Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Hear My Heart

I went to see Billy Dean in concert tonight and it was so fun! I love his music and his voice. I love the way he tells stories to music and you can see his heart in what he has written and sings.

I love thinking that you can really see into someone's soul by what they do and do not write. It doesn't mean that everything a person writes is taken or understood the way it is intended. I have, unfortunately several times, written to people  in an effort to be encouraging or explain something only to get blasted by misunderstanding.

Yet, I still write. Because I just have to. I can't explain it, and lots of people don't understand, but things just swell up in my heart and I have to get them out. Not everyone works this way, I know. Some people bang on a piano, or sing, or make an amazing cake, or paint a picture, or kick a ball.

We all see the world around us in different ways. It would be so awesome if we could all make our hearts heard. I think if we could, we would see the world so differently and so much better.

I met someone a while back that just comes across as very unfriendly and cold, and yet when we finally spoke for a few minutes, I realized that it was just shyness coming out, but a kinder heart underneath.

How do you express yourself?
Is it your famous cake that everyone hopes you will make? Is it the way you keep your house clean? Maybe the piles of laundry nicely folded that tell your family how much you love them. Is it the pictures you hang on your wall, or perhaps the way you dress?

How do your kids express themselves? Is it that playdough sculpture they took such pride in? Or the birthday card they made themselves with a really amazing drawing of a superhero? Or how they always tell jokes and try to make others happy?

I think the way we express ourselves may be one of our talents. Now, that is also not always the case. I personally, can't sing. My kids will tell you it is pretty much torture to be in the car with me when I am singing along to a song that really speaks to my heart.
I can't sing. But I sure can appreciate the words. And the talent of someone who can sing. And the person who wrote or performs the music.

Your family may not appreciate your clean bathroom fetish until they are sick with the flu and spending a lot of time near that toilet, and suddenly you are a hero.

So what is my point? Find out how you express yourself. It may be the most important thing you do for yourself or your family. Then tell them. Point it out if you need to.

Because our hearts all need to be heard.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

The Rollercoaster Ride of Parenting

I had to get my necklace fixed, so I was at the mall today and the repair place was right across from the kids play area (yay). So I wound up in conversation with a mom whose little girl was playing with my boys. We were talking about some of the differences of raising boys and girls and the changes she is experiencing in her little girl as she reaches the age of 3. My experience with raising my kids has been that the 2's are terrific and the 3's are troublesome. But then by the time they are 4, things level out and it seems to get easier for a while.
Parenting seems to be like riding a rollercoaster. You know as you get buckled in two things. First, you can't get off the rollercoaster and second, you are in for an amazing ride.  You get in, get buckled, your heart rate elevates anticipating the fun and excitement ahead. It's exhilarating! Then the coaster starts to move and often, very quickly, you start to wonder if you knew what you were in for, after all IT'S SCARY! Sometimes you can see what is coming and it is intimidating and daunting and may even make you want to throw up. Other moments it is exciting and fun and you are laughing your head off, not wanting the ride to end. There are the times you are headed up a steep slope and you hear the slow click, click, click sound that lets you know you are moving forward, but it is slow and tedious and can be frustrating and nerve wracking. You may even be saying, this isn't what I thought, let me off, let me off. But you are buckled in tight. Then you race down a huge hill scared to death, screaming your head off, holding on for dear life bracing for the loops ahead.
Sometimes people lose things on a rollercoaster: their keys, glasses, teeth, etc. And we lose things in parenthood: our minds, our haircolor (or hair in general) our body shape. But the ride, as crazy and scary as it is, is so worth it! Like a rollercoaster, hopefully we are strapped in next to a great spouse.  There are also a bunch of other people on the ride. Each experiencing their own reality, but still on the same ride. We go through the ups and downs, screaming and laughing together. Our ride gives us a chance to talk and laugh and cry together, if we will reach out to each other. And hopefully we will encourage each other on the long clicks of the uphills that we will survive it and everything will be okay and tell the others lining up, looking at the ride ahead, "Don't be afraid, it is AWESOME. Just get buckled in with someone you love, hang on tight, and enjoy the ride!"

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

My Olympic Gold

I've decided that it's not that I'm not an Olympian, it's that the Olympics don't currently have my event. But after this post and the numerous (all 50 of you who read this) calls from others who see the Olympic merit of this event, I'm sure I will be getting a gold in the near future.
What event is it, you ask (dying of curiosity)?
 It is called getting 4 children to church every Sunday fed, mostly dressed and with scriptures in hand by myself.

Now you may be thinking, what???!! But hear me out, I think I'm on to something.

First of all, this takes a tremendous amount of Cardio training. Yep, in my heart, I know that my children learning about Our Father in Heaven and His incredible love for us, proven by His sending His Son to die for us is of the utmost importance.
Now my kids get a lot of that cardio training here at home, but I also know that to hear the experiences and faith and testimony of others is super important and I pray that they will get what they need from those experiences as much as they get from home. I also know they will get the chance to teach, share and bear testimony themselves in church. Which is good for their hearts.

All this does not diminish from the actual physical cardio that I truly get every Sunday in wrestling with 2 little ones, who despise shoes, and 2 big ones who have misplaced the carefully laid out ties, because they were using them to tie pillows on the front of themselves to belly fight each other.

Next of course is the mental preparation, which begins each Sunday as I fight the "natural man" and actually decide to get out of bed knowing what lies ahead.

This alone should earn me the Gold.

The mental preparation actually starts on Monday morning as I find white shirts and church pants hidden in various locations throughout the house from the day before. Which I gather and make sure wind up in the laundry on Tuesday and get washed and hung up that night. Then by Saturday I make sure shoes, ties, shirts, underwear, suits, brushes, and scriptures are at the ready. I have discovered that Sunday goes a whole lot easier if I have everything prepared. I expect my kids to do all that themselves the other days, but I simply don't want that fight on the Sabbath, and I'm ok with that.

There is always the wrestling that takes place as I wrestle the 2 youngest into their clothes. That alone has required more than one shower from me in the summer. I think I could also win at hog tying, if I knew how to get into the rodeo. There is also the running of stairs, multiple times as I answer questions, find items, and stop the nerf battles taking place between floors. Yes, the Sabbath is a day of rest. Which I look forward to for the few minutes when it happens.

Then there is the endurance part of Sunday. It starts off early as my husband leaves for meetings. Then I get going to have everything ready for the events of the day and then we come home from church. That is when the endurance part begins. In trying to make the Sabbath be different from the rest of the week, that generally means my kids don't play with their friends, we don't do our usual jobs and chores and we don't go out doing the things we do all the rest of the week. So it does mean my house gets trashed as they pull off the couch cushions and make forts, become scripture heroes, or make amazing lego creations. I endure this as patiently as possible, because I want my boys to be the best of friends. I know they will have so many amazing memories when they grow older and tell their future wives and children about the crazy things they built, created and acted out on Sundays.  Which means we get to endure all this until they are grown and provide me with amazing daughter-in-laws (yes I pray regularly for them).
Then my hubby comes home and endures all this with me and we often wonder how long till we have to invest in hearing aides and pacemakers.
But really, taking our kids to church does feel like an Olympic event, or that it takes the effort of one.   I realize that getting to church is not a competition and it shouldn't be. But sometimes when I look around at church, I wish I could hand out gold medals.

One would go to the mom who works nights and still faithfully brings her 2 kids every Sunday by herself.
 Another would go to the elderly couple who are always there in spite of the fact that getting there probably takes as much effort as getting my kids there, and I sometimes wonder if they can even hear the teachings and music.

One would go to the couple that just got married and each has kids from prior marriages, so they suddenly have a really big family-bless their hearts.

Another to the grandparents raising their grandchildren who keep them running.

And one to the single lady who comes and serves in big ways and would love to have someone sitting next to her, yet comes every Sunday alone.

I could go on and on. Because I would give a gold to anyone who is trying to get closer to Christ and be more like Him.

But I don't have to give a gold medal. And I don't have to get one.

The blessings of trying to teach and learn and become a follower of Christ, when there is a myriad of things that try to stop us, are nuggets of gold. The kind of gold we get as peace, comfort, grace, and countless blessings.
It is way better than an Olympic gold, which if I got one, I'm sure my kids would use for an experiment, or bury in the backyard anyway.