Sunday, September 28, 2014

Dancing in the Rain

What's that quote you love, Cassidy?

Life's not about waiting for the storm to pass, it's about learning to dance in the rain.

These two are now engaged. We're excited to add Emily to our family!
A December 30th wedding

Derek's also been bringing a cute friend over to Sunday dinner

What they DON'T tell you about those pop-top lids is that they are easily opened by kids...and said kids will ruin your entire stockpile.

Sunday, September 21, 2014



In America, "balance" is usually seen as spinning a series of plates, frantically dashing to and fro trying not to let one crash tragically to the ground, breaking into a million pieces.

With this traditional view of balance there's this idea of "doing it all," having so many plates spinning, and keeping them spinning indefinitely. Because of our traditional view of balance, many of us shy away from taking up an extra plate because most certainly the other plates wouldn't spin as fast, or one of them would come crashing down.

I believe balance, in reality, is a spinning top.

The plates are stacked, according to size, the biggest first, and set into motion by one single spin.

The question I get asked most often these days is "How's school going?" I've felt tempted in the past to cast my answer in the plate-spinning light. Obviously, since I've picked up another plate, everything else is harder, right? I'm stretched too thin. Something's gotta give. You can't make up time, and I have less of it these days.


Since I have felt guided by God in this decision, everything has fallen into place. Putting God first was the decision that has put everything else into motion. Putting God first is how this top started spinning in the first place. I'm not spinning it, God is. Balance is not a feat of man. It's a gift from God.

I start out with the big things: Wife and mother. There's no compromising there. I'm not going to put anything ahead of those things. When my kids need to go to the doctor, I skip school. When my husband needs my attention, I put down the book.

I do a lot during the day. My days look different than they used to. Surprisingly it's pretty much the same hours it used to be. I don't get up much earlier or go to bed much later (yet. It's not midterm season). God just uses me in different ways. I ride my bike to class. I ride home. I spend time with my kids. We still make cookies and play with friends. They go to sleep. I do homework. I talk to Ben. All before 11pm.

God directs me in how to spend my time, how to keep those heavier things at the top and keep my balance. When I am with my kids I am present. I don't think about school. I don't do homework. We do pretty much normal things that we have always done.

When it comes to homework I do a lot of thinking. I focus on learning and less on tasks. Luckily my graduate work is more application-based and less busy work, so it gives me the opportunity to do that.

Another thing that contributes to balance is that I have been prepared. In so many ways I see the Lord's hand in what I have thought about, participated in, and become in the last four years. It has been excellent, specific preparation for what I am being asked to do right now. Tasks that might have terrified me before seem doable. Assignments I would have misunderstood are quick and take less time. The thinking I do is simply a continuation, a stretching of what I have already begun.

The Lord is directing me. He is directing me in how I can be more perfectly balanced, where there is room for improvement. I feel the urge to spend more one-on-one time with my kids. I feel the urge to be more specific in how Ben and I spend our time together. I have felt the urge to keep friendships going, to make phone calls, to keep up with this blog. I have felt the urge to keep up my temple attendance, and to stretch my personal relationship with God to a higher level.

If I was spinning separate plates, it would be easy to say STOP! Stop, I need to put one of these down!

But when I allow the Lord to direct me, I see that I am being fine-tuned. He's not asking me to do more, but do more with what I already have. To be more. To cut out the things that don't matter and make life matter, entirely.

I am happy. I'm giving of myself, I'm losing myself. And I'm finding the happiness that is reserved for those who live life this way.

Is God balancing you?

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

My baby's growing up

It always happens at about this age. I realize I'm losing my baby.

Those chubby legs, indented knuckles, that button nose, and those teeth that I love so much will soon be distant memories.

I LOVE YOU BOY. Please be mine forever.

You may grow and get bigger, but my love for you will never change.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Live Your Life for Others

 I wanted to make clear that I was not suggesting in my previous post that all women jump up and go find an 8-5 job. I am grateful that God has enlarged my understanding to see that work can be a way to serve, and many women may be called on to do it in the future. And that all of us, regardless of our work status, will be called on to serve Him in some capacity that (I believe) will be in addition to family and church responsibilities. As the Lord hastens his work, we will be asked to do more and contribute in ways that might not be traditional or comfortable to us.

I have spent weeks pouring over the whys in my life. Why am I supposed to go to school? Is it going to make me happier, more fulfilled? Am I failing here at home and this is Heavenly Father's way of gently guiding me to improve? Do I need an "outlet" and I just never realized it?  You think if you get "called" to do something, you're going to eventually be the President of the United States or something. But in reality is the measly job I may someday have really going to make a difference? What is the point? Why strain your family? Why me? Why now? Why my talents? Why my family? My kids? Me, me, me, me, me.

For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. Matthew 16:25

Happiness is interesting because we think we need to find it. And so we do everything we can to create the conditions for it to thrive. Build our dream house, fill our home with eye-catching "stuff," make to-do lists and goals and check them off. Live the dream. Watch your kids excel. This is happiness, this is fulfillment, we tell ourselves. Living a rich, happy, full, busy life. Busy with us, busy with our own happiness.

For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.

Life is about giving of yourself. And God has a specific way he wants all of us to "lose ourselves." The very nature of losing yourself is a process that involves being uncomfortable and out of your element. This means that it might not be in the way you are most talented. If it's a calling in life, how you serve is not your decision. In our church, people are not usually given assignments they have already mastered. 

But in our world, we are told the exact opposite. Find what makes you happy, and do it. A busy life is a fulfilling one. If you're going to serve others, it's most likely a checklist item on a list of "things to do that make me look awesome" nestled in there with "running marathons" and "traveling the world." 

For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. 

I'm going to stop asking "Why me?" in my life and instead give myself to Him. I'm going to listen, really listen, and live. Live a path that is uniquely mine, but not actually about me at all.

Happiness and fulfillment are natural consequences of fulfilling your calling in life. Unfortunately if you never reach for it, you have no idea what real happiness tastes like. I've tasted it and I want it to envelope my whole life. My hope is that you will so strive too.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Just Regular

We got a guest bed...come visit!
Playing in a foam pit

I had to laugh at my friend Megan's post because I could relate so well...except our "extra member of the family" is a broken wooden Jesus statue! Delaney likes to carry him around, feed him, and give him naps. 

They both insisted on holding on to his pockets while he mowed the lawn. Ben wins every time for the favorite for these girls.

Dillon's been bringing this cute lady friend over for Sunday dinner. We don't mind!

He may have had heart surgery three weeks ago but now he's crawling all over the place. He loves to do this move and rests his head on the floor.

Ogden Temple Open House