I've had so many wonderful, lifting experiences lately, despite it being "one of those years." Or perhaps it's because it's been one of those years. I often forget that with our greatest challenges also come the greatest opportunities for growth and the greatest opportunities to really feel and know of God's love for His children. I was reminded of this talk tonight as I talked with a friend about the roller coaster of emotions being a mother brings.
Here are a few of the nourishing blessings I've had this week:
* And then there was one. Tonight DH took six little kids camping with our ward, leaving me with just Harmony to care for. Some men give flowers and jewelry; but that's not for me. Give me a night with just one child to care for, $5.38 for a Subway sandwich (I tried the sweet onion dressing tonight for the first time -- so good), and a library card. I'm satisfied.
* Thee lift me, and I lift thee, and we'll ascend together. I've had several opportunities to be lifted and also to lift this week. This morning, I had a great visit with a wonderful mother who loves her children. Her three girls and my four played together happily while she and I talked about finding a path through so many competing priorities. Tonight, I went walking with one of my best friends. I'm always lifted by our conversations because she has such a loving, pure heart.
* "As we lift others, we rise a little higher ourselves" I was able to bring dinner to another family stretched by life's challenges on Tuesday, and my week has been so much better for it.
* For the Beauty of the Earth. Not only did I watch the sunset on Tuesday night, I had a front-row seat for it on Wednesday night as my daughter performed in an outdoor concert. The sky couldn't have been lovelier. And maybe it's silly, but I really love the flowers in my garden. My bulbs have been blooming continuously in the front yard for over a month. In the last few days, my alliums have burst forth, bringing color to my flower garden just as the last of my tulips is losing its petals. We also have a huge pile of strawberries overflowing with white blossoms destined to become juicy berries.
* How does your garden grow? Mine's doing well so far. Most of last Saturday was spent turning the soil and planting. Lillian and Joey both were so thrilled to have their very own plots this year, and I took them to the store to choose the seeds and starts they would plant in them. Our landscaper actually came and fixed the sprinklers that never worked, so now the garden is automatically watered for whatever time I set the sprinklers to be on for. As for how the garden grows, well, it does its best given the trying circumstances -- two to four good hours of sun is not quite ideal conditions for most vegetables, but last year, we still harvested a lot of tomatoes.
* Happy Smothers Day. That's what Allison and Sarah call it anyway, and don't you think it fits? I didn't get a nap on Mother's Day, but the kids gave me cute artwork and cards, and DH made a huge breakfast and gave me a gift card to spend however I want -- this week, I picked out some piano/guitar/voice folk song books on Amazon. After Church, we headed up the canyon for a picnic DH prepared, with pineapple, chicken sandwiches, and homemade lemonade. I even made DH get a picture of me with all of my kids. In the late afternoon, some of the kids helped me make homemade cookies and Lillian helped prepare homemade cards to take to some of our favorite grandmothers in our neighborhood. We've been so blessed with adopted grandmothers. It's wonderful when other people love your kids, isn't it?
* Step by step. Harmony has been taking more and more steps this week, often taking three or four before she falls. She's cautious, but amazing. She brings me so much joy.
* The Primary Colors. My husband and I teach the 4 and 5 year old Primary class on Sundays. Our little class can sure be interesting. Last Sunday was particularly, um, interesting. At one point the song leader invited all those with blue eyes to come to the front of the room. "I've got blue on!" shouted one of my charges, pulling down his pants to show his blue and red superhero underwear. Later on, Sarah gave the longest prayer of her life to close the meeting, leaving every adult in the room silently laughing as she prayed, ". . . and thank you we have moms and dads, and thank you we listen to our mom and dad and obey Heavenly Father and thank you we get to go out in the woods if we ask our moms and dads and they say it's okay and thank you we get to help with the dishes when we are tall enough to reach the sink and thank you . . ." Hey, at least it was sincere!
*How now, brown cow. Yesterday, for the last day of our neighborhood preschool, we went to Thanksgiving Point and enjoyed the animal farm. We had a great time. Right off, we met a very friendly cow who let us pet him and tried to eat Harmony's blanket. We fed him corn feed from our hands, and as Allison leaned over to pick up some fallen grains, he took a big bite of her hair. He spit it out after a moment, deciding it wasn't quite the same as grass, and she thought it was the funniest thing!
* My Little Pony. We also got our own pony rides. Eliza was a bit scared, but Allison and Sarah gave their ponies huge hugs afterwards, and Sarah kept trying to feed her pony even after the ride operator timidly tried to herd her towards the exit, "um, we need you to go over there now, okay?" "okay, are you done now?" I would have given him more help, except it was a little comical how he expected her to listen to his soft voice when she had a real live pony in front of her. ( On a related note, I was able to return the My Little Pony movie to the library tonight. With four little girls in the house, I think I know all the words to the theme song, and it's running in my head right now. . . "My little pony, my little pony, what will today's adventure be, My little pony, my little pony . . . " Those of you with girls can now sing along. If you have just boys, trust me, you're not missing much.)
I am so blessed.