Friday, May 30, 2014

Sacred Gifts

A few weeks ago my visiting teacher insisted on watching my kids so we could go see the Sacred Gifts exhibit at the MOA. And am I ever glad she did. It changed my relationship with Jesus Christ. He seemed so much more real, more human, more understandable, to me after I saw the exhibit. I saw
Him experience mocking, scorn,


and loneliness

and yet choose the better path through it all. He is your Savior and mine.

I picked out a few paintings that particularly pricked my heart, and taught me a truth in a new way. Ben & I listened to a guided tour on ipads while we went through, so most of the ideas I gained were from listening to the commentators.

"He realized he understood God in a different way than everybody else, and could thereby teach others"

I have felt this urge just has He has. We each have our own personal relationship with our Heavenly Father, and we each understand him differently. We can all be edified by sharing the truths God has taught us about who we are and what we have come here to do.

"The least among you"

In the commentary they talked about how mind-blowing it was for Jesus to teach that we should become as a little child. People viewed them as pests, untrained, and wild, clearly not divine. Even now, though Jesus' teachings have been around for centuries, this idea is embedded in our culture.

The commentator mentioned that the cloth above Jesus' head often signifies royalty in paintings. I would like to think that it is meant for the little child. I try to remember this as I go throughout my day. Despite what I may think about their tantrums, it's not actually me who's closer to Jesus Christ, it's them. What can I learn, how can I grow closer to Jesus Christ by being with you all day?

Agony in the Garden

Jesus Christ went through great suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane. In our lives, we will go through great hardships. Heartbreaking loss, unending torment, real pain. Yet we are never alone. If we could open our eyes, we would be able to see our angels, those who support us through our trials. Who comfort us when we think no one can see our true suffering. They are saying, "I can see you. What you are going through is hard." And their arms are literally embracing us, though our mortal eyes are not aware.

Mary, the mother of Jesus, at the Crucifixion

This picture of Mary comes to my mind the most often. What a noble lady she was. What a high calling she had in this world and the world before, as the mother of Jesus. Yet her life was not picture perfect by any means, despite being highly favored of the Lord. She gave birth to the Son of God in a dirty stable. She had to flee to Egypt to keep her son from getting killed. As a young boy, her son was hard to keep track of, as he was teaching in the temple. Then in his adulthood, she watched as people scourged her son. As they defamed him. She watched as people ridiculed and mocked him. She was the mother of this man that the world hated. Her life was not easy, peaceful, blissful. Then, when life undoubtedly seemed unbearable, she watched her son be crucified. This painting is meant to capture her at the height of it all. It says in the scriptures that Jesus Christ was "a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief." Can we not also say that about his mother? Look at the expression on her face, the sorrow and the pain she felt.

Why does this painting stick out to me? It may seem odd, since, at this stage of my life, I haven't been asked to go through anything gut-wrenching. Although I have been tested, it's been through light-filled things like building a family and going to school, and for that I am truly grateful.

I guess it's just a reminder to me that there's something bigger than this life that we are all a part of. God has a plan for us that extends beyond our mortal experience.

I want to reach out and touch that part of life that is bigger than me. I want to live it, breathe it, feel it. I want it, and God wants you to want it too.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Through the Filter

We had another beautiful day off, like this one. This time we decided to take a short walk (like 20 minutes, literally) in the woods. I learned my lesson about simplicity last time.

I swear I do actually fix that kid's hair!!

It's these small moments when we get away from our daily routine that I am able to see our lives through a rosy filter. We are blessed. We have a beautiful little family. I love them so much. Breaking routine and engaging in wholesome recreational activities is just the kind of rejuvenation families need.

(As a side note, if you have a very young family like mine, I would suggest making your excursion SHORT, close to where you live, and correctly timed with naps and feedings. I don't think kids screaming in cars would be quite as rejuvenating for me)

Monday, May 26, 2014

Uncle Gowen

"Gowen" is what Delaney calls my brother Dillon. It's pretty cute to hear in person.

We love having Dillon live close to us. We don't talk about him enough! How much we love having him visit, finish off the leftovers, babysit, or just sit and chat. Dillon loves to think big thoughts, and he also loves to do the right thing. He is unassuming and humble. He is so considerate and others-centered.

That's why when I asked my brother Dillon to help us with a little big project he jumped at the occasion. Because, you know, it's not like he doesn't already do a lot for us or is a busy student or anything. There was no grumbling out of him. A truly kind soul wishing to share his talents to help somebody out.

Ben had a great idea several months ago and we've been trying to bring it to fruition. It's a little tedious to explain, so I knew a videoscribe video would be just the thing.

Dillon is a talented artist and has a great speaking voice (a great singing voice too!). His creative wheels spin a little faster than most.

Can you believe no one has snatched this guy up yet?

 The Utah Valley Marathon is just weeks away! If you know anybody who could use our service, be sure to pass along the word.

Thanks Dillon for being a great brother!

Friday, May 23, 2014

Don't Worry, I'm Still Normal

I just got through writing how grateful I am for my life, and then this week was one for the books. Cheyenne's behavior has been out of control, thanks to her deciding sleep is not a priority right now. There has been hitting, lots of hitting, and biting, and large, loud tantrums. Add all the crying and wailing from her sister, who is the brunt of most of it. I was asking Ben how it was possible that we had an almost two year old and a 6 month old, yet our three year old is the one who gives us the most trouble.

Last night, after the kids finally fell asleep nearly two hours late, I broke down. The tears streamed down my face. I sobbed. I told Ben I couldn't do it anymore. There was literally nothing left in me. I wasn't sure me and these kids were going to make it to Saturday. And at the close of the day, Ben and I knelt down together and I asked for help. Then, exhausted, we went to sleep.

Today I've been giving the Book of Mormon a little more of my time. Despite the craziness, we've been giving it our time all this week. And today was calm, relatively speaking. I had an idea come to my mind for Cheyenne that seemed to make a difference. It was a cloudy day outside, but there was sunshine in my soul.

God is real. He does not leave us alone. Life is not about how much willpower you have, but about tuning in to His power, that our burdens may be light.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Sittin' on a Rainbow

Delaney and Daddy going on a date

And what it's like most of the time

My heart overflows with gratitude. I am often overwhelmed with the blessings in my life. It's supposed to be hard. I'm supposed to be complaining. Lots of little babies means lots of crying. The house is a mess. The baby gets up in the night and the kids get up too early. And I still do complain, sometimes. 

But more often than not I go through the "what ifs" of gratitude. What if I didn't have these two arms? What if I didn't have enough food to eat? What if I didn't have a way to keep my babies out of the rain?

Then everything else feels like a bonus. God is great. He fills not only my life, but yours too, with things to be grateful for.


Wednesday, May 14, 2014

I Am Enough

There are no performance reviews when you are a mother. Nobody sees the quiet moments, the countless hours that you nurture and care for children. It's just you.

Like most women, I'm pretty good at seeing what I do wrong. It's also easy to do a total 180 and decide you are better than someone else, even subconsciously, because of the things we do or teach in our home.

God is aware of what we do right. But his awareness is not in relation to someone else's performance.

So much of gospel living is correcting our thought patterns. It's about taking a thought and saying, "Wait, why am I thinking that? What is motivating me to think that way?" And replacing that motivation with the way God thinks.

He tells me, your performance is not viewed in relation to someone else's performance.

I know I am enough.

When Cheyenne says "I'm pretty because I'm a child of God."
When Delaney gets hurt, she cuddles up on my lap and demands, "Song. Baby Mine."
The fact that Ephraim can't take his eyes off of me and smiles as he follows me around the room.

You can ask him too and find out that you are enough. There won't be any balloons and confetti, thank you cards or celebrations, but He can show you the moments you are doing right.