Sunday, May 29, 2011

April’s Mother’s Day Talk 2011

Mother's Day Talk 2011


**What I think Womanhood means is to highlight the good. Point out the lovely. Emphasize the virtuous, and decorate the plain. What a boring place the world would be without women to make it more beautiful!

President Hinckley has eloquently captured what the Lord has said of His precious daughters:

"Woman is God's supreme creation. Only after the earth had been formed, after the day had been separated from the night, after the waters had been divided from the land, after vegetation and animal life had been created, and after man had been placed on the earth, was woman created; and only then was the work pronounced complete and good.

"Of all the creations of the Almighty, there is none more beautiful, none more inspiring than a lovely daughter of God who walks in virtue with an understanding of why she should do so, who honors and respects her body as a thing sacred and divine, who cultivates her mind and constantly enlarges the horizon of her understanding, who nurtures her spirit with everlasting truth."

James E. Faust, "Womanhood: The Highest Place of Honor," Ensign, May 2000, 95 :

Femininity is not just lipstick, stylish hairdos, and trendy clothes. It is the divine adornment of humanity. It finds expression in your qualities of your capacity to love, your spirituality, delicacy, radiance, sensitivity, creativity, charm, graciousness, gentleness, dignity, and quiet strength. It is manifest differently in each girl or woman, but each of you possesses it.

Dieter F. Uchtdorf, "Happiness, Your Heritage," Liahona, Nov 2008, 117–20:

"To me it appears that our splendid sisters sometimes undervalue their abilities—they focus on what is lacking or imperfect rather than what has been accomplished and who they really are.

You might say, "I'm not the creative type. If that is how you feel, think again, and remember that you are spirit daughters of the most creative Being in the universe."

**For some this means writing, others painting, music, some organizing, finding patterns in business, being a liaison, observing and research, fashion and highlighting our best physical aspects, and on and on.

On MOTHERHOOD: Sheri L. Dew, "Are We Not All Mothers?," Ensign, Nov 2001, 96 :

"Motherhood is NOT what was left over after our Father blessed His sons with priesthood ordination. It was the most ennobling endowment He could give His daughters, a sacred trust that gave women an unparalleled role in helping His children keep their second estate. As President J. Reuben Clark Jr. declared, motherhood is "as divinely called, as eternally important in its place as the Priesthood itself."

Russell M. Nelson, "Our Sacred Duty to Honor Women," Ensign, May 1999, 38:

"During my professional career as a doctor of medicine, I was occasionally asked why I chose to do that difficult work. I responded with my opinion that the highest and noblest work in this life is that of a mother. Since that option was not available to me, I thought that caring for the sick might come close. I tried to care for my patients as compassionately and competently as Mother cared for me.

Many years ago the First Presidency issued a statement that has had a profound and lasting influence upon me. "Motherhood," they wrote, "is near to divinity. It is the highest, holiest service to be assumed by mankind. It places her who honors its holy calling and service next to the angels."

**My mind certainly has been overwhelmed by the immediate joy and work of a newborn baby. I've often thought again and again about the treasure spoken of by President Packer, when he gave the parable of the two keys unlocking eternal inheritance. Because my husband and I have been faithful in keeping our covenants, we have been able to access priceless treasures (our children) together. There have been many moments over the last few months where I have gazed upon our newborn son and cried tears of joy, overwhelmed with the immenseness of the gift we have been given.

In our small inner-city New Haven Branch I was called up to the stand in Sacrament Meeting about 11 years ago, just minutes after Colleen was blessed as a newborn. I was asked what I could say about motherhood. I don't remember a lot of what I said, but I do remember saying that I had only been a mother a few weeks, and that I really didn't know a lot about being a mother yet.

I do remember a moment at our Stake conference a few weeks later, when the congregation sang together, "I am a Child of God". I looked down at a sleeping infant Colleen while sitting in those metal overflow chairs, likely because we were late in arriving, and thought, "I'm the one who will Teach and Guide. I'm the Parent, Kind and Dear." It felt as if I had stepped into a new era of life, and that I never could, or want to, go back.

I have since related to those I taught Sunday School or Young Women lessons to that there have been two times in my life when I felt especially grateful for my own mother and father. One was when I moved out of the house to begin college. Not only did I realize all the small daily things that they did for me while I grew up, but I missed the feeling of wholeness that our family made together – the influence of our home life and the fortifications it offered.

The second time in my life I was grateful for a mother was when I first became a mother myself. Scott and I had the luxury of staying home for at least 10 days in our comfortable apartment by ourselves, changing, feeding, rocking, dressing, and then cleaning, laundering, wiping, and somehow doing the other necessaries of life for ourselves during the time that baby Colleen slept. Then the morning came for Scott to go back to work, only for a half of a day. I cried as I sat in bed, still in pajamas, and I remember saying, "I don't know how I will do all of this by myself".

I had come to the realization that someone, at some time, had certainly done all of those many tiring services for me over a long period of time. That someone was my mother.

One of the blessings of being here in Connecticut for this unexpectedly extended time has been that many people out in public have watched our family as we have, well, mostly gone out to eat. Many have given kind comments, such as, "You have a beautiful family," or "You are so brave to have so many children," or sometimes even, "you are so good at taking care of your children. How do you do it?"

I have to answer with the realization that I'm not the same mother that cried when Scott left me for just a few hours when Colleen was two weeks old. Just like any other Divine Calling from the Lord, my strength and abilities have been enhanced, my capacity has been expanded, and my efforts and service have been blessed to be enough when they were given in faith. My work hasn't been perfection, but instead of pointing out my faults or shortcomings, the Lord has blessed me with understanding.

One of the things I feel is important for me as a mother is the ability to quietly recall events of the day or week after emotions are calmed. These are times when, if I'm able to humble myself and seek the Lord's help, I'm blessed with the guiding Spirit of Truth to find or try ways to lead each child toward their Divine Potential. I couldn't feel successful at all without constant Inspiration from a source that knows and loves my children even better than I do.

I'm grateful for my experience being a mother and I feel as though my greatest blessings are the members of my family. I say these things in the Name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Watching their Testimonies bloom

I know it's been a while since I blogged. We sure have been learning a lot here, and I've launched myself into a whole new set of creative activities since Christmas, including Yamato-e Japanese Painting and continuing with piano lessons. I've already started to play simplified hymns, and I'm very excited. Shortly I'll start to hand-sew a Yukata (summer kimono), and I'll hope to blog more about these experiences soon.
What brought me to blog again was just another old Wednesday night, home with the girls in the evening because Scott had a dinner meeting (this happens quite a bit lately). Bridget was wanting to watch "Barbie and the 4 Musketeers" for the 3rd day in a row, and after accomplishing the necessary room-cleaning and toy-picking-up, and after moving the kids table in front of the T.V. to eat dinner to (this is a rarity) we couldn't find the Apple T.V. remote. (Does anyone else have one of these? Whoever designed them didn't have kids, they're impossibly small!)
Bridget was on the verge of breaking down into tears for the ump-teenth time that evening, when she got that flash of recognition in her eyes and went running into her room. I of course thought she had remembered where she had seen the remote last, but she came out seconds later, saying, "I've said a prayer, so now we will find it." After a quiet laugh, we kept looking, but no luck (or, apparently, revelation). And this is why.
Bridget did cry some more, and we reluctantly moved dinner back into the dining room, and sat down to say a dinner prayer and eat (by now it was already 7pm or so). But Colleen had brought the "Friend" magazine and had asked if she could read a story during dinner (I find meals are the best time to read scriptures, too, because everyone is eating and doesn't wander off). Colleen opened up this months' Friend and began to read, with great expression, the story of "Losing Apollo" (
*I noticed that I can "share" the article on blogger, but I've never done this before: hopefully this link works.
The story summarizes a boy feeling confident that his dog would live after being hit by a car because he felt comforted after his prayer, but his dog didn't live. He was confused as to why he felt better, but the answer he received wasn't what he was hoping for.
Colleen stopped at this point in the story and asked very sensitively, "Bridget, do you see a connection with this story and anything in your life right now?"
I had been watching and munching from my chair, and it was a very growing few moments for me indeed. I was watching Colleen be a teacher, a reflection of the things I had taught her, but on the level of having her own testimony, and being able to fluently read a magazine article, and wanting to comfort and teach her sister in a way to create a life-lesson such as this one.
Bridget was able to make the "connection", and we had the sweetest dinner we had had in a long, long time (sorry Scott).
In order to keep the blog a little on the light side, I'll tell you the conclusion of the remote story. The next morning I found it in the pocket of my robe, and Bridget said, "Mom, Jesus put the remote in your robe pocket last night!" I think all of our prayers were answered, but my daily prayers that "I'll be able to help my children reach their divine potential and find joy in watching them grow each day" were probably answered the most.
Since I just wanted to get this posted, I'll caption the pictures down here. The first is the Apple TV remote, in comparison with two of our others. I told you. The second is Colleen's room wall, inspired and created by just her. She adds uplifting messages to it almost daily.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Cherry Blossoms

We made it through our first cherry blossom season. The blossoms are beautiful and fragile and don't last very long. The season seems to last about a week. The blossoms try to peak out and then it seems like all of a sudden they are in full bloom and about three days later they are beginning to fall off of the trees. We did manage to make it down to the Nagoya Castle on Sunday towards dusk and walked around. It was a really fun thing to do for a Sunday afternoon. We managed to get a fee pictures and we thought we would share.


Sunday, April 12, 2009

A splitting day to remember

Had an unforgettable experience at work. It has even taken awhile for me to get to the point where I could post it. It started off innocently as most events do a few days prior. April asked if I needed any new pants. I confidently responded that I was in great shape and proceeded to list off all of the pants that had. A few days later as I was going through my closet I came across a pair of pants that I had not worn for awhile. The conversation that I had with April fresh in my mind I decided to wear that pair of pants. They had been through a number of battles, various trips, and I don't know how many washings but they had stood the test of time and I wasn't about to abandon them now.

I dressed and talked April into letting my take the car to work that day and I was off. The day went along totally uneventful. We decided to head out for lunch and since I had a car I was volunteered to drive. Not a problem. We all went out and I got everyone seated and then I opened the door to van and swung in and ............... I heard a pop and what sounded like something ripping. I wandered what it was, everyone else was talking and hadn't seem to notice anything so I drove on still wondering what happened. As we got to lunch I was being a little cautious and let everyone get out of the van first. As I got out I did a quick double check, my coat was fine, my shirt was okay, my pants...........not okay. Needless to say it was a little breezy on my way into lunch.

For a logistics check for those who aren't familiar (which is probably everyone). It takes thirty plus minutes to drive home from work, it was already early afternoon and no one else had noticed yet (or least let on that they knew). We only have one car so April couldn't help I was on my own. I had a decision to make, do I try to hide it, or acknowledge the windy challenges I had and go home. I thought for awhile and decided I would work on getting through the day.

Once inside the restaurant I excused myself to the restroom, while most everyone else was off getting themselves some water to drink. I ducked in the restroom and took a look at the mirror, I thought might be able to pull it off, my jacket was about the same color as the pants and the rip was low enough there was hope. Lunch was uneventful and we headed back to work, throughout the rest of the afternoon it was an exercise of careful positioning. Making sure that I didn't lead any procession as we went through the various meetings of the day. I leaned against the walls as I talked to those that I needed to talk to and remained seated as people came to talk to me. As the afternoon wore one each time I would stand a sit you could a hear a little pop.

The day ended with at least no outward acknowledgement of my predicament and as we headed out the door to go home as I climbed into the van one last time and sat down the last final stitches let go. I was now completely unzipped from the waistband all the way down to the middle of my pants but luckily the day was done. I dropped my riders off and luckily pulled into the house without anyone in the building in the garage at the same time and I think I escaped into the house only to be meet by the laughter of April. However, I think I escaped the day. The only thing in question is what did the security cameras for the building see????????

Bridget's Fast Shoes

Bridget was proud to put on her new sandals the other day for the first time. As we were walking to the bus stop she had to stop and ask me where the fast mark was on her new sandals? She proceeded to tell me that her inside shoes (the shoes she wears indoors and school) have a slow mark on them, so that even though she is fast those shoes make her slow in PE. However, her new sandals have a fast mark and now she is very fast. Which was a very good thing since we had to run the last 50 yards to catch the bus.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Ashlynn out shopping

Bridget had the opportunity to star in the elementary assembly. She gave a talk about how caring is important and told the story of when she helped one of her classmates with their coat when she was in preschool. She did a good job standing tall and talking to the whole class. I was lucky enough to not have anything pressing for work so I went in with April and Ashlynn to see Bridget perform.

After the assembly we had to stop and the local grocery store because we were out of diapers (she is working on potty training and I think we are making progress). You could tell that Ashlynn had been taught by one of the best. She immediately walked over to where the baskets are kept (they shop with baskets here not necessarily carts which makes it awkward to shop for five at once). She grabbed the basket that was here size and promptly walked up to the fruit section, calmly grabbed a carton of strawberries and she was off. Before she was done we had to put back soda, ice cream sandwiches, sweet bread, rice toppings (she thought they were candy). Not to mention that she did manage to make out with the strawberries, potato chips, and two different flavors of yogurt (I told her they were treats, she didn't know the difference).

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Potty Training Trials

We are currently engaged in all out war with Ashlynn over potty training.  It is a battle of wills.  The score today is Ashlynn 2 and parents 1.  We started off the day with a bang and it has been downhill ever since.

The battle hasn't been without its moments though.  Some of the more memorable moments are

- As Ashlynn is going to be on the opening night of the campaign "You be mean and I go peepy in the potty"
- Later after she had been allowed to wander naked for awhile she disappeared for-awhile and suddenly proclaimed that she went poop-poop.  Sure enough there some in her potty and her pull up was no where to be found, but you can guess what really happened........
- Still later after April had thought she was making progress.  Ashlynn had gone a number of times in one day, but only with April out of the room.  Upon further examination (peeping through the door one time) it was discovered that Ashlynn was dipping her hands into the toilet and splashing water on her bottom and claiming she had gone peepy to get candy.

Wish us luck.........