Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Seek the Good

Last weekend I did something I've never done before: I went out of town, overnight, without my husband or my children. That may seem silly. But, in the ten and a half years of marriage and almost seven years of motherhood, I've never gone away by myself. And it was great. I was glad to be home when it was time to go home. But what I did while I was away was unbelievable. I had the chance to go to Springfield Massachusetts for a women's conference called Time Out For Women, sponsored by the Deseret Book Company. It was geared toward women of faith, particularly LDS women. Deseret Book brings several of their authors and a couple of the musicians on their music label to speak and sing/perform for two wonderful days. The theme for this year's tour was "Seek the Good." And boy was there much good to be seen over that weekend.

The very last speaker, Emily Freeman, had some especially poignant words for me personally about really seeing the goodness of God. Afterwards I had a chance to visit with her. I wanted to tell her how much I appreciated her ability to seamlessly weave scripture stories and real life experience together. I wanted to pick her brain and ask her how she does it. She's written 10 books and does these TOFW tours and I also found out she teaches early morning seminary just like me! So I asked her about her writing--when she does it, how, etc. The one thing that feels like it was just branded into my brain was this comment: "My audience is my children. I write exclusively for my children." What? Wow! For all those popular books and speaking engagements, every single thing she writes is written expressly for her children. She told me that many years ago she had a friend who had cancer and she wanted her children to know certain things about her. That left an impression on Emily and she decided to follow that lead. Everything she writes is with the intent to share her thoughts, ideas, feelings, testimony, advice, experiences, growth, joy with her children. Her children are mostly grown now. But she has followed this pattern for many years.

That experience feels like it has changed me. I have so many things that float around in my head and my heart. My husband sometimes teases me that my brain is just always racing and never shuts down. I've thought over and over in the last many years that a long time ago, God gave me gift for words and if I'm not going to use it, I'm going to loose it. I've already started making lists of the things I want my children to know and feel and understand. I hope over the next long while I'll be able to commit those things to paper (or computer!) and use that same energy I saw in Emily to write for my audience of one: my family. Everyone else may enjoy the read as well.

I had tons of great experiences at TOFW and I think that might be where I start. So check back now and again if you'd like, and see what I'm writing for my children. Also on the agenda is a request from my friend Sarah to write about how I got into running. Since this has become such a big hobby for all of us, my three boys included, that seems absolutely a great idea to write about my journey to becoming a runner.

So, to my children: I love you. You make me giggle and tare out my hair, sometimes simultaneously  But I wouldn't trade you three busy boys for anything. Thanks for letting your mom go hang out with a bunch of ladies for a long weekend. I think the things I learned will make me a better mom, a better wife, a better friend, and most importantly a better disciple of Jesus Christ.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Seminary Ideas

So I've been playing around with this cool website Wordle.net to make word clouds from scripture mastery scriptures for my New Testament seminary class. What do you think of this one?

Wordle: NT Scripture Mastery Orange 

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Tuesday Is The New Monday

Today I woke up with Monday on my mind. It's Tuesday. You know all those things that you say you are going to "start on Monday?" I decided today was as good a day as any to get a move on and who cares if it's Tuesday.

So here's what we started today. Everyone got up and after breakfast started back into a regular routine of doing chores. Then I ran. It's been many weeks since I've been running. I hardly ever run on Tuesdays. But I read somewhere that if it's been a while since you've been running, just put on your shoes to get you motivated. I decided to take it one step (for a few thousand steps) further and got on the treadmill. It wasn't far and it wasn't fast. But I did it. And I plan to do it again tomorrow.

This afternoon we'll do some decluttering and cleaning. Goodness know our house sure needs it after our nine week adventure in Idaho.

So here's to Tuesday. No need to wait for next Monday. A new start can being now!

Is there anything you've been saying you'll start "next week"? How about starting today?

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Living the Dream

So, over Thanksgiving break, my kids finally saw the movie Tangled at Uncle Nathan and Aunt Jessica's house. I was in and out and didn't really see much. But the boys loved it and wanted to check it out from the library when we got home. One morning I sat down with my three year old to watch it and didn't get up again until the closing credits. I loved it! I laughed. I cried. What a great uplifting movie. I dropped hint after hint to my husband that I would very much like the movie for Christmas (to no avail--will buy it for myself at some point). I think the reason it was so powerful for me was because of the message so clearly conveyed that we must hang on to our dreams, that dreams can change, and pay attention because you just might be living your dream!

I think these ideas came to me because of a conversation I'd had with my sister-in-law over Thanksgiving. Jessica is a remarkable young woman. She is talented in so many ways. She married my husband's brother when she was very young after going to college when she was younger then most. She graduated from college in much less time than it takes many. She's been working in a really wonderful and satisfying career for a few years and is about to have a baby in the late Spring and "retire." But one of Jessica's most outstanding talents is her ability to sing. And when I say "sing" I mean she can really sing. She spent most of her life singing and writes music and even went to Nashville and has a demo CD. Her dad really wanted to see her chase her dream from growing up and working towards a career in music. To some degree he felt like maybe by marrying so young she sold herself short. She would never be able to live that dream.

But, Jessica told me that, while she certainly had that dream and still uses her outstanding talents to bless other people, she has new dreams--dreams the include a whole broad of children and supporting her dentist husband and being happy and adventurous and serving in the church.

So that got me thinking about my own dreams. And getting back to Tangled, it was in the middle of hearing Rapunzel ask Flynn Ryder what you do when you finally find yourself living your dream, that I realized that I was in the middle of living the most splendid dream I can imagine! It was while sitting in the middle of a kitchen that needed to be picked up and to the sound of the third load of laundry that day, that I just felt this great surge of emotion that I'm living my dream! I'm not sure I ever really thought much about what my life would be like with a family. It was always something on the list, but not something I sat around dreaming about. I guess what I mean by living my dream is that I had this wonderful sense of contentment. I am happy and feel loved and feel like I can serve and bless those around me. I have a beautiful family and that it is really the best dream anyone can have.

In the movie, Rapunzel sings a song asking "when will my life begin." What she doesn't realize is that all the things that she's doing to try to pass the time, to learn, to grow, to develop her talents are the things that eventually make her life so rich and full when placed in the right circumstances. There is no sense in waiting around for our lives to begin. Why not start now.

Sometimes I think things are really going to be great when I no longer have children in diapers, or when everyone in the house sleeps through the night (got woken up four times last night--and that was the two older boys). I tire of hearing people say they sure don't miss this or that about having a baby or young children. I will probably feel that way, too. But in the mean time, this is very much part of my dream. It's taking the bitter with the sweet and savoring the sweet. I suppose it's a little like a really great See's chocolate. It's small and it lasts only a moment, but the flavor and satisfaction linger so much that even when your eating the ho hum, you have a sweet memory of something better and will for sure go back for more when the chance comes up!

So thanks, Disney for making a movie with such beautiful, redeeming ideas. I'm doing it. I'm in the middle of living my dream!

Monday, January 30, 2012

The Short List

I love to write. Really I do. I am making a commitment to myself to write a little more in this blog space of mine. Here's the short list of blogs posts that I've been turning over in my mind that I intend to write about soon, very soon.

1. Tangled and being in the middle of living my dream
2. The promise that my days would be lengthened
3. Amish love stories (really)
4. A tribute to some of my favorite artists and musicians
5. Great pictures of my kids

Quite the eclectic mix of topics. But these ideas are floating around in my mind and if I don't at least write down the ideas, I'm afraid I'll loose them for good.

In the mean time, today my seminary class was studying about King Saul in the book of 1 Samuel. One of the boys pointed out the verse that said that rebellion is like witchcraft and stubbornness is like idolatry. Wow did we have a rousing round of "ughs" from a few of my extra stubborn (using their own words) students. I've chuckled about it all day. How often do we take some level of pride in our stubbornness? Wouldn't it be great if we could learn a little better how to be more humble without having to be compelled to be humble?

I'll look forward to writing a few posts when I can make a few minutes over the next days and weeks. Check back now and again. It's nice to hear from you.