Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Mothers Who Know

My final paper for my English Writing Class. 

Its four o’clock in the morning and the baby is crying again.  She wakes me up every two hours at night and then sleeps all day just to add insult to injury.  Times like these make me appreciate sayings like, “mothers work from sun up to sun down” and “motherhood is a thankless job.”  Being a mother can truly be a thankless job. It’s 24/7 and we don’t get government mandated breaks.  As these thoughts pass through my mind, my daughter looks up at me from her bottle and smiles.  It is all worth it.
Growing up I was conditioned to believe that motherhood is a demeaning and worthless venture.  Every television show or movie I watched told me that women are just as good if not better than men in the work place.  On the other hand, every Sunday I was taught that women are daughters of God given the privilege of bringing spirit children into the world.  The two conflicting ideas are a lot to handle and at four in the morning I was leaning toward the 9-5 career.  My thoughts began to wonder as I pondered motherhood and careers, that is when I remembered the General Relief Society President, Julie B. Beck, who spoke on “Mothers Who Know.” Her talk magnifies my appreciation for motherhood. It brings comfort to me when the world tears it down.
Sister Beck stated, “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.”  Sister Beck further teaches us that children are becoming less valued because women are wanting careers and a more exciting lifestyle instead of raising children.  I don’t know why, but this specific quote came to me as I was looking at my beautiful innocent daughter.  How could anyone not value such a perfect being?  My thoughts turned to my mom.   My mother was a stay at home mom to three children. She didn’t gain an education or have a career.  I remember her saying, “I have never doubted being a mother, not one day. You children are the greatest work I have ever done. You brought me more happiness than any CEO position ever could.”  I realized, looking back at that moment, my mother “knew.”  She taught me through her example that getting up with a screaming child really was the most important thing I could be doing right now.
As I continued to ponder "Mothers Who Know" I remembered what Julie B. Beck states “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.”  
I thought back to when it was time to start planning for a family, I knew my goals had to change. I still didn’t have a career or an education, why was I going to start a family? President Ezra Taft Benson taught that young couples should not postpone having children and that “in the eternal perspective, children—not possessions, not position, not prestige—are our greatest jewels.” I was confused. My life goals were not focused on the “right” plan. I was planning a degree that lead to a career. I wanted to have the possibilities of graduate school and gaining a respectable career in the work place. I wanted to have success.
I thought back to when I first became a mother, five years ago. My husband and I were beyond excited. We welcomed our beautiful Ava into the world with open arms. I loved her more than I could have ever imagined, but was it everything I wanted? Was this beautiful precious being going to fill the doubts and concerns I had? It’s easy to feel like motherhood is a demeaning task. The world puts it down as lazy, boring, and unimportant, just as I perceived it years before. Now, after three daughters, I have never found more peace and comfort with my calling in life.
I am happy to say that I am a stay at home mother. Sister Beck says “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.” I want to raise my children in the gospel of Jesus Christ. I want to teach my daughters to become leaders and to show them how important motherhood is. Teach them to never lose faith in the importance and power they have for the future generations. Today, I still get down, with the world telling me I am nothing. But the only person pushing me down is myself. I let my pride get in the way of what the most important position is in this life. My experience in these short years with my daughters has taught me what success really is. I know without a doubt in my mind that success is raising the future generations as disciples of Jesus Christ. Each day is a battle but I won’t let that get in the way of what the Lord asks of me. When my daughter looks up at me, during her 4 am feeding, I can confidently say "I am a mother who knows."

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Questioning Gospel Doctrine

Is it wrong to doubt or question gospel doctrines, or is it a normal part of developing a testimony?

I have been a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints my entire life.  I have attended many different wards, but none of them have been quite like the one I’m in now.  The church is the same everywhere in the world, but the people are not.  People are going to question gospel doctrine. I strongly believe questions can strengthen testimony as long as learning truth is the end goal. Questions become problematic when their intent is to petition the Lord for personal endeavors.
   I have lived in the Bay Area for almost two years now. Being from San Diego, CA I didn’t think the culture would be much different. I remember about a year ago attending a Stake Relief Society temple presentation. I signed up to attend a class titled, “Becoming more like Eve.” This class was meant to teach us about Eve and why she made her decisions in the Garden of Eden. I was very excited. The teacher was about five minutes into her lesson when a woman in the audience raised her hand and asked, “Why does it say in the scriptures Adam ‘commanded’ Eve, I hate that.” I was shocked by her comment, but more shocked when almost every woman in the room agreed with her. This comment led to multiple women complaining about specific temple ordinances. It also led to the common bay area question, “Why don’t women hold the priesthood?” At this point I was annoyed. I was rolling my eyes, huffing and puffing. On the drive home I couldn’t help but think “What was wrong with their questions? That is why they went to the class, right? To understand women’s role in the temple better?”  I never had an issue when gospel principles were questioned growing up, so what was I feeling now?  I came to the conclusion that the questions were not what bothered me, it was the way they were asked.  I did not feel the spirit of truth in that meeting.  None of those questions were seeking truth.  It seemed that those women were seeking to petition the Lord to correct their feeling of inequality between men and women.   
Last weekend was ward conference. The Stake Presidency spoke to the Relief Society about the Temple. They wanted to know if we felt comfortable going to the temple and they sincerely wanted to clarify doubts. One member of the Stake Presidency asked, “If you have been endowed for 20 plus years, is it still difficult to attend the temple?”  I, without thinking, raised my hand and said, “If you have been endowed 20 plus years and still feel uncomfortable attending the temple, you have not earnestly asked the Lord for help.” As soon as I said the words, I wanted to retract my comment. I feel like I earned the Gold Medal for offending the most women at one time.  I am sure there were more than a few women in that room with questions about the temple and I made it impossible for them to comfortably ask those questions.  Our meeting with the Stake Presidency, unlike the previously mentioned experience, had the spirit of truth.  It was a good environment to learn and grow because no one was seeking to change the Lord’s gospel.  The meeting was simply a place to clarify long standing doubts or fears of the temple.  Despite my embarrassing statement, there were many questions answered. After talking and discussing this throughout the day with my husband I came to the conclusion that I need to stop being so prideful and start opening my heart more.
People are going to question gospel doctrine. They will have questions and have a hard time agreeing with the doctrine. I strongly believe this strengthens testimony. It is not bad to seek for help to understand something. However, if it gets to the point of “fighting” against the Lord and trying to change His way, then I do see a problem. The following weekend I was able to apologize for the comment I made. It felt like a big weight was lifted off my shoulders. I’m grateful for the leaders in our church that help us through these tough testimony times. I’m grateful for the atonement of Jesus Christ and how understanding His sacrifice can relieve you from any pain.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

The back of my mind

This sweet girl
had her 4 month check up on Wednesday. As the doc is checking her soft spot (I get the hibby jibbys every time he touches it) he starts checking the rest of her head more carefully. He explained that he is worried about the two plates that form together (located on the top sides of her head) during a babies first year. He is worried the plates are forming on top of each other/not closing together. He says "I'm going to send a referral to a specialist that I want you to see." I respond with a hopeful "Okay, is it another pediatric doctor?" He answers, "No she's a Nero Surgeon at Children's Hospital." Of course she is. 

Of course it takes a couple of days for the Nero Department to get the referral, I was able to make the appointment today. The next available appointment is March 10th. I'm 98.4% sure everything is fine and my doctor is just being overly careful. However, when I crawl into bed after a long day that 2.6% comes from the back of my mind to keep me awake. I guess its called motherhood. Worrying is what the job description entails.  


Thursday, February 20, 2014

Lets get political

I do a lot of discussion boards and papers for my English 106 class. I figured I'll just share some of my assignments on here.
We were given specific topics that can be controversial for a discussion board. I chose to write about legalizing gay marriage.

"Should Gay Marriage Be Legal?" by K. Akhavan, gives us a well explained history of the gay rights movement. The author weighs out the pros and cons to legalize gay marriage and I feel, he gives a good description of both parties views.
Gay rights movement traces back to 1969. With very significant cases, i.e: Baker v. Vermont, Lawrence v. Texas, Bowers v. Hardwick, Hollingsworth v. Perry etc that bring us to today. 52% of the American people agree that homosexuals should marry. Currently 14 countries and 17 states in the U.S legalize gay marriage.
I know this is a "hot" topic. Actually, just last night some of my family members on Facebook got into a very heated discussion on the issue which lead to name calling and defriending, yikes. I am very proud that I do not support gay marriage. While reading the article I couldn't help but think of our last weeks discussion on Ophelia. I honestly believe people are pro gay marriage because they do not have a mind of their own. The advisory's plan is to fire very subtle darts into peoples minds and make them believe that doing or believing evil things is perfectly acceptable as long as the masses agree. Gods plan is not for the masses, it's for those who want to endure and follow his teachings and not those of man. I do believe legalizing gay marriage is a trend. Even if the numbers rise to legalize gay marriage it is not the way our Heavenly Father wants us to live. I will proudly teach my children the way of the Lord. The numbers may be against us but that is something I am not scared of.
"But it is they who do not fear me, neither keep my commandments but build up churches unto themselves to get gain, yea, and all those that do wickedly and build up the kingdom of the devil—yea, verily, verily, I say unto you, that it is they that I will disturb, and cause to tremble and shake to the center." Doctrine and Covenants 10:56.

Of course I couldn't end without...
"We, the First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, solemnly proclaim that marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children....Further, we warn that the disintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets."- The Family: A Proclamation To The World.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Love letter

For my English class we had to write a love letter to something we missed and/or cherished.

My Dearest Alone time in the bathroom,
I know we hardly get to spend any time together. I also know that this problem has been going on for quite some time now. I never thought our lack of time together would affect me so much. I want to apologize for taking you for granted. I never fully appreciated the relationship we had until it was gone.
I saw our relationship start to go downhill when Ava started to walk. With Ava being almost five, I don’t know where the time has gone. I remember, like it was yesterday, being just you and me. We would take our time, read magazines, play games on the phone or read the shampoo bottle just because we could. We could ponder our thoughts and take showers without worrying what was really going on outside that bathroom door. The thing I miss the most is the way you made me feel; so relaxed, calm and level headed.  Now we are lucky to shut the door without Sienna prying her two year old hands in-between the door frame. I don’t know why she torments us. Maybe she hopes to find the cast of Mickey Mouse Club House in there?
I want you to know that I do fight for you. I set the kids up with a show, snack and drink thinking we can get at least ten minutes of just you and me. Those precious minutes help me avoid looking like Oscar the Grouch at church. However, it isn’t long before someone interrupts us with makeup all over their freshly washed face and church dress.  I try to tell myself Sienna will grow out of this “so annoying that she has to be in the bathroom whenever I am” phase. I, however, am given the gentle reminder of our doomed relationship when Talia starts her adorable high pitched scream. Her screaming makes a horror movie look tame. Let’s face it, our relationship is destined to end worse than Romeo and Juliet.
Alone time in the bathroom, I hope you can forgive me. I completely understand if you want to blame me. I was the one who chose to have three kids. I was the one who chose to live in an apartment with one miniscule bathroom. I was the one who married a man that doesn’t understand the cute friendly phrase, “I love you but if you don’t wait your turn I will punch you in the face.” I hope you can take this letter to heart and know that I miss you more than Andy misses Woody. What I am trying to tell you is our relationship is not at an end, it’s more at a “see you later” phase, much later. I miss you, I’ll be seeing you.