Vacation can kill you, and other random thoughts

chuck27e20cheeseThis vacation in Atlanta has been fairly laid back, but I still feel exhausted.  Here are a few important lessons I have learned this time around:

  • If my children are given the choice between going to heaven or going to Chuck E. Cheese, it’s a no-brainer.  (Oh, and apparently exchanging wads and wads of tickets for a one-inch Laffy Taffy and a mini Tootsie-Roll pop is much more rewarding than I would have imagined.)
  • Lots and lots of rain is only slightly better than lots and lots of snow.  You still get cabin fever.
  • When your mom asks you to help her shop for jeans, wear comfortable shoes and pack a lunch.
  • An air mattress does not count as a bed, I don’t care what anyone tells you.
  • If you go on a leisurely walk with your dad in a hilly neighborhood while pushing your 2-year-old in a stroller, it’s possible that your leg muscles might combust.
  • If your husband loves to browse eBay and Craig’s List, it may not be a wise budget move to leave him unsupervised at home for eight days.
  • If you would like to renew your faith in your children, just listen to your parents talk about them to their friends.  You’d think they were national treasures raised by a herd of angels.
  • Vacation makes your children lose their will to sleep.  No matter how hard you try to maintain a routine, they go to bed late and wake up too early.
  • When your mom thinks that homemade play-doh would be a fun idea for your kids, she’s right.  It will entertain Clark and Natalie for more than an hour and the mess is at her house instead of yours.
  • Note to self:  Do not save all of your children’s old books and toys for 35 years so that your grandchildren can play with them some day.  Chances are only about 23% that said grandchildren will survive the dust, mildew, small parts and 274 broken modern safety laws.  If you choose to break this “rule,”  keep plenty of band-aids and Benadryl on hand.
  • I really like Springtime, and really dislike Arctic wintertime.
  • It doesn’t really matter much how many years have passed or whether the homestead has changed location, spending time with parents and family always feels like home.

Well, that’s about as deep as I’m feeling today.  I’ve got to get some sleep so I can survive that 3 kids on the airplane thing tomorrow.

Tomorrow’s the last day to enter a limerick in the limerick contest.  There are some fun ones so far.  Watch for voting starting Wednesday.

And also Wednesday is the day you’ll need to reset the RSS feed for this blog as it switches to www.diapersanddivinity.com .  From what I understand, Google Reader, your sidebar post-updater-thing, or any RSS feed won’t pick up any new posts unless you re-subscribe.  Please come back and find me again or I’ll miss you.

And I’m going to Women’s Conference at BYU at the end of April… is anyone going to be there as well?  Might be fun to meet up for lunch one day or something.

Oh, and guess what?!  I actually won something in that giveaway at Mormon Mommy Blogs— a cool photo book.  Plus a bunch of other people I like won stuff too, so I was so excited when I saw the big announcement.  They also invited/approved for me to guest post there soon and I’m anxious about what to write… heavy on diapers or heavy on divinty, or a clever mix of both (that’s trickier sometimes).  Any advice?  Feel free to throw out a topic, too.

Shut up!

smileI consider myself a fairly confident person overall, but I do have my struggles with self-doubt.  Something about spending the last week at my parents’ home has triggered some pondering in me.  And then when I set goals of things I know I want to be better at, that voice starts a-talkin’.  It says things like this:

When your children sometimes exhibit “unacceptable” behavior, that means you have failed as a mother.

Remember those 12 pounds you’ve gained slowly over the last couple years?  Well, take a good look in the mirror and you can see exactly where they are.  Ha!  Take that, fat girl.

Plus you haven’t exercised once this week.  That means you have no self-discipline and these 12 pounds aren’t going anywhere… they’re probably just the beginning.

Your house would barely qualify as a tool shed in this neighborhood.

When you go to church today and see people from your past, they might look at you and the phrase “worse for the wear” may come to mind.  Sure, smile and be polite, but you know they’re thinking you’ve let yourself go.

Stop making so many comments (two!) in Sunday School.  You’re just a visitor, for pete’s sake.  This is probably why your bishop made you the Primary president… because you just can’t keep your mouth shut in Sunday School and Relief Society.

Plus maybe the stuff you’re saying is dumb and people don’t care anyway.

And then in the mix of all that befuddlement, the Relief Society teacher quoted something she said came from Elder Holland’s talk, “Cast Not Away Therefore Thy Confidence.”  Simply the mention of that title jolted me.  I immediately felt a sense of comfort and acceptance.  My perspective changed and I became accutely aware that the voice I’d been listening to did NOT come from my Heavenly Father.  His voice does not make me feel small or unimportant.  So I jotted down the name of the talk in my notes and came home and studied it.  I just wanted to share a few quotes that have refueled my spirit today:

“Certainly don’t give in to that being who is bent on the destruction of your happiness. Face your doubts. Master your fears. “Cast not away therefore your confidence.” Stay the course and see the beauty of life unfold for you.

“…  I acknowledge the reality of opposition and adversity, but I bear witness of the God of glory, of the redeeming Son of God, of light and hope and a bright future. I promise you that God lives and loves you, each one of you, and that He has set bounds and limits to the opposing powers of darkness. I testify that Jesus is the Christ, the victor over death and hell and the fallen one who schemes there. The gospel of Jesus Christ is true, and it has been restored.  “Fear ye not.” And when the second and third and fourth blows come, “fear ye not. … The Lord shall fight for you.”  Cast not away therefore your confidence.”

So, I’m telling that voice of self doubt to shut up.  There are lots of things about me that it clearly does not understand.  Things like this:

  16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
  17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ;
 
“Though we may see ourselves as weak and simple, we all share a noble heritage and can develop a faith that is equal to that of remarkable, faithful women who have gone before us. We have a vital role to play in helping build the kingdom of God and preparing for the Lord’s coming. In fact, the Lord cannot accomplish His work without the help of His daughters.”
smile2So, stick a sock in it, voice of doubt.  I’ve got a lot of important things to do and be, and I simply don’t have time for your nonsense.  Nice try, though.
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Don’t be shy… try your hand at the limerick contest.  TWO days left.  Come on, it’ll be fun.
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Reminder:  As of April 1, this blog will be hosted solely at http://www.diapersanddivinity.com (”wordpress” will no longer appear in the URL).  When that change takes place, the old feed will be reset and you will need to go there yourself and subscribe again (for the LAST time, I promise).  Any previous RSS feed will no longer work.

Sacrifice: the delicate balance

This entry was originally posted on August 18, 2008.  (I’m re-creating my lost archives.)

droppedimage We all know that being a mom means giving up a lot of things, and yes, we get back lots of blessings in return.  But does anyone else out there totally fail in that balancing trick between give your whole self to your job as a mother and put yourself first?  I figure it’s impossible; it’s like trying to take a shower and blow dry your hair at the same time… you’re going to get burned!  And I get the whole concept of if you don’t take care of yourself then there’s less of you to give, but exactly how does that work when even the 110% version of yourself probably isn’t enough to get it all done anyway?  (I mean, seriously, if you could see my house right now, you would laugh out loud that I’m dispensing anything remotely resembling advice or wisdom of any kind.)

The only way that I’ve been able to come to terms with this is the Christian doctrine of grace… the whole concept of  Do the very best that you can, and the Lord will make up the difference.  And let’s face it, He’s not going to step in and finish off the laundry or strike your screaming child mute for the last 5 minutes of the ride home, but I take confidence in the hope that He will let my children turn out alright anyway.  He won’t let my frequent failures and occasional disasters be the tragic flaw in my overall motherhood effort.  I believe God will overlook my shortcomings and bless my sincere efforts; He will make it all turn out as if I’d done it right in the first place.  So maybe it’s fantasy, but it gets me through… doesn’t it make you feel better too?

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Don’t be shy… try your hand at the limerick contest.  Come on, it’ll be fun.
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Reminder:  As of April 1, this blog will be hosted solely at http://www.diapersanddivinity.com (”wordpress” will no longer appear in the URL).  When that change takes place, the old feed will be reset and you will need to go there yourself and subscribe again (for the LAST time, I promise).  Any previous RSS feed will no longer work

The detours of motherhood, or why I’m like prophets and my children are like Lamanites

detour20signsI’m currently at my parents’ home in Atlanta for Spring Break.  Unlike the great white North where I live, Spring actually lives here, so it’s been a nice change of scenery.  Outdoor weather has allowed my children to play hard and sleep hard.  My nights have been mostly quiet and peaceful.  The night before last I fell asleep face-down diagonally across my bed, on top of the covers with my scriptures open.  Before I dozed off to sleep, however, I managed to have an epiphany while studying Alma chapter 17 in the Book of Mormon.

I don’t know if this is a common struggle with other mothers or not, but I have some dear friends– friends I consider “kindred spirits” in the Anne of Green Gables’ sense– with whom I have not had decent contact for years.  I still love them as much as I ever did, and I do think of them often and wonder how they are.  Occasionally, we drop each other a quick “hello” on Facebook, and we exchange Christmas cards religiously, but despite our mutual admiration, we’ve kind of fallen out of each others’ lives.  Sometimes I mourn that a little bit.  I miss my Sunday afternoon drives up in the mountains with best girlfriends where we listened to sappy love songs and poured out our fears, struggles, dramas, and memories together.  And we laughed.  A lot.  I don’t live even within a few states of most of them anymore, but the life I have chosen is no longer my very own.  I share it with a husband and three little children.  I love them all and wouldn’t give them up for anything, but they’re pretty darn time consuming.  My friends are living similarly busy lives, and I truly understand it.  It still makes me a little sad, but as I read my scriptures Tuesday night, I saw it all a little differently.

There was a group of tight friends:  Alma the younger and the four sons of Mosiah.  These verses explains the missions they were called to:

11 And the Lord said unto them also: Go forth among the Lamanites, thy brethren, and establish my word; yet ye shall be patient in long-suffering and afflictions, that ye may show forth good examples unto them in me, and I will make an instrument of thee in my hands unto the salvation of many souls.

It struck me that this is very much like my calling to be a mother.  The words patience, long-suffering, and the command to be a good example stood out to me.  And the work of saving souls is literally in our hands and homes.

  12 And it came to pass that the hearts of the sons of Mosiah, and also those who were with them, took courage to go forth unto the Lamanites to declare unto them the word of God.
  13 And it came to pass when they had arrived in the borders of the land of the Lamanites, that they separated themselves and departed one from another, trusting in the Lord that they should meet again at the close of their harvest; for they supposed that great was the work which they had undertaken.
It really does take courage– doesn’t it?– to give up portions of your life as you know it because you hope to teach your children and make a difference in your own family.  And that is truly what happens among friends who begin/accept the motherhood journey; we “depart” in a sense, with faith and hope that we’ll meet again.  And we couldn’t do that if we didn’t believe that “great was the work” we have chosen.  (My commentary is in brackets and italics below.)
  14 And assuredly it was great, for they had undertaken to preach the word of God to a wild and a hardened and a ferocious people [have you seen a toddler or preschooler’s temper tantrum??]; a people who delighted in murdering the Nephites, and robbing and plundering them [okay, there’s not much murder going on in my house, but my fridge has definitely been plundered many times]; and their hearts were set upon riches, or upon gold and silver, and precious stones [or Webkins, the candy aisle at the grocery store, and Chuck E. Cheese tokens]; yet they sought to obtain these things by murdering and plundering [whining and manipulating], that they might not labor for them with their own hands [“No! Mommy do it!”].
And why again do we throw ourselves into that kind of mess and responsibility?
 …  16 Therefore, this was the cause for which the sons of Mosiah [a group of dear friends] had undertaken the work, that perhaps they might bring them unto repentance; that perhaps they might bring them to know of the plan of redemption.
 17 Therefore they separated themselves one from another, and went forth among them, every man [woman, sister, friend] alone, according to the word and power of God which was given unto him [her].
And for the first time, I saw myself and my unseen-but-not-lost friends as teammates on a holy mission.  We are working together more than we know, and I am strengthened by their efforts in far away lands with their own little Lamanites.  I feel unity with them, and frankly, with all of you readers, too, as I consider how we are truly serving a mission together to instruct an entire generation about God’s plan of happiness and their role in it.  It’s amazing actually.  It makes me realize that I’ve been closer than I realized to my fellow-mothers all along.
The first verses in this chapter (before the flashback in the verses I’ve quoted) show the joyful reunion of this group of friends and how they are even happier to know that each of them has remained faithful to their mission and worked hard and even suffered much in their efforts to save souls.  I think this is why we pick up right where we left off with beloved friends we have not seen for a while, because we have a cause and a deep commitment in common.  It makes me pretty darn excited for heaven or those retirement years (whichever comes first!) when we will have the time again for Sunday drives with good friends, laughing about our days among the Lamanites.
 
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Don’t be shy… try your hand at the limerick contest.  Come on, it’ll be fun.
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Reminder:  As of April 1, this blog will be hosted solely at http://www.diapersanddivinity.com (”wordpress” will no longer appear in the URL).  When that change takes place, the old feed will be reset and you will need to go there yourself and subscribe again (for the LAST time, I promise).  Any previous RSS feed will no longer work. 

Get your limerick groove on.

This post is in honor of Jen at Jen’s Jingle.  She occasionally hosts a limerick contest that is quite delightful.  The winner of her contest gets a coveted spot on her sidebar as “the greatest limerick writer of all time.”  Perhaps you did not know that I wrote poetry.  (wrote= past tense)  Once I had a poem published in the Friend magazine.  I know, have you seen the high calibre of children’s poetry that they publish there?  I also won some kind of state-wide-ish poetry competition in elementary school.  I have no recollections of poetry in high school, and that actually brings me great relief, but I resumed writing poems in college.  I actually had poetry published in a literary journal.  Twice.  But it was in Spanish.  Don’t get too impressed, 95% of Spanish words rhyme with each other.  I’m actually a much better poet in Spanish than I am in English.  I think the language lends itself to more detailed expression.  But, I digress.  So Jen’s most recent limerick contest was about swimsuit shopping.  (I saw you cringe.) And I won! Prepare yourself for a deep, literary experience:

Swimsuit season is coming in sight.
But shopping for suits? What a fright!
My butt’s a sedan.
Maybe I should go tan;
or is cottage cheese meant to be white?

Whoever won the Nobel Prize for Poetry this year is so stabbing his eyeballs with sporks totally jealous right now.  You do know that if I had any pride at all, I would not be sharing this with you, right?

Anyway, Jen got a little jealous (who wouldn’t?), and wants a chance to write a great limerick to rival mine.  So I am hosting my very own limerick contest right here.  Since my blog is all about Diapers and Divinity, the contest will embrace a related theme.

Your humorous limerick should be about Motherhood and one of these three topics:

  1. Family Scripture Study, or
  2. Sitting in church with children, or
  3. Family Home Evening

(If you don’t have children of your own yet… ahem, Kristina… I’m sure you can make fun of mothers and kids you’ve seen sitting in church.)  Here is a quick refresher course on how to write a limerick:  It is a five-line poem.  Wikipedia explains it like this:  “The standard form of a limerick is a stanza of five lines, with the first, second and fifth having nine syllables and rhyming with one another, and the third and fourth having five or six and rhyming separately.”  (Please don’t count mine too exactly or I may get the grand prize recalled.)  Example:

So is anyone listening to me?                 9 syllables, rhyme A
We are reading the Bible, you three!    9 syllables, rhyme A
Sit down!  And stop hitting,                   6 syllables, rhyme B
a migraine I’m getting!                           6 syllables, rhyme B
It’s like preaching to three chimpanzees.     9 syllables, rhyme A

Deadline:  Let’s say March 31st

Judging:  I’ll post up my favorites on April 1st.  (Remember that’s the day I stop showing up on your RSS feeds, so you’ll have to come find me the old fashioned way… actually typing out www.diapersanddivinity.com into your browser (or clicking on the link) and then re-subscribe/reset your RSS feed.)  Then if I’m feeling super tech-savvy, I’ll put up a POLL and you can vote for the winner.

Grand Prize:  Well, for one thing, your limerick will win a position of honor on my sidebar for at least a month.  Plus, I think I’ll send you some chocolate, because let’s be honest, it’s the best thing almost-no-money can buy.

So get writing ladies (and gents in the minority); hit me with your best shot of good rhymes and funny times!  Enter as many as you’d like.  Fill the comment box with stuff that makes me smile.

Oh, and oh! Have you seen the giveaway this month at Mormon Mommy Blogs?  Get yourself on over there.  (If I knew how to put that in really, really tiny unreadable print I would.   Because I want to win. But I’m not that blog smart.)

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Reminder:  As of April 1, this blog will be hosted solely at http://www.diapersanddivinity.com (”wordpress” will no longer appear in the URL).  When that change takes place, the old feed will be reset and you will need to go there yourself and subscribe again (for the LAST time, I promise).  Any previous RSS feed will no longer work.