Thursday, October 12, 2017

On to the Next Adventure

Shortly after we moved to this home a few months ago,
it became apparent that it was time for Sam to take the next step in his career.
After completing his post-doctoral fellowship, his boss wanted him to stay for a while, so she hired him on,
but it was never intended to be a permanent job.

And so we embarked on a whirlwind journey of
applying,
interviewing,
considering,
praying,
agonizing,
number-crunching,
researching,
and praying some more
to figure out what the next step for our family should be.

After thinking long and hard about all of our options,
Sam accepted a job at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Tennessee!

We are so excited.
We are thrilled for him to have such an incredible research opportunity at the best pediatric cancer hospital in the world.
We are excited for our family to grow through this process.
We are looking forward to being surrounded by delightful accents and southern hospitality.
We are I am anxious to get my hands on Blue Bell ice cream again.

We will miss living in Utah.
We will miss monthly family dinners,
lots of cousin time,
babysitting swaps with my sister,
hikes in the mountains,
snow in the winter,
visits to Temple Square,
and the blessing of continually interacting with our families.

But this is right.
And it feels so right.

We found the most delightful, charming, All-American town where we will likely live.
The schools are top-notch and the town is filled with stately homes, sprawling yards with lots of trees, big southern porches, and extremely kind people.
Exhibit A: I was speaking to someone from one of the LDS congregations in the area, and he talked to me for a good 30 minutes, telling me all about the area. At the end of our conversation he said, "If you guys come out here, me and my wife would love to have you stay with us, we'll take you out to dinner and show you the sites!"
Wow. Talk about Southern Hospitality!
Exhibit B: I had a question about activities in the area for children so I posted it on a local Facebook page and within 2 hours I had 20 comments on the post giving suggestions and welcoming me to the area, as well as a message from someone telling me how much they love the area and offering to help us in any way.
We hear over and over again what a great place it will be for our children.
(And check out this gorgeous house in the town...Sam and I just about died when we saw it...it's the stuff our dreams are made of and a totally reasonable price, too! The inside is just as gorgeous.
One day we will settle down and buy a house but all these short-term positions make it hard!
In the meantime I will just drool longingly.)


When it was time to break the news to the children we gathered them into the living room,
cups of comforting hot cocoa in hand,
and had a family council together.
We explained that their daddy had gotten a new job and that we would be moving and we were met with a range of responses...
not all totally pleasant.
(My favorite was when Wesley, with complete seriousness and concern, asked, "But won't we have a hard time understanding everyone, because we'll have to learn to speak Tennessee-an?")
There was quite a bit of anxiety about missing major family events, but we reassured them that we would come back regularly to visit and then took them down to the computer to introduce them to beautiful Tennessee.
We hopped on Google Maps and got on street view to show them the gorgeous town.
We showed them the Mississippi River and made plans to have a family bike ride along the river shortly after our move.
We talked to them about an amazing Christmas Tree farm and petting zoo that we'll visit after our move and explained that we would get them each a new Lego set when we arrived to help them with the move.
By the time we were done talking things up, everyone was mostly satisfied about the move.

So now the whirlwind of job searching is over and the whirlwind of moving (again!!) begins.
We'll leave around Thanksgiving Day and in the meantime we're cramming in
a house hunting trip,
extended family events,
Talmage's baptism,
last trips to the doctor and dentist,
family activities selected by the kids,
school activities,
birthdays,
Halloween,
and get-togethers with friends.
.
And so, off we go, on to the next adventure!

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

He Will Use Us


What a feast General Conference is!
By the time each Conference rolls around, I feel like a parched soul
and the speakers' words fill me with water,
refreshing and rejuvenating me while giving me fresh perspective on life.

I have felt a lot of discouragement lately about not being "enough."
Enough of anything, really...
So I felt particularly uplifted by a segment of President Uchtdorf's talk about how God will use us, even with all of our imperfections, to do a great work if we are willing.

"How encouraging it is to know, though we are imperfect, if our hearts are turned to God, He will be generous and kind and use us for His purposes...God will use you, if you are willing. He will magnify your righteous desires and turn the compassionate actions you sow into a bountiful harvest of goodness."

I am reminded of a story a neighbor recently shared with me.
Years ago, she was a busy working mother with young children and she received a phone call asking her to make a dessert for a family who needed a meal that day.
A couple of weeks prior, cake mixes had been on sale at the store and she felt an urge to stock up.
She loaded one of each flavor into the cart--even lemon, which her family all hated.
"Why am I getting lemon?" she asked herself. "No one will eat this!"
But she felt an odd need to get the lemon cake mix, too, so she purchased one, brought it home, and put it on the shelf to collect dust.

And now she had a very short time to put together a dessert.
"Cake mix cookies!" she thought. "I'll use the lemon cake mix...no one here will eat it."
She had the brief thought that it was rude to give away a dessert her family thought was disgusting, but she brushed it away and quickly made and delivered the cookies to the woman who was putting together the meal.

She left town the following day, so it wasn't until she returned that she learned that the family who needed a meal had lost their little girl in a car accident.
She was immediately filled with guilt and regret.
"I should have given them my best!" she thought, appalled that in their time of crisis she had given them yucky lemon cake mix cookies.

A while later, though, the mother of this family stopped her in the hallway at Church.
"How did you know??" she asked.
My neighbor was confused, so the woman explained.
"Every time my family needs comfort, we make lemon cake mix cookies. I had been trying to work up the strength to make the cookies for my family all day, but I just didn't have it in me. Your cookies brought us so much comfort."

This busy mother, in trying to do something kind, however imperfect it may have seemed,
was an instrument in God's Hand to do a great work.

Thus may it be for all of us if we just keep trying.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Refresher


 This boy...he keeps me on my toes all day long.
He is adventurous and inquisitive and hilarious and exhausting and cuddly and a bit high-maintenance
all rolled into one adorable package.
I admit, this stage, as darling as it is, is the hardest for me to feel contentment as a mother.
Especially since Maxwell started waking up all through the night again a few months ago and has yet to consistently sleep through the night again (*sob*).

One minute he is charming me with a spontaneous hug
and the next he has emptied cupboards and is screaming at my feet.
One minute I am gushing over a new word he learned
and the next I am hearing the telltale sound of books being ripped to bits.

It's all a bit of a roller coaster and it's hard to feel like I can give my other children sufficient time
when he demands so much of it.
A few weeks ago we decided to go to a favorite park on a Saturday morning for a picnic.
The boys gleefully spun around on the merry-go-round and stretched their legs to the sky on the swing.
They pranced around with pure joy, climbing trees, throwing balls, and rejoicing in childhood.
The brisk autumn breeze ushered in the new season
and Sam and I sat and observed with satisfaction.
Eventually I took Maxwell over to the duck pond
and there watched intently as he toddled after the ducks, reaching out to touch them as they quickly waddled away from his chubby hand.
His interest and enthusiasm were palpable.
The wind whipped my hair and I walked peacefully beside him, delighting in his wonder.

It was the perfect refresher I needed
to remind me of how precious this busy, exhausting, rushed time with my babies is.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Tag-Along Trip

Sam doesn't usually travel too much for work,
but the past several months he has had a number of trips out of town.
At the beginning of this week, he had to make a quick trip to Phoenix,
and I was delighted when they offered to let me come along!

We arrived at our hotel well after midnight and then left that evening to come home,
but it was nice to have the chance to accompany him on his travel,
regardless of how brief it was.

Our hotel consisted of small "casitas," nestled in the midst of walking paths and stunning gardens.
I was expecting to be in a pretty barren desert spotted with gravel-filled yards,
but the hotel was absolutely lovely.
Sam had work meetings all morning so I rested at the hotel and wandered around taking pictures.
There was an almost tangible peaceful feeling in the air,
and I was surrounded by the fragrance of flowers, oranges, and delicious smells wafting from the restaurant
while soft music played and the fountain splashed.
The weather was perfectly gorgeous--warm with a slightly chilly breeze.

I was so grateful for the chance to re-charge a bit (our first night away since having kids!).
And I'm still dreaming of that warm chicken and goat cheese sandwich I had in the airport...

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Four

I almost decided to let this blog be.
This is an incredibly busy season of life, and I thought perhaps it was time to let this little side pursuit go.
But then, last night I attended the General Women's Meeting,
and I was inspired once again by Sister Eubank's urging to Latter-day Saint women to be articulate
and to lift their voices in defense and testimony of truth.
So even though I'm not perfectly consistent in my writing,
and even though this blog is read by very few other than family and friends,
and even though these posts are very simple,
they will continue.
Because I want any passer-by who happens upon this little corner of the Internet
to know that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is what has brought our family the greatest joy we can fathom.

***************



So, with that being said,
this little boy turned 4 earlier this month!
4 is one of my absolute favorite ages.
I just ADORE 4-year-olds.
And I adore Lincoln.


-Lincoln is hilarious. He makes us laugh consistently with the things he says--sometimes intending to be funny and other times giving us cause to cough hurriedly into our shoulders while hiding our faces which are spread with gigantic smiles because of his innocent, unintended humor.

-Lincoln continues to be proactive. He loves doing things himself and is quite able.

-He loves to help, especially in the kitchen. He looks forward with excitement to his assigned day to help me with dinner and begs his brothers to let him help, too, on their assigned days.

-He loves working in his workbook with me after Wesley leaves for Kindergarten and is in the very first stages of beginning to read. He gets so excited when he sounds out a word correctly.

-Lincoln brings an enthusiasm and excitement into our family. He is SO enthusiastic and feels things with passion.

He wanted Oreo cupcakes, popsicles, and Thai curry for his birthday dinner,
and he was beyond thrilled with the sword and shield I made him to match his brothers' from several years ago.


Sam and I decided to come up with a symbol for each of their kids as their personalities emerge
that can serve as an emblem and reminder for them throughout their lives
of their strengths and characteristics we hope they will use for good.
We plan to use these symbols in various ways as they grow.

Talmage's symbol is an eagle, signifying leadership and the ability to fly above those things that would not help him progress in his life.
Wesley's symbol is a sun, signifying his bright spirit and his desire to be a light to others through example and service.
And we just decided Lincoln's symbol would be a river, signifying his happiness and enthusiasm and the way he brings life and joy to others.
These symbols are painted on their shields.


Lincoln was so thrilled to be able to join his brothers in their make-believe battles for right at last.
After he opened all his gifts, we went into the backyard to watch the boys play.
Maxwell toddled around, chasing the balls he is so obsessed with
while Talmage, Wesley, and Lincoln ran around through the wind,
wielding swords and jumping off rocks.
Sam and I sat swinging on our porch swing, watching the excitement.
I leaned into him, his arm wrapped securely around my shoulders,
and a feeling of perfect contentment settled upon me.

Things aren't perfect, but every once in a while I am hit with the realization of how truly good they are.
Happy birthday, Bobo-Linc.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

When the Light is Dimmed


I go through phases in mothering.
Much of the time, I feel totally content in my role as a mother.
Of course, I see areas I need to improve,
but I rejoice even in the day-to-day mundane
and cherish every moment with the precious souls that have been sent to us.

But every once in a while, I get stuck in a rut
and the light of motherhood seems to be dimmed.
Often this phase starts with me feeling overwhelmed.
Once I explained to Sam that I felt like my goal was to get to the bottom of a swimming pool,
and I used to be only a foot under a water but the water was only 8 feet deep
whereas I had progressed to be 4 feet under water but the water was now 20 feet deep.
In other words,
I was making progress as a mother,
but not as quickly as the needs were growing.

And when those overwhelming feelings mount up,
all of a sudden motherhood isn't so enjoyable.
I long to curl up in a corner with a good book and hide away for a day or two,
but instead there are constantly hungry mouths to feed,
pots and pans strewn about I'm tripping over,
and stinky diapers needing to be changed.

Motherhood, by nature, demands selflessness,
which is one big reason it is such a sanctifying role.

When I'm stuck in a mothering rut,
I find myself praying, napping, listening to uplifting music, spending more time in the scriptures, reading old blog posts, striving to find joy in small moments with the children, and reading talks like this.
And eating chocolate.
And ice cream.

How do YOU get out of a rut?

Monday, September 11, 2017

That Time of Year

It's that time of year...
when my kitchen is turned into a factory,
the smell of warm, sticky peaches fills the air,
and the baby spreads jangling canning rings all about the house while I work.

The work is enjoyable enough...
but there are few things more satisfying than seeing bunches of full jars lined up on our shelves.
So much of motherhood does not yield immediate or long-lasting results.
The laundry is completed, only to stack up again the same day.
Dinner is finished only to be quickly eaten and the process is repeated every day.
But canning...
not only are the results more long-term,
but it brings with it the fulfillment of providing for our family.

Today our project is freezer jam.
I am feeling an urge to try a new project where I can something different every month.
I have plans for pulled pork, chicken, apple jelly, apple pie filling, and more over the year,
but we shall see if it actually happens...
so many of my grand ideas just sit and remain ideas.

I often think my heart belongs to the 1950s,
but since I'm a millenial I guess I'll just settle for being an old-fashioned one.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...