In my dream I was walking with my children through a place reminiscent of Disneyland.
I noticed a little girl wandering alone in a darkened corner. She was crying. She was lost.
Instantly, I knew this little girl. The child was me. I felt her fear and sadness and my whole body smiled with compassion. I went to her.
I approached her carefully because she didn't know me. I knelt in front of her and spoke comforting words, telling her I was there to help. Eager for rescue, she hugged me tightly. I felt her relief.
I took her by the hand and led her, along with my children, to a little cafeteria-like restaurant. We were the only ones there. The children chose plates of food and joined together at a table as I paid for our meal. Standing at the register, I looked over at my contented crew with pleased fulfillment-- my child-self relaxing, smiling, listening to my daughter chatting on.
I put the credit card back in my wallet, grateful I had the resources to serve her, to nurture her.
I seem to be on a mission for my husband to gain full understanding of what is is like to be a stay-at-home mom.
I don't know why. It's not that I don't appreciate being at home. I choose it. The job is just much harder than I ever expected.
I'm often coming up with new analogies that I think will give him insight into my days.
My latest idea was sprung from a conversation we had about why I am (too often) so snappy when he gets home from work.
While we both work all day in occasionally stressful environments- I want him to understand that there is one important major difference- a difference that might explain why I have "crazy eyes" at 5:00.
That difference lies in the behavior of our co-workers.
His co-workers, for the most part, follow the social norms relative to speaking, touching, respecting personal space, and hygiene that make for a pleasant work climate. Mine...don't.
Too illustrate this point, I wish could make a video of an office space in which co-workers acted like children. It would be HILARIOUS, people. Film just isn't one of my talents.
We have only been imagining it and we are getting a kick out of it!
Seriously, this is a gem. Anyone out there want to make this a reality?
I've been contemplating this new birth experience, and the birth process in general. We went to the Thanksgiving Point farms recently, and while there I saw a baby chick hatch out of it's egg. I had never seen anything hatch. It was meaningful for me. I thought of life inside an egg, and the life understood by the baby boy in my body: darkness, tightness, narrow understanding of the world, limited experience, cannot begin to fathom the world that exists outside (space, light, color, freedom, movement, touch, sight, love.)
In the scriptures it says that a new birth is required/expected of us. We must be born again in Christ, becoming new creatures in Him, receive a change of heart. Thereby becoming a people who "have no more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually."
Birth is initiated by stress. Birth means breaking, pushing, struggling, opening. Yet, it also happens on it's own; I think of words like: allow, submit, receive. There is only one way out. "There is no other way nor means whereby man can be saved, only through the atoning blood of Jesus Christ, who shall come; yea, remember that he cometh to redeem the world."
I feel like I am still inside my egg. There is more to life than I can even imagine, with greater light, love, color, joy, freedom, space, breath. Christ talks of making eyes to see, ears to hear, minds to understand, and hearts to soften. My heart desires to: Awake. Break free. Shake off the chains. Allow. Submit. Release.
We have a bird nesting in our porch. I think it is a sparrow. We used a mirror to look up inside the nest and saw three tiny babies. We are excited to watch them grow and are praying we won't scare the mama away with all our noise!
When we wake up in the morning we almost always see quail in our yard. They travel in pairs, boy and girl, and I think think it is the sweetest thing.
"Robin Redbreast" is a frequent around here but isn't nearly as friendly as he is in The Secret Garden.
Hyrum and Audrey showed me their drawings of our birds, and it made me happy.
I have the same feeling I did years ago as I packed away the nursing cover- realizing a season was over.
It was unexpected. I did expect that my children would lose their teeth, and even had some forewarning as they wiggled away. I did not expect the wave of emotion upon seeing their spacey smiles and big, bumpy teeth filling in.
As the roots of the little teeth dissolve and fall away, so do the hands that steady their clumsy steps, help them get dressed, tie their shoes and pour their cereal. When the tooth finally falls out--it is a symbol that these things are simply no longer needed.
This feels like a big transition, even a rite of passage, into their "real" childhood-
the one they will remember.
I remember the excitement of losing my teeth- felt like the first tangible evidence that I was finally growing up.
They are moving into a season of trying new things, taking risks, broken bones, friends, and independence.
All the "show me how's" have made way for the "I can do that's."
This is when the anxiety sets in. It's hard to let them go, but at least it is gradual. I'm grateful for that.
I'm thrilled to watch them. Excel. Learn. Discover. and literally gROW.
Their mouths are as clear as their minds-- making way for their "permanent" teeth: A tangible part of the adult they are becoming...too big for their mouths, awkward, and crooked- imperfect as they grow.
I've never auditioned for anything before so it was surprising when I felt the urge to jot down the audition details calling for an essay about motherhood. I felt compelled, and it's always been good to follow that feeling.
Nothing was really coming to mind about what to write, but during a rare quiet moment, the idea came and my house fell apart while I spent a day writing it. I finished it minutes before driving up to Salt Lake to audition. The audition was one on one, very low-key and comfortable. Heather Johnson was kind and sweet. I left thinking all in all it was fun to write, and fun to stretch my comfort zone.
I was thrilled when I received the email telling me I had made the cast for the show! I ran to the backdoor in my underwear and shouted out to my husband, "Guess WHAT!? I won! I get to be on the show!" To which he congratulated me and I ran back to my room to read more about it- ducking low to avoid the kitchen windows.
Then I saw the rest of the cast and perused all their amazing writing...and I started to feel intimidated.
I went to our first rehearsal, on the way there praying that I would at least speak coherently. Just minutes in, we were laughing and sharing. I was enchanted by all these amazing women as they read their truly beautiful essays on all facets of motherhood. I remembered how much I loved writing. I love how it connects you straight to the soul.
I left thinking about The Element by Ken Robinson and what he writes about finding your tribe. "What connects a tribe is a common commitment to the thing they feel born to do." "Finding your tribe can have trans formative effects on your sense of identity and purpose." I wondered if these women would find me presumptuous if I told them I thought they were my tribe.
Inspired, I started to write again. My family has noticed how significantly happier I've been. I so needed this.
Tonight is the Listen to Your Mother show. The first Utah show. This afternoon I sat on the bathroom counter in my underwear to pluck my eyebrows in the good light and smiled at the memory of watching my mother do the same thing and thought of her smell and her beauty. I got ready in a quiet house and had time to reflect on the peace because my sweet sister is watching my kids. I put on beautiful new clothes and felt so loved by my husband who drove an hour last night to buy me just the shoes I wanted.
I'm on my way to prepare for the night with these beautiful women who accept me and encourage me.
You know how it feels when you are really thirsty and you drink a full glass of cold water- how you can feel it spread out through your body, simultaneously filling and soothing. That's how I feel tonight.
I am grateful this mothers day: Grateful for the compelling feeling that led me to this moment. Grateful for the understanding that as women we need each other.
I call it the Freedom Funnel: actually I just made that up.
You've seen a funnel, right? One wide end and one narrow end.
My husband sat the kids down several months ago and taught them about the funnel. He is an excellent teacher; I don't know where he comes up with these gems!
So, the space in the funnel represents freedom. The wide side is lots of freedom and the narrow side is limited freedom.
We can choose which direction we go through the funnel. For example:
I say, "Little, darling children of mine, please get in bed and go to sleep."
They can choose:
A: Enter the narrow end of the funnel and obey quickly and exactly- limiting their personal freedom initially and receive the greater freedom of being well-rested, and ready for a great day tomorrow as they emerge out the wide end with happy, praising, kinder, well-rested parents.
Or B: They could choose to run around and play and exercise all the freedom they possibly can and struggle through the limited freedom of being cranky the next day, earning negative consequences, and irritating their parents!
It might limit my freedom initially to take the time to clean up dinner (even though I want to crash on my bed and watch a show) but I have the wider freedom the next morning when I don't HAVE to clean up dinner before I make breakfast.
I can't tell you how often this has come in handy! A gem! What do you think? How do you teach your children about freedom and accountability?
I've been hearing these words in my mind lately: "I'm not going to be afraid anymore."
What is it I'm afraid of? Failure, Mistakes, Embarrassment, Humiliation, Criticism, and Regret.
Is anyone else afraid of these things?
Being afraid to fail and make a fool of yourself is time-consuming.
I doubt I'm the only one that has spent 20+ minutes on a 10 word thank-you note.
I spend WAY more time texting/emailing so I can get the words right instead of making a quick phone call.
Being afraid to make mistakes is isolating and empty.
Sometimes I think about inviting people over...and then I think about what to cook and that is the end of it.
I don't begin conversations very often, because I stink at small talk. Now, if you want to talk to me about principles, or growth, or pain the conversation might go better. This doesn't help me make new friends!
Being afraid of what other people think is paralyzing.
Basically, I can invite people into my messy, real life and enjoy their friendship or I can wait until my life is clean and put together and go without. Wait until I know how to cook...wait until my house is clean...wait until I have something to say...wait until I have figured out what kind of music I like.
It's easy to look at others and imagine that their life is in absolute order. (Experience tells me that is probably not true- and if it is then maybe there is something I can learn!)
Ironic that I regret not doing anything because I was afraid I would make a mistake and regret it.
So, the moral of the story is: Let's don't be afraid to talk, to write, to invite, to give. And let's be kind.
We all make mistakes but everyone can do without embarrassment, humiliation, and harsh criticism.
Next time we have an awkward phone call, or a good visit in my messy kitchen eating apple slices- We can laugh and be grateful we are spending our time well, together and learning!
I wrote this January 2010 and it has been defining:
I’ve been studying The Love of God by Pres. Uchtdorf, specifically this line:
“Think of the purest, most all-consuming love you can imagine. Now multiply that by an infinite amount—that is the measure of God’s love for you.”
I’ve been pondering this and asking myself: What is the purest love I can imagine?
The memory that comes to mind is being curled up under my mom’s arm, snuggled into her warm body, feeling safe, secure, at peace and without any fear.
In addition, I have really been pondering the words of my mentor:
“I want you to know that I totally and genuinely accept you. This includes your talents, gifts, strengths, beauty, courage, personality and all goodness you possess. It also includes your weaknesses, failures, fears, ugliness, sadness, burdens and all your shadows. There is nothing about you and no part of you that I reject.”
Specifically the word, “ugliness.” Do I love myself in my ugliness? Do I love others in their ugliness? It sat in my mind for awhile, and I’ll write more on that.
On December 15th, I got in bed at the end of the day; and like many days was just sick with anxiety, dread, exhaustion, and pain. The difference on this night was that I started to cry. I was really feeling. I expressed some of my feelings to my husband and he tried to quickly solve my problems, which made me angry. I did really want his help, even though I was pushing him away in my communication.
I said, “I feel like I’m being tormented by Satan every day.”
He sat quietly for a minute and then said, “You are holding on to something that has stopped your progression.”
I guessed, “Selfishness.” He responded, “It feels more like anger.”
I continued to feel and cry for a while as I thought about that.
I received some clarity about my anger, selfishness, and pride. I have a tendency to be a “controller” of myself and those around me. I feel like I’ve been asked by God to give up control and I’m angry about it. I’m proud. I’m not acting as someone who truly believes that God always knows best and always leads us to life and good and happiness. These thoughts humbled me, and surrendered me.
The next evening, I found myself all teary again. This time I was just crying. I was grateful for some understanding. I was grateful to be feeling. My husband and I watched a movie together, and I was feeling happy in his company. I remembered how when we were dating, I used to just relax with him. He was my safe place, of security, peace, and calm; another memory of “pure love.” I didn’t question his love for me—the pretty and the ugly, the strengths and weaknesses. I haven’t been letting him love me like that. I have been trying not to need him like that. In my marriage, I can have the purest love possible in this life, if I will.
If I’m not letting him by my refuge, I’m certainly not open to letting Christ be my refuge.
Ironically, the theme song of the movie we were watching was, “Let my love open the door to your heart.”
I shared this with my husband, and then I just felt like having a really good cry. I hate crying in front of people, and this was going to by ugly. I felt like going into the bathroom to have it all out, but felt prompted to let him hold me as I cried. I swallowed my pride and told him how I felt; he put his arm around me. I let it all out. I cried, sniffed, gasped, and just sobbed. My crying gave way to a peace that I haven’t felt for a long time. I relaxed. I was in that place again of security, safety, and peace.
This was a breakthrough. My heart is letting in love, and it is pouring in. I’m enjoying my family again. We’re having those perfect moments again. I’m filled with hope for today and the future.
My behavior hasn’t changed drastically, but my heart has opened. It’s a start; a good start.
I’ve loved thinking about God’s love for me, His open invitation to come unto Him, to let Him heal me. Hoping, desiring, and being blessed with faith in His ability to change me.
I was watching “To this end was I born” the other day and noticed that in the movies the people petitioning Christ for healing are usually in a sorry state, as I’m sure is accurate. They were “ugly”; they were not presentable, they were desperate. I don’t have to make myself presentable before God will heal me, he loves me in my ugliness, especially in my ugliness.
I discovered this painting that touched my heart. I found out afterwards that the name of the painting is Security by David Bowman—it is a representation of letting Christ be my safe place, my security, peace, and comfort. Today—I don’t have to present myself to him. His arms are open. He wants to love me in my desperation.
One of my favorite scriptures is Isaiah 49:15-16: "For can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? Yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee, O house of Israel. Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me."
I'm finding that so much of my experience as a mother leads me to Jesus Christ. I love that Christ compares the relationship of a mother with her nursing baby Not only does a mother not forget her suckling child because of great love, but also her body cannot forget--Can a woman go a day without feeding her baby? No, even her body is a reminder of her baby.
When I have this baby I have the privilege to sacrifice, enduring pain, for the bringing forth of a new life. I get to bear marks on my body as a reminder of that sacrifice. Jesus Christ demonstrated great love by sacrificing and suffering to bring forth life. He wears the marks of his great sacrifice. This experience can teach me more of my Savior, and I am grateful for it.
My observation: We spend time and money going all over the place: to zoos, plays, aquariums, farms, fairs, museums, playgrounds, movies, amusement parks, gardens, carnivals. They didn't smile this big or laugh that hard at any of those places!
Today we arrived home (from a lovely visit with my sis-in-law) feeling a little tired and cranky. Audrey fell asleep in the car. I transferred her to the couch and went back outside to gather the other two and all our stuff.
I walk back into the 80 degree house holding my baby, and balancing our overstuffed bag. I hear Audrey crying, no longer on the couch. I put the babe in his highchair as Hyrum is telling me he is hungry. Something stinks. I take out the garbage, but that doesn't take care of it. I locate the smell near the sink, and discover the pot I used to boil corn (...2 days ago?), apparently I should have at least rinsed it. I fill it with soapy water.
I find Audrey in the bathroom sitting on the potty but covered in peepee. Apparently she couldn't get her pants undone fast enough. I overlook the puddle on the floor for the moment and get the sweet girl in the bath. Luckily she submits willingly to the washing.
Hyrum walks into the bathroom eating a chocolate chip cookie. I get Audrey out and let her sit in her towel at the kitchen counter to enjoy a cookie as well. She stood up to adjust her towel and knocked her breakfast cereal bowl onto the floor. I walk around the counter to see the milk scattered across the chairs and floor when I notice Hebie with a red cup. A red cup of milk. From yesterday? He may have drank some...but most of the curdled milk is down his front and settling into the cracks of his highchair.
I relocate Audrey to the couch. I undress Heb and realize he's stinky. When I set him down he goes after Audrey's cookie. I give him a piece of cookie and get one for myself and we all sit down. Hyrum repeatedly asks me to play a game with him as Hebie smears chocolate puree (from the cookie, not the diaper) on my couch and my shirt.
I'm still waiting for the energy to get up and clean the peepee, the milk in it's different stages of fermentation, the bum-bum, and the chocolate smears....
I'm grateful we had a few Costco cookies, or these 5 minutes may have been much worse!