Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Trying it again (First day, take two)

Two years ago, I volunteered at the local elementary school to read with a couple of 6th graders. To say the least, it was a challenge with one (read about it here and here). I didn't volunteer at all last year because I had Jacob and needed to take care of him. This year, I have a good friend, Lauren, that I could swap babysitting with so we decided to do it together! She will go one day and I can go the other day.

To say the least, I was excited to try this again. Even though the last attempt (at volunteering) was less than successful, I kept an optimistic perspective. The director of the tutoring program promised me that I wouldn't have a student similar to "Dave."

I was relieved with my first encounter with student #1. Another boy, but he was quirky, fun and simply adorable. Don't tell him I said that. He loved the book we picked (Wayside School Gets a Little Stranger by Louis Sachar) but unfortunately needed to move up another level. Student #2 is a sweet girl who likes dance and drawing. I couldn't wait to get back to Lauren and tell her about the kids.

It's going to be a good school year.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Postponing "the dream"

When we moved to Utah and found our home - a four bedroom duplex - it was a dream to us! Compared to our two-bedroom apartment, it seemed so big with lots of room to grow. I fell in love.

Two years and one more child later, I (I will speak for myself in the matter) feel a little cramped with everything we've accumulated thus far. I dislike sharing a wall with neighbors who seem to be up at all hours of the night and who smoke on the property, despite being told not to by the landlord. I don't like have a fixed layout, drafty windows and doors and an out-dated kitchen appearance.

Insert hashtag "first-world problems." Insert also "cry me a river and get over it."

That's how I feel when I complain to Jed. Then I remember all the positive aspects of this home: great landlords who take care of lawn and maintenance, a garden area, a big backyard for the boys, and sufficient room for all we need.

That being said, I was getting antsy. I wanted a bigger place, one that we actually "owned." So when my neighbor, and many of my friends, started looking and buying houses, I wanted in. I started looking too. We even met with a realtor.

Then reality hit. After making the goal to set up a larger emergency savings and pay off a couple of debts (one including a newer car), we realized homeownership was just not in the picture. Yet. And that's ok.

I follow Dave Ramsey on Facebook  and I really enjoy the articles that are posted. A couple of them have been on homeownership and the value of renting for awhile.

I had a "lightbulb" moment. It's ok to be renting. There's no shame in that. It's ok to save up until we have sufficient funds to purchase a home - however and whenever that happens. And it's ok to have less. I realized my family of 6 grew up in a three-bedroom home until we moved to Nebraska. Then it was four bedrooms, but my sisters and I still shared rooms. We survived. And although I have a long list of "needs" for my future dream home, I recognize I won't get them all and don't have to have them all. I just need to be content with the now.

Friday, March 1, 2013

What next?

While this isn't a religious blog and I haven't posted here in over a year, I have felt several times that I needed to express my feelings on a couple of issues that I've seen come up a few times in the past little while. 

One was the "pants movement"  where some LDS women peacefully demonstrated their desire for equality in the church and now, an issue has cropped up with breastfeeding moms and whether it's appropriate to not cover up or leave to feed their child during church meetings.

As I've read these articles and comments regarding these issues, my first reactions have been less than Christ-like. Then I repent and start over, feeling sadness for individuals who end up leaving the church because of hurtful comments or judgments by others. My sadness also stems from so much conflict that is happening among the members of the church.

Christ counseled this when he visited the Nephites on the American continent after His resurrection:

For verily, verily I say unto you, he that hath the spirit of contention is not of me, but is of the devil, who is the father of contention, and he stirreth up the hearts of men to contend with anger, one with another. 
Behold, this is not my doctrine, to stir up the hearts of men with anger, one against another; but this is my doctrine, that such things should be done away.

I'm know conflict among church members is not a new thing. With social media so prevalent  it's easy to see more and more of this and take sides, criticize and condemn. Thus, both sides, whether right or wrong, are both in the wrong as offense is taken and Christ-like feelings and charity go out the window.

This part causes me to exclaim in exasperation, "Really?" As the time comes closer when the Savior comes again, we as members should strengthen our grip on the Iron Rod, study the scriptures harder than ever, serve each other and have greater patience with those different from us and recognize and avoid Satan's tactics to try to deceive us.

Aren't we all in this together? Shouldn't we be understanding of the struggling mother who has multiple children with her and a husband on the stand who needs to feed her screaming infant? Can't we (as mothers) understand that it might be uncomfortable for others if we didn't cover up while nursing at church? What about the women who feel they are looked down upon because they are women? Instead of seeking to be right, let's focus on being like Christ. Trust me, I know this is hard. I have my struggles with imperfection, but I have faith in the Atonement and it's enabling power to lift me higher. And because I know the Savior's Atonement is for everyone, I can have patience for those who struggle just like me.