heroes among us

Aug 20, 2009 by

There are many heroes that walk among us. People that reach out to others with a smile, a hug, a meal, or a box of food. There are those who silently seek out opportunities for service each day and do untold good. There are people that endure pain, loneliness, heartache, and sickness with courage and faith. There are those willing to stand for truth even when it means rejection or reprisals. My life has been richly blessed by such heroes. Hopefully yours has as well.

Tonight my mind is full of another hero. This hero is willing to give of her body, mind, heart, comfort, and control to bring children to this earth. She is willing to give her time to teach and to serve her children for the rest of her life. She is striving to hear and obey the will of the Lord. She is worn out and tired and hurting and out of breath and so ready to give birth this very minute if her baby would just come out!

And so she waits and waits and waits.

And he doesn’t come.

Amy, he will come. I promise.

You are a hero in every sense of the word. You amaze me with your love of God, dedication to truth, willingness to obey, and desire to serve. Thank you for being a beautiful example of womanhood. I love you.

As mothers in Israel, we are the Lord’s secret weapon. Our influence comes from a divine endowment that has been in place from the beginning. In the premortal world, when our Father described our role, I wonder if we didn’t stand in wide-eyed wonder that He would bless us with a sacred trust so central to His plan and that He would endow us with gifts so vital to the loving and leading of His children. I wonder if we shouted for joy at least in part because of the ennobling stature He gave us in His kingdom. The world won’t tell you that, but the Spirit will.

Sheri Dew

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becoming a mother

Jul 15, 2009 by

Last night at La Leche League, the opening question was “What have you found to be different about motherhood than what you thought it would be like?” Some of the other moms said they had always wanted children and found it was more work, more fun, more deep and more profound than they had imagined. When it was my turn to answer, I could hardly speak at first. For some reason, my heart was full and then I let it all come out.

I said “I didn’t really like children and never wanted to be a mother. I had big plans for my life and they did not involve changing diapers, dealing with throw-up, or being inconvenienced with a child’s needs. And then I had Blythe and every cell of my body was changed at that moment.”

I had no idea I would love my children this much. I had no idea that I would be full of joy as I watched them grow up. I had no idea that I would become a kinder, calmer, wiser, more loving, more patient woman by being a mother.

I am so grateful I have these precious kiddos to spend time with each day.

Thanks Blythe for changing everything.Blythe & Mama

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obsessions or treasured opportunities?

Jul 11, 2009 by

I have been a mother for nigh on 13 years. I have learned a lot during that time and wanted to share one pearl with you. Take it or leave it – perhaps it will be helpful on your mothering path, perhaps not.

My children are obsessive. They get totally wrapped up in something and that is all they do for days, weeks, or months. When Blythe first started doing this, I thought it was kind of cute, then perhaps a tad strange, then I thought I needed to intercede and get her interested in something else. I have learned, however, to let these obsessions play themselves out. I now know I need to take advantage of the obsession and help them learn all they can about whatever it is because it will pass and then they will be obsessed about something else and may not go back to the previous obsession. It may be my one chance to teach them about that topic.

Examples, you ask?

When Blythe was about 3, she was enamored by bugs. She and I would go for walks nearly every day and she would find and follow the bugs who were out walking as well. She would tell me all about their legs and wings and eyes and colors and what they liked to do. She would introduce herself to perfect strangers by saying “I’m a bug-lover, what are you?”

Now she wants nothing to do with bugs and says they are the worst part of the summer.

When Blythe was 5 and 6, she would listen to the Book of Mormon from 5 a.m. until bedtime. She did this every day for months and months and months. Each day when I would wake up, she would already be awake, drawing in her room, and listening. She would listen all day long. She would bring the CD’s with us wherever we went, begging to listen to them in the car. At family scripture time, we would read multiple chapters and she would be so sad when we were done. She wanted more. She would tell scripture stories to pretty much everyone she met. She listened to the Book of Mormon over 30 times during that obsession and knew the whole thing almost word for word. She would quote me entire chapters and then ask questions like “What do you think it means that the first shall be last and the last should be first? Do you think it means the Jews and the Gentiles will each come to a knowledge of the Lord or do you think it means something else?”

Now she dutifully reads a chapter of the Book of Mormon a day, but the obsession is gone.

Around age 6, she became obsessed with The Chronicles of Narnia. Once again, she listened to them every day for hours. I read the whole series to her, repeatedly.

Now, she still enjoys them, but the obsession is gone.

Around 7 1/2, she became completely and totally engrossed in The Lord of the Rings. She listened to the entire book – all 1000+ pages – over and over again. She sang the elf songs, she spoke to us in elvish, she recited Bilbo’s poems, she knew every character, every event, every thing about the saga.

This obsession is kind of still going, although it is not in the intense “I must devour this book this instant” phase.

Fisher has been obsessed with airplanes since he was about 6 months old. He could hear them miles away and would sign to us that an airplane was in the sky. He would crawl outside and would not be satisfied until he could see it for himself. He has checked out books about airplanes nearly every week at the library for several years. He watches airplane movies with a drugged look of pure euphoria. He slept with his airplane book that was a birthday present from Grandma Dorothy for months.

This obsession is still going strong, but now we are building on it by teaching him about engines, wings, missiles, etc.

There are also annual obsessions that need to be taken advantage of. A recent one in our family was patriotic music needing to be learned for the girls’ America’s Hope performance. They have sung these songs for hours and hours on end for the last couple of months. At times, it drove me bonkers. Then I would remind myself to let them sing their hearts out so the lessons of liberty would sink deep into their hearts and increase their love for America. I knew Independence Day would come and these songs would not be of huge interest for another year.

There are many more instances I could give you, of each of my children, but I think you get the picture. Now, the wisdom I have gained is let them listen, read, build, explore, etc…the obsession will pass naturally once they have gained all they need to from the subject. If it becomes a source of tension between parent and child, then the child will cling to the obsession all the more fiercely. If the parent delights in it with them and enjoys it with them, then the child will be able to discuss it with their parent and get even more learning out of it. Now, I didn’t say this is easy. It can drive me batty to have someone in my home so focused on a specific topic. I remember saying once, (even though I love, love, love the Book of Mormon) “We have got to turn this off! I just can’t listen to it another moment!”

Now that she is only reading a chapter a day, I sure am grateful I let her listen to her heart’s content when she was young!

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angels and beasts and eyes, oh my!

Jun 11, 2009 by

Last night we had our best scripture study EVER! We have been reading scriptures as a family for years and we have had some fabulous discussions, but last night was THE best. For the past few days we have been reading D & C 76, which is full of power and truth and testimony. I think we spent 5 or 6 days on that one section because of all the questions our children had as we read along, such as “what is a son of perdition,” “who goes to the telestial kingdom,” and “what does it mean to deny the Holy Ghost?”

Last night, we got to Section 77, which is Joseph’s inquiries about The Book of Revelation. Now, I have a daughter who is obsessed with Lord of the Rings, obsessed with imaginary worlds, obsessed with dragons and beasts. So, I said, “Wow, this is an interesting revelation. It’s all about beasts covered with eyes and wings. Creatures with four heads. Flying things. Immediately my children were interested. Then, I told them all about John the Beloved and how he was given an amazing vision and how he used symbolism to share his vision with the world. I turned to Revelation and started reading in chapter 4 about the beasts with eyes and six wings who praise God. Then I asked them “what do you think John is trying to tell us, what are these beasts?” The guesses started pouring out of the girls. They were so excited! Then I said “This is just what Joseph was going through, he wanted to know what John meant, but he didn’t know if his guesses were right, so he prayed and Jesus answered his questions, explaining what each thing meant.” Back to Section 77, where we asked the first question, then read and discussed the answer. Then on to the second and so on. Many times we had more questions about the answers given, so then we were diving into the footnotes to get more information. The girls treated this as a great treasure hunt. They were flipping through their scriptures so fast trying to figure out the answers, I almost couldn’t keep up with them! We had a Harris family dinner last night, so we didn’t get home till about 10:15. I had thought, we’ll just read a couple of verses and go to bed since it is so late, but as soon as we started we couldn’t stop. I kept asking “should we do another question?” and they would say “YES!” I couldn’t very well stop with that much enthusiasm, could I? We finally finished around 11:30. Our bodies were exhausted, but our minds were full of great ideas to think about all night long in our dreams.

I will try to remember this night when scripture study is not so joyous!

p.s. By the way, if you are looking for a great analogy for D & C 76:94 (they will see as they are seen and know as they are known), we talked about how if you are grumpy, you tend to see others as grumpy. If you are kind, you tend to see others as kind. Then we talked about Sauron from Lord of the Rings and how he wanted the ring so desperately that he couldn’t imagine anyone not wanting it. He couldn’t imagine anyone wanting to destroy it because he would never do that. He could only see those things that were within himself.

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happy mother’s day from richard

May 10, 2009 by

An amazing woman is behind the very cute and worthwhile wetoatmealkisses.com web site. And like most of the truly great things that go on in this world there will likely be no parades or celebrations. Politicians will not call for a renewed effort to emulate the character of her. Movie moguls will not be meeting with screen writers and actors in a multimillion dollar blockbuster effort trying to tell her story.

More likely the wise of the world will find fault with this tremendous lady. They will criticize her for wasting her intellect, selfishly choosing to use it on her husband and children instead of blessing the world. They will chastise her for using her own judgments for health and not blindly following advice from professionals. Much lamentation will be had in her deciding to educate her own children and teaching them not only their facts and figures but also godly virtues, and a love of God and mankind.

There are many in the world who will not appreciate the greatness of this woman that I love. To them I’d like to say……………well…………. To them I’d like to say many things, but because I am trying to live worthy of Tracy it would be better if I didn’t say it. BUT I’M THINKING IT!!!!!!!! Actually it isn’t hard to be dismissive of the nay-sayers because the blessing it has been to be her husband makes life truly enjoyable and peaceful. I want and need to be better for her. Watching her try to help not only my children and I, but those in our community and extended family, makes me realize I’m not trying hard enough.

Though the world with its glitz and glamour may try to discredit her, the flimsy foundation of those who do so is built on such false arguments that it will never be able to contain this kind of woman. The weighty matters that she helps propel in our home will break down the oppressor, take power from the media and help to build the kingdom of God which will never be broken. The framework she is building will last generations, not days or weeks. She will influence for years past her time on earth. Popularity and propaganda are only for the moment and ultimately have no lasting power.

Mine is the privilege of being her companion on this journey, and thankful am I for that. Happy Birthday and Mothers day. I love you much more than I have the capacity to say.

Eternally yours,
Richard

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love is little

Apr 30, 2009 by

I have a favorite CD called Farewell to Nauvoo from a fabulous family band Fiddlesticks and it has a Shaker hymn on it called “Love is Little.” (For those of you who know about my obsession with the “Praise to the Man” song for the cello, that song is on another Fiddlesticks CD called Return to Nauvoo). I have pondered these words hundreds of times and they always bring a smile to my face. I belt it out at the top of my lungs and I sing it quiet to my baby. I love this song. I want to make a stitched pillow out of it, but then reality hits me and I think, “you crazy lady, when exactly would you fit that in?”

Here are the words:

Love is little, love is low
Love will make our spirits grow
Grow in peace, grow in light
Love will do the thing that’s right

Love is tender, love is best
In thy arms of holy rest
Keep me safe, keep me still
Always open to thy will

Love is little, love is low
Love will make our spirits grow
Grow in peace, grow in light
Love will do the thing that’s right

Love thy neighbor, heal thy friend
Tender mercies now descend
Full of hope, full of grace
As I gaze into thy face

Love is little, love is low
Love will make our spirits grow
Grow in peace, grow in light
Love will do the thing that’s right

Love surrounds me, makes me whole
Love eternal fills my soul
Free from sin, free from pain
When our Savior comes to reign

“Love will make our spirits grow”…love will make our spirits grow. It is my stewardship to help these little spirits grow, to help my spirit grow. Grow in strength, grow in kindness, grow in truth. “Grow in peace, grow in light”, here is the answer! If we want more light in our lives, more peace in our hearts, the answer is love.

“Love will do the thing that’s right”…do you ever wonder and worry and pray and think about what to do in a tough situation with another human being? I do. Once again, here is the answer. Love will do what is right. If my heart is full of love for the other person and for myself, I will be motivated to do what’s right. If pride, selfishness, fear, or anger are present, my motivation will not lead to what is right. Even if I do what is “right” with a heart that is not full of love, it won’t really be right because the other person will feel my lack of love and I will have missed out on an opportunity to bless that person with my love. Most of all, I will know, I know I will know deep down, that I was not who my Father would have had me be.

“Love surrounds me, makes me whole”…what a beautiful summation of my life. In the beginning of our marriage, my heart had a lot of holes, a lot of wounds, a lot of pain. My husband loved me and loved me and loved me. His love filled the holes. It healed the wounds. It took away the pain. Completely. His love helped me feel my Savior’s love and I was made whole. It is a miracle that continues to astound me today.

I cannot express to you the profound truths this simple song has taught my heart. Thank you to the Shakers for giving it to the world and to me.

You can buy this CD online at Deseret Book or download it here…enjoy!

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annesley aliyah

Apr 28, 2009 by

My precious Annesley is so stinkin’ cute! Yesterday at gym, she tried so hard to be big like the rest of the children. She tried to warm up with us by doing her walk-run with her right arm swinging hard. She wanted to jump off the vault, but once she got up there decided it was a bit too high and held on to me instead…but she thought she jumped and wanted to do it again and again. She loves the music and dances by bobbing her head and spinning in circles. She turned 17 months on Sunday…whew! Time has sure flown by with this delightful little girlie. Here is a picture of Annesley and Keziah from about a month ago.

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Annesley was created one day and the next day we found out our business was closing. Since then we have had a lot of stress, anger, frustration, and sadness at that decision and its ramifications, but through it all, we have also had Miss Annesley with her bright blue eyes, wide-open grin, and spirit full of wonder and joy. She has blessed our family immensely and we are so grateful God sent her to us when He did. She was and is just what we needed to get us through with a smile in our hearts.

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why wetoatmealkisses.com?

Apr 27, 2009 by

I’ve had a few people ask me, why wetoatmealkisses.com? Well, since I already posted the poem, you know about that, right?  But of course, there is a double meaning…we have oatmeal or some variation of it nearly everyday and have for years. When Blythe was little she ate oatmeal leftovers throughout the day. Every time she was hungry, she just pulled it out of the fridge and ate some. Cold. It was fabulous. I could make a big pot of oatmeal and she would eat it till it was gone, then I would make another. I never had to dish it up or heat it up. She was quite capable of getting some in a bowl and she had no idea that it would be better warmed up. That all changed one day when her grandmother heated up her leftovers.

I have had a lot of wet oatmeal kisses in my mothering years. Uummm, treasures.

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wet oatmeal kisses

Apr 26, 2009 by

When I was a new mother, I read this poem and instantly fell in love. I cried that first time I read it and have had my heart strings pulled every time since. I wanted to be a mother without regrets. Now, I knew I would have some, but I wanted to nurture in such a way as to enjoy my “in the trenches” mothering years. I wanted to be able to feel I LIVED as a mother, not endured, not survived, but THRIVED. 

Now, I have been mothering for over 12 years and have made plenty of mistakes I never thought I would make. I have wished for a nice meal, clean rooms, less laundry, and quiet on the phone. I have longed to be left alone to cuddle up with a good book. I have yelled, I have cried, and I have grown. Rereading this poem tonight inspires me to recommit to my earlier aspirations of motherhood – to build a living, breathing, growing, laughing home for my family.

Here is the poem…enjoy!

The baby is teething. The children are fighting. Your husband just called and said, “Eat dinner without me.” One of these days  you’ll explode and shout to the kids, “Why don’t you grow up and act your age?” And they will.  

Or, “You guys get outside and find yourselves something to  do. And don’t slam the door!” And they don’t. You’ll straighten their bedrooms all neat and tidy, toys displayed on the shelf, hangers in the closet, animals caged.  You’ll yell, “Now I want it to stay this way!”  And it will.  

You will prepare a perfect dinner with a salad that hasn’t had all the olives picked out and a cake with no finger traces in the icing and you’ll say, “Now THIS is a meal for company.” And you will eat it alone.  

You’ll say, “I want complete privacy on the phone. No dancing around, no pantomines, no demolition crews. Silence! Do you hear?” and you’ll have it. No more plastic tablecloths stained with spaghetti, no more anxious nights under a vaporizer tent, no more dandelion bouquets, no more iron-on patches, wet, knotted shoestrings, tight boots, missing mittens, or ponytails falling out.

Imagine, a lipstick with a point, no babysitter, washing clothes only once a week, no parent meetings, carpools, Christmas presents out of toothpicks and paste.

No more wet oatmeal kisses.

No more toothfairy, giggles in the dark, or knees to heal.

Only a voice crying, “Why don’t you grow up?” and the silence echoing,

“I did”

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