Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Praying for our Enemies

Enemy is is too strong of a word to really use here - but it does remind me of the scripture that I will liken to Tanner.

There is a bully in Tanner's preschool class. Every day, we hear tales of this boy and the ways he has hurt members of the class. I am not sure that he means to hurt the other children. But he spends a lot of time in time out and I know the teachers are really trying to direct his energy toward good things.

Sunday night, after reading stories, Tanner said a prayer. In his prayer he prayed for this boy, that he would learn to be nice and that he would be gentle with everyone. When his prayer was over and we opened our eyes, he looked at me with his big brown eyes and asked if it was Ok to pray that this boy would be nice.

The following Monday, Tanner came home from school and told me that the bully was still a bully and his prayer didn't work. I told him to give it time - and was happy that night when Tanner included him in his prayers again. I hope he will always have that kind of faith.

I wrote the above several weeks ago. Since then, Tanner had his preschool graduation. During the graduation the bully kicked Tanner in the toe and would have kicked him in the shin if my friend, Melissa hadn't jumped out of her seat and removed the boy from Tanner. It made Tanner's praying for him all the more heart-warming. Maybe enemy was not too strong a word. It is funny that we ask children to do so many things that we don't do as adults - like share toys. And call people who kick you your friends.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Mothers of My Grandchildren

Happy Mother's Day to my Mother, Mother in Law, Grandmother and all the women who have influenced me and my children. I see so much incredible goodness and hope in my children. I am eternally grateful to you, who have taught them the gospel, shared with them your testimonies of our Savior and directed their thoughts to the temple and eternal families.

I want my children to have joy in their lives and the greatest joy I know - is being a mother. I am not the kind of mom that weeps at the bus stop when my kindergartner climbs the steps of the bus for the first time. I don't treasure bouquets of dandelions or even pretend to. I rarely bake cookies and I have major life plans for when they all leave the LTC (Life Training Center). I can't bring myself to call our home a nest. It would imply that I feed them often while they just sit there and do nothing.

I used to feel inferior to the Hallmark Moms. And sometimes in conversations, I will not speak out about my different reactions or feeling about motherhood. It is easier to nod my head and smile.

I don't want to freeze time and keep my children where they are. This life is a place of learning. I want them to experience the joy of continuous learning. Because that is what I do as a mother to my four. I have been forced to stretch because of them. I have been challenged to remember who I am and what is important in this life numerous times because of them. I have been pushed out of my comfort zone because of them. I am ME because of them. I have had to rely on my Savior because of them. And without Him I am nothing.

I have learned that He doesn't care if I cry when they get on the bus - but he will comfort me when I water my pillow at night as I pray for their testimonies to be strengthened. He doesn't care if I bake cookies every day - but he wants me to make sure they are spiritually fed, and teach them where to feast and find living water. He doesn't care if I pretend to like dandelions - but he begs me to recognize the divine nature of my children and love them as he does.

Every time I talk to my Mom on the phone, she reminds me how lucky I am to spend every day with my children. I love her for that. Because she knows. She knows me well enough to know that I need reminding and she knows them well enough to speak truth.

Press play for video. It's really there

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

New Calling

We heard this news last week. We know it will mean fewer pop-in visits from them - but it couldn't be for a better reason. They have both done so much to teach me about the temple - I know they feel at home there. I know our family will be blessed because of their service.

Kent Rigby Van Kampen, 73, Hoover Ward, Bessemer Alabama Stake, called as president of the Birmingham Alabama Temple, succeeding President Malcolm D. Otis. President Van Kampen's wife, Geniel Rhees Van Kampen, will serve as temple matron. A sealer in the Birmingham Alabama Temple, he has previously served as a counselor in the Birmingham Alabama Temple presidency, stake president's counselor, mission president's counselor, bishop and high councilor. The chief operating officer and president of Vaxin Inc., he was born in Brigham City, Utah, to Rudolph Lincoln and Afton Frances Rigby Van Kampen.

Sister Van Kampen, a stake Relief Society president and temple ordinance worker, has served as an assistant to the matron of the Birmingham Alabama Temple and as ward Relief Society, Young Women and Primary president. She was born in Ogden, Utah, to Reuben George and Thelma Ward Rhees.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Night of Miralces Two

Eagles music was playing. Balloons were waving in the breeze. Children laughing. Adults hugging. It was like a huge family reunion. I didn't know everyone who was there - but everyone knew Jay and Susan. And that is why they came. I always knew Jay and Susan touched the lives of a lot of people. But this week I realized how many lives they have changed.

This was a night of joy.

We had fasted and prayed for good weather. It got a little dark and windy at start time. But a few more private prayers were said and the weather improved. Around 10 pm as we finished cleaning up . . . the rain began to fall.

A Night of Miracles

The day after Jay had his surgery (and 2 days after he and Susan sold their home) their daughter Alli, called me. She wondered if we could do some kind of dinner in conjunction with a furniture auction to raise money for Jay's medical expenses and get rid of things they would not need when they move to Salt Lake. This was on a Saturday. I called two people. Cam and Sheila Green had all the energy and ideas to get this thing rolling. By Monday, there were 8 or so committe heads and many more working on this project. I can't even begin to name everyone who helped. So many people offered services to auction, baked goods to sell, a sound system, food. Countless. Wonderful. Marvelous. People.

After a week of planning, most things were in place. We fasted and prayed for good weather. And then we watched the miracles unfold.
And the people came.

And we raised enough money to cover the deductible.
It was these two beautiful ladies who came up with the idea.
Alli (with son, Maddux) and Lacey
Most people who came, got a hug from this incredible lady, and lucky ones got to talk to Jay. When we were talking about the plans for the night, we joked about making a booth for Susan to sit in. We could call it the hugging booth. Grace said that she would stand in line and pay for that one. We all would have.