Friday, November 28, 2008

Praying Works

Wednesday was a hard day. My cold had gone from bad to worse, Anna was sick, and Jeffrey had been up in the night throwing up. I had to make four pies for Thanksgiving the next day, do laundry, pack for our trip to Chico, and provide meals for 9 children, including three cousins who were with us on a visit-swap. Oh, and Rich was frantically trying to get enough on-line education hours for his CPA renewal deadline at the end of the week. Yah, it was one of those days! I started it with a prayer. Please help me to accomplish all this and to be nice. I said the second prayer when Anna cried outside the shower door for my entire shower and then cried at my feet while I tried to get dressed. I can't do this! How am I supposed to do this? This is too hard. Please help me. The answer came gently to be patient with Anna's demands and trust that everything would work out. A while later, when Jeffrey came to me for something, I noticed his sunken eyes and strangely swollen mouth. I recognized at least some of the signs of dehydration, which affects him more quickly than other children because of his chronic kidney problems. That is when I said the third prayer. What do I do? I am scared and I'm not sure what is wrong. We don't have insurance. Do I take him to the doctor? Please help me. Rich and I decided to give extra fluids and watch him since he seemed full of energy and happy. Anna took a nap, so I got the pies made, in between sneezes. Then I took a nap. Dinner was already in the crockpot and Jeffrey seemed to be doing better.

When I awoke, I took one look at Jeffrey and called Rich. His face was terribly swollen so that one eye was swollen about half-way shut. His lips were so big it was hard for him to close his mouth. We were terrified. Rich called the doctor, and I said the fourth prayer. Please bless my little boy. Please help me to know what to do. Please allow the Priesthood to bless him because of our faith. Please help me not to be scared. Please help me to take care of the other children. Please help me. I had been reading that day about Lazarus being raised from the dead . The thought came that the Lord blessed others because of the their faith in Him. I just had to trust that. A friend came to help administer the blessing with Rich since the home teacher was out of town. The blessing promised quick alleviation of symptoms and healing of organs. The doctor called to say we could watch him at home as long as he was still urinating and not lethargic.

At 8:45 at night, I leaned up against the counter as I finished the last pie-making and dinner dish. Jeffrey's face was already less swollen. Once again, we evaded a possible medical emergency while without insurance. Everyone had dinner and baths. We were mostly packed. The pies were done. Anna seemed more cheerful, and my cold already seemed to be improving. Rich had finished the last of his CPA courses, and the house was mostly picked-up. Wow. Praying works. Even on really hard days (maybe especially on really hard days because I go more quickly to me knees), praying works. When things seem impossible or out-of-control or scary, praying works. I am so grateful for a Father in Heaven who listens to and answers our prayers. I am grateful for a place to turn to get through the hard days. Praying works.

P.S. As I was making Thanksgiving pies, my cold had gotten so bad that I could not smell or taste. I was feeling pretty sorry for myself that I was making pies I would not be able to taste. Usually, when I lose my sense of taste, it is gone for several days. Miraculously, by that night, I could slightly taste our dinner. By the next morning, I could mostly taste breakfast. By Thanksgiving dinner, I could taste everything. Rich told me later that he had said a prayer, asking for a tender mercy for me to be able to taste. Even in the little things, praying works.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Mom tantrums

I threw a tantrum this morning. I was sick, the baby was sick, and the house was a mess. No one had really done their pick-up chores the night before, and things were looking pretty dismal. So I threw a tantrum. I yelled at everyone, telling them that no one could do anything else until they got their neglected chores done. I stormed around the house, muttering about how no one cares about our house but me. I even slammed a door. I was feeling completely angry and sorry for myself. Finally, because I was feeling so miserable and since I hadn't read my scriptures yet, I hid out with them behind a shut and locked bathroom door.

As I sat there reading, praying for some heavenly guidance, a couple of scriptures jumped out at me. Ether 12:4 Whoso believeth in God might with surety hope for a better world. I was certainly hoping for a better world! I was hoping for a world where family members did their chores without being asked and Mom didn't have to work so hard!

Then I read D&C 25:10 And verily I say unto thee that thou shalt lay aside the things of this world, and seek for the things of a better. As I read, I began to calm down and realize that I was probably seeking for the things of the world by wanting my family to march at all times according to my instructions. Maybe wanting a clean house all the time was a thing of a better world and that I would just need to be patient (until I didn't have so many messy kids around!)

It was then, as I calmed down, that the Spirit came in and taught me the real lesson. Maybe the thing of a better world really is to be patient. Maybe my reaction, my overblown tantrum of impatience was the thing of this world that I needed to set aside. Maybe this is really all about learning to lay aside tantrums and pride and anger. Maybe Heavenly Father doesn't care how clean my house is but instead how I handle it when people and things don't go my way. Maybe what I am supposed to be seeking, rather than a perfect home and perfectly obedient children is, instead, patience and kindness and gentleness and meekness. Maybe this world with all its frustrations and imperfections (and messy kids) is a perfect setting for me to seek these Christlike characteristics. Ah, to find purpose in the struggle. So I'm not just a lousy mom with lousy, inconsiderate kids. I am just a work in progress!! One more chance to learn to be like the Savior.

I love the moment when the Spirit teaches me that, once again, Christ is the example I can look to for my behavior. I love the scriptures. I love that we can make mistakes and start over. And I love that, for the most part, the children have experienced enough tantrums that they don't get too upset but know that Mom is just blowing off steam.

I'm sorry! I'll do better! Us too! Let's get this place picked up and go on with the day.

Sunday, November 16, 2008


I am not one of those mothers who just handles things. At least every week or so, life becomes more than I can bear and I have a pity party, saying things like "I can't do this! This is too hard! I am not cut out for this kind of life. What was I thinking to have so many children!? Help!" After many years of directing these rants to my husband, my sister or a close friend, I eventually learned that the real source of lasting peace and help comes for turning to my Father in Heaven, who knows exactly what I need to hear to keep going. Since these melt-downs happen frequently, I find myself going to Him regularly for peace, comfort, and encouragement. Elder Neal A. Maxwell called this life the "muddle in the mortal middle." I believe that we receive inspiration to live according to grand ideas and principles, but then the reality of daily life comes along, or the muddle in the mortal middle, making us wonder how we can possibly finish what we have started. At these times, when we turn to the source of our original inspiration, He who knows all things can comfort our hearts and give us encouragement to keep going in ways that no mortal, no matter how dear, can do. This blog is an attempt to record the weekly and often daily guidance from heaven that comes as a result of my muddling in mortality. My first purpose is to record these things for my children and their children. However, if these ideas are also helpful to you, than we all will have benefited! Let's muddle together!