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 …
After general conference, I had an “ah ha” moment: the thing that really matters most to me is being a homemaker. During the coronavirus, I have truly loved having my children around. I have loved preparing fun dinners and being available to help them with the hiccups they’ve encountered with their online schooling. I’ve been so grateful to be able to have meaningful conversations with them as they come to crossroads in their lives. All of it has felt so satisfying. Despite the challenges of the pandemic, this has been a wonderful time.
I decided that all other plans can wait for now, plans for going back to go to school to get my masters’ degree or undertake some other endeavor. I feel really peaceful just being available to interact with our children and my husband to help home to be a safe haven when the world is in a bit of a frenzy.
One choice I made was to start baking bread again from scratch. (This photo above was a funny moment when I started mixing the bread but turned it up too fast with too much liquid in it, and it started spilling out everywhere!) We often make rolls for Sunday dinner or some other specialty bread, but it’s been years since I have baked whole wheat bread for sandwich bread on a regular basis. Today I started my baking day. It felt so good. It SMELLED so good! And to eat a slice of hot bread with butter melting into the soft crumb? Heavenly.
I came to my computer looking for something else but just happened upon a very fun cooking video that I want to remember to try with my bread dough recipes. There are such creative things you can do with bread to add variety and delight to a meal! To sit down together at the end of the day for dinner and eat something that has been made with love really helps make family life sweet. That is the joy of being a mother, a homemaker, a heaven-on-earth creator.
I was looking for this quote today and found it! Hooray! “A good woman knows that she does not have enough time, energy, or opportunity to take care of all of the people or do all of the worthy things her heart yearns to do. …
We’ve had so many changes in our family recently: Sarah graduating from college, Nate marrying Hunter, Julia receiving her mission call, Sarah leaving for graduate school, and the other four children beginning a new school year–including one as a senior in high school. With these …
Today I’m cleaning out my office (day 3), which includes going through and getting rid of a lot of old papers, files, and stuff. NOT my favorite job, but sometimes fun in the process!
One thing I’m learning: there’s a lot I filed away and never remembered was there or looked at again! For example: the encouragement file. I put a bunch of papers that had helped me through some hard times. I wanted to hold onto these but realized that the file wasn’t where I went for encouragement.
When I need a boost, I kneel down and pray. I talk to my husband or my children. I might call a friend. I write in my journal or maybe will compose a blog post. I open up my scriptures or the Ensign magazine. I might go exercise or eat a treat (the latter isn’t the wisest, I know). I might go serve someone. I might take a nap.
But some of these papers had some great thoughts in them, and I thought I might just include a few quotes in this little post to pay homage to previous helpful words:
D&C 123:17 “Let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our poser; and then may we stand still, with the utmost assurance, to see the salvation of God, and for his arm to be revealed.”
Hebrews 4:15-16 “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our informities; but was in all poits tempted like we are, yet without sin. Let us therefor come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”
“Do Not Despair” by President Ezra Taft Benson (video) (article). “To help us from being overcome by the devil’s design of despair, discouragement, depression, and despondency, the Lord has provided at least a dozen ways which, if followed, will lift our spirits and send us on our way rejoicing.”
“’When you find yourselves a little gloomy,’ said President Lorenzo Snow, ‘look around you and find somebody that is in a worse plight than yourself; go to him and find out what the trouble is, then try to remove it with the wisdom which the Lord bestows upon you; and the first thing you know, your gloom is gone, you feel light, the Spirit of the Lord is upon you, and everything seems illuminated’ (In Conference Report, 6 Apr. 1899, pp. 2–3.).”
“Good Health–A Key to Joyous Living” by Sister Barbara B. Smith (video and article)
“It Is Thy House, a Place of Holiness” by Elaine L. Jack (transcript)
“I saw a lot of people go in and out of that temple, and I never saw one drag out saying, ‘I wish I’d never come today!’ Quite the opposite. They left spiritually enriched, uplifted, ready to face what was ahead. These were good people we could count on to join with us often in temple worship and service. Some of our ordinance workers traveled five hours each way to complete their weekly assignments. President Ezra Taft Benson promised, ‘with increased attendance in the temples of God you shall receive increased personal revelation to bless your life as you bless those who have died.’ ”
“Because She Is a Mother” by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland (video and transcript)
“One young mother wrote to me recently that her anxiety tended to come on three fronts. One was that whenever she heard talks on LDS motherhood, she worried because she felt she didn’t measure up or somehow wasn’t going to be equal to the task. Secondly, she felt like the world expected her to teach her children reading, writing, interior design, Latin, calculus, and the Internet—all before the baby said something terribly ordinary, like ‘goo goo.’ Thirdly, she often felt people were sometimes patronizing, almost always without meaning to be, because the advice she got or even the compliments she received seemed to reflect nothing of the mental investment, the spiritual and emotional exertion, the long-night, long-day, stretched-to-the-limit demands that sometimes are required in trying to be and wanting to be the mother God hopes she will be.
“But one thing, she said, keeps her going: ‘Through the thick and the thin of this, and through the occasional tears of it all, I know deep down inside I am doing God’s work. I know that in my motherhood I am in an eternal partnership with Him. I am deeply moved that God finds His ultimate purpose and meaning in being a parent, even if some of His children make Him weep.
“’It is this realization,’ she says, ‘that I try to recall on those inevitably difficult days when all of this can be a bit overwhelming. Maybe it is precisely our inability and anxiousness that urge us to reach out to Him and enhance His ability to reach back to us. Maybe He secretly hopes we will be anxious,’ she said, ‘and will plead for His help. Then, I believe, He can teach these children directly, through us, but with no resistance offered. I like that idea,’ she concludes. ‘It gives me hope. If I can be right before my Father in Heaven, perhaps His guidance to our children can be unimpeded. Maybe then it can be His work and His glory in a very literal sense.’ ”
“Within and Beyond Ourselves: The role of conscience in modern business” by Robert C. Gay (transcript)
“Second, I also share these experiences with you because I have found as you guide your life’s decisions by the Spirit there is no such thing as careers—only fields of service—and that it does not make any difference whether you are a scientist, a social worker, or business person. In the world of the Spirit, home teaching and business leadership are one. Moreover, I am sure as we gather here today, many view us as distant and foreign from the real issues of life. Yet, please be assured, as C.S. Lewis once remarked in a speech to students at Oxford University:
” ‘The work of a Beethoven and the work of a charwoman become spiritual on precisely the same [basis], that of being offered to God, of being done humbly, “as to the Lord”.’ ”
“The Children of Christ” by Elder Neal A. Maxwell (transcript)
“Finally, I should like to leave my own witness. In my life, whichever way I turn, brothers and sisters, there looms Jesus, name of wondrous love. He is our fully atoning and fully comprehending Savior, and in the words of scripture, ‘There is none like unto him.’
“Whether taught in the holy scriptures or in the holy temples, his gospel is remarkable. Whether it concerns the nature of God, the nature of man, the nature of the universe, the nature of this mortal experience, it is remarkable. His gospel is stunning as to its interior consistency. It is breathtaking as to its exterior expansiveness. Rather than existing without the gospel in a mortal maze, instead I stand all amazed at the wonders of that gospel that we should be privileged to be his children.”
“Finding Joy in Life” by Elder Richard G. Scott (video and transcript)
Checklist of Cognitive Distortions by David D. Burns (Google that phrase to learn more or go to this link from everydayhealth.com)
- All-or-n0thing thinking
- Over generalization
- Mental filter (dwelling on negatives)
- Discounting the positives
- Jumping to conclusions (mind-reading/fortune telling)
- Magnification or minimalization
- Emotional reasoning (“I feel stupid, so I must be”)
- “Should” statements (self-criticizing)
- Labeling (name-calling)
- Peronalization and blame (blaming yourself for something that wasn’t all your doing or blaming others for something you had a part in)
“Dealing with Stress and Discouragement” (article from “Handbook for Families” Feb.1990)
Elder Neal A. Maxwell has said, “When in situations of stress we wonder if there is any more in us to give, we can be comforted to know that God, who knows our capacity perfectly, placed us here to succeed. No one was foreordained to fail or to be wicked. When we have been weighed and found wanting, let us remember that we were measured before and we were found equal to our tasks; and, therefore, let us continue, but with a more determined discipleship. When we feel overwhelmed, let us recall the assurance that God will not overprogram us; he will not press upon us more than we can bear (D&C 50:40).” (“Meeting the Challenges of Today,” in Devotional Speeches of the Year, Provo: Brigham Young University, 1978, p. 156.)
“Instead of Yelling” by Debbie Pettey (article)
“I determined to change my behavior.”
“The Blessings of Unity” (Chapter 5, Teachings of Presidents of the Church: David O. McKay)
“Very frequently discords arise in the home because husbands desire to save their own dignity and have their own way, have their own wishes carried out. Wives desire the same. Some exercise their prerogative to have the last word. Husbands are sometimes even more eager to have it than wives. Each really is trying to save himself or herself, and instead of having harmony and peace in the home there arises discord. Instead of saving the life of harmony in the home, you lose it, merely because you are seeking to save your own selfish life, or have your own selfish way. Better to lose that desire. Say nothing, and in losing your desire and that feeling of enmity, of ruling, of governing, you say nothing, and you gain your life in the home.”
“Christmas Talk Valparaiso Ward” by Neil Call, Dec.24, 2006 (transcript of final page)
“Charles Dickens said, ‘Heaven knows we need never be ashamed of our tears, for they are rain upon the blinding dust of earth, overlying our hard hearts.'” (this was on p.3 of his talk)
Here’s another reason I love being a member of my church: videos like this one that show real people who really want to love and follow God and are committed to it, even when they don’t have all the answers. That’s how I would describe …
As you might guess, I am not an expert in parenting. Like you, I’m simply another mother in the millions that have lived on earth. My only claim is to loving my children tremendously and having made untold numbers of mistakes. After 23 years of motherhood, I know this better than ever!
Still, I can answer the question, “How do you raise an amazing child?” because I have asked Heavenly Father that question, and He has answered me (and continues to answer me). If every child is a child of God with amazing potential, how can I possibly provide what they need to achieve that potential?
Here’s what I’ve learned: It’s not all up to me. I am not solely responsible for raising my children because they aren’t entirely mine. They are each a precious child of God first, and that means that He is in charge of their life and rearing first. My role as a special–yet critical–assistant means that I am secondary. I have to consult Him to know what He wants for each child.
So what I have learned is this: the more I can tap into His plan for each of them, the better we can act as a team to help my His children succeed in fulfilling that plan on earth.
And I need to mention something else: my husband is also the third crucial member of that team!
So my husband and I have tried to raise each of our children by strengthening our relationship with God and each other. I keep trying to learn more about God, about myself, my husband, about my children and about God’s plan’s for them.
The closer I am to God, the easier it has been to parent. How close am I to God? That changes every day! Sometimes it changes within the same day. Even when I’m feeling close to Heaven doesn’t mean I have all the answers. I’m closest when I’m trying to follow Jesus Christ’s example, and when my thoughts are on Him and how I can apply his teachings to any given situation that arises during my day.
While I vascillate hourly in my Christlike behavior and commitment, I do have a solid witness in my heart and mind that God supports my mothering in ways that have been wonderful and peaceful and helpful and surprising! God is amazing! He knows how to perform miracles through simple, imperfect, improbable people like me.
One of the purposes of this blog is for me to share the ways God has helped me in raising our children and in nurturing the children or extended family members or others around me. Someday I hope to share ways that other families have seen the hand of God in their lives as well.
I pray that my blog will help and encourage you as you seek to know God, to recognize His help and support in your parenting, and to celebrate together the privilege of getting to nuruture His children on earth.
For a summary of how to raise amazing children in ways better than I can express, read “The Family: A Proclamation to the World.”
For encouragement on how hard parenting can be, read (or watch) this.
For information on how to pray and connect with God, go here for help.
The Book of Mormon really helps me connect with God. Would you like a free copy? Email me (Liz@raisingamazingchildren.com) or go here.
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