- I recently came across the idea of “spiritually creating” your day before you physically do it. I love this concept. The scriptures teach us that all things were created spiritually before they were physically created, so to me spiritually creating my day means turning it over to God. Making sure that I’m in a place that I can listen and be directed by him if my plans don’t align with his. Although, I’m not above asking for his help in accomplishing some of my plans either. I put this quote by C.S. Lewis in my calendar, so I can see it daily as a reminder. “The real problem of the Christian life comes where people do not usually look for it. It comes the very moment you wake up each morning. All your wishes and hopes for the day rush at you like wild animals. And the first job each morning consists simply in shoving them back; in listening to the other voice, taking that other point of view, letting that other larger, stronger, quieter life come flowing in. And so on, all day. Standing back from all your natural fussings and frettings; coming in and out of the wind”. – Mere Christianity
- I love symbolism. Especially when it’s not overt. When it’s something that we discover for ourselves or even make up for ourselves as a way to remind us of a deeper meaning. Sometimes our routines can get mundane boring even. Food prep, consumption, and clean up is an especially hard one for me. Make breakfast, clean it up, an hour later, make lunch, clean it up (Ok i don’t always clean it up). After school snacks, Dinner repeat. So many hours in the kitchen. Preparing physical healthy food for my family helps them not only be strong and have energy to do all that they need to, but can remind me of the importance of providing spiritual food as well. The constant cleaning up can remind me of the need to constantly evaluate, turn to the Savior, and clean up our own lives – and to do it with a good attitude. Procrastinating this process makes it less fun, but it still always feels good when it’s complete. Waking up really early with a baby (damn you daylight savings) can remind me to always be ready to serve (okay maybe that ones a stretch).. I’m still working on a deeper meaning for changing diapers.
- I’ve been noticing lately with my kids and with others that I love that every attribute has a positive and negative aspect. Which has made me think about the concept of turning weaknesses into strengths. I have one child who feels things really deeply. When he was four he got up to share his testimony in church and said with all conviction, “I know Jesus is real.” This same child has gotten hurt very easily by insensitive comments of others among many other things. Another child is incredibly determined -he may or may not have also been described as relentless. Great if he is reaching for a goal. Not fantastic if he is trying to convince his Mom he needs more candy/screen time/anything. The trick is to see how the attribute can be positive.
- Growing up my parents talked a lot about “the law of the middle”. I’ve been pondering what that means lately and how to apply it to my own family because I think it’s an essential concept. Especially in my current and ongoing battle against sugar and screens (every parent battles this right?) It doesn’t mean doing things half-way or not being fully committed to the Gospel, to a cause, to each other, to health. I think it means what’s in your heart is more important than what you do. It looks like teaching your children to love the scriptures so they want to be in them as often as possible, not to spend a specific amount of time in them every day. It looks like teaching your children that sugar is not good for you, not that you should never touch it again. It looks like finding joy in the Sabbath day and drawing closer as a family and to Christ through it – not a specific list of dos and don’ts. It looks like adding in grace. I was reading Letters to a Young Muslim the other day and came across this quote. “intensity distorts reality”. I loved it. I think that nails an aspect of it. My Mom mentioned that there’s a talk about it – I couldn’t find it. Sent it please Mom/Dad. It’s one of those things that I feel like I almost understand, but I’m not quite there.
- I love getting to know my kids better as they get older. Yesterday Josh rode his bike by me as I ran and we talked about everything from Pokemon (an abbreviation for pocket monsters – who knew?! I feel like that tidbit is going to win me a trivial pursuit game someday) to what the world would be like if countries didn’t exist. Each one of them is so incredibly different – to the point I don’t know if they would be friends if they weren’t thrown together in a family. But also so incredibly cool and unique and sometimes I just feel a bubble of joy that I get to hang out with them and get a glimpse of their hearts.
You are my oldest. Every birthday you have is also my birthday as a mother. Sometimes I feel like I need to apologize for that. I have never had a child your age before. You are the experiment. You get to be the one fights for privileges like staying out late and getting a phone (definitely not yet!) because we haven’t set any standards yet. Luckily you are both a good talker and a good listener.
I was a wreck after I had you. I wanted to make sure that I did everything right. Naps were non-negotiable. I even left Disneyland to take you back to the hotel for a nap — You slept in the stroller on the way to the hotel and wouldn’t sleep once we got there.
Then there was the time that you were crawling around with a toothbrush in your mouth and face planted. You cried and cried, until I finally called your pediatrician late that night and explained that your toothbrush had scraped the back of your throat. The poor sweet man told me to give you some tylenol and put you to bed. I’m sure that was the only call he received because of a toothbrush injury. You were fine after the tylenol by the way.
When Dad got home from work we’d sit on the couch everyday and watch you play. Everything you did, and do amazes us.
People see AJ and remind me to “soak up every moment because it goes by so fast.” It does, and I do. But I’ve never wanted to always have a baby. As precious as they are that’s way too exhausting – an 11 year old, that can take care of himself, does chores, and is fun to talk to, that I could keep around for awhile.
This year you’ve grown up. I can see the man you will become physically, mentally and spiritually. Life is a little more complicated now. Friendships are not as straightforward and expectations are high. Sometimes it feels like a long list of to do’s: Clean your room, get ready, empty the dishwasher, practice the violin, go to baseball practice, foot ball practice, do your homework, help me with AJ. I’m fairly certain that when you see that harried look in my eye you hide upstairs with a good book and manage “not to hear” when I call- you are a smart one.
I hope the to do’s bring you joy, and if there are some that don’t we stop them and find others that do – except for chores, you don’t have a choice on those and hopefully someday they’ll bring you joy.
Sometimes I don’t know how to hang out with you. You don’t want to do science experiments or crafts anymore. You’d rather stay home with friends than go on an “adventure”. I don’t know what to do with the crazy amounts of goofy energy and the sometimes loud, obnoxious noises. But gradually we are finding our way. Ditching school for lunch dates, an occasional board game, concerts and museums. I can’t talk sports with you very well but I can talk books and I’m amazed at how you think.
In this life you will find a million reasons that you are alive. If those reasons fulfill you, excite you, and give you purpose, gather them up and hold them. But I hope that you will always remember the first reason that you are alive. Because you were so incredibly wanted by your parents.
Your birthdays have a curious effect on me. Each time you add another year to your resume I strip something away from myself. I realize how much in life is nonessential. I have mental lists of things I want to teach you, but they can be summed up in these six essential things:
Study the scriptures
Our Savior’s atonement is the only way to overcome and become.
And most of all, learn how to talk to God. Because HE knows you better than I do and he will help you when I can’t.
Watching you fills me with joy and excitement. You will be and do good in your life.
Love you forever,
Memorization is out of fashion. The days of reciting multiplication facts out loud, or performing a poem from memory are in the past. These methods have been replaced by more interactive learning, discussion, questions… all good things.
And yet… numerous studies point to the benefits of memorization.
This article lists increased neural plasticity and creativity among other benefits.
POW’s have been grateful for every scrap of poetry lodged in their heads.
Music teachers still know the value of it, requiring students of all levels to memorize every note and swell in sound.
“If we do not learn by heart, the heart does not feel the rhythms of poetry as echoes or variations of its own insistent beat.” Catherine Robson.
There is something to taking words into yourself and making it a part of you.
For a solid year we consistently memorized 1 scripture a month as a family. At the time, Josh was 4 and Anna 2. Saying big words in their little raspy voices. They each had a favorite and could say it with excitement.Continue Reading