July 21, 2014
Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints call one another Brother and Sister. Even if you are not LDS, the closer my children feel to you, the more they will call you Sister Ball or Sister Post. I'm certain their teachers at school are used to hearing this.
We joined 5-6,000 people to view the Hill Cumorah Pagaent in Palmyra this Friday.
The Pagaent itself was beautiful to watch. With close to 700 volunteer actors, families who participate together, it was inspiring. I was amazed at the special effects. It was more fun to watch than 4th of July fireworks. There were storms, waterfalls, explosion, destruction, and Christ coming down from Heaven.
My phone was over full so I didn't get any good pictures.
I was disturbed at the protestors, but love the sense of community they inspired in my children. It's almost like we could feel the evil and unkindness pouring out of those (paid for by other churches) to shout obscenities and religious slurs at us through megaphones. The stark contrast between their anger and our calm, gentle, peace was palpable. We felt proud to stand with the Mormons and our friends of every religion.
We met family and friends from all over the country. There are so many good people around the world. It was fun to start talking to families we haven't seen in years, and pick up right where we left off.
We met the son of some of our best friends who is a missionary in the Rochester area. I hugged him tight (grown women really aren't supposed to hug those missionaries) from his mother, and got all teary feeling his kindness and glow. He felt like family.
I just know that's what Heaven will feel like.
Well, minus the crazy guy who stormed the stage yelling and howling. My friend, a volunteer who was asked to do security, was the one who had to tackle him to the ground and help escort him off the stage. Oh my! What a night.
It's beautiful here.
We'll call you Brother and Sister and have a fun family reunion.
Because really- we are all family.
We should love each other more.
Life is good.
July 18, 2014
Yesterday was a crumby day.
I felt tired and crabby. I spent the whole day avoiding a desperately overdue trip to the grocery store.
My kids played indoors- creative play that brought little pieces of my house to create a new house for their animals who were living on my bookshelves. The books are piled all over my living room. This will be a hard clean.
The only redeeming part of yesterday was tasting every Wegman's free sample and finding two of the most delicious salami rolls (bricks?) ever. Oh my. Soo good. I think I might always have to buy cool salami.
We had a thrown together dinner- but it was perfect. Fresh ciabatta from a local bakery, salami, caprese salad with basil from our garden, dragon fruit, yummy olives, tiny roasted Brussels sprouts, fresh lemonade, mushrooms and baby carrots with dip. Mmm.
Even crumby days can end well.
I'm searching out some energy-- I've contacted my healthiest friends to get their opinion. Do you have vitamins or supplements you love? I currently take nothing and feel the need to pour some vitamins and minerals into my cells. (Also wanting to start my kids on something.)
I'm certain today will be a beautiful, rainbow day!! It's Friday! Wish me luck!!
July 17, 2014
I take my kids in small bites.
Because we are always together in a large group, times to have them one on one or one on two are essential.
Todd and I both take a kid or two wherever we go. We combine fun things with errands. Whenever I spend time with my kids outside of the pack, I always come home thinking how much I like them. I really like the children I'm raising.
(They both sat on my lap to get their shots. It made me laugh. They were joking, even though I knew they were a little bit nervous. They're growing up, but they'll always be my little girls.)
Since we haven't been watching TV or playing video games, there is a lot more creative play happening.
My girls like to coordinate their outfits.
They make me laugh.
July 16, 2014
I think we miss the joy, we miss the "well-done Thou good and faithful servant", we miss His rest, because we crash minutes before the finish line. (At least I know I do.)
We can have a beautiful day of service, a lovely vacation, a hard but good day at church and then (usually when we're tired or hungry, or when those we're serving are tired or hungry) we loose it. We slip into our martyr mother mode. We allow enmity to enter as we gripe about our hard day, act snotty to snotty children, or spew "you think YOUR day was hard- you don't know what hard is" to our husbands. We complain about the very real flaws in others and as we do so our own natural man is exposed. Coming home from a beautiful summer day everything can unravel 5 minutes before bedtime when we are just "done".
I've thought about this often. Satan works hard to get us to slip and fall at the end. Do you know why? Because that slimy fellow is trying to steal that amazing feeling we will get if we hold out until the end. He LOVES when we intensely try to do good all day and than go to bed with a big lump of guilt. He loves when we trade intense peace and satisfaction for a few words of empathy from a friend who agrees our martyr life is ridiculous hard.
I know God gets it. He loves us cranky and imperfect. We feel forgiven in our weakness-- BUT moms, we can be better than constantly feeling "forgiven" we can be "endowed with power from on high". We have the power to overcome not just to hang on. We have the power to surf not just to allow ourselves day after day to get dragged through the waves.
There are two parts to Christ's grace- both the cleansing and enabling power. Do we feel both? Are we settling for feeling forgiven and cleansed when He wants us to feel empowered and strengthened?
I'm so sick of going to bed with regrets. I'm ready to go to bed with great power and knowledge of small and large victories.
I just don't think God wants me to feel exhausted and defeated every day-- He has made it so I can see miracles, feel heavenly help, create a heavenly home and be a successful wife and mother. My home can be a place of peace and order- like the temple. I have been given His grace to accomplish greatness.
Every time I choose love and charity, I am becoming a Saint. I teach my children BEST when I SHOW them my humble willingness to return peace for drama, to serve happily in my home without a measuring stick of "I'm doing more".
Charity NEVER faileth unless YOU faileth to serve selflessly.
I think we are missing those top of the mountain "It is good" moments. We're trading these moments for a few moments of whining, complaining, and martyrdom.
Let's stop that.
How? How do we hold out to the end?
Don't worry if you can't do it now, because God will give you day after day after day to learn this skill. Haha!
I asked myself and my friends what was the word I would use to describe this idea I'm aiming for? It was similar to a martyr-- but not a complaining "martyr" a righteous, enduring martyr. I want to learn to suffer and serve with grace.
I still love my friends exclamatory-- "I know just what you're talking about!! I call it my Zombie! We need to learn to go to Zombie mode." Haha! Yes-- Zombie mothers sound so holy. Haha!
We settled on the word "Saint". As mothers, especially mothers who love and serve and don't complain and endure to the end, we ARE becoming Saints. Trust me, it takes a Saint to remain calm and shepherding with a houseful of emotional girls. (Did you feel me switching to that martyr mode?)
I remembered this scripture and it screamed all that I'm trying to become--
For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father.
Submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things [which her children] seeth fit to inflict upon her.
It has taken me 8 children and 36 years to finally understand and desire to be a Saintly child. Perhaps I am unable to raise Saintly children myself-- but I believe my Father in Heaven doesn't really need me to raise my children, He is using them to raise me. Someday, they will learn these lessons as they strive to get their own children to bed happily.
I can absolutely do this. When I'm aware of what I loose by complaining, I can hold my tongue. When I remember the feeling of peace and victory that comes the third time I kindly walk Eve back to bed and she actually stays in her bed, I endure to the end. I wash more dishes happily when my kids gripe, I serve my husband more, I "suffer" with purpose.
I feel myself modeling "Saintly" behavior and it feels like I'm holy and noble not one who is being taken advantage of in my hard life.
I remember Matthew 6:16 all day long.
¶Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
"THEY HAVE THEIR REWARD." !!!!
No- we don't want that reward!
We don't want the reward from a sympathetic husband who night after night has to hear us whining about our hard life. We don't want the soothing empathy of our girlfriends as we complain about our husbands, our snotty kids, our messy house, our Church callings, our health issues... We don't want that reward.
July 14, 2014
The professor is home. I love him so.
My girls have been reading my old journals. This morning we read back over the months Todd and I dated and fell in love.
Isn't it amazing that we have come from young BYU students to parents of 8 living on a mini-farm in NY?
Yesterday during lunch I told him that I loved him and he asked me why-- jokingly I said, "because you make homemade bread and beef stroganoff." He said, "Well, I love you too." I asked why? After thinking for a long time he said, "You are the most beautiful woman I know. And, beauty is all encompassing inside and out." Sweet! I love him and thank the Lord for this time...(excerpts from my journal 1996)
Life is good.
Ellie's hair looked like this--
It was so ratted underneath I was sure we would have to chop it off.