January 06, 2012

2011 In Review.

Laying in bed last night i was thinking about my new year's resolution and pondering life.
I decided that today I would look back through my blog and re-post the links to my favorite posts.
How I love remembering where I was and how far i've come.
(Well, it's usually more cyclical than progressing, but I'm working on that...)

NOTE-- This blog embarrasses me a little bit... when i read over it i feel like it's me saying everything I love about myself.  I hope you read it as me saying everything I LOVED EXPERIENCING AND LEARNING.  i love to read back over, not because of my amazing recording skills (actually, when i read i CRINGE at the many errors i have wishing i had time to edit and re-write)... BUT, i love remembering... where i was when i learned that new thing.  i love reading 'things to do with preschoolers' and remembering myself 8 months pregnant wishing i could sleep all day and CHOOSING to get up and find joy in painting.  Last year was full of fun and full of hard.  It was a pretty normal year.  Enjoy my remembering.  (Don't think I'm completely in love with myself.)  hah!

January 2011.

Oh, as most of you know I am not good at being concise.  I have a hard time choosing.
Last January was a good month.  I was organizing and cleaning and getting ready to put our house on the market.
I love the posts on enjoying my toddlers here and here.  And, this post There is NO RIGHT Way.
And, this post Rejoice in the Finishes Amidst the Unfinished...

As my sister in law, Rebekah, reminded me... You can't SINK unless you're WALKING on water.  Poor Peter gets so much attention for his sinking, and not enough credit for his walking on water.  Guess what?  We would do it.  We are doing it.  If Christ stood on the waves and asked us to come to him, we WOULD walk.  We are walking on water... every day.  And, sometimes we sink.  And, He rescues us.  And, we are fine, and our family is fine, and our home is fine.  But when we lay in the boat at the end of the day, wet, we CRY because we SANK... instead of REJOICE because we WALKED.  

It's dumb to admit, but my favorite posts from January are my House of Order post-- Here is Kid's Closets.
I really became an organizing machine and my house is still benefiting from those weeks of purging and labeling.  Years of striving to order my home and i think i really reached a new peak...  it felt good.

I am amazed at how big my house feels and how ordered I feel.
Honestly, I re-organize all the time.  But, this time it feels different.
I think it's the labels. 
Everything feels permanent and easy to keep up with.

February 2011.

I still LOVE making these easy blankets.
And, I remember my Mega-Baby shower with overwhelming feelings of gratitude.
I laugh at  Third Trimester Preparations, where I complain about not being able to sleep and then I share my grand wisdom on how to get a baby to sleep through the night... (if i only knew then what was in store for me.)

The post about Anna's burns-- When children are scarred was hard to write.
I hadn't talked much about that tragedy on our blog before.
I had no idea that Anna's hands would be such an important part of our lives this year.
I know that no matter how careful we are, we can not protect our children from hard things.
They may struggle with injury, sickness. learning disabilities, emotional disabilities, pride, etc...
But, they ALL will struggle with something.
Our role as parents is NOT to protect our children from HARD things... but to help guide them through.
To help them make their journey the best it can be... whatever their journey may entail.

March 2011.

Oh, what a month.  I thought I was going to have a baby this month.  And, I didn't.
What a month of fighting the roller coaster of emotions that come from anticipation, anxiety and the stretch of waiting...
i LOVE this post-- on CREATING.
and this post-- on LOVING MANY.

a friend once asked me, "How can you be everything to a large family that you would be to a smaller family?"
She had just given birth to her third child and wondered if she would be able to have another.
(Side note- she is currently expecting her fourth.)

I told her what I often tell people-- You can't.
You give everything you have to loving one child, and you give everything you have to loving seven.
Do the math-- you can not do for seven what you could do for one.

You can't do it, but God can.
God has a way of loving everyone equally-- of knowing exactly what we need and having the ability to give infinitely.
I learned early on in my parenting that if I learned to LISTEN, He would tell me what I needed to do, when I needed to do it.
The only way that I can meet the needs of my children is to ask God what those needs are and act when He whispers.

I can't do it all.
But, I can do one thing.
And God, He's pretty good at telling me what I should focus on next.
Together, we can love many.
I believe that God and I together are better than just me alone- even if I only had one child.
And together, we are enough.  My kids are blessed, and my capacity to love has been increased.
Listening and then Acting... that is the key.
Just love the one that needs you the most.

April 2011.

i LOVE that picture.
I LOVED Eve's BIRTH- two weeks overdue!  blah.
seriously-- the BEST thing I have ever done is delivering eve naturally, with HypnoBabies.
it was an incredible, life changing experience.
i thank God every day for giving me that beautiful experience.
every one of births was miraculous, but eve's birth was just an amazing experience.
with eve's birth i changed my impression of myself... i always thought i was a wimp.
my doctor's "Wow, you have a high pain tolerance" rings in my ears when I'm cringing at the dentist.
Birth is beautiful.  What a great gift.
I love seeing it from Todd's Perspective-- I am Amazed.

My wife, who has been induced during the births of our first six children, was trying desparately to experience labor starting without any medical interventions. Yet it became increasingly clear that if our girl didn't come on her own soon, we'd need Pitocin to start Jen's labor. Sunday night was difficult for both of us. Jen felt a bit forsaken, and it was hard for me to console her. She expressed her exasperation with the wait, her wondering about why things were happening this way, her concerns about all that could go wrong having a VBAC after two c-sections. But then she talked about all that could go well, all of the blessings that we had seen in our lives during this pregnancy. We had done all that we could do to bring about our desires, which we believe were righteous and good.

So, while Jen's labor was induced, our OB did what he could to respect our wishes and wisely started her with the minimal doseage possible to get things going, to minimize the risk of uterine rupture. I felt so happy for my wife, seeing her labor progress so rapidly with so little discomfort and so little Pitocin. And in the end, it turned out that having an induction in the hospital may have been the best thing for Jen because her water didn't break until two minutes before the birth, and the cord was wrapped around the baby's neck and body. Out initial plan of waiting at home until her water broke could have resulted in a birth in the front seat of our car--a very dangerous proposition given the condition of the cord. But because we were at the hospital, everything worked out just fine.

And so, I really feel amazed to have a healthy baby girl (Eve Antonina, 7 lb 8 oz, 20 in long) who is already nursing like a champ, a happy wife who is recovering more quickly than with any other birth, and a mother-in-law who is lovingly watching over our other kids. Life is very good.

(The rest of the month was a struggle... oh yes it was.)

May 2011.

Colic, colic, colic.
AND we had our house on the market.  AND Todd was finishing his PhD.  AND nursing was really hard.
i know it could have been worse-- much worse.
but, it was hard.
i love this post-- The Truth About Happily Ever After.
Because, it's true.
And we are BLESSED-- even when we're not SPARED.

Today, I don't have many trials.
I just have an excess of blessings.  (Hah!)
It's true...  many kids, many house showings, moving, dinner, laundry, a baby who needs me...
This is my life, and it is oh so good.
So good.
and, hard.

I'm grateful for hard.  Because I am becoming.  My patience muscles are becoming stronger.  My discernment muscles are becoming stronger.  My procrastination muscles are shrinking.  My laziness muscles are shrinking.  My selfish muscles are shrinking.
I am making my happily ever after.
I'm choosing to be HAPPY in my ever after.
Because Happily Ever After is a choice not a gift.

June 2011.

My favorite post was Father's Day... this was a hard post for me to write.
Dad's are so important and good dads are pretty rare these days.

Although I am one who loves easily, I was VERY CAREFUL to marry a man who would be a great father for my future children.
I would picture each man that I dated pushing our future children on a swing.
I wanted to be able to tell my kids, "I hope you grow up to be just like your father."
And, today, I can say that.

July 2011.

what a fun month discovering Oregon.
it was hard to move from Texas- we love Texas.
But i was filled with gratitude as I explored Oregon.
Wow.  This world is beautiful.  There are good people everywhere.
Life is good.
I loved this trip to the beach and this walk in the woods.
I need to take more walks in the woods with my kids and my camera.
ps.  i don't think you need to move to Oregon to see beauty- it's everywhere.
i love this quote...
"The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes." Marcel Proust

August 2011.

Favorite post-- I learned much from Anna's Pulling Teeth experience.
But, I loved learning- Singleness of Heart.

Sunday morning I read my favorite verses ever on the Sabbath day (Doctine and Covenants 59:9-13)...
i loved this reminder, "let thy food be prepared WITH SINGLENESS OF HEART" and later, "do these things with thanksgiving, with cheerful hearts and countenances... with a glad heart and a cheerful countenance." 

All day I tried to do whatever I was doing WITH SINGLENESS OF HEART.
Meaning, I wasn't always worried about everything that needed to get done.
I tried to just cheerfully do ONE thing, and have peace that it was enough.
We had a few friends over for dinner.  My kids spent the day doing uplifting, Sabbath things.  I worked hard.  And, I was happy.

Fun Crafts...
Primary chair covers

and this Subway quilt

September 2011.

i loved this post on Creation Cleaning.
Because the concept CHANGED MY LIFE.

i went to the temple one evening pondering strongly WHAT i could do to be a better homemaker.
my thoughts were directed to the creation.
As I was thinking about God organizing the worlds, the Spirit said to me very clearly...
Jen, it is important to organize/plan first.
Then I was thinking about God, separating the waters from the land.
The Spirit said, after you organize, cleanse.
By this time I was quite interested and I was thinking, organize, cleanse... i wonder what comes next.
And, next I almost laughed out loud.
The Spirit whispered to me, Organize, Cleanse, Then separate the LIGHT from the DARK... ahhh laundry!!
(That was my favorite creation/cleaning comparison.)
Fourth came plants/trees/bushes... food.
Fifth came BEASTS in all their variety...  friends/kids.
and Sixth came MEN... a day focused on my husband.
and of course, seventh was a day of rest.

October 2011.

This post, on SEASONS when Anna went to the plastic surgeon and found out she has to have more surgery, made me realize that things change, that we all have trials and that they are for a greater purpose.
on the way home, anna cried.
she said she wished she had died in the campfire.
i have never heard her say anything negative about her burned hand before.
it was healthy, and healing.
we talked a lot about trials in life.
how everyone, everyone has trials... and this is hers.
life is about learning and growing and being able to empathize and serve.
at the doctors we saw a boy with half of his face burned.
i said, he probably looked at anna and thought that she had a perfect life.
he might not know that she had been burned also.
and, because she had a burned hand, she could empathize with that boy a little more.

And this post on CHOOSING opened my eyes to not feeling bad for the UNDONE good things in my life.
I choose that good part continually, when I go from one good thing, to another good thing, without feeling guilty that I haven't already done every good thing!!
Did you catch that?
It is the key to happiness...
choosing that good part means that we are choosing.
choosing between many good things.
choosing that good part means that sometimes other good parts are left undone.
we can choose them later. 
when we walk with God, we are constantly choosing that good part.
and we never really sacrifice anything.

November 2011.

6th Grade Boy... i love it because i think all 6th Grade Boys are pretty much the same.  Weird but good.  :)
and, my grand YAWP to the world, I AM Christian and you don't get to decide.
My favorite?
Surfing from Drudgery to Joy.  I really FEEL this blog.  I'm not sure that anyone else understood what I was trying to say, but I can just feel that slight difference in my housework/mothering/lifework when I'm just under the water or just above.  There is joy to be found in excelling at the mundane.

I KNOW that there is MUCH JOY in the mundane daily tasks of life.
i am SO BLESSED to stay at home.  i am SO BLESSED to be a mother.
I believe you can find JOY whatever your circumstances are.
JOY is a choice.
SURF the waves, even when you feel like you are drowning.
We all feel that way.
The more you practice surfing, the more natural it will become.
I'm not sure when I stopped crying on my way home from the grocery store.
some days I still do.  some days I still hate the thought that all i have to do is CLEAN MY HOUSE again!
but, i know how to change my attitude... DO MORE.
When i make homemaking my hobby not just my duty, I am happy.
When cooking and cleaning is something that I CHOOSE to do, because i want to... I am happy.

December 2011.

I have loved learning A Mother's Prayer.
When I take time to pray over my kids I feel the power of prayer changing me and helpling me to love more.

i'm not sure what my children will grow up to be.
but, i know that they will face the world armed with a mother's prayer.
and i know, there is power in a mother's prayer.  
There is power in a Father's answer.
He is with us.

And, I loved the great quotes i learned pulling me out of my Christmas funk... Get Funky...
#4--  Remembering is EVERYTHING.
I was reminded again, that it is not my job to keep my house in order, raise my children, serve at Church, care for my extended family members, encourage my husband, etc., etc.  
It's not my job.
It's God's.
My job is to LISTEN to what He wants me to do and DO it.
I LOVE this quote from Elder Neal A. Maxwell... he is telling reasons why we become weary...
"First, we forget that while we work with others, we are working for Him!  Working for "them" can be very wearying.  Our naive insistence on seeing rapid results is intensified when we work for "them"; our expectations become unrealistic and, therefore, are not fulfilled.  This weariness is of our own making, real as it is.  But when we truly work for Him rather than for others, we will be less cluttered, less frantic-- and more effective.  We will also actually be more helpful to "them".  

Wow!  Looking back over my year I am humbled.
I have learned so much.
I have been abundantly blessed.
Re-reading these words I feel that they are part of me now.
I remember that each blog I wrote was a "discovery"... as I wrote, I was being taught.
Today, I read back over my year and I want to shout-- I TOTALLY KNOW THIS!!
Life is HARD... by design.
GROWTH is good.
There is JOY all along the way.
God knows us.  He is teaching us.  He is helping us.
MOTHERING is a grand tutorship.
Trials are grand teachers.
Today, I am taught and I am grateful for the journey.
Today I am still learning...
Life is good.

and now, on to 2012!!
tie your bonnet strings sisters, we are going to make it to Zion together...
(uphill both ways, in the snow, without shoes, smelling the flowers, while we sing...)

ps.  ugh.  i realized that when i click on the month in my side bar, it only shows me the last few entries.  i hate that.  so, to really see the blogs i've written i have to go one by one and push older post.  blah.  gotta figure that out.

pps.  todd,  um, sorry that i have no time to go grocery shopping or put away the Christmas tree... i've been, um, taking care of the kids all day!!

happy year!


Tiffany said...

The thing I like most about your year in review (well, besides EVERYTHING) is that a lot of those posts were ones that I forwarded to people! :-)

And the thing I like, no, LOVE about your blog is that in all your writing about learning, I feel lifted & I learn, too. Much more quickly than if I had to come up with those things on my own!
THANK YOU!!! :-)

Kerri said...

I think I read every single blog post you wrote this year, and I have been inspired by you over and over. Thank you for spending some of your precious time sending these beautiful thoughts into cyberspace. I am so grateful for the truths I find in your posts.

jenifer said...

Thank you both ladies... I ALWAYS appreciate your thoughtful comments.
In the attitude of full disclosure and to all those who regularly read my blog comments, I must say...
Years ago I truly potty trained tiffany's son while she was on a cruise (or in Hawaii?). in exchange she promised to write nice comments on my blog and refer all of her friends. SO though she might seem nice to me, know that she is only fulfilling her indentured servitude.
And Allie... I have re-thunk me comment on "I've been thinking". And now I must say that when my blog becomes famous I will most definitely wear designer jeans, solicit free Etsy gifts for my kids, have many Lisa Leonard silver necklaces, get a new stained glass star every year, and do giveaways every other posts. Every craft project I do with my family will involve a Cricuit... But, don't worry... If you continue to read i'm sure you will win one. Oh, and I'm going to wear Shabby Apple dresses... Everyday.
So, I'm sorry. If you don't like that you won't have to read it. So far, I blog every day to supplement our income... Someday soon I'll be able to quit my day job and blog full-time. Did you know Nate asked me to be on his show? He wants me to demonstrate 50 ways to look sexy in a ponytail. Here comes the gimmies....

jenifer said...

This blog is still accepting advertising applications. If you would like your name to appear on my " people I love" side bar, please write something nice about me daily...

I am currently doing some work from home... Feel free to send your un-potty trained child to my house and I will happily teach them to pee in the toilet using the certified "happy dance" method.

Anonymous said...


Thank you for sharing your blog with us. You have a special talent for writing that has inspired me many times.
I found your blog through onescrappinmama blog. Matt is my nephew. I zeroed in on the Moss name. We are also Moss'. Todd's Dad is my husband's first cousin and they share the same name. Back during the college days, we enjoyed having Todd over to our home for parties. You have a special little family. Joy

jenifer said...

Hi Joy-- Todd remembers your home fondly! What a small world it is. Matt and Becky are darling. Thanks for commenting!

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