Wow, how the time has flown

I had taken a year’s sabbatical, following the impression that I’d received last summer that “now” was the time for family. In faith, I quit all extra activities. Three weeks after that impression, my mother passed away suddenly during surgery. She’d gone in to the hospital to have a tumor removed from her intestine…and bled out during surgery. Total shock.

Moral of the story? Always listen to the impressions that lead you to do good things.

Since that time, I have spent family time, family time, family time. Or at least tried to. And how glad I am. My oldest son just went into the Missionary Training Center yesterday. Talk about a day of mixed emotions! And yet, I have never in my life seen my son so happy.

I was looking at the pictures last night that I took immediately before he walked through the doors of the MTC, where he will be for 9 weeks learning the Slovak language and getting ready to fly to the Czech Prague mission. I will be posting more about his experiences (and ours here in the states) during the next two years (25 months, to be precise).

But in the interim, I’m glad to be back blogging. And these past months have shaped and will continue to shape the usage of the months ahead of me…for the rest of my life.

What e’er you do, do well your part. Isn’t that Shakespeare? And it rests heavily on my mind as I look back to the months since my mother’s passing–up till yesterday, where my son passed on to his new mission experience (and where I won’t see him for 2 years). There is no time like the present to love and hug those that matter most to you.

Musings: Amazing Mothers

I had been feeling discouraged for the youth of the world. As I look at what they encounter on a daily basis, I wondered how they could cope and lift themselves above the media influences around them.

I suddenly feel much better.

First, I must say that two experiences in less than 24 hours does not a world make. But it was enough that I feel encouraged.

I met two mothers just yesterday alone who are quietly toiling alongside their children, raising them in gentle patience and love, who for right now are seriously content in that experience.

When I asked the first what hobbies she had, she laughed and said essentially right now her hobby was raising her sons. Oh, and cleaning her home. Her eyes were rested and the peace palpable.

Later in talking with a different mother–and when I asked her what her hobbies were–I was stunned to hear the same thing. This second young mother looked me straight in the eye and said, “Right now I’m raising my children.”

These are articulate ladies. These are women with immense talents and quality. And these are women who have grasped the ethereal, eternal nature of women of God. These are women who are not second-guessing their role as the “raisers of the future.”

Children who are raised in love, with steady boundaries, and by parents who (although not perfect) strive to listen to their cares with honest hearts, are children who are steadied enough to walk through this life with balance.

Do some children go off the deep end, creating ruckuses in spite of excellent parenting? Of course. But studies have shown, and I presume will continue to show, the impact of parenting style on children. Resent parenting and I presume children sense it. Savor parenting and I presume children sense it.

For example, a recent study came out indicating families that do outdoor-fun, recreational events/activities with their teens (at least weekly) help teens resist drugs and alcohol, simply by spending time with them. Another study has shown that families who eat dinner together nightly help children avoid binge drinking.

I had been worrying: “Are mothers getting their importance? Do fathers understand how important they are to their children?”, I now feel encouraged. I have seen fathers “getting it” and now I’ve encountered two mothers just in the past 24 hours who get it, and in fact celebrate the time they have with their young children. Without regret. Without resentment. And in fact, with a whole lot of love.

These ladies toil in our society quietly and peacefully in their God-given glorious role as today’s shapers of tomorrow’s leaders. Why would anyone criticize the power of motherhood? And now that I’ve met these two amazing young mothers, in short sequence of one day, I am encouraged that there are many more.

Top 10 Reasons to Read

The next time someone accuses you of being lazy because you’re sitting in the sun reading (or on your porch or any other relaxing location), show them this terrific list. Erin Klingler wrote it, author of the new suspense novel Between the Lines. Loved the list. No more guilt for me for reading! :0)

And while you’re at it, you might start with her book, Between the Lines, as your first no-guilt read. It’s really a fun one!

A Slap in the Face

I received a slap in the face today. From a quote. Not a real slap. But I think that sometimes it is these kinds of “wake up” slaps that do us more good than anything else in this life. I’ve always wanted to be open to learning better ways of doing things. Better that than sitting defensively in some corner with fingers in ears!

Here’s the quote:

“That individual who has an opportunity to educate his children and does not, is not worthy to have children” – Brigham Young, as quote by David O. McKay in Pathways to Happiness, p. 181.

For me, this isn’t just turning my children over to some school system and calling it done…for powerful learning is far more than that. Proper education is a full gambit of learning…not just the three Rs of Reading, wRiting and aRithmetic. Children need so much to strengthen them for life in today’s quixotic world.

I was reminded today with this quote just how much that is true. For me, Brigham Young’s quote resonated with an urgency I’ve felt recently to give my full attention to the children God gave me.

Time with them is so fleeting.

Back after a hiatus!

Sometimes life requires the reprioritization (is that a word) of things. Or activities. Or focus. Whatever. That is pretty much what the past few months have been. A big upside basket full of all kinds of goodies needing reorganizing.

But I’m back. And I’m excited. Because now I can begin again doing one of the things I love most…sharing excellent books and writers that have moved me or changed my life somehow.

Hope your life has been good and that 2010 will be an excellent year for us all. Our prayers still go out, though, to those in Haiti who are facing amazing possibilities, yet such despair and devastation. They cannot bail out of this if we forget them. Here is a link where you can donate.


I’ve been studying “faith” this morning in the Bible. I find the following passage interesting from Matthew 17. Traditionally, I think that it is read one way, but today it occurred to me perhaps it refers to something else:

14 ¶ And when they were come to the multitude, there came to him a certain man, kneeling down to him, and saying,

15 Lord, have mercy on my son: for he is lunatick, and sore vexed: for ofttimes he afalleth into the fire, and oft into the water.

16 And I brought him to thy disciples, and they could not cure him.

17 Then Jesus answered and said, O afaithless and bperverse generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him hither to me.

18 And Jesus rebuked the devil; and he departed out of him: and the child was cured from that very hour.

19 Then came the disciples to Jesus apart, and said, Why could not we cast him out?

20 And Jesus said unto them, Because of your aunbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have bfaith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this cmountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be dimpossible unto you.

21 Howbeit this akind goeth not out but by prayer and bfasting.

I have often heard reference that verse 21 signifies that certain miracles won’t happen unless you pray and fast (which are true and essential acts).

But today it struck me that perhaps Jesus could have been referencing this statement, “O faithless and perverse generation…” when He said: “Howbeit this kind goeth not out by by prayer and fasting.” Perhaps the Savior was meaning that an unbelieving heart is the thing that requires fasting (and prayer) to change sufficiently, which then always leads to miracles.

He himself said that the most minute particles of faith, such as the size of a mustard seed, could cause a mountain to move. So perhaps it is not that deep fasting and prayer force fruition of miracles. That would seem almost contradictory (Christ Himself said that miracles only require a particle of faith to occur). Perhaps the Savior simply was saying that it is perverse unbelief that requires prayer and fasting to be removed.

Just a thought that struck me today.

The Rain Taps

I’m listening to the rain tap on my window right now, feeling the dreariness of the evening. And yet there is something quite refreshing in that liquid rolling down the glass pane.

I like watching the water droplets converge and separate as they trickle down (it’s not a hard rain this evening). Sometimes they are impeded by an invisible something on the glass, too small for me to see but made obviously present by their hesitation.

Eventually the weight of gravity pulls them through or around and past. Much like life. I think of people whose lives have joined with mine, only to be separated by the passage of time. Sometimes conflict has stymied our movement, but eventually the weight and purpose of life pulls us through or around.

Somehow this is encouraging to me tonight, on a night when the rain taps at my window pane.

Paint splotches and other lovely matters…

I have taught many students privately and something I share often with them is the importance of paint splotches.

For example, I have a dear friend with an amazing multi-million dollar home. It is exquisite. In the back of the home is a sunroom that he turned into a painting salon. For you see, he is a gifted artist. Elsewhere in his home is spotless, but in this room — the room where creativity reigns — paint splotches cover the floor. And for all the stunning beauty of the rest of his home, my wise friend doesn’t mind these “blotches.”

Why? Because he knows that to create a masterpiece, things at times get messy. After all, when you’re moving a paintbrush back and forth from the palette to the canvas, a little paint periodically falls to the ground below. Artists don’t mind. If anything, it is proof they’re working.

What about the rest of us? The pianist who plays a wrong note during a scale run? A ballerina that trips while en pointe? A sculptor who creases the wrong side of the clay accidentally? Do we get so hung up in our strides towards perfection that we forget this one important lesson? That true art cannot be created without “paint splotches” along the way.

So if you’re a writer, simply focus on getting those words on the page. Don’t worry when at first draft, they’re not the exquisite expressions you dreamed of. If you’re a composer, what’s a few wrong chords along the pathway towards beautiful music that moves the soul? You know that as you continue your efforts, your piece eventually will arrive at the momentum and power you desire.

“Paint splotches” mean nothing more than you are an artist at work. And to be at work is a very good thing, when it comes to creating masterpieces that bless the lives of others.

Valentine’s Day is more than paper cards

My husband and I just passed through our 20th Valentine’s together. It was a very busy day. By the end of it, we looked at each other in exhaustion. He smiled at me and said quietly, “That wasn’t a very romantic day, was it.” I smiled back. With a husband like him–who has loved me through the years like he has–who needs paper cards.