23 October, 2016


Want the jpg for this so you can download and print it? Email me or leave a comment and I'll send you the file. 
Yesterday we drove to Farmington, Connecticut to walk through the new LDS (Mormon) temple. The ladies in front of us thought we were crazy to drive 4 hours there, tour the temple, then turn around and drive four hours back. Those ladies were right ;). In the words of that one General Conference talk, I felt like I should tell everyone, "They are all mine, and it's no picnic." Ha. Gage and Kjel were pretty good, but Will was being in-sane. Climbing all around, smacking things, making really loud animal noises. My personal favorite was when he started pretending to be a baby. There must be some psychological stuff going on with this poor third child. He would lay on his back on the floor (in the middle of the sealing room while the poor usher was trying to bear his testimony about eternal marriage) and go, "Waaah! Waaah! Wiw is COOT BABY!"

I tried to paste a smile to my face and "keep calm and carry on" but I was worried we were ruining the experience for everyone around us.

Thank heavens for Steven. He kept me laughing through it and on the drive there when I really do think I may have hurt my neck permanently, trying to lean over Gage to nurse Merit in her carseat, and on the drive back when all the kids were crying because they were tired and we were driving through an insane rain storm. Haha! Oh, how I love my life.

I felt the Spirit in the temple. I needed that. It was a sweet experience. I felt the depth and weight of it in my heart; that God is real, that He loves us, and that He is merciful.

Have you read the talk The Abundant Life by Joseph B. Wirthlin? Mormon or not, I think you'd love it. He talks about drinking deeply "of living waters" every day, to experience the delight and wonder of mortality.

I'm so thankful for the Savior, that he lived and died and lives today for me and my family - so that we don't have to forever taste the bitterness and finality of sin and death but can repent and change and taste the sweetness and the purity of the love of God. I know this to be true.

Happy Sunday!

21 October, 2016

Even in Australia

I fell asleep nursing Merit in the old chair in her room this morning. Around six. That kind of set the tone for the day, ha. When Steven came in at eight to see if I was still alive, I laid her back down in her crib and slumped my way over to our bed. My joints and bladder were hurting, and I just wanted to pull the covers over my head and fall back asleep to the sound of the rain.

Steven got in the shower, I tried to bury myself in the blankets for five minutes, but a chunky two-year-old was pulling my hair (gently) and Gage burst into the room with his morning enthusiasm. Kjel wandered in, singing to herself about french toast, and the day began.

I rolled off the bed, pulled on clothes, called out orders ("Gage, grab your lunch from the fridge and put it in your backpack; Kjel, teeth brushed; Will, take off your jammies so I can get you dressed.") And we were off! Scriptures, prayer, bags, keys, shoes. Steve pulled the van into the garage so we wouldn't get wet, and then we were on the road to the school.

Gage didn't have his special Spider Man umbrella today and we looked through the secret compartments of the van to see if our blue umbrella was lurking under the bottled water that's hidden under the kids' seats. It wasn't. :( Poor Gage had to walk through the rain to the big double doors of the school.

We came home and I got ready, fed the kids a snack, tried to put Merit down for a nap, but she wasn't ready. We made bread, tidied up and did breakfast dishes, and our good friend Natalia and her darling baby came over for a visit. We talked and punched down bread dough; Will and Kjel played with play-doh and Merit went down for a nap.

Natalia left, we ate lunch, Will fell asleep in his big boy bed, and I got my studies in and tried to get myself motivated to do yoga, but I felt achy still, all over.

I called Steven to check in, sent a few texts (my sister is due next month to have her baby!) and tried to make my hair manageable. Wrote out my grocery list, vacuumed the downstairs, and fed Merit.

By the time four o'clock rolled around and Gage was home, I was feeling discouraged. What had I accomplished? I couldn't really honestly say. Everyone in my care was fine, but I felt that feeling you get when you've only eaten muffins all day. Full, but not nourished.

Some days, I think, are like that. You can work hard and work well, and give to others and take care of yourself, and fulfill whatever responsibilities are part of your life, but at the end of the day, it's hard to discern what you've done or haven't done.

I really like to cross things off lists. Sometimes if I do something before I've written it down on my list, I'll write it down just to cross it off.

This post really has no profound point, except that I hope that when I'm reading these a few years down the road, and my kids are in high school and I'm trying to balance whatever I'm doing at that point, and I look at my day and wonder, "what did I accomplish?" I'll be kind to myself.

Some days are like that.

Gage had a rough day at school yesterday. He told his substitute teacher that the bat that she'd drawn didn't look like a bat, and she said he hurt her feelings. The whole class (according to Gage) was mad at him for hurting her feelings. We talked about thinking before we speak. Gage was still sad. He cried some bitter tears in the car. I told him that it's okay to have a terrible, horrible, no-good, really bad day.

Even in Australia. :)

20 October, 2016


I was driving up 81 to get home from a visit with a friend today, when I started pondering what it really means to submit our will to God's.

I thought about this quote:

Will, moments after his birth
"In conclusion, the submission of one’s will is really the only uniquely personal thing we have to place on God’s altar. The many other things we “give,” brothers and sisters, are actually the things He has already given or loaned to us. However, when you and I finally submit ourselves, by letting our individual wills be swallowed up in God’s will, then we are really giving something to Him! It is the only possession which is truly ours to give!"

and this quote:

 "Consecration, likewise, is not shoulder-shrugging acceptance, but, instead, shoulder-squaring to better bear the yoke."

Both from this talk by Neal A. Maxwell. I love this talk so much. 

Steven and Merit
Have you ever birthed a child? There is a moment for me during each labor where I am afraid. It's the moment when I realize that there is no other way. That the baby MUST come out of my body. And that it is going to happen soon. I have known this for nine months, and yet in those last few minutes of pregnancy, I feel so cornered by the simple and unalterable truth: one way or another, this child is coming. I have yearned to hold that baby, I have prayed for help to bring it into the world healthy, and then the moment comes and I either sob or shake or pray out loud, asking, "God, please, please help me." 

With Merit, I stood beside the bed, shaking and weak. Steven was holding me up, my nurse was pulling my hair out of my face, crying. I was praying out loud, "Father, please, please, help me. Please help me. Please help me." And then I said again and again, "Help. Help. Help." 

Oh, how my Heavenly Parents' hearts must have broken in that moment. I can imagine them sobbing beside me. I can imagine the angels that were in that room, strengthening Steven and I, bearing us up and giving us the strength to finish.

I wanted to be delivered, I wanted it to end. But it didn't. It couldn't. A baby had to be born: my baby being born was the will of the Father. How thankful I am, from the depths of my soul, that that has been His will for us four times: for each of our children to be born healthy and whole. 

If I had had my way in that moment, if it had all ended, then what? I can't stand to even think of it.

How many other women gave birth that day? How many other daughter's of God were praying to be delivered, praying for a break. Thousands, maybe even millions. 

The Savior in his moment of agony that I can't try to describe, said, "Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless, not my will, but thine be done." (Luke 22:42)

I know that God does not enjoy watching His precious children suffer. I know that He removes every pain that He can, that He paves the way for us as much as possible, and only leaves the trials and the pain that are necessary for us to experience for us to return to live with Him again. I am so grateful for a perfect God, who knows that I need, what each of us needs, to go through, so that we will be refined and humble enough to feel comfortable living eternally with Him and our loved ones, and ultimately becoming like Him. 

I have often agonized over what early Saints were called to do. When I was a teenager I thought that it was sick to put Abraham through such a rigorous, traumatic test. Kill your son, Abraham. Wait, don't. Just kidding. I was testing you. 

The Father gives us these tests and trials, He allows sickness, pain, heartbreak, tragedy... he allows mortality to happen to us, because He wants us to become. 

His will will happen regardless -- my babies will be born no matter how much I pray to be delivered in that moment. And in the end: I am given a beautiful, sweet, perfect baby. A gift that is a million times more wonderful than the experience was painful. 
Merit and I in the NICU

I do not know how those who came before me were compensated for the painful experiences that they endured. But I know that they were. God is so merciful and loving. He is kind and tender. 

My little sister is about to have her first baby. I don't feel excited for her, that is not the right word. I feel so dedicated to her. I feel so ready to pray for her, and to hear from her after her baby is born. To hear her on the phone describe the angels that she felt around her, and our grandmothers with her as she pushes her sweet baby into the world. 

It will be such a hard moment, but it will be so beautiful in the end. 

I do not need all of the answers now. I do not need to know how early prophets and their wives were compensated, what rewards and comforts they received after the intense trials of their faith. I don't need to know, because I know the nature of God. He allows us to taste the bitter cup, but He stays beside us and holds us as we do so, and then He compensates for every pain. 

Laboring with Kjel
The third thing we can do is understand the principle of compensation. The Lord compensates the faithful for every loss. That which is taken away from those who love the Lord will be added unto them in His own way. While it may not come at the time we desire, the faithful will know that every tear today will eventually be returned a hundredfold with tears of rejoicing and gratitude. 

From this talk by Joseph B. Wirthlin, another favorite.

Since my grandmother's funeral I have repeated this again and again in my mind and out loud:

The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirits that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs, heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ, if it so be that we suffer with him, that we may also be glorified together. For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. (Romans 8:16-18)

I have a feeling that Joseph Smith loved these verses. I do. 

When I had a miscarriage, my grandmother's sister, my great-aunt Fern, sent me a beautiful card that said, "We do not God's reasons, but we do know the nature of God." Such a beautiful truth. That is the rock of my testimony: that I know that the nature of God is good, gentle, the perfect father. I want so badly to learn to love His will, and to accept it with my shoulders squared and my head held high. 

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