Friday, September 10, 2010

A Thing of Beauty

I am feeling a nagging feeling to express myself today. In days past when I would feel this way, I would pull out my journal and write for a while until I felt I had fulfilled this need. Today, I am coming to my blog. Cora and Cash's rooms are right next to each other. In one room I cuddled with my precious three year old daughter before nap time and told her that I loved her and she said she loved me back. I combed my fingers through her hair which is the same color as mine, and rubbed her little back. I looked at her adorable face; full of brightness. Then I went into Cash's room where I had left him lying down. He was cooing softly in his adorable little clothes. Smiling, and full of love. I thought of my little fire-cracker Bryant who is at school, probably having the time of his life as he does every day; but he always wants a hug from mom before he leaves for the day. And even though tomorrow is Saturday, he'll probably be up by 6:30. These children are the loves of my life. Erick and I created them!

Shortly before this I read a heart-breaking story about a Mormon family that lost an 18 month old daughter in an accident. After her death, they went back to the scene of the accident and along with the sadness they felt, they also felt peace. As all of these feelings from the story I just read mingled with the feelings of love I have for my own children, I had many thoughts.

Mainly, I thought about where happiness comes from.

I think the path to understanding happiness is a long one, and I at least think I am on the right path. The truth is that everything could change at any time. But I am grateful to know that some things are eternal. I believe family can be eternal. I believe happiness can be eternal. I know that many people that do not believe in God think that those who do believe do so because it is comforting to know that there is someone in charge, someone who is always there for us. So how do I know that He is real and that there really is someone there for us and that I'm not just a sucker who needs to feel comforted?

These are the thoughts I pondered. Here are some of my answers:

Peace. The peace that comes in the midst of terror, destruction, evil, bad, confusion. I have felt this peace. I have felt peace when I shouldn't feel peace. I have felt peace when I should have been afraid. I have felt peace when I have been in the depths of despair. I have felt peace in the midst of all sorts of lows. And I can tell you, it came from God.

Clarity. The clarity that comes in the midst of panic. Knowing what you should do when things are crazy. Knowing the answer to a problem you should have no clue what to do about it.

Children. Children have been the most amazing teaching tool in my life. Children more than anything have led me to the knowledge that God is real. Even babies. Especially babies. I still remember one night when Cora was an infant, I was feeling very upset, unstable, and unhappy. I had a feeling that I should just go hold my sleeping baby. So I did. The wonderful thing about babies is their capacity to love. When they start to open their eyes and look around the world, the first thing they really do other than eat and sleep is love. I felt the love from my little baby and I felt a knowledge of my divine worth swell within me. I went into my room and I saw myself in the mirror, and I knew I was beautiful because I am a mother. As I have had many experiences with my children; knowledge of God has crept into my soul and cast an anchor there. And one of the most powerful things I know about God is that He is Eternal. He is forever. This one tribute of God is important to me because everything changes. I tend to not like change. As I have dealt with the many changes of the last few years; having an Eternal Father to turn to has been the best thing in my life. These special times I have had with my children have been testimonies to me of God's divinity and mine. And I know it could all change in an instant, but God would still be there. And that is what I need.

Husband. I have probably learned as much about God from Erick as I have from our children. He always seems to come in with extra energy exactly when I am running out. On the nights when I feel like I should go up and spend one-on-one time with the kids before bed but am to tired to, Erick always seems to be there and before I know it he's talking with them and doing exactly what needed to be done. He is kind, respectful, he is soft-spoken, he is there when I need him and he mostly just wants me to be happy. How does all of this teach me about God? Well, it didn't all start out this way. We've always had an excellent marriage, but as the years have gone by, and as we've prayed together, studied together, served together, sacrificed together, I can tell we've both been refined (and are still in that process). But more and more, as I've seen my husband serve others and grow in his testimony of God and the gospel, he has become an amazing man right before my eyes. He is always changing, and always for the better. I can only hope he has noticed some good things about me in the last eight years as well!

Forgiveness/Repentance. All I can say is that I have learned that God is real. Burdens are lifted, grace is extended. It is true. Following those simple steps of repentance many times has done miracles in my life. The two words "I'm Sorry" are words that can change everything. They can erase years of hard feelings in those who are willing and ready to forgive. I'm not afraid to say "I'm sorry" any more. I'm not afraid to admit that I'm wrong. I know that things can get better.

Divine Nature. This really is happiness. When I finally realized that I was basing my happiness on what other people thought of me, I knew that's why I wasn't really happy. My emotions were always up and down because I felt that I had to be a certain way or act a certain way to be important. If things didn't go the way I thought they should I would be upset for days. If I didn't get to spend a certain amount of time with Erick, I would be upset for a long time. If I didn't feel like I was needed; I didn't feel important. Then I realized it was all wrong. I knew in my heart that this was not how happiness worked. I reached a point where I wondered if I would ever be truly happy and not have to suffer from a constant up and down of emotions. Where was my peace? In one evening, I had an incredible epiphany. I realized that happiness could only come from one place. I realized I and everyone else is important simply because we are all children of God. I realized that being a Child of God is important. It means that Heavenly Father loves me. It meant that He is there for me every single time I need Him. Which is exactly what I need.

That was several years ago. And I can tell you, that ever since the knowledge of my divine nature truly pierced my heart; I have never turned back. I have not given in to the cheap notion that other people will make me happy. They won't. I believe that when we have the foundation and knowledge of our divine nature we can then experience true love and happiness by serving others, being kind, and living our lives together, but it starts with that testimony of our Father in Heaven.

So, am I happy? Am I at peace? Yes. Is my life perfect? No. In fact, it is pretty crazy a lot of the time. How can I say I'm happy when it's obvious things in my life are not always great? Well, like I said, God doesn't change, and I'll always be his daughter. That is happiness for me.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

These Days (boring update)

Bryant started school last Wednesday. He has now been to seven WHOLE days of school. Wow. Can I just say that it feels like he's been going for forever? And honestly, it seems to be going well. For those of you who know Bryant, he is a very social, quick-thinking, intelligent, and busy child. And if you don't keep him busy, he will bug you until you give him something to do!

So Bryant went to school and he only cried the first night when he said that he missed being away from me all day long. I then explained to him that he is actually only gone 7 hours a day and that leaves him 17 whole hours at home per day. So technically he is still home much more than he is ever at school. Of course I didn't bother to point out that 11 of these hours are spent sleeping. This information calmed him down, and he has honestly been fine about it ever since. We get up at 6:15 every morning, I make him his lunch, he gets dressed, and I walk him to the bus by 6:50. I have not been up this early since high school. Seriously. I have to go to bed by 9:00 so I can handle the baby waking up a few times at night and still get enough sleep in by morning. I hate giving up my nights, but I love being there to send Bryant off in the morning. The bus is also so much easier than waking Cora (who's usually out until 8:30) and Cash, and loading them in the car to save 30 minutes.

Two days ago the bus came a little early so I told him to run for it. He did and got on the bus, but stood on the steps until I caught up and gave him his good-bye hug. Luckily our bus driver is very nice (she's in our ward at church so we know her), and she didn't mind waiting. It's like I have a boy who's half way grown up. He's a big boy off to school on his own, but he still needs a hug to get him on his way. When he arrives home, he's tired, but pretty happy. Each day of kindergarten so far though he has been sent back to his desk or out of the line at least one time for talking, and each day he PROMISES to try harder. At least today it was only once and not three times! Next week the teacher's discipline system of colored cards starts and we'll really get the full picture of what's going on!

Here at home things aren't so bad! Cora is enjoying being the big fish in the little pond. She's talking more, asking to invite friends over, and really flourishing even more than before. She and Bryant also seem to play better when he comes home since they've had some good time apart! We also have a friend's daughter come play four days a week for a couple of hours a day while her mom's in class and it seems to be going pretty well. I'm putting her in gymnastics next month so she'll have something special of her own to do. Cash pretty much goes with the flow and sleeps, plays and enjoys being held. He's a great little baby. So that's that. Things are great, I love kindergarten, Bryant loves kindergarten, Cora loves being at home yada, yada, yada.