Monday, February 28, 2011

Back in the day....

This is my husband's Grandmother. She will be 91 in March. She is an amazing woman. She had 10 children but was only able to raise 9 to adulthood because a baby girl died within a few days of birth due to a heart defect. Her children (my mother-in-law is one of them) are all amazing people who are talented, capable and have raised some pretty amazing kids themselves.

Grandpa died November of '09. They had been married 60+ years. They are an amazing example of devotion and service to one another. Grandpa had dementia and other health problems for the last several years of his life. Grandma cared for him so unselfishly and lovingly, it was so sweet to watch.

However that wasn't any different than how she was throughout their entire marriage. She always was thinking of him. She always fixed him hot meals and served them to him. She doted on him constantly. She was constantly thinking of him and what she could do for him. For as long as I have known her, (which extends beyond my 15+ years knowing Dave...I grew up in the same stake as Grandma/Grandpa) , she has worn a nice pressed blouse (her words) and either trousers or a skirt....and still wears them. She has always looked nice and wanted to for her husband. Theirs were "traditional roles". He worked hard and provided a living for their large family and she took care of the children and home. It worked for them, they had a happy marriage and a stable home.

In today's world, the roles have changed a bit. It is what it is, but I am not sure the changes are for the better (just compare the divorce rates then and now). There are positive changes I admit in that women have more options in careers and education and men are more involved in home and family, but the selfishness that has evolved over many years is not positive. Marriage isn't sacred, it isn't the most important institution in society anymore. People get married with the thought if it doesn't work out then there is a way out and also with the attitude, "What's in it for me?". If it doesn't fulfill their needs then they are outta there! Now, there are certainly instances where divorce is neccesary and justified and staying in a bad, abusive or unfaithful marriage is not healthy.

Did Grandma and Grandpa have hard times in their marriage? Absolutely! They had 10 children, they had a child die, Grandpa started his own business which I am sure led to financially hard times before it became very successful, they were busy in the church and community etc..etc... It wasn't any easier back then than it is today!

But they loved each other, they sacrificed for each other, they served each other, they taught their children, they helped their neighbors, they worked hard at their marriage.... they STUCK IT OUT.

I think that the "traditional roles" from back in the day are perhaps good models to follow. Service and sacrifice. Not doing what YOU want to do, but doing what is in the best interest of your marriage and family. Doting on your husband and children. Working hard..where working for your family and on your marriage is your highest priority other than God...and putting him in the center of it.

Sacrifice, selflessness and service may not sound like "romance" in the sense of chocolates and flowers, but they are the highest forms of it! Constantly thinking of what you can do to make your spouses life better IS romance. If there was more of that and less of thinking of oneself, more marriages would be happy and more would succeed.

Great quotes on marriage:
"True love is not so much a matter of romance as it is a matter of anxious concern for the well-being of one's companion."

"Generally speaking, the most miserable people I know are those who are obsessed with themselves; the happiest people I know are those who lose themselves in the service of others...By and large, I have come to see that if we complain about life, it is because we are thinking only of ourselves."
— Gordon B. Hinckley

"True marriage is based on happiness . . . that comes from giving, serving, sharing, sacrificing, and selflessness."

Spencer W. Kimball

Saturday, February 26, 2011

The Happy Church face...

I didn't do the "I Am a Mormon" post to have people tell me I am wonderful and not to judge myself too harshly (thanks for those of you who did though :).

I wrote it because too often we as Mormon women put on 'the happy church face' where we act like everything is great and wonderful, we put on our best clothes, we dress our children up nice and cute, we tell everyone we are great...when in reality sometimes we want to cry because we are depressed or because we feel fat, or because we have health problems we never talk about or because our husband is in the bishopric and it is all we can do to come to church at all because it's a total wrestling match and it is so overwhelming we question why we do it(I may or may not have experienced all of those).

Sometimes we aren't real with each other. We don't share our heartaches and hardships. And so sometimes we feel like EVERYONE else has it together and we are one big mess. And honestly sometimes BLOGGING doesn't help that! Reading Mormon Mommy blogs where the pictures are beautiful and the children are in the latest and greatest clothes and the Mom is always doing crafts and educational activities with their kids and the drawers are organized and the meals are planned for the month and the budget is to the penny can make me CRAZY! It has given me unrealistic expectations of myself sometimes and so I have stopped reading them.

I guess I wanted to be out there and say I am struggling sometimes as is the next person and lets be open so we don't make someone feel like a "leper" in the Mother's room (like one of my friends who commented on that post). Just because we choose not to breastfeed or vaccinate or home school or shop at the Gap or have 6 children or go on dates once a week with our husband or are divorced, we still are sisters in the gospel and we need to give each other a break! I have started to assume that EVERYONE is doing the very best they can so let's give them and ourselves a break!

Comparing ourselves to others is destructive to our spirits. We ALWAYS compare our weaknesses to others strengths. I am going to be nicer to myself this week and look at my life and what I do and be proud of it and happy. I am going to list all that I do this week instead of focusing on what I don't get done.

Want to join me and be nice to yourself? I am not talking in a monetary way, I am talking writing in your journal this week and listing your strengths and what you do well. Listing the joys you find as a Mommy, listing the funny things that happen and banishing the negative!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Developmentally delayed....

I have been thinking about this idea for a while...let's see if I can take what has been in my head and write it to convey the message I want to....

My 5th child (no names of my kids on this public blog) was 7 weeks early, (now 10 months). He has had to play "catch up" for all of his short life. He is still small, weight and height wise. He is quite behind in his motor development. He also has a pretty severe allergy..whenever he eats ANYTHING with milk in it (even pancakes) he throws up.

So because he is behind and has some challenges...does that mean I am disappointed in him and love him less? Of course not! If anything it means I spend extra time and attention on him to help him get to where he needs to be. I accept him where he is at and start at that point. I am not comparing him to other babies who were born full term and have different and more advanced abilities. I have a special little place in my heart for my baby because of the difficult circumstances he entered this world in.

So when we are having our challenges and perhaps are "behind" where we should be due to our choices, does that mean our Heavenly Father loves us any less? Of course not! His love for us is infinite, unchanging and unconditional. In fact if we turn to Him, no matter our circumstances, no matter our choices or not matter how delayed we might be...he will be there for us!

He will spend extra time and attention on us if our hearts are open. He will send down his angels to strengthen and guide us in our difficult times. He may even hold a special place in his heart for those who struggle. He will come to us at our starting point and help us along the path. What matters to Him is that we are progressing forward along the path. He will not compare us with others who are further along. He will help us individually where WE are at. I believe this is what MERCY is.

But it all depends on us...we have to open our hearts to Him and allow him to help us.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

I am a Mormon

I have been working on my profile. We had a talk in church a couple of weeks ago that urged us to be a missionary online and to set up our profile. Mine is complete, but is pending review (guess they want to make sure I'm not some crazy sharing false doctrine or something). I said truthful things, the right things...but there are some that I was thinking and didn't write in my profile...such as:

I am a Mormon BUT I don't sew, scrapbook, stamp or make my own bread. I blog, but I am not a photographer and my pictures are often blurry and have bad lighting. My home does not look like Pottery Barn. It is not organized and tidy. I have more junk drawers/cupboard/closets than organized ones.

I am a Mormon but my food storage isn't complete. My house is often messy and I yell at my children sometimes. Often I want to have a LONG "time out" and hide from my children. Some days I am depressed.

I am a Mormon and I often forget to read my scriptures until right before bed (or at all) and rush through or fall asleep during my prayers. My visiting teaching sometimes doesn't get done. Sometimes I gossip. Sometimes (taught by my husband) I swear.

I am a Mormon and am very imperfect. I am a Mormon and know that the Atonement of Christ is the only way I am going to get through this life with any semblance of sanity and the only way I am going to make it to live with my Heavenly Parents in the next life.

I am a Mormon. I am still trying to figure out my God given gifts. Sometimes I don't like the phrase, "Where much is given, much is required." Because that means A LOT is required of me because I have been SO blessed. Sometimes I want to coast through life.

I am a Mormon. I am human and very imperfect. I am a Mother. I am a Wife. I am a daughter, sister and friend. I am in love with my husband and children. I am a daughter of God.