10 Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove menow herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.
There are just days in my life where I need to know that God is real and that He knows me. There are days when I say to Heaven, "Show me your hand in my life. Help me feel your power. Help me remember. Make my burdens feel light."
There was nothing special about yesterday, I wasn't particularly sick or depressed. I just have my hands full and as I prayed the night before for a specific way I could see God in my life, I laughed to myself. I prayed, "Help me get things done around the house. Help me want to get things done. Help me know, beyond a doubt, that I am being helped."
We won't analyze here if it was silly for me to pray this prayer-- but I did pray it. I prayed at night, I prayed in the morning, and then I started my day.
We had planned for a friend to come over, I had a mountain of laundry, we were in the middle of painting the girls' room. I have a baby who loves to be right in my arms or quickly crawling to his death. I haven't mopped my kitchen floor in forever. Todd is out of town with my two oldest and best helpers. My house felt a bit overwhelming and history had shown me that just enjoying a normal, not very productive summer day was difficult.
Honestly-- I didn't try too hard. I was slow and present in the lives of my children. I spent TWO early morning HOURS working on family history (it's been YEARS since I've done that).
Leah, Ben and I did the morning barn chores. Leah is adorable with the cows.
I made French toast for breakfast. We had family prayer and read scriptures while we ate. I did the girls' hair cute. I showered!
I swept and mopped the kitchen floor and vacuumed the downstairs. I took 30 minutes to visit with a friend when she dropped her daughter off to play. I cleaned out, swept and mopped my garage! Hallelujah! You don't know the miracle that is.
I invited a bunch of friends over for a swim party tomorrow.
I made fun watermelon slushies with lunch. I cleaned the pool. I cuddled with Eve when I laid her down for a nap. I talked with friends on the phone. I bandaged scraped knees. I had Ben with me all day, he was happy and adorable.
Ben and I mowed the front and back lawn. We swept out the barn, free ranged the chickens and spent time with our cows.
We visited with friends again when they came to pick up their daughter. My friend brought her other daughter and grandson-- they got to help with our farm chores. There is nothing cuter than three year olds chasing chickens from the field back into the coop.
I skimmed the pool and picked up Popsicle wrappers from around the pool. We cleaned bird droppings from under our nest.
We had leftovers for dinner and the kids were in bed by 8.
Eve insisted on her white pjs with pink hearts. Only the bottoms were in the drawer. She was determined to go sort through the mountain of clean laundry to find it. I did my best coaxing, tried to convince her to wear a different shirt ("dats clothes not jammies"), tried to get her to sleep in her tshirt- all to no avail. Just as she was about to melt down, I looked one more time in her drawer and I laughed to find her matching top laying right there! She put it on and smoothed her outfit with her hands. She proclaimed proudly, "See! I'm adowable. I'm so pweety. I wuv dees jammies." Oh how I love her.
(Can you see the cute gold finch eating? We have the sweetest, bright yellow birds that visit daily. I love them even if they fly away when I try to take a picture.)
There was almost NO fighting ALL day. There were a few melt-downs at dinner time. Although I still used my normal sorry seat, I found my responses somewhat softer. I held and hugged more and offered more alternatives. My "this is how things need to be" voice was softer and my "everything's fine as it gently unfolds" voice was louder.
Even though I felt like my fridge was empty (I usually go grocery shopping on Thursday), we ended up with an abundance of yummy food. (Someday we'll talk about scarcity-abundance mentalities- it's amazing how a different view can transform you from scarcity to abundance. I see this ALL the time!). Anna cut fresh kale from our garden. Garden kale is SO good!!
Anna and Ellie sang as they cleared and loaded the dishes together. They went to take Rocco for a walk, and I finished up the by-hand dishes. When Ellie came back inside she was disappointed, "I actually wanted to do the by-hands" she said. (What??!!!!) Hallelujah!
Ellie did a great job magic erasing all the marks off my stove top instead. Isn't it nice to have a beautifully clean stove?!
The big girls went to bed and Eve heard them giggling, she snuck in their room.
I heard Anna sweetly putting Eve back into bed. Eve said in a sassy, Frozen voice, "You aw SO mean Anna." Then she said happily, "Hey! I didn't even call you a poopoo-diaweeah-head!"
My house was clean and quiet, so I typed a long text to my mountain man hubster, and brought baskets of laundry to the family room to fold. I watched a silly documentary on Diana- and folded every last stitch of clothing.
It was a miracle day.
I went to bed tired and aware of my blessings.
I've been asking myself how God actually helped me yesterday? Was it just me having a super productive day?
The answer is unmistakably-- NO WAY.
I have not been able to mop my kitchen floor. One thing-- mop. No matter how hard I tried, my life really is that busy.
My life has felt like exercise and stretching. Yesterday, felt easy and light. Yesterday was a day of GRACE.
Because I was listening, I took more time to connect with my kids when they came to me. Surprisingly, they came to me less.
My family history morning left me thinking about one of my great-great-great-great grandmother's Maria Jane Muir who immigrated to Scotland from Orgh, Tyrone, Ireland. She was 12 when the famine hit Ireland. She lived through religious persecution. She married a Scottsman. As I mowed and swept and cared for my "mansion" of a home, I saw it through her eyes and just felt her love and pride at how far her family had come. Thinking of the family angels who were near, made my life feel so much more blessed and less heavy. What beautiful perspective we gain as we turn our hearts to our fathers.
Instead of fixing lunch right at noon, I took advantage of swimming kids and a napping baby and I mopped my kitchen and cleaned my garage. I heard Ben wake up from his nap, but I left him playing happily in his crib while I quickly finished the garage. I let the rest of the kids eat popsicles first and lunch later.
(Have you guys seen the Welch's 100% juice ice pops? I love them. They come in those long plastic sleeves that seem to define summer, but they are juice.)
I took time for relationships-- AND got more done. Usually I tell myself, get your stuff done first and then focus on relationships.
I was absolutely deliberate and let myself be a perfectionist. Usually I tell myself, just let it go Jen, you shouldn't care if the garage is messy. Yesterday, I allowed myself to DO what I always see and wish I could do. It probably took just as much time to pick up the silly wrappers as it usually takes me looking at them telling myself "I really need to clean up around the pool."
Sometimes I feel silly telling you my little life victories. It probably sounds lame and you're probably thinking we're the crazy family with eight kids who has popsicle wrappers in their bushes...
But- I hope you know that I know God hears and answers our prayers. I know it again and again and again. He is in the little things. He cares about what we care about- especially as we serve His children.
"The grace of God helps us every day. It strengthens us to do good works we could not do on our own. The Lord promised that if we humble ourselves before Him and have faith in Him, His grace will help us overcome all our personal weaknesses." Bible Dictionary definition of grace
President Boyd K. Packer said, "Perhaps the greatest discovery of my life, without question the greatest commitment, came when finally I had the confidence in God that I would loan or yield my agency to him... To take one's agency, that precious gift which the scriptures make plain is essential to life itself, and say 'I will do as you direct', is afterward to learn that in so doing you possess it all the more" (Obedience, BYU Speeches of the year [Dec. 7, 1981], 4).
Wow- so true! Yesterday- I yielded and I was more ME than I ever am trying to be me. Is this possible to feel everyday?
Today is going to be another good day, I know it.
I believe we live far below our privilege. Yesterday, I felt Heaven near. I believe Heaven didn't move any closer-- I just felt it more.
How grateful I am for His gentle reminders.
I love my country life. I feel refined and holy as I serve within my home.
I just know God loves us all and that He cares about the little things in life that we care about. God helped me clean my garage- and He is helping you too. I know it.