To Write is an Act of Love

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

I am a writer.

It takes an act of courage to say (or type) those words. I can say I am a stitcher because I sew. I can declare myself to be a mother because I have two children. I can show that I am a designer by creating works of fashion and presenting them to the world to be seen, experienced, and judged.

To say I am a writer is quite different.

Almost every person in this world writes. Anyone can put words together to engage in one of the most common forms of communication. Yet, not everyone is a writer. The difference lies in whether a person writes to accomplish the daily acts of living, or if there is part of a person's identity that's tied to the magic of storytelling.

But to be a writer! To declare oneself to be such a thing, without a physical manifestation of written work authored by you solely! To claim the title without a published work to present to the world to read, judge, and experience! It is giant step into mystery.

I write because there is a song in my heart that needs to be honored. The only way to honor that part of me is to sing it, to create it, and put it in that space around me, to give that song to others. I do so to connect with others, to uplift and inspire them, to inspire myself. I write to find, create, and honor the beauty that this life holds for each of us. I write to hold the darkness at bay and fill my world with light; light that will show the way of happiness to my children and anyone else who crosses into my circle and hears my song. Writing is an act of love both for oneself and for those that will share the light created by story.

I write because it is a part of me.

I write because I am a writer.



Wednesday, November 16, 2016

I've never really wondered if it was worth it to go to church with toddlers. Even though most of my time at church these days is spent taking care of them, rather than listening and learning with my fellow ward members. I always assumed that something good would come from a day spent at church. Even if I received no spiritual insights from the speakers or lessons for the day, I knew there were other benefits. Those I've quoted most often are the discipline of going each week, teaching our kids that it's important to go, as well as going to serve others through our callings instead of going to receive for ourselves.

When I was single and lonely, I would wake up sometimes not wanting to go to church. It seemed like a job to to get dressed for other people, to go and small talk with other people, and to present myself as a confident mid 20s professional woman, and I did not look forward to it. But I recognized that each time I made the decision to go, I heard something that day that strongly impacted my life and spoke to my soul.

I carried that lesson into my life as a mother. Even if I could only catch a small bit of church, I believed that that small bit would be useful to me. I started looking for my weekly spiritual manna in the nursery lessons I taught, or the primary songs I sung. Often they were there. There is power in showing Heavenly Father that you are willing and seeking spiritual learning.

But there is something more. Maybe I discovered it on Sunday, or maybe I just remembered it. But it felt like a new vision opening up to my heart.

I was in choir practice. Or trying to be in choir practice. I usually go to choir while my husband stays home with the kids. The choir in my ward is really small, and I can often be the only alto in practice that week. My little girl, however, hates it when I go without her. So I often find myself trying to balance cherishing my only half an hour alone to myself in days, or letting my girl come with me and experience the Spirit in a different way than she usual does. I usually end up going with the latter with varying results.

This Sunday was the same. Though I was so very tired, both emotionally and physically, and though I desperately needed some time alone to commune with the Spirit, I couldn't say no to her when her shining face pronounced she wanted to come with me. So we went. Late. As I sat and plopped down all the bags of stuff that are essential for a day at church with toddlers and a primary calling, my sweet girl ran over to get me a music folder. She then proceeded to wander around the chapel and try to find the best hiding spots. I tried to keep my eye on her as well as the conductor and wasn't really successful at either. She then took it into her little brain that she was solely responsible to clean the chapel and brought me every little treasure and paper and cheerio that the previous ward had left behind, one by one. After a potty break and waving to every primary friend she could see, I returned to my seat just in time for the closing prayer. I had sung about four lines the entire practice.

Oh but my heart was yearning; yearning to sing, yearning to sit peacefully, yearning to delight in the Spirit. Mostly I was yearning to be close with Him and drop my burdens at the feet of the Savior. I didn't feel like I could carry them through the next week alone. So that is what I brought to Him in His chapel; four lines of song and a heavy burden. Not much of an offering.

But that is what He asks of us. He asks for a broken heart and a contrite spirit. I had brokenness and contriteness in spades. It doesn't seem like enough, but that really is all He asks. He wants us to bring our offering to Him, to worship with Him, and to receive His peace. It isn't a spiritual message that we hear or share on Sunday that makes the difference. It isn't the fulfilling of our jobs and callings that He seeks. It is our offering of a worshipful and repentant heart that He accepts. He rewards it with His Spirit, which gives unto us peace and the ability to see and feel His love. Learning through the Spirit and serving others with Christlike love then flow from it.

As that word, offering, settled into my heart and my mind this Sunday, I moved from thinking about what I had to give the ward choir was enough. Or if the attention and happiness I was able to give my daughter was enough. Or if I was enough. I felt that my small offering to the Lord was enough. And I was left with peace, stillness, and a feeling of love through the Spirit. And it was enough.



Sunday, September 25, 2016

I have this really distinct memory from my childhood.

I'm playing my backyard wandering in the trees and hiding in the leaves, when I overhear a conversation my neighbors are having in the next yard over. A little boy was asking his father, who was pretty young himself, where heaven is. The father knelt down at the boy's side and pointed to the sky. "Do you see that tiny little star way over there? It's way way beyond that."

I was a young girl, probably only about 8 or so. But I remember knowing that heaven wasn't far beyond the stars, deep in space. I knew and felt that it was here around us, that angels and loved ones were close watching and guiding us every day. I understood at that moment that not everyone knew, as I know, how much God loves us. And that is truly a precious gift.

  1. Heavenly Father, are you really there?
    And do you hear and answer ev'ry child's prayer?
    Some say that heaven is far away,
    But I feel it close around me as I pray.
    Heavenly Father, I remember now
    Something that Jesus told disciples long ago:
    "Suffer the children to come to me."
    Father, in prayer I'm coming now to thee.
  2. Pray, he is there;
    Speak, he is list'ning.
    You are his child;
    His love now surrounds you.
    He hears your prayer;
    He loves the children.
    Of such is the kingdom, the kingdom of heav'n.



Tuesday, February 16, 2016

There is a beauty about ourselves that we are unfamiliar with. We may catch glimpses of it once in a while that catch us off guard. It's those kinds of moments where you just pause and realize something about yourself, or see yourself in a new way.

They don't come if we look for them. Often we look in the mirror searching, hoping to see something, find something we like there. Instead we have a tendency to see the things we don't like, the mistakes we've made. The negative things jump out at us and obscure the truth of our lives.

But once in a while we find ourselves open. Open, not seeking, just quiet and still. No noise, no contentions with ourselves. It's then that we find it, that moment when we don't seek anything.

Beauty. Pure. The way that He sees us. It can wash over us like a wave, or just be a little ray of pure light.

It catches me off guard. So often I am caught up in the noise of daily life and struggles that distract me from Him. But He knows us and sees us. He sees the truth of us. He sees our beauty.

And if we are honest and open, not seeking anything but His truth, He will show it to us.
How beautiful we truly are.



Thursday, January 07, 2016

This Sunday was my daughter's first day as a little Sunbeam. I was hoping to send the Hubby and the Bubby to Sunday School while I went with the little lady to her first primary class, but Heavenly Father had different ideas.

The Primary chorister called a few days before and asked me to substitute for her. I was tempted to say no and tell her I wanted to be with Boo Bear, but I know how hard it is to find someone musically inclined without other commitments to substitute. So I said yes.

There is a brand new song for the kids to learn. It's so new that it's not even in the Children's Songbook yet.

 If I Listen with My Heart

If I had been a little child when Jesus lived on earth,
I would have liked to walk with Him and listen to His words,
But as I search the scriptures I can hear His words of peace,
And if I listen with my heart I hear the Savior's voice.

I prepared a pretty average singing time. I wrote the lyrics on butcher paper, printed pictures to put with the lyrics, and came up with a simple game for the kids to put the pictures up and pick primary songs to sing with them.

My goal was pretty much just to not make too big a fool of myself and keep the kids entertained for the 20 minute singing time. If they learned any of the song that would be a bonus.

Boy, did I underestimate those kids.

Baby Bear did okay at first, until she saw me stand up to lead the opening song. She wanted to come too, so I ended up just holding her and singing really loud in front of the piano. I couldn't get her to sit back down with her class, so she sat with me up front. That was okay until she saw that the other kids got to go up to the podium for the scripture and prayer. She wanted to go too and cried really loud when I wouldn't let her. So we found Daddy and he and Bubs sat with her while I led singing time.

The little kids go first while the big kids go to class. Most of them can't read so I had them take turns picking a picture and finding where it went on the poster. There were pictures of Jesus, listening ears, a heart. Each one had a primary song to sing written on the back. Between me having no idea what songs the kids knew and some of the kids being pretty new to primary, I assumed I'd just be singing for them. I was wrong.

They each sung with all their little hearts. Even the songs they didn't know. They'd sing something and as soon as they'd catch a word they'd belt it out really loud. Totally off key and totally adorable.

Each picture they picked went with a line of the lyrics. I explained each line a little bit as we put the pictures up. We talked about our hearts and how they helped us feel feelings. We talked about how Jesus loved to talk with the children where He lived. We talked about how Jesus doesn't live on the earth now, but He still lives and loves each of us. He loves us and wants to talk with us every day. We talked about how usually you listen with your ears to the words people say, but you can also listen to your feelings and what they say to you. We learned that it's the Spirit that speaks to us with our feelings and tells us the things Jesus wants us to know.

I didn't expect it to be so easy to talk about the Spirit. When you try to talk to adults about it, especially if they are hearing it for the first time, it can get complicated and confusing. It can be hard to find the words to explain how your feelings know so much, how you can communicate with deity through emotions, and how to know if your feelings are the Spirit or just your own worrying and contemplating.

But the kids listened and answered questions, volunteered the things they already knew, and soaked up things that were new to them.

They got it. And it didn't seem foreign to them.

We repeated the words to the song and listened to the music of the song. Then a magical thing happened.

They sung it nearly perfectly. This song that they'd never heard before sounded fantastic, like they'd been singing it for years. We sung it a couple more times and by the time it was time to break for classes, the kids knew the song.

I walked with Boo Bear to her class and she waved goodbye with a smile.

The big kids came in next and it went just as fantastically. The big kids really engaged in the conversation. When we talked about not being able to hear Jesus's words with our ears, they reminded me that Joseph Smith had actually seen and heard Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. When I asked them what our hearts did, they responded with intelligent answers about the circulatory system and how the heart pumps blood that carries oxygen to all the parts of our body. Then we related how the figurative heart helps us receive inspiration that is just as vital to our spirits as oxygen is to our bodies. They were not only listening, but excited to learn about the gospel and how to build a relationship with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.

They also sung the song to near perfection on the first try.

It was a great experience. As the day went on I pondered about the lessons I had learned. I thought about how easy it was for the kids to learn spiritual truths because of their openness and their purity. I also thought about how easy it was to learn something that I would be hard because they did work to prepare by learning the lyrics and the meaning of the song before they sung it. I ended the day grateful that I had been able to participate so much in my little lady's first primary day. I was grateful that He had better ideas than I did.

But the very best part came a couple days later when I was coloring with my kiddos. I was drawing shapes and having her tell me what they were. When I drew a heart she answered with, "Heart uh-minds us Jesus wuvs me." And then my heart uh-minded me that even the littlest Sunbeam can feel His love with their heart.

Hooray for happy Sunbeams.


{impressions} Mommy Manna

Monday, March 02, 2015

"Give us this day our daily bread..."

Each day is a struggle. Each day has its challenges, its victories and defeats. Each day requires huge doses of patience, love, forgiveness, repentance, understanding, selflessness, and all other gifts of the Spirit. These precious heavenly resources seem to get used up faster than they can be gathered. They must be carefully cultivated and preserved, painstakingly gathered each day because these gifts don't keep.

Each day we must glean in the gilt edged fields of the scriptures. Each day we must gather the manna of spiritual inspiration to be able to feed our souls for one more day. We must find the spiritual and emotional resources we need to be able to nourish the souls of all who gather around our hearth and table.

So let the first light of our day be used to bask in the warmth of God's love so that we may bring that love unto the souls in our care. Let us fill our hearts at the well of the spirit at the first dawn of our day so that all the moments following can be blessed by the light. 

Devote the first fruits of your day to God each and everyday. We need it. Our kiddos need it. The world needs it.


Valentiney Wanderings

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

just a note to say hi and happy love day! There are some fabulous things around the interwebs to help celebrate the happy occasion. I thought I'd share some of my favorites with you.

via pinterest

For your Valentine's weekend soundtrack, try the Alt Indie Love Songs radio station on Pandora or check out this great list of Country love songs.

For movies check out some of these favorites and don't forget my mom's favorite, Pure Country. Also, check out a beautifully written reason why there is one movie you should definitely skip over at Scissortail Silk.

For some golden advice on love and marriage, check out Lessons in Love from the prophets and their wives or the Best Conference talks on LOVE.

And if you are lucky enough to be planning your own special day to say I Do, gather some inspiration from Chris Thile's beautiful wedding to his love, or some of the gorgeous new gowns over at bhldn ("beholden").

That inspires me to share some of my own amazing wedding day with all of you! Stay tuned for that and have an amazing Valentine's Day!

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