My faith

I'm a Mormon.

Monday, September 30, 2013

A stroller for the twins

Many of you who read this blog know about my little sister Whitney. She and her husband Evan have been down a hard road, but we are so excited about their twins, who could arrive any time now that Whit is 32 weeks! Hopefully the babies bake a few more weeks, but the end is definitely in sight.

Now I need to ask for a favor. We have been wanting to do something really nice for them. Something that would be useful and appreciated. You see, Evan is in medical school, and funds are tight. And this is their dream stroller:
The only problem? This stroller is almost $500. (And that is with my REI discount!) Some might argue that they could get a much cheaper stroller, but this is a top-of-the-line stroller. It lasts decades. It is really great! And sometimes, when you have had 2 babies born still, you just want something nice for the babies that you have.

Will you help us? In essence we are throwing them an online "stroller shower!" And YOU are invited! $5-$10 would be SO appreciated in meeting our goal!!

For information on how to contribute to this gift, please contact me at crystalDOTdeardenATgmailDOTcom.
Thank you!!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Musing on Motherhood

Motherhood has been on my mind a lot lately.  It's no wonder, I am a full-time mom to three little girls!  But I've had a couple of thoughts in particular that I need to write down!

Becoming a mother to my first daughter was heaven!  When she and I were together, I felt like I was born to mother. Every second was a fulfillment of my lifelong desire to raise children! (Well, maybe a few of those sleepless nights were annoying, but they were outweighed by the giggles, games of peekaboo, songs, and general joy a baby can bring!)  I recall a specific instance of feeling proud of myself for never even feeling angry or annoyed at my child.  She was nine months old or so and I felt so successful.  I was so patient, so caring, so engaging.  Motherhood, while I knew it wouldn't be easy, would be something I enjoyed every second of.

Now I look back and laugh at my 25-year-old self.  I also feel a little pity.  She had no idea what was coming.  The heartache of having a child you can't comfort.  The embarrassment of a child flinging herself on the floor in the middle of Hobby Lobby.  The years (literally) of only a handful of nights of uninterrupted sleep.  Not to mention all the "You're the meanest mom ever!"s and  "I'm not your kid anymore!"s.   I thought I was patient THEN!?  And then people tell me it's going to get worse?  My oldest is only 5!! (PS if you are a mom to teens, please don't dishearten exhausted young mommies by telling them it only gets worse!  Just give them a hug and offer to do their dishes!)

It took me a while to put my finger on why motherhood has become so hard for me.  Why do I sometimes have days when I wish I could be doing ANYTHING ELSE?  Why do my patience and sanity seem to hang by a thread with every small trial? The answer came to me last week.  My entire life, things have come pretty easy.  Learning and school were simple, college wasn't bad, I felt like I was progressing in my career as a teacher and was naturally competent in that field.  But nothing compares to motherhood.  It's not easy for me!  It is all-day, all-night, day in and day out with little thanks and rare golden moments that make it all worth it.  Growing up, with a little effort I could master a skill.  But just when I think I can handle a tantrumming toddler, I get thrown some major kindergartener attitude and I feel like all the skills I have developed are meaningless.

Tonight I was talking to my dad on the phone.  I told him that I felt I needed to get my teacher re-certification done soon.  He asked me why.  The answer I gave had some weight, but it didn't really describe my true feelings.  I told him that sometimes I forget that I used to know stuff.  That I used to be good at stuff besides washing dishes and changing diapers.  Perhaps I need to dig deeper to realize how much I know about maintaining a home, budgeting, child development, teaching, the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and many other things that I could never have learned as well had I not chosen to become a mother!

Does the answer I gave my daddy make it seem like dishes and diapers are a drudgery?  Motherhood is anything but monotonous to me.  I mean, at any given moment I could be trying to problem solve my toddler's tantrum, while helping my three-year-old clean up the lotion she rubbed on every square inch of the bathroom (while having the chat "lotion is for grown-ups and it costs money, so you don't get to touch it, ok?"), or teaching my five-year-old how to read (and trying not to get frustrated that she still sometimes just can't tell "b" from "d".  Darn those letters that mirror each other!)

When I really think about it, my life can not be called boring.  It's still hard, and compounded by the fact that my husband works a lot.  I won't go there in this post but if often feels like I'm the lone warrior in a huge battle. (Come to my house at bedtime if you want to see the battle in action!)

So there you have it.  My meandering thoughts on motherhood.  I'm more patient now that I ever thought possible, and hopefully I will gain even more patience and perspective before the "teenage years" set in.  Can I be honest?  I am just going to be SO excited when I don't have to help wipe bums, hold the 3 year old down to brush her teeth, or constantly get healthy snacks for hungry bodies. (Why are my kids always desperately hungry 20 minutes after dinner?!)  I have hope that they'll be able to do those things on their own at some point.  But will I miss the requests for more tickles, playing "I'm gonna get you!", and snuggling sweet-smelling littles while reading books?

I'll end with the words of a wise mother: "Mothers who know do less. They permit less of what will not bear good fruit eternally. Mothers who know are willing to live on less and consume less of the world’s goods in order to spend more time with their children—more time eating together, more time working together, more time reading together, more time talking, laughing, singing, and exemplifying. These mothers choose carefully and do not try to choose it all. Their goal is to prepare a rising generation of children who will take the gospel of Jesus Christ into the entire world. Their goal is to prepare future fathers and mothers who will be builders of the Lord’s kingdom for the next 50 years. That is influence; that is power." Julie Beck

Friday, February 15, 2013

Pornography is NOT OKAY!

A few years ago my sister mentioned something on her blog about the harmful effects of pornography.  I should go and find that post, but I don't think that was even the main point of the post.  However, the backlash from some of her readers was astounding.  So many people justifying the viewing of pornography!  Some even tried to convince themselves that watching porn with their husbands enriched their relationship!  Really?  Do you really think your husband is thinking about YOU when he sees other humans objectifying themselves?

Over the last few years, I have read a lot and seen people I love being harmed by pornography use.  And it isn't just men!  I knew a girl in high school who was ADDICTED to trashy romance novels.  I don't think it served her well.

I am SPEAKING OUT!  ENOUGH!  As a Latter Day Saint, I believe that one of the greatest gifts God gave us (After His Son, and agency) was a BODY!  That body is the home for our spirit.  Each person on this earth is a Spirit Son or Daughter of God.  But the entire point of pornography is to view each other as objects that we can use for gratification.  I have had yucky guys check me out.  It's disgusting.  I feel violated.  I don't wear provocative clothing (although even if I did, I still deserve to be treated as a human and not a piece of meat!).

Pornography is NOT OK.  Sports Illustrated Swimsuit edition is NOT ALRIGHT!!  It's wrong!  Women, where are our voices?  Why aren't we united against this degrading mind-washing scheme!

I love the group Beauty Redefined.  Read their research!  The things they write are SO important!

I know this post isn't the most eloquent, well-written post.  Someday my kids will be older and I'll will have time to proof-read and revise my writing.  But it is still important!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Just a thought

Since becoming a mother almost five years ago, my life has been filled with minor anxieties about teaching my children.  I believe I am equal to the task, but it seems there is a lot of room for parent failure!  Fortunately, I am doing my best to seek the help of my Heavenly Parents.  I have thought a lot about how Heavenly Father and Mother (I see no reason to leave her out, I feel confident that she and I were very close in the pre-mortal realm and I love her!) parent us.  The Eyre's wrote a great book that gives lots of lessons we can learn from our Heavenly Parents, and I won't go into those.  BUT, a few minutes ago I did have a thought, and I thought I would share it and let you take it where you want.

When the Savior fasted for forty days at the beginning of His ministry, he was then tempted by the devil.  I have borne testimony to my children many times about the reality and divinity of the Savior.  But I think it's important to remind them that Lucifer is real, and that he wants to claim us.  In D&C 76, Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery bear powerful testimony of Jesus Christ.  "He lives, for we saw Him, even on the right hand of God." (verses 22-24) Then, they are shown in vision the fall of Satan. (verses 25-30)  "And this we also saw, and bear record."  I wouldn't call it a testimony of Satan, but it is important to acknowledge that yes, he is real.  And He "maketh war with the Saints of God."  

So, the conclusion I draw from this is that not only must we warn our children of Satan's desire to have power over us, but perhaps one way they can combat his temptations is by using the same strategies the Savior did when he was tempted after a period of fasting.  Our family will be studying these scriptures and seeking to learn how to make it through these temptations.  

How do you teach your children to withstand the temptations of the devil?