Saturday, February 12, 2011

Things I love

This month has been more crazy than I could have imagined. Between sick kids, sick me, school, church, work, husband's school and work, kid's activities, and way too much more to list, I have been crazy.

But, yesterday, I had dinner with my family. My boys and my husband. Just us, no one else. No place to be. Just us in a quiet non crowded restaurant.

I love those moments. It does not matter how crazy our lives are, the opportunity to sit down and eat dinner together is one of my favorite things. I wish I could say that we do this every night, but we don't. Especially this time of year. At least two times a week, one of the boys is running through the kitchen grabbing a sandwich out of my hand as he runs out the door and into dad's car to go to a practice, scouts, study session, or something else. But when we actually sit down for dinner, it is peaceful. It is happy. It is family. And I love it.

Other things I love:

Writing in my journal. It brings clarity and peace to my life. I love reading through old entries and remembering where I was at a particular moment. I love reliving the feelings. I love trying to remember what I was talking about when I wrote something random.

Watching my boys not bicker and argue. Those moments are not as often as I would like, as they seem to bicker about everything these days. But today, they helped each other clean the guest room. I walked in and they were folding a blanket together without arguing. I could have fallen over from shock at that moment.

Kissing my husband. The small kisses when I am cooking at the stove. The big kisses when he leaves for work or comes home. The feel of his arms wrapped around me lifting me off the ground. That is a slice of heaven.

The sound of my boys laughing. This is another slice of heaven. Hearing their laughter and seeing the smiles that accompany that sound.

Watching my children sleep. I have said it before, but the innocence and peace bring me to tears almost every time.

Family prayer. Yes, it may be corny, but I love to hear my boys pray for our family. I love for them to hear their father and I pray for them. It love the bond that it creates and the love we each feel from each other and from Heavenly Father.

I love my family. They are everything. Even when the world makes me angry. Even when the world is screaming at me from every direction. Even when the world is at peace. Even when I love everyone I see. Even when I love everything I see. I still love my family more.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Accountability

A Story:
Student: I wanted to talk to you about why you marked me absent last Tuesday.
Me: I marked you absent because you were not in class last Tuesday.
Student: But you didn't mark XYZ absent, and he was not here either.
Me: And how do you know that?
Student: Because he told me.
Me: Well, he wasn't here either, and I did mark him absent. I cannot show you his attendance record, but you can ask him again if you want. He was marked absent, and I don't know why he would tell you otherwise.
Student: Well, I still don't understand why you marked me absent. I think it was because you are mad at me.
Me: Interesting. I am not angry at you at all, but I am sorry you think so. However, I am not sure how my feelings change the fact that I marked the attendance as accurately reflecting your absence. Just out of curiousity. Did you know we had class last Tuesday?
Student: Yes, I knew.
Me: Did you have an appointment you forgot to tell me about?
Student: No.
Me: Were you sick and couldn't come to class?
Student: No.
Me: Well, did you come to class last Tuesday?
Student: No
Me: Well, if you knew we had class, and you did not have an appointment, and you were not sick, why weren't you in class?
Student: I just wasn't.
Me: So, you know that you were not in class last Tuesday even though you were supposed to be, right?
Student: Yes.
Me: You knew you had to be here. You know it is my job to take attendance. You know that you were not here. I don't understand why are you upset?
Student: Because you are not being fair.

Can someone please explain how this is MY fault? I do not understand, but somehow, I ended up the bad guy in this situation. After more discussion and what I thought was understanding, the student left my classroom. I thought everything was okay. I was wrong. Apparently, he is still upset. His sister and two other friends are made at me now too. Apparently, I hurt his feelings. I wonder what he told his parents?

Did I mention this is one of the students I go to church with? Sunday should be interesting.

Maybe it's the extreme cold we are feeling at an altitude above 6000 feet. Who knows, but how hard is it to accept accountability for your own actions?

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Homemaker...

Tomorrow I will teach the lesson "Preparing to Become an Eternal Companion." In preparing this lesson, I was struck by the term Homemaker. The stereotype is the stay at home mom who cooks, cleans, and sews.

What strikes me about this lesson is that preparing to become an eternal companion is more than just learning to cook, clean, sew and take care of a home. Preparing to become an eternal companion also means educating yourself, both in spiritual and secular matters.

I have never been one to rely on the testimony of others, and I knew that as a wife this would continue. I did not want to be a wife who relied on her husband's spirituality instead of my own. Heavenly Father has an eternal companion, and I am convinced that she is just as spiritually strong as he is. As a young woman, I knew that to be a good wife and mother, I had to have my own spiritual strength.

I have also never been one to rely on the intelligence of others to get me through life. Truth be told, I have always been super competitive in academics. I know it sounds vain, but I like being intelligent. As a student, I liked doing well in school, and I loved to be the smartest in the class. I always knew that I would go to college, but at a young woman, I was always told that my husband's education was more important than my own. To this I always thought, "Um, that is CRAP!  Why should my husband's education be more important than my own?"

The thought of marrying a man who put his own education above my own was deplorable and just plain wrong. My education is just as important as my husband. And if a man was going to be my eternal companion, he should not only understand that, but respect it as well.

Back to the word homemaker. It is my responsibility to make my house a home.  I am a good cook. I do the laundry, I keep my house clean. I have a sewing machine, but I really have no interest in sewing.   However, making a home is more than just those things. I am a good mother; I love my sons. I take care of them. I nurture them. But being a wife and mother means more than that. Being an educated woman makes for a better wife and mother; it makes for a better homemaker. If my husband comes home and cannot carry on an intelligent conversation with me, then what is the point?  If I do not understand basic economics and household finances, then what is the point? If I cannot help my children with their homework because all I wanted to be when I grew up was a wife and mother, then what is the point?  If my children cannot look at their mother and see the value of education, then what is the point?

Making a home is so much more than cooking, cleaning, and sewing. When my son was three years old and asked my how planes stay in the air, I was able to answer him without using google. When my son was four years old and asked why all of his toys were made in China, I was able to answer him without turning to google. I use my college education every single day as a mother, and I use more than just my degree in English Literature and Language. My children saw their dad support me in going to school to receive my Master of Arts degree. They saw me supporting their dad while he received his own MBA.  (We are not completely crazy; we got our degrees at different times.) My children saw the blessings that have come from the sacrifices we made for our education. Our children have watched as we became better people.  My children know that our house is a home because of all of these things.

I truly hope that as I teach the girls, they understand that being a homemaker is more than the stereotype. There is a greater responsibility to making a home than just being able to cook, clean, and sew.