Thursday, April 16, 2015

Acquaintance with Grief

In my acquaintance with grief I have diligently strived to be prayerful and observant.  In the process I have come to recognize that even the most mundane aspects of my life have been falling into place...'like a beautifully orchestrated symphony of necessary events under heavenly direction.' 

I believe grief is meant to awaken our souls to reality.  We are much more than just mortals, and it’s necessary to KNOW that (not just believe it) at some point in our journey.  Life through an eternal lens takes on new meaning and purpose. 

If I truly believe in Christ, then come what may!  Death cannot kill what never dies.  Easter Sunday was a true celebration of this very truth.

"Sometimes in our sorrow we are tempted to feel alone or forsaken, but looking back, we recognize we were never really alone…nor were we forsaken.  I believe that in our grief we are meant to feel alone in order that we might humble ourselves to talk to God and seek an understanding that defies mortal senses.” - Chris Jones

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Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Blessing Day

Last month (on Sunday, March 8th) Luke received a very special blessing from his dad known as a baby blessing.  (This type of blessing provides opportunity to give a baby an official name and to bless their physical & spiritual welfare.) The specifics of Luke's blessing are recorded in my journal thanks to a good friend who had the foresight to write everything down that was stated in the moment (thanks Kiersten!).  Although all four of my children’s baby blessings have been special, Luke’s was especially powerful considering the circumstances.  It was really great to spend a weekend with my mom, brothers & their families, and my husband’s family.  Luke was the first of by babies to be blessed in our home ward.  In the past we’ve had our babies blessed in Idaho where all of our family members were able to participate, but this time they all came to us!  He wore a darling little white tux that his Grandma Wolfley gave to him.   

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One thing I’ve learned about having a ginger baby with blue eyes is that everyone can’t help but comment about it!!  I love having this sweet little redhead around more than words can say; I sure hope his color keeps.  

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I tried to capture a picture of everyone that came, but it didn’t happen with all the hustle & bustle of dinner preparation afterwards.  Anyway…here’s the best of my attempt. :)  Feeling grateful for family and the support we received on this momentous occasion.

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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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