Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Re-Posted: A Mother Heart, essays on Motherhood. Day 2.

one of my favorite posts actually reveals a very selfish side of my persona. Nie asked me to contribute to a post on what it means to be a mother (in line with Julie Beck's latest words on the topic) and I felt honored-intensely humbled and happy to share my love for mothering with her blogging community.

Stephanie and I haven't met, but she knows my family well. Last year at this time she was sweetly cutting out our sillouhettes while we adventured in South Africa. She sent me such a kind email when the project was finished. Something about how she felt touched by the holy ghost as she worked our faces out of paper. She complimented me, she complimented our family; and in those words she strengthened my ability and resolve as a mother. I'd always enjoyed reading her thoughts and insights, but with that little email and her works of art on their way to me in the mail I felt we had become friends.

we had hoped to visit one another in Utah this past summer, but my family plans changed and the meeting couldn't take place. I"m bitterly sorry we hadn't had the chance to show off our kids to one another and try to go on a run together. Maybe next summer? I hope so....

anyway, I"d love to have you re-post her mothers day thoughts, because they include my thoughts, and if I could stand with her as a mom and a friend right now I'd feel intensely honored....our family's prayers and thoughts are with you all. My kids and I crowd around the computer each day to see how life progresses for the Nielsons. Our lives are better for having them in it somewhere.

Katie Graham

Originally Posted May 12, 2008

1.take care of young thing
2.encourage somebody or something to flourish
"Mothers Who Know Are Nurturers To nurture means to cultivate, care for, and make grow. Another word for nurturing is homemaking. Homemaking includes cooking, washing clothes and dishes, and keeping an orderly home. Home is where women have the most power and influence; therefore Nurturing mothers are knowledgeable, but all the education women attain will avail them nothing if they do not have the skill to make a home that creates a climate for spiritual growth. Growth happens best in a "house of order," Nurturing requires organization, patience, love, and work. Helping growth occur through nurturing is truly a powerful and influential role bestowed on women".

Julie Beck's talk was one of my favorites. I felt like she spoke of my life before and after I accepted the gospel into my life. Prior to accepting the gospel in my life, my husband and I were childless by choice. I really wanted to have children, but we decided it was best to wait until our student loans were paid off and we were financially stable. My husband and I didn't think that we could live off of one income that would support a family and the lifestyle we wanted. Shortly after missionary work by some dear friends, we accepted the gospel into our lives. It didn't take very long for us to see that our way of thinking was completely wrong, especially after seeing all the young LDS College Ward families who were not in the workforce yet and already had children of their own. We were amazed that they were younger than us and that the moms were all stay-at home moms. They had no income coming in other than their husband's student loans and a little financial aid, but yet somehow they managed to provide the basics for their gospel-centered lifestyle. We were impressed and quickly planned for an exit from our current lifestyle. We gave up many of our worldly possession and desires and began our journey in creating our very own eternal family. Julie B. Beck said in her talk, "Mothers who know desire to bear children. Mothers who know honor sacred ordinances and covenants. Mothers who know are nurturers. Mothers who know are leaders. Mothers who know are always teachers. Mothers who know do less". We have a lot of responsibility as Mothers in bringing up righteous children who follow the gospel and stand for truth. Sometimes it may seem like an impossible task to achieve especially when there are many outside influences pulling our children in other directions. Julie B. Beck gave us great encouragement when she said, "When mothers know who they are and who God is and have made covenants with Him, they will have great power and influence for good on their children". I am so grateful for the gospel and all the wonderful Leaders of the Church like Julie B. Beck who constantly guide and inspire us to be the best Mothers we can be. They give us encouragement to know that we made the right decision when we chose a lifestyle that is sometimes looked down on in society -one that is centered in the gospel and one that is Eternal. All you "Mother's Who Know", let's stay strong and stand together! -Anna Blankley, MN

in·flu·ence n 1. the effect of something on a person, thing, or event 4. somebody or something able to affect the course of events or somebody’s thinking or action
"Mothers Who Know Are Leaders Mothers who know are leaders in equal partnership with their husbands. They plan for missions, temple marriages, and education. They plan for prayer, scripture study, and family home evening. Mothers who know build children into future leaders and are the primary examples of what leaders look like. They do not abandon their plan by succumbing to social pressure and worldly models of parenting. These wise mothers who know are selective about their own activities and involvement to conserve their limited strength in order to maximize their influence where it matters most."

We had family night last week even though we were living in a temporary apartment while waiting to move into a new house in a new city. The kids have been rousted from sleep at 6:10 a.m. -the actual rousting being done by my husband and partner in crime while I finished my shower- so we could read the scriptures together before he had to battle his new morning commute and I had to battle sleep deprived toddlers to eat their cheerios before we had to drive sleep deprived school kids to their new schools. I’ve smiled and waved at every living creature I’ve seen in our new neighborhood even though I feel like crying all the time that this actually is a new neighborhood and we have to get used to a new place and create a new routine one more time. When my kids have cried over moving again I’ve let my tears flow with them and then I’ve rightfully said “it’s o.k. to be sad, that shows you’ve loved and been loved. Just remember to accept the good that will surely come.” And in saying those words to my crying children I’m really saying those words to myself. Let the good that will come wash over your heart. Remember to keep that heart open to the little whispers of joy that will come; because there is a God who loves us, and He is near. He doesn’t give us change to punish, He gives us change to grow us into the type of person who can more fully understand and appreciate Him. There is a method to His ways. They always lead us back to Him, and if we let them they also lead us to see the people around us as He sees them, and to appreciate the plan He has laid out with His son at the center. That is His pattern every time; in every change and in every new beginning. And when I remember this truth I can take my kids by the hand and help them waive to the new neighbors too, or have fun with them as we memorize a new phone number or figure out a new grocery store. The ordinary patterns of living can be nice, because we know better than to believe that they are ordinary. Instead we can see together that they are part of a pattern that can teach us how to be happy in the “everydays” that make up the future that will be ours. If I am a leader to my kids it is because I know there is one greater who is leading me. If I plan for their futures, it is because I know He has a bright future out there for them. If I teach and prepare them to take care of themselves as they grow(flushing the toilet after using it included) it is because in the growing there is joy and satisfaction and good. I believe and have felt There is one greater who is leading me. And a husband stands beside me who partners in that understanding. Good things can happen in our family even through the mess of new starts and the confusion of losing that which is friendly and familiar. We can still plan for a bright future, and we can revel in a past that has brought happiness and growth to us and to our children. Early mornings, new patterns of daily life, all of it means something; and that something is great and fulfilling and eternal.-Katie Graham, TX

pre·pare v 1. vti to make something ready for use or action, or for a particular event or purpose 2. vti to get ready or make somebody ready for something
4. vt to plan something in advance
"Mothers Who Know Do Less They allow less media in their homes, less distraction, less activity that draws their children away from their home. 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. Mother’s Who Know Do Less."

(all 8 of Page's children's hands)
At this time in my life, doing less is impossible when you are talking about time. Every minute of every day is so very precious to me. I can clearly see the sand draining out of the hour glass when I look at my Sophomore in high school. At the same time I look at my 1 year old and think of all the fun years ahead. It goes by fast. So I use each day to focus on the most important things in my life and do less unimportant things. I try to stay focused. I do less of micro managing and more of teaching independence to my children. I do more planning and organizing and thinking ahead and less scrambling and fumbling. I stay focused through daily prayer and scripture study and less chatting with friends. I make sure that whatever I do personally, whatever we do as a couple and whatever we do as a family has a purpose-a purpose that brings us closer to God and to being balanced and strong. We don’t have time for mindless activities, we don’t want to have to rebuild after being torn down. We aim for constant uplifting and building. The key to all this is being home and being focused on what goes on there. I like being home. I work hard at home-constantly. But that is what is so rewarding about my life. It is constant work that builds and brings me and my family closer to God.
I am eternally grateful for a husband who supports me and allows me
to be the kind of mother I want to be.-Page Checketts, UT

cov·e·nant n 1. a solemn agreement that is binding on all parties to promise something in a covenant
"Mothers Who Know Honor God They bring daughters in clean and ironed dresses with hair brushed to perfection; their sons wear white shirts and ties and have missionary haircuts. These mothers know they are going to sacrament meeting, where covenants are renewed. These mothers have made and honor temple covenants. They know that if they are not pointing their children to the temple, they are not pointing them toward desired eternal goals. These mothers have influence and power."

(Me and my Mr. Nielson after making our covenants to each other and the Lord
in the temple, on our wedding day)