Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Catch 22

I go through cycles in my marriage where I'm satisfied or happy and then somehow I begin to feel unsatisfied or unhappy and then I pick myself up again or figure something out and find happiness again. It's never my spouse's fault. It's usually just me going through my weird cycle.

Last year was a really big down-time in my cycle and after I got out of it, it's been going pretty well. Then a couple days ago I decided to tell Jimmy how I didn't like that he never tells me anything. He's not one to talk to me. It makes me feel unimportant to him because it's even little things or things that I really should know about. Like if his mother is coming to visit or if we're going to be going somewhere that day. He doesn't tell me anything until I think to ask. It's become more than irritating. It hurts my feelings. He tells me he just doesn't like to talk. However he talks to other people just fine, it seems. And if he doesn't tell me things it makes me feel like he doesn't think I need to know anything because I'm not important enough.

I told him this and he just looks at the ground or something. Gives me an excuse like he forgets or whatever.

I get this reaction, and I keep going until he is so exasperated with me, he has to walk away. I don't blame him because if I keep saying this over and over it starts to sound like nagging - but I don't feel like he understands so I keep talking to try to explain it to him. We really need to work on this.

Anyway, during that day we weren't so happy with each other and it came down to this.

I was waiting for him to say something - say he's sorry, anything! He was waiting for me to give him a hug. He even awkwardly came into the bathroom while I was fixing my hair and put his arms around my waste from behind and closed his eyes. But honestly hugs don't feel like anything to me from him. I wanted him to say something.

I didn't respond to his hug.
He didn't say a word.
The day continued.

Later I wrote him a note in church (FOR SHAME! :) ) and explained to him that I was sorry I was being upset but I really felt unimportant when he didn't tell me things. He wrote back that he had told me before that when I talk to him I need to give him a hug first so he'll listen better. But the thing is - I don't like giving someone a hug before we reach understanding and stuff through conversation. It's hard for me to do that when I feel tension. But it's hard for him to feel like talking with tension and a hug helps that for him. So we're trapped.

One of us has gotta give.

I quietly decided within myself that I would make more effort to give him a hug when he comes home from work instead of waiting for him to come give me one. Honestly, I've always been waiting for him to talk to me when he gets home but he doesn't. He just eventually comes and gives me a hug and I feel like he's just...ahem...wanting to warm me up for later...and it turns me off, actually. I need the conversation.

Anyway, so I decided I would give him a hug first. Maybe giving him HIS love language first all the time will make him want to give me mine. Maybe if I'm giving him his physical touch more often, he'll start to talk to me. Here's hopin'.


This morning after I got up and fed the baby, I was doing dishes and getting ready for breakfast and thought the kids were in the basement. I hadn't gone down to check, but that's usually where they are. Still, I kept thinking to myself that I should go down and see what they were doing but I didn't until I had the first waffle in the iron.

They weren't down there.

They weren't in the house.

And when I went outside, they didn't answer and they weren't anywhere in the yard.

Ok, so I took a deep breath, left the baby in his bed and got in the car wearing my bathrobe to drive down the road. They had once before gone down to the park with their tricycles before so I thought I'd check there first. Only one of the tricycles was missing though - and when I got down there, they weren't there either.

Any parent may panic at this point, but I remained calm inside. My mind kept trying to tell me to be frightened because this should be a terrifying happening. But I felt inside that the kids were just fine, I just needed to find them.

I ended up finding them at the house on the corner of our block (in the other direction from the park) playing in the dirt of that person's yard. It looked like Jameson had ridden his bicycle down there and Zachy had followed on foot. They were in trouble, of course - but I wasn't afraid because I know the neighbors on my street are good people.

The thing is, how did I know they were just fine? If they were hurt or picked up by some maniac, would I feel it? Actually, I believe I would. And I'm grateful for that.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Learning Unconditional Love

Last night we were watching Inspetion (which has nothing to do with the subject of this post, by the way - but hey, great movie!) and Jimmy paused it a moment to go upstairs. I was holding my baby and waiting, and I began to think about the love I feel for this little child and how I can't wait to get to know him. It sunk in that I don't really even know his personality or who he will be someday, but I love him so much anyway.

Jimmy always talks about how amazed he is that he can love all his children the same. With each new baby that comes, he can't comprehend loving another as much as the one he already has but it somehow happens. It just does, and he loves all his kids so much - and the same. Even though there are different things we like most about each child (like how silly goof-ball Jameson is or how sweet and gentle Zachy is) we still love them the same.

Then I thought about my love for this new child, Chili, and how I love him just as much but I don't know anything about him really. It sunk in slowly that with each child my capacity to love is growing more and more. I love them so much and a new child is born and I love that one just as much so my capacity must be growing immensely.

I thought about God's love and how He loves all of His children the same. He loves every one of us so much, and I'm sure there are some things He likes better about one then the other because of the gifts or talents we possess (gifts He gave us), but He still loves us all the same.

So being a parent is giving me the opportunity and training me to become more like my Heavenly Father. I am becoming more loving and more capable of love with each child. I'm learning how to be patient with my children and love them no matter what happens, just as God loves us.

Then my thoughts took another step.

Learning to love like this doesn't stop with my own children or family. Learning to love my children unconditionally, without even really knowing them, can also teach me how to love others. God love ALL people this way - and so should I. I looked up at the tv screen at Leonardo DiCaprio's face just then and thought - even him! Celebrities included - like Lady Gaga. (haha) It's hard for me to imagine loving Leonardo DiCaprio in the same way that I love this baby in my arms, but that's how God sees us, and someday I hope I can look at all people and love them that much. Without knowing anything about them.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Where Is My Heart?

Lately I started receiving Us Weekly. (No, I am not linking that!) Stupid that I am, I signed up for it somehow online in a free offer thing for some other motive and I can't even remember what it was. Then a month or so after I'd been getting it a while, we get this high charge on our account from Us... dumb magazine people. I called about it to cancel but all I got was an automated answering service. It asked if I wanted to sign up for more issues for "only" $5 an issue and they would reimburse the gargantuan charge on my account if I did this. I said no to that. Then they asked if I wanted to cancel and I said yes. This leaves me with receiving the issues up until what I've already paid for with that humongo charge they put onto my account, and no reimbursement. I tried the bank blocking route but they wouldn't do it without a fraudulent claim and since I in fact did business with these people there is no way to get my money back.

What I should have done is said yes to the reimbursement and then canceled any further issues. The $5 an issue thing wasn't going to be a contract! Well....I guess maybe they could have made it that way. Stupid automated system.

Ok. If my four-year-old was reading he'd tell me to watch my language. "Stupid is a bad word!"

Anyway, the point of this post, which I am finally getting to (so much for short and sweet, right?) is that today I was given a nice little wake-up call about where my heart truly is. Although I really don't value what it says in Us Weekly, whenever I get it, I am somehow dragged into reading, or at least looking at, every page! I don't really want to receive the thing anymore because all it does is fill my head with a bunch of worthless worldly junk! But nonetheless, I receive a magazine and am plunged back into the curiosity about who wore what, who looks best, who's dating who...blah blah blah. Like it's any of my business in the first place!

Today I received an issues of Us Weekly. But it was also accompanied by another magazine by the name of the Ensign. The Ensign I get also comes with the Friend, which is meant for my kids but I usually read it myself. :) These issues I always look forward to receiving in the mail every month. They testify of eternal things. They make me think with the right perspective and encourage my everyday living to be more Christlike.

So today I have my mail and am looking at the cover of Us Weekly when I realize I'm holding the Ensign in the other hand without even really acknowledging its presence there. It hit me. Which magazine is really better for me to read? Which one will make me feel happier after I'm done reading it?

Which one will I open up first?

Where is my heart really? Am I truly more drawn to and excited about Us Weekly? The magazine I was scammed into receiving and don't really care about in the first place? Or is this some kind of powerful temptation working on me to get my priorities mixed up? Well.

That was my wake-up call. And I hope I don't forget it.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

More Peaceful Nights

My boys love to get up over and over after we've settled them into bed and it was really getting frustrating! More then once I've turned into a monster at bedtime because I've gotten so frustrated! There was one time I even decided to hide outside the bedroom door and when I heard my little one getting out of bed, I quickly opened the door and growled like the scariest creature alive! It scared him out of his skin...but that was all I accomplished by doing that. And it also succeeded in making me feel terrible!

But this year we started a new tradition. It's been such a life saver ever since I decided to start reading scriptures every night at bedtime. Not only does it keep them in bed until they are either asleep or relaxed enough to stay in bed to go to sleep, but it also keeps the spirit in my heart so I feel better too! No more evenings of frustration and then regret for being horrible. Instead, I have a nice bedtime routine of pajamas, stories, teeth-brushing, bedtime prayers, and scripture reading. Sweet peace!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Fitting it in...

It is encouraging to me how there is always a way to manage fitting Family Home Evening into my daily schedule, even when we are busy. I just have to look for it. Because my kids are so young, it doesn't have to be anything elaborate. This week my husband was very busy with service projects after work and then he had to go to Boy Scouts directly after dinner. So we did Family Home Evening during dinner.

I read one scripture from my FHE jar (which has a bunch of strips of paper in it with suggested topics and scriptures for Family Home Evening) and it was about the gifts God gives each of us and how we are all blessed with different gifts and talents. We then talked about each person in our family and what they are good at. I cut out a big heart from construction paper for each member of our family and we listed those gifts on each heart and taped it to our back sliding door. Now it's a reminder to us and it was so fun and didn't take too long so my husband was there for the whole thing.

Remembering to be like a child...

We were learning about following the prophet and my husband read a scripture about sheep. I related it to following a shepherd and we were all sheep. Then my four year old brought up the big bad wolf and so we discussed how when we go astray and don't follow the shepherd we could be in danger and the big bad wolf may get us!

Kids are so fun. They really teach me!

Helping me teach my children...

I believe I am led when I teach my children and I thank my Heavenly Father that He blesses me with the inspiration I need to be a good mother.

When we discussed how our family can be together forever during our Family Home Evening, we were going to play catch with this little soft soccer ball as the game that night. I wasn't sure how to relate the game but it just came to me. The soccer balls little sections were made up of five different colors in a ring held together by one white patch in the center and that was the pattern for the entire ball. I explained that we each were like a different color and the white patch was like the temple holding us together "seams". Then we just played.

Family Home Evening doesn't have to be anything hugely organized or elaborate. You don't have to do a craft or game or have hand outs. You just need to relate a spiritual topic to what you're doing already, or bear your testimony. The important thing is that you are spending time as a family and allowing the spirit to teach you together.

This is what I have learned.

Introducing LLL and R

I was given a challenge on my birthday this year.

Recognize the Lord's daily kindnesses and record them so I can remember.

"...record the Lord's tender mercies. Remember what President Eyring said: 'I realized that trying to remember had allowed God to show me what He had done...My point is to urge you to find ways to recognize and remember God's kindness. It will build our testimonies.'"

So after beginning to do this in a little notepad I was given, I decided I should share some of it with the world too.

But not just stuff about faith. Stuff about just day-to-day survival in a world of chaos. So I will strive to record a thought each day if I can about something I've learned, something I've gained, a blessing I've noticed, or just a helpful thing I've read.

The posts on this blog are going to be more brief then my other blogs have been. At least lets hope it will be. :)