Monday, February 28, 2011

Watering with Love

I always know when my cyclamen needs water because it looks like this. A subtle hint wouldn't you say?
It amazes me that I give it a little water and a few hours later it's back to normal.
I think people are the same way. Sometimes we feel a little droopy like my plant. Maybe we had a hard day, maybe we've made a lot of mistakes, maybe life is kind of getting us down. Someone comes along and gives us a little water in the form of a hug, a compliment, a gift, a listening ear, an act of service- or any kind of love. We perk right back up, ready to face the world, ready to overcome our weaknesses, ready to make a difference and do some good. With a little water, we feel refreshed and are able to grow - taking steps that we need to change areas of our life that need changing.

I respect and admire people who go about their life sprinkling those around them with love. They water wherever they are, content in the garden that God has placed them. I sometimes wish that I could make a BIG difference - to be someone like Mother Teresa or Ghandi or these people that gave their life in the service of others. Then someone shows me love by a small, kind act and I realize that I don't have to wait to make a difference. A big difference is made up of a multitude of small, simple, seemingly insignificant acts. The key is to do them consistently wherever you are, whether you are up or down, in desperate need yourself or wealthy as can be.

It's hard not to let your own insecurities get in the way of showing love. I've always been very shy and reserved, which has made it hard for me to reach out to others. It's only been in the last few years that I've realized that shyness and self-centered-ness sometimes overlap and I think I've been guilty of the latter and to some extent blamed it on the former. I've found that both can be overcomed by immersing yourself in the business of watering those around you, whether it's comfortable or not.

And in our watering duties, let's not overlook the ones closest to us. Our families should be the ones we water the most - showing love every day, multiple times a day. Sometimes I find myself getting out of balance in this area - and in my goals to water those around me, am blinded to the opportunities available to water my own family. I have to remember to stick to my garden - the opportunities and experiences that I've been given.

I've also been guilty of getting out of balance in the other direction - putting so much focus on myself and my family that I neglect to water those around me. I think our garden includes anyone within our influence - neighbors, friends, co-workers, people we meet as you go about our daily duties. People that limit their circle of influence to include only themselves and their family members are really just a small step past self-centered-ness. I was trying to think how to explain this and I came up with these pictures.

This one describes self-centered-ness:
This one describes the next step up from self-centered-ness: family-and-self-centered-ness if you will.

And finally I think this one describes the ideal: family-centered service & love. Focusing as a family on outward service and focusing on love and serving within the family as well.
In summary, just like a plant, those that we water in our gardens of influence will grow and bloom with love. When we water those around us with love, we also grow and bloom. It works both ways, isn't that neat? I'm grateful for the garden the Lord has put me in. I have such wonderful people that I know and that influence me for good in so many ways.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


We did a little snowshoeing with the kids on President's day. I had been once a long time ago, but the kids and Brandon had never been. It was a lot of fun. I thought JB would have a hard time not tripping on them but he really did well.

JB did get a little tired after an hour or so, but he was a real trooper. We had a little sled that Brandon pulled him in when he got tired. It worked great! I think we'll have to do this again. We love to go hiking and the kids did really well. Good winter exercise!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Cleaning your house while your kids are still growing is like shoveling the walk before it stops snowing." - Phyllis Diller

Isn't that the truth? It just seems like you get one area clean and you go into another room to find a complete disaster. Or at least that's the way things work at my house. Moving from one disaster area to the next, all day every day. Well today as I was making my rounds from disaster to disaster I started thinking about Martha. And I remember the story in Luke 10 about Mary and Martha:

38 Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house.

39 And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word.

40 But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me.

41 And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things:

42 But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.
Oh Martha, I am so like you in so many ways! I sometimes feel cumbered with details, many of which really do not matter. Details like "are all my forks pointing the same way in the silverware drawer?" or "Is this sentence worded perfectly to show exactly what I mean?" Now don't misunderstand - I'm not the kind of person who has to have every corner of my house spic and span at all times. I'm not that kind. But I am "careful and troubled about many things" of which do not matter. And I know that I've entreated the Lord for help many times when I've felt left alone in my cumbersome duties. I can hear the Savior's kind words to Martha - I can even see the look on his face. Full of love. Wanting so badly for Martha to understand her worth and importance, but wanting to teach her a higher law. "Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her." Martha was careful, wasn't she? She was full of care for the Savior, probably wanting to provide for him the best environment. Trying to show him by her service how much she loved Him. I do that. All the time. But the Savior's message to her was that though he appreciated those things, He would rather have her focus on Him. On his message, on His teachings, on patterning herself after Him, on living the gospel and blessing peoples lives. Not on filling up her life with cumbersome things that took her away from the very thing that mattered the most - the "good part". It dawned on me today as I was thinking about it that the Savior said, "Mary hath chosen that good part". It's a choice we make! We can choose to be cumbered and troubled or we can choose to not let those details burden us down. It doesn't mean that we should necessarily fly to the other end of the spectrum and do nothing and live in a pigsty for the rest of our life. I think it's more our attitude that needs to change. Are we so cumbered about with serving our loved ones that we forget to spend time with them? Have we forgotten to drop what we are doing in order to give comfort, love or support at the moment it is needed? Do we rush through the day and forget to read our scriptures until the last few minutes before drifting off to sleep? Is our calendar so booked up with appointments that we no longer have time to ponder, pray or study the scriptures? There are so many things that distract us from the "good part". So many details of our lives that we feel pressured to participate in. Dotting all our i's and crossing all of our t's. Finishing every craft or project we ever start on or even thought about starting on. Making sure that every whim is satisfied and every need taken care of. It's like we have this ongoing list in our head that we can never stay on top of. We feel good when we cross something off, only to realize that in doing so we've created three other things to add to the list. When in reality those things don't matter. They're just tasks to be done and there will always be tasks to be done. But missed moments and missed opportunities may not return.

I'm so grateful to be a woman and to be a mother. There is no blessing that I would rather have than to be a mother. I'm grateful to the Lord for his patience with me in my "Martha" moments, which are many. I feel so blessed to have such a wonderful husband and two beautiful children that mean everything to me.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Beautiful Music

I have to share this new piano music that we found that we just love. You can download a free copy of the first piece from the book here:

The whole book is great, we really have enjoyed it.