Tuesday, July 30, 2013

We have a saying around our house for when things are going well or when things aren't going so well, "Better keep paying our tithing." We firmly believe that paying our tithing is the only way we have been and will be able to financially survive.

Our exercise of faith in this principle has been constant this last 9 months or so as we've encountered the most straining financial circumstances of our 13+ years of marriage. We have been holding fast to the promise of tithing as one would a life vest in a stormy sea, as indeed that is what is has become for us. Things have been challenging and at times the outlook has seemed fairly grim. I often would think back on stories I had heard from General Conference, friends, family etc. of checks that would show up for amounts that they weren't expecting at just the needed time. I found myself wishing, more than once, that such an occurance would happen to us. I would then think that, unfortunately, I knew where every penny had gone and ,unfortunately, no one had overcharged us or owed us any amount of money. I would then square my shoulders and put my faith in the fact that the Lord would have another way for us to make it through this challenging time.

On Saturday my husband and I were going through the mail and were beyond grateful to receive a notice that one of our major bills was going to decrease by about $400. We then were shocked to find a check attached to the notice in the amount of almost $1600. We had been overcharged the previous year and our overcharge was being returned. We were shocked into a stunned silence. A miraculous amount of money at the time we needed it the most.

The Lord is so very merciful and good to us.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Things have been hard, really hard as of late. My husband and I spent a lot of time on Sunday night trying to figure out why this may be. Each of us had been feeling as if our world was imploding with absolutely nothing we could do about it. Not a very pleasant way to feel. That night I read this devotional by Elder Bednar. It was as if a light came on. I had somehow fallen into the trap of thinking that I had to do everything perfect before I could ask the Lord to step in and help. My thinking was, 'How can I ask the Lord to help us if we haven't done our part with perfection?' I learned that the enabling power of the atonement is there to help us with our part of what is required. We are NEVER required to do our part on our own, the Atonement gives divine help and strength to our most feeble but sincere efforts. I prayed that night to feel the strength given through the Atonement and almost instantly I felt at peace. Peace I haven't felt for a long time. Nothing about our situation has changed, but everything about my heart has changed. I have felt the peace and very literal strength that can ONLY come through the Atonement, and that has given us the faith and hope to walk forward.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The following story has become important to me as of late...

A story is told of an encounter between the Prophet Joseph Smith and Brigham Young. In the presence of a rather large group of brethren, the Prophet severely chastised Brother Brigham for some failing in his duty. Everyone, I suppose somewhat stunned, waited to see what Brigham’s response would be. After all, Brigham, who later became known as the Lion of the Lord, was no shrinking violet by any means. Brigham slowly rose to his feet, and in words that truly reflected his character and his humility, he simply bowed his head and said, “Joseph, what do you want me to do?” The story goes that sobbing, Joseph ran from the podium, threw his arms around Brigham, and said in effect, “You passed, Brother Brigham, you passed” (see Truman G. Madsen, “Hugh B. Brown—Youthful Veteran,” New Era, Apr. 1976, 16).

Monday, June 24, 2013

"When you climb a ladder, you must begin at the bottom, and ascend step by step, until you arrive at the top; and so it is with the principles of the gospel - you must begin with the first, and go on until you learn all the principles of exaltation. But it will be a great while after you have passed through the veil before you will have learned them. It is not all to be comprehended in this world; it will be a great work to learn our salvation and exaltation, even beyond the grave."

Joseph Smith

Saturday, June 15, 2013

to cross a river

I recently had the opportunity to take my four children to Nauvoo while my husband was at a conference in Chicago. I met my parents and a few of my siblings in Nauvoo and had a wonderful experience. For my older children, ages 11 and 9, it proved to be a moving experience, one that helped their young testimonies continue to grow.

On our last day in Nauvoo I found myself pulling the twins along the streets of Nauvoo in their little wagon. They were just too wiggly to tour any more homes. ;) I enjoyed the quiet and the chill in the air as I wheeled them through old Nauvoo. I, quite unexpectedly, came upon the Trail of Hope and began following it. The Trail of Hope is on Parley Street and traces the steps the Saints took as they left Nauvoo for the last time. Along Parley Street are plaques with journal entries from many different Saints who left their Nauvoo behind. Some were hopeful, some were worried ,and some were absolutely heart wrenching. I wasn't able to follow the trail all the way to the Mississippi as the babies were needing to turn around, but what I was able to read was perspective changing.

Later that evening, after the babies were tucked in bed, I was able to slip back to Parley Street. I wanted to follow the trail to the Mississippi. At the point where Parley Street meets the Mississippi there is a monument with a beautiful statue of Brigham Young and Joseph Smith. There is also a list of all those who died on the trek from Nauvoo to Salt Lake. I had heard all my life of those that had died, but I had no idea it was so very many. I was able to find relatives on the list from both my side of the family and my husband's side.

I took a moment to stand at the edge of the Mississippi and look across to the banks of Iowa. My thoughts were filled with all of the words of those who had stood in that very same spot in the dead of winter. As a mother I cannot imagine being driven from my home, loading up my children and leaving my temple - so recently completed - behind. I cannot imagine the grief these women must have felt. They had lost their prophet, they were losing their homes, their temple, some would lose their children, their husbands. Some would lose their own lives in cause of Zion. And yet they squared their shoulders and pushed on.

I felt a reverence and an awe for these women as I stood there that night, wondering if I would have the same courage and fortitude. I felt a greater resolve to not treat casually that which they gave their lives for. I felt inspired that perhaps in small ways I, too. could square my shoulders and  face my own trek with greater courage and fortitude. But most of all I felt gratitude, gratitude for the knowledge and covenants that I have in my life. They are worth any sacrifice and any price.

Friday, June 7, 2013

"Teaching children the joy of honest labor is one of the greatest of all gifts you can bestow upon them. I am convinced that one of the reasons for the breakup of so many couples today is the failure of parents to teach and train sons in the responsibility to provide and care for their families and to enjoy the challenge this responsibility brings. Many of us also have fallen short in instilling within our daughters the desire of bringing beauty and order into their homes through homemaking..."
                                                          Elder L. Tom Perry
                                                          Ensign, Nov 1986

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

There is a fairly significant age gap between our two oldest and our two youngest children, a little over eight years. It was not intentional. We were blindsided by secondary infertility and spent many years exhausting every possible avenue. After eight long years we were blessed by the arrival of our sweet twins.

We essentially have two families - the older set and the younger set. We have found it to be a crazy balancing act trying to meet the needs of preteens and toddlers. Some days are more successful than others.

With such a large age gap I have felt that with the babies, as they are called in our house even though they are now full blown toddlers, we have started from square one again. Brand new parents trying to figure everything out times two. It has been quite a ride!

About a year ago now a friend of mine asked me a question in passing that has stuck with me ever since. I think about it almost every day. She asked me, since I had gotten a second chance at mothering littles, 'Are you a different mother than you were?'


I was a few weeks shy of turning twenty four when my oldest was born. As a twenty four year old I thought I had everything figured out. The naievity of youth can be a wonderful thing. :) I turned thirty four the day after the twins were born. As an almost thirty four year old I knew that I had nothing figured out.

This time around a lot has changed. Instead of trying to hurry on to the next stage of development - the next big thing - I try and drink in every second of where they are at right now. With my older ones I always had a project going on the side, now I spend my days on the floor building block towers, putting together puzzles, building train tracks and reading 'Goodnight Moon' for the upteenth time.

I look into their little eyes more, trying to know them and their hearts a little better. We spend a lot of time in the moment, just 'being'.

Do I feel guilty about not being more in the moment with the big ones? No. I am comfortable with the fact that as a younger mom I was doing the best I knew how, and I honestly thought I would have forever with them as littles. I had no idea that time would fly so very quickly.

And I think that is ultimately the difference. I now know that this moment will be over in a heartbeat, never to return again. I know, in a very different way than before, that all four of my children are miracles. So before this moment flees, I want to make sure I am soaking in every bit of the miracles I have been so graciously given.

What a gift.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

"Remember that we are not only teaching a child his first lessons in reverence, but the child may be mastering his first attempts at self-discipline."

Sister Margaret S. Lifferth
Respect and Reverence
April General Conference 2009

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

a return...

As I grow older I realize more and more how very little I know. It's an interesting phenomenon really, a good phenomenon, but an interesting one none the less. I concluded this blog years ago now, and gave up entirely on our family blog this past January. Our crazy life was just not allowing it. And to be perfectly honest, I didn't feel that I really had that much to say. 'Who was I to blog?' after all. That sentiment hasn't really changed, but a directive from our Stake President has. We have been asked to start a blog and regularly post. 

I am hoping to continue using this blog to chronicle my journey of what it means to try to walk in the Savior's footsteps every day. The older I get, the more daunting that task seems to become. But no matter how many times I fall down, I am determined to get up and keep trying.