Thursday, September 25, 2014

Cal aime, Cal n'aime pas.

Lately Cal has been making his own sentences. It has been hilarious to hear what he is thinking about and to see his little imagination begin to work. One of my favorite questions to ask him is, "What do you like?" He usually answers me, "I yike..." with a string of various and sometimes surprising responses. Here's a sample of his answers today:

::  airplanes
::  boats
::  ships
::  trains
::  Thomas (the train)
::  Momma
::  Daddy
::  apples
::  cheese
::  cake
::  walrus
::  fishies

Our conversations about what Cal "yikes" reminded me of the scene in Amelie when the narrator goes through several of the characters and talks about the quirky things they like and dislike. Here's the video (I couldn't find English subtitles, je suis desolee):

Here's what I "yike:"

::  books
::  pumpkin season at Trader Joe's
::  the way the air smells near the ocean
::  acoustic covers of pop songs
::  reading in bed
::  period dramas
::  undercooked desserts
::  being awake before everyone else
::  herbal tea lattes
::  folk music
::  chambray shirts

What do you like?

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Food for Thought

I came across this lovely passage today in the book Eve and the Choice Made in Eden by Beverly Campbell.
“Discernment, the ability to see beyond the literal to the divine essential, has ever been God’s gift to women. Since Eve, women have faced the challenge of ambiguous choices that carry with them holy, life-altering consequences. On the correct resolution of these ambiguities hangs the future of generations, the civilizing of society, the basic dignity of the human race, and mortal life itself. Daily, women must make decisions based on things not seen or even known clearly. Often these decisions require great leaps of faith. Frequently these decisions must be based on what serves the greater good for the greatest number. Often such decisions require women to set aside their own well-being in favor of another’s. The very process of bearing children illustrates this truth dramatically. It is a source of strength and comfort to many women to know that inherent in their divine nature is this innate ability to be in tune with God’s purposes.
            “Even more awe-inspiring is the knowledge that the Lord has such abiding faith in women’s judgment and wisdom. By His very actions, He has shown women that He wants them to claim and properly act on this gift. Women are surely beloved of the Lord for Him to have placed them in such a position. As He relies on women to embrace the greater law, to bow to the greater commandment, He affirms their intellect, their integrity, and their righteousness.”
I have heard church leaders say that discernment is one of the most valuable spiritual gifts -- the ability to make apt decisions in a world of choices. I know in my life I have had to make choices that at the time seemed ambiguous -- the choice to change my career path from pharmacy to nursing, the choice to have a baby earlier than we had originally plotted out, the choice to work at this point in my life rather than be a stay at home mom, which I feel like is the more "normal" choice for other women in my position. All of these choices came with guidance from the Holy Ghost, but none of them were easy to make. All of them have brought their share of difficulty and doubt, but ultimately have blessed my family and my life more than the path that would have been easier for me would have. (I am not saying it is easier to be a stay-at-home mom, or a pharmacist, or a woman without a child -- just saying that for me personally, those choices would have been more comfortable for me at the time I chose against them. Clearly the Lord had other plans for me).

This also reminds me of the reason we chose Cal's name. He is named after one of the central characters in the John Steinbeck novel East of Eden, Caleb Trask (who goes by Cal, too). In the novel, Cal has a series of trials that seem to doom him to a failed life. However, he learns that as a human being endowed with personal agency, he can choose his actions -- he can choose to overcome his situation, to make the difficult choices that may lead to temporary discomfort but if he can endure it will lead to lasting joy and self-mastery. The essential word that epitomizes his experience is timshel, a Hebrew word meaning "thou mayest." Steinbeck explains this word in a conversation between Cal's father, Adam, and their family's servant, Lee:
‘Ah!’ said Lee. ‘I’ve wanted to tell you this for a long time. I even anticipated your questions and I am well prepared. Any writing which has influenced the thinking and the lives of innumerable people is important. Now, there are many millions in their sects and churches who feel the order “Do thou,” and throw their weight into obedience. And there are millions more who feel predestination in “Thou shalt.” Nothing they may do can interfere with what will be. But “Thou mayest!” Why, that makes a man great, that gives him stature with the gods, for in his weakness and his filth and his murder of his brother he has still the great choice. He can choose his course and fight it through and win.’ Lee’s voice was a chant of triumph.
            Adam said, ‘Do you believe that, Lee?’
            ‘Yes, I do. Yes, I do. It is easy out of laziness, out of weakness, to throw oneself into the lap of deity, saying, ‘I couldn’t help it; the way was set.’ But think of the glory of the choice! That makes a man a man. A cat has no choice, a bee must make honey. There’s no godliness there. [...] I have a new love for that glittering instrument, the human soul. It is a lovely and unique thing in the universe. It is always attacked and never destroyed – because “Thou mayest.”'

(If you are familiar with Mumford & Sons, their song "Timshel" puts this concept into poetic song as well). (Also, I wrote a blog post about this concept in literature at my book blog a couple of years ago). 

I am so grateful that God trusts us enough to give us choices, the greatest gift given to humanity. We can choose darkness or light, and when we choose light, we are progressing to live again with Him. 

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Happiness Project Recap and September/Inspiration from August

I haven't had as much time to blog lately and I've been tempted to just drop it all... but the truth is that I love it even when I can't dedicate much time to it. So all my little end-of-month posts are going to be crammed in here, and hopefully I'll do better next month! 

My "have fun" goal in August was partially completed. I did go to Idaho and had a lot of fun with family, had a girl's night, and tried to give myself the chance to enjoy life instead of always piling on more responsibilities. Cal went through a really difficult time with teething and it was hard to get out and have fun some days, but we still had a good end of summer. 

For September I am focusing on improving my marriage and relationship with Scott. I'm keeping specifics of this goal to myself as I feel like marriage is a pretty personal thing, but that is my focus for this month. 

Now on to the things I found that I loved this month! There were so many that I've considered making this a weekly post, with the obvious issue that I don't always find myself blogging on a weekly basis. Maybe we'll go to bi-weekly. But for now, enjoy a huge list of things that inspired me in the month of August:

:: Beautiful vintage photos of motherhood.

:: Help from heaven with whatever trials we face. 

:: 5 lessons from postpartum depression. 

:: An unexpected advocate for breastfeeding. 

:: Rules for visiting a new mom

:: The way motherhood transforms the way you love

:: Amazing scholarly article about how birth is a sacrament (by one of my nursing school classmates!)

:: Beautiful video about how faith enables us to go through difficult times. 

:: 20 happy thoughts for when you are having a bad day. 

:: Women can change the world.

:: 8 lessons for a great marriage. 

:: An essay about making sacrifices while being true to yourself. 

:: Who we really are, underneath our mistakes. 

:: Have you ever walked a labyrinth? I love them. Any good ones in Los Angeles?

:: Reconciling our desires with the Lord's plan for us. 

:: Let's be understanding of others. 

:: Those days when we just can't keep it together. 

:: A different perspective on following Christ. 

:: Photos of moms with postpartum depression who look insta-perfect. Which goes to show we all carry a burden that is unseen. 

:: Buzzwords for the pseudo-crunchy mom. Essential in Los Angeles. 

:: Male support for breastfeeding (yay!)

:: A story about postpartum anxiety and coming through it. (The more stories shared like this, the more women who feel alone are saved). 

:: The gratitude of this mom reminds me of why I am a nurse, and inspires me to be better. 

:: More insightful thoughts on women, motherhood, and career. 

:: I am a huge advocate for breastfeeding. But... it didn't go very well for me, despite hours of work and tears and spending money and lactation consults and expensive supplements. So I appreciated this list of reasons not to feel bad.

:: Love. Love, love, love (is the answer). 

:: Treating yourself with the love and forgiveness you would show to your child. 

:: How birth is like baptism (kind of like the Sacrament of Birth article referenced above). 

:: The lovely, lovely, luxury of time

:: It's okay if you don't stare at your children every moment. It really is. (Unless you take it too far... and therein lies the constant stress that permeates my life!)

:: If you are wondering if you should work or not, here is a quiz to help you determine if you should be a stay-at-home mom, a working mom, or a work-at-home mom (hint: there's no winner here!)

:: Let's not shame people for the type of birth experience they have, mmmk? 

Okay, I'm definitely going to have to do this more than once a month. That took forever! Hope you found something you liked. 
Blogger Template By Designer Blogs