A Still Christmas

One of my favorite Christmas songs is “Still, Still, Still”.  There just always seemed like there was something magically about the song.

Still, Still, Still
Still, still, still,
One can hear the falling snow.
For all is hushed,
The world is sleeping,
Holy Star its vigil keeping.
Still, still, still,
One can hear the falling snow.
Sleep, sleep, sleep,
‘Tis the eve of our Savior’s birth.
The night is peaceful all around you,
Close your eyes,
Let sleep surround you.
Sleep, sleep, sleep,
‘Tis the eve of our Savior’s birth.
Dream, dream, dream,
Of the joyous day to come.
While guardian angels without number,
Watch you as you sweetly slumber.
Dream, dream, dream,
Of the joyous day to come.
Songwriters: Bryan Michael Paul Cox / Jermaine Dupri / Johnata M Austin
Still, Still, Still lyrics © Norman Luboff Music
I love how the words speak of stillness and how this can be part of us.  Just like with our Savior.  He is there, but sometimes we have to be still and let Him become part of us.  Merry Christmas!

 

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Blessed with Earthly Angels and a Big Mama Bear

The past couple of weeks we have been especially blessed.  We have had two different packages left on our door step, one specifically for our kids (so full of little toys and things the box wasn’t even closed all the way) and another one for the kids and us, as parents (Little People Nativity and some Christmas cash).  I can’t even tell you what these few things have meant to me.  Remember my post about not feeling like I matter, well receiving these unknown gifts made my heart burn.  It was a tender reminder to me, that someone out there was thinking of our family.  I have no idea who gave us those gifts, but the greatest gift they really gave, was love.  It wasn’t about the gifts really for me, it was the joy that entered our home when our kids especially felt SPECIAL LOVE for them.  I didn’t feel like we were worthy of such gifts, but the gift of love and joy are true gifts from a Heavenly Father that loves us.  What a blessing to see this happen in our own home.  Then this week, some special new friends, have picked our family to do the 12 days of Christmas to.  I have no idea who it is, but our kids look forward to it every night.

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To say that I don’t feel blessed, would be a lie.  How blessed I feel by “earthy angels” who have shared love and joy in our home and continue to do so.  What a blessing!  I hope you are looking for the blessings in your life and in ways to be a blessing to those around you.

With all that said though, there is more.  Some days I feel like I’ve got this parenting thing down, but other days I feel like a complete failure.  I felt like this week has been a dismal failure.  Maybe, it is way too many failures that have culminated.  They have been complaining about EVERYTHING and one kid has even started the “I never get to do what I want to do…”.  The other huge struggle this week…eating dinner.

We have been working on breaking our kids’ habit of being picky eaters.  We have introduced a lot of new food along with new rules for dinner.  One rule is they have to try 5 bites of whatever is new.  They don’t have to LIKE it, but they have to EAT it.  Well, tonight it was all out war.  I was excited to eat dinner until the complaining started before I even sat down.  I love cooking, I love baking, and it is hard to hear complaining before I even reach the dinner table.  Ugh.  This challenge of introducing new things etc., is not for the weak in spirit and consistency is the key, but tonight I snapped.  I made my 4-year-old sit at the table until he ate a carrot and a potato (it was like ¼ of each).  He did not like that.  He sat there for a long time, with 3 bathroom breaks and lots of complaining.  I finally let him leave, but he will be eating said food at breakfast and lunch if he hasn’t finished (and dinner is leftovers).  Maybe I am too mean of a parent, but I am trying to show him that I will follow through and his complaining is not going to make his food go away.  But, that doesn’t mean that I feel great about it.  I feel like a total failure.  Why can’t we just sit down for Sunday dinner, have a great conversation about what we learned about at church, and enjoy being together.  Someday..

I feel like sometimes I don’t know how to be a mom, I don’t know how to teach them certain things, and I just hope that I am doing something right, because I feel like I am ruining them. With all that said though, I want the best for them.  I want them to be able to be good people and good kids and respectable.  I want to see what they are passionate about and what drives them. I love to see them create and imagine and grow and I marvel at all their little brains can do and learn in so short of a time.  I want to be a close knit family, I want my kids to be each others best friends and to enjoy life together.  I want them all to know that I will fight for them.  I want to share, tell, and sink love deep in their hearts from their mom.  I don’t want them to question at all that I love them, and I just hope that all my failures and shortcomings I will somehow be able to teach them to love and serve and care for each other and for those around them.  I want them to be the people reaching out, like people have been reaching out to our family, instead for greedy gift hoarders.  For Christmas I want our home to be a place of peace and a place where all love more.

Fruit Snack Attack

This week I got to go on a field trip with LOTS of 1st graders.  It was actually really fun and the time went too quickly.  I was in charge of 3 of them, and those three girls keep me running.  It was fun to see things through their little 6-7-year-old eyes.  So fun. Normally the kids eat lunch at 11:40 when they are at school. Well, the field trip was LONG for them.  At about 11:30, you could see them kinda get glassy eyed and slow down.  When we climbed on the bus to come back to school it was 12:10 and we had a 45 minute drive back to school.  Luckily the 1st grade teachers knew their students well.  They passed out fruit snacks and water.  Normally, I HATE fruit snacks, but I had some any way and they were the best fruit snacks I have ever had.  I think I just needed some sugar to boost me through the craziness.  So, sometimes you just have to be flexible.

There are many things that I said I wasn’t going to do when I was a parent, but I have learned to be flexible.  We don’t have the financial security that I thought we would, we don’t buy the expensive mac and cheese, and my kids don’t love vegetables.  But, we have fun, we smile, we laugh and we read together.  I love my life and am so grateful for every day.  But, I still don’t buy fruit snacks.

Learning Happiness

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We all face trials, whether big or small, they are trials.  Sometimes it is hard to get through them from one moment to the next and others you feel like you are able to walk tall still.  No matter what, there are times when we need help.  Acknowledging our dependence is not a sign of weakness.  It is in fact, at those times when we realize that we need someone else to help, that we truly become stronger.  I believe in God.  I know He loves me, individually.  There have been times in my life when I was trying to do it all, okay, lots of times, but when I finally reach my hand to God things change.  It is when my Savior walks with me in my daily life that I can face those trials.

In the Book of Mormon, we learn about the people of Alma. These were people that had given up everything to follow a prophet of God, to live what they believed, and be willing to walk with the Savior.  They came under subjection to a mean king and were given heavy burdens to carry, LITERALLY (Mosiah 24:15).  They were told that they couldn’t pray any more, or else they would be punished.  But you know what, they were still happy.  Am I that way when I am given heavy burdens to carry?  Or do I feel bad for myself, complain to my Heavenly Father, and pray to have them taken away RIGHT NOW!? Well, I know that I am usually not the happiest.

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One thing that I have been learning lately though is to change my prayers.  I think it is human nature to not want to be in uncomfortable situations, or ones that hurt, are unpleasant or that make us feel like we are failing.  When the people of Alma were told that they couldn’t pray out loud, they probably actually prayed more.  They were pouring out their hearts to God…not out loud but in their hearts.  If you feel like you are not able to make the most of your prayers at night or in the morning, trying praying in your heart.  What a marvelous experience you can have.  The other point that I would like to bring up is that the heavy burdens on the people of Alma were not taken away right away…they were made light.  Again, back to changing my prayers.  Instead of learning from my trials I just want out of them.  So now, it is more of a plea to help me carry this burden with His help and see the tender mercies along the way.

And what an amazing thing to happen.  There is one burden that has almost consumed me, it is hard, and I don’t like that I think about it constantly and try and figure out ways to take it away.  I used to pray to just have it taken away, now I am looking for those little things that make it better.  I don’t think that it is magically going to go away, but those little victories are making a huge difference to me, because I am actively working hard WITH my Heavenly Father and actively looking for His hand in my life.

Another scripture that comes to mind when I have been thinking about this, is to live after the manner of happiness (2 Nephi 5:27).  Is it possible to be happy when carrying heavy burdens?  Yes, it is.  It is not always easy to find, but if you look it is there. Sometimes the happiness is discovered through  a change of perspective or simply letting go.  I learned wise counsel from my mission president, his motto, “Control what you can control.” When we do our best to truly be a disciple of Christ then we will be supported, no matter what.  We have to be willing to accept His help.

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