When you pray, you don’t normally expect to get a bad head cold. It’s not usually the way to detect answers from our Heavenly Father. But maybe sometimes it is? I’ve been thinking a lot about the new Disney movie, “Moana,” especially since we’ve watched […]
“So what do you do all day?” An innocent, conversational question. But this time, I was speechless. We had invited some friends for dinner, a cute newlywed couple. The husband we’d known for some time, and we enjoyed a great evening catching up together. […]
Yes, I’m thinking like…
Napoleon Dynamite style mom skills!!!
I need better “skills” as a mother and I intend to do something about it. 2017 is my year to “Master Motherhood!” (or at least make some serious improvements) I have to thank a good Lutheran woman for posting this insightful article, calling for mothers to stop whining, step up their game and get some skills.
Specifically, I was troubled by and moved to action by this statement,
“Women …have bought into a peculiarly destructive myth. What is this myth? ….It is the idea that anything they do not know how to do cannot be done.
They do not know how to get their toddler to come when called. Therefore, toddlers aren’t controllable. They do not know how to stay caught up with the laundry and the grocery shopping. Therefore, the life of a mom is inherently a crazy cycle of unfair drudgery. They have tried—perhaps tried hard—and given up. They have decided that, like labor and delivery, all of motherhood is something to be waited out.
Rather than considering the idea that their lives could perhaps be better if they would only learn new skills and habits (or, more radically, that perhaps contemporary models of childrearing and housekeeping have failed them and they ought to seek help from different, older sources)…”
Her words cut to my core and I realized that I am guilty of having tried and failed at many aspects of motherhood and parenting and rather than seeking out a mentor or solutions or “skills”, I have made excuses. And rightfully so… I have ALOT of valid excuses. I have ALOT of children, I have ALOT of responsibilities. My cup runneth over with blessings which I could label as excuses… and I think most people would graciously agree with me that I deserve a “pass” on many things begging for improvement because of this or that excuse…. ENOUGH EXCUSES!!!
It’s time to act! Benjamin Franklin said,
“All mankind is divided into three classes: those that are immovable, those that are movable, and those that move.”
I want to be a mover! So I’m looking for help… I need helpers, who like me, want to be “movers and shakers” to shake up their home routines and improve their skills (kitchen skills, laundry skills, garden skills, discipline skills, education skills, marriage skills, time management skills….). I need help, so I’m seeking out the best mentors I can find. I’m going to hunt them down, invite them to teach me and try my hardest to be their best student. I’m seeking living examples as well as angel mothers who’ve already passed, books, articles, websites and discussion with other mothers.
I recently learned about the The National Monument to the Forefathers, formerly known as the Pilgrim Monument. It is thought to be the largest granite monument in the world and is a commemoration piece honoring the Mayflower Pilgrims and their sacrifices to find freedom to live their religion. The monument was dedicated on August 1, 1889, and honors the vision of our forefathers as a recipe for preserving freedom in our nation.
The main statue is “Faith”. The virtue upon which all freedom rests. The four seated statues below Faith represent Morality, Law, Education, and Liberty. You can read about their symbolism at the ProvinceFoundation.com. Education is represented by a mother.
From www.provincefoundation.com, we learn the symbolism of this statue, preserved as a message by our forefathers…
“Education in America for the first few centuries was centered in the home, because everyone believed it was the right and responsibility of parents to govern the education of their children. A statue to the Pilgrim Mother in Plymouth, Massachusetts, bears the inscription: “They brought up their families in sturdy virtue and a living faith in God, without which nations perish.” The American home passed on the faith and virtue necessary for liberty. To our founders, the most important aspect of education was to impart Christian character, to shape the inner man. Upon this foundation they taught a worldview deeply rooted in the Bible that provided instruction for all spheres of life. These ideas are reflected in the monument.
The statue of Education is holding an open book of knowledge (the Bible) implying its truth must be passed to all. Flanking her throne are two carved reliefs; one is Youth (the object of the parents instruction) and the other Wisdom (represented by a grandfather) pointing to the commands and an open Bible, with the world at his feet. The family, both parents and grandparents, were to teach the youth how the world works from a Biblical perspective. Education is wearing a wreath of victory, which is obtained when children are well-instructed in the Lord.”
I want to be worthy of such a crown, “obtained when children are well-instructed in the Lord”.
This is my year to “master mothering” in such a way that my own children will seek for a similar home environment and desire to also raise up their own children to be “well-instructed in the Lord” and carry forth the vision of freedom and faith that our nation was founded upon.
No more excuses… time to get moving and improve my skills.
*If you are local to Utah Valley, you can join me in my quest to improve, each first Thursday. I have invited some mothers to come and share ideas together as we study motherhood each month. I’ve created a study table of resources for the year divided by topics, into months. Some things we’ll discuss will be:
- Seeking revelation to partner with God in our effort to “Master Motherhood”.
- Mentor Mothers (deceased and living)
- We’ll start with the new essay from LDS.org on Heavenly Mother
- We’ll have guest speakers on certain topics
- We will learn from living mothers who have “obtained the wreath of victory”!
- Marriage and how to partner with our spouse in our mothering efforts
- Power of Positive Parenting by Glenn Latham
- Mother Education lessons from LDS.org
- LDS Conference talks and articles on motherhood
- Websites pertaining to motherhood
- Specific skills – laundry, dishes, potty training, organizing, time management, cooking, gardening, preparedness, ironing, cleaning, finances, etc!
For those interested in healthy cooking, there will also be a Whole Foods Plant Based potluck prior to each meeting at 6pm for discussion on health and nutrition for families.
RSVP at http://mamakarmel.com/mom-ed/
Through my recent research I have had this idea of “magnifying our efforts through Christ” on my mind. I was taught this principle again in the most unlikely circumstances: It was a really, really hard morning. My patience was gone before I woke up and […]
“…With God all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:26)
His hands trembled and his shoulders hunched as he stepped forward to take the tray of bread. As he walked up to the stand at the front of the chapel, he glanced from side to side, making sure he was in the right place. Crossing in front of the pews, he licked his dry lips and took a deep breath. Carefully, he offered the tray to the bishop and his counselors. A gradual grin of relief spread across his face as he moved around to serve others on the stand. His first day of passing the sacrament as a new deacon was a success! He had received detailed training from the other deacons and had accepted the traditional post of serving the bishop for the first time–and he had done it! When it was over, he slid into the seat next to me. I smiled down at him and hugged him. He was thrilled, and so was I. My little boy–now a young man–had done this hard thing, and with encouragement and help from many, he was now basking in the glow of righteous accomplishment.
I couldn’t help pondering the scenario as I watched my son offer this ordinance to the congregation. I knew he needed and wanted to grow and fulfill his duties, but, man, was he nervous! Yet for all the preparing and discussing and training we could do as parents, when it came down to it, all I could do was pray for him and smile huge, encouraging smiles at him as he went along, hoping he felt our love and support. He had to do it himself. And when he did, that feeling of fulfillment and satisfaction and confidence was the blessing.
I wondered how much this personifies the experience of our Heavenly Father’s plan as He sends us forth into the world. We have to endure hard things, whether because of our own choices or because of the trials of mortality. Our Father knows it will be rough, so He offers training and preparation through Gospel learning and the Holy Ghost. He helps us become ready for impending trials. Then ultimately, it is up to us to pass through those trials. He can’t do them for us nor take those responsibilities away; we need them, we need to act on our own–always with His love and support–and do the hard things. When we can finally breathe a sigh of relief after it’s over, we’ll have greater confidence and knowledge of our own capability. We’ll have done a hard thing! And though we may have stumbled or made mistakes or even just been royally nervous through the whole thing, once we’re through, the blessings will be overflowing: joy, relief, compassion, love, confidence, empathy, knowledge, strength, and on and on.
The most beautiful thing about it is that although I couldn’t appreciably help my son as he went through this feat, our Father in Heaven CAN help us. In fact, He is always there. In Isaiah 41:10, we are taught of God’s commitment to us: “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.” What stronger assurance can we have of God’s constant love and support?!
Although we may feel alone in our trials, I testify that we never are. We always have the Lord’s love and access to His comfort and guidance. Life can be tough at times. But Sheri Dew’s statement that “if life were easy, it wouldn’t be hard” is strangely comforting. Life is meant to be a test, a challenge. We are all in this together, we all have trials, we each are fighting hard battles. As we lift and serve and encourage each other with kindness, and as we hold fast to the iron rod of truth in the Gospel, we can make it. We can come back to our Heavenly Family with a long sigh of relief, knowing we did our best and accomplished our tasks, fixing and repenting of mistakes along the way. We’ll be back Home, embraced by our Savior and Heavenly Parents.
And can you imagine the grand smiles of love and joy on Their faces?!
Despite my best efforts, it had happened again: the Curse of the Witching Hour. You know what I’m talking about. You’ve nearly gotten through the day, dinner is in the works, bedtime is in sight…and then…
For the third day in a row, I had become a monster!
It was their fault, of course…. They were playing a game actually called “Monster,” where they basically chase each other around the house, trying to catch and tackle everyone else. Not my first choice of family activities, but at least they were starting out happy and occupied. All I wanted was to get this bread dough going!
And then, of course, someone screams. One has been smashed down between the mattress and bed frame by another. Then someone tries to help and ends up jabbing an elbow in somebody else’s face. Not. Good. The threads of patience are unraveling. They’re not even supposed to be playing with the mattress!
My mind begins to race, living out the episode moment by moment: I’m starting to lose my cool as nobody apologizes, nobody helps anyone who’s hurt.
Fine. Everyone to the floor, sit back-to-back in a circle. No talking. Mama is going to be right back.
In the kitchen, the sound track in my mind switches to anxious, uncertain music. Time is ticking. I’m supposed to know what to do here. But I have no idea! I just want to walk out the door. Or worse. I’m definitely not going to do anything like that, but then…what?!
Back to the bread dough. Kneading dough always helps me get my angst out. Breathe. Pray. Father, what should I do??
Of course, when I step back and think rationally about it, I know what’s going on. Everyone knows about the Curse of 5:00. Whether we’re all tired from schooling, too much or too little to do, annoyed at siblings, feeling cooped up in our little apartment, sick of the rain, hungry—or maybe all of these things. It amounts to the same result: the Curse, complete with extreme crankiness. I get it just the same as the kids. So the past few days that my husband had been out of town, I had actively tried to counteract the effects. Snacks in the afternoon, exercise time together, free time and/or structured activities. Nothing seemed to be improving that cursed hour.
But this time as I throttled the roll dough, the prayer in my heart enacted a change. I was blessed with the capacity NOT to yell at them right away. Progress… I felt ready to approach the circle of contrition—well, not ready, per se, but I had to do SOMETHING. I knelt down with words of chastisement ready to roll off my tongue. Instead, words of love came out. I expressed the focus of being a forever family, that we’re each different from one another, working together for our future—and that’s a good thing. I told them I would never, NEVER give up on them. I voiced my love for them, because love is what a family is all about.
This was literally a mini-miracle moment in our home. We all hugged and got to laughing, then went on with the evening. They helped with making a bigger mess of the bread dough—happily—and we got dinner ready together. The Curse (that night, at least) was broken.
As I contemplated the difference in outcomes, a sentence from “As a Man Thinketh,” by James Allen, came to mind:
“Circumstance does not make the man; it reveals him to himself.”
The madness going on in my house for three days hadn’t changed. It was me. Previous witching hours bore the marks of a mama reacting to the chaos, blind-sided by distractions, & over-correcting in the darkness. Tonight’s mama had asked and allowed the Spirit to take the wheel, guiding us all to the safety of love and focus on things eternal.
We still suffer from the Curse now and then. But I’m learning to let the Lord be a partner more in our home, to ask Him more specifically for help with the things with which we struggle, and to have more faith that He will tell me “in the very moment… what ye shall say” (D&C 100:6). This way, I can more often catch a glimpse of the self I want to become.
Early in the morning of April 8th, one of my dear friends had the following dream as captured by these excerpts from her e-mail to me, The Anticipation and Work of Angels “I had a dream this morning, right before I awoke, about your baby […]