Saturday, August 31, 2013

The Weird summer my husband was home

The first summer I became a mom, my Benny worked til 2 in the morning.
I haven't celebrated our beginning of May wedding anniversary on our anniversary, since the first one.
Two summers ago he was gone...hmmm...May...and September... and half the days of the months in between.

Now, I'm not complaining.
In fact, I'm pretty darn proud of myself for figuring out what could of been (and was really) a pretty tough thing.

And then somewhat  in response to my hinting"if things don't change your gonna hafta find a new job!" (subtle huh) Ben took a pay cut and they hired a co-regional to work beside him.
He couldn't have picked a better guy (even more of a workaholic than MY husband--shocking right?!!)
And things really have eased up. That and a few changes about the way travel gets reimbursed and suddenly I find myself with a husband sleeping beside me in our un-air-conditioned therefore sweltering bedroom.  And...

It's weird.

Please don't interpret this as me not loving my husband. Because I do.

But I got good at my single-parent-summers. We had a groove and I feel like all summer I've been just a little thrown off.

It's what I wanted. It's the change our family needed. The boys have adored having more Daddy time.

But I just haven't quite figured it out. And I know at the twilight of summer when I'm finally putting my finger on it a bit (just in time to forget before next summer!)

The reality it when Ben was away, it didn't matter if the house was a disaster, or if the laundry was behind (we were just putting our swimsuits back on and heading out again anyway). It didn't matter that we rarely even thought of dinner and ate out of the cooler lakeside or ransacked it for leftovers while we watched Blue's Clue's smelling of sun screen and mud.

Now, before you conjure up in your minds my husband as some sort of "dinner on the table women!" tyrant, he's about the farthest thing from it. I marvel at the man's ability to honest-to-goodness have very little "expectations on life" at all let alone his wife (who has enough expectations to make up for his lack!) He could care less.

But I care. I work hard to show him love with the little things-- like keeping his laundry caught up just like he shows me love working to support us.

But I can't seem to do both. (I expect I should...but my expectations are usually unrealistic).

I know it looks like just "play" but every mamma knows just how much WORK it takes to give your kids a good time. The continual packing and lugging of bug-spray, sunscreen, towels, snacks, water-bottles, floaties,  more snacks and just a few more snacks. It's exhausting. But it's so worth it.
I have my photos as proof that my children did indeed have a good childhood, so don't you forget it!

Maybe next summer I'll have it worked out a bit more.

I think Amy hit it on the head in one her facebook statuses a while back. She basically said every time she decides it's time to buckle down and get some house stuff take care of, instagram is a blaze with families out making beautiful summer memories, but then the next time she intentionally leaves the house stuff and takes off with her kiddos, facebook is full of ladies who organized every closet in their house!

Found this talk  pretty comforting:

“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven” (Eccl. 3:1). 

We may sometimes wonder how we can possibly accomplish all we want to in life when so many voices seek our time. The voices come from people we love and respect; the activities they encourage are commendable and important. But that’s the problem: How can we possibly do everything?

The key is realizing that each situation has to be prayerfully considered—that what may be right in one situation may not be applicable in another. In seeking priorities, we should determine which option is the most important in specific instances...

In response to the question “How can we possibly accomplish all we want to in life when so many voices seek our time?” we must set our priorities as we counsel with the Lord in prayer so that the many demands are phased into our lives according to the proper time and season. Then we can be pleased with what we are able to do as we happily seek to do it, rather than always being frustrated about what we are unable to accomplish. We can seek to find balance in our lives by being “anxiously engaged in a good cause” (D&C 58:27) and thereby overcoming many depressing moments. Whether our lives become a harmonious hymn or noisy turmoil depends on how we conduct the timing and intensity of the voices seeking our time. Applying these general principles to our specific circumstances will help us attain what the prophet Joseph Smith said is “the object and design of our existence”—happiness (see Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 255).

I like it. Maybe I'll figure it summer ;)

Monday, August 12, 2013

Primary songs: I just love em!

For the last couple weeks, after we lost our AMAZING music chorister 
I've been filling in and doing the music in primary.

I love the primary songs. 

They are so powerful. 
So pure and simple. 
Eternal doctrines are set forth, carried into the hearts of our little ones by the beautiful melodies, nestled in their minds, ready to be recalled by the Spirit in time of need, 
or strength or comfort. 

Primary songs have been and integral part of my own conversion and I am continually grateful for their influence on my life and that of my family. (For those less familiar with these beautiful songs, I've provided links with lyrics as well as the option to listen to children's voices singing them)

I remember walking to my first day of university, so nervous, feeling so insignificant in what was the largest crowd I'd ever been a part of. I remember envisioning the Lord's hand in my and singing in my mind "Heavenly Father are you really there?" And knowing He was, knowing He knew me personally even if my professors would not.

I remember, as an EFY councillor singing the words "We will be the Lord's missionaries"and knowing that very moment that I should serve a mission, a decision I'm grateful for everyday.

I remember driving to the temple on my wedding day, singing "Teach me to walk in the light of His love" and "I will follow God's plan for me" knowing the I was on His path and feeling His love as I took this step towards the plan He had for me.

The primary songs served as my repertoire of lullabies and I have rocked my babies to sleep humming "Jesus once was a little child" and reassuring their little spirits, so fresh from heaven's realms, that they were still "a Child of God", that He had sent them here dn given them this home, and that I was determined to be the kind of parent the Lord intended them to have.

I remember one particularly challenging night. I had already been up for hours with Aaron, when baby Levi awoke, needing more from his already depleted mother. I was exhausted, from more than one night of this routine, and when I get over-tired, my brain goes into overdrive and I'd started contemplated all of my perceived struggles now and in the future. I was slowly giving way to thoughts and feelings that told me, I just couldn't do this, that it was just too hard. Just as I started to get completely overwhelmed, I started singing "He sent His Son" I thought, to help settle my fussy baby. Instead I was the one calmed, and soothed by the simple lyrics, testifying of the Saviour and all He has done for us. When I sang the closing line, "What does the Father ask of us? What do the scriptures say?
Have faith, have hope, live like his Son, 
help others on their way." It was so clear. This was what the Lord required of me, all He required, and He would  help me.

Now I lay with my "big boy" Levi and we sing together every night, 
"Lead me, guide me, Walk beside me."

I smile when I hear McKye beating his drum in the playroom drums to a rather rocking version of  "We have been taught and we understand, that we must do as the Lord commands!" 

I feel so good about Ben wanting both of us to lay with Aaron each night and let him pick songs from the singalong App, for us to sing to him while we cuddle and he watches the little ball bounce on the words, he may not sing, but he still can feel.

And I chuckle every time I'm trying to get my rambunctious  boys to be obedient by singing "I will go! I will do!" complete with muscles poses to represent spiritual strength (and appeal to their testosterone ;) 

I'm pretty sure there is nothing that brings me as much joy or hope as hearing my children singing primary songs.

Yesterday in Senior Primary, I asked the children to tell me which songs really helped them feel the Spirit. As we sang each of them and talked about how thy made us feel and what truths each taught,  we enjoyed a sweet but powerful Spirit.

Love was Spoken Here was one a few children mentioned. 

1. (Girls) I see my mother kneeling with our family each day. 
I hear the words she whispers as she bows her head to pray. 
Her plea to the Father quiets all my fears, 
And I am thankful love is spoken here. 
2. (Boys) Mine is a home where ev'ry hour is blessed by 
The strength of priesthood pow'r, 
With father and mother leading the way, 
Teaching me how to trust and obey; 
And the things they teach are crystal clear, 
For love is spoken here. 
[3rd ending] I can often feel the Savior near 

When love is spoken here.

This morning on my walk, I listened to the mormon-tabernacle choir sing this beautiful song.  And was inspired all over again.

I was impressed with how it's musical arrangement into parts is very much like the roles of mother and father. Distinct, each with a different melody and feel, 
 but together, that much more powerful as the harmonies combine and highlight one another.

I want my children to "see their mother kneeling" to have their fears quieted by my faithful whispers to my Lord I love. 

I want our home to be blessed every hour by the Lord's power.  I want to lead with Ben in united, loving ways that make our commitment to the Lord evident, even "crystal clear" so there can be no doubt that we trust and love the Lord and that they can too.

I want to feel the Saviour near-- often.
And singing beautiful primary songs sure helps.