Simplicity Not Complexity

I was just taught a lesson by my 11 yo son. 

I've started interviews with my kids each Sunday.  They've been so excited about it, actually.  In preparation for my interview with JW, I had him read a some parts in A Thomas Jefferson Education.  When I asked him what he learned, he said, "I don't know, but I can tell you one part I liked."  :-)

He said, "You know the part about Simple, not Complex?  Well, in Ranger's Apprentice Halt (one of the main characters) is always saying how you need to have a simple plan because if it's too complex and something goes wrong it's really hard to fix.  But if it's simple then you can fix the problem quicker." 

I've been thinking a lot about my  boy and how he seems to have lost something this past year in public school.  But, this conversation showed me of two things about myself:  1)I'm watching him too closely and 2) I am the queen of complexity!

Watching him too closely:  sometimes as parents we (I) tend to watch our children while holding our breath.  I tend to watch their choices of today and assume that their tomorrow is based on that one day.  Yes, we do need to keep a check on them, but a daily check is a bit too much.  This reminds me of a quote from Elder Maxwell:

 Patience is a willingness, in a sense, to watch the unfolding purposes of God with a sense of wonder and awe, rather than pacing up and down within the cell of our circumstance. Put another way, too much anxious opening of the oven door and the cake falls instead of rising. So it is with us. If we are always selfishly taking our temperature to see if we are happy, we will not be. 

There's that word patience again.  :-)  I know I need to trust the process both in parenting and in education and not over-obsess about day to day. If we are constantly checking to see if our kids are "going to turn out right," they just might not!  (I'll be writing more about control sometime soon here).

As for the complexity issue....  This year has been so great for me in learning to be simple in my educational plans for the kids.  Pregnancy and a new baby have necessitated simplicity.  And I think it really was our best year yet!  Now that JW is going to be home again and my baby is born, I find myself wanting to create yet another complex schedule or curriculum plan.  STOP!  I need to take this lesson from JW and remember to keep it simple! Putting too much in the plan only increases my level of stress and feeling of a need to control (them and time).  

So, thank you JW for that great lesson! 
I will try to remember & apply!



The best parenting book I've read in ages!!!
And I did it!  I took the Free Range Challenge and sent JW & B (ages 11 & 10) to Fred Meyer (about a 10 minute walk) all by themselves to buy a little kiddie pool for E.  I was feeding the baby and needed to mop the floor and I didn't want to load little D in the car just to get a kiddie pool.  So, I gave my kids some $$ and sent them on their way.  I called my husband as reassurance that I was okay doing so . . . my motherhood worry butterflies stirring in my tummy.

Well, they did it!  Kind of.  :-)  I expected them to be gone no more than an hour.  They came home in 1/2 an hour.  "That was fast!" I exclaimed.  They said, "Yeah, the ______  gave us a ride home."  What?!

Just as the author said, people are not okay with kids being out alone!

Apparently the kids ran into a couple from our church and they asked, "Where's your mom?"
"At home."
"Oh, you came with your dad?"  (hahah!)
"No, we walked here ourselves."
"You're going to carry that thing all the way home by yourselves?"

And thus . . . they got a ride home!

I just laughed!  I was perfectly okay with my kids "carrying that thing" all the way home!  But apparently, it's just too much to ask of a couple of "tweens."

Anyway, it was a fabulous experience!  I'm feeling so FREE RANGE!  :-)


2 Birthdays & Baby Pics

It's been three weeks!!

I'm cuddling with this baby so much more than I did with the others.  I think it's because I realize just how quickly they become big kids! 

The worst is over with my illness, though there are still some unanswered questions. 

I can say, this child has been a blessing.  He is such a calm, mild-mannered, content little boy.  Hopefully he won't grow out of that or get spoiled into thinking he needs to held all the time (with so many hands around to hold him!).  

I love this picture!!!
Isn't he so Handsome!

And amidst all of this baby-ness we celebrated two other birthdays!
Brooklynn turns 10!
Ethan turns 4!


Becoming Through Trials & Patience

For the past few years, there has been a lot said and spoken on the principle of becoming.  Elder Dallin H. Oaks explained: “The Final Judgment is not just an evaluation of a sum total of good and evil acts—what we have done. It is an acknowledgment of the final effect of our acts and thoughts—what we have become."

After reading Spiritual Lightening by M. Catherine Thomas, I have been asking myself more frequently, "What does Heavenly Father want me to become?"  I am a "to do list" person.  I am a planner.  I thrive on managing my time;  it's like putting puzzle pieces together.  I also like to set goals and measure my progress based on those goals.  Doing is much easier to measure than becoming.  :-)

Elder Paul V. Johnson recently taught,  "Sometimes we want to have growth without challenges and to develop strength without any struggle. But growth cannot come by taking the easy way....Our personal journey through life will provide just the right amount for our needs. Many trials are just a natural part of our mortal existence, but they play such an important role in our progress."

And so, I ask myself now, "What does the Lord want me to learn from this most recent challenge in my life?  Who does he want me to become?" 
In a recent blessing from my husband, I was told that I will heal, but it would require patience.

President Uchtdorf describes patience thus:

Patience—the ability to put our desires on hold for a time

Patience means active waiting and enduring. It means staying with something and doing all that we can—working, hoping, and exercising faith; bearing hardship with fortitude, even when the desires of our hearts are delayed. 

Patience is not simply enduring; it is enduring well!

Patience means accepting that which cannot be changed and facing it with courage, grace, and faith. It means being “willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon [us], even as a child doth submit to his father.”

Patience means to abide in faith, knowing that sometimes it is in the waiting rather than in the receiving that we grow the most. 

I didn't think I had a patience weakness.  When faced with challenges, for the most part, I tend to take them in stride, doing what I can in the moment (and then freaking out later when I realize what could have happened).  As my health has been in question these past couple of weeks, I've had moments of frustration, emotional outbursts, and pure exhaustion.  And yet, it's not so much the waiting that has gotten me down, but rather the unknown, the lack of control of my time that frustrates me the most . .  . which requires a different kind of patience, maybe it's a different kind of waiting.
I guess this is a lesson on patience after all. In his last conference address, Elder Todd D. Christofferson spoke of chastening:  "Divine chastening has at least three purposes: (1) to persuade us to repent, (2) to refine and sanctify us, and (3) at times to redirect our course in life to what God knows is a better path."

I think most of us hear the word "chasten" and immediately jump to purpose #1 - the need to repent!  This talk made it so overwhelmingly clear to me  that the Lord is involved in the details of our lives.  The Lord's chastening is one way we learn who the Lord wants us to become.  I think my current situation is one in which the Lord is helping me to refine and sanctify myself by learning to be patient.  Patient with myself.  Patient with my children.  Patient with the doctors.  Patient with the Lord's timing in all of this.

When I first came home from the hospital, I instantly wanted to be in control again.  I started dishing out the nagging commands only a mother can give.  I started to worry about my children not learning anything and "wasting their time" rather than doing something productive.  I saw the things that weren't getting done and felt bad that I couldn't take care of it. 
Elder Maxwell describes patience this way: "Patient--not hectic, hurried, pushy."  For me that interprets:  don't be so controlling!   

Elder Paul V. Johnson puts it this way:  "...these trials are not just to test us. They are vitally important to the process of putting on the divine nature."

Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;
And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;
And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. 
Elder Orson F. Whitney said: “No pain that we suffer, no trial that we experience is wasted. … All that we suffer and all that we endure, especially when we endure it patiently, builds up our characters, purifies our hearts, expands our souls, and makes us more tender and charitable. … It is through sorrow and suffering, toil and tribulation, that we gain the education that we come here to acquire.”   

And so, the Lord is truly chastening me.  Maybe He is not calling me to repentance, per say, but He is giving me an opportunity to more fully allign my will with His, to become refined, to put on the divine nature.  Hopefully,   I will use the next week or two of recovery evaluating who I want to be  when all of this is over.  One doctor explained, “People ask me, ‘Will I be the same after this is over?’ I tell them, ‘No, you won’t be the same. You will be so much stronger. You will be awesome!’”


The Lessons We Get to Learn

My husband just reminded my kids that there is no holiday from learning.
Every day we learn something . . .
 whether you ask for it or not!  

He was born Saturday, May 28th @ 4am
7 lbs. 13 oz. 
Cute as can be!
 With this birth, however, there came some complications and some lessons to be learned. This post may have some continuing information as the week goes on.  I have wanted to write down all of the many things I've learned and the tender mercies of the Lord (aka little miracles) which have occurred, but finding the time has been a little bit difficult. 

 Things I've Learned

1.  Be Careful What You Say!  :-)  This whole pregnancy had been one of my easiest.  I had a few bad days here and there, morning sickness was the worst of all of them, but after that I didn't have many complaints.  I kept telling my husband that something was bound to go wrong.  I didn't mean I wanted them to go wrong.  :-)

2. Of all the nurses I have dealt with (and I've seen a lot this week!), my favorites are the NICU nurses (sorry Tara & Becky!).  I just love them! 

3.  Say YES when the nurses ask if you want a hospital robe.  After a couple of days without it, I wish I'd have had it the whole time!  Just that one white robe made me feel much more luxurious.  :-)

4.  You should definitely get a pedicure right before having a baby!  That's the best thing I've done in all my pregnancies.  Again, I feel much more glamorous (and you know how attractive you feel right after having a baby!).

5. Patience.  But more than patience.  Being able to accept the unknown & going day by day hand in hand with prayer.  Not everything can be planned.  Sometimes you need to put timing in the hands of others . . . and most especially in the Lord's.

6.  Even if you're feeling good, there will still be dark moments.  It's okay to just cry.  Or get mad.  Or sleep it off.  And, even if you're feeling good, it's okay to let others take care of you.   

7. I have the CUTEST kids in the world (don't even try to argue that one with me).

Our Tender Mercies

1. The doctor on call happened to be the one I had seen for 90% of the pregnancy.  Only the Lord would know I needed that to be the case.

2. Simply because his wife is emotional, my darling husband showed up to lend moral support for his wife.  Little did we know that not even 30 minutes later I would need him for much more than that. 

3.  This little laptop.  J. got me a little laptop recently and has been trying to get it to work for weeks.  Just last week I could finally start using it.  Without this little electronic contraption, my stay in the hospital would be unbearable.

4. Our baby D, of course!  His temperament could not be more perfect during  a time like this.  We'll see if things change when we get home, but for now, I am eternally grateful for his contentment.

5. A room with a View! On this night, hopefully my final night as a patient, I get to feel luxurious once again as I look out my window to see the beautiful sky,  mountains and treetops (no more hospital roof views).  It's gorgeous!  Oh, and I get to order free movies on television!

You know, this experience has been trying at times.  Many things have gone wrong.  It is just nice to have the assurance the the Lord is in the details of our lives, watching out for us day to day, and allowing us to get the lessons we need in this life to become who He needs us to be.  I hope as the next few weeks go on that I can continue to look for the small miracles and the life lessons to be learned from all that has and will continue to happen.
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