Sunday, April 20, 2014

Easter Eggs and Dog Piles

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . sleeping in while Phillip held down the fort.  Ah, sleep.

. . . taking the kids to an Easter egg hunt with friends from church

. . . Joy and Daddy having a blast dog piling each other.

. . . making homemade kettle corn.  So easy, and so yummy.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Pajamas and Fajitas

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . Daniel giving me a hug after I apologized about something.

. . . Anna laughing as she jumped into my arms.

. . . chatting with some friends over good Mexican food.  It's so nice to get out and relax every now and then.

. . . finding out that Joy made the school relay team.

. . . nuzzling Todd's fuzzy hair.

And another thing . . .

. . . its been that kind of day.  You know, the kind where I'm still wearing my pajamas (with baby spit-up down the front) at lunch time, and I keep right on wearing them when I walk my kids to the store because by golly we've got to get out of the house.  Not all days are like that, but some are.

Friday, April 18, 2014

A Letter to Grace Elizabeth

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . little Anna laughing as she hugged me.

. . . Baby Todd letting me put a spoon in his mouth the very first time I tried.  In fact, I had to keep mixing up more baby cereal because he ate everything I fed him.  Considering how big he is (20 pounds at 5 months), it shouldn't surprise me that he has a hearty appetite.

. . . eating Easter M&Ms.  For some reason, I like them better than the regular ones.  Maybe the shells are crunchier.

And another thing . . .

. . . yesterday, I randomly happened upon a post by someone I'd never even heard of before.  Her name is Grace Elizabeth, and she wrote

I'd like to know how you're supposed to believe in something you can't see. Hear. or feel. I mean, I've been through some [junk] no one should have to go through.
But everytime I prayed for the pain to stop it didn't. So please, explain this to me.
If he's "All mighty" then how come he allows so much hatred to come into the world when he said he was making it "Perfect".
And if he forgives, then why would there be a need for Hell if "God forgives all". I'd really like to know how you are supposed to believe in this.
Especially when it's all based on a book written HUNDREDS of years ago~
Don't hate. I really want to know~

I decided to share my two cents, hoping it would help her.  I ended up writing a lot more than two cents' worth, though:

Been thinking about your post and comments a lot since I saw them yesterday.  No one deserves to go through what you and your sister have gone through, and it can be hard to believe in a God who allows misery like that.

It reminds me of when I took my two sons to get vaccines a few weeks ago.  I can just imagine the baby thinking, “OWWWW!! Why is this happening to me?  Make it stop!”  My older boy kind of understood why he had to go through that pain, but at five years old he still didn’t grasp that one minute of pain was better than possibly getting paralyzed by polio or dying from measles.  He bravely sat on my lap and let the nurse give him five shots, but he cried and hated every moment of it.  I did, too, but while I could have told the nurse to stop any time, I knew a lifetime of immunity was worth a minute of pain.

God feels the same way.  He’s thrilled when we’re happy, and really sad when we suffer, but He knows that suffering has to happen for us to grow the way we need to.  Here on Earth it’s hard to see the big picture, especially when the pain seems to last FOR.EV.ER!!!, but even the longest life is just a moment compared to eternity.  Would you endure a moment of misery if it earned you thousands of years of Totally Awesome?

God doesn’t stop the pain because He loves us and knows we need it, but He will help us through it if we ask Him to.  He won’t force us to accept His help, though.  He’s fair and doesn’t force people to make good choices – that’s why there’s so much hatred in the world (and so much good, too).  God lets us spend this short life deciding whether we’re going to play fair and care about other people, or whether we want to be jerks who only care about ourselves.  Some people choose to be kind; others choose to be jerks.

And in the next life God will give us what we each deserve.  He forgives us, in the sense that He loves us all and isn’t mad at us, but He’ll give us each what we choose to earn.  The people who try to be kind and care about others will go to Heaven where everyone else cares about and loves them back. Notice I didn’t say Heaven is for perfect people; if you’re honestly trying to be good to other people that’s what God really cares about, even if you mess up a lot.

The jerks, on the other hand, will spend eternity with every other jerk who ever lived.  Frankly, that’s hell.  It ain’t flames and a guy with red tights and a pitchfork.  It’s living forever with a bunch of mean people who only care about themselves and treat each other like dirt.

Life isn’t fair, but eternity is.  And life is short, but eternity is very long.  God knows and loves you, Grace, even if you can’t feel it right now.  If you do your best to do what you feel is right—whatever that is—your eternity will be worth everything you’ve gone through.  You’ll look back on your pain and think, “I hated every second of that . . . but it was so worth it.”  Hard to imagine now, but it’s true.  I promise.


Grace Elizabeth wrote back a few hours later, saying that she respects my choices but she just can't believe that God would let someone go through everything she has experienced.  I was saddened by her response, but not surprised.  I was sure I couldn't convince her, but I wanted to write one more comment so she'd know that I heard her and cared about her:

I respect where you’re coming from, too.  Life can be so, so rough, and it’s hard to believe that Someone who loves you would let you go through all that.  As I’ve tried to know and understand God through the years, I’ve come to know that He truly exists and cares about us.  I’ve experienced too much to doubt it.  I’m not asking you to believe me, but I hope someday you’ll feel how much He really does care about you.


I don't know what impact my words will have on her, if any, but I hope they will help her at some point on her journey.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Easter and Ice Cream

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . snuggling Todd, and hearing him laugh while I tickled him.

. . . visiting some friends, and eating lots of ice cream.

. . . watching an inspiring little Easter video on YouTube.  The brief shot where a man holds up a newspaper clipping about someone he loved who has passed on reminds me of my friend Vonnie, who lost her grandfather a few years ago.  I'm so grateful to know that because of our Savior, death is not the end.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Short Duet and Alphabet

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . finishing NieNie's book, partly because I enjoyed it, but also because now that it's done it will stop luring me over to the couch every time I have a free moment.

. . . lining up alphabet letters with Anna.  Her enthusiasm for the task was contagious.

. . . practicing a little duet with Joy for her recital next weekend.  We're getting pretty good at it.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Chicken, Jello, and Brothers

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . kissing baby cheeks.

. . . watching Anna run up to Daddy and give him a hug when he got home.

. . . all three of my spoon-wielding children eating chicken of their own free will tonight.  Either that is a very kid-friendly recipe, or their tastes are maturing.  Regardless, it warms my heart to see my whole family enjoying the meal I created.

. . . watching Daniel make his little brother Todd smile.  Back when I was expecting, I lamented that Little Brother wouldn't be big enough to really play with Big Brother for another two or three years.  The boys proved me wrong.

. . . reading Stephanie Nielson's memoir Heaven is Here.  It makes me feel grateful for some many things, especially a body that can do everything I need it to (without pain).

And another thing . . .

. . . Phillip loved having Jello served as a side dish when he was a kid, and lately he's been urging me to serve some with dinner sometime.  The idea struck me as odd (it seems more dessertish to me, and my mom only made Jello for us when we were sick), but I love my husband so I served a bowl of strawberry Jello with our chicken, orzo, and carrots tonight.  My family (myself included) polished off every bite of it, so I foresee more Jello in our future.  It's yummy, and I suppose I should be grateful that I can thrill my family with something so simple and easy, but I just can't shake the feeling that Jello isn't real food.