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    Sitting around, eating bon bons

    Monday, August 31st, 2009

    “To me it appears that our splendid sisters sometimes undervalue their abilities—they focus on what is lacking or imperfect rather than what has been accomplished and who they really are.”   -Pres. Dieter F. Uchtdorf

    Last week I was present at an activity with the Young Women wherein we had them write down things they were good at.  (It started out as a way to have them brainstorm for activity ideas, and then shifted gears when we saw what was happening.) The girls struggled and whined a little bit, some had a list of 4 or 5 things, the most anyone had was about 10.  When we suggested things at which we knew they excelled, they said that just because they could do something didn’t mean they were good at it.

    Then we had the girls turn over their papers and write a list of things they wanted to be better at. Pencils flew.  One girl asked for more paper.

    My heart broke.

    It’s good, great even, to want to improve. To see our weakness and want to progress, to be better. But being honest about ourselves means seeing the strong with the weak, the accomplishments with the imperfections.

    Forgetting planning activities, we took a paper for each girl and had the other girls write down things they knew that girl was good at.  Again, pencils flew, sheets were filled; this time with confidence building, truth revealing observations.

    “She always participates and makes me want to participate too.”

    “She always smiles at me and makes me feel better.”

    “She works really hard at school.”

    “She is an amazing singer/swimmer/dancer/writer/friend.”

    How would other people describe us? What would they see as they watched us going about our days?

    In that spirit, I offer this list of things I have accomplished today, as seen by the fly on the wall:

    Woke up at 5:30. Did not yell at Heavenly Father in prayer form.

    Successfully moved Z into my room so that she could stay asleep and A could go back to sleep, without A seeing me or Z waking up enough that she couldn’t go back to sleep.

    Said morning prayers while laying on the couch. Did not fall asleep while saying prayers.

    Took 20 minute nap on the couch.

    Had a smile on my face when I got a screaming A out of bed.

    Fed A and got her happily playing.

    Read scriptures and checked e-mail. Noticed something new while reading scriptures, which means I was actually paying attention to what I read.

    Noticed the beauty of the morning outside. Took  pictures of Z’s tomatoes.

    Welcomed Bruce and Z to the morning when they woke up.

    Fed Z.

    Got everyone dressed. (Bruce dressed himself.)

    Refilled my well by talking to my sister on the phone.

    Went for a walk with my visiting teacher and enjoyed the beauty of a cloudy day.

    Talked with Z about visiting teaching and why it’s important.

    Picked up lunch and watched two little girls enjoy it.

    Successfully gauged when to put A down for her nap so that she actually fell asleep rather than screaming for an hour.

    Called a dear friend to wish him Happy Birthday.

    Figured out meals for the week.

    Ordered groceries.

    Got Z down for a quiet time.

    Tidied up the house.

    Thought of something to post about.

    Did not throw a fit when Z pooped in her pants even though she was in a room with a bathroom in it.

    That’s more than 20 things I’ve done today. I’m sure there are plenty of things I haven’t done, but I’m focusing on those 20+. That’s a lot of things to have accomplished by 1 pm.

    I’m amazing.

    And so are you. Please, share. What have you accomplished today? And like I told my girls, “don’t be modest. I mean, do be Modest- don’t run around half naked- but boast, people! C’mon!”

    Love is Spoken Here…

    Friday, August 28th, 2009

    I have a dirty little secret…

    I’m a serious emotional nutcase.  I fly off the handle at the slightest thing.  I can sometimes see that this is regulated by my hormones but other times I don’t see any cause other then me possibly being slightly crazy.

    For the most part, my inability to control my emotions is not necessarily a bad thing.  It doesn’t bother me too much and it doesn’t bother my husband or family too much.  The times that it really bothers me is when my children are acting up and I have a difficult time staying calm and dealing with the situation in a logical, firm and loving way.  Sometimes I do this better then other times.  Somedays I feel like my children are in time outs all day.  Some days are tiring and not fun.

    I am a firm believer in fun.  I believe childhood should be filled with fun.  Life should be filled with fun.  Motherhood should be a daily exercise in fun.  It is hard to encourage fun when you are having a difficult time staying happy.

    So, the other day as I lay down with my 2 year old to put him down for a nap, I was focusing on saying a silent prayer.  I was telling the Lord about my concerns with how I was feeling quite upset and not enjoying Motherhood that day.  I was telling Him that I really wanted our home to be a place where the Spirit is in abundance and we treat each other kindly and lovingly.  I was praying that I would find some kind of help, inspiration and guidance to help me be a better mom and help my home be a more loving place.

    Then I drifted off to sleep.

    I woke up a bit later with this song running through my head.  This particular verse is what I keep singing.

    Mine is a home where every hour is blessed by the strength of priesthood power, with Father and Mother leading the way, teaching me how to trust and obey; and the things they teach are crystal clear for love is spoken here.

    I can often feel the Savior near when love is spoken here.

    I really feel like this was an answer to my prayer; kind of a reminder that I have to really focus on my tone of voice and make sure that love is spoken in my home.  As mother and primary care giver in our family, I have to remember that this is my responsibility.

    Since I woke up with that song in my head, it has replayed over and over many times.  I found myself mentally singing that song this afternoon when a trial reared it’s ugly head.  I focused on speaking with love and that trial was vanquished!

    My personal list of things that I have to do to make my home a better place is this:

    • Read my scriptures daily
    • Pray often.  Don’t forget to pray when I am feeling angry or upset.
    • Sing this song and other wonderful songs from the LDS Children’s Primary songbook as often as I need.
    • Play the mp3′s from the LDS Children’s Primary songbook as often as needed, as well. (Which can be downloaded along with other collections for free here.)
    • Be aware of my tone of voice.  If something is coming out negative sounding then I need to stop, mid-sentence, and fix that problem.
    • Read the scriptures to my children at bed time.

    It is very important to me that my home is filled with love.  Some of these things I do regularly, some of them I need to work on.  All together en masse, I should be a force to be reckoned with!  No negative feelings should be able to enter into our home.  Now I just have to do this and make it a habit.

    That, I am praying for.

    I kind of want to add a disclaimer here:  My children are wonderful.  They are inherently sweet, loving little boys.  Our house is not a home filled with major strife and contention. I am not an angry mom who is yelling and hitting her children all day long.  I just want to be a better mother and homemaker and I know that I need the kind of help that I can only receive from the Lord.  You don’t need to fear for their or call CPS on me or anything.  I’m actually not that crazy!:)

    What language do you speak?

    Wednesday, August 26th, 2009

    Have you read The Five Love Languages? I haven’t either, but my cousins all have and have told me about it, and I taught a little workshop about it once, so I can pretend I know what I’m talking about, right? :)

    The idea behind the Love Languages is that there are different ways that people express  love to others. It could be by spending time with the person, doing things for them, giving them a gift.  We each have our language, and it may not be the same as the other people in our lives – if you express love by giving them gifts but their language is spending time, you could give them the most thought out  gift in the world and they’d be discontent because they really just want to go on a walk with you. Learning the love languages that you and those around you speak can be helpful, because if you know them, then you can make the extra effort to go on that walk, while the other person can recognize the real meaning behind your gift.

    All that to lead into something I’ve been thinking about the last couple of days.  Nurturing is  a huge and encompassing subject that encompasses many skills and areas of work and development. I struggle sometimes, because it seems like there’s just so much I’m expected (or perhaps, just expect myself) to be good at.

    To nurture is to teach, to foster development, to promote growth, to feed, and to nourish.

    -Susan W. Tanner

    That’s just huge.

    So I started thinking of ways to break it down.  Looking around me I see people skilled in different “languages” of nurturing.  My friend Valerie (who will be writing with us soon- YEEHA!) is exceptionally fluent in the language of cooking as nurture.  Food is how she nourishes those around her, physically and spiritually.  I’m really excited to read her posts, because food is NOT a language in which I am even remotely proficient.  If I can pull something together for meals I’m lucky.  But I recognize the power food has in feeding the soul, and I want to learn.

    One of the ways my sister Liz nurtures is  by creating a beautiful home for her family. Inspirational words grace almost every single wall, teaching her children guidelines and great ideals they will carry throughout their lives.  As I was growing up, my mom’s nurturing language involved an incredible number of art projects.  My friend Carol’s nurture language is one of encouragement – she actively and lovingly encourages everyone she is around. Other friends nurture their families and friends through sewn items,  traditions,  play, careful listening.

    Personally, I’m firmly comfortable in the language of nature.  If we’re outside, I can teach, refresh, help my kids grow. Nurture through correspondence to  friends? I’m so on it.  I’m getting better at the syntax of magical moments. I still have my times of feeling completely lost in translation, but I’m improving.  I’m working on the conjugations of cleaning, and I struggle with the poetry of play.

    In which languages of nurturing are you fluent? Where do you dabble? Which languages are completely foreign?