Wednesday, February 23, 2011

why we do what we do

My current calling is Primary Chorister.

Primary Chorister = Bliss

On Sunday a member of our Bishopric, when announcing the rest hymn, said, "I've heard that the Primary children have been working on this song. I am excited to hear their voices." The intro started and a little one behind me exclaimed, "I know this song!" During the course of the hymn I couldn't help but smile as the little voices joined the congregation in singing with all of their might -

Hold to the Rod
The Iron Rod
'Tis strong and bright and true
The Iron Rod is the word of God
Twill safely guide us through

I came across this post, written by a fellow Primary Chorister. It describes almost perfectly how I feel about not only Primary, but my role as a parent as well. Sometimes I think it's so important to step back from the madness that is life and remember why we do what we do.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


I am a checklist kind of girl. Something obsessive in my personality I suppose. I love writing down 'to do' lists and derive even greater satisfaction when I cross each item off the list. I think that's why some things in the Gospel have been relatively easy for me to accomplish. Anything that could be put on a checklist would get done. Daily Scripture Study - check. Visiting Teaching - check. A Year's Supply - check. Family History - check.

However, I realized some time ago, that while I was continually ticking through my checklists, I was missing the bigger picture. I wasn't becoming. I was superficially making my way through life without taking the time to become. Become more like the Savior. I wasn't taking the time, while running down my checklist, to really ponder and then apply what it meant to follow and emulate Him.

The above picture is one of the most poignant pictures I have. Growing up, my mother had a few cassette tapes that she would listen to. One particular tape had a women's choir singing " I Walked Today Where Jesus Walked". For some reason, that song always stayed with me.

Many, many years later, as a mother with children of my own, I had the privilege of visiting the Holy Land. My husband and I often discuss how life altering that experience was for us. At one point during the trip we were retracing the final days of our Savior. Our guide showed us some recently excavated stairs that led to Caiphas' palace where Christ was judged. While some sites in the Holy Land are 'best guesses' as to where different events happened, this was a certainty. The final hours of the Savior's life were weighing heavily on my mind as I slowly began climbing the stairs. As I began, the words to the song from my childhood came into my mind.

I walked today where Jesus walked,
In days of long ago.
I wandered down each path He knew,
With reverent step and slow.
Those little lanes, they have not changed,
A sweet peace fills the air.
I walked today where Jesus walked,
And felt Him close to me.

My pathway led through Bethlehem,
A memory's ever sweet.
The little hills of Galilee,
That knew His childish feet.
The Mount of Olives, hallowed scenes,
That Jesus knew before
I saw the mighty Jordan row,
As in the days of yore.

I knelt today where Jesus knelt,
Where all alone he prayed.
The Garden of Gethsemane,
My heart felt unafraid.
I picked my heavy burden up,
And with Him at my side,
Where on the Cross He Died.

I walked today where Jesus walked,
And felt Him close to me.

And then the Spirit whispered something to me that I will never forget. Every single day, as a mother, a wife, a daughter, a builder of the kingdom, I have the opportunity to walk where Jesus walked. I have the privilege of doing what He would do if He were standing there at that moment. I have the blessing of ministering on His behalf to His children. I have the privilege of being an emissary for Him, of walking where He walks.

But in order to walk where He walks, I must become as He is.

And for me, that takes more then a checklist.

I still love checklists - I make them almost every single day. In so many ways they help me accomplish the things that will help me to better know and become like the Savior. But they aren't the end all be all.

Some days I fail miserably to make any progress. Lots of days I fall about 15 steps back instead of taking a step forward. But I am grateful to understand the journey to become isn't something to be checked off a list, but is an eternal pursuit of learning to walk where He walks.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Redefining Princess

From the moment our tiny daughter was born, she was our princess. Now, after almost eight years, she is still our little princess.

I've been thinking a great deal about the word princess as of late.

What is a princess?

The world would have us believe, and is working around the clock at this endeavor, that a princess must be impossibly beautiful, terribly rich, flippantly rebellious, full of sarcastic sass, infinitely lazy and humorously tyrannical. **To be clear, I am not making reference to Disney Princesses, just to the word Princess as a whole.** All one has to do is flip on the television and evidences abound of crass, self-centered girls (and women for that matter) who demand to be treated like princesses who are unable to cope, let alone thrive, with the demands of daily living.

However, as with just about everything else, we are not buying the world's definition of princess around here. I read a book several years ago that discussed the need for fewer princesses and more pioneers. That idea has stuck in my mind. Am I raising a princess or a pioneer?

My answer is, hopefully, both.

I believe that princesses and pioneers are, essentially, one and the same. To me, the word princess denotes grace, inner beauty and a clear understanding of lineage and royalty. A pioneer woman encompasses faith, hope, unwavering dedication, never ending industry, and a profound understanding that she is laying the foundation for future generations. A princess is a pioneer and a pioneer is a princess.

I have found that raising a daughter today takes conscious, planned, and precise mothering. To raise a daughter as a princess pioneer is, at times, daunting and even overwhelming. And there are days when I fail absolutely miserably. I am so grateful that I am not alone in this endeavor. It never ceases to amaze me that the Spirit speaks most distinctly and directly to me when I am asking about my children.

So, despite the negative connotations many have in regards to the word princess, our daughter is still our princess. And hopefully she always will be.

With this concept in mind, I created something called Princess Academy, that my daughter and I do together on Sunday afternoons. I will post about this at another time.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Happy New Year - in February...

Happy New Year!

Yes, yes - I know it's February 1st. But for me today is the start of my new year.

I just love New Year's. I love quietly wrapping up Christmas and taking the last week of December to evaluate and reevaluate my direction and the direction of my family. I spend most of the week making long lists, which by December 31st I have fashioned into a compact list of goals for the New Year. It's such a time of renewal - have I mentioned that I just love it?

This year I missed out.

The majority of December and all of January was spent prepping for and undergoing our IVF treatment. I was so exhausted physically and mentally that I found myself living day to day. It was almost as if our family had entered crisis mode and wasn't able to plan for or process more then one day at a time. While at first I struggled with my inability to have any forethought, I quickly came to the realization that it was okay. There is a season for everything, and for those two months our family needed to focus on each individual day as it came. (Elder Christopherson came a marvelous talk on the concept, you can find it here.)

But thankfully, we have begun to pull out of crisis mode. The haze has begun to lift and the sunshine is pouring in again. And to celebrate - I have declared February 1st our family's New Year's Day!

So here's to a fresh start, a year of rejoicing and striving to come closer to the Savior.

Happy New Year from our family to yours!

Oh, and make sure you get your all important New Year's Kiss today...