Sunday, June 30, 2013

Talk in Church

Today I gave a talk in church. My topic was on Raising Children in Truth and Righteousness. Thought I would share the gist of what I said for anyone else interested. I didn't read this. But I stuck pretty closely to it as I spoke from the heart. There is so much more I would have liked to have said, but I wanted to stick to the 10 minutes allotted me. This is what I could say in 10 minutes on that topic:

Personal Intro –
·      Jonathan and I moved here 3 weeks ago.
·      6 kids (5 living) Name and ages (Camille would have been 6 now but drown 5 years ago.)
·      More about us on my blog – google my name called a daily scoop

On to my topic – I want to start with an experience I had 10 years ago.
Before I had kids I was a busy criminal defense attorney in L.A. I quit after I had my first child because I really just wanted to be with my baby more than accused criminals. After a couple of years changing diapers and feeding little mouths and cleaning up messes, I felt like I had more to give. I knew what I was doing was important, that is why I gave up my career to devote myself fully to motherhood. But I still felt like I had more to give. So one night I was praying about this and saying to the Lord, “where is the mountain you want me to climb, Lord. I will do it! What more can I do for you? Name it. I am there.” The answer I got came powerfully to my soul. And it was this: LOVE THOSE GIRLS! – Love them like I do so they will know My love through your love. Stand in my place.

Parenthood is the MOST important calling, job, or mountain we have. It is often the most difficult.

Topic today is on raising our children in Truth and Righteousness based on the LDS World Wide 2013 Leadership Training. I am going to be talking today about some lofty ideals for which we ought to strive. But I want to preface by noting that it is by aiming high for these ideals that we succeed if we even have moments of reaching them.

So how do we rear our children in righteousness?  The thing that stood out the most to me from listening to the training video was how we as parents stand in the place of our heavenly parents as we raise their children on this Earth. We need to love them as our Father loves them, parent as He would parent, and create a home like His home or the Temple.

My mom had up on our fridge growing up DC 109:8 8 Organize yourselves; prepare every needful thing, and establish a house, even a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of learning, a house of glory, a house of order, a house of God; … I didn’t really understand why she had this quote up on the fridge when I was growing up in our busy, often crazy house. But, I see now that this scripture was her mission statement.  The home is supposed to be the most sacred place outside the temple. Great things can happen when our home is like a temple. But creating this is a group effort. Enlist the help of children. This is critical. Youth and children need to understand the role they have in helping bring the spirit into the home. That is the main rule at our house: you must behave in such a way that the Spirit can dwell in our home. My kids are very familiar with me saying that.

Parents can also use music and artwork, can speak kindly and quietly and use all your faculties to create a temple tone in your home.

Most importantly :
So it should in our home and we ought to listen as it inspires us in our parenting. PARENT BY THE SPIRIT
Follow promptings. We as mothers and fathers have a right to revelation to guide us in parenting our children. We can be helped to know what things are most important, when to speak and when not to, and given promptings to help us teach eternal truths to our children at times when their hearts are most open to receive them.

I have had experiences where the Spirit has inspired me to teach even my young children a principle of the gospel in an age appropriate way at a time when that child was open to receive that teaching. I likewise have had times as a teen and an adult where my parents have been able to counsel me according the Spirit and greatly influence my life.

One such experience happened for me recently when Sabrina turned 12. We were moving the next day and Jon was scheduled to be in town. I felt overwhelmed at the thought of doing a birthday party. Instead I felt inspired to tell Sabrina that for her birthday party we were taking her to the temple to do baptism. It was the best birthday for a kid I have ever experienced.

Jon’s parents were able to be there with us. It was heavenly. I got specific instruction from the Spirit about what to tell Sabrina about the temple and it was a choice experience. One thing I was prompted to talk to her about was helping her recognize how wonderful the feeling in the temple was and how all the temple workers talked so nicely to each other. I told her how her dad and I were trying to create that same feeling in our home and I invited her to help us.

It is wonderful that the youth get to go to the temple together a couple of times a year. I think it is important as parents that we take our children with us to the temple as well. This will allow us wonderful teaching moments and establish a pattern of regular temple attendance for your kids.

The Temple is a house of Learning.

President Benson said the most important teachings in the home are spiritual. We as parents have so many things that we need to and want to teach our children from learning to walk and talk to sports and school subjects and other extra curricular activities. We must always remember that our duties to instruct our children in things of a Spiritual nature is of the highest priority. Our prayers, scripture study and other ways to give them spiritual instruction both formal and informal must receive the same dedication if not more that we give to the lessons we pay others to teach them.

Paramount among these teachings is teaching our Children about the Rock of the Redeemer.

We live in troubling times. It is the nature of this world we live in that each of us will pass through trials and troubles as we make our journey back home. As parents we wish we could save our children from all the sorrows the world would throw at them. But this is not the way of the Lord. His way is not to take away all the bitter cups of life but to stand with us as we drink from them.

As parents the greatest gift we can give our children is a knowledge through diligent teaching both by our example and through the spoken word about the Savior Jesus Christ as the Rock upon which we each must build our foundations and our testimonies.

Grateful for good and wise parents who taught me well in all matters spiritual and who most importantly taught me to build upon that sure foundation, the Rock the Savior. 5 years ago I was in a very dark place. It was one my parents would have loved nothing more than to have taken from me. But it was a bitter cup they could not even begin to understand. But despite their inability to touch my grief, they had already given me the tools to overcome through diligent spiritual teaching in both example and the spoken word. They taught me to trust in the Lord and obey Him faithfully, even when He asks you to do things you do not want to do. And even when He asks you to do things you do not think you CAN do. They taught me that when you walk forward with Faith even in the most trying of circumstances and turn to the Savior for strength, strength will come. Comfort will eventually come.

I stand as a witness of power of the atonement to heal a broken soul. I testify that He lives and that He is the Rock where on if we build we cannot fall. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

A Good Day

Summer days are long and lazy. In some ways I love that. Today we played. The kids learned to slip and slide. I got to read about 100 pages of my book. We had a movie party with cousins. The kids played school. We all did a few chores. Annie had a play date. The boys played Legos.

We did home piano lessons. Lauren played a piece she cried and wailed to me that she couldn't play because it was too hard. Then she went back twice later in the day to play what I had taught her and start the next section as well. :) Annie is sounding good on a Harry Potter song she is learning on both piano and violin (Hedwigs theme.) She also decided to "polish" the classical piece she told me she had finished.

Part of me loves these long lazy days of summer with no set agenda and all the flexibility in the world. Another part of me hates them. Some thing in me craves the structure and accountability of having a list of things that must be done and someone to whom I must report my progress. But as the mom in this home, I am the one who creates the "structure" and to whom people must account. I love and hate it.

I am trying to just be in the moment and enjoy the time with the kids. I am happy when I suck in their joy and join them in their fun. Tonight I took some Instagram video of the boys on the slip and slide. Harrison was in PJs already and Noble's pants got too wet to keep on so he ditched them for his underwear. I let them play and be little. And it was precious.

Later I shook off my fatigue and laid down with Harrison to help him fall asleep. He was so tired he was past the magic sleep point and struggling to settle down to sleep. I reminded myself that he won't be little much longer and I better enjoy him while I can. Then I came downstairs and read a couple chapters of a fun book to my waiting girls. All this made for a late night.

I am tired and probably should have exercised today to help me feel more ... happy, accomplished, positive? But I am grateful that I made myself enjoy the multitude of motherhood moments that this long lazy summer day held. For that alone, I can call this a good day.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013


It is official. I have unpacked ever box. We have hung nearly all the pictures. We are unpacked. Now there are still areas that need some organizing and reorganizing. But all in good time these things will get sorted out.

I am feeling more comfortable in these new shoes. I am beginning to feel a bit more "me" here. The first week was rough. I think the fact that it coincided with the anniversary of Camille's accident and her passing made it worse. My body and subconscious just can't fully ignore the emotions that seem to resurface during that time.

But I am feeling quite a bit better now. I still miss the people from home and home is still not here. I was talking to Jonathan last night about how I feel uprooted. My roots were dug so deep in Las Vegas. I just am barely planted here and my roots are just beginning to explore the possibility of digging in and making this home.

Sabrina is off at girls camp with our old ward. I miss her. Having a kid removed from the mix definitely creates a massive whole in the family as I well know. But I know she will have a great time and hope she will get to feel the Spirit again like she did at the girls camp for our ward here.

Annie is adjusting well I think. She has had a couple of play dates with girls her age here that went well. I feel very good about this being a good move for her.

Lauren is my wild card. Not sure how she is doing friend wise yet. I need to focus on that next. But she is being helpful and around the house with me and I always like that.

Noble is my ambassador. He introduces us to everyone and tells them all about us. Last Sunday we had Jon's brother Aaron and his family (wife and 4 little girls) staying with us. We were all in the hall after church as I was meeting his primary teachers. And Noble saw the girl cousins and grabbed his primary teacher. He pointed to all his girl cousins and said excitedly to his primary teacher, "Those girls are sleeping with me!" Nice.

Harrison is just happy as a pig in manure to have backyard in which he can play.

Jonathan is enjoying his job here. It is so nice when a husband enjoys his work.

I am hosting a So You Think You Can Dance party tonight. We will see if anyone shows. :) I have found it is a bit more challenging here to do this tradition because so many dads work out of town during the week that mothers can't leave their little ones to come. But I enjoy watching the show and eating whatever treat or snack I make whether 20 people come or only 1 (and even if that 1 is my hubby.) :)

I am speaking in church this Sunday. I only have 8-10 minutes. It is going to be hard to whittle down my thoughts and remarks to 10 minutes. But I feel good about the topic and hope the Spirit will keep guiding me in what to whittle away to make it the talk I am supposed to give.

God is good people. He giveth and he taketh away but in the end of it all we see He is perfectly good. Blessed be the Name of the Lord.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Like New shoes

Living here thus far has felt like wearing a pair of new shoes. But day by day being here is feeling more comfortable. It still doesn't feel like home to me. I imagine that will take some time. But I am not feeling the "blisters" I felt that first week.

Almost all the boxes are unpacked. Now my chores are organizing and putting things into storage. Little by little things are coming together.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

A hard thing

Wow. This while moving thing is really hitting me today. This is a hard thing.

I am grateful for Jonathan's job.
I am grateful for this nice house we found to live in.
I am grateful for my children.
I am grateful for my husband.
I am grateful to have my brother Stephen and his wife Rachel close by.
I am grateful for what seems like a great ward filled with friendly helpful people.

All that being said, the truth is I am feeling a bit lost without the deep and abiding ties I feel to my people in my desert. Wow this is a hard thing!

I can do hard things... right?

Monday, June 10, 2013


Well after 2 full days of driving and 5 hours of sleep in the middle, we arrived at our new home. We got in late and the kids were wired after being stuck in the car so long. They ran around crazy for a couple of hours and eventually we got to sleep.

Six hours later I rolled out of bed and got to the unpacking. We did get so much done on Saturday. My sister in law took my little boys most of the day so we worked hard without too many distractions. After 14 hours I was beat! All I wanted was a hot shower and to climb in my bed I had just found the sheets to make.

I stood in the shower waiting for hot water that never came. I considered braving the cold but just could bring myself to do more than a bird bath. I stepped out of the shower and the tears came. Moving is just hard. That's all. It just is.

I caught myself and did what any good Texan would do-I pulled up my bootstraps and got back on the horse. The horse in this analogy is the "be grateful for all the lords blessings and happy you have such a nice house" horse. :)

In the morning I took my cold shower and made it to church bright and early. Jon used google to figure out how to fix the water heater. (He may not be super handy but in today's age, being tech savvy is almost as good.)

Somehow this still feels like vacation. Not sure when it will feel real. But here we are and I can see that it is possible that one day maybe this could feel like home.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

12th Birthday

Sabrina turned 12 last week. I can't believe I have a child who is 12 and in our church's youth program! I have loved seeing her enter this new phase of spiritual and emotional growth. She understands and internalizes things on a deeper level these days.

For her birthday we got her a temple recommend and took her to do baptisms for the dead (an ordinance we can perform in the temple at the age of 12 see I love the temple and it was such a wonderful way to share my love with my daughter. I will do that with every child for their 12th birthday.

We shared with Sabrina the importance of temple attendance and taught her about the temple ordinance of baptism for the dead. Most importantly we got to help her understand the feelings she had in the temple and challenge her to help us create those same happy peaceful feeling in our home.

I want to make sure we take her back with us often to remind her of those happy feelings and help her temper her teenage emotions with the peace and love we feel in the temple.

Really this was the sweetest experience. I felt Camille with us and felt the Spirit stronger than I have in a while. After the baptisms, we took Sabrina to the cafeteria for dinner. Grandma and Grandpa Waite joined us for the whole experience which just made it feel that much more like heaven.