The post where I talk about doing the dishes

There’s something about not feeling well that makes everything else you need to do exponentially harder. Somehow, in spite of that, I’m sitting here at 7:30 pm with both children asleep and my kitchen clean and some laundry done.

Do you know how accomplished I feel right now?

Any other day these would be fairly ordinary feats, but today? Today I felt like a phoenix rising through the ashes as I washed that last dirty pan. We hear that we have to experience misery so that we can know joy, and if I wasn’t sick today, having the dishes done would have just felt like another chore.

As much as suffering and trials are awful and miserable and you want them to go away immediately, there’s something about coming out on the other side that makes simple things more beautiful. And apparently, according to my feelings about having the dishes done today, you don’t even have to be done with the trial for simple things to rock your world.

My turn to be sick

Well, today it hit me. That pesky bug that has been tormenting my children for the last four days. I’m pretty sure it’s the flu because my whole body aches and I’ve got a fever. This is not very fun. I always have so much more compassion for the children whenever I catch the bug that they had first.

Marty is pretty much invincible and only gets sick once for every 10 times that I do. I think he’s been sick twice in the three years we’ve been married.

If I had to get sick, it was a nice perk that it fell on a Sunday so that Marty could be around all day. He pretty much took care of the kids and I just curled up in a ball and whined. I’m such a pansy. Other than being sick, nothing much happened today. None of us went to church today so that Marty could hold down the fort with me being out of commission.

I’m really hoping that I’ll be feeling better tomorrow because he has a busy day and won’t be home much to help me with the kids. Carolyn and Peter are both still sick, but I think they are both over the worst of it. Peter had much more energy today and ate and drank better than he has been. Carolyn barely slept at all last night, so I didn’t get much sleep. I’m praying that tonight will be a catch up night for her and she’ll sleep like a rock. We can only hope.

Well that’s all folks. I want to go lay down again.

My struggle with faith

Since becoming a mother, I noticed that the amount of little prayers that I say throughout any given day have increased at least tenfold.

I remember when Peter was just an infant. He cried constantly, and wanted to nurse constantly when the pain of nursing was excruciating for me, and didn’t sleep well, and I was constantly exhausted and overwhelmed. It was so difficult.

I said prayers constantly. “Heavenly Father, please let him go to sleep. Please let this stop hurting so much. Please help him stop crying.”

I made the comment to my dad when he and my mom came to visit when Peter was three weeks old that I have never felt so equally supported and abandoned by God. That feeling has returned many times in my short two years of motherhood.

I remember when Peter was about a year old, and had been sleeping through the night for several months. Something happened (we later realized that his molars were coming in), and he started waking up several times a night. Waking up several times a night is hard enough, but when you have gotten back in the habit of sleeping for an eight hour stretch and it gets snatched away from you again… the misery is real. Every time Peter would wake up, I would find myself uttering a little prayer that he would go back to sleep on his own. And every time, he didn’t. After a week or so, I was bitter. I just wanted to stop having faith that God was going to fix anything for me, because that was making me feel betrayed by Him. I kept remembering a line from a talk Elder Bednar gave once, where he recounts asking someone if they had “the faith not to be healed”. I started to believe that I just needed to get over thinking that a prayer would ever lift my burdens.

Finally one night Peter had woken up completely beside himself crying, and we couldn’t do anything to get him to calm down. Marty asked if I wanted him to give Peter a blessing. I said yes, but while Marty was getting ready, I sat there holding my crying child and wondering how I could find the faith for this blessing to work. How could I believe that it would help anything when every single night I had been saying prayers that weren’t getting answered? How could I simultaneously have the faith that Peter would be calmed, while also believing that maybe it wasn’t God’s will to fix this? I felt like the blessing would be a waste because at that moment, my heart had no idea what faith looked like.

Then Marty put his hands on Peter’s head to begin the blessing and immediately, that instant, Peter stopped crying. He was silent and still for the entire blessing, and fell asleep on me within minutes of the blessing completing. That experience was so humbling to me, and I walked away from it ashamed at my own lack of faith.

I still struggle with this dichotomy today. I came to the realization a few months ago that the majority of my little prayers were requests to simply have my trials removed. After that realization I started adjusting my prayers to ask for help and support in my trials, rather than for the removal of them.

This felt like an improvement, but I also knew that the saying of prayers to ask for trials or pain or sickness to be taken away was not a bad thing. We hear story after story about people praying to be healed and having their prayers miraculously answered. Christ himself prayed and asked to “let this cup pass from me“. So I have been trying to figure out how to reconcile both the faith to be healed, with the simultaneous faith not to be healed.

Today I went back to that talk of Elder Bednar’s. I hadn’t remembered anything about it except for the one line, and figured that it would be a good place to start trying to answer my questions.

Within the talk, the man whom Elder Bednar had asked if he had the faith not to be healed expressed that he had felt similarly to the way I have. “Why should I have faith if His will ultimately is what will prevail…?” he asked. He goes on to realize that “…having faith—at least in [this] circumstance—was not necessarily knowing that He would heal me, but that He could heal me. I had to believe that He could, and then whether it happened was up to Him.”

I had erred in putting my faith in the belief that He would “heal” me, rather than that He could. And if I know that He can, and he doesn’t- as long as I have prayed in faith, and done all I can to act in faith, then I can instead find peace and comfort in knowing that whatever is happening is the Lord’s will.

Tonight as I was trying to get Carolyn to go to bed, yet again, I found myself wanting to pray for help. I decided to try and consciously adjust my prayer to be in accordance with the things I had read today.

This was the string of thoughts that was my prayer:

Heavenly Father,
I know that you are able to help Carolyn to fall asleep.
And I know that you know that this is hard for me, and that I am tired.
And I know that you know how much I want to have this burden lifted. 
And I know that if she’s not falling asleep, that you see value in this difficulty.
And that makes me want to make it valuable. 

And all of the sudden I realized that in my desperation to help her sleep the past two nights, I had happened upon an additional technique for getting her to go to sleep. And remembered how I had been getting worried recently, wondering how I would ever wean her because nursing seemed to be the only way to get her back to sleep at night. And then I noticed the sweetness of holding my baby snugly with her head on my chest, a way she used to hate to be held.

And all of the sudden my “trial” had transformed a precious experience.

My turn for sick babies

We’ve been lucky enough not to have any of us be sick for TWO WHOLE MONTHS! That’s like finding a unicorn when you have a toddler and a crawling baby. But we’re getting hit pretty good this time, today has been hard work.

I usually do my blogging either during nap time or after the kids go to bed. Every day I make sure to read my scriptures and write a blog post, and I have learned that if I don’t give scripture readying first priority then I end up doing it right before I fall asleep and I’m so tired that I don’t get much out of it. So I read first, then blog, depending on how much baby free nap time I got that day.

Today was one of those days where I didn’t even get to finish my scripture study before the babies were back up and crying for me.

Both of them are sick, and seemingly very different kinds of sick. How does that happen?

Carolyn seems to have something with her stomach bothering her. My best guess at this point is that she ate something that’s disagreeing with her. We’ve been working in new solids recently, so it must be one of those. She’s been yelling at me all day, hoping I can solve her troubles, and not sleeping well. She’s awake right now as a matter of fact, even though I put her to down “for the night” an hour and a half ago. She’s also got a slightly runny nose.

Peter has got some kind of monster head cold, he’s all kinds of miserable and boogery. I feel bad for him. I also think he has an ear infection and maybe something going on in his nose. He gets really upset whenever I wipe his nose, or even if he touches it. That has been abnormal from his other colds. He also keeps putting his hand to his ear and saying uh oh, uh oh. I’m hoping it’s a viral ear infection and will work it’s way through with the cold. He’s been extra sensitive and has been crying much more than usual as well.

I had to reboot “compassionate mom” several times today because she kept getting her circuits fried by all of the crying. Where’s that magic wand to swoosh all of their troubles anyway?

We did luck out and end up going on a play date today, the other mom was aching to do something fun and she was happy to risk the germs. We needed to get out so that was a blessing.

Mostly we’ve been running on bare minimums around here, and having much more screen time than usual.

Hashtag worth it.

The post where I repent for not living up to my own values

Yesterday I wrote a post titled “Why I will not be voting for Donald Trump“.

I hesitated in writing it. I even reworded it several times to soften it up, but I still ended up squirming with regret this morning, because I neglected my own values in posting it.

You see, I have recently internalized the belief that the method by which goodness triumphs over evil, is by being so good that the evil cannot survive. Goodness wins by lifting, goodness doesn’t win by tearing down. But that’s how evil fights; by tearing down or attacking the other side, and it can be really difficult not to mirror that same sharpness in retaliation.

Although I hold that belief, it’s been difficult for me to have a clear vision of what it looks like in practice, and how to reconcile it with the need to declare truth even when it is unpopular. I was trying to abide by these beliefs yesterday when I wrote my post, and I convinced myself that I was being bold and saying important things that people needed to hear, and therefore was “lifting”.

So what did I miss? What should I have done differently? Let me share with you what I learned today!

All I did was say what I think is bad about Trump, and give my “what not to do” opinion, I said nothing which would invite and entice someone to do good.

If I actually wanted to change minds or hearts, I should have spoken with love, patience, and persuasion

I should have used words to lift and inspire rather than wound or demean.

I should done a better job of talking about principles rather than about personalities.

I should have listened and shown concern for the sincere beliefs of others.

Just within the last 24 hours, two friends of mine who tend to do this well posted on social media, and what they posted caused me to reflect on my own example. They shared goodness that prompted personal reflection on my own room for improvement. I realized that I was speaking divisively, and leaving no room for understanding the opinion or position of those who disagreed with me. I wasn’t offering any real alternatives, no where to move forward to; I was saying what not to do without pointing in any better directions.

So this is my repentance post! And I love that I now have a better blueprint for the things I want to say or share in the future.