Wednesday, September 18, 2013

On the perils of play dough

I've been meaning to make fresh play dough for the little ones for the last month.  Today I finally did.  I thought it would be a quick, simple, clean thing.   (Apparently, I haven't done this for a while.)  Making it wouldn't have been too bad, except that Miss S wanted to join in the fun.  This wasn't supposed to induce tantrums...but it did.  Once the dough was done, Young T and Miss S thoroughly enjoyed it.  It was much more fun than playing with the dry stuff last week.  I now have tiny bits of play dough all over the floor, on the chairs, smashed onto the table, and smashed into Young T's pants--so much for clean.  But, by far, the silliest and worst part of it all is that I seem to have gotten a blister from stirring the thick dough.  Maybe tomorrow I can find a quick, simple, clean way to entertain these busy kids.

Monday, September 16, 2013

On perfection in important endeavors

"...I'm not getting it all sorted, she worried.  I'm not getting it right.
     You are brilliant, the Voice reassured her.
     It is imperfect.
     So are all things trapped in time.  You are brilliant, nonetheless.  How fortunate for Us that We thirst for glorious souls rather than faultless ones, or We should be parched indeed, and most lonely in Our perfect righteousness.  Carry on imperfectly, shining Ista."

~from Paladin of Souls

I appreciated the reminder that perfection isn't expected or important now.  What God wants and needs from me is the willingness to turn to Him, trust in Him, and allow Him to guide my life.  He can do the rest, even with imperfect me.  (And, as a corollary, even with the imperfect people around me.)

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Quote of the Day

Young T, the backseat driver:
"Mom, don't ever fall off the cliff in the car.  That would not be a smart plan."

Thursday, April 11, 2013

I believe...

I believe in God.  He is our Father.  He loves me and wants me to learn, grow, and be happy.  He knows me and my life.  He spends His time blessing, guiding, teaching, and serving us.  And He knows much better than I do what will make me happy.  He is kinder, more loving, more understanding, more just, and more merciful than I understand.

I believe in Jesus Christ.  He is our brother.  He also loves me and wants to help me become everything that is good.  He suffered the consequences of my mistakes to give me an opportunity to change and improve.  He is willing to help me learn to do better as long as I am willing to trust Him.  He can turn any pain, any hurt, any mistake, any experience into good, if I continue to turn to Him.

I believe in prayer.  When I pray to my Father, in the name of Christ, He listens.  When I pray with my children and my husband, our marriage and our family are stronger.  I'm not sure how it works, but I have felt the guidance, the power, and the love that comes into my life and into my family when we pray.

I believe in scriptures and revelation.  Our Father speaks to us in many ways.  Sometimes it is thoughts that bring understanding and peace.  Sometimes it is words spoken by others.  Often, for me, it is in the scriptures.  The words written long ago by His prophets often seem to make sense for me today.  Like prayer, they bring power and peace into my life and into my family when we read them.  I have found peace and answers in the Bible (words from Jewish and Christian prophets), the Book of Mormon (words from American prophets), the Doctrine and Covenants (words from modern prophets), and the Pearl of Great Price (a little bit of everything).

I believe in prophets.  Our Father wants to speak to us.  He does so in many ways.  One of those ways is through his servants.  I believe there were prophets long ago (Abraham, Jeremiah, Isaiah, Moses, Samuel, Peter, Paul, John, and more.)  I believe Joseph Smith was a prophet, as was Brigham Young.  And I believe there are prophets and apostles today.  Thomas S. Monson and the other apostles serve God, and God speaks through them.  I believe that prophets, ancient and modern, are flawed humans who are striving to be good.  They make mistakes and don't always understand the great scope of Heavenly Father's love and plan.  But God uses them anyway and miracles happen.  The prophets and apostles of today are some of the kindest, most sincere, most loving men I know.

I believe that God has a plan, and it is good.  I often don't understand His plan.  But I have seen in my life how following the scriptures, the prophets, and the personal guidance God gives me blesses my life greatly.  Obedience to principles such as tithing, chastity, giving to the poor, and serving those around me has protected me and brought amazing blessings into my life.

I believe God loves each of His children, man or woman.  He guides each one as much as they will listen in ways that they will understand.  There is much good in most religions.  There are also many mistakes.  I believe we will all be surprised at the Truth when we finally understand.  I believe that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is led by Christ and has authority from Him to baptize and teach the people of the world.  There is power in His priesthood to bless our lives.

I believe that faith is partly a choice and partly a gift.  I don't understand everything.  I don't have answers for many of the concerns that I have or that others have.  For some of them, I have partial answers.  For others, I have peace without understanding.  And for some, I choose to trust God.  I have chosen to believe.  I have chosen to believe because I have experienced the peace and happiness that come from following Christ.  I have chosen to believe because the people I look up to most and most want to become like believe.  From what I've seen, those who spend their lives serving and loving God are much more loving, more kind, more patient than those who serve themselves.  They seem to have a bigger world view, a greater willingness to sacrifice and serve others, and a better understanding of life in general.  Their peace and faith carry them through the difficulties of life.  While they will make mistakes, they seem closer to the truth that really matters and more willing to admit mistakes than many other people.  I choose to become like them.

I believe in repentance.  I believe a loving Father does not want us stuck making the same mistakes over and over.  And so He teaches us and shows us where we are wrong.  We can then change and become better.  The atonement of Christ picks up the pieces, allowing us to move forward.  I know that many of my beliefs and actions are wrong.  I am grateful for the chance to change, even if I don't enjoy learning that I am wrong.

I believe in family and love.  The family can provide both support and opportunities for growth.  In families we learn to serve, love, forgive, and change.  Fathers and mothers are each important to children.  Children are worth the sacrifice and struggle that they bring.  While each family's culture and structure are as individual as the people that belong to it, each should be based on charity, the kind of love that serves and sacrifices, is patient and joyful.  I believe that families and marriages can become eternal, that we will know and love each other in heaven.

I believe in the atonement of Christ.  I believe that because of His sacrifice, all things can be made right.  Because of Him, we will live again after we die.  Because of Him, our mistakes (and those of others) can be fixed, our pain can be healed, and we can be made better than we ever could become on our own.  He is the only reason this confused, painful, often wicked world is worth it.

I believe in miracles.  God often is active in our lives.  Sometimes we notice.  Sometimes we don't.  Sometimes we can explain His presence away.  Sometimes we can't.  As we pray for help, trust in Him, and pay attention, we will be amazed at the miracles that come.  Some are little, like finding a parking space right where we really need one.  Others are big, like finding just the right doctor to heal a child.  Some are events, like a friend showing up on a hard day.  Others are part of us, like finding the ability to be patient and calm with a child who just lost all control.  They range from ideas and phone calls to visions and visits from angels.  All of them are gifts from a Father who loves us and knows our individual, daily needs.

I believe in the dignity and beauty of individuals.  Somehow, as God teaches us to be more loving, more obedient, and more faithful, He helps us become more ourselves.  He loves us each for our uniqueness and works to turn us into the best version of ourselves we can be.  As we grow more like Him, we remain different from, yet compatible with, each other.

Living up to my beliefs will take a lifetime, maybe more.  Applying them to my life isn't always straight forward.  Thank you for your patience with me as I learn.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Quote of the day

"The demands of motherhood especially consume the old self, and replace it with something new, often better and wiser, sometimes wearier or disillusioned, or tense and terrified, certainly more self-knowing, but never the same again."
Lois McMaster Bujold

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Dinner at our house, for the curious

Dinner at our house runs the spectrum from boring mundane to ridiculous comedy.  Of course, some of that comedy is only funny because at the end of the day hysteria tends to run a little wild.  In the interest of historical documentation (and entertainment), I present to you three separate accounts of "Dinner, at our house."

To properly appreciate the irony of the night, you must understand that on Sunday I, unusually, planned four weeks worth of meals.  This would take much of the drama out of the dinner hour, I hoped, making our family night run more smoothly.  The plan for Monday was a chicken casserole (half of which had broccoli).  I carefully put it all together after lunch.  I put it in the oven early.  Dinner time comes and the chicken is not cooked.  We all sit down and start on the salad, the fruit, and the sweet potatoes...I check the casserole every fifteen minutes or so.  After twenty minutes or more, the kids are tired of salad and fruit.  As the casserole is still not done, we read scriptures around the table.  Then we start family night, we finish the song, prayer, and lesson before the chicken finally passes my scrutiny.  By now the kids are rather rambunctious.  Enough so that suddenly, with no warning, Young M hollers, "Squawk like a chicken."  Young A adds loudly, "Quack like a duck."  Miss E chimes in, "Moo like a cow."  With in three minutes, they've collaborated with few words to write the chant/song:  (note.  Each line is chanted/sung by a different child)
"Squawk like a chicken.
Meow like a cat.
Quack like a duck.
Just like that."
A variety of alternative lines, many quite silly, have also been put forth.  And I have laughed like crazy.  Thankfully, we can finish dinner.  (Followed by our "activity", eating rice krispy treats, and our "treat", playing some rousing rounds of Pit.  The children loudly request (and are denied) the pleasure of playing with the gas cards so they can "have gas" and "pass gas" during the game.)

Tuesday's dinner was supposed to be the easiest of the week: Good Sport Night (also known as leftovers.)  I didn't prepare much because it was all waiting in the fridge.  The Professor was running a little late and had told me to start without him if needs be.  The kids were happily playing, and I was reading a book.  Consequently, I didn't realize quite how late it had gotten. The Professor was later than either of us expected.  When he got home, we threw dinner on the table.  I just had time to eat before heading out the door to a church activity.  Oops.

Young A turns 9 next month.  The Professor really wants to help him earn his Wolf (maybe?) badge in cub scouts before then.  We realized a week or so ago that one of his requirements is to help plan and make an outdoor meal.  Oops.  This is January in Utah.  The last week or so has been crazy cold (for Utah).  Today was supposed to be warmer (maybe get up to freezing), so we decided to take care of it today.  Young A wanted to make pizza to eat on our back deck.  While he helped with that, Miss M (with help from Young M and Young T) grated carrots for a carrot salad.  We had lots of carrots in the bowl, and on the table, and on the chair, and on the floor.  We also had an apple pie with dinner.  (It didn't fit in the freezer after the Costco trip today.)  At dinner, the Professor, Young A, Young T, and Miss E all ate a few bites of dinner outside.  Whew!  Another requirement complete.

During dinner, the following conversations and snippets were heard:

"Well, sniffle my britches."
Young M:  "Sniffle my under-britches."

"What do you call your teacher at Math Circle?"
Young A:  "Sometimes we say,'...Uhhhmmm....'"

Young E reporting on Math Circle:
"The teacher said, 'Choose a number between 0 and 10.  Now multiply it by 9.'
Young A said, 'What if we can't?'  and the teacher said, 'Choose a whole number between 0 and 10.'  I think Young A chose pi."  Young A admitted that she was right.

At least the chaos has been entertaining lately!