Friday, February 27, 2015

Let it be spoken without an effort

(It’s Friday! Family fun movie night. Yay!)

 Following my little brother’s wedding last April, there was a beautiful reception in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho (Emmy’s hometown and a favorite place of mine).  Jared & I use to visit Coeur d’Alene during our first year of marriage when we lived in Moscow, Idaho where we attended the University there.  

 Anyway, the reception was absolutely lovely, and it was such a treat for my whole family.  I loved that my own little family only had 2 hours of drive time to get there!  My parents, grandparents, and brother’s family had nearly 9 hours of drive time, so we met up with them in a nearby hotel to change our clothes and prepare for the big night.

 I’m usually very social, and I love the opportunity to meet new people, but that night there was a unique quiet about me as I watched my parents stand in a simple reception line (made up of bride, groom, and parents).  I couldn’t help but smile at their graciousness, meeting and greeting perfect strangers in such a warm way.  I admired them from a distance and thought about what a beautiful life they had created for themselves.  “Look at them shine,” I thought to myself.  And they did!  I reflected on my own wedding reception nearly 10 years before.  I looked at my son, Gabriel, and imagined how I might feel when he gets married someday.  

 The reception line dispersed and someone announced that it was time for the father-daughter dance.  I approached my mom & dad, and Jared snapped a quick photo of the 4 of us (pictured below).  We watched in anticipation of the moment as the father of the bride took his daughter’s hand.  My own dad put his arm around me, “I’m sure proud of you,” he said.  For what?  I thought.  He always said that.  And in perfect Pres. Henry B. Eyring fashion, he got all choked up and tried to talk through the tears as he always did, but he just couldn’t.  That was my dad.

So...we just listened to the song together…a few tears streaming down our cheeks…then laughed at an abrupt quirk in the sound system.  

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 "Death is nothing at all.  It does not count.  I have only slipped away into the next room.  Nothing has happened.  Everything remains exactly as it was.  I am I, and you are you, and the old life that we lived so fondly together is untouched, unchanged.  Whatever we were to each other, that we are still.  Call me by the old familiar name.  Speak of me in the easy way which you always used.  Put no difference into your tone.  Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow.  Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes that we enjoyed together.  Play, smile, think of me, pray for me.  Let my name be ever the household word that it always was.  Let it be spoken without an effort, without the ghost of a shadow upon it.  Life means all that it ever meant.  It is the same as it ever was.  There is absolute and unbroken continuity.  What is this death but a negligible accident?  Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight?  I am but waiting for you, for an interval, somewhere very near, just around the corner.  All is well.  Nothing is past; nothing is lost.  One brief moment and all will be as it was before only better, infinitely happier and forever we will all be one together with Christ.  How we shall laugh at the trouble of parting when we meet again."

 - Henry Scott Holland

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Confidence

I recently came across an article that talked about why women are more stressed out than men.  Out of the 7 reasons listed, reason #2 jumped out at me the most stating that Judgment Matters.  It started out by saying, "There is a lot of stuff that has to happen behind the scenes for your kid to reach the baseline level of fitting in that will give him or her the confidence needed to one day decide that fitting in isn't important.” It then went on to say that “If you don’t fit in as a kid, you’re going to be consumed with fitting in as a grownup.  If you fit in just fine, then you have the confidence to think outside the box, and your wife is probably in charge of everything that helps your kids look, act, and feel relatively normative...which is stressful.”  

At first I applauded this analysis, especially the part about giving your child "the confidence needed to one day decide that fitting in isn’t important.”  Very true.  In fact, I’ve thought about this many times as an adult.  I haven’t always had an overabundance of confidence throughout Jared & I’s many moves over the past 10 years since marriage, but I’ve always been grateful for the self-assurance I felt in my formative years (stemmed largely from a solid circle of friends) that’s given me a sense of courage to realize that it’s OKAY to feel like an outsider.  BUT the part that assumes confidence to think outside the box is a direct result of fitting in as a kid?  Good heavens.  What type of confidence are we talking about here?  What IS confidence?  I think the world would define it as the self-assurance to rely upon yourself, your abilities, your skills, and even your social acceptance.  

But my whole definition of confidence has changed over the past few years as I’ve had to really dig deep in times of adversity and recognize the basis of my self worth.  I can assure you that when it really mattered, I wasn’t thinking, “Phew! It’s a good thing I fit in as a kid; I’ll get through this.”  It’s been more along the lines of, “Phew! Good thing I know who I am…a daughter of God, that’s who I am.  He loves me, and He will look after me.”  

Without this perception of our divine identity, I’m pretty sure the vantage point of ourselves would come largely from the social mirror: “What does my culture tell me to do?  What will others think of me?”  

And man alive, it’s getting harder & harder to break that social mirror, isn’t it?  I guess reading that article led me to make a commitment within myself to teach my children that confidence in the LORD is what matters.  YES, judgment matters.  Not the world’s judgment, but Heavenly Father’s judgment.  For me, it’s not stressful to be in charge of helping my children recognize that they are literally God’s son or daughter with infinite potential!  It’s a privilege, and I’m pretty confident (no pun intended) that it’s THAT knowledge that will carry my children!  Whether they ‘fit in’ or not, if they truly understand their divine potential, they will undoubtedly have the confidence they need to think outside the box. :)

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Monday, February 16, 2015

Seasons of Life

We each have our own seasons - a time to be a student, time to be a new bride, a time to be a mother, a time to have a career and/or a time to share the accumulation of our life's knowledge with others. 

 With these seasons, we are also given choices to make.  We can fully embrace each season for what it offers us, enjoying each moment so that when the season passes we have no regrets.  Or we can try to overlap each season, trying to appreciate all these joys at once, only to find we can't adequately keep up with any of them, and greatly increasing our stress in the process.

If you are in the season that calls you to motherhood, focus on that season.  Embrace all that your child is, and all that God is calling you to be as a mother. 

By surrendering to God and your motherhood, you will call into play all the gifts, intelligence, and creativity with which God has blessed you.  By savoring this season, you will find peace, a joy, and a level of self-discovery that simply cannot be found in the workaday world.  

-Lisa Popcak

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Thursday, February 5, 2015

Life Lately in 2015

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Here we are in 2015.  Amazing!  It’s been a cold, cold winter outside.  I’ve come to more fully appreciate what it means to ‘make it your ambition to lead a quiet life.’  It’s not always easy to keep a calm atmosphere when we’re anxiously awaiting blue skies & sunshine, but we’re finding ways to enjoy our time indoors and keep the days moving forward.

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 ^^^AnnMarie LOVES to read.  She amazes us with her ability to navigate through so many books.  She’s currently reading the Whatever After series.^^^

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^^^This is Luke at 5 weeks old.  I took some pictures of him today (7.5 weeks), and wow, it’s fun to see how much he’s changed since these pictures were taken.  His hair is something else!  It’s my new excuse for everything:  “Oh, I would love to, but I have to wash my baby’s hair.”  j/k ^^^  

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AnnMarie & Carlie have been taking a 5 week ice skating course at the Toyota Center.  Their class is about 20 minutes long, but the remainder of the hour is free skate.  I’m not going to lie, they haven’t always finished with smiles on their faces.  I’m telling you people, it’s harder than it looks!  They’ve come a long way though, and I’m impressed with their progress.  Carlie wears a helmet which has really come in handy. :)

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We went on our first outing as a family of 6 last Saturday.  We found a fun barbecue pit in town, and it reminded us so much of our days in Texas.  It felt GREAT to get out & about…enjoying the fresh air and eating some seriously delicious food.  

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Nothing like soft serve ice cream and fish lips to help your day out.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Santa Pics! (that week in December before I had a baby)

I know we are into the new year full swing, but there were some precious moments to remember from the last few months of 2014.  At 39 weeks pregnant I was beyond ready to get our little guy here, so the five and a half of us (aka big belly) paid a visit to Santa Claus at the Windermere Real Estate office and walked through the mall for no other reason than to encourage baby to come!  (That might have been my only reason, but of course the kids were delighted to see Santa and we had some Christmas shopping to do, too.)  I think these pictures turned out so cute!  I wish I would’ve had them dressed up in fancier attire for heaven’s sake (hello Hello Kitty!), but I was kind of in a pregnancy fog for the most part, and my thought process consisted of one foot in front of the other! Really though, the photographer took her time with our family and then e-mailed these pictures to me at no extra charge.  It was definitely a nice surprise in my inbox the week before Christmas.

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