Why I have decided to ignore my children

woman with appleYou know how we are often told to turn away negative thoughts and voices that make us question our self-worth and potential?  Well, now I am faced with a moral dilemma.  On the one hand, I should nurture my children and be a good listener.  On the other, I should ignore voices like this:

 

 

Grant:  Um, Mom, let me look at your teeth… (invasion of personal space) … Your teeth are brown.

Me:  What?  They’re not brown!

Grant:  Yeah, they are.  They’re brown.

Clark:  Let me look.  (in my grill)  Oh, yeah. … Maybe the other day at the baseball game some dirt flew in the air and got on your teeth.

Me:  (blink, blink, stunned silence.)

Natalie:  I wanna look.  (3 children on my lap, staring disgustedly at my now-faded smile)  Oh.

And you can see that, clearly, I should no longer listen to my children if I want to keep any shred of dignity or warped acceptance of my own appearance.

Elder Marvin J. Ashton said (and I tweaked):  

In the world, where there are often voices of pessimism and negative feelings [my children], the voice of gladness is welcome indeed. Some seem to live with doubt, fear of the future, and sorrow for the past [or renewed shame in their less-than-gleaming-white teeth]. If it is our nature to criticize or demean, we can cause the voices of gladness to be silenced [and one’s desire to smile to be eliminated]. We need those who bring gladness into our lives. We need those who give encouragement and reflect optimism.

Sincere yet simple words of praise can lift souls and bring gladness. Mark Twain remarked that he could live two months on one good compliment. In the words of the biblical proverbs of Solomon: “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.” (Prov. 25:11.)

Encouragement can be quick and simple, but it is a voice of gladness that is needed by everyone.

So, I made a few decisions today:

1.  Ignore my children.

2.  Remember to say nice things to other moms because their children probably sucked all of their self-worth out of them.

3.  Call Matt to find out if our Health Savings Account covers any kind of cosmetic dentistry.  (I did. It doesn’t.)

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Haiku! (Bless you.)

Well, I know you’ve just been on the edge of your seats waiting to find out who the finalists are in the Diapers and Divinity Summer Poetry Contest.  I have selected four of my favorites.  (I have also altered them just a little bit so that I could fit them all into two succinct little stanzas more uniform for contest purposes.  This may seem a little dictatorial on my part, which really does not matter because it is my blog and everything you write on here actually belongs to me by copyright law…. I really don’t know if that’s true, but I figure that if I said it with authority, you would believe me.)

These poems are haikus about summer vacation with children.  Anyway, without further ado, the finalists are:

DeNae

denae

When the kids were small,
Camping fit the fam’ly funds,

Which were sparce and spare.

 

No more camps for me.
You can keep your tents and bugs.
Hotels come with pools!

 

 

Shoebox Princess

 

sara 

 

I made a chore chart
To teach the kids about work

I have learned to nag.

 

House shrinks in summer

Too much noise, not enough space.

We go to the beach.

 

Melanie J

melanie

 

A soft, fuzzy head
Whiffs of coconut sunblock

Gold skin and freckles

 

Cute little white bums

Peeking out of swimming trunks

I smile. It’s summer.

 

 

Charlotte

 (sorry, Charlotte I couldn’t find your actual profile picture on your blog.)

crazy face

 

Hot grilled hamburgers,
A slice of watermelon,

ice cream and snow cones.

 

I can taste summer.
Summer scents permeating-
Intoxicating.

 

 

 

Vote for your favorite one here by Friday night.  Winners will be announced next weekend and one haiku-ist will be featured on my sidebar for the remainder of the summer (and get some prize they will wonder if it was worth the postage to send).
Nice job, ladies.  Happy polls!

General Conference Book Club Week 12: Elder Hales

dnews halescesfiresideThis week’s talk is the first talk that was given in April 2009 Conference.  Elder Robert D. Hales of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles spoke about relying on the Lord and taking steps to overcome any addictions, excesses, or patterns that can harm our spirits and our relationships.  This was a great talk, and oh, so timely.

>> Click here to read “Becoming Provident Providers Both Temporally and Spiritually” by Elder Robert D. Hales<<

This talk was the topic of our Relief Society lesson at Church today.  Most of the talk appears to focus on finances and staying out of debt and such, but our teacher did an excellent job of encouraging us to look at all of that counsel and figure out what the spiritual application is.  The title, after all, suggests that message is there.

I think so many of us have some kind of addiction or excess that keeps us from greater success and happiness, even if it is negative patterns of thought or mood, so I loved reading the article in that light and realizing that we have been given tools to overcome those challenges.  Great article.  I’m anxious to hear your thoughts as well.

If this is your first visit to the General Conference Book Club, click here to learn more about it. You’re welcome to join us at any point along the way, and we’d love to welcome back many of you that we haven’t heard from in a while.

Oh, yes I did.

To all of you whose challenged homemaking skills have made you feel like only a consolation member of the Relief Society, there is hope.  I, Stephanie, made jam.  It was even easy.  So that pretty much means that anyone one can do it, even the domestically handicapped.  Behold:

We picked strawberries at a local farm.

Grant and Clark washed and cut them.

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I chopped them in a food processor, and added some chopped tangerines as well, just because I wanted to.

DSCF2103Then I added sugar and fruit pectin.  I tried it with two kinds and this was definitely the easiest way to go and it set up much nicer than with Sure-Gel:

Ball-Freezer-Jam-Pectin_bigThen I put it in little jars, and that was all.  Not kidding.  That’s all.  Then it keeps in the fridge or freezer.  So with no disrespect to those of you who have spent your summer writing novels, running marathons, and building life-size models of ancient Mayan ruins with your children, let’s not underestimate the glory of this accomplishment.

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I made jam, people.  And it was good.

———-

Some end notes:

1.  Apparently some of you are intimidated by the haiku contest.  Let me put your fears at ease about a 3-line poem:

This is a haiku. (5 syllables)

You can write it just like this. (7 syllables)

That wasn’t so hard.  (5 syllables)

See?  Piece of cake.  Entries due by Saturday night.

2.  I also retro-posted the General Conference Book Club talk of the week.  It’s up as of Sunday’s date, or you can hop to it here if you wish.  Can I just encourage some of you that have disappeared from the comments section at the GCBC to jump back on board?  I’d love to hear from you again, and it’s never too late to pick up and old goal and run with it again.

3.  Coming very soon, like maybe tomorrow:  A review of some guilt-free summer screen time options for your kids, and a giveaway to go with it.  Stay tuned.

On camping with small children: A compilation of Haiku, and a contest for you.

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Matt says, “Five hour drive.”

We go on and on and on.

There eight hours later.

 

Mosquitos abound.

They stalk me and consume me.

My flesh, bug manna.

 

Lost in the forest,

Children say, “I can’t go on!”

First family bike ride.

 

Please go to bed now.

There’s no time to brush your teeth.

Smores are good for smiles.

 

Day Two: Must shower.

What? I forgot underwear?

Heaven help me.  (Sob.)

 

I say “stop!” a lot.

My voice echoes through the air.

Children don’t listen.

 

Old people like quiet.

They go to camp in nature.

Then my kids arrive.

 

Oh, Summer Solstice,

Sunny day is long and bright.

Children wake at five.

 

Scripture reading time.

Sorry, Mom’s gasp interrupts.

Her foot has a tick.

 

Four days, four state parks.

Dirt roads and pop-up trailer.

All hail DVDs.

 

Laughing, playing days.

Little children get so tired.

It is all worth it.

 

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So how was your weekend?

 

I think it’s time to ressurrect the Diapers and Divinity Poetry Contest.  Write a Haiku* or two about summer vacation with children.  All entries must be in by Saturday night, and on Monday, I’ll put up a poll so you can vote for your favorite.  The winner will get a summer spot on my sidebar  (It’s a great honor, trust me.) and I’ll send you some kind of summer treat…. to be determined.  This is an easy one; haiku doesn’t even have to rhyme. 🙂  Hit me with your best shot.  Leave your entry/entries in the comments for this post.

 

*Haiku is a Japanese form of poetry, short and simple.  The Americanized version is only three lines long:  1st line is 5 syllables, 2nd line is 7 syllables, and 3rd line is 5 syllables.  No need to rhyme.  For amazing examples of how this works, scroll up and see the masterpieces above.  Each little stanza is one complete haiku.

 

(I’m sorry I missed posting for the GCBC this weekend.  We just rolled into town tonight and I’ll try to get up this week’s article very soon along with my comments on last week’s.  Thanks for your patience.)

General Conference Book Club Week 11: Elder Nelson

nelsonElder Russell M. Nelson, of the Quorum of the Twelve apostles, explained, “Our prayers follow patterns and teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. He taught us how to pray.”    This week, we will study his recent General Conference talk, “Lessons from the Lord’s Prayers.”  As always, I love to read your thoughts and comments.  (Mostly your comments, since I can’t actually read your thoughts.)

If this is your first visit to the General Conference Book Club, click here to learn more about it. You’re welcome to join us at any point along the way.

>>Click here to read the talk “Lessons from the Lord’s Prayers” by Elder Russell M. Nelson <<

A few good men

ensign dadsThis blog is intended to celebrate (and laugh at) motherhood, and it’s true that we are all amazing (feel free to replace that with whatever other narcissistic adjective makes you feel good), but I’ve felt inspired to give dads their moment in the spotlight today.

Whenever the general conference issue of the Ensign is published, I love to flip through the pages and look at the pictures.  I don’t know why really, they’ve never seemed extraordinarily inspiring– maybe I’m self-absorbed enough to believe that I’ll actually know some of the people in those photos and be kind of famous by association.  Anyway, the picture above caught my eye.   I looked at it for a minute or so, and it actually brought tears to my eyes.  I’m not a very weepy person, really, but something about it was so endearing to me.  I felt so proud of them (strangers–they all live in Ukraine, so I didn’t date any of them or anything) because they stood there under that picture of the Savior holding little children and just being dads in every right sense of the word.  And in a very Grinch-like way, my heart grew a few sizes in honor of the good fathers out there who are being what God intended them to be.

My husband I were laughing the other night about a music mix I had in college called the Love is False and Men Suck Mix.  I probably don’t have to go into great detail about what kind of mood I was in when I would listen to it, but my dating years taught me that many men were irresponsible, selfish, and pretty undisciplined.  (I’m generalizing… there were also a few nice boys that just happened to be too dumb to fall completely in love with me.)  Even now, with a husband who is a righteous and honorable man, I sometimes find myself losing faith in mankind in general.  I make the mistake of reading the news or watching TV and I start thinking about what a bunch of decadent pigs they are.

I spent time this summer with a dear friend from my college years (and actually a co-creator of that Love is False mix) and we discussed this topic among many other long-lost girlfriend kinds of topics.  She said something to me that changed my attitude.  I’ll paraphrase.  “You know, I think that’s all part of Satan’s plan.  He wants us to look at men like walking [male anatomy].  That destroys the possibility of having meaningful relationships and loving families.  Think of all the shows on TV…. how many of them have male characters that are kind, caring, compassionate or anything resembling righteous?  Just like Satan wants men to see all women in the wrong way, he also wants us women to see men as something less than they were meant to be.”  Okay, I really paraphrased a lot, but that was her basic point and it chastened me.  She was so right.  I’d been suckered into believing a little bit of what Satan wanted me to believe.  And since then, I’ve tried harder to appreciate the divine role of men and give them more credit for the good, even great things they do.

So to the three Ukranian fathers and all the good dads out there who do this:

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and this:

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and this:

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and this:

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and this:

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Thank You!  You make it easy for our hearts to love you and for our children to respect you. God Bless all the good men that are still doing the right things for the right reasons.

“How much more beautiful would be the world and the society in which we live if every father looked upon his children as the most precious of his assets, if he led them by the power of his example in kindness and love, and if in times of stress he blessed them by the authority of the holy priesthood; and if every mother regarded her children as the jewels of her life, as gifts from the God of heaven, who is their Eternal Father, and brought them up with true affection in the wisdom and admonition of the Lord.” — Gordon B. Hinckley

Happy Father’s Day.

(This post was originally published on November 10, 2008.  I posted it again to recreate my lost archives, and in honor of Father’s Day and Matt’s birthday this weekend.  I love you, Matt.)