Once upon there was a moose with an absurdly long mustache. He couldn’t figure out what to do with it until one day he meets…another moose (read: love at first sight) whose hairdo was ridiculously large and bouffant-y. I dare you to read this children’s …
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 …
Saturday night I was having a bit of a meltdown: I was really stressed out by something–probably in greater part by being inside too much with the quarantine!–so I hid away in my room and read. Ahhh. Lovely, quiet retreat. And I finished reading Maggie’s Door–which gave me a little more perspective on my own tiny problems.
Maggie’s Door is the second book in a 3-book series by Patricia Reilly Giff (Nory Ryan’s Song, Maggie’s Door, Water Street) about two families who emigrate from Ireland to the United States after nearly starving to death in the Great Famine of 1845-49.
Nory Ryan, a young woman about 12 or 13 years old, receives a ticket to sail to America to join the rest of her family who have voyaged there. Her oldest sister, Maggie, is married and already lives in Brooklyn, New York. Sean Red, who is Nory’s best friend and the younger brother of Maggie’s husband, is also trying to get to Maggie’s home. The book tells of their dangerous journey crossing the Atlantic.
I loved this book! While the story is fictitious, about a million Irish people did emigrate during the potato famine, and their journeys to America were fraught with difficulty. Reading this story helped me feel gratitude for those young and old who sacrificed so much, endured so much, and overcame so many obstacles to build a new life here. Surely we have built upon the foundation built by people like Nory Ryan and Sean Red.
A tale of selflessness, faith, and grit, Maggie’s Door will help readers better understand the mettle of so many immigrants. It can inspire younger generations to honor their ancestors and have greater respect for refugees who are making similarly precious journeys to freedom.