Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Not so bad

Typically, after a natural disaster, I stay away from the media coverage. I'm not quite sure why, but I think part of it may be because of lumps that form and then get caught in my throat or water leakage from the eyes. I just choose not to want to feel so I avoid it altogether. However, with the (second) most recent tragedy of the tornado-struck Joplin, Mo., I couldn't NOT look or read or feel.

It probably had something to do with me feeling sorry for myself. You see, I was up all night listening to a sad, little boy cry because of some teeth working through his sensitive gums. I felt I had it bad and I deserved a pajama day and was ready to throw a pity party.

Then, as I'm checking the news for the day, I come across a WSJ article about the damage and my heart just tore into pieces. After reading the article and looking at the pictures, I felt shame. Shame that I felt that I had it bad. What a realization that I never had it so good. My house wasn't in pieces. My family members are all accounted for. I have working electricity and I know where my next meal is coming from. My town may have suffered from a deluge of rain yesterday, but it's intact. I am sufficiently humbled.

So yet another reminder that I could always have it worse and a realization for all that I have for which to be thankful.

From We Are THAT Family, the following:

Please consider doing something:
  • World Vision: Text”‘TORNADO” to 20222 to give a $10 donation. You can also donate online or call 1-888-511-6443 to support World Vision’s effort.
  • The Salvation Army’s disaster-relief efforts in Joplin can be supported by texting “JOPLIN” to 80888 to make a $10 donation. You can also donate through their website or by calling 1-800-SAL-ARMY.
  • Red Cross is providing shelter and distributing needed supplies. Text “REDCROSS” to 90999 to make a $10 donation, or visit thewebsite to donate, give blood or volunteer
  • Make and send hygiene kits to Heart to Heart
  • Convoy of Hope is delivering food and water to Joplin. Those wanting to help can text the word “CONVOY” to 50555 to make a $10 donation. You can also donateonline or by calling 1-417-823-8998.
  • Christ the King Church, a local Joplin church, has a great list of ways to help
  • You can also mail items listed below to-
James River Assembly (link to give online thru this church)
Attn: *Cherish Kids* Adoption/Foster Families in Joplin
6100 North 19th Street
Ozark, MO 65721
-Rubbermaid type totes with lids—medium and large sizes -Hand sanitizer -Gift cards–Wal-Mart and Target -Cases of water -Bags of groceries filled with food items (non-perishables) -Diapers -Wipes -Snack items -Toiletries (soap, toothpaste, toothbrushes, deodorant, contact solution, feminine hygiene products, etc.) -work gloves, plastic tarps and -Pack and Play type cribs
  • Pray for peace, healing and comfort to those injured, grieving, displaced, suffering

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

A post-Mother's Day post (haha)

I only feet it's apropos to write my feelings in regards to my first-ever Mother's Day. Last year apparently didn't count since Adam was only half-baked. But the lessons in church and some things I've read have changed my mind and perspective about that. I now feel I've been gypped out of 25 Mother's Days.

What am I saying? I'm saying that my whole existence has been about motherhood, and I'm not talking about preparing for the day when I would enter that labor and delivery room and out comes a baby. Motherhood, I've learned, is much more than that, says Sheri Dew. And she is so right! Motherhood is not solely equated with maternity! Every woman needs to get over that way of thinking and focus on how she can be a better mother not only to her own children or family, but to those around her.

Early that morning, I sat and contemplated what it meant to be a mother and found myself very lacking. Instead of getting discouraged, I was emboldened. The talks and lessons at church supported this feeling. They broadened my view and taught me how to be a better mother. I learned that motherhood for me did not begin when I first conceived our son. Rather, it began long ago, before I even came to this earth. My husband thought that most of the talks seemed to "cater" to those who couldn't have children. I disagreed. They said to me that I was chosen and called to be a mother, along with every other righteous woman. Not only that, but I'm destined to continue to be a mother after this mortal life as long as I keep my covenants. I don't even think I can begin to understand the magnitude of that.

Sheri Dew says, "Our motherhood began before we were born. Just as worthy men were foreordained to hold the priesthood in mortality, righteous women were endowed premortally with the privilege of motherhood."

Don't most of us remember times when we were little girls, rocking our baby dolls to sleep or feeding them? We all feel that yearning to nurture, to tenderly care for others. It's an innate attribute we all share and must learn to cultivate carefully.

Not only will we continue to have an increase after this life, but the very word, "mother" characterizes us in the hereafter: "For mother is the word that will define a righteous woman made perfect in the highest degree of the celestial kingdom, a woman who has qualified for eternal increase in posterity, wisdom, joy, and influence." What a promise and incentive to live up to my very potential as a mother.

Sometimes, we find ourselves waiting on the Lord for promised blessings. For everyone, it's different. This is what Sheri Dew said about those without children: "For reasons known to the Lord, some women are required to wait to have children. This delay is not easy for any righteous woman. But the Lord’s timetable for each of us does not negate our nature." I think the key word is "delay." Everyone needs to be reminded of that. The Lord has made promises and He will pull through for us. We have to remember it's on His timeline though, not ours. 

It only makes sense that Relief Society declaration states "Find nobility in motherhood and joy in womanhood." How exhilarating it is to be a woman and what a glorious time it is to be a mother to those who need it.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Just a hug

You know how people say all it takes is something small like a smile or squeeze of the hand that helps people the most? For me, hearing it often got kind of old and it didn't hold much for me, until yesterday (Sunday).

This weekend was crazy. I was gone most of Saturday volunteering at the food co-op and then at a friend's son's birthday party and then prepping for a girls' night I was hosting. The girls' night was fun until my 9-month-old son woke up due to our peals of laughter. I had to end the party early because he wouldn't be consoled. That was around 10:45 p.m. and he finally fell asleep around 1 a.m. Heedless of his lack of sleep, he was up at 7:15 a.m. giggling and laughing, waiting for me to come in to see him. I knew church was going to be rough.

I was right - I had assignments to pass out for an upcoming activity and people to talk to besides the normal socializing that happens at church. I was beat by 11:30 but I still had an hour to go. During the last meeting, I saw my visiting teaching companion who hadn't been at church in a while so I stopped by her to say hi and to find out how she was doing (she is prego by the way! So excited!). After visiting with her, she gave me a hug! I was pretty shocked since we were fairly new at being friends and I didn't know she was the huggy type but it totally choked me up. I went to my seat completely moved and touched by her impromptu kindness.

That's when it really hit me. Those small, seemingly insignificant things, such as a hug, have such a greater impact than we give credit for. Only in our time of need do we realize the influence such kindness has. So why don't we do it more often? I know I get scared and think too much: does she like hugs? He doesn't even know me, why should I smile at him? She seems happy all the time, one visit from me won't make a difference. How we lie and deceive ourselves. Instead of think, we must do. Instead of pause we must accelerate.

I love what President Spencer W. Kimball says:

“God does notice us, and he watches over us. But it is usually through another person that he meets our needs. Therefore, it is vital that we serve each other in the kingdom. The people of the Church need each other’s strength, support, and leadership in a community of believers as an enclave of disciples. In the Doctrine and Covenants we read about how important it is to ‘… succor the weak, lift up the hands which hang down, and strengthen the feeble knees.’ (D&C 81:5.) So often, our acts of service consist of simple encouragement or of giving mundane help with mundane tasks, but what glorious consequences can flow from mundane acts and from small but deliberate deeds!” 18