Sarah is getting married in a week! I put up books on the bookshelves that are some of our favorites (and some of her favorites, noted with an asterisk*) that relate to love and marriage as well as some of our international Cinderella story collection. …
Anna and Eliza started making an opera cake* yesterday and finished it today. They wanted to have a tea party, Regency Era-style. I had to record this for posterity. Some day their daughters will enjoy seeing these photos and hearing about their sisters having so …
I was out for my daily garden visit, when it was still the cool of a summer morning, and I noticed again all the little green sprouts that had started to emerge from the rich soil that was getting lots of sun and water. Some of the sprouts were flowers, and some were weeds. I pulled up both, since the garden was planted, and stray snapdragons (whose seeds had scattered everywhere from last year’s flowers) would overtake the flowers that were already there, using up the nutrients that would supply needed energy for the flowers (which I had chosen to plant).
I marvel at how quickly weeds can grow! They grow faster, it seems, than the flowers. Morning glory can overtake my garden in a matter of days, if ignored. They creep into the flowers and spiral up the stems. Bindweed starts out so small but then grows quickly into broader leaves. Like Morning Glory, They are so invasive! Nightsbane is akin to Morning glory but larger. It crawls up the back of our fence and squeezes under and between and over the slats. I wish we could spray them with weedkiller and remove them! It is the bane of my existence!
Lambs Quarters, Yellow Woodsorrel, Crabgrass, Foxtail, Prostrate Spurge, Dandelion, Curly Dock, Deer Tongue, and so on: these common weeds appear, it seems, out of no where! But in reality, they grow from seeds, just like the flowers do. So getting rid of weeds is so important so they don’t grow, produce more seeds, and create more weeds and more work!
Today in home church, I was to give a talk on love at home. I felt impressed to share about weeds that are common in family relationships, weeds that occur when Satan or some one else (podcasts, magazine articles, TV shows, music lyrics, books, a friend or stranger or family member) plants a false ideas in our mind. We may believe that idea and base our actions upon it. Satan wants us to believe, for example, that when there is a problem, another family member is to blame. He tells us that a problem amongst family members is too big to solve. He turns molehills into mountains. He says what this person has done is too much, that the wound they caused hurts too much.
Christ teaches us differently. He says He can help us resolve any problem. He knows how to teach us how to love every person in our family. He knows what we need to do, and so when we go to Him for help and listen to His answers, we can have strength and wisdom either to solve the problem or to bear with it longer.
Lane and I were revisting a challenge that we have had our entire marriage. Because of previous challenges and going to the Lord for help, we have sometimes learned to examine a problem by laying it out logically, as if on a piece of paper in front of us. We can examine the facts and try to keep our emotions and pride from influencing our ability to problem solve together. It can be hard work, and it requires effort and patience and faith from both of us. It is motivated by love. We have been able to solve previous problems with Heaven’s help in this way and decided to face this reoccuring problem together again. This is the work of marriage and any relationship.
We believe what President Hunter said:
“And [Jairus] besought him greatly, saying, My little daughter lieth at the point of death.” This is typical of what happens frequently when a man comes to Christ, not so much for his own need, but because of the desperate need of a loved one. The tremor we hear in Jairus’s voice as he speaks of “My little daughter” stirs our souls with sympathy as we think of this man of high position in the synagogue on his knees before the Savior.
Then comes a great acknowledgement of faith: “I pray thee, come and lay thy hands on her, that she may be healed; and she shall live.” These are not only the words of faith of a father torn with grief but are also a reminder to us that whatever Jesus lays his hands upon lives. If Jesus lays his hands upon a marriage, it lives. If he is allowed to lay his hands on the family, it lives.
When we look at the weeds in our minds that affect our family relationships, we find fear, pride, discouragement, anger, bitterness. All of these things have to be removed when we want a relationship to grow and blossom into its potential: beautiful, fulfilling, rich, sweet, delicious, regnerating.
I noted in my talk some things that the Lord has pointed out that help me to plant and nurture love and Christ’s truths and weed out Satan’s lies and snares: praying for help, serving with love and gentleness, giving a soft answer, asking myself, “Lord, is it I?” and then trying to do the one little thing that will make the relationship better. I have many things to do to repent and change to make my relationships better, but the Lord only expects me to work on one thing at a time, just like going out to pull up one tiny weed seedling at a time.
I am so grateful for the gift of repentance and all the teachings of the Lord that help me nurture love in our family garden!
God gave us memory so that we might have roses in December. James M. Barrie
Now that I have created a page on which to gather my posts about gardening, I wanted to put this document here to record what I planted in the flower garden in 2019. It is easy to forget, when winter comes and the blooms die and snow covers the ground, what was planted and blooming the previous spring and summer! From the looks of things in winter, you’d never know that there was anything bright and beautifully alive at all!
Outside border: Sedum firecracker, Lantana ‘Premier Gold’
Inside borders: Candytuft ‘Purity,’ Armeria maritima ‘Rubrifolia,’ Vinca primrose Polka Dot White, Coreopsis baby gold, Echinacea colorburst orange, Crocosmia prince of orange, Blue delphinium, Campanula ‘Appeal Deep Blue’, Dianthus ‘Whetman Star’, Iris ‘Butter and Sugar’, Siberian iris ‘Caeser’s Brother,’ Snapdragon intermediate yellow, Columbine ‘Origami Red & White,’ Foxglove ‘Dalmatian Purple.’
I woke up this morning late. The sleep medication that I’ve been taking the last 3 weeks–which was for the first 2.5 weeks utterly transformative and miraculous feeling by allowing me to sleep again–hasn’t been working as well. This has left me feeling anxious, almost panicked, as my return to normal and my ability to live a predictable routine seems to hang in the balance.
But the medicine is still working enough to be beneficial. After waking today sometime after 4 am (and not willing to get up like I did yesterday), and writing down all the things I felt stressed out abaout, I went back to sleep and back to sleep and back to sleep until finally relenting to the call of the day at 6:50 am.
I hate starting my day out late. I have come to love routines that allow for predictability and productivity! Because when I am able to do what needs to get done, then I have time to do what isn’t so pressing–the kinds of things that bring my spirit joy, like writing. I feel so much happier when I can do both!
I think that one of the things that I am learning from the challenge of insomnia and constant schedule changing and adapting (aside from how much I love routines and how I’ve learned to be more flexible) is that what is happening to my physical body and my ability to function at a certain level of productivity doesn’t define me. It isn’t who I am. It is a challenge to learn from, like taking a hard class, but it doesn’t mean I AM my sleep challenges. It doesn’t mean that while I don’t accomplish as much during a day when I feel exhausted from not sleeping well all week doesn’t mean that I love only accomplishing a few things in my day. It isn’t who I am.
I was reminded of this just now. I went outside to garden and have a little peace from my children. I have neglected the flower garden, and the weeds are growing everywhere. I turned on the BYU Women’s Conference and the stream began in the middle of an introduction. The woman being described has scholarly degrees from prestigious universities, and while I admire that, I had two thoughts. The first one was, “I will never be that woman.” I felt that familiar negative sensation that follows self-denigration. “Not good enough. Not accomlishing my dreams.” The second one was a better, liberating thought and went something like this: “You are not any less valuable than that woman. Your circumstances are different. You could have done that. But your mission is different. You will accomplish what is important in your life, and that will matter.”
A week ago I posted about finding my passion. The article was really unfinished, incomplete. I wrote what I had time to write, but all weekend after that I wanted to go back, to edit, to do a better job of saying what I wanted to say, what I had been feeling that was making me feel so much peace in my heart: I have recently re-discovered that being a mother is sufficient! It is enough to be a mother! God doesn’t look at us in the same way we look at each other. If I don’t ever get the master’s or doctoral degrees that I want, it will be OK! I have eternity to learn EVERYTHING. The status of academic titles doesn’t matter. It would be nice! I would really like that. But I made a choice back in 1993: I had waited all my life to be a mother, and I wanted to be a joyful mother of children more badly than I wanted anything else in the world. I wanted to begin the journey I had prepared for so carefully my entire life! And my circumstances haven’t allowed for me to do both.
I was blessed to get to have a family as I had dreamed. I had seven children in 11 years. And then I have spent my life since then raising them. It has been very rewarding! But the past year in particular, as I’ve experienced more health problems and as a result, felt both physically tired and mentally weary, I began a sort of mid-life crisis, a time of personal reflection and life evaluation. I decided that my life was coming up short of what I wanted to accomplish.
So it was a little rocky up until the pandemic and then general conference. After general conference, a peace came into my life, an understanding that there are still good things to come that will be different from motherhood as I’ve known it. And I will love those things and be able to develop my talents even more. But right now, I’m still a mother with children at home to whom I still need to be as committed as I was to Sarah and Nathan, our two oldest. I’ve had a confirmation of that in my heart, and a peace that “God has entrusted women with the sacred work of bearing and rearing children. No other work is more important. It is a holy calling. The noblest office for a woman is the sacred work of building eternal families, ideally in partnership with her husband” (Silvia H. Allred, “Steadfast and Immovable,” October 2010.)
What I am doing is just as significant as the work that the women who have long curricula vitae and whose words will be broadcast to millions of listeners today and over time. What they are doing will bless my life, and what I am doing may in some circuitous way bless theirs. We are not in a competition or a race. We are all working together to bless the family of mankind. That matters, in any small way and however we are doing our best to do it.
Last week when I was remembering how passionate I feel about being a mother and how that passion was reconfirmed last weekend, I didn’t quite hit the mark. I didn’t quite have the words to say what I was feeling or wanted to say. And I’m not sure if I’m saying them exactly how I want to right now, but I know I wanted to try again. When we feel peace–real, not pretended peace–to our core about what we are doing, I think that means we are doing what God wants us to do at that point in our lives.
That’s what I wanted to say. Mothers, whether they have one child or 20, whose children are infants or teens or young parents themselves, are doing significant, impactful, life-changing, influential work, regardless of what our background is. We are partners with God. We are doing His work. And we can share our voices with each other. We can speak what is on our hearts. Our voices matter, even if they aren’t being broadcast to the whole world, or even if God is the only one listening.
That’s all. 😊
Have a great day! 😘
And I hope you get to listen to Women’s Conference. I really recommend it!
I came home today from meeting Sarah at a park in Salt Lake for lunch—a park that, not too many months ago, I was running laps around with her, burning calories instead of consuming them. Today I was just sitting in a comfy beach chair …