Parental Preference

Natalie is a daddy’s girl. One night while I was tucking her into bed, she told me, “I like daddy better than you.” “Why?” I asked. She responded matter-of-factly, “Because daddy smells like truck, and I like the smell of truck.”

Alrighty then.

The other day (after reading one of those horrible news stories) I breached the subject of child molesters while she and I were driving in the car together. Basically, it was a 3-year-old-level discussion about appropriateness and safety, etc. When I told her that she could always come talk to me and daddy about anything, she rolled her eyes and looked up at the ceiling.

“Is this embarrassing to talk about?” She shook her head no. “Is it silly?” She sighed and said, “No, but I’m going to talk about it to daddy instead because I like him better than you.”

Oh, right. I reassured her she could talk to either one of us about anything and if she wanted to talk to her daddy about it, that was fine.

This weekend I’m taking a little girlfriend-type getaway. I’m going to meet up with a few bloggy friends and do important stuff like talk and eat food. I’m really looking forward to it. Every time I mention it to Natalie, she gets all pouty and doesn’t want me to go.

This morning, I reminded her I’m leaving soon and she made the most disapproving face she could. I said, “You’ll be fine. You like daddy better anyway, remember?” She softened a little and said, “But you’re the best cooker in the whole world.”

Take that, Matt. You may smell like truck, but I can make a mean chocolate chip cookie.

Why I might let Clark teach FHE every week

Occasionally I get into a funk where I know exactly what I should be doing in my life, but I feel a little bit too lazy to do it. I try hard to have realistic expectations for myself, so I’m not referring to to-do lists. I’m talking about the basics: Reading my scriptures, praying, serving my family with the right kind of attitude and fulfilling my role as the kind of mother I know the Lord wants me to be. Some days I feel worn down– and just lazy, I guess– and I rationalize that I need a break. I only feel like doing stuff I want to do, not the stuff I should do (which is obviously self-defeating because I’m denying myself the very blessings I need to get back on track).

Clark is 6. Last night he taught our family home evening lesson about service.  He bore his testimony at the end of his lesson:

“So if you know you should do service, but you really don’t want to because you just don’t feel like doing service even if someone tells you to, you still have to do it. Because service equals love.”

And that’s when the Holy Ghost reminded me of a lesson I learned earlier this year: When I struggle, I need to pray to love what the Lord loves. When I see the love, I see the joy.

We discussed the service we do for each other in our family, and Clark said that “if Mom was gone from our family, that would be horrible.  I would starve to death.”  He told us all to draw a picture of service and then we showed them to each other.  This is what my husband drew:

He said (pointing to the right side), “This is mommy putting socks in the washing machine,” and (then pointing to the left) “This is Jesus washing the feet of his disciples.”  The kids all giggled at his artwork, but I understood what he meant, and I love him for it.

“Follow me, and do the things which ye have seen me do.” (3 Nephi 31:12)

“Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” (Matthew 25:40)

So, Clark pretty much got it right, didn’t he?  Service equals love.

Picture perfect

We have our winners.  Thanks for all your participation and voting.  Even with 13 entries, these 4 photos garnered more than 50% of the total vote.  The following photos were elected as the best representation of this quote by Elder M. Russell Ballard:

“Recognize that the joy of motherhood comes in moments. There will be hard times and frustrating times. But amid the challenges, there are shining moments of joy and satisfaction.”

3rd place, Helen, with 12% of the total vote:

Helen said:  “It’s my mum and my sister just after my sister went through the temple before her mission.  She is now serving a nursing mission in Panama.” I have a soft spot in my heart for women who serve missions (especially Spanish-speaking ones) and moms who help them get there.  I admit it, standing with my children on the steps of the temple will be a moment of ultimate satisfaction.

Tied for 2nd place, with 14% of the total vote each,

Liana:

Liana said about this photo: “The picture doesn’t do the mess justice, but you get the general idea, and yes, those are packing peanuts.” Personally, my favorite part about this photo is the printed quote in the quarter.  It’s evidence of a mom trying to do good and play many roles, only to be thwarted by her children.  Oh, how I get it.

Charlotte:

Charlotte explained that this photo respresented “satisfaction and joy moments” to her.  I couldn’t agree more.  When we see our children showing love and tenderness, especially to each other, we can’t help but think we must be doing something right.

The 1st place winner, with 20% of the votes,

Velda:

When Velda submitted her photo, she said, This one’s my favorite.” Well, it’s obviously our favorite too, Velda.  It embodies both the joy and exhaustion of motherhood in one beautiful image.

Thank you to everyone who participated.  All 13 of the photos together were a beautiful testimony of the ups and downs of motherhood, with an underlying theme of joy.  Every single one received several votes and was meaningful to others.  I loved seeing them all and recognizing how much in common we mothers share– in our feelings, in our experiences, and in our mission.

If you’re a winner, please send me an email with your address and I’ll send you (or deliver if you’re close) a small prize.  You’re all welcome to steal that beautiful trophy at the top of this post and display it proudly on your own blog.  Let me know if you need help with some html code to do that, and I’ll try to figure it out.  Velda will have a place of honor on my sidebar for a season.

Happy Monday to all, and here’s to a week of joyful mothering.

GCBC Week 6: Reflections on a Consecrated Life

“Reflections on a Consecrated Life”
D. Todd Christofferson
Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

“To consecrate is to set apart or dedicate something as sacred, devoted to holy purposes. True success in this life comes in consecrating our lives—that is, our time and choices—to God’s purposes (see John 17:1, 4; D&C 19:19). In so doing, we permit Him to raise us to our highest destiny.”

What stands out to you as you study this talk?  Is there anything you learned here that you had not considered before?  What did the talk make you feel or want to do?

Please share your thoughts in the comments below. If this is your first time to General Conference Book Club, click here to learn more about it, and then join us.

It is quite vexatious.

I just finished reading Emma by Jane Austen.

Then I watched the really old 6-part miniseries of Emma (because it’s an instant download on Netflix).

And whenever I finish reading anything by Jane Austen, no matter how many times I’ve read it, my brain starts thinking in old English.  And, upon my word, it is quite tiresome. I half expect a servant to announce my arrival as I go from room to room.

You may recall that I’m an adoring Austen fan.  I can’t really discern why, as I’m not extremely formal nor romantic; nevertheless, I can return to her books and the adaptions of them over and over again and never find them tedious.  Sorry, I just can’t get the tainted language out.  I shall exert myself.  🙂

Anyway, Emma has never been my favorite Austen heroine.  Like Mr. Knightley does on occasion, I find her indulged and careless.  But this time around, I saw a lot of myself in Emma, and that surprised me.  For the first time, I realized some parallels between her love story and my own, especially how she tried to help a friend to make a match and was surprised to find out that his affections were directed toward herself.  (Of course, in her case, it led to shock and disgust.  In my case it led to shock and then marriage.)  Also, like Emma, I like to laugh, and sometimes I find myself in an annoying situation (for those familiar with the novel, think about the outing on Box Hill), and I use my own humor or wit to make it tolerable.  Once at a boring and tiny-bit contentious PTO meeting, I cracked a few jokes to “lighten things up” a little, and like Emma did with Miss Bates, ended up offending someone unintentionally.  So, when I saw the comparison, I too felt personally rebuked by Mr. Knightley when he expressed his disappointment in her– “Badly done, Emma.  Badly done.” — and I felt her shame as she rode home in the carriage in tears.  I’m still not sure what to make of the fact that I’m more like a character I’ve never really liked than I thought I was.

I like to think that the Austen heroine I’m most like is Elinor from Sense and Sensibility.  In many ways, I relate to her the most.  She is the oldest child, the responsible one.  She is practical and realistic, but has deep feelings.  She is clever and consoling and gives good advice.  I like Elinor.  I love Lizzie from Pride and Prejudice, too, especially for her wit and spunk.  One thing I like about both of them is that they do not have a brooding nature; they forge on with what must be done even when they are suffering or confused.  My favorite heroine is Anne Elliott from Persuasion.  I don’t think I am like her, because she is too kind and patient, but she is the character I most admire.

How about you?  I know there are some more Austen fans out there.  Who is your favorite heroine and why?  And which one do you think you are the most like?  We’ll have to save the discussion of favorite male characters for another day.  Good heavens, that deserves a discussion of its own.

_______________

Remember to vote for your favorite motherhood photo.  The poll and link to the photos is on the sidebar on the upper right.