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Yesterday I received a very kind gift from my dad and his wife called You Are Loved by Kyle Sydney Powell. The book is a treasure trove of photographs that the author took during a difficult time. To help during this time of her life, she took one photo a day of hearts she saw naturally occurring in the world around her or hearts that she created with objects in her everyday life. She would text or email the photo with the message “You are loved” to the recipient. ❤️ What a loving gift she gave, and what a loving gift I received!

See a Heart, Share a Heart

You Are Loved reminds me of a book that we got in February 2013: See a Heart, Share a Heart by Eric Telchin. Ever since I read this book in her school class, Anna and I have kept our eyes out for hearts–like this last pancake bite.

February is a month when we see a lot of hearts and we think a LOT about love. 💗 Don’t you love that? 😉

Romantic love

There are many beautiful books about love that I put out early in the month before Valentine’s Day. Because love is a choice–meaning that it is something we choose to do–it’s important to help children understand that we express pure love in many ways. Romantic love is more like the result of pure love that we show to our spouse. Romantic love results from and endures because of the God-given physical attraction that occurs between a man and a woman when combined with the action of love: kindness, patience, longsuffering, gentleness, service.

Tell and show

It’s always important to tell and show our children that you don’t really love someone if you don’t do the actions of love. You can’t really love someone if you don’t treat them lovingly.  No one is perfect in how they treat others (except the Savior), so we also teach that part of loving means that when you make a mistake, you say sorry, and you mean it.

Books can help us teach children that lesson. One book we love so well about romantic love, fidelity and real life is Fanny’s Dream. (Check out my romantic book recommendations to see other titles.) I didn’t buy more romantic books this month, but my husband and I have really been enjoying reading Mrs. Mike aloud together.

Abuse and Porn: NOT love

Parents, of course, don’t feel romantic love towards their children. That is wrong. That is when a parent needs help! We need to help our children be educated about sexual abuse and pornography, how it is absolutely wrong in EVERY situation. Abuse in any form and pornography is always wrong no matter how old we are! We can protect our children by teaching them that their bodies are sacred and wonderful and private. We can help them be safe by keeping them safe and never abusing them. Here are two books I read and wanted to share this month that can help us do this:

God made all of you

This book shares an imaginary conversation between a mother and her son when she is teaching him about what pornography is, why it is addictive, and what to do about seeing it. I love how it teaches the actual anatomy/neuroscience behind pornography addiction in a way simple enough that even a child can understand. I think it is effective in helping parents and children understand why pornography is so dangerous. With pornography distribution (in every form) increasing daily, this is just a critical conversation to have with our children–and not just once.  We want our children to be protected from any kind of addiction, particularly one that is as or more addictive than heroin or cocaine and so harmful to their future relationships.

My feelings about this book are mixed. It is a good book. I have had many conversations with my children growing up about the sanctity of their bodies and how no one is allowed to touch them without their permission, etc. Still, I think as a parent you would want to read this book first to see if it works with your personality. It is a good resource if it does! The book uses anatomically correct terms, which I believe is wise. And that is my personality: I always felt I should teach my children about their bodies (and everything else they wanted to know about) to the extent of their understanding and maturity, and not use nicknames (aside from the general use of “bum,” “bottom,” or “rear end”). I love the spirit of love and goodness that I feel in this book, of parents wanting to teach and protect their children. Children need to feel that! And they will feel it if we teach them carefully and appropriately.

Too many children suffer from sexual abuse. It behooves us as nurturers to help any child that we know is being abused to get help and facilitate healing.

Learning to Say I’m Sorry

But sometimes as parents we act in ways that we shouldn’t: we speak unkindly, we are insensitive, we make a poor judgment call–aren’t there a thousand mistakes we make? This isn’t necessarily abuse–but if we are abusive, we would absolutely need to say sorry! A hundred times!

It’s OK to make mistakes, but it’s not ok to pretend that we don’t make mistakes, and it’s not OK to not apologize immediately–or as soon as possible–for them. To never admit them and to never try to make retribution is not OK.

This little board book, a gift years ago from my dear friend Kelly, was terrific for helping teach the importance of saying sorry as well as the rest of the process of repentance. Of course, the best way to teach repentance is through example: apologizing frequently for any unkindness, no matter how small, and then trying not to repeat that.

Hold hands, not a grudge

I love this whimsical story (The Grudge Keeper by Mara Rockliff) that explains the futility of holding a grudge. And Eliza Wheeler illustrates how much more joyful forgiveness can be. Isn’t forgiveness so crucial to loving others?

Safe, gentle hands

Two of my favorite books (that we’ve had for years) that teach about loving touch, kindness and service are My Father’s Hands by Joanne Ryder and Magical Hands by Marjorie Barker. My favorite line from  My Father’s Hands is “I bend closer, knowing that nothing within my father’s hands will harm me.” Mark Graham’s gentle illustrations convey a wonderful feeling of pure love of father and daughter and nature that is beautiful and sweet.

Magical Hands

In Magical Hands, a group of four friends learn about the joy of kind acts when they secretly serve one another. You definitely get the feeling of love while reading the story and seeing Yoshi’s beautiful illustrations.

The love of a sister

There is one more book that I added to our collection this month that is about love: Big Sister and Little Sister by Charlotte Zolotow. (I love Charlotte Zolotow‘s other books that we have: Over and Over and The Quarreling Book.)  With lovely illustrations by Martha Alexander, Charlotte tells how a big sister and little sister can show love to each other and learn to take care of one another. I love books that illustrate people learning little truths and important life lesson, particularly in the easy and enjoyable style of Ms. Zolotow.

P.S. YOU are special!

In thinking of all the mishaps large and small that we endure in our experiences on earth, we recognize how important it is to teach a child to love themselves as a child of God. Two books that we have loved over the years that helps to do this are You Are Special by Max Lucado and Daughter of a King by Rachel Ann Nunes.

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Water your own lawn

Click on the image.

Julia interviewed me on Sunday for a paper that she was to write on the topic of what I have learned from being a parent.

(I know: what a question, right?)

It was fun and easy for me to answer that question. One principle I shared with her is about learning to love myself.

It was a weird idea

I use to think that loving yourself was a weird idea until one day when I was pondering the commandment to love my neighbor as myself. It occurred to me that I sometimes treated others better than I treated myself. I had huge expectations for myself that I didn’t have for a neighbor. I might be quick to forgive a child but not so quick to forgive myself. I had a blessing once from my husband that said that when I could forgive myself, it would be easier to forgive others.

I didn’t even realize that I wasn’t forgiving myself. Sometimes it takes an experience or an inspired comment to help open our eyes to things as they really are–to get to know ourselves as we really are.

Buying herself a Christmas gift

It isn’t that I haven’t been kind to myself over the years. I remember once when I was quite young that my friend told me her mom always bought herself a Christmas gift. I really thought that was hilarious! And wonderful! I don’t by myself Christmas gifts usually, but I do buy something for myself when I need it or want it, if I can. I have learned about taking care of myself. I have really learned that God loves me and wants me to be happy. I don’t need my husband to be a mind reader and magically guess everything I want. To his credit, he has learned the kinds of gifts I like and the kinds that I don’t. And he is still learning, just like I am still learning what he likes and doesn’t like. Even after 23 years! But if there is something that I am yearning for, I can take care of that myself. I can act instead of being acted upon. If I don’t have the means to obtain what I desire (that is a good desire), I just pray and ask. I have been surprised to have those prayers answered! Flowers, dinner help. I try to help others and help them feel loved, and when I need to know I am loved, Heavenly Father tells me and shows me in ways that I recognize are specifically to convey that message.

We don’t have to wait for someone else to make us happy!

Pray for strength to change circumstances

I heard this quote as I was listening to Section 2 of the Women’s Spouse and Family Support Meeting podcast today: (Note: My husband is not an addict; I just love to listen to these because they are inspiring, and they help me focus on the Savior and I hope grow my compassion for strengthening others in their suffering.)

“As you and I come to understand and employ the enabling power of the Atonement in our personal lives, we will pray and seek for strength to change our circumstances rather than praying for our circumstances to be changed. We will become agents who act rather than objects that are acted upon (see 2 Nephi 2:14)” (“The Atonement and the Journey of Mortality,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2012, 44).

One woman commented that she had learned we need to “water our own garden.” Amen! We are responsible for our own happiness, and that is the INCREDIBLE gift of agency and the atonement that I am learning about in my own life.

A light went on

I remember one day when I was depressed. I was sitting in my bed and reading the scriptures. I read 2 Nephi 2:27, and a light went on in my head. I felt to my core that there was something about agency that would allow me to be FREE. I felt that it was a real power that I could tap into to help me combat depression. It was a significant moment in my journey. I know that I have the power to create happiness in my own life, despite my circumstances.

Here is one more story I shared with Julia during Sunday’s interview that illustrates this creating happiness principle.

Waiting on remodeling

When Lane and I moved into our current home, I didn’t like the way a number of things looked. Not unusual, right? We had a choice: we could go into debt to remodel all at once, or we could wait and do a little at a time until we pay off our home. We chose to wait.

I decided that while I couldn’t change the things I didn’t like right away, I could afford to change little things about the decor. I could purchase a new kitchen towel each month, or some placemats, or sew fabric napkins. I picked a color for each month and began acquiring kitchen linens and table setting decor that would allow me to celebrate each month with our family. Over the months, year after year, we have placemats and fabric napkins and kitchen linens for every month of the year. It brings me great delight to change things out on the first of each month and to make dinner such a celebration for my family and those we invite to eat with us.

We did repaint the walls, and I did sew some curtains for the windows, but essentially, the kitchen is the same. But it doesn’t make me unhappy anymore. The kitchen is the heart of our home, and we create so many happy memories there. The decor is not a problem. And someday it will change.

When that happens, it will probably be a headache before it is a celebration, as remodels go that way. I am looking forward to it when it happens. Because we will be out of debt when we do, and THAT will be a great cause for celebration!

Choosing how to use my time

Another choice I have been grateful for is being able to choose how I use my time. I have created routines for myself to help me focus on goals I want to achieve, but I also get to choose to depart from those routines when I feel that something else needs to happen. For example, I have scheduled for myself to be housecleaning right now. That is important, but when I was cleaning my kitchen while listening to this podcast, I felt that sharing this idea was more important in the moment. So I paused to share my thoughts. I’m just about to get back to that laundry and kitchen. But choosing to write this post makes me happy!

Choose to be happy

We can choose to be happy. Satan wants us to fall into the snare of believing we can’t be happy today. But it’s a lie! We can choose to act instead of being acted upon by circumstances, even when they are hard ones, such as having family members who deal with addiction, like these incredible women on the podcast demonstrate. My little decor circumstance is nothing compared to that. But it has helped me better understand the principle of being happy in undesired circumstances.

I can water my own garden.

 

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Jesus wept

Photo from the ad in byu.magazine.edu. Click on the image to go to the ad. 

Life without emotions?

“Can you imagine life without emotions?”  An ad that I saw today on BYU Magazine (online) asked this question. “Emotions create texture and richness that illuminate our everyday lives and punctuate our mortal experience.”

The exhibit is at BYU in the Joseph F. Smith building and is called “Jesus Wept: Emotions in the Scriptures.” The ad explains that the exhibit teaches “about the wide range of emotions found in the scriptures, universal emotions across time and cultures, and emotional coping tools. Enjoy several interactive displays, too.”

I want to go! The exhibit runs through November of 2018.

Jesus wept

Jesus wept, and sometimes we do, too. Holidays such as Christmas or Valentine’s Day–when there may be unmet expectations or disappointments–can stir up negative emotions. How do we handle those moments?

I’m grateful to know that we can draw upon the atonement of Christ, not only to ask for comfort when someone disappoints or hurts us, but also to forgive and to feel understood. So prayer has been one way that I have tried to learn to manage intense negative emotions. But I also have felt grateful knowing that Christ knows every pain I could feel. He wept. He weeps. He knows what we are feeling.

Learning to manage intense negative emotions

Learning to manage emotions–particularly intense negative emotions–can be challenging! I appreciated an article I read today by Peggy Worthen, wife of BYU President Kevin Worthen (who, interestingly enough, used to home teach my mom before she moved. My mom said he was a good home teacher. Kudos to a university president who takes time to visit a widow in his neighborhood with his companion every month.)

Mrs. Worthen’s touching article discussed the power of a “soft answer” in helping her to deal with strong emotions. I was particularly impressed by the story she told of a student in a class she took who handled an angry outburst with complete calm and patience. He told the other student who burst in upon him, “I am sorry that I have upset you. What can I do to make this right?”

Wow. I love that.

Deciding to ignite or squelch the fuse

I also love her closing paragraph, which I am finding more and more is key to practicing patience and speaking good instead of ill to a family member who may not have acted their best:

“In every situation—even those that are packed with high emotion—we all have our agency to choose how to act. Someone observed that “between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space lies our freedom and power to choose our response” (unknown author quoted by Stephen R. Covey, Living the 7 Habits: Stories of Courage and Inspiration [New York: Simon and Schuster, 1999], p. 21). In other words, there is always an instant in which we decide whether we will put out the fire or ignite the fuse.”

My husband has taught me a lot about self-control in dealing with strong emotions. If I am super stressed out or upset, he listens. He wants to understand and help me calm down. Calming down allows me to then be open to feeling the Spirit. He doesn’t yell at me. He may have been frustrated with me at times, but he doesn’t get angry in a way that is out of control. He doesn’t use angry words or actions. He has never called me an unkind name. He expresses love and encouragement. I have watched him exercise great patience and at times long-suffering as we have worked through disagreements. I have learned so much from him. I am so grateful for that example. Over the years, it has taught me more about how to respond calmly and with control in situations that were difficult emotionally.

I am still learning.

Jenny and the Mop

I remember another person whose example in one moment taught me about handling frustrating situations. Over 10 years ago we had a nanny named Jenny who helped our family while I healed from illness. There was a child who spilled something on the floor–was it after she had just mopped it?–and instead of getting mad at that child, she turned it into something funny. I don’t remember what she sang, but she made up a little song on the spot and did a little dance with the mop, as I recall. We all laughed! And we all loved her more in that moment for the way she handled that tense moment. I awed at how she turned a frown into a smile. I love Jenny so much for so many things she taught me while she was helping us, but I will always be grateful for that wonderful moment when she modeled how you can respond to a challenge with humor.

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I have been doing some family history research on familysearch.org, simply to learn about my ancestors. Primarily I have been looking for the women of my family who left their homelands to come to America. So far, all I can say is I have HUGE respect for these women. Each one of them endured great hardship!

More about that later.

I learned that my great, great, grandfather had been interviewed by a writer for the Juvenile Instructor, a church magazine in Utah in October 1927. The resulting two-page article ended with a little quote, pictured above. He gave this advice when he was 89 years old and had over 235 children/grandchildren/etc.–195 living. You can see where my heritage of hard work came from! It has been faithfully passed down to my mother, who still exemplifies it for me.

As I have been listening to A Simple Path by Mother Teresa this past week, I have considered how much Catholics and Mormons have in common. It appears that back in 1927, Mormons and Catholics also shared many of the same opinion on some things as well, including beauty contests (see bottom right hand corner):

I love finding gems in old periodicals!

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Yesterday was Eliza’s Christmas Book Date with me and Lane. We had a wonderful day! (More about that later this week.)

We headed first to RootsTech 2017. (We went to the free part called “Family Discovery Day.”) As soon as we arrived, we walked into the cake contest display, which happened because of Buddy Valastro, a keynote speaker from the TV show Cake Boss. Along with a host of amazing cakes, this particular cake caught my eye:

This family tree cake for Valentine’s Day was phenomenal. And what I particularly loved was that it was made by a woman whose last name is Valentine! ❤️ How nice to have your own holiday! ❤️

We weren’t at the Family Discovery Day for long because we’d had some obligations in the morning and dinner and the ballet scheduled for the evening, but we were able to get one of the keynote speakers events and one and a half sessions in.

At one of the keynote speakers events, we listened to Sheri Dew, Via Sikahema and Reno Mahe share some very touching stories from their family history and from the past year. If that event is posted online, I would highly recommend it! I was touched at the sacrifices that Via’s family made (as in selling everything they owned) and Reno’s family (the same) to be able to travel from Tonga to Auckland, New Zealand, so that their families could be sealed for eternity in the New Zealand temple.

Eternal families are why we do family history work: We want to get to know our ancestors, to love them. We will see them again, and so wouldn’t it be great if we could begin to understand them before we meet them?

Families Can Be Together Forever

One of my favorite children’s songs is “Families Can Be Together Forever.” It used to make me sad a little as a child to sing it, because my family was divorced. But then I grew up and got married and have my own family. I have learned for myself that Christ can help work out troubled relationships, so I’m not so focused on my childhood family anymore. I know Christ has the power to help and heal. My job right now is to help my own family–my husband, my children–to love one another and serve one another and prepare for eternity together.

I was delighted to receive this song from my Finnish friend who is helping her children learn the children’s songs in her native tongue. What a perfect song to begin learning before Valentine’s Day!

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February is naturally the time for a good romance book, right? This classic, Mrs. Mike, tells the story of “the Boston girl who married a rugged Canadian mountie” (cover). I read it as a young woman, I believe pulling it from the shelf of a woman for whom I babysat (which I did often after her adorable and rambunctious children were finally in bed).

I loved the story then, and I having re-read not too many years ago, loved it again. I set it out on the bookshelf when I was putting out other February books on display at our house. I did not expect my 11-year old to pick it up and read it!

But what do you expect from a child who read the first 200 pages of War and Peace for her book report last month? “Anything is exciting after reading that!” she reported to me this week. LOL.

Based on two real stories

What I didn’t know about Mrs. Mike until today was that it was written by a husband and wife who, in the 1940’s] met “the real Kathy Flannigan, [now] widowed. They were drawn to her story about the restorative power of love because they felt it mirrored their own.

“Mr. Freedman had met and fallen in love with his wife, then Nancy Mars, in 1939. A young actress, she was suffering a serious relapse of childhood rheumatic fever. When Mr. Freedman asked for her hand, her father, a doctor, tried to dissuade him: his daughter was expected to live only a few months more.

“He married her anyway, in 1941. They were married until Mrs. Freedman’s death in 2010” (Margalit Fox, “Benedict Freedman, Author of ‘Mrs. Mike’, dies at 92.” NY Times, 8 March 2012).

Mrs. Mike is such a charming tale of this 16 year old girl who heads by 30-day train ride to Alberta, and then by 2-day horse ride in a cutter with coon skin coats and buffalo robes on, to his ranch. She was the only other white woman in the area for miles around.

What is it like to be in love?

When she meets Mike Flannigan, a Canadian mountie, she is taken back by his good looks but does not appreciate his sense of humor. It makes an impression on her, and later she asks the only other young woman around,

” ‘How do you have to feel about someone, to marry him? I mean, do you think about him all the time and try to remember how he looks and what he’s said…?’ I stopped. Mildred was looking at me in a strange way.

” ‘Are you in love?’ she asked.

” I felt my cheeks getting hot. ‘Of course I’m not in love. Why, I don’t even know what it feels like. That’s why I asked you.’

” ‘Well, you gave a pretty good description of it.’ “

Plenty of adventure

Lest you think this book is all love and gush, it’s not. Plenty of adventure and depictions of the raw realities of living in the west. Hunting, death, injury, swearing (some), Indians. You get a story of a man who froze to death within the first 13 pages. There is a reason it’s a classic and sold millions of copies. It’s chock full of good storytelling, delightful characters, and adventure to keep you turning the pages.

Not in the mood to read?

Here’s a favorite movie of ours that Lane and I watched (again) last weekend.

But be ready with the Kleenex. This is where the good cry comes in.

Again, the story is based on the life of a real person, Beatrix Potter. The movie is named after her: Miss Potter.

You wouldn’t expect a story about the author and illustrator of one of the world’s most famous farm animals to be so compelling, but it is.

I don’t think I should say any more. Don’t want to spoil it!

The scenery is GORGEOUS, of course. I’ve been to the Lake District. Can’t wait to go back someday!

And the casting is so well done. Love the acting. I give this movie two thumbs up! 👍🏻👍🏻

After watching the movie, Lane and I had to take a trip down memory lane… (no pun intended…):

Lane and I visited the Lake District when I was pregnant with Rebecca. His parents were serving a mission in England, and we got to visit some of his favorite childhood memory places, he having lived there for three years while his father served as a mission president. I am pretending to see one of Potter’s characters in the growth here to show our children when we got back.

We stayed in this wonderfully fun hotel where he and his family had stayed on vacation when they lived in England.

The floor was tilted in this hotel. Made me smile!

Getting away is always lovely! And Beatrix Potter’s and William Wordsworth’s homes are great destinations, especially when we got to enjoy the company of Lane’s parents!

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Run, pray, run

A rock in the shoe is worth two in the bush. Or better yet, it would have been more worthwhile if it had been in the bush! And not in my shoe. 😄

Either way, I was so grateful to get to run with my friend today. I’ve been under the weather and did not feel like I was going to be able to run 4 miles today, which is my goal for this week. Three runs, to 4 miles by the end of the week. Because she was there, so we ran AND TALKED! That was kind of huge for me. I felt very blessed to keep the pace and keep running. (She was nice and let me slow down as we neared the last mile). It was because of her delightful company, I’m sure! We did 4 miles in just under 40 minutes, which is my goal. I was surprised. Then she walked with me another .7 of a mile, because we had to finish our conversation.

You know how it goes.

And I have a little sunburn today because of running in the sunshine. Just a little color. Hooray! How fabulous to get to run in the sun and not be slipping on any snow!

Monday I ran at the gym. I wanted to run 3.1 miles at my 6.0 mph pace, and then run at least 3.5 miles toward my goal. I tell you, I was praying. I was praying because a cramp came on before I made it to mile 1. I didn’t want to stop, so I kept praying nearly out loud through mile 2. I just haven’t been feeling great the last week, and running was a struggle. But when I got to 2.88 miles, things started feeling good. And so I ran to 3.89 miles, sprinting the last 2 minutes at 7.0 mph. Then I did the 5 minute cool down. I like that part!

It felt like such a personal victory!

I feel thankful for prayer in everything I do, whether it’s asking for patience to deal with inconvenient health gliches or running through a cramp. I’m so grateful to know that Heavenly Father cares about all the little parts of my life and wants to help me with each one.

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Lift where you stand

This morning, as Eliza was making lunches (her daily job), and I was unloading the dishwasher and setting the dinner table, we listened to this wonderful podcast on how to teach the joys of service.

It reminded me of some thoughts I had while listening to A Simple Path yesterday. Early in the book, it mentions how women internationally look up to Mother Teresa as a leader and how there aren’t many women leaders like that today. I thought right away of many women leaders I look up to, including our general Relief Society presidents.

The Relief Society is the oldest (175 years next month!) and largest women’s organization in the world, and I belong to it. Our president oversees the service, education, and training of this international organization. Currently the president is Sister Linda K. Burton, a grandmother who radiates the light of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

In this interview, Sister Burton mentions how important it is to have a heart with the desire to serve, and then we can “lift where we stand“–we can serve wherever we are, no matter our circumstances. That is exactly what I was thinking yesterday as I listened to A Simple Path. Mother Teresa acted with love in the place where she was. She chose to be in one of the most impoverished corners of the world working among those whose burdens are greater than many of us will ever know. And she did so with love.

I was thinking how Mother Teresa simply followed the example of our Savior, Jesus Christ, and how each of us have the opportunity to do that exact thing every. single. day. We don’t have to leave family and move to another country to do it (although I look forward to that season in my life as well!). We serve when we get out of bed (feeling tired) and make breakfast. We serve when we help a child do laundry. We serve when we roll out of bed onto our knees and pray, asking for blessings on our spouse and praying for each child by name. We pray for the grandmother who is sick or lonely or the nephew who is struggling. We text a friend whose face comes to mind, just to say “I love you.” We let someone go ahead of us in line who only has a couple of items in their cart when ours is full to the brim. We make a doctor’s appointment for a child, or we listen to and discuss a child’s concern at night when everyone is tired. We take a garbage can out to the street for a neighbor whose family is out of town. We write a thank you note to someone who did something kind for us. We can return a smile to a person who is grumpily frowning at us. There are a thousand ways we can serve at home, at school, at work, when we are simply out and about.

When we crawl back into bed at the end of the day, we can smile, if we think back on our day and realize that we were the hands of God for helping others to feel His love.

Serving others gives me energy and makes my heart happy and brings answers to my prayers.

I have a lot of service I need to do today! I had better stop blogging and get at it.😉

 

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A Simple Path

I started listening to this book today, the selection of another book club that I have only gotten to go to once before in the past year. But I love simplicity, I love Mother Teresa, and I love the people in this book club. So I decided that I would give it a listen. It is less than 3 hours long, so that’s only a couple of days of housework! I think I can do it.

I already heard a great quote that I texted to some of my children today:

Good stuff, Maynard. I’m excited to hear more.

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You did all that!

As I begin writing about the amazing nurturers in my life, I really must tell more about my mom. She is truly remarkable.

A few weeks ago she had a fall caused by an unwieldy garbage container that she was trying to move outside before a snowstorm was coming. Through the entire process she was cracking jokes and smiling, because she is that way. When life gives her lemons, she makes lemonade.

After her fall, she got sick with a terrible cough and sinus infection. She came to spend some time with us, and we celebrated Nate’s birthday. For his birthday, I had pulled out my journal to find some fun things to share from his childhood. I found this part about how my mom had helped me when I was a young mom. This journal entry took place around the time frame of the photo taken above:

21 July 2000

I am getting sicker by the day–sore throat and ears–but I need some good rest. Perhaps tonight?

Mom is just amazing. I needed to go to the grocery store, but couldn’t with my “spotted” children, so she came to babysit. While she was there she got Julia to sleep, laundry folded, dishes loaded into dishwasher, another load of laundry washed and into the drier, and a third load ready in the washer to start. Sarah and Nathan were playing some game of pretend with her where they went on a plane ride and then went outside to explore the jungle AND climb the Great Wall of China. She also brought over apricots, freshly baked apricot bread, and the pumpkin pie. She left by helping to empty my trash and carrying recycling magazines to my car, giving me a hug and telling me what a great mom I am and what well-behaved children I have! Holy Cow! What a great mom she is.

After I read this aloud, she exclaimed incredulously, “I did all that?!?”

Yes, she did.

And so much more.

I love you, Mom. Thank you for your constant example of love, service, faithfulness, and unselfishness. You are magnificent. (And I have so much more good stuff to write about you! 💕)

More posts about my mother:

Mom’s crescent rolls

My mother drank water

On being a music lesson mom in December

A few songs I’ve written (which will hopefully be followed up by a post on the songs she has written, which are far better than mine!)

I heard the UPS guy singing your birthday song

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