Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Keepin' It Real Wednesday

The other day I was taking the kids to school in the morning.  When they hopped out, some stuff fell out too and had to be picked up and put back in by one of the kids.  Have you ever had that happen?  Like we aren't conspicuous enough, with six kids dashing out, while I wave my arms in a circle saying "Go go go!" like a chubby drill sergeant in a dress and barefeet.*  Today when I dropped my kids off, the teacher in carpool, remarked, "Wow.  It's like a clown car.  They just keep coming."

So, I decided to clean my van out, to try to deflect a little of the embarrassment (at least the mivi-van related embarrassment.)  This was the pile of stuff that was in the van but didn't belong there, after the trash was thrown away. Amazing, I know.  I would like to highlight a few of these items. Besides the library book in the front, which has cost me at least $20 in twenty-five cents a day late fees (so worth it for the random facts Oliver can now spout when he is supposed to be doing "more important things" like homework or finding a pair of socks for school), there are a number of note-worthy items.

Note the title, and then note the teeth marks on the bottom right corner.  Lemon Sugar does not approve.

See these comforters?  They were left at my Dad's house in JUNE during a cousin sleepover.  They were just retrieved last week.  What have Gabe and Oliver been using for blankets in the meantime? I dunno, dirty towels or something.  Who knows. 

And one of my favorites.  An RC car that has been broken for YEARS.  The perfect toy to bring in the van. 

Not noted:
Dozens of markers and broken pencils
Every scrap of paper used at church
Church shoes
Amazon packages that were supposed to be returned
A neck pillow that was brought for relief on a strenuous 2 hr drive across the border to Virginia 

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Safi and Sifa come home!

June 8, 2016.  After over three years of waiting, we finally went to the airport to greet our daughters Sifa and Safi.  

A day of the greatest joy imaginable but also fear and anxiety. I look at these pictures and I see it all and I grieve for Safi and Sifa.  It is a very hard thing for a five and six year old to leave the only life they know and join a already-made family who doesn't even speak their language.  Can you imagine asking your child to do that? It is heartbreaking, and you can see it on their faces in these pictures. 

 I debated in my mind for a long time about whether to invite other people to the airport.  I knew it would be overwhelming for the girls no matter what, so I decided to go for it.  I wanted them to be able to look back on these pictures and see a tiny portion of the people who prayed for them and celebrated with us.

I  felt like I was going to pass-out or throw-up at this point.I had to keep reminding myself to breathe.  I felt so happy they were home but so sad for them and so scared about helping them through it. Add in three years of off-the-chart stress and the lingering sadness of my mom's death six weeks before this, and my body was a mess.

Oh, Sifa.  I can barely recognize you here.  I am so glad we know each other better now. You tried to put those gold shoes on last week and could not for the life of you squeeze into them.

Coming home to find our home had been secretly decorated buoyed me up more than I could ever describe.  I knew it had been done by some women who had prayed long and hard for us.

It was a day none of us will ever forget.  We talk about it often with Simone and Safi.  They laugh at how much Sifa (Simone) hated me then. I am glad we are were we are and I know time will only bond us closer.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

What Am I Going to Tell My Kids Today?

I went to bed at 9 pm last night.  I woke up to Trump's victory and dozens of my friends asking,

"What am I going to tell my kids today?"

I understand.  Besides my feelings about Trump, which are probably pretty similar to those who are asking that question, I understand the looming and sometimes overwhelming sense of responsibility that parents everywhere feel about raising kids.

One day in late summer I felt that responsibility pressing down on my heart like an anvil.  I have six kids. Six.  My mind is like a constant loop of CONCERN. It plays their unique challenges through it, over and over, one after another.  It is never ending - my concern for them and their individual success, whatever that maybe look like.

And that constant loop very often brings on the thought,

"You will never be enough."

It's true.  I will fail them.  I will lose my temper. I have be selfish and inconsiderate and a bad example.

This realization, on this summer day, when I felt that they deserved better than me, was met by this scripture.  It brought me more hope than any parenting book or Mother's Day card ever could.

And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall.

I will never be enough, but our Savior always will be.  Was I trying to fill them up with me and my love more than Him and His love?  It was a humbling thought and one I needed to allow me to change the way I parent.

It also brought to mind another scripture that became meaningful to me during Mitt Romney's attempt at presidency.  I remember being so disturbed by a poll that confirmed what I had been faced with my whole life: an overwhelming amount of people still don't consider me, because I am LDS, to be a Christian.  Shortly after I read that poll I read this scripture:

And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins.

....and I had to ask myself....... do I do that?  Talk of, rejoice in, preach of and turn my children to Christ?

I knew then that the best thing I could do to give my kids stability and a rock-solid future was point them towards Jesus Christ.  He is the one person who is a sure foundation for them.  Their parents, teachers, leaders, and friends will all fail them in life at one point or another, but He never will.

If you aren't a Christian (and are somehow still reading this), can you stop for a minute and imagine what it would actually mean if all of this is true? If there really was this amazing being, with intelligence far beyond our comprehension, who created this earth and everything on it.  Who set a perfect example of how we should treat each other in order for everyone to have eternal happiness.  Who spread that knowledge through commandments that are laughed at now.  What if this man died for all of us, even those who killed Him?  Wow. And He rose and is coming again! Wouldn't that bring you incredible joy coupled with humility?

If you are Christian, doesn't that bring you incredible joy coupled with humility?

So what will I tell my kids?  I will recommit to the decisions I made that summer day. I will keep working on memorizing The Living Christ with them.  I will sing them songs about Christ.  I will read them scriptures during breakfast.  I will pray with them.  I will keep taking them to three hours of church every Sunday.  I will teach them to keep trying to be like Christ, no matter how many times they fail, and to turn to Him when they do.  I will teach them to make covenants with Him, because His power is greater than Trump's or Clinton's and amazingly, we can have access to it through those covenants!

When the whirlwinds come (and they will!), I don't want them hanging onto me, I want them hanging onto HIM.

Today, and tomorrow, and the eternities are bright.  Not because of me, or Trump, but because of their Savior and Redeemer.

That is what I will tell my kids today.