Monday, May 30, 2011
Sunday, May 29, 2011
Day in and day out around here get pretty repetitive. My days are often filled with dressing, feeding, cleaning, washing, teaching, and stopping. Sometimes I lose my perspective and wonder what I've accomplished--the dishes are dirty again, the children are hungry again, the laundry is dirty again, the children are fighting again. It never seems to end or go anywhere. The variety in my life, vacations and illnesses, seem to add more and more work. I find myself wishing and waiting for something to happen big enough to make up for all the little irritations. Then I will be happy.
Then I read something like this (from President Uchtdorf):
"Nevertheless, there are some who feel that unless they have an experience similar to Saul's or Joseph Smith's, they cannot believe...Instead of taking small steps of faith on the path of discipleship, they want some dramatic event to compel them to believe...
There are many others who, for different reasons, find themselves waiting on the road to Damascus...They remain waiting for the Christ to be given to them like a magnificent Carl Bloch painting--to remove once and for all their doubts and fears.
The truth is, those who diligently seek to learn of Christ eventually will come to know Him. They will personally receive a divine portrait of the Master, although it most often comes in the form of a puzzle--one piece at a time. Each individual piece may not be easily recognizable by itself; it may not be clear how it relates to the whole. Each piece helps us to see the big picture a little more clearly. Eventually, after enough pieces have been put together, we recognize the grand beauty of it all. Then, looking back on our experience, we see that the Savior had indeed come to be with us--not all at once but quietly, gently, almost unnoticed."
The painting imagery reminds me of an experience of a sweet friend. She agreed to do a series of paintings about Christmas, only to have to finish them in record time. She decided to save the painting of Christ for last, planning and hoping to find time to meditate and purify herself for the work. But life got in the way, and there was no time for a big experience. She had to paint him without it. And yet, as she painted, she realized that her previous work and focus on Christmas had been the preparation and experience she needed, that with His help, she was enough. The last paragraph of President Uchtdorf's seems to be talking about her.
And I realize, it is also talking about me. I've been waiting for joy to be given me like a magnificent painting, rather than finding bits and pieces all around.
Elder Ballard shared a story about prospecting for gold. The wise, old prospector says to the young man, "Son, it seems to me you are so busy looking for large nuggets that you're missing filling your pouch with these precious flecks of gold. The patient accumulation of these little flecks has brought me great wealth."
Here is my answer. As I move forward, treasuring up the sweet minutes of life, blessing those I can, I will find more happiness than I can now understand. The present will be filled with baby kisses, children's hugs, beautiful tulips, and love interspersed with laundry, dishes, bickering, and heartache. And one day, the pieces will fall into place, and I will be surprised to find that I've been becoming more and more like my Savior and that He has created something exquisite out of the bits and pieces of my life.
Saturday, May 28, 2011
This was written at the beginning of December.
The last few months I've had some gray days, days where the mundane seems endless and everything feels harder. One morning as I awoke to yet another day, I wondered if I really believed the scripture that "Men are that they might have joy." Was this joy supposed to be now or only after the judgement? And if joy was something we work hard for, how are children so joyful when all they do is play?
I've learned a few things since then. A friend taught me that "Joy is hard bought." I knew that, but had forgotten. Then Isaiah taught me, "Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation." (Isaiah 12:3) I finally started to understand. For, we "are bought with a price" (1 Corinthians 7). Christ himself has paid a high price for us and our salvation. True joy comes from redemption and salvation (bought by Christ). Despair comes from sin. As I turn again to Christ and again welcome his Spirit into my life, joy returns.
I know that what I wrote then is true, that obedience and the Spirit bring joy. I also know that it isn't always easy for me to feel the joy in life, even when I'm doing what the Lord requires. I'm slowly learning how to take care of my body and mind so that I can feel the joy the Lord sends. But knowing that true joy comes from the Spirit helps me to not give up on the hard days. As the Professor learned from his brother and then taught me, doing what you ought to, but don't want to, may not make today feel any better, but it sure makes tomorrow better. Someday, my body will work, and I will be glad I didn't give into the despair.
Thursday, May 26, 2011
Over two years ago, I started a quilt top. While I didn't really know what I was doing, I learned a lot. When we moved and Young T was on his way, it got put on the shelf, not quite finished. I have finally completed it. It's ready for my quilting friends to tie it and send it on its way to someone who needs it. I'm excited to start on the next one.
Tuesday, May 24, 2011
In our effort to get our youngest to bed, I've learned that he has quite the opinions about music. Sometimes, we can get Young T to fall asleep by watching music videos. His current favorite band seems to be The High Kings. They sing Irish folk songs. But he only likes some of their music. If I turn on the wrong song, he fusses until I change it. Occasionally, we mix things up with barbershop on youtube, but he tires of that quickly. He highly recommends "Paddy's Green Shamrock Shores", "The Irish Pub", "Marie's Wedding", and "Star of the County Down". But he doesn't prefer "Fields of Glory", "The Wild Rover", or "Galway to Graceland".
Do you have any recommendations? We need something new.
Monday, May 23, 2011
Sunday, May 22, 2011
This April, the Professor's cousin got married. As I drove up to the luncheon, we listened to one of our new favorite songs, Marie's Wedding. The song talks about a wedding: the dancing and joy of celebration, the travel and sacrifice to participate, the hopes and dreams for the future, and the radiance of the bride and groom.
When we were married ten years ago, I was excited, thrilled, and happy. I was grateful for those who celebrated and shared the day with us. And yet there was so much I couldn't see of what went on that day because I was at the center of it.
With the distance of time, and having participated in other weddings, that song hits home now, especially when I think that in another ten years (or so) I may very well be attending Miss M's wedding. And then, just as for us and just as for the Professor's cousin, we will celebrate with joy. We will travel "over hillways up and down...all for sake of Marie." I think of my girl, on her day, when she will be "fairest of them all by far..our darling Marie." And I hope that her life will bring plenty to eat, and a warm house, and "plenty bonny bairns as well." The same hopes and dreams parents have had for ages. And I tear up and can't sing along for a bit.
And, again, I remember my own wedding, only this time I think of our parents and the hope and joy and work and love that they poured into our wedding. I think of the many people who traveled and took time away from work and family to be with us. How very blessed we were to start our family surrounded by love and faith and joy.
Saturday, May 21, 2011
This is something I wrote back in October.
This is one of those times. The Professor has some deadlines and travel coming up. He's spending lots of evenings at work.
Some of my family came to Utah for a variety of things recently. But our schedules didn't quite match.
I'm constantly with people. But little people can't quite fill the empty space. I still get thoughts bouncing around and around in my head.
I'm creating relationships in the neighborhood, but they aren't full grown yet.
I'm missing the delightful exchanges that come with joyful friendship. I'm missing the easy (and often aggravating) experience of family. I'm missing the quiet comfort of an uninterrupted evening with my sweetheart.
Friday, May 20, 2011
Cockroach Salad. Yum.
The Professor brought this fun game back from one of his Europe trips. The rules are easy enough for little ones to get, but still plenty of fun for adults, especially late at night. (The German who sold it to the Professor said it's a lot of fun after everyone has had a few drinks. While I haven't tried that, I'm sure he's right.)
On your turn, you flip over your top card and quickly say what it is (lettuce, tomato, pepper, cauliflower, or cockroach). But you can't say what the last person played or said. You also can't say whatever is on a cockroach card that has been played. If you mess up, you take all the cards. The first one to get rid of his deck wins.
Thursday, May 19, 2011
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
I have struggled knowing what to write lately.
It is important for me to write the truth, maybe the optimistic truth, but still the truth. When things are hard, I don't know what to write, especially when they are hard because of how I feel rather than what is going on. I know that most of my thoughts on the dark days aren't true, even in the middle of thinking them. Dwelling on them won't help anything. And yet, it isn't true to pretend to be happy and light when I'm struggling. And so I don't say anything.
In an effort to tell more of the story, to present a more complete picture, I hope to include more of the hard. I haven't yet figured out how to honestly do it when I'm in the middle of it, so most of it will be posted once I'm doing well enough to think clearly.
In the meantime, know that I often struggle. While I have been abundantly blessed, my children fight, bite, and whine. I am often lonely, overwhelmed, and/or depressed. And, mostly, sometimes, things are just hard.
Tuesday, May 17, 2011
Young T loves to attack our bread.
About a month ago, I left the bread rising, peacefully, on the stove. When the time came to bake it, Young T had left his mark (as you can see in the first picture.)
Then, just yesterday, the Professor found an even lovelier situation (see next three pictures). No wonder Young T had been quiet for so long.
Tuesday, May 3, 2011
I wish I had something important to say, but I'm too worn out to string the sentences together. Young T is not going to bed well the last few days. If he naps, he won't go to sleep until 10:30 or 11. If he doesn't, I have a miserable boy to deal with right when I'm making dinner, only to have him go to sleep at 8 and then wake up and stay up until much later. This isn't working.