Monday, February 25, 2013

Your body is a temple

Yesterday I had the opportunity to teach the young women at church about why they should treat their body like a temple. In preparing for my lesson, I had the overwhelming impression that before we got onto such fun topics as modest, healthy eating, cleanliness, and chastity I needed to really help them examine the fact that just like the temples on the earth today, their bodies are flesh and bone that are inseparably connected to their spirit. Their bodies are glorious and have an amazing purpose ahead of them to fulfill. The task seemed daunting especially as I considered the fact that these girls are in high school.

The teenage years are not a time of healthy body image, in fact those years and the ones leading afterward as we gain a grasp on our identity is when we are most susceptible to feelings of unworthiness. We largely take it out on our bodies, the way we look. We are flooded with images of "perfection," which if we focus too much on, strip us of self-confidence and ultimately self-respect.

I reflected upon my own journey with body image.

I feel so blessed that my mother was extremely aware of putting too much focus on looks instead of health. There were no weights in my home, instead healthy eating and exercise were modeled and encouraged. My mom didn't lecture us though. This coupled with the fact that I hit puberty WAY later than everyone else gave me some sort of magical protection through the whole, "I hate my body" age. Sure I wished I was taller and that my hair was a little more manageable but these are normal and appropriate compared to going on a diet to lose 5-10 extra pounds when that weight is an ideal and not a reality.

However, growing a child changes your body entirely. When it is used for such a purpose as growing life, it takes on it's own form to do so. It stretches and grows and at the end of it all, your body feels completely foreign to you. I had stretch marks, deep ones. I knew they would come for I had seen my mothers own skin with it's rippled effect. However, I was not prepared for the reality of how it would look on my own body once I was really able to see them for myself. Thankfully the stomach is not something that is shown beyond the walls of my own home, but there was an instance that made an everlasting mark.

We were camping with some friends at a lake over the summer. They don't have any children yet and the wife and I chatted about pregnancy and I mentioned my stretch marks. I told her how weird they looked and how hard it was to get used to. Out of curiosity she asked if she could see them, I wanted to own them. To not be scared to show the marks of the journey I had made to bring Max to this world and so I was completely willing but still nervous to show her. Our husbands were nearby and I told her husband that it would be best if he looked away. It was one thing to show it to another woman, someone who understands the female body and was merely curious, it was another to show a man beyond my husband the marks on my skin. He looked away but at the last moment it seemed curiosity got the best of him as well. He glimpsed and I saw. I saw disgust. His wife remarked how genetically she felt lucky because stretch marks were not in her future. This reaction combined hurt.

It is hard for me to directly look at the skin that stretch and grew and supported a child and see beauty. When I see my stomach I think of that look of disgust. I don't blame him, it was an honest reaction to something he had never seen but gosh it took a toll on my body image.

I often hear the phrase that stretch marks are just tiger stripes, a reward of some sort. But to me that seems as stretched as my skin. To me my stretch marks just are. Yes, they are a visible reminder of the privilege it is to bear a child. One of the most glorious of purposes that a female body can imagine is to bear a child. It truly is a miraculous journey and if I have tiger striped to prove it, fine. But they don't define my body, they aren't me. My body is not one of disgust. Rather it is beautiful, sacred, and I should treat it with respect. To keep in mind that it is a gift from God. He gave me this body.  He made it capable of doing amazing things. He gave me this body so that ultimately I would learn, "You don't have a soul. You are a soul. You have a body." -C.S. Lewis.

Our bodies are the earthly temples of our spirits. What makes a temple holy is not it's beautiful structure, its bright light against the night sky, its pristine, clean, and organize manner but the sacred and amazing spirit within that only exists because of it's eternal purpose. That is why the temple shines, that is where its true beauty comes from, the inside.

Thursday, February 21, 2013


I bought my first real watch on a trip to Seattle with my friends family. It was a silver fossil watch that blinked two different patterns behind the ticking arms. It was analog and not waterproof. I found that at fifteen it was an unnecessary purchase and it now resides in a drawer in my childhood home.

The next time I bought a watch was before my first real job as a camp counselor. I knew better this time, I needed a digital, waterproof guy. I bought a bright yellow plastic watch for about $20 dollars at a local supermarket. During that first week of staff training, I met a boy whose hair matched my yellow watch, he flirted with me and over a week a developed a deep crush. He also had a watch, it had once been blue but had faded to a periwinkle, which I teased him endlessly for. Eventually we swapped watches, a modern day teenage mating ritual. He wasn't entirely mine yet, but we each had a mark made on each other. He had my watch and I had his.

Over the course of our relationship we kept each others watches and we both wore them until they broke. His on his mission and mine during my first trimester in college. Mine had deteriorated so much in fact, that I used a safety pin to keep it on my wrist, to keep reminding myself of my first love. One night while jumping into a car with friends it fell off. I realized too late into the night and when we returned to the scene of the crime it was completely broken. I felt like it was a doomsday sign and cried in hormonal angst. What did it mean?

Nothing turns out. I replaced the watch with a close match and wore that until it broke (turns out $20 watches have the lifespan of about two years). I bought a simple fake leather band watch at Target for when I had the privilege of working in the temple, that broke in about two weeks and so it became a pocket watch residing in my white dress.

Each watch is indicative of my life at the time it was worn. Watches that told me when to go to sleep, when to daydream, when I would see the love of my life, when I would learn about women's rights, Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, and my purpose on earth. These watches got me places on time and told me how quickly that time was passing.

The most interesting watch though is the one on my wrist currently. The day I returned home after having Max, I sent Kyle out to pick up a few supplies. He was gone for longer than expected and when he returned home he had a bright white watch that he had picked up. He knew I needed one for the journey of nursing I was embarking on and he knew I had been eyeing white watches but  had yet to make a purchase. I was taken aback because I had just had a baby and the thoughtfulness was overwhelming. I have used this watch well and the band is more of a gray than white now but I love it nonetheless. About two months ago the battery starting going which means that no matter how often I reset the time, it is always ten minutes slow. It has been a math exercise and I have enjoyed the tiny challenge it offers my brain each time someone asks the time. But now the plastic band is ripping and in a week or two this watch will also be gone for good.

This watch reminds me of my firstborn son fully, and in a way I feel like it is extremely telling of where I am right now.

I am nearly half way through this pregnancy and running after a toddler each day the time is passing faster than I can keep track. I feel like I have more time than I actually have. Days of just Max and myself will soon be at a close and I will be given the harrowing task of balancing two children and myself.

To be honest, it scares me wholeheartedly, but I know it's possible. I know it's possible because millions of women before me have done it. They have raised children under extreme circumstances, balancing not only two children but two children, and a job, and sometimes they even do it all alone. But that is the other thing, not only am I am extremely lucky to have a wonderful husband, but I also have the assistance of the Holy Ghost to help me each day that I struggle.

So when I buy my new watch it will remind me of the bridge created from where I am to where I will be as a mother of two. It will chart once again when I will nurse, naptimes, as well as playdates and how long someone has been watching Yo Gabba Gabba.

A small watch timeline for you to enjoy. I am missing early pictures of Kyle and I because they are on a computer that was accidentally given away (LONG story). But in essence, Kyle and I, camp, college, reuniting after his mission, and life with Max.

 Time is a funny thing, constantly moving, ticking away, even as we trick our minds into slowing it down and speeding it up. All so we can manage and cope and try to understand in what time we really stand.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

My Valentines

The other afternoon Max woke early from a nap. I lifted him up, already feeling the strain pregnancy can take on my body and carried him into our bedroom where I had been trying to rest myself. He quickly lay his head down upon my chest and I realized he still wanted more sleep. These moments are few and far between and I relish in them. I let my body relax and soaked in the precious moment. As I did I felt a faint flutter and I realized the baby was kicking, it was not the first time but the sensation still carries that special wonder and awe.

I love this child within me, who I am starting to know through listening to heartbeats at appointments and the faint flutters that will soon grow into kicks and jabs.

I love the child snuggled close to me. His breath is rhythmic and easy and I love that I can sweep his hair to the side in love and adoration. He is a constant amusement to me with his new tricks and talents. Yesterday morning as I lay in bed reading I heard him chattering away along with some musical toy. His chatters grew closer and I looked up to see him on his toy phone in my room. He looked up as if I had caught him off guard, his chatters stopped and he ran out of the room. He then resumed his chatters. Whatever that conversation was, it was important and I was clearly interrupting. He is currently eating a Ferrero Rocher in his chair next to me. His legs are on the table and he eats carefully, to make the sweet treat last as long as possible.

My last Valentine was my first real Valentine. He constantly surprises me with thoughtfulness and his awareness of what I need. He is always so giving, in the best way. He doesn't give things, he gives time and energy over and over again. He always amazes me when he plays with Max, making him giggle like no one else could. I love him. He is dependable, loyal, honest, upright, and incredibly goofy. He make me feel as if the sun is coming from all directions, illuminating everything and keeping warm.

                                                             Happy Valentine's Day.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Once again

Once again our family will be growing, this time from three to four. After writing about receiving inspiration here, I set out to learn more and study it out in my mind Heavenly Father's purpose for me as a wife, mother, and ultimately as a daughter of God. I am grateful for personal revelation and the love of my husband to let me take the time to really and truly decide for myself when we would expand our family.

I am excited but still a little scared about the changes that will take place, over the course of my pregnancy and going from chasing a toddler around to chasing a toddler while holding an infant. But ultimately I have faith and trust in Heavenly Father. He knows I am capable and therefore I know I am. 

Recently I came across this post and another which I cannot remember and I realized that I need to start praying in gratitude for the right and priviledge I have to be a mother. It has changed my perspective in a huge way of which I am extremely grateful.

We will not be finding out the gender once again, we do this for a couple of reasons but mainly this time it is for the look on people's faces when I tell them. It is usually of shock and wonder and it cracks me up every single time. It's the little things I look forward to.

Baby Prescott #2 is due end of July.