Wednesday, June 27, 2012

A Meaningful Life: A Spiritual Life


Provo Canyon in the fall-- taken Fall 2009

Let's talk about quality of life for a minute.

I used to think that quality of life could be defined by a couple of things.
-Marriage
-Kids
-House/lifestyle
-Free time/hobbies

When you look around in the world that we live in, it's easy to see why I thought this is the case. People fill up their time with this stuff. It's all over facebook, blogs, it's what you talk to people about when they ask you what you did over the weekend. Getting an ice cream cone with your daughter, going for a bike ride with your true love, putting on a new deck on your house, whatever.

But recently I had a conversation with my mom that I just can't get out of my mind. My mom had 11 children. There was a lot of that "quality of life" stuff that we didn't get growing up. My mom had a lot of ideas of how to be a great mom, she loved canning and sewing and making homemade bread. But by the time I came around (#8) a lot of those things kind of moved to the back burner.
So I asked my mom, "Were you ever disappointed with the quality of life you gave your kids?"
"Sure," she answered, "We had to buy cheap food so it wasn't the best, our kids wore hand-me-downs, and we ate store bought bread."
"So why did you keep having kids?" I asked.
"I guess it was because I was married to a man who wanted to have a large family, no matter what the cost," was her reply.

The thing that I couldn't shake from my mind was this: quality of life is not what you think it is. I've come to realize what quality of life means for me. And this is why I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

No matter who we are, we are all going to face struggles in our life. Most of us probably won't be able to build that dream house, or have all that free time where we develop our favorite hobbies. We might lose a job, or end up living somewhere that is not our ideal.

But I have come to realize that no matter what my circumstances, I can find a great "quality of life" through these things:

-A personal relationship with my Father in Heaven through prayer. Someone you can always call on and pour your heart out to.
-Repentance. It makes a huge difference in your life when you can say, "I messed up. I need to start over. Can you help me?"
-Personal improvement guided by the One who already suffered for your weaknesses: Jesus Christ. You may not be able to improve your circumstances, but isn't it exciting to think that you can always improve yourself? How's that for a hobby.

In this ever tumultuous world, I'm so grateful for knowledge that grounds me. I don't know where I would be without the knowledge I have gained through my membership in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.


Monday, June 11, 2012

Motherhood

I know motherhood is a sensitive subject, because for some people they so desperately want it but can't have it because of infertility or other reasons, and so any talk of its virtues is like a dagger in the heart to these people. I just wanted to say that I hear you. I'm not trying to be insensitive, I am just writing from my heart. This is where I am, this is my experience, I can't change it, and this is my avenue for learning in this world.

I've been thinking a lot about progressing in motherhood lately, since I am anticipating the birth of my second child. You start thinking again about the difficulties of the newborn stage, the weariness, the nights where you are emotionally spent. Then you begin to imagine your days, wrangling a toddler, wanting so desperately to nap, and trying to keep all of the newborn's needs met all at the same time. Like most women, your mind won't let you stop there. What about the next baby? Does it get exponentially harder with each child you have? It's exhausting just to think about it.

But lately I've been thinking about the point of it all. The point of your life, really. In the grand scheme of things, our goal is to become as selfless as possible. To become as much like Jesus Christ as you possibly can. If the point was to worry about our own selves, to make ourselves as "happy" as we possibly could, well then you probably wouldn't be having any children. There's a lot of "child rearing" that is not "happy" as the world would label it.

But Jesus Christ, as our ultimate example, although he wasn't a mother, he is a perfect "father" so to speak. He perfectly nurtures our spirits. He's never too tired to answer our cries for help. He doesn't get angry when we pour out our Cheerios on the floor over and over and over again. And he doesn't just do this for you, but for all of his children.

I've noticed since I've been a mother I've started to become a little more selfless (not perfect, mind you). When you first give birth, let's face it, it's baptism by fire. One minute you're wondering what kind of sandwich you want and the next minute you are tied to chair 24/7, meeting your baby's every needs. You're lucky if you get a shower or the sandwich. Now with a second child, even less of the time in the day will be mine. But it can be a gift, if we choose it to be.

Kissing the Face of God-- Morgan Weistling

God wants so much for us to be like Him. There's so much true joy in living like Him. So much less complaining, and so much more enjoying what you have. I know when this baby comes I'm still going to resent the nighttime feedings occasionally (probably more than occasionally, I have a lot to learn). But I'm so grateful for the knowledge of how it could be and what I can be. And I'm going to keep working toward that.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Midwest

We made our annual trip out to the Midwest.

We saw sunsets like this

People we love like these guys

And these ones

And of course there was plenty of time for popsicles.

So yeah, you could say our trip was a success (if you could subtract the 4 hours of Cheyenne screaming on airplanes).


First stop: Des Moines, Iowa to see sweet baby Kate get blessed (I'm sure you'll enjoy this belly shot and look how nervous Cheyenne looks).


Cousins Eliza and Cheyenne (born 6 weeks apart).


We had fun with my sister Heather and her family and my brother Justin and his family. We even rented paddle boats and rode around the lake.

And a cool paddle bike. And Eliza was the mascot for one paddle boat.


Cousins!


Next stop: Elmwood, Illinois to visit Ben's family

We went to the zoo (Cheyenne with cousin Jaylyn)
Hung out in corn fields with Dilsaver cousins! (That's Cheyenne's swimsuit, if you were wondering. An adorable pink tutu from her Aunt Michelle).



Checked out the Abraham Lincoln Museum in Springfield, IL with Mom & Dad Dilsaver (I'm 33 weeks)

And obviously, just had a great time.


We love having the chance to visit family and always make it a priority. Until next year!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

May

These are some odds and ends, but I wanted to make sure I got them up here.

Cheyenne LOVES to do anything with her daddy, even if he's just working on the computer.

She found her daddy's hat from his mission to Texas.

A sweet action photo of Cassidy doing the hurdles.