my ingratitude at the first few million blessings that I wonder if He truly will keep pouring such down upon me.  Either way, it is all too easy to see what is right in front of us and forget the miracles God can perform for and with our lives!

President James E. Faust shares this sentiment,  "In our time, we seem to have forgotten the miracle of the five loaves and the two fishes in favor of the miracles wrought by the mind and hand of men [i.e. technology and transportation advances]....With this great knowledge has come also some skepticism about the simple and profound eternal truths taught in the miracle of the loaves and of the fishes - - namely, that God rules in the heavens and the earth through his infinite intelligence and goodness (emphasis added)."

Not only can this story of the loaves and fishes help us remember all the God will do, but we can also see what our small offerings can do for the building up of the Kingdom of God upon the earth.

In February of 1881, Elder Henry W. Naisbitt stated,

In looking upon a congregation like the present, I think that every Elder in Israel must feel that from the few small loaves and fishes which he may have accumulated in his experience, he is unable to feed and supply the necessities of the multitude before him.  But while he occupies the position, he realizes that the infinite resources of the Holy Spirit are within general reach, and that this can be supplied and so administered as to bring home the little food that may be presented; and that by the processes of its multiplication, every man and every woman, and all the youth who are assembled, may have "their portion of meat in due season," they may go away satisfied and refreshed and fitted for the duties of life and their minds may be expanded as to realize that through the inspiration of the spirit there is more left than appeared at the beginning (JD 22:74).

We may feel we have so little to offer.  We may wonder if the Lord is really going to grant a miracle in our lives.  But these two beautiful stories, almost back to back, testify that God can and will perform those miracles!  Oh, it's so easy to forget.  But let's try to remember.

 - - - - - - 

What of those who have talents equal only to two loaves and one fish? ... If their talents are used to build the kingdom of God and serve others, they will fully enjoy the promises of the Savior. 
- - President James E. Faust - - 


When God is Silent

What do you do with silence?

I've been experiencing silence.  With the kids all in school, I have a few hours (+/-) of time home alone.  The house is quiet.  Dead. Lifeless.  Silent.  And sometimes, I don't know what to do with that.  I mean, I have plenty on my "to do" list, but the eeriness of the home is a bit unnerving for me.

Similarly, I am also coming out of a period of spiritual silence.  For the past two years God has seemed pretty unreachable and distant.  Assuming I'm not the only one, I think we all have times in our lives when we truly feel the weight that comes with traveling through the wilderness alone; we wonder if God is really listening or hearing our pleas.  Direction seems aimless.  Purpose is in question. Life is, well, lifeless.

So I ask again, what do you do with silence?   I personally do not handle it very well!  But I am learning.  Slowly.  Piece by piece I am learning what to do and how to cope with silence in my life.

We often talk about scripture heroes in such a light that they seem perfect.  They get answers to their prayers immediately, they trust in the Lord perfectly, and they perform miracles. Sometimes we can look at these great men and women and think, "If only I were like...."  Well, guess what.  We are!
Nephi, Moses, Abraham, Enoch, the Brother of Jared, Elijah, Thomas, Peter, Mary, Martha...All of these great prophets and women had moments in their lives when they truly felt silence in their lives.

In 1 Kings 18:1 we read about Elijah's great miracle of ending the drought by calling forth the rains.  Well, we don't highlight that it took 3 1/2 years of drought before the miracle could be accomplished.  How many other times did Elijah pray in that time before the one that actually brought the rain?  I don't know, but I can't imagine he just said, "Okay.  Let's just wait for several years and then I'll see what I can do."

There is great value in silence. So what do we do with it?
Here is what I've been thinking:

Sit. Be Still.

"Be still and know that I am God," is what we have been counseled.  So why does silence unnerve me?   In my daily silence, I am striving to take just a moment to sit with the Lord.  After I send David off to school, I get my cup of cocoa (it's turning chilly here already), get in a comfortable position on my couch, close my eyes and just sit.  Wait. Ponder. Pray. Think.

Though I don't think this verse literally means we must constantly "be still," I do feel there is much goodness that can come from literally following this direction. Spending a moment with the Lord can only strengthen that most tender relationship in our lives.  When we are feeling silence from God, maybe it's because we are not allowing ourselves to be silent for (and with) Him.

"Staying connected with God gives our work, our recreation, our relationships, and all our daily rituals new meaning."   - Wendy Ulrich, Let God Love You, p. 155

Deprivation Draws out Desire.

When does water taste the best?
When does sleep sound so good?
When does a paycheck bring the greatest peace?
When does a friend feel the most welcome?

Most of the time, we find the greatest joy when we are deprived from the thing we later receive.  When God seems silent, the joy and peace that come from feeling Him again in our lives is so much more joyous; it is cherished more.  We all remember the story of Alma the Younger.  Though he had been the one to separate himself from God through rebellion in this instance, he still proclaims, "Oh, what joy, and what marvelous light I did behold; yeah, my soul was filled with joy as exceeding was my pain (Alma 36:20)."  When we lack something, it stretches us to seek for what we truly desire.

Time to Change

Oftentimes there is silence because, like Alma, we have made choices to distance ourselves from God.  When we feel this silence keenly, we can take inventory of our lives and see where we went wrong, where we need to repent and change.

Other times this silence doesn't come because we've been disobedient or rebellious, it simply feels silent because we are meant to traverse this mortal journey and "wait for a little season... that [we] may be taught more perfectly, and have experience (D&C 105:9-10)."  This same waiting period is still a chance for us to evaluate our lives and see where changes can be made that will close the gap between God and ourselves.

Wendy Ulrich makes this beautiful statement on the subject:
        "[This silence] may be simply that God is inviting us into a deeply intimate relationship with                Him, and that this kind of closeness requires us to change not only our behavior but also some
        of our most basic assumptions about ourselves and life. What kind of change does such
       closeness require? ...The kind of change that comes from facing deep disappointments and
       finding a way to move forward with hope (Let God Love You, p. 6)."


I guess it's been nice to have this stretching and waiting period in my life so I can search more deeply to see the hand of God in my life.  Because guess what?  It is always there!  Even amidst the fog I caught glimpses of His love and light in my life.  Though I had to work a little harder to see it (and even want it), His light was there.

There is no easy answer to this perplexing part of mortality, but it is helpful to know that even the moments of silence are part of God's plan for His children.  It is His goal to bring about the immortality and eternal life of man.  He wants us to come home.  Sometimes (lots of times!) the road leading there is going to be rough.  Knowing that makes it a little easier to traverse.

 * * * * * * 

"Intimacy with God is not just found in the intensity of honeymoons and power struggles;  sometimes the only way we can prepare for new levels of intimacy is by just driving down that long, empty road."   - Wendy Ulrich, p. 41


BORED?...Anything But!

Family Photos taken by Elizabeth Fawson

Ha!  I laugh at my last post!  Bored?  We have been anything BUT bored these last few months.  Oh, sure, the kids have had their days of "nothing to do," but for the most part we have had one thing after another!

June was filled with trips and camps.  Every week it seemed someone was missing.  And then when we all got together again (finally!) I had never heard that much contention in my life! Fortunately, a stroke of inspiration came late one night and we remedied that problem in the morning.  It was as simple as drawing a name of someone in the family whom you were to serve or treat kindly that day.  The trick was that you were to keep it a secret.  One week of this and we were back to being *mostly* happy together once again.

Then July came and house projects took over...literally.  With the discovery of a leaking foundation in the basement, our 5-10 year plan became "Get Done Immediately!"  (I can't say I'm very disappointed about this!)  And on top of getting a mini-remodel in the basement (and not having a kitchen sink for a few days!) I decided to work on our upstairs project:  the family room.

I didn't take pictures. ???  But the brown paneling and yellowish walls became white paneling with gray walls!  I LOVE IT!  I have never done a project like this before....sanding, primer, painting....it all seemed too daunting for me.  I guess the downstairs project just gave me a little kick in the pants to get the job done! Let me tell you, it is so much easier than I expected.  Yes, time-consuming.  Yes, tedious.  But the end result has been so rewarding I haven't minded the work.

And just as the housing projects come to completion (or nearly so, anyway), our end of summer visitors begin to trickle in.  We'd already had a friend from Richland for a night and my dearest childhood friend come with her family for a few days.  Now it was time for our second wave.  Friends from Richland again (making my daughter very happy) with my brother and his family following right after  (thank you to my wonderfully talented sister-in-law to capture the above family picture).  We couldn't pass up BYU-I Education Week (it's too wonderful!).  And we canceled our camping trip for next week to finish up the house so we could be ready for the Lenox clan to show up for a week.  Then, off we went to Education Week down in Provo with my friends and my teens.  Whew!

So, though I do believe in the idea of letting kids "be bored" and to figure out their own fun...the reality is that life doesn't always give us that opportunity. It's been a wild summer, our busiest yet! And though it's not how I planned it to be, it is what it is.  And we created some great memories!

Now it's back to the routine.  All of the kids started school last week (including David in 1/2 day Kindergarten).  So hopefully I will find time in there to get some writing done (so much to share from Education Week) and get back to organization (if that even really exists!).

Happy End of Summer Everyone!!


Summertime...Let them be Bored

So, I had all of these perfectly laid out plans for summer (have you seen all of the summer ideas all over Pinterest and Facebook lately!).  Yeah.  I was going to do ALL of it!  But one week in...and it is no longer.  With teens who have their own ideas of how summer should be and little boys who just want to run and play, it was tricky for me to come up with a happy balance.  Thus. I have yet again realized I am no longer in control of this little brood of mine any longer.  But it's okay....

...Because a few days ago the thought came, "Just let them be bored."  Fortunately, I've had a long trip to prepare for, making it very easy to "ignore" my children and allow that little thought to simmer.   Yes, I have requested a family hike every Thursday and they each have their daily job (house cleaning).  And yes, each of them are expected to have a goal or two over the summer.  But my perfectly planned schedule no longer rules the household.  And guess what?!?  It's amazing what they're doing!

My fifteen-year-old has a job! She's working so hard cleaning house for a single mom in our neighborhood.

My thirteen-year-old is happier than ever because she doesn't have to follow someone else's schedule! She spends her time reading (gasp!), organizing, and doing extra jobs to make a little money for the school year ahead. She even comes and asks me frequently if there's anything I need help with, "because I don't have anything to do."  Who is this child?!?

My eleven-year-old started to write a book!

My two youngest boys are playing together as little boys do (just take away the electronics and imaginations roam wild!).

My sixteen-year-old is growing up....and it's time I let him.  He'll be getting his license soon, has applied to a few places for work, and learning to make his own decisions about how he spends his time better.

What I've learned...boredom can be a great motivator and actually spawn creativity.  Of course, once I get back from my trip I'm sure my scheduling self will take over some, but hopefully I'll to continue to just let them be bored and watch great things happen!

Happy Summer Everyone!


Family History - We are Doing it!

One of those topics that has been haunting me for years. I kept telling myself, "It's just not my time," while also believing that this was not something just for the elderly.  But each time I tried to add family history research into my life, it took so much time just to learn how to do it that I'd end up frustrated.

Then, to add to the nagging feeling I was already having, Elder Bednar came out with an excellent talk wherein he spoke of family history serving as a protection for your children.  Who doesn't want that?!  But, again, I would try, time after time with seemingly no success.  And so, instead of working on it myself I'd tell the kids, "You guys need to work on indexing."  A mother's prodding is never really enough though - - especially when she's not willing to do so herself!

So, with family circumstances as they are (busy teenage schedules, husband adjusting to new job, and me home all day "with nothing to do" - ha-ha) my husband suggested I take over family night and teach all of the lessons for awhile.  At first I was worried that if we did this the kids would never learn how to teach.  Really?  Yeah.  I'm good at making excuses.  ;-) So, that's what we've done - - I took over family night lessons.

When I sat down to prepare my first lesson, I was struck by the family history topic.  The primary section in lds.org is so fabulous for finding material on lessons with a wide age-range of kids.  And really, the lesson was nothing special at all.  It was fun, short and inspiring.

Lesson #1
We started with this fun ABC's of Family History quiz (the kids love it when I pull out the desk bells).

Next we watched this Mormon Message about a boy who was on fire with family history and how he got his family all involved.

Then, we took a stroll to look at what I've called our Family History Wall. I have something made by
my grandma Pack and grandma Fawson hanging on the wall.  On this wall I have also hung our family tree, something my mom made for our wedding.  I hope to add some items from J's family soon as well. Anyway, we talked about these items and what an heirloom is.

To conclude, we each chose a family history goal we would work on that week to report at the next family home evening.  These goals ranged from write in their journal to find a name to take to the temple.

Oh!  And I forgot - - The Church Distribution Center now has these cute coloring books on various topics, one of which is Family History.  To keep our two youngest boys occupied while we had our discussion.

Overall it was very successful just as an introduction to the topic and everyone was involved and eager to join in.  I left determined to have one family history lesson each month.

Lesson #2
Just last week we had our second family history lesson.  Honestly, this one was much less organized than the last one. I actually deferred the lesson to our daughter, Brooklynn, who showed us how to find names in our family who need ordinances performed.  What the night ended up looking like was actually way cool and inspiring!

We realized that only my husband, our two oldest kids and I had LDS Accounts.  So, we got each child set up on a different device and got them their own account.  We spent the rest of the evening looking for names.  Let me tell you how exciting it was when a child would shout, "I found someone!"  Or even better, "I found a whole bunch of names!"   And, just yesterday my two younger boys asked, "Can we do family history!?"  Ummm.....of course!

So, right now I have a beautiful stack of temple cards ready to take to the temple!

What I Learned

Family History does not have to be challenging.

Family Night Lessons do not need to be complicated.

Now I just need to keep the ball rolling!

 - - - - - 

"I invite the young people of the Church to learn about and experience the Spirit of Elijah. I encourage you to study, to search out your ancestors, and to prepare yourselves to perform proxy baptisms in the house of the Lord for your kindred dead (see D&C 124:28–36). And I urge you to help other people identify their family histories....I testify Elijah returned to the earth and restored the sacred sealing authority. I witness that what is bound on earth can be bound in heaven. And I know the youth of the rising generation have a key role to play in this great endeavor."  
Elder David A. Bednar, CR November 2011


The Motherhood Journey

When I was a younger mom, I often wondered why other moms would have a hard time with Mother's Day.  I have generally had the mentality, "Live it up and let your family spoil you!"  I still hold to this mantra for Mother's Day, actually, because moms do A LOT for their families!  However, as years have gone on I can understand (and have had more of) the different thoughts that run through a mother's head on this particular day: 

Guilty as Charged:  "Why celebrate me?  All I did was yell at you this week!"

Infertility:  "Motherhood?  Yeah, looks like that will never happen to me." 

Exhaustion:  "Let's just skip it.  I'm too tired to celebrate." 

Past Guilt: "I really should have appreciated my own mother more."  

I think every woman has at least one of these thoughts at least once during Mother's Day...and every single day of their lives!  Because, though I won't say that every woman is a mother, I will say that every woman has a Motherhood Journey.  Whether that journey includes the heartache of not having children or the joys of having children; the heartache that comes with having children or the blessings that come with not having children, it is yet a journey upon which every woman travels.  And though no two women are alike, each path carries with it the same lessons and the same emotions.

Patience:  The Universal Virtue

Patience is one of the most difficult (in my opinion) characteristics to master.  This is especially true in our fast-paced society.  We hate waiting.  We want everything now. Along our Motherhood Journey, it is no different. We have to wait to have children.  We have to wait for our children to grow up.  We have to hold in our frustrations as we lose our patience with them while they grow up.  We have to learn patience while we wait upon the Lord.

On the subject of patience, President Dieter F. Uchtdorf shares so eloquently:

Patience—the ability to put our desires on hold for a time—is a precious and rare virtue....Nevertheless, without patience, we cannot please God; we cannot become perfect. Indeed, patience is a purifying process that refines understanding, deepens happiness, focuses action, and offers hope for peace....Patience means active waiting and enduring. It means staying with something and doing all that we can—working, hoping, and exercising faith; bearing hardship with fortitude, even when the desires of our hearts are delayed. Patience is not simply enduring; it is enduring well!

Can't you just imagine your own Motherhood Journey in this quote?  That"active waiting??"  And then there's that heart-wrenching phrase "enduring well."  So much of motherhood is learning to do just that!  And the emotions that come with that are just as heart-wrenching as we try, and try, and try to get it "right" each day.  Every woman has these emotions on their journey.

"I Ought to be Content with the things which the Lord hath Allotted Unto Me" (Alma 29:3)

How do we reach that place of contentment on our Motherhood Journey?  What does it mean to truly be content?

I was recently visiting with a dear friend of mine.  I had watched her for years wait patiently (at least on the outside) and endure the pain of infertility.  Through it all she was able to have three darling little girls, but the struggle necessary for such blessings was great.  When talking to her she had just undergone a serious operation.  I asked her, "So, do you feel like your family is complete?"

She paused to think and then responded, "Yes....But in a couple of years I may feel different."

I thought, "Wow! That is true contentment."

Accepting what is, right now, is contentment.

Most of the time we have no control over our bodies when it comes to our Motherhood Journey.  I cannot change the fact that I've had three miscarriages.  You cannot change the fact that even on birth control you are expecting....Again!  We cannot make our children grow any slower or faster than they are.  And so, we must accept what is.  Because, as M. Catherine Thomas has written, "What is, is right."  Yes, there is pain that comes with these losses (or surprises!), but we can still move forward accepting where we are today.

Motherhood can also be very exhausting.  I remember my mom sharing the thought she had when we were younger, "Is this all there is to life...poopy diapers and cleaning up messes?"  Every mother has that challenge of wondering if there should be more to what we do.  I have to remind myself frequently, "I chose this life!"  And my mom, now aging, wishes she could do it all over again!  ;-)

Wherever we are along the Motherhood Journey we all work on coming to a place of contentment. "Come what may and love it," said Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin.


And with that contentment we can truly submit ourselves to the Lord, trust in His wisdom, and wait for the blessings to flow.

While thinking of submission in light of Motherhood, I imagine the responses of two women in the scriptures: Mary and Sarah.  The circumstances of these two women are polar opposites.  Mary is young, never known a man, and innocent.  Sarah, on the other hand, has been married for years, is of old age, and has been waiting for a very long time to bare a child. Though one is clearly surprised and possibly scared, the other is probably thinking, "Finally!"

And yet, even though they are on different places of the Motherhood Journey, each fully submits to the Lord.  Mary declares, "Behold, the handmaid of the Lord."  Sarah laughed, but ultimately submitted to the Lord and bare a son.

A Motherhood Journey requires so much submission.  Again, this applies to having children or suffering from the pain of not having or losing a child.  Submission is different than contentment in that we can now ask our Father, "What would you have me do?"

For those women who have children we can ask, "How shall I teach them?  What can I do to become a better mother?  Who of my children need me today?"  Though, maybe not as easy of a question, those women who do not bare children can ask similar questions, "What shall I do now, Lord?  Who am I to serve?  What am I to do along this journey, painful as it may be?"  Either way, a woman's heart reaches toward God so He can make of her what she needs to be.

Some Final Thoughts

I now see that Mother's Day brings with it varying degrees of emotion - - both the joys and the sorrows.  I, myself, am experiencing a flood of emotions that I didn't expect.  Every one of those thoughts listed above apply to me in some degree.  I feel the heartache of the lost, the joys of the present and the weight of the responsibility upon me to love and nurture those in my care to the best of my ability.

As women, we need one another.  We all have a Motherhood Journey to traverse while here on Earth...and for all eternity.  We must not forget that we are daughters of a loving Mother in Heaven who has, herself, been through her own Motherhood Journey.  Let us reach out and love one another, free of judgment, since we are all experiencing this life together.  I pray we can all have a wonderful Mother's Day and reflect on "what great things the Lord hath done (1 Ne. 7:11)."

 - - - - - 

"To all of our mothers everywhere, past, present, or future, I say, “Thank you. Thank you for giving birth, for shaping souls, for forming character, and for demonstrating the pure love of Christ.” To Mother Eve, to Sarah, Rebekah, and Rachel, to Mary of Nazareth, and to a Mother in Heaven, I say, “Thank you for your crucial role in fulfilling the purposes of eternity.” To all mothers in every circumstance, including those who struggle—and all will—I say, “Be peaceful. Believe in God and yourself. You are doing better than you think you are. In fact, you are saviors on Mount Zion, and like the Master you follow, your love ‘never faileth.’”  - - Elder Jeffrey R.  Holland, CR Oct. 2015
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