Thursday, December 19, 2013

Dinner Time

You might wonder why I posted this third video if its exactly like the second one, but he's sucking his thumb in this one and, it just makes my Mommy heart melt.  

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Snow Storm

My first thumb-sucker.  You might tell me I'll regret it when he's five...but I love it now.
In the background, the townhouse on the far left is the one that we're hoping to buy. 

Losing God or Gaining Faith?

When Jon and I were last at our therapy session, we started talking about parenting our sweet little girls and how sometimes its hard when they are screaming.  Hard for everyone.  Our therapist told us of a study where they gave groups adrenaline, and based on context clues - the participants either felt excited or anxious.  So physiologically, the participants had the exact same thing happen: adrenaline.  But depending on their context (and I would add interpretation) they felt differently.  So, the implication is that we can have the same thing happen physiologically but feel very different about it.  Exact same thing.  Different feeling.  Hmm.

As I've been thinking about that, I've seen a similar situation in my own life.  I've really been struggling lately.  Part of it is post-partum depression but there has also been a lot of adjusting with David coming and a lot of lies I've believed.  Lies like that the Atonement works for everyone but me - lies like I have to earn love from God.  Lies.  As Jon and I have been working through so many things, I feel my faith has been tested as its never been tested before.  It's been so challenging for me that I started to feel like I was losing my faith - that my once strong tree was losing water and dying (see an analogy about faith being like a tree here.)

Then I realized that maybe I was interpreting my experience the way Satan would want me to, rather then how God would have me see it.  Sure, things were hard, but my faith wasn't being lost - it was being stretched.  I wasn't losing God, I was gaining even greater faith.  I realized that like the adrenaline study, how I interpret something has a huge impact on how I feel about it.  So all my questions aren't answered, but I have faith that they will be.  And why shouldn't I?  Hasn't God gone through this cycle with me again and again?  When I was young (which means...10 years ago), I remember studying the Book of Mormon for the first time.  I was in 9th grade and I made a goal to read it for a certain amount of time each day before I did my homework.  That year, my faith was nourished and my roots grew deep.  It didn't happen all at once, but by the end of that year, I knew things I hadn't known at the beginning.  A tree loses its leaves in the fall, but it hasn't died.  It is growing and saving up energy for the Spring.  Its blossoms will be even more full.  Its leaves will be thicker and more dense.  That tree might be tempted to feel like winter is a betrayal and its been abandoned, but it hasn't.  This is how the cycle works.  And stretching might feel like losing at times, but that is the very definition of faith.

Ether 12:6 ..."Dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith."

Saying it in these words helps me see one of the lessons from that scripture...imagine Heavenly Father speaking: "Lauren, my sweet little girl...if I showed you everything right now, I'd be denying you the very opportunity for faith.  The very definition of faith is to believe in something you can't see.  So the witness, or seeing, has to come after you've had a chance to not see."  Does that make sense?  Maybe I'm mincing words, but this has felt powerful to me.  Many of you were impacted by Elder Hollands talk: Lord, I believe.  This phrase from his talk has really spoken to me, and I didn't notice it at first:

The size of your faith or the degree of your knowledge is not the issue - it is the integrity you demonstrate toward the faith you do have and the truth you already know.

So I want to say this - I know that God loves me.  I know that He loves all His children.  I know that the Book of Mormon is true.  I know there are living prophets God has sent to instruct us.  I know that Joseph Smith saw God the Father and Jesus Christ in Palmyra, NY.  Whenever I talk about that experience, or read Joseph Smith's account (termed the First Vision) the Spirit comes.

I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me.  It no sooner appeared than I found myself delivered from the enemy which held me bound. When the light rested upon me I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other—This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him! (JSH 1:16-17)

 Maybe you feel it now while you're reading.  That warm assurance that this is truth.  I cannot deny the many, many times I've felt that.  I. know. its. true.  Am I losing my faith, or is it being stretched?  It feels a little empty sometimes, but I believe that is it God helping me grow.  I believe that the emptiness I feel will be turned into knowledge and I will be grateful for it.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Birthday Girls

Whenever I asked Lily what she wanted to eat on her birthday, she said she wanted a snowman....

We had a Daniel Tiger Birthday party for Lily and Suzy

We watched Daniel Tiger - all these girls were transfixed.

So many people gave us beautiful gifts.  Marianne made Hello Kitty hats for both the girls.  Suzy didn't take it off for a couple days.
Abby and Mary helped out a lot - it was great!