I went to education week in August of 2011 where a teacher said something that really struck me...
in my own words though-
"You really do not need permission to dream your dreams, work towards them, or live them out". She said it much simpler but wow it was like lightning striking in my heart. Before that point I felt a little guilty having this as a lingering dream in the attic of my mind.
So I have many dreams and aspirations, let me paint you a picture of my dream...
New England think Massachusetts, Connecticut or New Hampshire perhaps.
I find myself dreaming and longing to live in the architecturally rich environs of New England. I see the tiny towns with bookstores and little restaurants lining the small down town areas.
I see a beautiful home that I have designed. I would love to build our home, but I also could
be happy with an existing home that has a floor plan close enough to the ideals my husband and I have
for our home someday. I plan and dream of decorating each room.
Here is a sample of a home facade that I would love to have someday
( I took this picture, it is not illegal to take a photo of a home)
There are so many details that I have in mind...
Christ Centered living and giving:
Soft music, cleanliness, loving words, regular daily scripture study and prayers. Family home evenings. Inspiring quotes, books, movies and games. The walls will have inspiring art work both of Christ and other glorious pieces of art work.
Furnishings from Pottery Barn and Antique pieces:
I love white furniture. I also love french floral fabrics. I want clean, traditional, and appealing staple pieces of furniture. Antique is almost the only way to find quality pieces of furniture anymore.
Fine papers for crafts, letters, and special occasions. I would love to have fine pieces from Lladro, Waterford, Wedgewood and more. I dream of beautiful pieces of Art, originals, paintings that are pastoral, nautical, architectural, spiritual, pastel, and inspiring.
Food from Whole Foods and the like:
Organic, tasty, and delicious meals set at the family table where stories are told and bonds are built.
Decorations similar to or from Martha Stewart omnimedia:
I would watch Martha Stewart for fun when I was a ten year old... I fell in love with most of her tastes when I was a child. I love to make things that look like her designs or look like they could be out of her photo shoots. I love crisp, traditional, and beautiful interiors and exteriors. Her products reflect my tastes most accurately.
I love the idea of making my home my own, decorating it so it appears professionally decorated, yet knowing that it was mostly all my own doing.
A beautiful library:
I treasure books, handsome books, intriguing books, how-to books and so many many more!
I see in my dreams a room with gorgeous wooden built in bookshelves. Knowledge can be so wonderful when utilized, it becomes wisdom to us when we put what we learn to practice. I want my children to be inspired by time proved printed pages of words, stories, and facts.
A formal entry room:
I love the idea of having a place to entertain company and have a peaceful room to sit and read in.
A formal dining room:
I hope that Thanksgiving and Christmas will often be held at our formal table with great food and memories both made and shared there.
The kitchen open to a family room:
The kitchen is the heart of the home and as such I believe it being open to the family room allows for greater bonding and family togetherness.
1/4 of an acre or more:
I long for the beautiful cottage I dreamed of as a child and hoped to somehow bring to fruition in my 11 year old ambitious heart.
Simple but beautiful landscaping:
I want some beautiful trees, flowers, shrubs perhaps, but mostly a well kept grass lawn.
Easy to take care of and easy to look upon. A Backyard Cottage for the children to play in. As well as a guest cottage for me for crafts. Delicious aromas wafting from the kitchen:
I hope to make food that smells the home with lovely scents. I want to be a chef to some extent.
It is very important in my opinion to share as many meals as possible around the family table. Delicious food is a must!
An inspiring childhood:
I dream of my children having wooden toys to play with, train sets, model planes, American Girl dolls, Melissa and Doug toys, blocks, kidkraft, doll houses, crafts, and legos. I dream of reading books with them from the local library, having them give me and their Daddy puppet shows. I want them to be inspired by classic artwork, music, science, and exploring talents they admire. A television set for family movie nights and to watch documentaries and historical films. I want them to be filled with joy and awe when they play with music boxes or look at snow globes. Maps of the world would be accessible in the learning/play room.
I also see the great value of Montessori and Waldorf learning styles. I believe children have so much imagination to create and explore with. I don't want them to forfeit all the wonders of childhood to endless screen time.
Love for their ancestors and their nationalities. I want a wall of framed pictures of all of their relatives that I can lay my hands on. I want them to feel as though they are a part of something great, because in reality they are!
Today we will be discussing themes from chapter 23 which is
entitled Crucibles and Healings: Illness,
Loss, Death, and Bereavement.
This quote comes from pages 239-240
“In many ways, the principle of opposition is an important
part of the crucible experience. Many of life’s experiences are oppositional in
nature and involve learning through contrast and comparison…” later they go on
to say “Scholars in family and health sciences have explored the oppositions
and paradoxes of illness experiences, noting the emotional roller-coaster ride
that is both draining and empowering.”(McDaniel, Hepworth, Doherty, 1997, p. 3).”
I myself have gone through many crucibles in my family as
the years have progressed. The first one I recall comes from my childhood. I
was 5 years old and my beloved grandfather passed away in a hospital bed in the
room next to mine from cancer. I remember that time very well. I remember my
mother talking on the phone a lot and making lots of arrangements. I know it
was a very difficult time, but it drew us closer.
There have been many difficult times that have happened over
the years. My mother has a heart condition and so I was very familiar with
calling 911 from a young age. My mother’s illness allowed for me to see the
priesthood administered and my testimony grew as I watched her deal with the
challenges her poor health presented her.
Most recently my parent’s divorce occurred, and then the
loss of my treasured home that I had found as a 15 year old girl. The
opposition in our life allows us to grow into stronger and more empathetic
people if we allow it to. Though it has not been so easy to cope with their
loss as I begin my own marriage, I know that it is helping me live in reality
and helping me value the delicate
relationships that I currently have.
This chapter talks about coping with the suffering and pain
that occurs within families. All families will have difficulties, all people
will lose someone or something dear to them. The ultimate good that trials can
afford us, is knowledge and refined characteristics.
What trials have you faced in your family?
How have you seen another person or family cope well with
loss, death, or illness?
What blessings have you seen from hardships you or someone
else you know has had to face?
Aunt Julee (me) with my darling niece and nephew
I want to express my gratitude for the Savior Jesus Christ
who took on my burdens to help them be lighter. I know He loves us and will
help us through all hardships we are called to face. In the Book of Mormon, in
Alma chapter 7:11 which says: “And he
shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind;
and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the
pains and the sicknesses of his people.” ( Click here to see more)
I know he knows me, loves me,
and has helped me to overcome the very dark and lonely times throughout my life
and I know he will help you. As we each
go through hardships, try to keep in mind it won’t be forever. You are loved!
I am really excited for this topic we will be
discussing today! It comes from chapter
22 at the beginning of the chapter. I have been thinking a lot about this topic
lately, especially in regards to my future family.
“Recreation can be easy. We all know how to find fun
things to do. In our current world, we are immersed in a plethora of
entertaining technology. We have access to a variety of television programming;
we have myriad interactive video games.
If we are on the go, we have smart phones that access the digital
airways. … The choices are endless.” (pg 225)
This post will be strongly flavored by my own
beliefs and opinions, if you find your opinion varies a great deal from mine
that is alright. I simply want to express the way I see things, again from my
not quite yet a mother’s perspective.
Let’s get down to business. First here is a quote from President Dieter F. Uchtdorf that really offers the point of my message today - "Isn’t it true that we often get so busy? And, sad to say, we even wear our busyness as a badge of honor, as though being busy, by itself, was an accomplishment or sign of a superior life." (Click here for talk this quote is from.)
Being busy is not necessarily a good thing. As the
modern world has developed more and more optional and recreational activities
have been made available. It is almost every parent’s quest, especially in the
United States to offer their children what they perceive to be a superior
childhood to their own. It is not a written rule or expectation, yet so very
many parents attempt to and work very hard to secure the best future
opportunities for each of their children.
Parents have been known to do some outlandish things
for their children at very early ages. Recently a woman bought a 6 million
dollar condo for her two year old, so she could have an in when it came time to
go to NYU or Harvard. (Click here for article)
Don’t take me for someone who does not want children to have wonderful options
and opportunities, it is just that there seems to be a line as to what is best
and what is just nice.
I will paint for you the scenario I see as ideal for
a child, specifically an LDS child, but nonetheless any child:
The child is born to loving parents who are married,
a mother and a father. They have a safe and clean home for the baby to live in.
The father works hard and provides well so that the wife/mother can stay home
and take loving care of the new child. The mother is frugal and takes excellent
care of her child and home and does her best, but is alright without having
every last detail perfect in their home or life.
The child grows and is read to, taught about Jesus,
and is reared with love. The child is prepared for Kindergarten and is ready to
begin the learning process, already familiar with activities and a bit of self
discipline. By this time another child is in the home and the same process
continues with the new baby.
As the first child progresses through school, outside
activities lure his attention and he desires to participate in an after school
soccer league. The parents allow this to take place but explain to their son
that he can only do one after school activity at a time. This family keenly
values family time, and though extracurricular activities can be rewarding for
the attributes they can instill in a child there must be time to simply spend
as a child using their imagination as well as protected family time.
(My husband, myself, our nephew and niece)
Alright that is the perfect ideal I see for the
first few years of parenthood and handling the ills of busyness.
I have been watching some documentaries on the Amish
and Shakers. Though I do not want to surrender or ,my husband, I do
feel that there is great value in the humble, simple, and purposeful
lifestyles they choose to live.
The way people used to live was simple, but worked
for thousands of years. People often lived near extended family members, and
all would work hard to harvest food and raise the necessary means to live a
healthy functioning life. They were able to spend time together cleaning, growing
food, and preparing food.
I earnestly would like in my home for my children to
play with traditional toys, wooden toys, books, paint and paper, and all types
of implements that aid the imagination and allow for the intellect and
personality to flourish.
I am not anti- technology( should be obvious since I
am writing a blog), I simply believe when it comes to screen time and
use of technology that less is more. I believe that the TV should not be a baby
sitter, but a tool to watch uplifting and informative documentaries, movies, or
For me the bottom line is balance. There are so many
good and so many wonderful things that we can do and can involve our children
in. President McKay said that "No other success can compensate for failure
in the home."
Also Elder Oaks gave an excellent talk entitled Good, Better, Best
(Click here for the text).He talks a lot about how we have many wonderful opportunities
each day and all through out our lifetime, but there are things that we should
be doing that are of far greater worth than others.
A man once said its not that satan is getting good
men to do bad things, its that he is distracting them with less important
We believe that the family should take priority even
over church callings, responsibilities, and opportunities.
Another huge indicator that our families truly
matter and our absolutely worth the time investment in, is when those near
death have been asked about what they would change or do differently you almost
never hear anyone say I wish I had stayed at the office later and missed more
of my children’s important life events, no it is just the opposite, they wish
they could have been at more and had made more cherished memories with their
My point and hope is, is that people will understand
that slowing down can prove to be a major blessing to all within a family unit.
Yes you should reach for the stars, seek to excel, and do all you can to be
your best. However this should never be at the expense of a rich childhood
filled with loving memories, and skills taught in the home to children.
I could go on for a long while about this critical
topic. That is not the best idea though.
Thank you for your readership and thoughts. I
welcome your opinions and insights. Here are some questions to think on or comment from.
What was your childhood like?
What would you change about your childhood if you
What do you think about the balancing act required
for families to be successful in today’s fast paced world?