Friday, September 28, 2012

Natural Creativity

One of the things that I imagined I would do when I was a mother was create with my child. Unrestricted, without lines or rules art. Just exploring colors and texture and shapes. I love the therapeutic process art can be and I want my children to know that it is a great way to deal with emotions, but ya gotta start 'em young.

I was fortunate enough to come across a great natural paint set at a local store and I have been really happy with them. They are naturally non-toxic and I can understand all the ingredient on the label. Max likes them too. Especially in his mouth. 

This was the first time I really sat down with him to create and I loved every minute of it. I love how curious he was about the paint and watching him discover how he could manipulate it. Art is extremely important to me. I have found so much joy and peace from it. Music has touched my heart, painting have inspired my soul, and musicals have brought me so much joy and laughter over the years. 

Our world needs art. Where science and knowledge are the mind and logic of the earth, art is the soul. It gives life and breath to us. 

Sunday, September 16, 2012

On Little Boys

I am the mother of a little boy. I am not sure what I expected from having a son but my heart certainly cried for lost frilly dresses and tea parts and princess dress up clothes. What was I to do with a boy? Now to be honest, baby boys are pretty much identical to baby girls in smiles and burps and crawling. But the secret no one tells you is that baby boys threaten to steal your heart from your husband. 

Once we were having  brunch with some friends and Max had a spill and he cried a bit as someone helped him to his feet, this friend consoled him by saying, "That's okay, your a tough boy, it's alright." She then quickly caught herself and interjected, "BUT you are also sensitive and gentle too!" 

How often do we demand "toughness" from our boys, which can often cripple them emotionally. While Max is tough (dude, this kid hardly cried when a pine cone was thrown straight into his forehead), he is also very tender. He loves to cuddle and nuzzle into me before bed. He is over the moon about his father and is gentle towards newborn babies. He knows to softly pet dogs and he gives the best surprise kisses.

I love having a little boy to play hide and seek with or chase around. I love watching him explore, whether it is the pages of a book, a piece of fruit, or the contents of my bag. I was given a boy and it has rocked my world in the best possible way. He has changed who I am not only by making me a mother but by giving me the charge to raise a gentleman. 

When I imagine his future it is not whether he will be a fireman, doctor, teacher, or CEO. I imagine him as a husband. Being sweet and loving towards his wife. I strive to have him understand what this world is like for women and to do all in his power to support and praise his wife. I see him as a father, with that same enthusiasm he has now playing with his children. Loving them and giving them the attention he received. I see him living a gospel centered life with a firm faith in his Savior. Not because his parents share the same faith but because he developed it on his own. He discovered for himself the joy that putting your trust in the Savior can bring. The healing power, the sweet relief, the peace through trials. I see him standing as a pillar of truth, but also looking towards his community for continual knowledge and understanding of what this world asks of him versus what his Heavenly Father asks of him. I see him striving righteously to know the difference.

I couldn't possibly fathom what life would be like having Maxwell in my life. Oh what a blessing it has been. What a challenge, what a joy, what an utter delight.

Thursday, September 13, 2012


It's like another world, Yellowstone. Full of springs and geysers bubbling away. Melting the stone before your very eyes, steaming and spouting and reaching towards the sky. I'm not really sure what I was expecting when we got here but certainly not the wonder that is bubbling, acidic mud. Not the rainbow colored pools of water creating sulfuric steam that I had to walk through.

 To be honest... I loved it. I loved looking at the trees and flowers that were growing so close to hostile territory.

 At one point we were staring out at the grand canyon of Yellowstone and there was this poor tree, alone on top of a rock at the edge of an abyss. Kyle wondered aloud, "Do you think the tree ever wishes it were somewhere else?" and I responded, "Probably, but he's also like,'well, I can't really move, guess I'll just grow anyway.'"

 So instead the tree twists to fight gravity creating a gnarled appearance and pretty soon it will grow so tall that it will fall. Maybe only a few hundred feet before it get's caught on a rock but it will fall either way. But it doesn't really have a choice, so it grows despite it's circumstances. And so the small flowers grow a midst bacteria and trees and shrubs are showered with muddy mists.

 I think about how we sometimes find ourselves in undesirable circumstances and we think, How the heck did I get here! But there we are.

We don't always get to choose where we grow, but we do get to choose to grow. Perhaps we should take note from nature and grow despite our surroundings, reaching heavenward always.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Change begets gratitude

Change isn't so bad. It can promise beautiful things but a lot of times it is unpredictable and that can be scary.

This week we have been looking for a place to live. Yep in one week we needed to find a place, sign a lease and move by friday.

It seems doable at the beginning, and then we realized it was Labor day. Then we realized background checks can sometimes take forever. As the days passed the reality that we might have to crash at one of our friend's house started becoming more apparent.

I of course am wonderful during times of stress and uncertainty. Not.

I start to panic internally and my anger fuse is a little shorter than it usually is. This change was starting to freak me out a bit. Especially since I didn't know what I was changing towards, just that my home was going to change.

My prayers became increasingly sincere and full of pleas for guidance, support, help. But, I also noticed that they also became increasingly full of thanks.

When life throws you loopholes there is a tendency to focus on the problem, to analyze and scrutinize until everything is fixed. But I found that the only thing that reduced my anxiety towards finding a place to live was to offer thanks.

Gratitude for the fact that my family can be together forever, gratitude for gospel truths, gratitude for a healthy child, gratitude for wonderful friends, gratitude.... the list would go on and on. Gratitude is what brought me peace and comfort. Knowing that even though I might not have a permanent residence by Friday that I have people who will take care of me. People who will let me sleep in their own bed.

At lunch today we decided we seriously needed to discuss our options for tomorrow if our background check hadn't made it through the system yet. We finalized things and then, miraculously, the phone rang. We were cleared and the lease will be signed tonight. We immediately looked at each other and at our child covered in cheese and decided to offer a prayer of thanks.

Change can scare us away from God, can push us from His loving embrace with thoughts of, "why me?" But it doesn't have to. Change can also drive us towards the only true place of peace and comfort and stability. In the comfort of His love we can recognize all that we have and are because of Him and what a beautiful journey that can be.

If we let it happen.