Today we all get to meet Laura. She’s a new acquaintance to me from the lovely world of blogging. I always liked her profile picture when it showed up in the comments because she just has the look of a genuinely nice person. Now that I read more about her, I can see that’s true. We also both served a mission, waited a while before marriage, have 3 children, and are pushing the end of our 30s, so it was fun to find those similarities. Meet Laura:
Hi! My name is Laura. I’m so excited to be over here at Diapers and Divinity today. I sometimes forget that I’m not in my 20’s anymore, but I’m actually almost 40. I was born in Michigan, which is also where my family joined the LDS Church when I was still pretty young. I grew up most of my life in the Midwest, the land of green lawns and wet air (gotta love humidity). I served a mission in Australia (Sydney North Mission) from ’93-’94, where I learned to adore real, tree-ripened mangoes and unusual foods from all over the world. After graduating from BYU with my MA degree but no hubby, I headed out to Massachusetts for work. I met Doc through a mutual friend in Iowa (which is a whole ‘nother story I plan to blog about on our anniversary). After a lengthy long-distance courtship of …. (cough, cough) … a few months, we got engaged (double cough, cough) over the phone and were married less than a year after we met.
My fam consists of first and foremost my hubby, Doc, a (self-described) nerdy scientist and professor – and someone who also still makes my heart flutter after 10 years of marriage. He is an amazing father and the best cheerleader I could have for all of my life’s adventure. Our three kiddlets are referred to on my blog as (from oldest to youngest) Buddy, Goldie and Eyes (they chose their own names). Buddy is Doc’s name for our only boy. Although he looks a lot like me, he is actually a mini-Doc, single-mindedly curious about anything science and math. He is also a voracious reader, which delights me to no end. Goldie chose her name because of her hair – very long, blonde, thick and wavy. She is a wonderful mixture of a strong will and a soft heart. She has just begun 1st grade, and is our social butterfly. Eyes is our youngest. She is playful and silly, creating an imaginary world of lively playmates with any object at hand from a fork to a piece of paper. She also draws people to her with her welcoming smile, gorgeous red hair and huge blue eyes (hence, her online name).
What’s your favorite part of motherhood?
This might sound crazy but my favorite part of motherhood are those middle-of-the-night times when my children are sick and they need only me. Of course, I don’t want them to be sick but there is something incredible about being the one who is able to calm my sweet child with a touch.
What part of motherhood would you subcontract out if you could?
I really don’t love housekeeping and organization – I feel like I can never check any of those things off my list as being really completed. BUT, with that said, I do like the feeling of having a clean, tidy, ordered home. But, yeah, if I could – I just wish I could subcontract the whole lot out.
What are you loving lately?
I’ve been working on a 40 by 40 list – 40 things I want to do or places I want to go or things I want to buy before I turn 40 next year. I created the list after my mom passed away in January – basically because I wanted to stop being scared/hesitant to try new things. So I’ve tried to choose items that either scare the dickens out of me (like singing in Church – CHECK!) or that I would otherwise just feel frivolous marking off without an extra push (like a stove with a double oven even though our stove works perfectly fine). What I’ve really enjoyed about this list is that it has pushed me out of my comfort zone. For example, I have wanted take piano lessons for YEARS, but now I have a pressing reason.
Do you have a favorite scripture or quote? Why?
“Therefore, dearly beloved brethren, let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power; and then may we stand still, with the utmost assurance, to see the salvation of God, and for his arm to be revealed.” (D&C123:17, emphasis mine)
While I’m sure I had read this scripture before, I was first really “shown” this scripture by an incredible single professor/mentor at BYU, Sister Mary Lee Scott (now Call). I actually don’t think I ever had a class from her. Instead, I think I mustered up the courage one day to ask her for some advice. She graciously welcomed me into her office and into her life, showing me an incredible example of a faithful woman who created a fulfilling life for herself while she waited patiently on the Lord for His plan to be fulfilled. When she first shared this scripture with me, she looked into my eyes and recited it from memory. I felt the Lord promise me that, like Mary Lee, I should also CHEERFULLY do what I could and then I could just stand still and wait for Him to show me His plan for me
Tell us some of your best mom-tricks (things you’ve figured out that work well for you).
Buddy would eat anything we put in front of him, so we were a bit surprised when Goldie became a toddler and we found out how picky a child could be. For several months, we were just not sure how to handle her pickiness – I couldn’t bear to make something different for her, throw food away she didn’t want OR make her sit in her chair until she cleaned her plate. The idea we came up with has worked beautifully for us because we NEVER argue with any of the kids about food. If they don’t want to eat something (or if they get full before they finish what’s on their plate), they just put the plate in the fridge. They know that they can eat the leftovers (I’ll warm it up) whenever they’re hungry – but they can’t get anything else to eat until they finish their previous meal. Our kids eat don’t like everything I make, but I think they feel a great deal of power being able to choose when they want to tackle an undesirable food.
What’s something you don’t usually want people to know about you, but that they need to know if they’re going to be your friend?
I’m not terribly organized – I want to be (or perhaps I want to want to be?), but alas I’m not. Now that we’re friends, can I trust you not to tell other people about this secret?
Friends are great for venting. What’s been frustrating you lately?
The whining and fighting amongst my kidlets. I started using warm fuzzy jars, and that really encouraged the kidlets to find ways to be kind to each other. But, with school starting a couple of weeks ago, everybody (including me) is just tired. So emotions have been high again. Do any of you have any strategies you’d like to share?
What parts of your testimony are you the most sure of?
I know that the path that the Gospel lays out is the easiest way (even if it appears hard in the moment) and the surest way to find happiness. I have seen how the Gospel can lift broken hearts during even the most difficult trials and heal bent spirits burdened by sin and guilt. Unfortunately, I have also seen the unhappiness and confusion in the lives of some of my loved ones who have rejected the sure path.
What homemaking job/task gives you the most satisfaction?
I really enjoy cooking – and I think I do it pretty well. I don’t use recipes very often when I cook – I will usually look at a few to get an idea where I want to go with something, and then just wing it from there. Lately, I’ve begun to bake which has been much more intimidating for me because I still want to adapt recipes but I don’t know the underlying principles enough to wing it as well.
Give your best advice to a newlywed or expectant mom.
Before I was married, I had frequently heard the rule “Don’t go to bed angry.” However, sometimes emotions are high simply because it’s late and one (or both) of us is tired (or hungry – when Doc and I were both working, we tried to avoid serious discussions before dinner). So I’ve found that it’s usually better to put a serious or emotional discussion on hold until both parties are fed and rested. On a related note, always take time during the companionship prayer at night to pray for the other – especially when you have been discussing a difficult issue. There is something so tender about hearing my sweet husband pray for my needs and express gratitude for me – and those type of prayers help smooth out the disagreements.
What’s something unexpected in your life, and how have you dealt with it?
I always had my life pretty planned out when I was younger, so it was entirely unexpected how unplanned life ended up. I had an incredible Gospel Doctrine teacher who helped me dive into the scriptures in a way I hadn’t before. I began to seek out examples of individuals who were asked to wait on the Lord: Old Testament women like Sarah, Rachel, Rebecca, and even Leah; New Testament men and women like Elizabeth and Simeon; or Book of Mormon men and women like Lehi and Sariah, Abish, the mothers of the Stripling Warriors, and Nephi. I saw how often the Lord strengthens those who remain faithful while they are waiting. I learned that the Lord commands us to find joy – and not simply endure – when we face the unexpected.
If your life had a theme song, what would it be and why?
Itsy-Bitsy, Teeny-Weeny, Yellow Polka Dot Bikini – HA! Just kidding! Boy! This is a tough question – the first song that popped into my head is “Singing in the Rain”, which actually isn’t a bad choice. Not that this song necessarily describes who I am right now, but rather who I’m working to be like. I want to be the type of person who can find joy in my journey, even if I am in the midst of a particularly grueling portion. Plus, I just showed the movie to my kids for the first time and they loved it (yeah!).
If you could make a pie chart (graph) of your thoughts during the last week or so, what would take up most of the space?
Preparing for a new calling I’ve been given that I am a little nervous about. I’ve been amazed as I’ve been thinking and praying about it that the Lord has actually been preparing me for it for the last couple of years.
Tell us about your blog.
I blog over at Living a Big Story. I actually wrote a post here about why I started my blog. But, to put it in a nutshell, I began the blog a couple of months after my mom died.
Doesn’t she look so sweet in this picture? And she truly was. But one not-so-wonderful characteristic that I inherited from my mom was worrying. We both worry. A LOT! After her death, I thought a lot about what it meant to challenge my fears and move outside of what feels comfortable to me. So I began a blog that I hoped would encourage myself, and any who read it, to live what I call a big story. In so doing, I hope we can realize that we can all be more but we are still already enough.
Thank you so much, Laura. It’s been great to “meet” you. Say hello to Laura in the comments below or jump over to her blog to visit her there.