Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Motherly Intuition ~ Guest Post


I am so incredibly impressed with dear Mama Rachel ! You can find her at Old Fashioned Motherhood and you will love her style of writing. She is truly talented and a wonderful example of motherhood. Please enjoy this guest post from Rachel! ~ JL 


"There is in every true woman's heart a spark of heavenly fire, which lies dormant in the broad daylight of prosperity; but which kindles up and beams and blazes in the dark hour of adversity." ~Washington Irving

 

Last night one of my little ones was feeling pretty sick. As I rushed around to make her more comfortable, I felt quiet ideas come to my mind quickly and clearly. I was reminded of my own sweet mother and how she seemed to know exactly what I needed when I was sick or troubled. She always seemed to say the right words and do the most comforting things. And I pondered how I, too, instinctively know just what to do when my children are ill or upset.

I could easily attribute my inspired thoughts to all my past experience. I am a mother of many, after all. But that doesn't come near explaining why this intuition has been with me ever since that first baby was born eighteen years ago. Granted, I have made some pretty stellar mistakes, but those seem to happen only when I ignore that still, small voice that fills my mind with thoughts and ideas I know are not my own.

I'd like to share an example from when I was a young mother with three little kids, one girl and two little boys, close in age. I believe they were five, three and two years old at the time. They all slept in a large room together-- the nursery. I had an evening routine where I would help them say their prayers and then tuck them into bed every night singing them lullabies until they drifted off to sleep.

My three year old son had a habit that I was trying to "help" him grow out of. He still insisted on drinking a sippy cup full of milk at bedtime. I had decided that he was too old for this habit, and I was happy when one night he couldn't find his cup. Secretly I was relieved!

I remember thinking to myself, Ha! Now maybe this will force him into giving up his silly cup!

As I helped my tiny son lisp his sweet prayer, he pleaded with the Lord to help him find his cup. I admit that I mentally rolled my eyes when he prayed to find it. I wanted it to stay nice and lost!

After tucking my babies in bed, I began to quietly sing to them. And as I sung, a crystal clear thought came into my mind.

"Check in his drawer."

I could see it plainly in my mind's eye. 

No, no. I did NOT want him to have that cup! I was sure his little nighttime habit needed to disappear. That cup was not so important. He could go to sleep without it.

"He needs to learn this lesson. He needs to know that I will answer him when he asks."

...Oh...

I stopped singing and walked over to the drawer I knew it would be in. And as I opened it, there the cup lay, ready and waiting for my sweet son.

In that moment, I also learned many important lessons that have carried me through my parenting experiences. I learned that our all-powerful Father in Heaven hears and cares about the concerns of even the most small and simple of us.

I also learned that as a mother, I am a living, present tool in God's hands. Simply because the Lord has sent children to my home, He also gives me daily, hourly inspiration I will need to raise them. It's all part of the magic and mystery of motherhood. 

It is humbling and a bit daunting to realize how close to God we need to be in order to mother our children. And yet, how comforting it is to realize that we have such divine, omniscient help available to us whenever we need it.

How grateful I am for motherly intuition.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Our Young Women and Young Men....

                                                         (image from etsy.com)

Well, it happened. We always knew it would. I am the mom to two teenagers and one tween. It's hard to believe. It happened so fast. Let me tell you what.... I love it. I love being the mom to two teenagers and one tween !

I've spoken with a lot of my friends from back when we were youth and would hang out together at stake dances ( Nauvoo Stake is #1!! haha ) and we have all talked about the fact that we really feel that we were born to teach these amazing youth. The children that were born in this generation... that are the youth and primary children now... they are amazing. They are special. Their spiritual gifts are strong and they are strong in their faith. We discuss ways to teach these bright children, who are incredibly way to smart. We throw around ideas on how to teach the kids the Gospel, when so many times my children have actually taught me Gospel truths. We are trying to raise this generation. These Latter Day warriors.

My friends and I have discussed how we were totally not like that when we were teenagers. We didn't plan ahead and think of our future that much... we had hopes and dreams where these kids have plans. We read our Scriptures for Seminary while these kids ponderize their Scriptures during personal Scripture Study and Seminary. A common conversation for us was " hey did you hear that new song by Nsync ? " where I have heard conversations from these kids that include things like " So... I started praying for my future wife.. you think that's a good idea ? " and " When I get home from my mission we are so going to go there and hang out! "   Amazing.  I'm sad to admit it, but I did not grasp the importance of Temple trips while I was a young beehive. The beehives in my small branch are fierce in their love of the Temple and how important it is. They love Temple trips and are worthy to be there. These youth are incredible. They are on a mission now, to learn as much as they can, to be pure, to learn their Spiritual gifts and to prepare for missions and for life. The Latter Days. Do they even realize how special they are ?

All we have to do is look at For the Strength of the Youth and read the message from the First Presidency. They know. They see that these precious youth have a special sparkle in their eye. When we visit the youth.lds.org site and read all of the articles and the special messages for our youth.. we see how special they are. Just this morning I read THIS article and I just couldn't stop my huge smile ! They are special! They have amazing gifts ! We are so dang lucky to be their parents and to watch them grow, physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. So what are we doing to help them see how special they are ? Are we teaching them everything we should ? How do we know what to teach them ?

I will never forget the first time I heard THIS talk from President Faust. When he tells the following story it hit me hard! It just proves how amazing our youth are. He quotes :


"A sacred light comes to our eyes and countenances when we have a personal bond with our loving Heavenly Father and His Son......
I recently recalled a historic meeting in Jerusalem about 17 years ago. It was regarding the lease for the land on which the Brigham Young University’s Jerusalem Center for Near Eastern Studies was later built. Before this lease could be signed, President Ezra Taft Benson and Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, then president of Brigham Young University, agreed with the Israeli government on behalf of the Church and the university not to proselyte in Israel. You might wonder why we agreed not to proselyte. We were required to do so in order to get the building permit to build that magnificent building which stands in the historic city of Jerusalem. To our knowledge the Church and BYU have scrupulously and honorably kept that nonproselyting commitment. After the lease had been signed, one of our friends insightfully remarked, “Oh, we know that you are not going to proselyte, but what are you going to do about the light that is in their eyes?” He was referring to our students who were studying in Israel. "



This is my daughter Marlee. She's 13. In this picture she is getting ready to head to the Symphony with her young women class. When Marlee was first born, her daddy and I looked at her in wonder, and both of us said ' she needs to be protected ' there was something special about her. A few years later we found out that she has autism. It didn't hurt us the way you would think... we were prepared. We knew she was different, we knew she would need our protection from this world. We gave that to her until a certain time in her life when she was willing and ready to adventure out on her own. Marlee didn't talk until she was almost 4. Her first words were ' happy happy happy! ' How perfect. She was happy. She struggled, but she was happy and loved. She would sit in her room at night, when she was around 4 and 5 years old and I would sit in the hallway where she couldn't see me. She would begin talking and it sounded like she was telling someone about her day. It was amazing. I asked her one time... who are you talking to ? 'Jesus' she said. That was that. She knew who she was talking to. She knew that He loved her and that He listened. I peeked in once and she was sitting calmly on her bed , talking away to a spot on the bed next to her. I think that Jesus was with her. These youth today have an incredible connection to their Savior. They are spiritually mature at a very young age. This quote really explains how I feel :

“Youth of Zion, do you realize you are living in the days of the fulfillment of these signs and wonders? You are among those who will see many of these prophecies fulfilled. Just as certain as was the destruction of the temple of Jerusalem and the scattering of the Jews, so shall these words of the Savior be certain to your generation... You will live in the midst of economic, political and spiritual instability. When you see these signs – unmistakable evidences that His coming is nigh – be not troubled, but ‘stand... in holy places...” These holy places consist of our temples, our chapels, our homes and the stakes of Zion, which are as the Lord declares, ‘for a defense, and for a refuge from the storm, and from the wrath when it shall be poured out without mixture upon the whole earth'... We have every confidence that you, ‘the rising generation,' will not falter. I repeat: You were valiant spirits reserved for this exceptional time. You have but one choice: To rise to the task of history's most significant hour!”

- Prophet Ezra Taft Benson, “Prepare Yourselves for the Great Day of the Lord," address delivered to the Devotional Assembly, Ricks College, Idaho, September 16, 1980



I want to discuss this. How do we teach these children ? How do we know what to teach them ? How do we make sure they never lose the light in their eyes ? 
Comment here or head over to our facebook page : LDS PARENTING FACEBOOK

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Christmas FHE ~ Symbols of Christmas

   




     This year our family is celebrating Christmas the entire month of December ! We kicked off our celebration last night with THIS FHE on the tradition of giving gifts at Christmas time. It was great. 

Today we used a lesson from A Year of FHE and once again I am amazed at the lesson! This woman is so talented ! We use the blog a lot when we do FHE and I was just so excited to find this lesson because I think it compliments last nights lesson really well. 

The lesson is on the symbols of Christmas. You can find it HERE. It has a free printable of pictures of the different symbols with corresponding Scriptures. As always , it includes an opening and closing song, an activity ( a cute one!! ) and treat ideas. For free ! It's so cool! 

                                                       check it out HERE for the free printable! 

Also, I'm going to admit it here lol.... I didn't know that the colors Red, Green, and White had an actual symbolic meaning behind them! I just thought they kind of matched Christmas trees and all that ;) Hey, you learn something every day ! 

I will be trying to make sure and post the different lessons and activities we will be doing as a family this month. What are some traditions and activities that you do with your families at Christmas Time ? Comment below ! 

Happy Parenting! Love, JL~ 


Monday, November 30, 2015

Christmas FHE ~ Tradition of Gift Giving

                                                    ( image from lds.org media library )

Tonight we began our Christmas Celebration! Each day during December we do a small Gospel lesson on Christ and why we celebrate Christmas. We also try to find lots of ways to serve. It really has helped us to keep our focus on Christ during this season and not on material things, etc.

Our kick off FHE for the season was about the traditions of gift giving at Christmas time. I found this amazing FHE lesson from HERE . It was so good!!!!! I loved how she tied together the first ever Christmas gift ~ the baby Jesus, the gifts from the three wise men ( and she explains each gift they brought) , and then goes right into the gifts that Christ has given us. She explains how to be a good gift giver and how to make sure that you are giving gifts that require time and love and sacrifice. It really made me think a lot about what gifts I give at Christmas. Such a great way to kick off our Christmas Celebration in our home.

What did you do for FHE tonight ? Comment below !

Happy Parenting! Love, JL~

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Helping Children to not Feel Afraid... REPOST

This is a post from 2013 when their were huge tornadoes ripping through the country.... I thought it might be important to repost this... as there are always more things happening that can make a child feel afraid... and make a parent feel afraid too. I will be writing a more detailed post on this in the near future, but for now, I want to share this again. Happy Parenting, Love, JL~

HELPING CHILDREN TO NOT BE AFRAID REPOST




Monday, November 9, 2015

90 Day Book of Mormon Reading Challenge

                                                   ( from purposedrivemotherhood.com)

This summer I was blessed to join a great group started by Becky at www.purposedrivenmotherhood.com and we did a 90 day Book or Mormon Reading Challenge for summer. Here is the link to the great article that Becky wrote about it on her blog : HERE  It's a great article. I was so excited! I was on fire and ready !

There was a great facebook group to go along with it and everyone was so encouraging! I decided to do this on my own, instead of as a family. We read Scriptures daily as a family, even if it's just a couple verses, but I needed something to challenge me. I needed to feast on the Word. As a mommy, life can get so crazy and go by so fast... was I really feasting on the Scriptures ? This was perfect... something I could do for me.

June 1st came... and I read my Book of Mormon. Then there was a family emergency and my husband and I ended up driving from Missouri to Idaho and back to Missouri , all within 3 days.. non stop driving. We didn't even stop for a full hour when we got to Idaho.. we loaded up my aunt and headed right back! Then June was non stop caring for my aunt and I didn't even have a chance to go potty it felt like. That was a crazy month.

July came and I was still trying to read even just one verse a day... I was terribly behind on the challenge but I wasn't going to give up! Then I became struck down with a rare disease called Trigeminal Neuralgia. It's the worst pain a human can withstand, the doctors told me. Guess what... light and reading were two big triggers for me. So not only was I trying to learn to cope with this awful new disease... but doing something that calms me down.. reading my Scriptures... just made it even worse! At that point, I really felt like 'someone' wasn't wanting me to read my Scriptures! But I kept trying. Even just one verse a day.

August came and my medicines began to work for the trigeminal neuralgia. I was starting to be able to be in the light.. haha... as long as I wore sunglasses, and I was able to read little bits at a time! What a blessing! So I kept on trucking with my Book of Mormon reading, checking in with the facebook group, knowing that I was so incredibly behind , but not willing to even think of stopping! Around the middle of August I began to feel pretty crummy. Then I was suddenly at the doctor on oxygen, with full blown pneumonia. The worst I've ever had. What the heck was going on with me this summer ? I had pneumonia for 6 weeks and at times, I was fighting for my life, fighting to breathe. I still read the teeniest bit of my Book of Mormon each day.. it was my lifeline.


                                             ( lds.org - image )

All of September I had pneumonia. It was truly a huge trial. But I kept trying. October came along and with it came the gorgeous colors and smells of Fall. I knew that I obviously missed the deadline for finishing my Book of Mormon in 90 days.. but I wasn't going to give up! Then we got news that we were going to lose our home. My husband and I bought this home when we were both 19. We've lived here for almost 14 years and it is the only home our children have ever really known. So October came with fear, anxiety, hard work, sacrifices, lots of prayer and I read my Book of Mormon daily. Multiple times a day... there were days where I couldn't put it down. It saved me from going crazy I think! At the very last possible moment... our house was saved. It was such a huge blessing.

 Yesterday... over 150 days later... I finished the Book of Mormon. Now I've read the Book of Mormon many times. I love it. But this time was probably the best. I say that every time ! But, I think about how I had these massive trials this past summer and fall... non stop! The one thing that I could count on... was that I was going to read my Scriptures that evening. No matter what. Even if it was one verse. As I read, I felt like I was there, with everything happening in this fascinating, true story, I felt like I was right there in it. What a blessing and comfort it has been to me these past 150 days.

I truly encourage each parent to read the Book of Mormon each day. Yes, we need to be reading it with our families of course. We need to read all of the Scriptures, not just the BoM.... but sometimes, as parents, we need to do something special for ourselves. Reading the Book of Mormon each day was that something special for me. It got me through a lot this summer and fall. I will be starting it over again tonight. I can't wait.
If anyone wants to start the challenge with me... let me know! :)


What kinds of things do you do for yourself , as a parent, to feed your soul and spirit and keep you going ?
Let me know in the comments !
Happy Parenting! Love, JL~

Thursday, October 29, 2015

On a Personal Note ~ Go Be A Mother !

I've been thinking lately, I started this blog with the intention of researching and studying and praying and learning how to be a better parent. I wanted to make a community of LDS parents who could encourage each other and inspire each other. I still think that will happen one day with this blog and the accompanying Facebook page. But as I look at the blog, I realize that I haven't been personal on it very often. I have tried to research and write posts that are informative for all of us. But I want you guys to know me. To know that I'm not a perfect parent by any means. To know some of the trials I've been through and why this blog is so important to me. So today I'm going to write a bit, on a personal note, about a time in my life where I didn't know if I would be able to continue being a mother.





This is my precious family. We are doing Family Home Evening and my youngest daughter ( the one bending over in the lower left hand corner ) was in charge. The activity she chose was to build temples out of marshmallows and toothpicks :) We laughed a lot! See that handsome man looking at the camera ? That's my husband of 15 years. We've known each other since we were both 14. That's a long time. I've loved him for 20 years now. When we were both 25, and we had three gorgeous babies under the age of 4..... Keith began having terrible migraines. We were both scared, something like this had never happened to him before. He made an appointment with our doctor who said, just to be on the safe side, he wanted to do an MRI of Keith's brain. So on a friday, they did the MRI. We knew that we would get results monday or tuesday. For the weekend , Keith was just supposed to rest up and take the migraine medication that he had been prescribed.

Around 6 pm that night, Keith got a phone call. We were outside enjoying the beautiful evening in our backyard, pushing the kids in their little baby swings on the swing set. He walked away a bit and when he returned he had a look on his face that I will never forget. Something was very wrong. We took the kids inside, got their baths, lotion, jammies, bedtime stories, prayers and then put them in their beds. We sat on the front porch for a bit. Finally , he was ready to tell me about the phone call.
That was Dr Evans on the phone, he told me. Why would Dr Evans call us at 6 pm on a friday ????
They've found a large mass in my brain, I have to go to St Louis monday. Just like that, life changed.

To make a very long, scary story somewhat shorter ~ The mass they found was in a terrible spot. They gave Keith 2 weeks. 2 Weeks to live. They would attempt surgery in 2 weeks, they had much to discuss and prepare for, with multiple surgeons that they were calling in, and that is why it would be 2 weeks. They needed time to prepare. They weren't giving us much hope , even with the surgery. But for now, he had 2 weeks to live. Life just stops. All of the sudden, I couldn't get enough pictures of him with the kids. I started thinking about things like finances and how to support 3 babies , alone. We discussed funeral arrangements. I didn't cry. Not once. It was like I was in full on crisis mode. 2 weeks. It's not long enough when you are trying to figure out how to say goodbye.

We were blessed. After an emergency trip to Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, and lots of blessings and prayers, my husband is very alive. He's just fine. He's a miracle.

After that time in our lives, as soon as the doctors gave the OK , saying he was fine, he was safe, he would be around for a long time, I fell apart. I was so strong during the actual crisis, so very strong. As soon as they said he would live, I fell apart. I had a mental breakdown basically. Suddenly I was terrified to let him out of my sight. I would cry and cry when it was time for him to go to work. I felt like I couldn't survive. I fell into the deepest darkest depression and my anxiety was absolutely through the roof. Keith took ME to Dr. Evans this time... instead of the other way around. Dr Evans realized that I was suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. It would take some time and a lot of work on my part, but I could get through it. I began taking medicine. I started seeing a counselor, sometimes every single day, when it got to the point where I didn't want to live with the fear and anxiety that racked my entire soul. I laid in bed 24 hours a day. Sleeping away my fears. I couldn't even handle having the kids in the room with me, I was so terrified that I might disappoint them, or make them sad, I didn't want them to see mommy like this! Keith was able to take FMLA from work and he became both mommy and daddy for 6 weeks. 6 weeks I was completely unable to function. I couldn't hardly even handle it if Keith went to the grocery store. I would cry and hang onto his legs and say, what if you die ? The thought of it paralyzed me.

One day, while laying in bed, sleeping, dreaming, I dreamt of heaven. I was sitting in a beautiful room ~ it looked like the celestial room in the Nauvoo Temple. I was sitting beside a beautiful older woman. She smiled at me, and said do you know who I am ? I looked in her eyes and said yes! It was Sister Marjorie Hinckley.

 Oh how I loved her! I had just finished reading one of her books, and I had fallen even more in love with her. In my dream I smiled, I laughed! Yes I know you! She patted my leg, and said, " well then go be a mother."  I woke up. It was like I was a new person. I knew that I couldn't live like that anymore. My children needed me. I needed to go be a mother. It wasn't magic, I still had to work hard, I still had times where I needed to lie down and pray and pray. I continued the medication, I am still on that medication to this day, because I don't want to take any chances! I had to work very hard, but I had a goal, I knew that Heavenly Father was thinking of me, loving me, and knowing that if anything in this entire world could bring me out of the anxiety ridden cycle I was in ~ it would be my children and my love of being a mother.


I know some people might say it's silly, but after reading her books, and struggling so much and praying so very hard, begging my Father in Heaven to help me somehow, having that dream, and the sweet cozy feelings that came with it, it was just so special. Do I feel like I saw a vision and that I was truly transported to heaven ? Not really, I feel like I had a lovely dream and it reminded me of my mission in this life, motherhood. It made me feel happy and that I was loved. That feeling can come from many things, a wonderful dream, a Scripture that jumps out at us and we know it is exactly what we needed, an answer to a prayer, or someone just smiling at us and reminding us to be happy. We can be that answer to a prayer to other people ! Just smile! :)

Now, I want to leave you with some of my favorite quotes from Sister Hinckley. But first, I want to tell you, please read her books. You will fall in love with her too. You will love her beautiful personality.






One of the quotes that really resonated with me, during that time, and after she told me ' Go Be a Mother!' was this one :

     " Whenever possible say yes! They are only children once."

Isn't that the truth ? I have tried that now, for the past 9 years. Yes it's been 9 long years since the whole brain tumor/ break down. Guess what... it works. My kids are amazing. I'm not saying they're amazing because I say yes whenever possible... but I know that it sure is a great thing. It really is. You should try it :)

Another quote that I love by Sister Hinckley is this one :

     " Be a mother who is committed to loving her children into standing on higher ground than the environment surrounding them."

First of all, that is the truth also! What a wonderful goal to have as parents! Secondly, I love how she says " Be a mother" ..... that is what she said to me... go be a mother! I love it. How I love her!!!! And how I love you. All of you reading this. I'm praying for you. We all go through trials, and sometimes we need some extra help getting through them. I pray that you get that help, and you will, if you just ask your Father in Heaven and have faith. ~ JL


                           ( aren't they darling ?? I just love them! Now, go be mothers and fathers! )


What kinds of neat spiritual experiences have you had, that made you want to be a better parent ?
Happy Parenting! Love, JL~