Saturday, September 26, 2015

Great fun in the last month or so

These two are just so cute

As are these ones!

These are old photos. Back at our old house in Provo, Ben rebuilt the back porch roof. He conned my brothers into lifting this heavy (500 lb.) beam over their heads at 7am in the morning before they went to work. I was impressed that nobody died!
Our good old house got painted before we left. Thankfully by someone other than Ben this time!
Ben also installed all new blinds in the house, and we got the upstairs recarpeted. I guess you always need to "leave a place better than you found it." Only wish we could have enjoyed some of the upgrades!
Another old photo, the girls with some of their cousins.
Something cute Cheyenne brought home from preschool
Beautiful soft light in the kids' room
I love the view out the back yard

Our bathroom is a "white" bathroom, which I love. It always feels so clean and bright, it makes me happy.
Sometimes your daughter says "take a picture of me!" And, well, you have to say yes.
We went to a reenactment here in town and saw everybody dressed up in period clothes. It was in the middle of the forest on a cool damp morning. It was magical!

Cheyenne got some new belts... which obviously make great headbands for you and your baby

We love going on Sunday afternoon drives. One afternoon we ran into this tiny little airplane hanger and saw a few airplanes land and take off, literally right next to our car. It was pretty cool.

Sometimes (!!) all three of them end up in bed with us. Or in this case, in the guest bed.

We bought the kids new shoes, and it turns out it gives Cheyenne some great dance moves

We bought the kids pants (it must be fall!). Delaney was very excited!

We have a huge acorn tree out our front door and the girls love to collect acorns. Sometimes the squirrels love the little piles they find on the front porch!

I love the soft evening light when it falls across our house and leaves shadows. There's something so beautiful about the end of the day. Sometimes it makes me smile so much I have to take a picture of it.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

What Matters

As a parent, what matters? This was not a question I've been pondering lately, but the answer has been thrust upon me. 

I like to keep our life simple, we're not a "run here and there"-kind of family, but even I found a way to be distracted from what really mattered.

"I want to have kids who love to clean-and-love vegetables-and-I want have kids who are really creative-and-I want ones who are really kind-and...."

I get so excited thinking up different attributes I can ingrain in my kids and make a part of their lives. Like all parents, I want them to be somebody kinda like me, of course, only better. I've had my laundry list of "attributes I want my kids to have" growing since before I even had children.  

I think my enthusiasm for "parenting" was shifting my focus from my true purpose as a parent.

Only one thing matters. And that is preparing your child to return to live with their Heavenly Parents once again.

 And that wicked one cometh and taketh away light and truth, through disobedience, from the children of men, and because of the tradition of their fathers. But I have commanded you to bring up your children in light and truth. -Doctrine and Covenants 93:39-40


For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man. --Moses 1:39

I am merely a servant. And my children are not clay for me to mold, but individual daughters and son of a Heavenly Father. They have each come here wired with their own little personalities and strengths, and they each have their own agency to learn from this experience--life-- as they choose.

It is not my purpose to form them, but simply to teach them truth. There are many things they will learn through trial and error, through experience. But truth, the truth found in Jesus Christ and recorded in His church, while the fruits can be seen by others, this life-changing Truth must be taught.

Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:

Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. -Matthew 7:13-14

The truth I am privileged to know and love--- that I am a child of God, that God has a plan for His children, that Jesus Christ was the perfect example of finding true happiness--- it is my charge to share this with my children. Missionaries are willing to share this knowledge with complete strangers. Sharing this knowledge with our children is meant to have its proper place as our entire purpose as parents-- and servants of our Heavenly Father.   

We cannot add reading scriptures on to a long list of 'to do's'. We can't push off Family Home Evening because the kids are too little to listen. We can't lessen our family prayers because they don't seem to get it. For me, it's as if a list of everything I ever wanted to teach my kids have gone fuzzy in my mind, and in their place, in bold black letters are these three rituals.

God's way is completely different than the way we are familiar with. He was born "all wrong"--in a dirty stable. He told Martha to stop doing the dishes and come, listen to the word of God. There is much work to be done in God's kingdom-- but that work should never keep us from taking time to "be still and know that I am God."

This is what I have learned that matters. 

"Some of you have heard me tell how overwhelmed my husband, Mel, and I felt as the parents of four young children. As we faced the challenges of parenting and keeping up with the demands of life, we were desperate for help. We prayed and pleaded to know what to do. The answer that came was clear: “It is OK if the house is a mess and the children are still in their pajamas and some responsibilities are left undone. The only things that really need to be accomplished in the home are daily scripture study and prayer and weekly family home evening.”  -Linda S. Reeves

Saturday, September 19, 2015

At the Apple Orchard

Preschool-age, though the hands-on-ness of it leaves me so exhausted, is such a magical time. My girls were so excited to go to the apple orchard with their class. They are still talking about the wagon ride, the cider mill, and picking their own apples. I always feel a little bit like a circus act any time I go somewhere-- one of my kids is inevitably lost, and the other two are wreaking some kind of havoc. Yet participating in their childhood-- the gasps of delight at the honey bee box, the squeal of glee on the hay ride, are things I would never miss.

The orchard was so quaint-- I loved it. The shiny apples in wooden boxes, the pungent smell of the cider press-- I smiled just wanting to bask in it all. It's a wonderful time that we live in. We Americans may not be as industrious with our hands as we used to be-- but we can admire ingenuity and tradition when we see it.   

Friday, September 18, 2015

Your Heart & Your Hands

Is there room for deep, spiritual thought in life? For the past few months I've wrestled with what to do with my deep, spiritual thoughts. I love to connect ideas and find new applications for Truth, and I've chronicled many of them here. Yet beyond the sheer enjoyment I found in writing them down, I began to wonder if this was just a hobby, and not a very useful one.

Why spend time thinking when you could be doing? The efforts made with hands-- service given, burdens lifted-- are so severely needed. If my spiritual musing was simply a hobby, it didn't seem very serviceable.

Yet God has never asked for simply our hands, he wants our hearts too.

Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? or who shall stand in his holy place? He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully. -Psalms 24:4

And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. -Mark 12:30

I thought that maybe this philosophical part of myself should be muted, or ignored. It's given me a lot of anguish, because I could not make these thoughts go away. But, as I've sought to learn more about Jesus Christ-- finding comfort in his words in the Book of Mormon, and pleading with an honest heart in prayer--I've found a space for my mind in His kingdom. And he wishes this from all of his children-- their hearts and their hands.

Giving Him your whole soul the complete depth of it, and your mind and all of its reasonings, is a gift to our Father. In return, you to be a better servant in his kingdom-- "His hands." 

For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father. -Mosiah 3:19

Therefore, what manner of men ought ye to be? Verily I say unto you, even as I am. -3 Nephi 27:27

Humility, meekness, patience, these are conditions of the heart. They cannot be simply achieved by doing good works, or half-hearted scripture readings and quickly muttered prayers. If we intend to serve God, and serve our fellowman, it's going to take some deep, spiritual thought on our own time. It's going to take quiet, dark hours. It will take communion and mediation, a transformation of thought patterns.

I think I wanted to tone down my spiritual thoughts because I couldn't see the fruits. The fruits of service, of work are so apparent-- you feel so good, and you can see the burden being lifted from another. But the fruits of spiritual work are so subtle-- the direction of your thoughts, or your attitude toward your family. This is an indication that your Father is changing your insides-- which is not something you want to do without.

I want to be whole, to be perfect, even as our Savior is. And that means giving Him my hands and my heart.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Our Cheyenne girl

Dear Cheyenne,

What a beautiful girl you are. You have a light and happiness the world needs! I love seeing you grow and experience life, to see the world again through your eyes.

You are nearly five years old and you're beginning to make sense of this world. I love the little stutter in your speech when your mouth is trying to say what your brain has already figured out. You are constantly telling me of things you have recently discovered or connected together.

You love school. You love having your brain stretched, to learn new things, to be part of a class. You find joy in simple things and love to laugh. You want desperately to connect with your peers. At the park, at the store, anywhere you see a kid your age, you announce to me that you are going to go over there and make a new friend.

Cheyenne, you are a go-getter, a planner. I remember in awe all places you have asked me to go: camping, to a museum, to plan a party, or see a cousin. And I smile because so many times we have said "yes" and you've made some great memories for us. You are so little yet so powerful.

Children are such a blessing. I've learned so much about how my Father in Heaven cares for me because of the way I care for you Cheyenne. And I found out he has more love for us than I had ever imagined.

I love you.


Your Mother

Thursday, September 3, 2015

First day of Preschool

We sat at the kitchen table after dinner and I tried to distill for you all the wisdom you'd need: be kind, remember who you are, and listen to your teacher.

Your dad gave you a father's blessing after your bath. Tomorrow would be the day you'd start a new chapter in your life, one full of learning, and of responsibility.

Although a three-hour, three-days-a-week preschool might not be a major life change for two little girls, it confirms to me that we are but pawns at the mercy of this Thing called Time. Limited here on this earth, our only task is to learn and grow, and give ourselves a little bit more to God each day until it runs out.