Simple. Quality. {week 42}

simplequality

I just sat down and opened up a window to type my once-weekly post.  What greeted me was a draft of last week’s post, complete with a title, image and not a single word!  Suddenly I remember sitting down to write and the teary little one who came running with a need, and how I went to meet that need and the night was gone like a line of dominoes.  Life is full and busy, and although I’ve composed at least a dozen posts in my mind this week, not one experienced that second creation, the act of actually writing it down.  As I type now, dinner waits patiently on the stove for everyone to return home, and the younger five children have begun a game of school with my five year old starring as the Principal.  Their giggles and energy remind me that the kind of full I’m living is awfully good.  A dream come true, complete with most of what I expected and everything I didn’t.

In the here and there of my days I’ve had a recurring experience this week that has been unusual.   In all my conversations with other mothers I’ve been surprised by how quickly our talk has turned to the “meat” of motherhood.   Over and over again I’ve found myself talking about the unexpected price and unexpected joys of motherhood, of what we wish we knew, about our honest questions, about our worries and hopes and fears.  I have wondered if this occurred because of the state of my own heart, or if we’re all craving it more.  It didn’t matter this week how well we knew each other or how long it’s been since we’ve talked; it mattered that we are mothers and that we’re doing the most important work in the world and in doing it, there are things to sort through and wonder about and need reminders of.  It mattered that we could encourage, lift, and remind one another.  It happened everywhere I went; at soccer games, on sidewalks, in store aisles, dark parking lots, through rolled down windows of our cars.  As I walked away from another one, my heart was full of gratitude for mothers.  And then I walked right into another one, and I realized how amazing it is to be part of this great army of women across the earth who believe in family – no matter what stage we are in or how big or small or not-yet-started our families are.  We need each other so much.

Today in Church we had our annual Primary program when the children ages 3-11 get to take the stand and through song and short spoken parts, share with the congregation the doctrines they have learned through the year.  My own part consisted largely of a wrestling match with a darling 4 year old boy determined to escape within the first five minutes, but really it went remarkably well and the children were amazing.  And the music.  Wow.  We have a brother who serves as our Primary chorister whose height belies his tender heart.  I have seen him teary-eyed many times after hearing the children sing, but today he was weeping.   The children began the meeting by singing the hymn, “I am a Child of God” and one of the older classes had learned a beautiful descant.  For the closing hymn the entire congregation stood and joined the children in singing the hymn again.  Once more, the descant could be heard even over the voices of the adults.  As we sang the fourth verse I was amazed at how many adults were standing silently, struggling to regain control of their emotions.  Some sang as they wiped their eyes and others simply let the tears run.  There was something about standing and singing that hymn after hearing small children teach truth that reminded all of us who we really are.  It was such a gift.  A gift wrought by the innocent voices of children.

Later, as we sat in the Primary room with our classes and listened to the sister who was teaching read notes from the congregation, she paused and said to the children, “It might seem like grown-ups know everything and always know what to do, but it’s not always that way.  Sometimes it’s easy for us to forget that we are children of God.  But not today.  No one could forget that today.  Because of you.”  Oh yes, it was one of those days when you are made so much better simply by being in the right place.

So tonight my heart is still wrapped up in this truth.  I’m still seeing everything through the simplified lens that comes with remembering our divine pedigree.  Tonight it all feels simple:  We are children of God.  Love as Christ loves.  Judge mercifully.  Trust in the Atonement of Christ.  Never quit working.  In spite of all the details that lie ahead in the coming week, the knowing is all that matters right now.  How I hope I can keep that knowing ahead of the chaos.

I also attended a short training session on the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People taught by Sean Covey this week.  Prior to attending I had a lot of driving to do, some of it alone.  In the quiet of just me in a 15 passenger van, I used the time to pray and by so doing found myself at the training session with an open mind and heart.  Another night of being all wrapped up in knowing, and now my task is to find a simpler path through the daily messes to the knowing, and a better way to invite my children there as well.  It’s been a week of feeling humble.  In 1 Nephi 9:6, it reads, “But the Lord knoweth all things from the beginning; wherefore, he prepareth a way to accomplish all his works among the children of men; for behold, he hath all power unto the fulfilling of all his words.”  A beautiful young mother I know started chemotherapy this week, terrified and trying to be full of faith.   Another mother I know has the task of feeding her family with next to nothing this week.  Another is trying to hold life together while her husband is working in a distant state – the only employment he can find.  Hard things are everywhere and we cannot escape them, but we must also believe that God really is at work, that he is, indeed, prepared with “a way to accomplish ALL his works among the children of men” and that he is hard at work doing it.  I felt him at work when I sat at a Real Salt Lake soccer game on Wednesday night and found myself seated next to someone I haven’t seen in 17 1/2  years.  We were mission companions during my last two months as a missionary, and when I went home to Colorado she was headed back to Temple Square and from there, to Korea.  We haven’t kept in touch and never expected to see each other again, but when she turned to look me in the face and said, “Are you…?” I knew her voice right away.   Amazing.  She and her husband came to the U.S. with their children a few years ago and moved to Utah three months ago.  And there we were, side by side at a soccer game.  Believing that the Lord has it all under control on a large scale is not difficult for me, but in the laboratory that is our home I forget this sometimes.  I realize that I must exercise more faith in the Lord’s ability to “accomplish all his works” among my children as well.    I must believe he is as much at work here as anywhere.

Now, at last, I’ve found my way to “Simple. Quality.”  This will be brief.   Simple:  I find it so much easier to smile and love my children when I am full of faith, full of love, full of remembering.  Having my oldest son start a new job two weeks ago and get his drivers license this week has brought new meaning to letting go and savoring motherhood.  All the conversations I had with fantastic mothers influenced me for good and, I hope, allowed me to do the same for them.  I loved it.  I had some small opportunities for service and I’m glad I acted.  I got a haircut this week  (and had another deep conversation) and cut a few inches off my long hair for a bit of a change.  I’m enjoying it.  My habit of exercise is on the blink right now for lots of reasons and one of this week’s main goals is to figure that out.  I’m trying to participate more in my friendships.  Last weekend I took a friend to breakfast; my husband and I enjoyed a double date with some dear friends; I went to the Utah County Modern Quilt group with my sister and realized I enjoy the meetings as much because I like the women there as I do because I love my hobby.  I have a few things figured out for the holidays and am hoping really enjoy the season instead of feeling frazzled.  And I was much too busy with face-to-face time to do anything special with technology except drool over gorgeous pictures on Instagram from the International Quilt Market.  Oh, and with ridiculous but stubborn determination I managed to quilt a quilt on Friday night.  My shoulders still hurt (why don’t I take breaks?!?).

Quality:  Our quality of life has been called into question by the mice that inhabit our garage and the battle I’m waging with them.  I found myself cheering for a neighborhood cat I’m not fond of as it chased a mouse around the street the other day, and was disappointed when all the cat wanted was a game and it let the mouse go.  Seriously, though, I hate mice (who doesn’t?) and am anxious to be rid of them.   We had some victories this week with making important things urgent even while we dealt with the very urgent priority of getting all the kids caught up academically before the term ended on Friday.  Seven of them had the stomach flu the week before so we had a LOT of make up work to take care of.  Mixed in were science experiments, reports and another rock collection due, but I think we got it all taken care of and that was a relief.  I’m trying to remember that laughter is about the only way to unwind my teenagers when they’re stressed out and had a few successes there.  I tried to inject the Spirit but need to be more intentional about it.  I spent a few hours sorting things in the basement as I work toward my vision in that area.  And we tried to have a bit of fun.  The children loved our drive to Kaysville for a last soccer game on Monday night.  The RSL game on Wednesday was awesome.  The teenagers were busy with activities of their choice and last night we enjoyed dinner out together (a rare treat here).  My husband has tickled everyone to their heart’s content this weekend and I think we might be ready to face the coming week.

Except that in all of this we haven’t discussed Halloween.  I’ve got 3 days to figure that out.  Unless there’s a Halloween party sooner that I don’t know about yet.
Which is one of the reasons why I’m going to bed early tonight.  The other is a headache.

Life is good.  I am learning to be happy on purpose.  I am so very blessed.
Have a great week!

Jennifer

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