Friday, April 27, 2012

Clay and Talents

“But now, O Lord, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand".” – Isaiah 64:8

I’ve always loved that scripture. I’ve always wanted to be humble and trusting enough to be the clay – to allow the Lord to mold and shape me, to give me the experiences I need to have, to become the finished product I want to be – the finished product I surely wanted to become when I waited anxiously to come to this earth.

But, I have to admit, being clay is painful, and scary, and being pushed and changed and molded is so uncomfortable.

I had to almost chuckle because about two weeks ago I had posted about how life with Anders felt calm and normal now. I had been feeling very much like I was on top of this little life of mine again. That very evening, circumstances changed making my life far more complicated and overwhelming. I feel sheepish to say much about it because it is the sort of thing that, trial though it is for me, it completely would be no big deal to many. But I have cried and struggled and felt such a sympathy and understanding of old Jonah who tried to leave his life – everything and everyone he knew – and simply run away to a completely new country just to avoid doing what the Lord had asked him to do; to avoid something that seemed hard and scary and overwhelming. I am such a wimp. But I absolutely know the Lord has been aware of me. It has been almost ridiculous the sheer number of things I have picked up and read that have spoken so specifically to my current circumstances. I have been reminded that even when he lets us struggle, he never leaves us comfortless. I have already grown and felt myself pulled and stretched, and beyond that, I have no doubt that before very long, the very things that are so overwhelming right now, will seem to be no big deal. Partly because I know myself: I know that one of my weaknesses down here is to be very scared, very worried, and very overwhelmed at the start of pretty much any new thing. But, before long, it becomes normal and fine and I have confidence in my ability to handle it, and gratitude to the Lord for giving me the ability to handle it so well. And partly because, at one of my very lowest crying and praying moments this week, I was reminded of these words that the Lord spoke to the people of Alma in the Book of Mormon when they were being persecuted:

“I will also ease the burdens which are put upon your shoulders, that even you cannot feel them upon your backs . . . .

“And now, it came to pass that the burdens which were laid upon Alma and his brethren were made light; yea, the Lord did strengthen them that they could bear their burdens with ease, and they did submit cheerfully and with patience to all the will of the Lord.” (Mosiah 24:14-15)

But, it is a strange thing this life. I recall a time when I was very small. I had stubbed my toe and it was stinging and hurting quite badly. At the time, I remember thinking, “And this surely isn’t the last time I will be hurt! I have a long life ahead of me, and there is absolutely no way I will make it through with out any more injuries.” That was a pretty frightening thought for a little girl as I tried to contemplate all the pain I might ever feel and how I would handle it. I am afraid I am still a little bit of that girl. I have learned a lot. I do, with all of my heart, trust my Heavenly Father, and, in honesty, I know that I don’t want to be let out of any experience that I need to have in this life to progress eternally, and, I know that I will be given the specific strength I need to meet each new thing, but there are moments when I am just feeling the pain from having “stubbed my toe” – or something much more painful – and I feel awfully frightened of all the inevitable difficult experiences there are yet to have in this life.

BUT! On a more positive note, already the chaos of the last two weeks is settling. Today, I have felt free to relax a little and do some of the things I simply enjoy doing. My Mike has been gone during this past two weeks of stress, and I am anxiously and excitedly looking at the clock and waiting for his arrival late tonight, and picturing how happy it will be to run out to the driveway to throw my arms around him and know he is here and mine.

And, my kids are cute and fun. Today Goldie came home and tossed her schoolwork on the table. A small paper on talents immediately caught my eye. In her nicest penmanship it read:

“It is nice to have talents. I will write about two talents that I have. First there’s fence climbing. I’m good even if it’s wet. and it’s fun. And I can see my neighbor’s yard.”

Oh I loved that. This very day I read an Albert Einstein quote that I had read before but forgotten. It said:

“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing it is stupid.”

That, along with Goldie’s awesome paper describing “fence climbing” as one of her best talents, made me so happy and reminded me how silly we are as humans – always going about comparing our weaknesses to others strengths and not even stopping to realize how amazing we are at things like climbing fences.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Someone Can Sit Up! With out Falling Over! . . .


Sort of . . .

Also, Daisy Doodles turned 10. (Though, in truth, she is still nine in this picture. She wanted me to hurry and take one last picture of what she looked like at age nine on the night before her birthday).

But, she had officially been 10 for several hours by this point:

Also, I didn’t realize how often I try to stall when my kids are wanting something. I have only become aware of it recently because I hear these things from Jesse many times each day:

“What does ‘later’ mean?”
”What does ‘in a second’ mean?”
”What does ‘soon’ mean?”

One more thing. This morning I put a few sticky notes on the cupboard with the older kids names on them and reminders of stuff we needed to do for/with them today . Later, I walked by the cupboard and noticed, in Penny’s large scrawl, a new sticky note next to the others that simply said, “PENNY”. For some reason it seemed so cute and sweet. It felt like “Don’t forget me, Mom. I may not need any books renewed at the library or have any math games we are supposed to do. There is nothing we need to pass off for Scouts or double-check on my homework, but I’d like to be up here on a little sticky note to. I’d like you to pause and think what you ought to be doing with Penny!”

There that’s all for now.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Pretending to Catch Up

I will tell you all how it is that I stay so caught up on my blog: I don’t worry about staying caught up. I remember long ago being so stressed trying to keep up on my journals because I had this holiday and that event and this experience all needing recorded and all behind on. Well, with my journal and my blog I don’t worry about staying caught up anymore. If a birthday is missed or an event forgotten so be it. I just write something from where I am at. Anyway, that’s the secret. It’s not necessarily a good secret. Maybe it’s kind of a bad secret (because someday my kids will be like, “Hey! Why is my birthday only mentioned at ages 2, 7, 8, and 13?” and I will shrug sadly and shake my head with no real answer to give except for what I have given above), but it is the secret all the same.

In the end, I reason, that I do record quite a few important things, and certainly don’t neglect anything major such as a birth or a blessing or a move, and while many things are missed, in the end, I think that I write much more because I never have that “Oh no, I have so much to catch up on” feeling that makes me not want to record things at all.

The reason I was thinking of this is because there has been a lot going on the past week or so what with the kids home for Spring Break, and Easter and the like. And for a minute today I thought, “How do I get all that down?” Then I remembered, “Whew. I don’t get it all down. Instead I just ramble a few things I happen to feel like rambling right now!”

I feel a little sheepish having said all that. Like some of you are shaking your heads at the error of my ways – thinking, “Who would opt to just chuck all the memories the kids might want recorded of Easter in favor of a few mutterings of insignificance?”. Still. There it is. And here is what I want to record today:

1. There are a few blogs I follow of mothers who are very crafty and creative and wonderful at letting their children learn and explore the world in fantastic ways. I follow those blogs because, who knows, maybe once in awhile I might see something that catches my eye and opt to do it with my kids. But, truthfully, I am not an extremely crafty and creative mother. I’m a good mother. I do enjoyable things with my kids. We play Uno and Rummikub and make sugar cookies; but, they are left often to their own little devices when it comes to creating. It is only now and then that I think to spearhead something such as gathering sticks, leaves, and the like to make little bird nests; or painting colored milk on bread to toast; or buying supplies to do shrinky-dinks. We have done those things, but I tell you, these pretty awesome mothers whose blogs I follow do things like that (and much MUCH messier and more clever) DAILY. And, I don’t.

SO, when I do have some little fun thing that is easy and that my kids do every now and then, I figure I ought to share it with the world . . . so you other simple folk like me can have a nice simple idea to do as well. And here one of those things are:

Years ago I bought some “fabric markers” at Michael’s craft store for some needful purpose. Now, somehow, those fabric markers have become the means by which old t-shirts (generally Abe’s outgrown Hanes undershirts) become their homemade “jammie shirts”. The markers draw perfectly on fabric (as their name suggests they might) and my kids quite enjoy both making and wearing their little homemade pajama tops.

2. I took a few of these, others Abe took of Anders and me, but they just made me happy. I love this little fella so so much. Life just feels so normal again and it makes me unbelievably happy that once all the craziness and dust and newness of having a new person in my life settled, we were left with . . . well . . . the new person still there . . . only not seeming so new – seeming very much a part of what is normal and happy and belonging to our daily existence. Oh I love him so much!
(Examining Abe’s hand for a brief minute before trying to eat it)

3. I like these two pictures of Goldie. The first was taken at her grandparents’ house one evening. I have wished ever since that I’d made more spring-time effort to find and take pictures of my kids among the “popcorn popping” on the apricot trees before it was all popped and gone. The second was one we took on one of the Spring Break hair experiment days. I am not very adept at doing hair, and things are usually fairly rushed before school so there is not much time to practice, so, over the break we experimented a little more with my limited abilities. Goldie herself dreamed up the turned-under-braid style.

4. Penny recently attended Kindergarten Round-up. I love that it is called that. We will have four kids attending elementary school this fall! Here our nearly five year old is:

There you have it. My little unorthodox way of staying “caught up”.

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