Tuesday, April 24, 2018

I will teach at the cradle

One night I was reading this great book with Ollie.  

We were on Chapter 5, "Traveling in the Wilderness."

I read the words of this little square out loud to him: "The Lord wanted Lehi's sons to have wives who would teach their children the gospel."  
When I read that it hit me like it never has before.  It was of those moments where the Spirit teaches you something you've always known, but in a way that speaks to your mind and embeds in your soul in a way it hasn't before. 

Later that night I looked up the scripture referenced below the picture.

1 Nephi 7:1 And now I would that ye might know, that after my father, Lehi, had made an end of prophesying concerning his seed, it came to pass that the Lord spake unto him again, saying that it was not meet for him, Lehi, that he should take his family into the wilderness alone; but that his sons should take daughters to wife, that they might raise up seed unto the Lord in the land of promise.
And it came to pass that the Lord commanded him that I, Nephi, and my brethren, should again return unto the land of Jerusalem, and bring down Ishmael and his family into the wilderness.
The Lord sent Lehi's family back to Jerusalem to get wives - so they could have companionship and create families but - specified here - so they would teach their children the gospel!  I especially love how it's phrased in verse 1 - "raise up seed unto the Lord."  Not only are our children our seed - but to me they are little seedlings, waiting at our feet to be taught.  Two of my favorite motherhood quotes are, "Teach at the cradle" (Elder Perry) and "The cure for crime is not the electric chair, but the high chair."  How early is it to start teaching my children the gospel?  I guess there never is too early a time.  Walking the church halls on Sunday with a child pre-nursery age, wondering what your purpose is at church when you're just in the halls most of church.  Well Carly, at least being in the building and allowing your child to feel the Spirit, and showing them the pictures on the wall, and letting them feel your love as you hold them close to your heart - that is good.  That is "raising seed unto the Lord."  

Sometimes it's hard for me to figure out when to teach my children besides the set times of weekly Family Home Evening and nightly scripture study.  I often feel overwhelmed with just taking care of them, let alone deliberately teaching them.  Often times (okay, most times) when we have planned, spiritual times they are not reverent and sacred times.  They are "we are doing this because we know we should and will be blessed" times and children are whining and parents are disciplining and the Spirit is way in Antartica and there seemed to be more peace in our home before we started the spiritual time.  😂  But.  I trust that learning still happens and know it's the right thing to do.

But then there are these spontaneous teaching moments that come up, and come up more and more now that I am trying to notice and act on them better - like Ollie asking what the new picture is on the wall (we learned about Joseph Smith this past FHE and I taped his picture on the wall), and I answered his question but sadly instead of elaborating and teaching I attended to what I was currently doing (cleaning up the table).  But then during bath time I remembered his earlier question and had a gentle nudge that this was a great time to elaborate.  I asked if he remembered the new picture on the wall.  I asked if he could repeat the word "dispensation" and I taught him how Joseph was the first prophet of this dispensation.  I explained that he saw Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and they talked to him.  
*Carter is whining in the background, Ollie's head is partially submerged under the water, I'm tired*
But then Ollie's head pops up and says, "Yeah, I know that Joseph Smith saw Heavenly Father and Jesus."  

My friend Ashley mentioned one of her goals is to sing to her children at night.  I agree with her that bedtime is a stressful time, and often I want to throw them in bed instead of take time to nurture and love in that moment.  :)  But tonight I had a gentle nudge to sing to him.  Sing to him more.  I sang him a song my dad used to sing to me, "There is a Green Hill Far Away."  As Ollie's eyelids became heavy, the tender words testified of a Savior who loves him.

I've also noticed there are little "pockets of time" that come up, in addition to the spontaneous teaching moments, that I am going to try to take more advantage of.  Some pockets of time I've noticed are when dinner gets cleaned up quicker than normal and I lay on the living room floor out of exhaustion, but the boys think it's the best thing ever and as we are playing, I can take time to talk to them about what we learned in FHE, what they learned in church, how special they are, where they came from, why families are important, etc.  These pockets of time are short and sweet, but when they do happen they can be put to use wisely if I choose to have a teaching opportunity ready in my mind.  I've also felt prompted lately to teach my boys a new primary song each week for at the beginning of FHE and then sing it to them throughout the week so they are learning the gospel principle in the song and also learning the song to have in their mind and heart when they are older and need good things in their mind.

I could go more into my fears about what my children will face as they grow older, but this scripture brings me comfort.  They will be able to fight their own personal battles and the battles of the world Satan will throw their way not with any weapons, but because the word of God had been taught to them:

Jarom 1:7 And it came to pass that they came many times against us, the Nephites, to battle. But our kings and our leaders were mighty men in the faith of the Lord; and they taught the people the ways of the Lord; wherefore, we withstood the Lamanites and swept them away out of our lands, and began to fortify our cities, or whatsoever place of our inheritance.

That little scripture square on that night many months ago helped me understand my most important role as a mother - to deliberately teach my children the gospel.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

December 2017

We love Sea World at Christmas time!


More Christmas fun outings

All of this is ice!

Decorating the tree.
Love my little Rudolph

Love this little family so much.

I wish I could describe the chaos that was going on in this moment.  Baby, phone, Christmas music, Ollie choking on the "hotness" of the peppermint...haha man

Our ward had a really amazing opportunity to serve a road home this Christmas season.

Cutest little sunshine!

Ollie and sticks again.

Making molasses cookies...maybe the best cookie ever!

Really love this and needed to be reminded of this. ^^^

And this:

Each birthday my mom sends oldie pics to our family group text.  Love these!

Love this tradition of making Great-Grandma Kramer's apple cake.


Christmas caroling with the youth

Late-night grocery runs.  Aldi is my favorite because it's the cheapest and because they check your groceries out soooooo fast!

Loved seeing these Kindereggs at Walmart - we used to love those in Germany.

Christmas piano recital!  It is so rewarding to see these cute kids progress.

My kids are so little yet I'm already so worried about technology.  I feel like I'm constantly taking notes from others.

YW Christmas party

Four months of sweetness!!

Love this old pic too!

I don't really even have the words to express the joy it brought me to have them here.
But I'll try...

Seeing aunties hold your babies equals = bliss!

We stayed at an amazing Airbnb house twenty minutes away from our own house.  
It was so fun to stay in one big house together!

There was a walk-in closet under the stairs and Ollie loved playing in there.
Thank goodness for phone flashlights too because he loved turning the lights off :)

Love this pic of Jace and Carter

And Lo and Carter:



After church

Melting my heart

As is this:

And this:

Love our tradition of watching White Christmas on Christmas Eve 

Sadly the pool heater was broken the entire time, but that didn't stop Ollie from having fun throwing toys in there and asking people to get them as he batted his beautiful lashes :)

The best parents in the world!
Wish I had adequate words to describe my gratitude to them.

Mom and dad surprised us Christmas Eve with a bunch of German chocolate!!!!!!!  
Oh man it was heaven and I ate my weight in that good stuff.


Our Christmas :)
Love the humble Christmas tree.

It was quite the ordeal getting everyone on the stairs for a picture and poor Ollie just really wanted to go see all the toys...
This pic breaks my heart but also I can't help but laugh:

Love my Christmas boys!!

How we spent Christmas:

This game!  So funny

We had a blast going to Animal Kingdom!

The Lion King show is so amazing.

Lola the baby-whisperer

Then we tried going to the Chocolate Emporium at Universal City Walk but everyone else had the same idea and so we found some yummy BBQ and then went back to City Walk (but not the Emporium) and mom got a tip from someone about a Universal resort to check out...and boy are we glad we did!  It was GORGEOUS!  

We went by ferry boat to...

This!!!  So beautiful!  "Little Italy"

Eating gelato

Ollie LOVES Seth!

Love seeing my loved ones love on my loved ones.

Love these

The next day we went to Wild Florida!  Oh how I love that place.

Later that night we had a combined birthday party for Ollie and Dad.

It had been a long day for Ollie :)

The next day while the bigger kids went to Universal Studios, the "older/tired" kids went to the mall and walked around :)

Love sweet Aly

Then we said goodbye to the rental house.  I love this sight of all the shoes.

Headed back to our house, rested a bit, headed to Cicis...

Then said a tearful goodbye :(
The boys and I stayed outside for a good two hours because I couldn't bear to go inside and get back to real life.
I love my family!!