Thursday, January 31, 2013

Pondering Motherhood

The day Caleb was born, they put him into my arms and I looked at him and thought, "Oh! This is what I've been looking for my whole life!" What I was lacking wasn't any of the things society said I should be pursuing--college degrees, jobs, money, prestige--it was children! I didn't know that I longed to be a mother. I had never, ever thought of it that way before Caleb showed up.

With a new baby in the house, it seems reasonable that my mind would be on motherhood again.

It feels like motherhood is really looked down upon in our culture. People delay starting families so they can have a career, people have fewer children and farm them off to daycares so they can pursue their adult interests. Children are increasingly  unwelcome in places like restaurants and hotels.

And nobody really thinks you're amazingly awesome for having more than 3 kids. They just think you're nuts. And 7 kids? Well, that's not a crown of jewels and honor, by any stretch. I mostly feel like a circus sideshow act when we go out in public. The thing I hear from most people is, "I could NEVER do that," with the subtext being "nor would I want to"--because being a checker at the grocery store is so much more fulfilling? (It always strikes me as sad that women have been trained to think they are too weak to do something as integral to woman-ness as raise children, but that's another post for another day).

Having children should be an honor and privilege and a joy. It should be something society values and supports.

At least it is that to God.

God says that His work and glory is to bring about the immortality and eternal life of Man.  And we all know He did that through Jesus.

But do we ever sit and think about the fact that He couldn't do that without women being willing to be pregnant and have babies?  Immortality is a free gift, thanks to Jesus, given to every person who is born on this earth.

But you have to be born. And that requires a woman willing to carry a baby and birth it, just to give it a body--no small sacrifice, mind you. Being pregnant is NOT fun or easy for most of us, and 9-12 months of downright torture for many. But that is the only way for a person to get a body, and therefore to get access to Jesus' gift of immortality.

In other words, God's work and glory aren't even possible without mothers.

And God didn't make us like many animals, who are born and then hop up and get going on their lives, independent of parents. He made us born weak and fragile and incredibly dependent for many, many years. Why? Because of the second part of his work: eternal life. Being raised in a family is the way God has chosen to give His children the very best shot at eternal life, or returning to live in God's own presence for eternity (which is what He wants for us). Jesus made it possible; parents doing their job right make it easier (parents doing their job wrong make it much harder, though, but the benefits of good parenting must have been worth the risk of some people getting bad parents). And it gives obvious benefit to parents. This is the most right thing we ever do--for our children and for us (because we are, in fact, God's children, too).

No wonder they call motherhood the highest and holiest calling women will have! No wonder this feels like hands-down the most important work I will ever do. This is my greatest chance--even greater than going on a mission--to partner with God to help bring to pass His work and His glory.

Too bad our culture seems hell-bent on stopping women from doing this work at all! And, just in case women do decide to have children (and most still do), our culture works very hard to confuse them into thinking that motherhood is a house decorating assignment, or a janitorial job, or a fashion design and model-training program, or an assignment to keep people who do extracurricular activities (sports, art lessons, etc) in work, or something that it's perfectly okay to outsource to whomever has a daycare or babysitter license, or a chance to re-live your life through someone else, or an art exercise in sculpting humans to our liking and for our own benefit and glory only. Even women in the church often confuse motherhood with the peripheral assignments that go along with it. Or they think there is only one way to mother and spend a lot of time teaching that and condemning people who don't do it "right". Sad that there is so little understanding of one of the most important things women ever do. (But of course, Satan would prefer it that way, wouldn't he? Parents are God's "secret weapon," so of course Satan will do anything he can to stop them from understanding and doing their work.)

Thank goodness we have prophets to let us know the truth!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Did I just read that?

"The airport told CBS4 that agents from the United States Department of Agriculture Wildlife Services patrol the parking lots and remove any rabbits they find, but few have complained about car problems."
Read more:

No kidding, huh? Rabbits don't complain about car problems? Maybe that's because they don't have cars...

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Did I just read that?

This was the top headline on today, and it made me blush: "Birth Control Mandate Loosens Suits"

On the actual page, the headline is fixed, so if you click the links you won't see it.

But still--put the women on birth control, and what happens to the men's suits?  Jeesh.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Alternate Nursing Techniques...

Jack is my first baby in a long time who hasn't been a good, instinctive nurser. It's been two weeks, and he's finally figured out how to nurse for more than 5-10 minutes at a time. Most of my babies figured that out in about 3 minutes on the first day.

But he's still working on his technique.

Most babies latch on and then give five or six quick sucks to get the milk flowing, and then they nurse normally. Jack doesn't get this.

Instead, he opens his mouth and yells at the breast for a few minutes, moving as though he wants to latch on but refusing to actually close his mouth. Then he waits for the milk to start spraying. Once there is milk, he latches on and nurses normally. But not before.

Hopefully he gets his technique refined a little before we have to nurse in public...

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Zig Ziglar

Ever since Zig Ziglar died, people have been posting quotes from him on Facebook. I had not paid much attention to Mr. Ziglar before, and I'll be glad when I don't have to anymore.

He's the feel-good pseudo-prophet of the month. His doctrines are meant to inspire and empower. He takes truth and leaves out a few key elements--like God--and then spreads it around, making promises that if you do certain things and believe in yourself, success will appear. Success, of course, meaning money.

But Mr. Ziglar's philosophies are flawed--deeply.  I don't know how he came up with his promises and formulas, but it seems like he looked at a bunch of successful people, guessed what they did, and then went around promising everyone it will work for them, too. Sweet little formulas like a dream + faith (in the dream and in yourself, not in God) + action + perseverance + time + patience = Dream Come True.

What he didn't take into account is that millions of people follow that formula and their dreams never do come true. But someone somewhere followed it and it worked, so we get promised it will always work for everyone. And there are some lovely built-in "outs" for Mr. Ziglar if it doesn't work--he can always claim you didn't have enough faith, you didn't work hard enough, you gave up too soon. In other words, you failed because You are a Failure. And if you believed in me long enough, you'd succeed.

I've heard this kind of stuff before, coming out of the mouth of my crazy grandma. Same formula, but her "dream" that starts out is crazy in the extreme--like being able to fly. Maybe that's why I can't stomach it from Mr. Ziglar.

Or maybe it's because it's overly simplistic. "You will either look back and say 'I wish I had' or 'I'm glad I did'." Is just overly simplistic. There's so much complexity in life that he just skips.  He doesn't address the reality that some dreams are not possible (being able to fly, or for me to play in the NBA, or for Tim to have our next baby, for example)--in fact, he teaches the opposite, openly and often. He doesn't address that some dreams would actually be nightmares if we could see the big picture, and therefore are not desirable.  He doesn't address the temporary nature of some dreams (I wanted to be a track star for about two weeks when I was in 3rd grade, now I have no interest in that.). He doesn't address the reality that we grow and learn and often give up on something we wanted for something we want even more. He also doesn't address the fact that life is not a one-track proposition. We have many interacting goals, dreams, aspirations, talents, limitations, experiences, etc. Isolating just one and making that our entire focus leaves us at risk of neglecting other important aspects of life. He doesn't address the very real situation that we are human and have physical limitations that can stop us from doing things we want to do--and that sometimes (often?) accepting those limitations makes us happier than fighting them. And he completely leaves out the reality that God is ultimately in charge, and His deepest interests for us deal with our development, learning, growth, and refinement--not with always helping us get what we want. If we put our faith in God, instead of our dreams or ourselves, we will find that we are often denied things we want--even good things we want, and even when we work really really hard for them--in order for God to help us get what He knows will make us happiest in the long run (as in the eternities).

Maybe it's because Ziglar's definition of success (and therefore his ideas of what we should be pursuing) are subtly tied up in social and financial success--he's promising money and power to people who work for it. The trouble is, those "rewards" are the wrong ones to be searching for. Life is much better when we stop seeking money and power (which President McKay said were temptations of the devil, not valid goals) and instead start seeking happiness (which God has taught us how to get--and he didn't include gaining money or worldly power in the equation).  In fact, nowhere in the scriptures or the words of the prophets are we counselled to pursue our dreams. Not once. Never are we told that the ultimate happiness comes from our dreams coming true, or following our passions, or shooting for the stars. (And, in fact, many many  musicians we have met--people who the world considers the ones who are "living the dream" and "free from the nine-to-five shackles"--spend their whole lives mourning what they can't have: a stable home and family. They are not any happier than everyone else, and are often just as discontent. "Living the life" is lonely and unfulfilling, it turns out.)

Ziglar's doctrines are also deeply cruel. It's not right to tell a woman struggling with infertility that she just didn't try hard enough or believe it enough or work hard enough--and that's why she doesn't have a baby. It's not right to tell a father of an autistic kid that if he just tries harder and applies the right formulas, the kid will turn out to be normal. It's not right to tell a hardworking, content family that if they work harder and neglect their family relationships, they will have money and be "truly" happy. I, personally, don't find it helpful for Mr. Ziglar to tell me that I could keep my house spotless if I just tried harder (completely ignoring that I have physical limitations, like fibromyalgia, that make that impossible). It leaves me always feeling like a complete failure instead of like a valuable person who has a lot to contribute--just not to my walls.

Personally,  I prefer to rely on the advice of real prophets. Snippets like, "Forget yourself and get to work" are much more powerful than formulas for "success."

Friday, January 18, 2013

Did I just read that?

"Simple blood test can help predict mortality, Utah researchers find"

I'd say it's probably a pretty simple test: if you have blood, you're mortal!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Grow Cube and Sphere Answer Keys

Kids have been assigned this for school:

Fun, but how to solve the puzzle?

Now that I figured it out, I'm posting it here so we can find it again.

Highlight the area below to see the answer:

Put the items on the cube in this order:

Glass tube
White dish

The kids also play this one for school:

And how to solve it?

Highlight the area below for the answer:

Place the items on the sphere in this order:


We also found a new one we hadn't tried before:

I haven't solved this one, but there is a solution on YouTube:

Grow Tower:
and the solution:

box w button
golden pot 

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Did I just read that?

From ksl mobile: "Over weight people less likely to die, study says"

Less likely to die....ever? Cool.

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Distressing Things I Heard about Congress Today

On facebook, people started passing around a picture saying that it's time for Boehner to stand down from being Speaker of the House because he compromised.

I'm really confused about this. Isn't compromise the point? If we all just stupidly stand and insist it's my way or the highway, we all would have suffered. Haven't these people read that old Dr. Seuss story about The Zax?   Even if we don't agree with the compromise, at least they are trying to compromise for once. All the gridlock and selfishness is not getting us anywhere.

The other thing I heard was a radio interview with Nancy Pelosi, who was explaining that some of the Republicans were having trouble accepting the compromise because "They listen to their constituents, and that makes them afraid they might pay later for accepting this."   She was talking about it as though a congressman or senator listening to their constituents is a BAD thing. But I thought that's what we sent to the Washington to do--not represent their own or their party's interests, but to represent their constituents. And that means they have to listen to us. And it scares me that Pelosi thinks that this is a bad thing that weakens the congressmen. Does she really believe they are there to dictate to us what we want? That's more than a little scary.

Personally, I don't have a lot of hope this will fix anything, but I sure wish it were the first step down a road that leads to people listening to one another  and compromising more. I'm so sick of watching our government stand toe-to-toe and call names like kindergartners.