Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Our little 'bedlamite"

I was just reading an article by Elder Holland from April 2011, "An Ensign to the Nations".  It is beautiful and made me remember...again...the blessings of General Conference, and how excited I am to listen to it this weekend.  The messages always help me spiritually, and I know I'm not alone in trying to do better.  In the article by Elder Holland, I was reminded to listen for the message that will help me go forward.  Here is a little quote I loved: 

"...if you are trying to do the best you can—if, for example, you keep trying to hold family home evening in spite of the bedlam that sometimes reigns in a houseful of little bedlamites—then give yourself high marks and, when we come to that subject, listen for another which addresses a topic where you may be lacking. If we teach by the Spirit and you listen by the Spirit, some one of us will touch on your circumstance, sending a personal prophetic epistle just to you."

Here is one of our 'bedlamites' during an FHE turned bedtime performance.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Conversations in the Interim

My cousin's wedding was two weekends ago and it was beautiful...or so I was told.  We were still driving through Provo at the time, and didn't make it until the wedding dinner that night.  Looking back, it was best that I didn't think about logistics, because it would have meant I stayed home.  Instead, I thought more about seeing my family than about packing the car - which meant we drove out of our driveway at 9:54 a.m., two kids buckled in carseats, and the DVD player charged.  I also managed to convince a friend to come with me and be the "Scott replacement" since the real Scott had to work.  She agreed, and helped me remain sane during the long drive down.  And yes, it was long.  Anything beyond 30 minutes with Noel is a long and painful drive. 

We didn't make it for the sealing, but we were in time for the wedding dinner Friday night, the Brunch on Saturday for my Grandpa's 90th Birthday, and the reception that night.  My cousin, Courtney, looked beautiful and I'm glad I was able to meet her new husband.  But truth be told, my favorite part of the trip happened between all the "special events", over a kitchen counter. 

There were a couple of hours before the reception without anything planned.  My girls played in the front room of my cousin's house as I sat on a stool, talking with my Aunt Kathy and cousin.  They were cutting fruit for the reception that night.  We sat there talking about marriage and family, working and kids, while fruit juices ran down our arms, snitching bites of strawberries.

My Aunt Kathy has always been good at this - having conversations in the interim.  As a kid, I remember her singing "Peanut Butter and Jelly" with us in the backseat of of my Grandpa's old Continental Lincoln, driving to battlefields in Virginia.  I remember sitting on a rock bench outside Monticello for a 2-hour wait, sipping water and telling jokes.  My memories of the battlefields are hazy, and I can't recall a single fact about Monticello, but I do remember always loving my Aunt Kathy and spending time with her.  And during this last weekend wedding, she wasn't too rushed to talk to me over kiwi peels and strawberry bunches.  That is why I'm glad we drove down for the weekend.  Wedding missed, special events aside; it was all worth it for a conversation in the interim. 

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Having a Glass

I was laying on the floor in a dark room tonight, waiting for Noel to drift off to sleep, my mind wandering to the news snippets of the past few weeks.  I have often heard people say that they can't watch the news because it is too depressing; for me, I watch it for a different reason.  I watch it not only to be informed, but to be reminded of how blessed I am.

A few weeks ago, I listened dumbfounded by radio reports of the continual warfare in Homs.  It sounded unreal - rockets, mortars, tanks, gunfire - and families were probably in apartments the same size as mine, but couldn't step out the door without worrying if they would return.  I cried when I read about another school shooting in Ohio, and the families and students that had started an ordinary day.  In the past week, I watched footage from two different tornado paths, wreaking havoc on communities from Illinois to Missouri and Indiana to Kentucky.

I feel blessed because while I was laying there on the floor, Noel and Juliet were both safe in their beds, cuddling their teddy bears and blankies.  And I started to count all the reasons I have to be grateful, and suddenly my glass seemed very full.

A few years ago, I read a book that changed my perspective on how to view blessings.  It was written by a "Lost Boy" - a survivor of the Sudanese Civil War that raged from 1983 to 2005.  When he, John Bul Dau,  came to the states after fleeing for years from Sudan to Ethiopia to Uganda, he worked to build a new life for himself.  He was filmed in the documentary "God Grew Tired Of Us", and later wrote a book by the same title, and he became my hero. 

I loved one story where he kindly reproached Americans for ingratitude.  John did not understand when people talked about the glass being half full or half empty.  He wrote something to the effect that Americans all have a Africa, there were times when I did not even have a glass.

Having a glass.  So simple - and so much.  I think of this at odd times during the daily routine.  When I catch myself grumbling that I have to do laundry, I remind myself, "At least I have a washer and dryer to keep my clothes clean...that's having a glass."  Or "At least I have clothes that need to be washed...that's having a glass."  I think about it when I have to do dishes, or vacuum, or do any number of household chores.  But more than that, I think about it with my family.  I am grateful that I get to lay on the floor, listening to Noel go to sleep.  I am grateful that when she wakes up in the middle of the night, it is only from a night-terror, and not because there are mortars exploding in our city.  I pray for all the people whose lives have changed so dramatically in the past few days, weeks, and months, and wonder what is in store for my family.  For now, I am grateful that I have a glass; full and overflowing.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Shared Birthday #1

Noel and Juliet had their first birthday party together...and they LOVED it.  Noel loved the presents, the cake, and playing with her cousins.  Juliet loved the wrapping paper, hated the cake, and couldn't stop hugging her caterpillar (Thanks, Aunt Dani)

Thanks to everyone that came and made their birthdays so special. 

Thursday, March 1, 2012

A Good-Excellent Day

My definition of a good day is rather simple:  we attempt to have a storytime (the actual storytime can last anywhere from 5 seconds to 5 minutes...storytimes over 5 minutes make it an excellent day), Noel eats foods at each meal, Juliet attempts to eat food at any point in the day, and the girls take naps at the same time.  That last one is critical - making the difference in my sanity.  If I have two hours to clean the kitchen, fold laundry, do some work for my scholarship job, and prep dinner, then that is two hours I don't have to stay up at night.  And if I can't prep dinner during naptime, I tell Scott it's Pizza Night.  We don't have a standard Pizza Night on a Friday or Saturday Night - we have it whenever I can't prep dinner until 9:00 p.m., which is not helpful at all.

Yesterday, the girls didn't streamline their naps:  Juliet went down from 10:00 to noon, Noel napped from 1:00 to 3:00, and Juliet started her second nap at 3:01.  It was a lovely day where I accomplished nothing on my to-do list, but we did have multiple storytimes that lasted over 5 minutes.  And of course, we went out for pizza.

So, it was a good day according to my meal plan, but an excellent day for reading happiness.