30 January 2013

Family Life

Yesterday began with a productive carpet cleaning session, laundry, playing on the floor with the baby and a bit of sewing. It ended with baby vomiting at the pinewood derby, a broken toilet, and 9-year-old boy grumpiness & attitude.

In between were some regular family-life moments: cooking and feeding dinner, encouraging/nagging homework to be done, hugs, kisses, daily battle with managing electronic time, yada, yada, yada.

I received some pretty direct counsel/chastising from heaven about how better to deal with the good and the bad of family life; mostly about how to deal with the bad & frustrating without making everyone's life miserable. It came in the form of Jacob 6:7 :For behold, after ye have been nourished by the good word of God all the day long, will ye bring forth evil fruit? . . .

It is my tendency to become a bit hot-tempered, and grumpy when things don't run smoothly. Since family life has a tendency to not run smoothly at least once per day, this isn't a great equation for peace in the home. Fortunately I'm married to someone who already recognizes the benefit of handling problems in a calm, even-tempered manner and he is my best example of that each day. I am a slow learner, but this divine instruction has me looking at my grumpiness in a different way. I don't want to be the bringer of evil fruit in my home, especially because I truly do feel nourished all day long by the good word of God.

23 January 2013

Fine, wear whatever you want!

I cracked up at a friend's facebook post the other day:
Packed almost my entire house today (except kitchen). I packed most of all of our clothes, which doesn't affect the boys since they only want to wear 2 items all the time anyway. 

I'm here to say that much of the conflict between me and my children has to do with clothing. Heaven help me with this one.

I am that mom who puts clothing under the Christmas tree and when the kids open it, they only like maybe one of the shirts, sort of.

I am that annoyed mom who cannot figure out why these boys want to wear the same pair of jeans every single day.

I am that mom who spews out lame threats about how today they have to wear something they haven't worn in a whole week. The conversation begins with a smile, and ends with a major meltdown.

And don't even get me started on the battle it is to get four children out the door wearing a coat right now. It makes me and them so uptight.

This battle is not worth fighting. I keep trying to tell myself that. But for some reason, this battle with clothing makes me hot-tempered daily. I am working on it.


21 January 2013

A few opening thoughts

Since I haven't posted anything on this blog in four months, the continuity of writing and sharing has been a bit lost, so I feel as if I am starting again. Hence, the title of this post. 

So, I will just attempt to start again, as I do miss writing and sharing publicly. Most of the recent writing in my life has been in a scripture journal, which has become my most prized possession. Through this writing I am learning about my own personal weaknesses, God's promises to me and others, what I can do to improve my family on a daily basis, and how the Lord wants me to change in ways that are not easy for me at all.

I recently wrote and delivered a talk about how to really find peace in our lives. One of the scriptures I used in this talk: Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you; not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid, found in John 14:27, reminded me of why daily personal scripture study is so vital if we want to find success in raising our families. 

On our trip to Utah to visit family after Christmas, we were involved in an accident just past Baker City, OR on Highway 84 where our van slid on black ice, spun around and hit backwards on the guard rail. Those moments when we were spinning were unbelievably humbling, as I had no idea how it would end, and I fully expected to see the side of the car crumple on my children in the back seat. Fortunately, we were very blessed, and most of the damage to the van was down low, since it was a short guard rail, and none of the damage was to the engine at all, so the car could still be driven.

The passenger's side back window, however, shattered due to the impact, and the glass landed all over my most fragile, anxious child, 7-year-old Owen. Because we weren't sure what to do in those minutes following the accident, we ended up sitting in the van for about an hour talking to various family members and roadside assistance. During the first 20 minutes, Owen could not be comforted. All the boys were shaken, nervous, and unsure, but Owen was the one who was whimpering and crying and kept saying all the things I was thinking in my mind, but was trying to replace with positive thoughts. Things like, "I don't want to be here anymore, I just want to go home. I wish this never happened. I'm freezing. I hate this, I hate this." 

It was freezing, as you can imagine. None of us wanted to be there, as you can imagine. We all wished it hadn't happened, and I also had some real moments where my heart was very troubled and afraid. We had said a prayer pleading for help just after we hit, but Owen still continued to cry and whine. I was feeling so helpless, and finally this scripture popped into my head. I sat with him and talked quietly about this promise that Jesus made while he walked on the earth. I believe He means it; He really does not want us to have a troubled, afraid heart in these difficult moments. 

Owen said his own little prayer, putting faith in that glorious promise of peace, and almost immediately we experienced the first of many miracles on our journey through this difficult trip. Peace filled his heart, the kind of peace that can only come from heaven, the kind of peace a mother would like to give to her child, but physically cannot. In that moment, when I watched his whole countenance change from trouble to peace, I have never been more grateful for Christ, and the real promises of His gospel.

The weeks that followed were very trying for our family: illness, freezing cold temperatures, having to borrow family members' cars while on vacation, and knowing we still had to drive home on the same icy roads. They were filled with many moments of trouble and fear that entered our hearts at different times. We were also surrounded by family who helped and served us in every way, priesthood blessings, and lots of love and support from friends back home.

The story is not over. Our van is still stuck in freezing cold Utah being repaired, but we were safe on our journey home in a rental van -although it included diarrhea, lots of slowing down for icy conditions, and a snowstorm at the very end. I have tried my very best to focus on the blessings received through a difficult experience, and know that more blessings are waiting out there until the story really ends and our car is back safely in the garage again.