The Eternal Family

One Right Decision

Because no one that lives in this house actually reads what I write here, I am going to share with you my final essay for my English course this term.  I just turned it in to my instructor, so who knows what kind of grade I will get on it, but here it is.  I have spent a few hours writing, and editing this and I do hope that you enjoy it.

One Right Decision

            I was all of 18 years old when I became a mother and a wife. During this marriage I was blessed with four wonderful children and one wandering husband.  Twelve years later, I was a single mother living in a home that I could not afford on my own in a world that I no longer understood.  Forging my way ahead, I took some turns in the wrong direction and with discovery and blessing, I learned that my Heavenly Father values me.  Four years after my divorce, I met a wonderful man and he lived 2,600 miles away.  I flew there. He flew here. There is only so much flying a new relationship can handle.  He moved.  He moved from his home town, from his property, from living next door to his aging father, to be with me and my four children.  We quickly married and my children adored him.  They thrived having a father figure in the home and only months later, he became “Dad” to them.  Eleven short months after our wedding, I gave birth to our daughter.  A daddy in his own right and happy as could be, almost.  My husband hated my career and he hated the weather in my home town.  My home would never be home to him.  He was miserable, but he would never admit to it. I just knew, as one does when something isn’t quite right with their spouse.

My oldest child began his senior year in high school just weeks before our daughter was born, and the next oldest was just starting junior high.  Scared and with trembling words, I approached my husband to discuss his misery. “Do you want to move back home?” I asked.  His clear blue eyes welled with tears, and he just nodded his head.  I drew in a shaky breath and told him that if he could just wait until the school year ended, we would start the plans and go in the summer.  I don’t believe that I had ever seen him so relieved.  I advised my supervisor at work that I would be leaving in the summer and moving across the country.  I told my family, we told the children and we began to plan.  It honestly took the entire school year to get ready to go, but when June rolled around we were ready.  My notice had been given to my supervisor at the appropriate time, I had said goodbye to my friends and my twelve year career.  The moving van arrived and we loaded up.  For once, I finally felt as if I had made the right decision.  I had finally decided after being a mom for eighteen years, that I was going to be a wife and a mom before I was anything else.

The decision to be a wife and a mother shouldn’t be as hard as it was.  I loved my husband and I loved each of my children as fiercely as humanly possible.  Why was it so horribly difficult to move away from my hometown? Why was it so hard to do what God intended for me to do?  As we trekked across the country with a dog, several fish, and children in the weighed down car towing some of our belongings, there was nothing but time to ponder.  I sat in the passenger seat for six very long days holding a map and providing directions to my dedicated husband along the route.  We made it to his hometown and with great relief stretched our legs and found a rental home.  As the days turned into weeks and the weeks into months, I hadn’t found a job yet.  Finally at the six month mark, I was offered a position in my previous field of work and when I told my husband, he simply asked me why I had applied and stated in a matter of fact manner that he didn’t want me to go back to work.

I can’t say that I was completely shocked by my husband’s words, but I was confused, disappointed, and felt utterly lost.  I had always worked.  I had worked for twenty years and the time I had just spent finding a job was pointless.   It was then that I remembered that I had decided before we moved that I was going to be a wife and a mother before anything else.  Feeling a door slam in my face was the reminder that I needed.  Slowly, the days crawled by as I felt overwhelmed with my new duties of wife and mom.  I continued to drive the kids to school for drop off and pick up.  I continued to make my husband’s lunch each morning, but it was out of duty not of love.

Seven months after our arrival in my new town, we began to build our family home on the property that my sweet husband owned.  Every day, every step of the way, the money that I had set aside for retirement was building the home that I was to live in for the rest of my life.  While I was excited at the home building process and the idea of finally owning a home, I was terrified that I would be stuck in this horrible state of self-misery that I once saw in my husband.  We moved into our newly built home with fresh paint and brand new cabinetry one year after our family arrived in my husband’s home town.  As the days crept by, I realized that I was missing something in my life.  I was missing a piece of me – a really big piece.

I found my local church building and rediscovered my Savior, Jesus Christ.  I started attending my Sunday meetings, I began to pray, and I opened my scriptures again for the first time in what seemed like forever.  I accepted a calling to be a Primary teacher and I learned from seven year olds, the love that I have for my Savior could grow exponentially.  Taking my small child to church wasn’t easy, taking my teenage son to church wasn’t easy, but my older daughters were a breeze.  We attended as a family. We grew together in Christ as a family.  While our family isn’t perfect, the love that our Savior has for us is and it is that love which has taught me.  His love has taught me that being a wife and a mom is enough.  Not only is it enough, it is perfect for me.  I slowly crawled out of the darkness that I had allowed myself to wallow in and have flourished.  I now get up in the morning to the alarm clock and happily pack my husband’s lunch, wash dishes, cut grass, do laundry, and all the other mundane things that come with being a mom and a wife.  I love my family, and I love the gospel of Jesus Christ.

The one right decision for me was moving across the country and leaving the comfort of my family and hometown.  It was this choice that lead me back to my Savior.  I have grown into a loving, happy wife.  I have grown into loving the carpool and weekly grocery shopping trips.  I have learned to love the playground with my toddler, story time, bed time, and all the in between times.  The decision to put my husband in front of me, a costly decision at the time, was the one decision that I know for certain was the right one in my life.

 

Well, there it is… I am so nervous to post this, but I suppose a click won’t hurt.  Thank you for reading my essay, and I pray that as you did, that you had a moment of clarity about parenthood or marriage.  God bless you.

Samantha

 

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The Eternal Family

Yesterday, my almost 8th grader got a text message from her National Junior Honor Society sponsor looking for volunteers to come and help the 8th grade assistant principal at the school today.  I, of course, immediately responded and said that my child would be there.  Why?  First, because I am a horrible mom.  Second, because as a NJHS member, she is expected to do service hours.  Third, kids have got to stay busy or they just watch too many Netflix shows over the summer.  And finally, and most importantly, because when you are in the service of others, you are only in the service of God.  I firmly believe this.

Now, how does this fit into the ideal of an eternal family?  Service is the glue that binds a family together.  Each night at the dinner table (okay, 6/7 nights a week), we ask each other what act of service we provided for someone else during the day.  Sometimes the answer is that a child loaned a pencil to someone or gave someone a sheet of paper.  But, there are moments that shine.  Moments, sitting there at the dinner table where my husband will share of pulling over his work truck and giving his water to a homeless man under an overpass or moments when I have taken someone a meal or someone to a medical appointment.  There are even bigger and brighter moments, when one of the kids actually went out of their way to do something kind for a sibling…. make a bed, read a story, do their chore.  Something.  And it is these moments, that I get to realize, as the mom, that these little acts of service are the glue that holds us together.

Now, as the mom, I get to do little things each day for everyone.  It’s pretty much the normal mom stuff, but it’s still service.  So for all you moms out there that work your tails off at home, pack lunches, wash dishes, and load after load of laundry remember that you are not only doing your “job” as wife and mother, but you are providing a service for your family.  Giving service is sometimes thankless, and I know for me, when someone actually thanks me for providing service, I will always say “no problem.”   It usually isn’t a problem, but even when it was hectic to figure out, I still say “no problem.”  What I need to do is remember to say “you’re welcome.”  I mean “you’re welcome,” it just never comes out of my mouth that way.  Anyway…. the point here to this blog post is service.

My NJHS member is excited to go and work today, but that excitement stems from hanging out with her “Bae” all day and knowing that the boy she has a crush on is going to be at the school volunteering his time too.  However, service is service, and she’ll be working all the same, and getting to enjoy herself.  I am proud to have kids that are happy to go work in the community and serve others, even if it’s just moving text books and stacking them up in a closet.  It’s great to be a mom in these latter-days and it’s great to serve ones family and those in the community.  Go and do.  Be a Nephi, be an Amulek, be yourself and serve God.

 

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The Eternal Family

Sharing Everything

How important is it to share everything?  Okay, not everything.  I don’t need to know when my husband made a left hand turn at the intersection of Main and Bolivar, but everything.  The important things.  Well, important is relative.  Relative to what though?

I was struggling with a personal monster this weekend, and still am.  That being said, my husband kept something from me over the course of the weekend in order to better help me with my struggle.  Is that right or wrong?  Who is to say?  My husband did not tell me something that I view as really important and even urgent in order to better assist me in my own way.  In his mind, he was completely justified in not telling me.  In mine, not so much.

Let’s just start this off by talking about Benjamin Franklin and his discovery of how electricity works.  Okay, we’ve talked enough about that now… because I don’t really know how electricity works, I just trust that it does and when it doesn’t, I call the power company or my resident electrician, my husband.  My sweet husband deals with his own monsters, in the form of migraine and he fought with one on Friday this weekend and was down in bed for the majority of the day.  He was scheduled for overtime on Saturday and he still wasn’t feeling great, but he grumbled out of bed and out the door so that he could work to provide for our little family (mostly because he missed work on Friday.)  He came home on time Saturday evening and he was a little cranky, but nothing out of the ordinary for having to work ten hours on your day off… you know what I mean?  We went to bed at a normal time and when Sunday morning rolled around, I could tell another headache had set in… or so I thought.

I went about my day and took the kiddos to church and came home and he still wasn’t feeling up to par.  I tried to make sure that he was taking his migraine medication, but he was being resistant and I couldn’t figure out why.  I was just getting frustrated with him.  I just wanted to help him be on a recovery path from his migraine… is that too much to ask?

I climbed into bed Sunday evening just after nine and as I’m drifting off I mumbled something about him not taking his meds like he is supposed to.  He then said “because I got shocked yesterday.”  I sat up in bed, threw the covers off, stomped across the room and flicked the lights on.  “You what?”  We talked for a few minutes, the situation diffused and we fell asleep holding hands.

As I got up with the alarm clock this morning and made my husband’s lunch I meandered the kitchen thinking of what had happened.  My electrician, my husband, had been electrocuted at work. When he came out from getting ready for the day, I made him promise me to never hide something this big from me, even if it was for my own well-being while I was fighting with my own monsters.  Husbands and wives should be openly communicating, most especially if we faced death over the course of the day.  Sheesh.  I do love him.  And he loves me.  He didn’t keep it from me because I didn’t need to know.  He kept it from me so that I could be successful in my own endeavor.  He kept it from me because he loves me, as much as I love him.  So, while we should share everything, we should share everything at the right time.

I do believe that my husband was guided to keep this from me when he did, and I put my trust in him and in our Savior, that it was all just perfect… even though I didn’t think so at Mosiah 3 8the time.

I love you mister.

 

 

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The Eternal Family

As I Said

Wife first.  As I said.

It was a quiet morning around here.  The alarm rang at 5:20 and I scooted out bed and made my husband’s lunch. No sandwich today.  It’s a treat to get a sandwich from the deli at the supermarket.  I prepared the rest of his lunch and then curled up on a chair and watched the sunrise, a special treat for me.

Shortly after hubby pulled out of the drive heading for work, I pulled out of the drive and headed for the supermarket, with no kids!  Another treat for me.  I try, each week as I arrive at the store or just before heading there to ask hubby if he needs or wants anything.  Most weeks he tells me no, but there are others where he will place a request for bacon.  Today was a no day, but he didn’t know there wasn’t a sandwich in his lunchbox… he never looks before he leaves in the morning.  He simply trusts that I have done what I always do.

I made my way into the store and through all of the aisles, my supermarket is undergoing what I like to call “confuse the shopper.”  In other words, they are rearranging all of the items on the aisles so nothing is where it used to be.  So frustrating, and today I learned that Kraft brand Parmesan cheese is a meat department item.  Can someone explain how cheese is a meat department item? For real, leave me a comment.

Back to the point.  I finished the shopping and my hubby was on a job site 40 minute drive time away and the wrong direction from home, and I have his sandwich.  I even made sure to leave it out of all the bags so I didn’t forget to take it to him.  But that didn’t happen.  I sent him a text to tell him that I have it and to let me know when he’s in a more reasonable spot so I can bring it to him.  I headed home and got all of the groceries put away.  20 minutes later, he was in the perfect spot.  I scooped up the toddler and the sandwich and headed to meet him.  I found his work truck, delivered the sandwich and left a little note and was on my way to other errands.

Did I have to buy him a sandwich?  No.  Would it have been easier to make a sandwich this morning before he left for work? Yes.  Did I have to make a 20 mile round trip to deliver a sandwich to him?  No.  Did I love doing it?  Yes.  Does he appreciate it? Yes.

Little things in life, make the biggest differences.   I love loving my husband, and taking the time away from home to deliver a sandwich is just one of those little things.  Wife first, self second, children third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh…. it’s like a mix and match game.  The places are interchangeable, but wife is almost always first.

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The Eternal Family

Turn the page

Dear Moms,

Are you scrolling on your screen looking for a moment to escape from mundane routine chores?  I know that I’m certainly guilty of that. . . almost every day.  I am not perfect, and neither are you, and we all need a break from being a glorious mom now and then.

I love each of my five children and I have been a mom for 21 years, 3 months, and 20 days this morning.  That’s more than half of my life, so I’m confident saying that if you are feeling overwhelmed with laundry, pets, floors, toilets, tubs, and toys then you should take that break.  Just don’t scoop up your tablet each time and turn to social media for your “away” time.

I have found that as I turn to my scriptures, instead of social media, that I am a better more glorious mom.  The deep love that I hold for the scriptures is more fully learned as I take my time out in them and seek Christ instead of crafts or gossip.

Three weeks ago my family set out on a Book of Mormon reading challenge and along the way we get treats or “prizes” for reaching certain points throughout the book.  We, as a family of individuals have 60 days to get through the entirety of the book, and we are having a great time of it.  The kids are racing to get done… we aren’t wealthy and the kids want to go eat at the Olive Garden.  The whole family out for a dinner, we haven’t been able to that in a while.  Along the way they get icee’s, candy bars, chips, and an assortment of other treats that I can pick up at the supermarket without breaking the budget if milestones are reached within the week.  Both of my older girls are racing to catch up to me (I do love winning.)  I pray that they are successful and that as they spend time in the scriptures each day that they will not only feel accomplished for doing so, but that they will grow in strength and spirit.

Be a glorious mom, open your scripture app on your phone, spend a few moments Moroni 3remembering Amulek, Alma, Captain Moroni, and others that testify of Jesus Christ.  We can all be on the pathway to His kingdom if we but spend a few focused minutes each day, dedicated to Him.  Diapers, dogs, and dishes will be so much easier to handle, if we but first turn the pages.

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The Eternal Family

Peaceful mornings

What comes first, wife or mother?  Well, wife of course.  At least here in my home.  I know that it doesn’t seem like that on many occasions, but wife is truly my primary focus.  You may think… well, you should focus on your children first.  There are hours upon hours in the day that I get to focus on the children, but only so many minutes that I get to focus on being a wife.

The alarm rings… it’s five twenty in the morning.  I struggle out from under the covers to slap that horrid bell and let me sleep for nine more minutes.  It blares again, slap.  The third time I manage to switch it off and I fumble my way to the bathroom.  It’s five thirty-eight.  Who wants to be out of bed at five thirty-eight?  Not a single person.  I don’t care if you are a morning person. . . if you could sleep until six, wouldn’t you?  Of course you would.  (If you wouldn’t, you just shoosh.)

I make my way to the kitchen and flip on the light switch and blind myself for a nanosecond while my eyes adjust, the sun isn’t even up yet.  Open the pantry, grab my husband’s lunch pail and open it up.  What can I toss in there this morning to just be done with this routine?  Ice, water, Gatorade, soda, granola bar, cheese round, chips, dessert… still no sandwich.  Why do I have to make a sandwich?  The sun isn’t even up yet.  Miracle Whip, lunch meat, cheese block, bread. . . gently spread on just the right amount of dressing, three slices of honey ham, cut some cheddar cheese, place it on.  Done.

No, not done.  I pick the cheese knife back up and cut the sandwich lovingly in half and get out the sandwich bag.  I place the sandwich neatly in the bag, zip it closed and place it on top of everything else to prevent it from getting squished.  I love my husband.  This is one of those moments where I get to be a wife first.

The children are still snoozing, and I know my husband loves when I make time for him.  IMG_1500bwEven when that time is just the three seconds it takes to cut a sandwich in half.

You see, I will always have children, but they will only live here with me for a short time in this life.  They each get their time with me, but when they are all grown and begin their own families, I will be here in our home with my husband.

We will sit side by side and share a sandwich.  A sandwich cut in two.

 

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The Eternal Family

How horrible am I ?

Well, let me tell you how horrible I am.  If you are reading this, you are about to be inundated with blog posts for the next week and a half.

I went to class last night, and realized that writing in my blog is my capstone project for Fundamentals of Religion 200, and that I have not been working on the project at all.  As you can tell, from the lack of blog posts.  So, here I am.

I have been doing really well about reading or listening to my scriptures every day, but what I really want to share is a project that I just finished up for my religion course.

I began the project by taking the five love languages quiz for myself.  I then had my two teenage daughters and my husband take the quiz to discover which way each of them felt love.  Armed with this knowledge, I set out to love each of them each day for two weeks in a manner in which they felt love.    I then wrote in my journal each day how I loved each of them.

Let me just say, do not do this the same way I did.  Go ahead and have your family take the quiz.  But DO NOT try to focus on three people at the same time.  I feel as if the project was a failure, but I still learned.

Next up… loving each of them one at a time for two weeks.  Obviously, I am going to make sure that I still love all of my family members, but I am going to focus on getting better loving them in a way that they need one at a time until I have it down.

Husband… here I come. Watch out!

 

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