Saw this today on the Mormon Channel. Like it. This is one thing I love about being a parent: it is an experiment. You are free to try what you think will be fun, successful, and memorable. You get to create! Like a well-designed experiment, though, I’m…
Month: September 2015
I emailed this photo to Elder Livingston of Julia’s homecoming date night, and he responded in a darling big brother way: “Man, if I hear that some kid was mean to my sister, or rude on a date, I will be coming to call on him in…
I walked in from church today to see my dining room table covered with the disarrayed papers, binders, and whatnot. It reflected another week when I just didn’t have (or take?) the time to sit down and catch up on paperwork.
Why are these piles so challenging for me? Partly because my top priority isn’t dealing with papers, so I let them go until they are a necessity. Secondly, because I don’t LIKE paperwork, and third, because I’m a detail-oriented person. Mostly they bother me because I believe they reflect poorly on what I am accomplishing. I am often “careful and troubled about many things.” I want my life to be in order, and I want my home to reflect that. I want to handle each item carefully. I am afraid to throw away a bill or insurance notice or school flyer that I’m supposed to do something with, because I don’t want to cause problems for anyone or for myself. And I don’t like to slop something together–it goes against my nature. So it’s hard for me to just rush through something and get it done. I’m methodical.
I think I have some new insight on piles today from the time I spent at church: it mattereth not (1 Nephi 6:3; Jacob 5:8; Jacob 5:13; Alma 40:8; Alma 58:37; Alma 61:9; Ether 15:34; D&C 80:3; et al.). Where are my priorities? Am I doing each day the things that matter most? Am I focused on Christ? Am I clothing the naked? Feeding the hungry? I sure did a lot of laundry and made a lot of meals this last week: check! Did I lift the hands that hang down? Strengthen any feeble knees? I arranged my day to go see two of my daughters perform on stage and on the cross country course. I know they were both thankful I was there: check! Did I speak kind words to those who needed them? I had a sick child and a tired husband, and I tried to encourage both of them: check! There was a lot I didn’t do perfectly, but there was a lot of good I did do instead of sitting down and working on paperwork. This is what God wants me to do. Paperwork has a place, but it’s not always the first, most important place. Being there with a child or a spouse often matters more.
This is from my church notes. This image is such a powerful one to me: the bumps in the path of life are representing the trials and challenges we face. Sometimes that’s all we can see! But if we lift our eyes to the Savior, we can get the longer view that helps us overcome our trials and keep perspective. That’s the gift I got from going to church today: the comforting reminder that when I focus on doing what really matters in the long run–coming to Christ, service and kindness–that the rest will work out. Piles will get cleaned up. And I will have the satisfaction of having done what is most rewarding.
(“Christ with Mary and Martha” by Minerva Teichert. This image from ldsart.com.)
This is what I love about the story of the Mary and Martha. Christ reminded Martha that focusing on ONE thing– one person–Christ!–would help her know what was most needed in a moment. Mary knew that in that moment, she wanted to visit with and learn from the Lord. It didn’t mean that they wouldn’t be hungry at the end or that dinner didn’t need to be made or that what Martha wasn’t doing wasn’t valuable; it just meant that Mary was hungry spiritually, and she knew that need could be filled right then when Christ was there. I think that if I keep my eye on the Savior and try to seize the opportunities to get to know him, serve others as he would, and treat others as he would, when they present themselves in my day, that in the end, the other stuff that doesn’t really matter after all will get taken care of.
I am reminded of this quote from President Benson that I love: “When we put God first, all other things fall into their proper place or drop out of our lives.” (“The Great Commandment,” April 1988).
So today, I’m going to stick the papers in a pile and not worry about them, but spend some time on the things that matter more: getting to know the Lord, counseling with my family, enjoying them, planning how to serve this week. I’ll trust that pile to the Lord to help me get done what is important during the week. Just for today, I’ll focus on the Lord.
I’m so grateful for fasting, for church, for the sacrament, for wonderful talks and lessons prepared lovingly and sincerely and the Holy Ghost strengthening me and helping me get that longer-view focus that I so very much need. What would I ever do without the Sabbath Day? Without ward members to strengthen me? Without priesthood ordinances like the sacrament that strengthen me for the coming week? Without inspired thoughts from the Holy Ghost that give me relief from my weekly worries.
It feels good to put the burden down….
It’s been raining this week (hooray!), and I couldn’t help but think about a book of poetry we have called Talking Like the Rain: A Read-to-me Book of Poems, selected by X.J. Kennedy and Dorothy M. Kennedy and illustrated by Jane Dyer. This beautiful book of…
This morning I ate some leftover black bean soup that Eliza made last night. She had finished her work early in a class at school, so she was browsing recipes online (they were using computers) and found a recipe for black bean sweet potato chili. She made it for dinner for us last night, and it was delicious! It sounded better than hot cereal this morning, so I enjoyed a bowl. (Sorry. I wish I had a food photographer. I really don’t care to become one right now, so thanks for bearing with my cell phone shots!)
Eating this chili made me think of Sunset magazine. Thinking of Sunset magazine reminded me of how I grew up where Sunset was published, and one time as a child I was asked to come in and do some art that was included in an article. I don’t have the article, but my mom saved the picture I colored and framed it. It hung in our home for years until we moved, and then at some point she gave it to me.
Thinking about that fun experience, (If You Give a Mouse a Cookie…), I remembered a photograph my mom had pasted into an art scrapbook that she made of some of my childhood art. I went to find that photograph and scrapbook. I found it:
Of course, I decided to go through the album. I was impressed with how blessed I was to have people around me who were so encouraging of my artistic efforts! My mom and dad, first of all, made a really big deal about my artwork. Looking back, my art is so like many children’s work that I see:
But my mom was super observant. She noticed what I drew, and she recorded her thoughts and my work together and made an entire scrapbook for me of them. She pointed out that I loved to draw families and particularly seemed occupied with mothers and fathers who had crowns on their heads. Considering the fact that I didn’t grow up bathed in a Disney princess-laden world, this has often made me wonder if I had some memories from our premortal existence–where we did live in the presence of our royal, Heavenly Father and Mother–that somehow simmered in my spirit. I don’t know, but it’s fun to see what I drew!
My mom always let me draw during sacrament meeting, so the back of the printed program naturally became my drawing pages. I love that my mom encouraged me to do this. I think it made me a better listener. I still love to take notes during church, since I retain information so much better by writing it down when I hear it.
My teacher, Mrs. Policci, was as amazing as my mom in encouraging the children in her kindergarten class. She wrote what we were drawing on our papers. She verbally encouraged and praised our work. She was happy, cheerful, creative, and fun to be around. I adored being in her class. She had us do such fun art projects. I still remember the full-sized body of ourselves we drew and painted. She hand wrote newsletters and quoted children. No wonder I wanted to make newsletters later in life! I had grown up believing my work could be published!
I noticed that the community also encouraged children’s art by borrowing it, hanging up in places like the library, and then returning it with a note of thanks! Someone went to a lot of trouble to help encourage children in their creative works. Wow!
I notice that my work wasn’t anything crazy astonishing. I think that’s really important. Hanging EVERY child’s work sends a wonderful true message: YOU MATTER! YOU ARE CREATIVE! WE LOVE YOU!
My teacher even told me once that if I had done a picture in oils, someone would pay money for it and hang it in their home. Would they have? I don’t know. But she nurtured a seed of belief in me that my parents had planted there. My mom and dad made a big deal about my art, and I loved creating through art and making people feel happy. I began to believe that I was capable of creating something good.
Now I have my children’s artistic works on the walls of our home, too. Perhaps none of my children will actually create art for a living. Perhaps they will only draw blackline drawings on the back of sacrament programs for their children to color in with crayons as they learn to be reverent. Or perhaps they will sketch something funny on a homemade card to their spouse, child, or sibling. That’s great with me! I know that there is a longer goal in view when it comes to creating and encouraging children in art. Even more than the fine motor skill development or art appreciation or brain development that happen when a child creates art, it’s the messages we send that are so important. YOU MATTER. YOU ARE CREATIVE. YOU CAN MAKE SOMETHING WORTHWHILE. WE LOVE YOU!
I am excited to get to help with art at our children’s school this year as well as music. Children matter. They grow up to be adults who nurture other children, who make a difference in their homes, communities, nations, and world. THANK YOU to my family, teachers, leaders, and community members who nurtured me to believe that I am creative and can create something worth sharing.
Saturday night, Anna’s elbow/arm was really hurting. She couldn’t recall doing anything to it, nor could anyone else. I had taken her shopping for some fabric for her sewing class, and she didn’t have any interest in anything by the time we got there but…
Yesterday I was drinking some cranberry juice (Straight! UNSWEETENED! Yowza! Talk about TART!), and I thought about cranberry, which reminded me of one of our family’s favorite books, My Father’s Dragon. If I could, I would recommend this book to every family with a young boy who…