Friday, March 28, 2014

He Needs Me

*Partially written about a week ago* and published on our private blog. Leave an email if you want and invite. I thought I'd be good about maintaining two blogs but I am hoping to be better in the coming weeks.

 Spring break has coming to a close and I really didn't want it to end. We have spent so much time together as a family of four and have stayed up way too late and woken up later than we ever have (especially for my early rising boys).

 After a week of 9:00 or even 10:00 bed times the bambino was not about to go to sleep at 8:30 after we finished watching Frozen (projector style) as a family. After him crying, calling mom. going in there, singing songs, tickling his legs, taking all of his clothes off, (this boy has to sleep in just a diaper or he will wake up in the middle of night screaming OFFF NOW PLEASSEEE!!!!) he would still not go to bed.

 This continued for over 2 hours.

Finally I went in committed to leaving only when he was actually asleep. So I picked up my almost 18 month old and looked into his eyes. I didn't look away, I smiled, and I sang to him. His eyes would become droopy, stay shut for as long as 10 seconds but then they would open and we'd repeat the process. This lasted for another 30 minutes. I'll give him credit for being a fighter but I couldn't get over how intently he looked at me.

 He needed to know I was there, fully there, not distracted by D, technology, something to clean, a book, he needed me. I was humbled as I really thought about my role as a the primary caregiver for this boy. I provide his daily sustenance, I get up with him in the night, I understand his baby language, I know his cues for just about anything. And while the Mr. is obviously a big part of this picture as well I was reminded of just how incredible it is to be a parent and a mother.

I am the voice for my voiceless son.

 I am not a confrontational person and the few times I do assert an opinion I back peddle but, signing up to be a parent means being the biggest advocate for my children because if not me, who? Yes, I hope and pray friends, family members, leaders, teachers, and coaches see my boys the way I see them, I know that is also unrealistic. They will never know just how incredible they are because one, they don't care about them the same way I do. And two, it's me who literally brought them into this world and who has cuddled them when they are sick and been there for all the fun developmental milestones only a parent can appreciate. That is the way it is supposed to be. It doesn't mean I am off the hook for helping them be the best they possibly can but I can't help but think about what these experiences are teaching me.

 I have thought a lot about prayer recently and what it means for me to pray to God. I have been truly blessed with knowing God is always there for me. There is nothing more sure in my mind or heart and I am grateful for a religion that has helped me know my Heavenly Father so intimately.

 Tonight with my little Bambino I feel like I got a tiny glimpse of what it must be like for God. There is so much heartache, pain, and sadness in the world, but at the same time there is so much goodness. I feel like I need my Father in Heaven during the good times as well as the hard times. During the good times I need to be reassured I am doing what is right, that I am doing everything in my power to have joy now. And during the hard times I need him just as much but as I thought about my experience with my little boy I thought about how grateful I am to know God never looks away.

I recently read the book Their Eyes Were Watching God and while I strongly recommend it a question we never really answered in book club has stuck with me about when, what, and why they were "watching God." We didn't really come up with a concrete answer and it has bothered me ever since. The more I think about it the more I am grateful for the more reassuring statement I live by that God's eyes are always watching me.

He has given me commandments to obey that will keep me happy but those commandments will keep me generally speaking out of harms way. This doesn't mean I will be protected from everything in life he can't and wont control other peoples choices but he sure WANTS to protect me and help me find happiness more than anybody else. He is my biggest advocate, he is the perfect parent and while he can't be with me always he has given me a portion of his Spirit and a Savior to help me navigate this thing called life.

 I am grateful he cared enough about me to send Jesus Christ into the world to die. "For God so loved the world he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life." John 3:16

 This month at church I have had the privilege to study and teach the youth (14-18 year olds) about the Atonement of Jesus Christ. It was more than just what happened on the cross, it was more than just what happened in Gethsemane, or the tomb. And while I still feel like I have so much more to study and learn I do know that a sacrifice had to be made. We know sacrifices "of the first born" were performed starting with Adam all throughout the Old Testament and, it was done in similitude of the sacrifice Christ would perform so that no animal sacrifice would ever have to be made again.

His At-one-ment was an infinite and eternal sacrifice that satisfies all the God has required for us to get back to him again. I am so grateful and know that somehow it all works out. That my failings, sins, transgressions, etc... all can be forgiven. Though my sins be as scarlet they can be as white as snow (Isaiah 1:18).

 Out of everything I have learned about being a parent I think it always come back to sacrifice. I sacrifice sleep. I sacrifice food. I sacrificed having more money. I sacrificed freedom to go and do whatever I want when I want. I have (made the very personal decision) to sacrificed a career. I have sacrificed my body. I have learned to give of myself. I have been stretched thin and pushed past limits I never imagined. And yet it is worth it. I have become a better person for it. I see the world in such different eyes.

I have started developing these attributes I have tried to work on my whole life but have truly taken root since becoming a parent. I have learned about gifts I never knew I had and have become painfully aware of my flaws. And it is for those flaws I pray and plead for help every day.

 I called my sweet grandma tonight and I had such a great conversation. My dad is a convert to the mormon faith but I am so grateful for his mom who is one of the most Christian women I have ever met. During our conversation she made a comment about mothers knees always being callused and I couldn't agree more. I hope they will be there when I die. :) As I listened to my grandma update me on all of my extended family members I could just feel of her love for all of them and for me. She didn't make me feel guilty for not calling her more often. She was just grateful for the call and I felt loved. :) Now to make this more of a habit with all of our incredible family members on both sides. I am understanding more and more when they talk about the "old" being wise. The Mr. and I both have been so blessed to have so many love and care for us and I hope to continue that for my boys and the generations to follow.

 I may not feel qualified as a parent 95% of the time but my boys need me, flaws and all. I am part of a bigger picture that is in my opinion the biggest miracle of them all.  With the Easter season approaching take some time to watch the beautiful song written by my friends mother. Regardless if you have children, are married, have the best or worst family, it doesn't matter we all can and will be the miracle if we let Him in.

** I also want to show sensitivity to my friends and family members who can't or don't want children. It is such a personal decision and we all get to have different experiences that will help us learn and become better. For me it is through my children :) so that is what I was wanting to share.**

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

So much for trying

Preschool Day 1:
Never happened.

The bins of activities are still ready to go. I emailed The Mr more worksheets to print off but we took a little detour and decided to potty train. He was doing so well! He made it through nap time, He made it through having friends over without an accident. Then it all went down hill and now I am regretting even starting. And don't be fooled, D said he wanted to because his friend is potty trained so we started.  I know it will get better but it would have been nice to have been prepared for this joyous parenting moment. Rather than you know, already being 3 loads behind on laundry and having to change all of the fun plans I legitimately made on Sunday when I "planned out the week."

Oh well.

This morning I was mad, I was bitter at what I was dealing with, I was frustrated at the wet spot on the couch and the floor and the bed. But, I am done being mad. I can't afford it (I wont see The Mr till 9:30 tonight) I need patience. I need an honest heart that sees my children as the pure vessels of love and kindness on loan to me from perfect Heavenly Parents who love them perfectly.

Some day I hope to love perfectly. Some day I hope to overcome my temper. Some day I hope not to get so caught up on the little things but, until that happens I will wait and try my best.

I just had a Jehovah's witness knock on our day. Her and her friend said they were working on a campaign and wanted to give us a handout as part of their efforts. I thought it a little odd that she used the word campaign because they are pretty strict about not allowing political people to solicit here but when I shut the door and looked at the handout it was all about the Resurrection and just asked a few questions about life after death and it quoted a few scriptures.

I don't agree with their beliefs but, I do believe in God and Jesus Christ and I was grateful to be reminded of my own beliefs about these questions we all have about life.

I then heard them knock on our neighbor Byron's door. Byron is in 40's and is a visiting faculty member from China. He has come to church with us several times and has become a good friend. As he tried to ask them about why they were there and what they were doing they might of said they were from a church, trying to fulfill a purpose, educating the world, spreading the word. While none of those things are bad I thought of our Mormon missionaries whom Byron has come to love so much. He has been feeding them once a week, we here laughter when they are over. They have helped him edit a paper now getting published at an upcoming conference in South Africa. They talk with his son Jack for 10 minutes every time so he can practice his English, they teach Jack at an ESL class taught bi-weekly at the church for anybody in the community, and lastly they take time to teach him the gospel. They have talked a lot about families and our purpose here. The Elders have tried to understand Chinese culture a little better so they can know how to teach and connect his beliefs with ours but setting that all aside Byron is fascinated.
He is fascinated by the Mr and his devotion to our family. He is fascinated that so much of our day revolves around teaching our boys, that I have given up a career to take care of them. He still can't quite grasp that the Mr's career ambitions are to provide for our family, not to gain a specific title or a salary. He is impressed we value marriage and that we are not counting the days till we die but looking forward to eternity together.

D's favorite song right now is "I belong to the church of Jesus Christ of latter-day Saints"
The words are as followed:

I belong to the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,
I know who I am, I know God's plan,
I'll follow him in faith. 
I believe in the Savior Jesus Christ, I'll honor his ways.
 I'll do what is right! I'll follow his light, his truth I will proclaim. 

I am grateful for my faith. I am grateful that we boldly declare to people that we want to teach them about Jesus Christ because we ourselves have been changed by coming to know him a little better. I have been literally saved by Jesus Christ. I know it is only through Him that I can return to my loving Heavenly Father, a perfect God who I have come to know as surely as I know my earthly father all through the glorious gift of prayer. Prayer is my lifeline- I don't pray to other angels, spirits, ancestors, saints, I pray to God, my Heavenly Father who is first and foremost the best dad we all have been given.

If you have some time listen or read this talk given by Thomas S Monson a couple weeks ago as he spoke to the women of the world. It is entitled "We Never Walk Alone." This was his first address at our churches semi-annual conference since he has lost his sweet wife. It is tender, is uplifting, it inspires me to be a little better but most importantly it reminds me I am loved. My favorite quote from the talk. 

"My dear sisters, your Heavenly Father loves you—each of you. That love never changes. It is not influenced by your appearance, by your possessions, or by the amount of money you have in your bank account. It is not changed by your talents and abilities. It is simply there. It is there for you when you are sad or happy, discouraged or hopeful. God’s love is there for you whether or not you feel you deserve love. It is simply always there."  

Saturday, November 2, 2013


Sometimes I get really ambitious about life, traditions, and holidays. I have started doing a 30 day journal of gratitude I purchased from this website  She is apparently starting it up again for the month of November. I can only sing praises about what a neat experience it has been to start being a little more grateful every day by writing a more detailed experience than what I would on facebook or even this blog. I try to do this every few months and hope to pass it on to my boys so they can get a glimpse of my life. To give you an idea of some of the prompts these were the ones from the first 2 days.
Day 1 "What seems to us as bitter trials are often blessings in disguise" Oscar Wilde
Everyone experiences trials. It's part of our experience here on Earth. Think of someone you know who has turned a trial into a blessing. What was their trial and how did the use it for good and the good of others? Think of a time in your life when a trial ultimately became a blessing. If you are going through a trial right now, determine to express gratitude for it and ask your Heavenly Father to help you use your Heavenly Father to help use your trial to bless your life or the life of others. Sometimes we go through things to develop empathy for others, so we can help them. If you absolutely cannot be grateful for your trial at this time, don't focus all of your energy on it. Choose to focus your energy on the things that you can be grateful for.
Day 2 "We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures." Thornton Wilder
Write a list of all the treasures in your life. How do these things make your life "rich"? Make a conscious effort to think of these things when you are having a bad day. You could come back and read this list as a reminder to count your blessings .

I have been pretty busy these days :) We had a great Halloween :) and a much needed afternoon with the Mr. Here are some pictures of our recent doings.
At the Bus Stop waiting to go to the Mr's school.
A shot of campus and D looking out of the grad school lounge.

 I also was in charge of decorations at our church Halloween party/Fall Festival. I wish I could say I came up with this photo backdrop but I have an amazing friend who is great at these types of things. Check out her blog here  She has been a new friend since we have moved and I have loved getting to know her and her family better. She really is so talented and she is Welch and has an accent and it just makes me happy. She also handed out real chocolate on Halloween-none of the American stuff we accept as chocolate.
 We opted for trick or treating at the mall this year so our boys could walk around and not have to be bundled up. Our conductor and the giraffe were a hit!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Routines and Rituals

The Mr and I are perfect for each other. I really mean that, from the time I first met him, to our time at BYU, to our time together here in a new state with the nearest family being 8 hours away.
We compliment each other. We still hold hands when we are out. We still hold hands when we are sitting on the couch together. I stare at him and think I am the luckiest and he stares back echoing those same words. We say I love you a lot. We talk about our dreams but mainly we talk about how happy we are right now.

One of my favorite research topics in family life is that of routines and rituals. Now I love holidays because they naturally produce these rituals we do as individuals or families but I really love the mundane routines and rituals we do every day.

Because I believe in God sometimes I ask myself why a perfect being made life revolve around so many monotonous things. Why couldn't he of created "life" without things like laundry, food preparation, cleaning, shopping, etc...really if we are supposed to be maximizing opportunities and constantly learning new things why did God not have us do that the majority of the time? I mean really how many showers will I take over my life time?
In Barbara Fiese's book Family Routines and Rituals (click here for the book published through Yale)she explains the power associated with these ideas.

"The therapeutic power of rituals resides in bringing into the open what had been put aside or buried for unspoken and painful reasons. The symbolic nature of rituals allows the family to connect deeply felt emotions to a place, time, or physical object. The ritual stands in place for an unfinished process that then allows the family to make the transition to the next phase of their lives."
The ways she talks about routines and rituals takes it to the next level but seriously for anybody going through a hard time with a loss of a family member (be it death, divorce, empty nesting, family divide, new members of the family) the best thing you can do is continue the rituals that are familiar but modify them accordingly.

Ill use divorce as an example:  Kids are used to dad reading books to them at night. When they are living with mom this obviously won't be happening but to prevent behavioral issues or help ease the transitions one of the most helpful things for the child could be having dad read a book over the phone. I am not saying this is the one perfect way but you get the idea.

We all have ways of doing things and with the holidays approaching I cringe for the families who have experienced some sort of loss who will be experiencing a holiday for the first time without them. The holidays are so hard because "mom won't be able to make ______" or "dad won't be there to pick out ____" whatever it is no matter how hard it is talking about it before, if you prepare it will be better. Find ways to still incorporate the old as well as the new because the situation will never be the same BUT the families CAN grow and become stronger. A new family system or dynamic will be created that moves families forward not backwards and the research shows routines and rituals are some of the most powerful factors to make the change positive.
Sorry for my long rant but we are a throw away/quick fix culture and that just doesn't produce happy families. Society  is proving this over and over again. It takes work to have a successful family (however you define it) and if god designed life to be filled with so much monotony why not embrace those times and the "rituals" leading up, during, and after them.  We all need to eat so why not maximize those times?

Ok, I am done with my rant but I want to end with probably one of my favorite stories I read in one of my classes. I was during my first semester after switching from Middle Eastern Studies Arabic as my major and I realized as much as I love multi-faith cooperation I felt strongly I needed to understand these ideas around family. Something we all have experience with but know little to nothing about. We are willing to become experts in all these other fields but the thing that we all experience and are apart of we have no training or basic understanding of how to do it right.

Doing Dishes with Daddy 

When I agreed to help my five-year-old wash the dishes, I had no idea what was in store for me.
Juanita and I had three children, and she was pregnant with our fourth. I was a graduate student and Juanita stayed home with the kids, so there were many things we couldn’t afford, including a dishwasher. When I did the dishes, I turned it into a quick, efficient system that would eliminate wasted motion. I could usually get dinner dishes done in 12 to 21 minutes. I thought that must compare favorably with even those who had dishwasher-equipped kitchens!
One morning Juanita was battling a particularly tough case of morning sickness, so I decided to skip school and stay home. I suggested Juanita sleep in, then I explained to Sarah, my kindergartner, that I was helping Mommy because she was sick. Sarah quickly caught the spirit of service and asked if I would help her wash all the dishes for Mommy.
I looked at the kitchen. Almost all the dishes in the house were dirty, but I estimated that it would take 28 minutes. I agreed to help Sarah. Immediately I went to work, systematically sorting the plates and dishes and putting the glasses in the dishpan first. Within a minute, Sarah was in tears. “It’s no fun!” she cried. “You’re doing everything. I wanted you to help me!” She stomped off into her bedroom.
I thought about it. She was right. I had agreed to help her. So I decided to help Sarah do the dishes any way she wanted to instead of trying to do them as fast as I could. I quietly approached my five-year-old with a sincere apology: “I’m sorry. I’ll help you. Tell me what you want me to do.” She immediately brightened up, took my hand, and led me back into the kitchen.
“Well, Daddy,” she began, enthusiastically, “I want you to wash those plates. Then I will rinse and dry and put away.”
I worked at her pace, washing one plate at a time. She talked to me almost nonstop, often pausing with a plate in her small hand. I paused with her. First, she talked about her friend Steven, and then she talked about a television show she’d seen the night before. Eventually, she started drawing me into the conversation.
“Daddy, what do you do at school all day?”
I told her about the classes I was taking and teaching, being careful to explain things in terms she could understand. As I talked, I realized how little of my world I had shared with her!
Next we washed the bowls because Sarah thought they were fun to stack in the dish drainer. “Daddy, why don’t you stay home more with me and Jeffrey and Aaron?” I told her I had to study a lot.
“Why do you have to study so much?” I couldn’t think of any explanation that a kindergartner would understand.
“It makes me so sad when you go away every day for so long,” Sarah continued, with tears in her eyes. I was moved. I wanted to hug her and tell her I loved her and promise to take her to the park and anywhere else she wanted to go.
She regained her composure. “Tell me a George Washington Hill story, Daddy.”
So while I washed the silverware, I told her stories about our favorite ancestor, George Washington Hill, who had a long, red beard and met his wife in the woods.
After the story there was a long pause. “Daddy, I didn’t pass my test at school yesterday.”
I looked over at my daughter and saw the hesitancy in her face. I didn’t know how to react or what to say. I wondered what kind of test they could be giving her in kindergarten. So I just smiled and asked, “Did you try hard?”
She brightened up. “Oh, yes.”
“That’s OK then. As long as you do your best, I’m happy.”
She became more thoughtful, and as she carefully dried a dish she poured out her heart to me. “Today, I really want to pass the test. You know what I’m going to do? I’m going to practice it and practice it and then I’m going to pray and ask Heavenly Father to help me. I know he’ll help me.” Then she laughed and clapped her hands in joy. “I’ll pass that test today!”
The dishes were done. Through blurry, tear-filled eyes, I looked at the clock. It had taken one hour and 15 minutes to do a 28-minute job. But I was sorry to see the last swirl of the dishwater run down the drain. Sarah and I had talked almost the whole time. This had been a special talk for us—a talk where our feelings for each other were clearly expressed, a talk that strengthened our relationship and love.
Click Here for the original link. 
Now maybe I was reminded of this because right now things are getting more intense with Mr's studies. We are seeing D act out more than ever and I know it is because our family dynamics are changing. The Mr. can't lay with D for 45 minutes every night. And we don't get to do as many fun family outings because of time and financial constraints but we all have to eat, sleep, and get ready for the day so if that means I need to get D a "razor" for Christmas so he can get ready with Chris in the morning I'll do it.  Because years down the road that might be one of his fondest memories of him and his dad.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Little Boy Crushes

Saturday Mornings we attend a kindermusik class taught by someone who is LDS but teaches through this awesome program, click here. Now D has played with her before (she has 2 toddlers D's age) but, since music time he has become obsessed with Miss Jenny- or "My Jenny" as he refers to her in prayers or when we talk about her. 

It has been super cute and on Saturday night when I attended this conference David came with me and had to sit by "My jenny" He would randomly (creepily) just look at her and get the biggest smile. I love it! It also has been great because Miss jenny has a great voice and David is now super interested in music and dancing. He lets me put on different kinds of music (he likes opera-which I know is very difficult to sing but not my favorite) and anytime he hears a good female voice he says "My jenny is singing to me!"  

We are going over for a play date later and I am really excited for him to see the grand piano they have in their apartment. We have downloaded a piano app on the ipad that helps you learn notes and play music but he hasn't focused enough to let me teach him. Hopefully once he sees that Miss Jenny plays and teaches piano he will be interested. Overall we are loving our chance to do kindermusik time with both our boys. It is a sacrifice for the Mr (it is at 10:30 on a Saturday) so he normally has to stop studying to come but we have loved the different kind of one on one interaction we get with the boys. 
But really who wouldn't love this kid! 

Sunday Talks

The Mr and I were asked to speak in church yesterday. Because we don't have paid clergy, every so often, we get the opportunity to share a talk to the congregation. I was really nervous-this ward is kind of (ok really) intimidating for me so for the first time in years I wrote out my talk word for word, and I practiced saying it out loud in front of the mirror a couple times as well. They also had me as the concluding speaker which was slightly terrifying. Between the goof ball elder who was supposed to take 2 minutes but took 10 minutes rambling, the Mr going over about 5 minutes, and the beautiful but long musical number I had 3 minutes to give what they told me would be 15 minutes. The counselor told me I could go over but I was still left with about 8 minutes.  So I am putting the full version on here so I can feel like I gave the full talk to somebody. It really was great to prepare and the Mr did awesome, as usual. He is a stud and we are so lucky to have him. So here it is.

God is our father we are his children we are part of his family he loves us.  I remember the first time I read these few sentences in Preach my gospel, how grateful I am for the truth we know in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I was born and raised in the church and know all of these things to be true but I had never connected them so succinctly. 
God, who has so many different titles is first and foremost our father,  which makes us his sons and daughters with divine worth. We are children of royalty-only not some limited type of government we know to be associated with royalty. We are part of his perfect family and he loves us more than anything else. He has said his whole purpose is to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man. I am very comforted knowing a perfect being is doing everything in his power to help me a very imperfect being get back to him.
In that same spirit I understand that a perfect being communicating with imperfect, stubborn, and selfish people is probably really difficult. I will be the first to admit that my type A perfectionistic personality can get in the way of my ability to worship or listen to promptings of the spirit because I want to do things my way.  So when I read the scripture found in 2 nephi 28:30 that talks about God giving us things ”Line upon line, precept upon precept” and I am relieved.
Relieved because there is no way I can become all that God wants or sees in me. Like the CS Lewis quote I can only comprehend building myself a cottage but he is ready to build me into a palace.  Maybe I am the only one to feel this way but there are times when even reading my patriarchal blessing that I get discouraged because I am not developing this attribute fast enough or I really question what Heavenly Father sees that I can become. But, once again I am brought back to this scripture and find peace.  I am not going to become perfect overnight.
My heavenly father (who I might add only has my best interest at heart) is only going to reveal to me what I need for better or for worse. When I have received a new calling or trial I felt unprepared for I think he might of given me a little too much. On the flipside sometimes when I am really wanting direction or relief from a burden I feel like he could provide me with a little more but either way I am grateful to know first and foremost that God-my father knows what I need better than I do.  President Monson shared an experience several years ago about his visit to some saints in Easy Germany behind the Berlin wall.
I quote “
They had so little. My heart filled with sorrow because they had no patriarch. They had no wards or stakes—just branches. They could not receive temple blessings—neither endowment nor sealing. No official visitor had come from Church headquarters in a long time. The members were forbidden to leave the country. Yet they trusted in the Lord with all their hearts, and they leaned not to their own understanding. In all their ways they acknowledged Him, and He directed their paths. 11 I stood at the pulpit, and with tear-filled eyes and a voice choked with emotion, I made a promise to the people: “If you will remain true and faithful to the commandments of God, every blessing any member of the Church enjoys in any other country will be yours.”
That night as I realized what I had promised, I dropped to my knees and prayed: “Heavenly Father, I’m on Thy errand; this is Thy Church. I have spoken words that came not from me, but from Thee and Thy Son. Wilt Thou, therefore, fulfill the promise in the lives of this noble people.” There coursed through my mind the words from the psalm, “Be still, and know that I am God.” 12 The heavenly virtue of patience was required.

All of these things were eventually fulfilled although I am sure not as quickly as what the saints would of wanted but I really admire what President Monson did after making a promise to the people. He offered a prayer to God. The ability we have to communicate directly with our heavenly father is a gift never to be taken lightly and in light of our needing to receive things line upon line in the Lord’s timing prayer can be that balm in gilead as wait.
Now When the bishopric assigned this talk they asked me to consider this topic of line upon line from a perspective of what and how we are to endure.  Endurance is such an interesting topic and whether it is in a gospel or a physical activity like running I think patience is always related. Preach my gospel connects these phrases by defining patience as
The capacity to endure delay, trouble, opposition, or suffering without becoming angry, frustrated, or anxious. It is the ability to do God’s will and accept His timing. When you are patient, you hold up under pressure and are able to face adversity calmly and hopefully. Patience is related to hope and faith—you must wait for the Lord’s promised blessings to be fulfilled.
As someone who deals with chronic anxiety I am the first to respond defensively or get discouraged by this statement-I think I will never develop this kind of patience.
But I think another point related to our receiving things line upon line has to do with receiving revelation little by little on what we can and should be doing. Elder Bednar’s example of receiving revelation by a sunrise versus a light switch seems appropriate. Rarely do we have experiences that suddenly reveal a ton of information planning out our whole life-most of the time we experience revelation little by little the way the sun comes up in the morning. This line upon line idea that we gradually get more till we have created a beautiful life.
In whatever element of live we might be able to only work on one or two of these sub topics of patience-that is the line upon line part. The endurance element means that once I master those few things I will move onto rest. Ultimately developing, in this example, the Christlike attribute of Patience.
I want to share my experience I have had since movinghere. For the first time I home full time with my boys. Up till this point I have been a full or part time student also working part time at different point but now that I am home fully with them it has been an adjustment. I hope my saying that is an adjustment doesn’t mean I am not loving it because it is the best thing in the world. But, I will not lie that I am not loving the PhD schedule of 10 hour days on campus and then homework after dinner for my husband. With him being gone so much I have found on some days it is harder than others and I have found a whole new respect for single parents. How I have tried to make the adjustment a little easier has been through the scriptures. An obvious but sure way I know God often speaks to me.
Now, I have always known on the days I read my scriptures my days go better but I had an epiphany about why. When the Mr is is gone for so long most days by 3:00 I am done, Frazzled, worn out, patience wearing thin.
 Now the days vary, and sometimes I feel this way by 9 am but when I have read my scriptures come those really hard times I have found if I simply stop to say a prayer The lord gets me through on His strength for the rest of the day. This is where Savior comes into the picture. Up until this point I have only talked about the relationship I have my loving heavenly father but the mediator between the two of us is the Savior. When God reveals what I think is too much I pray for the strength of a Savior whose atonement makes it possible to measure up to the assignment given. In the example of my experiences as a mom feeling like it is too much all I have to do is rely on the savior’s atonement and know he will get me through the rest of the day. This can be applied to any struggle, trial, responsibility or assignment. We do as much as we can do and then turn it over to the Lord.
This does not negate my responsibility to work hard to endure this trial of graduate student life but, we felt impressed for our family to come to grad school and can trust God will help us on our new path.  I might add My new motto has become.
I know that I can’t do it all but I also love that I can do a lot of it most of the time. To apply this scripture of line upon line even more we can’t expect to receive the “next line of revelation” if we haven’t worked on or mastered the revelation we have already received.
I want to share another experience I had as a teenager in high school. Due to certain circumstances I was suffering at the hand of another I often felt discouraged and overwhelmed. I remember being angry for awhile but one day I was tired of being mad at a situation I couldn’t control anyways and decided to experiment on the gospel.
 I had “gained a testimony” and felt of God’s love but found when I was in these trials I doubted in the dark what I knew in the light. So one evening when I was discouraged I had the thought to put on the DVD Special Witnesses of Christ. Now I could of ignored that line upon line revelation/impression but I am so grateful I didn’t.  I started to watch and was instantly reminded of what I knew to be true. I was changed by the spirit and the testimony of these special witnesses of Jesus Christ.
From then on I carried a copy of the DVD in my backpack (I might add I did this through college) and while I still watched it often it became more of a meaningful/symbolic reminder. I was able to learn from an early age that Satan could never take away what I knew to be true- He could never take away my testimony and often that was all I had to cling to as I could not change my circumstance.
That being said I am sure you can imagine how much I have come to love the prophet and the apostles and I look forward to Conference almost as much as I do Christmas Morning. The doctrine and covenants talk about the special witness the brethren bear as they lead and guide his church and I promise it is a very real gift.
General Conference is yet another way we can receive revelation line upon line.
I also might add I have had a few experiences meeting with some of the general relief society, young womens, and primary presidencies and they bear the same mantle.  I want to share one more experience I had with the recently called general Relief Society President Sister Burton. Like my husband mentioned we were at BYU before we came here and like the typical student family we lived in wymount student housing. We had been told Sister Burton was coming to speak to just our stake and the number of people attending didn’t even fill up the overflow.
It was after her first talk in conference on first observing then serving. I do not remember exactly what she spoke on but I do remember the opportunity she gave for a Q&A session at the end.
She spoke of the hardships of young student families and empathized with us. She invited whoever felt impressed to get up and share things they were doing to help find peace and happiness in this stage of life. The meeting went 45 minutes over but was such a unifying experience. We felt one in purpose and spirit and it wasn’t till I got home That I realized Sister Burton had done exactly what she had preached the previous conference. She was taking time to observe us as we shared experiences and then she served us as she acted the mediator of the meeting. The mantle she bore was evident and I knew she was there to help us as if the Savior was there himself.
Now I recognize that this was an incredibly neat experience that often only happens in Utah because that is where most of the Church leadership lives but I know that those experiences can be had at general conference if we let it.  On the church website there is a new page dedicated with resources available to help prepare for general conference. Some suggestions include coming with questions about your own personal life you want answered, not dismissing messages because they sound familiar, and that conference can and should be a compass for the next few months of our lives.
  I am grateful that we can receive things line upon line and know that 2 of the tools those messages are revealed through ARE, through ancient and modern scripture. I am grateful and know the Book of Mormon and Bible to be true and incredibly helpful books in life.
I also know that modern prophets and apostles have been called today and bear a unique calling of testifying of the Savior. I am grateful for their witness and add my own simple testimony. I know my Savior lives. I know he conquered sin and death and that his church is once again upon the earth. I am grateful for the restoration and for the Temples and the ordinances that are now available for all. I know my loving Heavenly Father loves all of his children and is watching and helping us a long the way because he loves us. In the name of Jesus Christ Amen.

My Parenting Philosophy

To be a parent is hard. Why we complicate such a difficult task by worrying so much about what others think is beyond me but then again kids don't come with manuals so we try and grasp onto anything we can find that might help us.

I have read lots of articles on infant and child development, I have read even more about family processes, and marital interactions.  I have started but never finished a single parenting book.


Because know one knows my child and books are often so political and close minded. They are often my way or the highway and that just doesn't work for me. At least the articles are part of the sciences which means they undergo scrutiny and should have a good research design to even be published.  But the books and the parenting magazines drive me crazy! I mean maybe for the crafts and activity ideas but really press is mostly reinforcing what we want to hear or what conglomerates want to tell us.
So after years of studying and writing papers, and thousands of pages of literature that I have read. I present my parenting philosophy by the way I account to myself at the end of each night.
And the question I ask myself...

How many times did I make my children laugh today?

So simple right. Now I am incredibly grateful for all the literature I have read. It is stored somewhere in my brain and I am sure it subconsciously effects what I do with my kids. I know reading is the most important thing I can do with my children. Or the need for unstructured time through out the day but also the need for routines because kids CRAVE routines.Oh and autonomy-that has been beaten into my brain more than anything else. So yes I will continue to stay up to date and skim research articles on adolescents but really if my kids are laughing every day,


We laugh at funny pictures in books. We laugh outside when we pretend to eat doughnuts and D takes mine e v e r y  s i n g l e time. We laugh before he dozes off to sleep because he knows if he starts laughing I will start laughing as well. We laugh at the funny sounds dad makes at the dinner table. We laugh when the bambino toots because we know it is going to smell and we are going to have run out of the room to escape the smell. We laugh when McQueen and Sally get stuck behind the toilet in the bathroom because they were hiding from Mater. We laugh at the silly songs we listen to as we do crazy dance moves.   We laugh as we  try new tricks out on the playground. We laugh when we tickle each other. We laugh when we spill something because mom and dad are always dropping things. We laugh at dad as we watch him from the window as he walks to our door making silly faces the whole way.

My whole life I was so excited to have posterity to make them smarter and more talented and make sure they had experienced the world by the time they were 5 but as a mom who recently went from a full time student with a part-time job as a mother of two I sure love the simple life. I also attribute this simplicity to the people of Samoa because they really are the happy people with so little by way of means or even opportunities.

When I was a the World Scholar Athlete Games at the University of Rhode Island in 2006 I attended a lecture/workshop by a man from a small village in Africa. I don't remember the details but he basically just explained what his life was like and the hardships he endured. It was humbling to listen too but he explained how happy he was and how grateful he was for where he came from. Some of the adult volunteers asked if they could donate money so they could send food over or buy a tractor for the village but his response was No. He responded that more is not better and that America has this aspect of life wrong.

I echo that sentiment and have made a simple life philosophy because of it.

This doesn't mean I am not trying to teach D to read, or the Bambino to use a fork, or have them write, or play musical instruments-simply that those things are going to happen regardless. My boys are constantly growing and changing and because I get to be home with them I get to be creative about how I am going to stimulate them in their own unique ways. And when I take my job seriously I am really pushed to the limit trying to think of ways to help them both learn and grow.
So to any parent or even spouse (because I do have pretty much the same philosophy for marriage) do yourself a favor. Keep it simple and enjoy the little things in life, I promise you wont regret it.
And nothing produces as much laughter as mormon girls camp songs and leaders doing crazy things to connect with the girls. Oh and being in your first trimester of pregnancy trying to forget about feeling sick and why you ever volunteered to go in the first place.