Sunday, April 17, 2011

God's Love

I have been a Christian, specifically a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, my whole life, but it seems like I will never stop learning more about Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. That's good I suppose, but it still always surprises me. You'd think I'd be used to it by now!

Recently I have been thinking about love.

You've probably been told at some point in your life (or heard someone else be told this) that your life changes when you become a parent.

And it does.

But not always in ways that you expect.

One way that my life has changed is that I am beginning to understand the way that God loves me.

It is effortless to throw around adjectives describing His love, such as endless, never-changing, infinite, all encompassing, etc.

And quite another to believe those words.

I have recently been accepting the fact that I cannot earn God's love, and likewise I cannot lose it. He loves me because He made me, because I am His.

And I am recognizing that aspect of His love because of how I love Jill and Daniel. I love them, because I made them, because they are mine. There is honestly nothing they could do that could make me not love them. (Parents of teenagers or difficult children may disagree with me, but the actions of those children wouldn't hurt you as much if you didn't love them! If you didn't love them, then you wouldn't care!)

Jill may disobey me, or Daniel may bite me, and they may make my life difficult, but nothing they have ever done or ever could do will change the fact that I love them.

Interesting, isn't it?

My love for them is seemingly innate, a part of me that can never be removed.

God loves me like that, too. He is always willing to welcome me back, and His Son Jesus Christ has ensured that there is a way for me to return to our Heavenly Father.

This Easter season is a great time to eat lots of candy and see cute bunnies every where and also a wonderful time to ponder the gift of love our God has given us. He gave us a Savior whom He loved very much, because He loves us very much, too. Christ suffered for our sins in Gethsemane and Golgotha, and then He rose again, permanently conquering death and sin in just one week and eternally paving a way for me to return to the presence of God, who is Love.

I do not mean to suggest that only parents can feel or understand God's love. I intend simply to share how I have gained a deeper understanding of this beautiful principle.

Upon continued thought, I realize that my eventual goal must be to love everyone like I love Jill and Daniel—to love everyone how God loves them. What a magnificent world we could live in if we could all love one another that way.

And when I say love, I mean an endless, life changing, all encompassing kind of love.

And in a slight alteration of topic, here are some pictures of people I love.

Jill and Daddy at Jill's first swimming lesson

Daniel "watching" his sister at the first swimming lesson

Thank you for taking pictures, Grandma!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Mimi did it!

Disclaimer: This post will be along the same lines as my sister's BRAGGfest post she did last month. I can't link to it, or I'll turn myself into a semi liar. So that is why there is no link. Just know that, yes, I am copying her post topic, but at times perhaps originality is not necessary. :)

When Jill successfully does something she deems to be great, such as climbing on something new, she is very likely to exclaim "Jill did it!" I find it very endearing how she recognizes her accomplishments.

Many children do the same thing as Jill (except they say their own names!).

Why don't adults?

We do some pretty cool things, too. Perhaps we don't try to walk along the edge of the couch, but adults can be awesome, too.

I had a moment today where I felt like exclaiming "Mimi did it!" And it made me look back and think of other occasions when I have felt that way.

  • Today I planted a rose bush and a tree. It felt awesome. I've never planted either of those things before, and I honestly thought I wouldn't be strong enough to dig the hole. Granted, I did fall completely on my bum once during a shoveling mishap, but I dug two great holes, and now I have a tree and a rose bush planted. Mimi did it!
  • In ten days, Jeff and I will celebrate our fifth wedding anniversary. I know that some people were surprised by how quickly we decided to get married, but it has been a wonderful five years full of fun and a lot of growth. I'm definitely a different and better person. Jeff and Mimi did it!
  • I feel like giving birth was impressive enough to make this list. Mimi did it! Twice!
  • I made varsity my freshman year and started every single soccer game of my high school career. I played in the midfield position, and I was scoreless my freshman, sophomore, and junior year. I remember how absolutely amazing it felt to score my first goal my senior year. I think I ended up scoring three that season, but I'd have to check my journal to be sure. Regardless of what my final total was that first goal felt so good. Mimi did it!
  • As some of you may know or have noticed, I have a . . . not regular relationship with food. It hasn't always been a healthy relationship, and I was really picky. One facet of this relationship was an avoidance of meat. (And I was not the kind of vegetarian that was smart and got protein and other nutrients from other sources; I just didn't like meat.) However, after I got married, it became apparent that I would need to learn how to cook meat for my husband and eventually my children. A few months after our wedding, I made my first meatloaf. I did not necessarily enjoy the experience of thrusting my hands into a bowl of ground beef and mixing in the other ingredients, but it felt really good to know that I could do it regardless of how I felt about it—that my will could be stronger than my natural inclinations. Mimi did it!
  • I made a pretty cool book for my grandmother in which I typed her yearly letters that began back in the fifties. I also typed family histories her father had compiled and scanned old photos. It took me three years to get together, but aside from some mistakes and typos, it is fantastic. And it was really, really fun to present it to her and the family. Mimi did it! (I'm now on stage 2 of a book compiling the life history of my other wonderful grandmother. I hope it doesn't take me three years again! But I do have two children now . . .)
  • I graduated from college with a major, a minor, and almost a second minor (two classes shy) in only three years. I worked really hard for that. Mimi did it!
  • When Jeff is not home, I can now kill or remove bugs that I find. In fact, I removed one today. Mimi did it!
  • Granted, I don't remember this achievement, but watching Jill figure it out made me realize how cool it is that I can walk. It's harder than you think. Mimi did it!

So, yeah. I am really excited about planting that tree and the rose bush. I hope to enjoy nice shade and beautiful flowers later this summer. (Although I may have to position myself really low to the ground to actually be under the shade. Don't envision me planting a behemoth of the plant variety.)

What have you accomplished lately or forever ago? Or what goals are you currently working on? If you have neither to share, then hey you! Stop being lazy and make some goals! ;D

The following video may only be visible if you are viewing this post on my actual blog. Click here to go there!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

April Showers

April showers had better bring May flowers! There must be some reward for enduring all of the water we have been graced with. Sigh. Our basement flooded again. But here's the positive spin—it flooded in a different way! So that means we did fix the old problem. The water had to find a new way to enter in. This time, the water came from underneath the house. The ground was so saturated with water that water began coming up through the ground into our crawl space under the water barrier. From there, it seeped out into our utility room and basement closet.

We caught it relatively quickly, so even though we extracted and pumped over 150 gallons from our crawl space much less carpet was wet this time. Which is fantastic. We did decide that the carpet padding that got wet a second time should probably be retired, so we're going to have to get some new carpet padding before the carpet is re-stretched. I now know what a difference carpet padding makes.

I must add how grateful we are to have amazing friends who lend us things like a professional grade water extractor, flashlights (Jill makes sure all of the batteries are dead in ours!), a portable water pump, etc. We were also grateful for the donation of their muscles in breaking up part of the sidewalk behind our house and digging a very large hole in the ground and then patching weak spots in the foundation. We even found the old septic line.

I am grateful for sewers.

The two places that flooded (the basement closet and utility room) have the only two doors in the house with child proof knobs on them, meaning that they are filled with goodies I want to keep Jill away from. She has enjoyed having many of these items strewn about the house as we emptied the room and closet to get in and fight the water. I am used to her wandering around and playing by herself a lot when I am doing chores or feeding Daniel. The other day, she came up to me saying "lotion" and holding a bottle of scratch cover up for the body of a car. Ha. Not lotion. Sigh. At least she didn't eat it!

Speaking of eating (or drinking in this case), Daniel cries a lot when I drink milk. I miss milk. I wonder if he will be able to drink milk when he is older.

Outfit Credits: Jill's Jumper is from Amy Whitney, Jill's white shirt was made by my mother,  
and Daniel's snazzy outfit is a gift from my mother-in-law

Jill went to the dentist for the first time.  She was amazing! I really didn't think she would handle it so well, but she did. I do have to give accolades where they are due—the dental hygienist was amazing! She was perfect at putting Jill at ease and explaining everything to Jill.

Jill still has four more teeth to come (her two year molars). We also learned why she has a gap between in her front teeth. I don't remember the term for it though.

Aren't those fun sun glasses? I couldn't believe how long she kept them on. The hygienist gave them to her so Jill wouldn't mind the light.

Alas, the sun glasses stay at the dentist's office, but they'll be waiting there for her next time! And maybe I can find a pair that she will actually wear. I love having dental insurance. It was just added the first of this month, and I love it!

And the most exciting news is that Jill and Daniel have a new cousin to love and play with!

Tabitha Grace has stolen Daniel's crown as youngest Boling grandchild. She arrived late Sunday night (almost Monday!) at just over 9 1/2 pounds and right at 19 1/2 inches long. (Today is Tabitha's due date, so the doctors did a good job at guessing!)

The title of youngest grandchild has never lasted long in my family though, so we'll see how long Tabitha gets to keep it. Amy? Haha. Just kidding. Perhaps Tabitha will have a nice long reign. ;)

Tabitha and her mommy are both already home from the hospital and doing great!

I can't wait to meet my newest niece! After how many boys we had in my generation of grandchildren, I don't think I could ever get tired of girls!

Congratulations, Dan and Rachel.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Randoms

I feel so great! I should complain about things more often, because apparently my blog likes to make a liar out of me! I posted on my blog about sleep frustrations last Saturday night, and this week has been amazing! Daniel has slept for SIX STRAIGHT HOURS every single night this week, and Jill has gone to sleep really easily for her naps and at night time.

Amazing.

I have also been able to do some gardening, and that feels really good. Well, mostly good. I accidentally . . . cough. Sigh. I cut a bush in half. :( Bush killer. It is not really dead though. I've just taken it back a few years in becoming a grand bush. I thought I was pruning off the dead stuff, and I thought I would save time by cutting it in half rather than cutting off the individual branches that I thought were dead. But after cutting, I noticed that the middle was actually green.

I have been discovering that there is apparently a lot of green hiding in the middle of dead brown branches.

Is anyone else thinking "wick"? That word keeps bouncing through my brain as I've been gardening. I want to watch and read The Secret Garden again. Such a lovely book. And movie. It's even a great musical!

Get jealous a lot of you! Saturday and Monday should both in the 80s! :)

Spring is so inspiring.

If you have a blog, do you ever look at your stats? I do sometimes. Interestingly (well to me at least), my blog stats say that this week there have been 47 views from people (or haha one person many times) in South Korea. I looked at the all time views from South Korea, and it was only 58. So, yeah, I wonder what on my blog the South Koreans are looking at. How do you even find blogs from other countries? I would love to. But even when I blog hop, I have never made it outside of the United States. Any advice?

Let's see. What else has been floating through my brain? I guess the topic I have been thinking the most about is how intimidating it is to be a mother. I keep stressing out about how my children are going to grow up someday. The thought of sending them to school and trusting other people to be kind to them is terrifying. And then to imagine them as teenagers and dealing with that. Completely terrifying. And then to realize that who knows what the world will be like by the time they actually are teenagers. I know I shouldn't stress out about it when they're 2 and 0, but it keeps coming back into my brain.

But when my biggest decisions of the day are about what to make for dinner and if vacuuming is necessary, my brain cells have a lot of extra space and time to worry about things that won't happen for another decade.

I wish everyone could just be nice.

Determining family size is really tricky. I was reading various blogs today, and one author stated that she believed that large families are really in a decline. That received many interesting comments. Like that 2 is the new 4, 3 is the new 6, and 4 is the new 8. Some attributed smaller families to selfish adults. Others said that our lives are more complicated now. Some said that it is due to financial burdens like laws about booster seats and expectations that all children should go to college.

People always ask (and I'm sure I've asked others), "how many children are you planning on having?" Well, my original response was always "4 to 8." That gave me a lot of leeway. Recently my answer as been "1 at a time." (Although haha some people are surprised with multiple births!)

It is . . . intimidating (?) scary (?) to think of having more children than can fit in a vehicle.

One commentor (commentator?) on the post brought up a point that I hadn't thought about: population control. There are an awful lot of people on this planet. I had honestly never considered that when thinking about my family size before.

So, yeah, I really don't know how many Jeff and I will have. I can promise this though, haha, it won't be any time soon. One baby at a time please. Especially when I feel like (some days) that Jill still is a baby.

The original post was from the C Jane blog.

Mostly though, when I think about family size, I just feel incredibly grateful and blessed to already have two healthy children. I always assumed growing up that I would become a mother and have healthy children, but pretty much every day I am confronted with the reality that I am blessed and cannot take for granted the children I have.

Haha, something else about growing up. I also used to have a goal to have 4 kids before I was 30. Hm . . .

Oh, to make you even more jealous about the sleep. Three times this week, Jill and Daniel have both taken three hour naps. AT THE SAME TIME. I was able to read, sleep, fold laundry, and now blog. If we ever move Daniel out of our bedroom, I might even sew. (My sewing stuff is in the bedroom.) Because spring really is inspiring. I feel like I can do anything!

This post is really suffering from not having been thought out beforehand. I'm jumping all over the place. And I'm too lazy to go back and edit it. Pathetic me. But my next thought is about gardening again. Jill loves gardening with me. She doesn't wander away or run near the street. She stays right next to me and asks me if it is her turn yet to hold the tools. She sadly does step on my tiny green plants who are valiantly pushing up through the dirt. But hey, she's not even two yet. I give her a break. She hasn't picked any of my flowers yet. She was about to the other day when I told her that she was supposed to just smell it instead. That has satisfied her so far. We'll see if it lasts.

Daniel's smile is brought to you by sleep, infant gas drops, baby acid reflux medicine, and mommy no longer drinking milk. I really miss milk. :( But I love that smile!!

Jill is really, really ready to swim! Her Boling grandparents have given her the birthday present of swimming lessons at our YMCA. She started next week! She is ready to start now though. Ha. So we went and practiced in the bath tub. And by "we," I mean she. Ha.

Today is glorious. The high today was originally 69, but it's currently 77 outside. The window next to me is open. Birds are singing. The sun is shining. My little plants are working their way up. Soon my babies will be awake and happy. And in an hour or so, Jeff will be home! Life is very, very good.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Sleep & Scriptures

I so completely want sleep. The other night Daniel actually slept for five straight hours. He's never slept that long before, and it was wonderful. Somehow though, I'm still exhausted when I wake up. I guess those hours didn't make up for all of the sleep I have missed out on. Sadly, he only slept that long because his daddy was holding him. Daniel has a lot of trouble staying asleep on his back. On his stomach, he'll sleep for about three hours.

I would currently really love to sleep. Daniel is finally asleep, but Jill is not. Daylight Savings Time has not been nice to us. She used to go to bed between 7:00 and 8:00. I know that DST only changed the clock by one hour, but for some reason, the last few weeks she has been going to bed between 9:00 and 10:00. And it is killing me. I miss my evenings of being able to talk to Jeff, tidy up the house, finish the dishes, or read. Or blog.

Tonight, Jill and I went in to brush her teeth around 7:30. I then read her six books. We said her prayers. Then I sang three songs and left. She has not left her room since then. But she has been singing to herself, playing with her stuffed animals, shouting "mama," or crying ever since. What a determined girl. (It is kind of cute to hear her singing/talking to herself though.)

IT IS TWO HOURS LATER. I, especially right now, could not be able to stay awake for that long. She's lying in her bed. The light is off. There is a noise maker creating beautiful ocean sounds. And somehow she is still awake. I do not know how to get her back on to her schedule. I must admit that I have enjoyed the three to four hour naps she has been taking with her late bed time. But I would trade back to the two hour naps to get my evenings back. The last two days, she took earlier, shorter naps, so I thought maybe she would go back to bed early tonight. No such luck though.

It's like as soon as I figure something out, there is something new to figure out.

That aside, I was able to listen to some of General Conference in between Jill wanting my attention or Daniel crying to be fed. (I feel as though he has a personal goal to eat as much as possible to overcome having been premature!) I am excited for catching more tomorrow.

(General Conference is a biannual six session conference held by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. During the sessions, members of the Church all over the world can hear sermons/talks given by the prophet, apostles, and other general authorities and general auxiliary leaders. Here is a video explaining why Conference is so important to Latter-day Saints (Mormons).)

Earlier this month, I finished reading through the Book of Mormon, and right before I finished I found a new favorite scripture that I am really excited about. Excited enough that I am considering picking up cross stitching so I can display it in my home.

There are lots of scriptures that I aspire to or am inspired by.

2 Timothy 4:7 "I have fought a good fight; I have finished my course; I have kept the faith."

Doctrine and Covenants 14:7 "And, if you keep my commandments and endure to the end you shall have eternal life, which gift is the greatest of all the gifts of God."

Isaiah 12:2 "Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the Lord Jehovah is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation."

Moroni 9:25 "My son, be faithful in Christ; and may not the things which I have written grieve thee, to weigh thee down unto death; but may Christ lift thee up, and may his sufferings and death, and the showing of his body unto our fathers, and his mercy and long-suffering, and the hope of his glory and of eternal life, rest in your mind forever."


That last one is my newest favorite. There are a lot of grievous events in the world, natural disasters and atrocities caused by man. It really is enough to weigh a person down unto death. But I really need to stay focused on the hope offered by Christ and remember another of my favorite scriptures.

Revelation 21:4 "And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away."

Beautiful.

And on a wonderful note, I have not heard any noise from Jill's room for about ten minutes, so I think she has finally drifted off to sleep.

Victory.