Tuesday, March 29, 2011

More "light" reading

I have a few more quotes/links I wanted to jot down that I've found since my last post.

1.  I loved Stephanie's post at Diapers and Divinity entitled I am evolving.  No one is more shocked than I am.  Goes to show we can really develop that mother heart if we desire it.  There is a light at the end of the tunnel! :)

2.  I also enjoyed the post by Delia on the MMB Community site regarding the concept of holding on to your kids.  She does this by home-schooling her kids.  She stated:

It's hard enough to hang on to your kids, sending them off to  school may be easier and parents may think it is good for kids to learn to deal with the real world. But the teenage brain is not that well  developed as scientists are beginning to find out. Hold on To Your Kids is not a home-schooling book, it's about parenting.
She also shares a few quotes from the book (or maybe it's a review of the book from somewhere), Hold on To Your Kids:
This books helps support the need to be more involved. It comes at a time when more parents are working outside the home. I think we need to take care and  pay attention, it passes all too quickly.

Like countless other parents, Canadian doctors Neufeld and  Maté woke up one day to find that their children had become secretive  and unreachable. Pining for time with friends, they recoiled or grew  hostile around adults. Why? The problem, Neufeld and co-writer Maté  suggest, lies in a long-established, though questionable, belief that  the earliest possible mastery of the rules of social acceptance leads to  success. In a society that values its economy over culture, the book  states, the building of strong adult/child attachments gets lost in the  shuffle. Multiple play dates, day care, preschool and after school  activities groom children to transfer their attachment needs from adults  to their peers. They become what the authors call "peer oriented." The  result is that they squelch their individuality, curiosity and  intelligence to become part of a group whose members attend school less  to learn than to socialize. And these same children are bullying,  shunning and murdering each other, as well as committing suicide, at  increasing rates. The authors' meticulous exploration of the problem can  be profoundly troubling. However, their candidness and exposition lead  to numerous solutions for reestablishing a caring adult hierarchy.  Beautifully written, this terrific, poignant book is already a  bestseller in Canada.
That whole concept of kids connecting with peers rather than adults reminded me of my student teaching experience in Western Samoa.  Sadly, at least when I was there (and I'd guess it's still true today), fa'a Samoa (the Samoan way) was often to beat one's children.  I noticed that this caused a much stronger bond between siblings than between parents and their children.

So, although we're talking different reasons for children to connect with peers, there still seems to be a huge importance to connecting with adults.

This whole scenario reminds me of the article The Dangerous Digital Vortex:
If you have a teenage daughter, for example, and she’s off in a corner texting her friends during a family gathering, then she is emotionally withdrawing from her family.
3/30/11 Update:  After I jotted this all down, I went up to bed and started reading Larry Lawrence's Courageous Parenting again.  Wow that article totally relates!
  • ... we are reminded in the family proclamation, parents are responsible for the protection of their children. 1 That means spiritually as well as physically.
  • The story of Eli teaches us that parents who love their children cannot afford to be intimidated by them. (1 Sam 3)
  • ... Robert D. Hales has observed, “Sometimes we are afraid of our children—afraid to counsel with them for fear of offending them.” 
  • By listening closely, we can discover the desires of their hearts, help them set righteous goals, and also share with them the spiritual impressions that we have received about them. Counseling requires courage.
Lastly (I think), I'm also reminded of Protecting is a Part of Good Parenting by Kelly.  Good post and thought provoking comments on that one.

3.   Lastly, I subscribe to the Juvenile Instructor blog.  It's full of very interesting historical stuff.  I don't usually read the posts, though, because they're too long and they're written at a college level.  1 - I don't have the attention span to read anything really long these days, and 2 - my ability to read college level stuff ended about 8 years ago.

Anyway, there was a short post regarding the impact of losing a child by Todd Compton, particularly in Mormon polygamy days.  I was so touched by the trials of those women.  My heart ached for them.

Well, here's a long post for anyone who wants it!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Things to read in all your "spare" time -- yeah right

I'd really rather write a post about all these things separately, but don't have the time. I don't want to lose the info, though, so I'll just jot it all down here anyway.

1.  Heather over at Women in the Scriptures referenced One Thing Needful:  Becoming Women of Greater Faith in Christ by Patricia Holland.  I read it last night and realized it's pretty much my favorite chapter in her book A Quiet Heart if you want to read it without buying the book!

2.  I finished the Newsweek issue from March 14 that contained a lot about women.  In it there was an article about Hillary Clinton.  Now, honestly, the Clinton's aren't my most favorite people, but this comment about Hillary is worth mentioning: 
Speculation continues that Clinton would stay on in a second Obama term, and a few pundits go as far as to suggest she might even make another White House run in 2016, though Bill Clinton joked recently that his wife now covets the title of grandmother far more than that of commander in chief.

The article also mentioned:
  • In the Saudi Arabian capital of Riyadh, where women cannot travel without male permission or drive a car, a grandson of the Kingdom’s founding monarch (Prince Alwaleed bin Talal bin Abdulaziz al-Saud) last month denounced the way women are “economically and socially marginalized” in Arab countries.

  • “If there is one message that echoes forth from this conference, let it be that human rights are women’s rights and women’s rights are human rights once and for all,” Clinton declared. 

  • Women still earn 33 cents less per dollar than men.

  • ...the State Department estimates there are now 12.3 million adults and children worldwide in “forced labor, bonded labor, and forced prostitution.”
 Also, there was an article entitled, "The Feminists in the Middle of Tahrir Square."
  • "Veiling and nakedness are two faces of the same coin,” she told one reporter. “Women are sex objects in the free market. I am against makeup. Plastic surgery is a postmodern veil,” she said, looking at me, smiling, laughing silently.
Just so you know, the only reason I was able to do all this Newsweek reading was that we went on a trip to Sacramento for a night without kids!

3.  Ruth at Empowering LDS Women linked to a Deseret News article entitled "From the Homefront: Why every mom needs a purpose beyond motherhood."  I very much agreed with the article, but I just wanted to add, that when we do make time for ourselves to do things we want, we still have to be careful not to over do it.  The author said she got burned out by not doing things she personally enjoyed, but I think, too, on the other hand, when we're getting up before kids and staying up late after they go to bed, it's just as easy to get burned out!  I keep trying to remind myself that someday in the future I can devote more time to personal interests.

4.  Last one: Erin at Mamas Who Know linked to another Deseret News article entitled "Studies say children subtract from happiness, so what do we really feel?"  Let me tell you, the stats and studies quoted in this article are so much of the reason why it was so hard for us to want to have a family!  After quite a change of heart, now, I was so ready to be so irritated with this article, but the point was actually good in the end -- although studies seem to say we have less freedom and happiness when we have children, we wouldn't give those children up for anything.

Wish I could say more, but I gotta go!

April 2010 Conference

One day I was listening to some old general conference talks from last April's session and the two talks I heard buoyed up my resolved to be the best mother that I can. I had forgotten that this session in particular seemed to call parents to a higher plane of teaching and raising righteous children. Maybe this felt like the theme to me because I have small ones at home that I know I can still greatly influence. The two talks that I reviewed were by Elder Wirthlin and Elder Foster.

In Elder Wirthlin's message the most memorable part for me was the admonition, "The saddest words of tongue and pen are those that say, "It might have been!"" He recounted a mother's wish that she would have more fully helped her older daughters with their personal progress goals after realizing the bond it forged between her and her youngest when they worked on it together.

In a memorable talk by Elder Foster, entitled Mother Told Me he tells sweet stories of the obedience of children and animals he has observed to their mothers' guidance. This was a great excerpt:
"As President James E. Faust said: “There is no greater good in all the world than motherhood. The influence of a mother in the lives of her children is beyond calculation” (“Fathers, Mothers, Marriage,” Liahona and Ensign, Aug. 2004, 3). By divine design, nurturing seems to be part of the spiritual heritage given to women. I’ve seen it in my daughters, and now I see it in my granddaughters—even before they could walk, they wanted to carry and care for their little baby dolls."
The church has a great summary of this conference entitled teachings for mothers. It is just short excerpts that really help strengthen those who are raising children. I cannot wait for General Conference this weekend and the opportunity that we have to hear from our living prophet and other general authorities. I hope that you can all enjoy it too on Saturday and Sunday by tuning into the live broadcasts on http://www.lds.org/.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Thanks Everyone!!!

After 6 months of trying to find other people out there who also highly value the family and the roles within the family, I've now found so many of you!  I have so many posts to comment on and notes to jot down here, but I just haven't had the time!  Hopefully I can just make one big post of all my notes -- soon.  I just wanted to say thanks.  I have grown and learned so much and understand so much more about ME!

Anyone out there who's a "lurker," too, don't be afraid to introduce yourself.  I'd love to get to know you!  Hmm, but maybe that would give me too many more blogs to read and more to learn than I have time for!  ;)

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Why Do We Let Them Dress Like That?

Tiana at LAF/Beautiful Womanhood linked over to Why Do We Let Them Dress Like That? in the Wall Street Journal regarding how we let our daughters dress.

So this is pretty much half the article, but it was good:

Why do so many of us not only permit our teenage daughters to dress like this—like prostitutes, if we're being honest with ourselves—but pay for them to do it with our AmEx cards?

I posed this question to a friend whose teenage daughter goes to an all-girls private school in New York. "It isn't that different from when we were kids," she said. "The girls in the sexy clothes are the fast girls. They'll have Facebook pictures of themselves opening a bottle of Champagne, like Paris Hilton. And sometimes the moms and dads are out there contributing to it, shopping with them, throwing them parties at clubs. It's almost like they're saying, 'Look how hot my daughter is.'" But why? "I think it's a bonding thing," she said. "It starts with the mommy-daughter manicure and goes on from there."

I have a different theory. It has to do with how conflicted my own generation of women is about our own past, when many of us behaved in ways that we now regret. A woman I know, with two mature daughters, said, "If I could do it again, I wouldn't even have slept with my own husband before marriage. Sex is the most powerful thing there is, and our generation, what did we know?"

We are the first moms in history to have grown up with widely available birth control, the first who didn't have to worry about getting knocked up. We were also the first not only to be free of old-fashioned fears about our reputations but actually pressured by our peers and the wider culture to find our true womanhood in the bedroom. Not all of us are former good-time girls now drowning in regret—I know women of my generation who waited until marriage—but that's certainly the norm among my peers.

So here we are, the feminist and postfeminist and postpill generation. We somehow survived our own teen and college years (except for those who didn't), and now, with the exception of some Mormons, evangelicals and Orthodox Jews, scads of us don't know how to teach our own sons and daughters not to give away their bodies so readily. We're embarrassed, and we don't want to be, God forbid, hypocrites.

A True Expression of Beauty

I thought this was cute:
Behold! My First Gray Hair

Monday, March 21, 2011

Women in Newsweek

Bridget is an informed kind of gal and reads Newsweek.  She forwarded on a few interesting articles from the March 14 issue regarding women.

Men Without Women by Niall Ferguson points out the disparity between the numbers of men and women in the world.  Because of "selective abortion, infanticide, and economic discrimination" there are far fewer women, especially in China -- perhaps more than 22 million more men than women!  "The kind of domestic work [women] typically do is seen as less important than paid work done by men."  When this situation of excess men has happened in the past, it has led to civil wars, revolutions, crime, and the exporting of men.

I wonder, too, however, if it could cause an increased value of women:  Will women again be wooed because of their limited numbers, or on the contrary, will they be prostituted?  Because of undervalued marriage, I wouldn't be surprised if the latter will be the case, or increased homosexuality.  Only time will tell.

The article was quite disturbing and fascinating, and I was additionally saddened at a couple instances of underlying anti-family sentiments.  For example, the author states, ". . . early marriage and minimal birth control together expose [women] to the risks of multiple pregnancies."  Well, yes, of course -- anyone who's pregnant a lot is going to have risk -- is it a bad thing?  Sure, you want to do what you're comfortable with, but I don't think we need to look at multiple pregnancies as a bad thing.  One more example:  "Lock up your daughters."  It's the last sentence in the article, and it is kind of funny, but the point is to keep your daughters away from all these excess men.  I just wondered, is there really a problem with that?  If the men are good and noble men, I wouldn't have an issue with them wanting to court my daughters.  We want our daughters to get married and have families!  I really don't think the author deliberately wrote the statements to be offensive, but they do reflect trends and attitudes in society.

Born-Again Feminism by Kathleen Parker was additionally interesting.  Just a few quotes:

“I think you Americans do not enjoy being women as much as we do. . . "  (stated by a woman in Abu-Dhabi).

Parker goes on about what the woman said: "she allowed that American women, in their quest for equality with men, had surrendered some of their uniquely feminine traits and attendant pleasures."
Those two quotes very much parallel the premise of A Return to Modesty by Wendy Shalit.

. . .males need to be saved to the extent that, too often, equality has become a zero-sum game in which girls’ success has meant shortchanging boys. 

I believe that American women have paid dearly for the privilege of having a voice in the conduct of their lives. Have they failed to enjoy being women? To each her own determination, but I would submit that in trying to find a place in a male-ordered world, women have paid more than their fair dues, much to the detriment of their mental health and their families.

Nevertheless, the feminism of my youth did grow stale and, over time, often became silly. Or so it seemed to me and, apparently, to many other women who became mothers and workers and knew that the real world of juggling career and family wasn’t a calling but a curse. We were trying not just to be as good as men, but to be men. I have the neckties to prove it. It turns out that women make lousy men, a fact for which we should feel grateful rather than apologetic. As a group, we are worse at some things, but better at others—the very “others,” it also turns out, that happen to be driving today’s economy and that of the future.
I would like to know specifically what she's referring to when she says the things women are good at are driving the economy.  Just curious as to what's on her mind.

Women have tried to fit into a male-constructed world and found it either uninviting or inflexible to their needs. They don’t make it to the top of corporations because they find the long hours and travel impossible to manage with children at home. Too, they may find themselves alienated by masculine style, which psychologists Alice Eagly and Linda Carli describe as controlling, versus women’s, which tends to take into greater consideration the rights of others.

When women achieve parity in boardrooms and legislatures, they’ll no longer have to twist into male versions of themselves but can help fashion a world that is a better fit for them and the human beings they create.

But somewhere between the abayas of Abu Dhabi and the pistol-packin’, “man-up” mamas of Wingnut, America, is a strong, compassionate, heroic womanhood of which we can all feel a part and be proud sisters. And brothers, too.
Emphasis added.

I liked those last three paragraphs even though I don't necessarily feel a strong urge to be in boardrooms and legislatures.  However, I'm sure some women would like to and they should have the right to if that's what they want.  Women do need a voice in how things are done in this world; it makes the world a much more comfortable and balanced place!

Now onto the rest of the magazine!

Birth on on the mind

No, I am not pregnant, if you were wondering. . .

After reading that last article, I was reminded of a couple posts Heather had on Women in the Scriptures that I had not yet read.  In one post, she wrote about the Physicality of Birth.  I always wonder what I can do to teach my daughters to value motherhood, and she gave me some ideas:

We do so much to teach young men about the importance of their priesthood callings and we help prepare them for the hard work they have ahead of them as missionaries and as leaders. From a young age young men know that what they are going to be asked to do will be hard but that they will be given strengthen from God to handle it. Why don't we teach our young women from a young age that what they are going to be called to do will be hard, physically, but that God will give them the strength to handle it. Why aren't we teaching them about the symbolism and importance of birth and motherhood? Why aren't we helping prepare them, from the time they are 12, to handle the physicality of bearing children and motherhood? I can't help but think that if we were doing these things that not as many women would be scared of becoming mothers. I think that if men and women really understood the power and symbolism behind birth that the birth process would be treated much differently that it is. I also think that motherhood would be more valued in society.

She also blogged about The Importance of Birth and spoke of our divine roles as compared to Adam and Eve (reminds me of my previous post about birth as well as The Two Trees by Cassler on my sidebar):
This is Eve's gift to us... the promise of birth. That through our mothers, the daughters of Eve, all of God's children will partake of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and literally become the fruit of that tree. Through the power of God they will be born into this world through blood, water and the spirit and will be given a probationary time. During this probationary time it is the role of mothers and fathers to help their children to become worthy to pass through the second veil, the tree of life, through the water, blood, and spirit of Jesus Christ. This is Adam's gift to us---as the High Priest of this earth acting in authority for Jesus Christ--- the promise of re-birth.
The more I think about being a mother, I can't help but wonder if it's not so much the numbers of children you have (or don't or can't have) in this life, but where your heart is and what your attitude toward motherhood is.  If we have the potential to continue to be mothers in the eternities and WANT that, I suppose we'd better learn to love and appreciate it in this life.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Caretakers of Light

Today Steph posted The Sacrament of Birth on Empowering LDS Women. In her post she references an article entitled The Sacrament of Birth by Analiesa Leonhardt regarding women and their important role as mothers and the parallels to Jesus Christ. I took the time to go read the full article and it was just fascinating!

If you don't want to read the whole article, Steph shares some quotes she liked. Additionally, I liked:
In the human experience, the most extreme bodily sacrifice for another’s life is childbirth. A renowned obstetrician commented that birth, “has the potential to transform the ways in which we think about ourselves. As one patient said to [her], ‘I felt powerful and in touch with something within me that I never knew was there. I took my place among the lineage of women as mothers." This empowerment is not only a subjective experience. Neuroscientists have determined that hormones released in a woman’s body during pregnancy and nursing contribute directly to an increase in brain power. With a permanent and quantifiable increase in dendrites and glial cells a mother has a greater capacity to store long-term memory, develop increased motivation and empathy, increase multitasking and prioritizing skills, and decrease fear. Just as the Savior’s atoning act increased his capacity to love us, so a mother’s sacrifice increases her capacity to fulfill her great role. . . .
Motherhood and birth are so obviously saturated in sacredness, why is a mother’s work so often dismissed as common-place, tedious, and even dirty? Perhaps the answer is simply in the very commonness of it. It was the every-day familiarity people had with Jesus Christ that led many to dismiss him as simply the son of Joseph the carpenter.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

A few stats from the Mint.com blog

My husband pointed out these stats from Mint.com regarding social change:

50% of people 65 and over believe "The main purpose of marriage is mutual happiness and fulfillment rather than child-raising."  However, only 70% of Baby Boomers and Millenials agree.

66% of Baby Boomers agree that "Divorce is preferable to staying in an unhappy marriage," however, only 54% of Millenials and Generation Xers agree.

To me, it sounds like people get married for personal satisfaction, rather than to have children; whereas, younger people are more likely to tough out a more difficult marriage (I'd assume at least if there are children in the family, anyway).  Maybe the younger people had parents who divorced and learned that's not something they want to do.

We Talk of Christ, We Rejoice In Christ: Doing My Dream Job

We Talk of Christ, We Rejoice In Christ: Doing My Dream Job

I just read this fantastic story of a woman, Jocelyn Christensen, who gave up a great career because she wanted to be a mom. Very cool.

My question is, what things during her life influenced her to want to be a mom?

Maybe I should watch t.v. a little more often

My neck has been kind of stiff now for, uh, a couple years.  I've had a few headaches more than normal and occasional neck pain that gets in the way of driving and lifting children, but it eventually goes away, mostly.  I've just lived with it.  Hey, I've lived with back pain before, why not neck pain now?  If it's not one thing, it's something else, right?

For my birthday this year, I thought I'd get a really good full-body massage.  The massage lady ended up focusing on my shoulders, neck, a little of my back, and didn't get anywhere else. My neck was totally locked up.  I didn't tell her for how long it's been that way.  We set up another appointment for a few days later.  Again, most of the work was on the neck and shoulders.

I asked her why the problems in my neck.  She figured it was perhaps some sleep posture, the physical demands of being a mother, and probably just being busy (stress).  She said the occasional headaches are a warning sign and I should do more stretching of warm muscles.

I told her when I've driven lately I've tried to focus on relaxing my neck.  I can always feel I'm tense there and I have to conscientiously try and relax.  I then realized that I almost never take time to relax.  I don't usually do passive activities.  I rarely sit back to enjoy a book and nearly never watch t.v.  If we watch anything, it's a documentary on pbs.org and, of course, I have to be multi-tasking:  hemming pants, hand stitching a neckline, cutting out a pattern.

For many years, my husband and I have tried to be very productive.  We try and be "faucets," not "drains."  We try and not waste time.  We make the most of it.

However, productivity has it's drawbacks.  I realize that sometimes, our minds are willing, but our bodies are not.  I'm reminded of how precious and fragile my body is, and there's no need to run faster than I have strength (D&C 10:4).  A worn out mother is pretty useless.  Sounds like I need to kick back, relax, quiet those muscles, and watch some t.v.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Beautiful Thoughts on Being a Woman

After Bridget posted regarding the Christian Feminist Essay, I went and read a little more on C. Jane's blog.  She describes womanhood just beautifully a few different times:

But as it pertains to my womanhood, my essence as well as in my body, I feel deeply inside of me that there is something so beautiful, eternal and holy about being a female that equality becomes inexplicable. And for his part, my husband feels it too--he directs the force I feel, supporting me in this path of female holiness. I think it's given to every female and receiving male, though hard to express intellectually, with a restricted vocabulary, it undeniably exists. When treated with firm respect by the woman herself and a man full of unrestricted charity, it becomes a powerful source of revelation and transcendence--a place where the importance of gender leads to the paradise of being One.

It something like this: in a Christ-covenanted marriage, a man becomes immortal when he is with a woman, because in her is the key to eternal life. And perhaps what we think is a typical patriarchal, male-led church is the greatest cover up for the most truthful, matriarchal system the world has ever known.  (12/2/10)
Our bodies are built to be strong in principal and natural femininity. Femininity looks different on every woman-- it is the essence that sets us apart from each other, and from man. Femininity isn't about dresses, make-up or shoes, it is about fulfilling our specific female identity. Only we know what that is, but it is encoded in our bodies. It looks good on us. And sadly, the sacredness of our bodies are the most exploited entity on this planet.

But we can change that too.

Women will seek out what feels inherently best to them--the simple life, the complicated life, the busy life, the communal life. I am learning to trust this as we all share the same birthright of being female. If women want labels, so be it. As for me, Daughter of God is all-encompassing. It is as practical as buying cleaning solvent from the door-to-door salesman, to leaving an unhealthy marriage. I know the women who came before me made sacrifices, fought battles and picked hard choices. I know they were led by the same inner voice I hear today, the voice of a loving God who champions his daughters, gives them hope in all things if they seek it, and looks after them even in the darkest of places. It is impossible to comprehend just how powerful he made us. Sometimes I get a glimpse, and it sends me reeling for days. (3/25/10)

Christian Feminist Essay

CJane hosted a very interesting essay by a Christian feminist and her views on the need for true equality between men and women. She makes the point that while many can say that feminism and gender issues are not needed anymore, for millions around the world issues like violence against women and unequal treatment are sadly still very, very real. Check it out at:


I really liked a few things that she said. She said that Galatians 3:28 was really important to her in proving the need for equality and it says, "there is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus." I love the idea of us all being one in purpose.

I also loved the quote she used from poet Nancy Smith, "For every woman who takes a step toward her own liberation, there is a man who finds the way to freedom has been made a little easier."

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

A Quiet Heart

I just read A Quiet Heart by Patricia Holland.  It was such a lovely (and even short) book!  I was honestly left with a quiet heart each time I read it.  I can tell that she has thought so much about being a woman and a mother.  I just wanted to share some of the gems.

On women (page 2):

One especially troubling complaint of our time is there is no commonality among women.  Across cultures and countries and even in our own neighborhoods, we women have become so diverse and so separated in our lifestyles, interests, and preoccupations that rarely do we have a friend such as our mothers had over the back fence, a neighbor to visit, to love, and to talk with. . . .   We must not let the modern world isolate, fragment, or distance us from those we can love and serve.

(pages 40-41)
. . . because of the increasing diversity of lifestyles for women of today, we seem even more uncertain and less secure with each other.  We are getting not closer but further away from that sense of community and sisterhood that has sustained us and given us unique strengths for generations.  There seems to be an increase in our competitiveness and a decrease in our generosity with one another. . . .  [continuing on page 42] So as long as we are committed to living righteously and with faithful devotion, we should celebrate these divine differences, knowing they are a gift from God.  We must not feel so frightened; we must not be so threatened and insecure; we must not need to find exact replicas of ourselves in order to feel validated as women of worth."

On mothering (pages 58-59): 
Some women give birth and raise children but never "mother" them.  Others, whom I love with all my heart, "mother" all their lives but have never given birth.  Therefore, we must understand that however we accomplish it, parenthood is the highest of callings, the holiest of assignments.

(page 54):
. . . it is our sacred obligation to identify [our eternal nature] and to teach it to our young sisters and daughters. [Then on page 59] . . . we can provide some of that divine pattern, that maternal prototype, for each other and for those who come after us.  Whatever our circumstance, we can reach out, touch, hold, lift, nurture -- but we cannot do it in isolation.  We need a community of sisters stilling the soul and binding the wounds of fragmentation.

(page 81):
Being there and loving [children] is our specific assignment in those years when a mother is needed most, though it seems to me a mother is always needed.  These are not grandma's years, or a day care's years, or years with any other caretakers, no matter how competent they may be.  I believe with all of my heart that during those years our most important task is simply to be there!

On prayer (page 7):
 . . . if it is a high priority and a fundamental goal in your life, you will find ways, early or late, to be with God.  If the key to your car or your mortgage payment check or a child were lost, would you take time to find them?  Wouldn't finding them provide that peace you needed to then go about your day?  . . . .

If you believed that your earthly father could could comfort any heartache, heal any illness, solve any problem, or just be with you through the crucibles of life, wouldn't you call to him constantly?  I am just childish enough to believe that our Father in Heaven can bless us in all those ways.  The price to be paid for this kind of communion is time and your best powers of concentration, but by that investment you may offset untold hours, days, weeks, and months of struggle or sorrow or pain (pages 7-8 ).

On my purpose (page 19):

And while one purpose may seem more pleasant or important than another, this really is not so.  All purposes are absolutely essential and important in the body of Christ.  And all purposes lead to one thing:  individual happiness.

On pain (pages 30-31):

And do not be deceived into thinking that even though there are different and seemingly unfair paths in life, that in the end we all get the same pasture.  Your pasture will compensate for your path, and my pasture will compensate for my path. . . .  Whatever blessings you have gone without will be made up to you in divine and glorious fashion.  I give you every assurance, they will be made up to you to the point where you will not be confident that God treated you fairly but embarrassed that he treated you so very generously.

On marriage and being submissive (pages 103 - 106):

At first I was a little offended with the word subjection. . . .  . . . I began a search for what the Lord had called "the hidden man [or woman] of the heart, [even] that which was not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and a quiet spirit."  For the first time in my life I saw "subjection" as a virtue, a synonym for "meekness" and "a quiet spirit."  I felt subjection -- to God and then to others, including my husband -- to be astonishingly liberating. . . .  If we choose to recognize only the negative aspects of such words as submit, subject, and obey, it is little wonder that women recoil at their mere mention.  But if we look up the word submission in any good thesaurus, we will see the synonyms patient, humble, softness, lamb-like-ness.  These words fairly shout the discipleship of Christ!

(page 109):
The older I become, the more I see that marriage is not a contest of wills but an orderly way to have a profound relationship.  It is learning how to support each other in being the highest and holiest we can become.  It is learning the true meaning and beauty and glory behind the word submission for both men and women.

Update 3/28/11:  Heather over at Women in the Scriptures referenced One Thing Needful:  Becoming Women of Greater Faith in Christ.  I read it last night and it's pretty much my favorite chapter in this book if you want to read it without buying the book!

How the Sexual Revolution Killed the Common Date

I just stumbled upon How the Sexual Revolution Killed the Common Date by Erin McBride.  I've read up a bit on this topic in non-LDS circles, but it's interesting putting the LDS twist on it.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Understanding My Role as a Mother

I recently read, Loving the Role I Once Shunned, and enjoyed how the author, Marian Pond, related to me!  Basically she said that because of how she grew up, she didn't really value motherhood; however, she was willing to give it a try.  After doing as much as SHE could to change her attitudes of "I can't stand kids!", she realized SHE couldn't do it, so she turned to the Lord and He helped her change:
I have learned that when the Lord asks mothers to accept and grow in our divinely appointed role by devoting our full time, energy, and talent, it is not simply because it helps past or future generations. He asks us to fill the place He designed for us because He knows it is the best way to prepare for our eternal destiny.
If for any reason you're not sure what I mean when I say there are certain things out there that give us bad attitudes toward family, Julie Beck gives a good explanation:
Many of our youth are losing confidence in the institution of families. They’re placing more and more value on education and less and less importance on forming an eternal family.  Many don’t see forming families as a faith-based work. For them, it’s a selection process much like shopping. . . .  Parents are being portrayed as inept and out of touch. Antifamily media messages are everywhere. Youth are being desensitized about the need to form eternal families.

This was in Julie Beck's talk called, "Teaching the Doctrine of the Family".  I was happy to see a modified and condensed version of her original talk in the Ensign this month!  The longer talk is really great because she's able to explain principles in more detail.

I think sometimes we may be dissatisfied with our role because we don't understand it.   When we pray to understand it (i.e. pray for a mother heart), we will be so much happier!

I just finished Pat Holland's A Quiet Heart.  What an absolutely lovely book!  I've heard of it a few places, including on the Holland's Conversation on Mormon Radio, but hadn't gotten around to buying and reading it.

Sister Holland wrote about how when she has a problem, she goes to our Father in Heaven in prayer -- for hours.  She recognizes that to pray for hours is easily considered impossible.  However, she goes on to explain:
. . . if it is a high priority and a fundamental goal in your life, you will find ways, early or late, to be with God.  If the key to your car or your mortgage payment check or a child were lost, would you take time to find them?  Wouldn't finding them provide that peace you needed to then go about your day?  . . . .

If you believed that your earthly father could could comfort any heartache, heal any illness, solve any problem, or just be with you through the crucibles of life, wouldn't you call to him constantly?  I am just childish enough to believe that our Father in Heaven can bless us in all those ways.  The price to be paid for this kind of communion is time and your best powers of concentration, but by that investment you may offset untold hours, days, weeks, and months of struggle or sorrow or pain (pages 7-8 )."
I can say, that I am finding more peace and happiness as I learn to understand my role as a mother, and it really does make life easier!

Mothers Who Know

Although I try and not put everything on my fridge, I wanted to put up (for now) some/most of Julie Beck's suggestions from Mothers Who Know to help me remember where my focus should be.  If you don't want to re-invent the wheel, here's what I did.

This is what it says:

The responsibility mothers have today has never required more vigilance.  More than at any time in the history of the world, we need mothers who know.

·    “. . .In the eternal perspective, children—not possessions, not position, not prestige—are our greatest jewels.”
·    The value women place on motherhood in this life and the attributes of motherhood they attain here will rise with them in the Resurrection.
·    We honor sacred ordinances and covenants.
·    We know that if we are not pointing our children to the temple, we are not pointing them toward desired eternal goals.
·    We create a climate for spiritual and temporal growth in our homes.
·    We work beside children in homemaking tasks (cooking, washing clothes and dishes, and keeping an orderly home) to create opportunities to teach and model qualities children should emulate.
·    We are knowledgeable, but all the education we attain will avail us nothing if we do not have the skill to make a home that creates a climate for spiritual growth.
·    Nurturing requires organization, patience, love, and work.
·    We do not abandon our plan (missions, temple marriages, education, prayer, scripture study, and family home evening) by succumbing to social pressure and worldly models of parenting.
·    We are selective about our own activities and involvement to conserve our limited strength in order to maximize our influence where it matters most.
·    We consider our homes as a pre–missionary training center.
·    We allow less media in our homes, less distraction, less activity that draws our children away from our home.
·    We are willing to live on less and consume less of the world’s goods in order to spend more time with our children—more time eating together, more time working together, more time reading together, more time talking, laughing, singing, and exemplifying.
·    We choose carefully and do not try to choose it all.

Don't Revere the Pioneer

I just read Don't Revere the Pioneer by Eva over at LAF/Beautiful Womanhood.  I know I have the tendency to idolize those great women who came before us and all that they did; but, the point of the article is that we are here now for a reason, and we're pretty amazing, too!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Women of God vs. Feminism

A while back I was curious about the LDS Church and feminism.  J Tolman over at LDS Women of God just posted a great & brief summary on the whole woman's movement in regards to the Church.  I quite enjoyed it!  She doesn't associate herself with the word feminism like some of us do, but I think that's all a matter of definition.  I think we really look at it the same way.

How Do I Change My Husband?

My sister-in-law, Sam, got How Do I Change My Husband by Merrilee Boyak for Christmas and let me borrow it when she was done. I'd forgotten I'd heard the talk, or much of it, at BYU's Education Week, so it wasn't too new to me.

The one thing I wanted to mention, though -- somewhat related to the last post -- was that Merrilee shared how she used to always try and change her husband to be more like her, then someone pointed out that because of their opposite natures, skills, talents, and qualities, they have all they need for salvation between the two of them (with of course Jesus Christ).  OK, that's probably not exactly how she said it (it's been a few months).

Isn't it true that if you look at you and your spouse you really balance each other out both in temporal ways as well as spiritual?  I suppose that's why they say opposites attract!

It's things like this that make me want to be a better wife!

I recently read a post over at Mormon Momma regarding some potential favoritism toward women and rejection of men and their roles and needs.  Some of the discussion I quite agreed with, others of it I don't totally agree with, but I can understand why people feel the way they do.  No need to go into it, you can read it and decide where you fit in.  However, one commenter, Lisa, made some profound statements about women doing their part that I wanted to post:

In the past I have had membership on large LDS women only message boards. While dozens of the members would complain about their husbands (or ex-husbands) joining recreational sporting leagues, gaming during off-work hours or taking too much time away in fulfilling their priesthood directed church duties like home teaching or presidency responsibilities, these women would spend many hours a day lurking on the internet chat forums, spending a great deal of money shopping for unnecessary, costly items and planning GNO’s where they would go and gossip about their husbands and tut-tut over their man’s inadequacies.

If many a woman doesn’t “feel” like providing a meal to her family on any given day, she feels entitled to shirking her duty to family in a pseudo-liberation rant of “I don’t have to do anything I don’t feel like!” and is applauded by her friends on Facebook or in gossip circles. If a man doesn’t “feel” like leading family prayer or in other family responsibilities, he’s labeled slothful and belittled. If a woman doesn’t want to clean her home and would rather craft the day away, more often than not- a man would be vilified for spending his day on a hobby when his wife expects him to tick off items on her Honey-Do list. I would think that both partners would deserve the reprimand for bad behaviors.

It’s a clear double standard that is even applied to physical affection. More often than not, a woman shouldn’t “have” to share intimacy if she doesn’t feel like it and can be quite rude about it but if a man refuses when approached by his wife, he is accused of sending the message that she is undesirable and unloveable and a beast for being “mean”. I’ve seen the complaint so. many. times. from woman who do not see the unfairness of the situation they put their men in.

I worry about the Pavlov’s dog analogy and if the society that is trying to uplift women is not in fact suppressing manhood and men, for men who enable bad behavior on the part of women are doing themselves and society no favors. I am doing my best to teach my daughters that women are to be held as accountable as men and to see equal respect for doing their duties- not elevated praise and adoration while casting the efforts of men by the wayside. I sincerely hope that there are mothers raising sons to see fairness and hard work as a mutual yoke in marriage. And I hope my girls can find those boys in the dating pool someday.

Fleeting Childhood

(Editor Emily's note:  I asked my friend Heather if I could link to this post on her blog or just re-post it.  I like the visual, so I'm just re-posting the whole thing.  I'd love for Heather to post on this blog, but she's a little busy with 4 girls, a big calling, and serious family issues going on -- so I'm doing it for her!)

by Heather -- 24 Feb 2011

Today I was given a great reminder about how quickly time passes. For the last few weeks my mind has been bent toward my little sister & her baby. Haylee's baby has a brain cyst & has had to have one surgery already and is back at the hospital scheduled for another.

Well, this morning, I was getting Rachel some strawberry milk when the phone rang. My mom was calling to give me the update from Haylee and when I came back from the phone call to see how Rachel was enjoying her milk this was the scene in the kitchen.
It was such a visual reminder to me to enjoy the moment and be there for my kids. I love being around when my kids have flavored milk because they enjoy it so much and it is a sure way for me to get a compliment on being the "best mom ever!"

So, seeing the empty cup when I came back just reminded me how important it is to be there to enjoy my kids & to be there with them whenever I can.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Magic Moments

The other day I was playing on the floor with my 5 year old daughter.  All of a sudden, I had a feeling I've never experienced before: I actually WANTED to be playing with her more than doing anything else. Usually I play with the kids because I know I should; it's my duty -- my parental obligation.  I spend so much of my time dreaming about the things I can do at the end of the day after the kids go to bed. 

Now, obviously you can guess I'm a bit embarrassed about this admission, but I'm sure I'm not the first to feel this way.  I just can't believe it took me so long to figure this out!  What I learned is important:  There are some women who WANT to be with their children, not merely out of duty.

A friend, Michelle, recently suggested that perhaps having a "mother heart" is a spiritual gift.  In that case, since I know I can pray for spiritual gifts, I think I will be a much better, happier, and more content mother if I can better develop that "mother heart."

When we don't call on the powers of heaven to help us enjoy our duties as mothers, we are living below our privilege.  We could really be more happy about this aspect of our lives!

Additionally, I believe this increases my respect for women who have a lot of children.  Years ago I got over my criticisms toward those who (responsibly) have very large families, but now I understand WHY they do it:  they (well, some of them) probably love it just as some of us love history, or sewing, or politics, or blogging, or whatever.  How awesome that they love their job!

Lastly, a phrase my husband sometimes says is, "if you're not having fun, you must not be doing it right."  Now why haven't we fully grasped this before in regards to our family?  Having fun as a family brings those magic moments that make parenting all worth it.

Feel free to leave ideas of things you do to create magic moments in your family!

A Study of Visible Public Posterior Exposure in Modern Society

My dear husband is a pretty funny guy. When the style was to wear short shirts and low pants, he wrote "A Study of Visible Public Posterior Exposure in Modern Society."  Trust me, you'll laugh; or, maybe you'll be offended.

When he finishes his Master's in just a couple weeks, hopefully we'll see some more funny from him.

(P.S. That's not his real name on the article.  He doesn't want it popping up when people google him.)

Apparently it is ok to have standards -- phew!

In all seriousness, it was nice to see people outside of the LDS Church honoring us for having an honor code.