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“The great plan of happiness revealed to prophets is the plan for a happy family.
It is the love story between husband and wife, parents and children, that renews itself through the ages” (Boyd K. Packer).

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Teenagers

Can I just say, parenting teens is HARD.

H.A.R.D.

My teen daughters are fantastic.  Seriously.  I couldn't ask for better girls.  They are trying so hard to do what is right, to excel in school, and to serve those around them.  I have no complaints.

But as a parent?  Dang.  Even with amazing kids my husband and I constantly struggle with knowing what boundaries to set, when to intercede, when to step back.  I'm constantly asking myself, do they need a little push, a lot of support, or to be completely left alone?  It all felt a lot easier when they were younger, that's for sure!

I am so grateful to have the guidance and promptings of the Holy Ghost and know that my Heavenly Father is walking through this mortally journey with me.  Knowing that even though I will make many, many mistakes, through His Atonement the Savior will magnify my efforts.  This gives me the ability to keep going without becoming too weighed down with my concerns.

I have found that for me the surest bet is to stay prayerful, and when I'm talking to my girls admit that I don't know everything; that sometimes I really am just taking a stab in the dark.  I ask for their patience and respect, and make an effort to respond in kind.  I keep my mouth shut more often and let tears and emotions ebb before engaging (oh how this seems to be key - especially with girls!).

The good news is, it's pretty hard to screw up a kid.  I know because I made a ton of mistakes with my eldest, and look how great she's turning out to be.  Not that I'm responsible for her greatness - that was already there inside her.  What I'm saying is that it takes a lot to ruin your kid.  :-)


Sunday, November 2, 2014

Journals

A couple months ago I heard one of the best talks I have heard on the topic of journaling.  Keeping is a journal is one of this topics that makes a lot of people sigh when it comes up.  It's like ONE more THING to do that you just don't have time to do properly.  I thought I'd share a couple things I remember from the talk, though, because it really was excellent.

Sister Galloway shared a few journaling experiences she has had over the years.  She keeps a couple different journals.  In one she writes down promptings she's received, things prayed for, and prayers answered (which is probably the most important of the three - recording the answers).
In another journal she writes specific things that she is grateful for - which I think is often a record of blessings that she has noticed during the day.

She shared some specific instances where journaling has helped her through difficult times, and when it helped her sustain a child through a difficult time.  She talked about how it has increased the quality of her prayers when she is putting more thought into what to ask for and paying attention to the answers.

I felt inspired to be more consistent about making special note of spiritual experiences I've had and prayers answered.  Instead of keeping a separate journal, I've been marking them with a star in the margin so that when I'm flipping through, I can go back and re-read about some of my more poignant and spiritual moments.  I like to write on Sunday evenings, but I will pick up my journal any time I have something specific to say.  I don't write every week, though I'd like to write more frequently.

I was a really dedicated journal-writer in my teens/early 20s.  I recently went back and re-read quite a few of those journals and it was such a helpful thing as a mother.  Sometimes I just don't remember what it is like to be 16.  Reading about my feelings, concerns, and recognizing all the dramatic emotion I was experiencing on a daily basis really helped me feel better prepared to relate to my teenage daughters.  Instead of feeling frustrated with the things they say and do, I had so much more empathy because I could remember being there!

Sometimes I go back to specific experiences in my life when I really had to lean on the Lord.  There's a feeling of strength that comes when I remember those times and how, with the Lord's help, I was able to get through them just fine.  It is a reminder that there is still help available from my Savior and Father.

Keeping a journal has great power to bless our lives.  It helps us focus, prioritize, and follow-through.  We will remember the goals we have and the values we want to stick to.  It can provide a source of spiritual renewal and strength.  We will be reminded of our Heavenly Father's love for us.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Priorities

Every family is going to have different priorities.  Lately this is something that I've had to keep reminding myself over and over again.  That, and remind myself not to judge others because their priorities are different than my priorities.


Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Keeping Quiet

It's such a hard lesson for me to learn.

In my pride, I think I'm so full of good advice.  And maybe sometimes I am.

But there is one place where my advice is almost never welcomed in the way I think it should be.  That relationship between mother and oldest daughter is tricky sometimes.

But I've learned two important things.

1.  When she starts to complain, keep my mouth closed.

2.  When you're tempted to offer solutions, instead ask what you can do to help.  Then be quiet and let her talk.

So simple, yet often so difficult for me to remember!

Moving Forward in Faith

I gave birth to my sixth child two months ago. At the time, my next youngest was four and a half years old. I'd gotten rid of all the baby stuff. I wasn't really planning on having more children.

It sounds so funny, but I think Heavenly Father knew that I needed this baby.  Two years ago I felt that I was drowning in motherhood.  Not that it was too much, but that I just couldn't work up any enthusiasm for all the things I usually love: the cooking, cleaning, schooling, and just being mom stuff.  I would cry and Josh would hug me, but neither of us knew what to do.  I guess you could call it a really moderate depression because I was definitely still functional, and didn't feel sad, per se, I just didn't feel enthused about things.

It was a hard thing for me to feel in that condition that having another baby would be a good idea.  I think that's why it took so long; why there is such an age gap between the two youngest children.  I had to finally humble myself and tell the Lord that I would do His will and if that meant having another child, then I would do it.   It was a hard thing to say, since I didn't feel any joy in the mothering that I was already doing, but I also honestly felt that I was ready to submit.

It was probably only a week later that I found out I was pregnant.

The first part of the pregnancy was rough.  My feelings hadn't changed - and I was dealing with morning sickness and all the other aches and pains that accompany pregnancy.  There was also a lot of emotional stress as my mom ended up having emergency surgery and an outcome of that was that she was diagnosed with cancer the weekend I discovered my pregnancy.

Around month 7 all my aches and pains and hormones cleared up and I felt AMAZING.  I felt amazing clear up until the day I delivered.  I have felt amazing since then.  I have felt so much joy and gratitude for the blessing of being a mother.  I feel totally overwhelmed by the busyness of having six kids and keeping up. We are still in “new baby” mode and sometimes I feel as though I am failing miserably in balancing my myriad responsibilities. However, that feeling of not being able to keep up is so different from how I felt before; in addition it is couched in so much joy in my daughter that I hardly care.



We named our baby Faith. Every day that seems more and more appropriate. It took faith to welcome her into our family. Her presence has strengthened my faith in God and His ability to know what we need and to bless us in ways we don't expect and can't possibly anticipate.