Saturday, March 28, 2009

Somebody's Soap Box

The following is a real e-mail sent to all the sisters in our ward as a reply to another sister sending out a link with Conference activities for kids. I was curious what everyone's thoughts were on what she wrote. Here's her soap box:

Great idea Mary Ann! Thank you for providing this to the sisters. It is a fantastic idea to provide something for the kids to keep them quiet for the long sessions.

I never attend conference any more because the children were so noisy and disruptive that I would be mad and frustrated by the time I would leave. If you are in the back of the chapel, that’s the “play area.” When I did try to attend in years past, I was anything but “spiritually uplifted” from attending the conference. What is so frustrating is the inconsiderate attitude of the parents. They are so accustomed to “tuning out their kids” they are totally obvious to how rude and inconsiderate it is to the other adults in attendance. Not to mention how inconsiderate and rude it is to the speakers who took the time to study and prepare something spiritual for us.

I must give credit to the thoughtful parents that do take the time to teach their kids what behavior is acceptable at church and what is not appropriate when reverence is required. I really appreciate the parents who do take out their children when they are being disruptive and noisy whether that is in Sacrament meeting, Sunday School and/or Relief Society. This sets an example to the other children, too. It doesn’t need to be just crying that requires removal, but having a good noisy “happy” time, too is not reverent. I remember spending the first two years of each of my children’s life in the hallway at church. I don’t recall having the speakers in the hallway 40 years ago like we have now. I know it isn’t easy, but that is what parenting is all about. After all, if you can’t control your toddlers, what will you do when they become teenagers and they’re bigger that you???? At least my teenagers were bigger than me! Back in the “old days” we didn’t have “Nursery class” so we had 3 years to teach the kids how to behave at Church while we stayed in the hallway or visited the bathroom for a little more “encouragement”!

It seems as though some of the problems of noise from the children are carried into Sunday School and Relief Society classes, too, i.e. giving them noisy toys to shake and bang. It’s as if the parents see that they aren’t crying they’re not causing a disturbance when they are laughing and banging their noisy toys such as trucks or their mom’s keys. They do make “quiet” toys which would be more appropriate for Church. Again, I’m sure this is because the parents are accustomed to “tuning this noise out.” Also, I think the moms know that most of us have gone though this, too so we should “understand”. However, this is no excuse. Just because we are grandparents now, doesn’t mean that we love being entertained by those happy, playful toddlers and/or fussy babies! Again, the purpose of going to Church on Sundays is to hear and learn the lessons that are presented to us and to spiritually lift us. We did not get dressed and drive all the way to Church on Sunday to be entertained by babies and toddlers.

When we leave Church on Sunday we should be able to keep the Sabbath Day holy. We should be strengthened to the point that we can deal with all the issues that will face us for the next six days as we go about our daily lives. I think of how often I will reflect on a message I received at Church in a lesson or talk that helps me keep in perspective why we are here and what we are supposed to be accomplishing.

I know I’m not the only “Grandma” that feels this way. I’m sorry if I’ve hurt any ones feelings that reads this, but I felt strongly that I needed to express this.

Comments anyone?? Love to hear them!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Live Footage

We've encountered some technical difficulties with the making of this film.  Unfortunately, since it is already terribly outdated due to how quickly these little babies progress each day, this is what you get!  So at the end when there's a black screen, imagine seeing the last shot of the previous scene one more time only in slow motion.  That's what is supposed to be there.  (FYI: Luke is traveling a lot faster and further these days.  It won't be long before he is doing the real crawl on his hands and knees) Enjoy!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Let-down Theory

After an intense emotional, physical, or spiritual experience, there tends to be a let-down.  I experienced this when I gave birth without an epidural.  Immediately after and for a few sustained hours, I felt amazing, powerful, and strong.  I was excited for my accomplishment and felt so good.  After a while, though, I become depressed, dejected, and disgusted at myself.  I felt weak and stupid and felt that everyone else saw me in that same way.  Unfortunately, it is the latter that has stuck in my brain.

Recently I had an experience that was so coincidental and such an answer to my prayers that I couldn't help but believe that it really was the work of the Lord in my life and others.  I felt happy to have been of service and grateful to be so trusted.  Only hours later, doubts crept in and I began to wonder if I had actually caused the incident instead of happening to be there at the right time.  I felt that I had compounded the problems more than eased them and once again felt helpless, sad, and disappointed.  

Why does this happen?  I know such is the case with new converts.  They have powerful experiences that testify to them of the truth and they follow that path.  Then suddenly, or slowly, the same wonderful experience begins to turn sour.  Questions and doubts fill their minds.  They begin to feel lonely and rejected.  Instead of strong they feel weak.  Suddenly all their flaws and mistakes are brought to the surface and they begin to view themselves in their carnal state.  

I can see from my own experiences how easy it is to succumb to those feelings in negative ways.  I am beginning to see the great humility and spiritual strength that the people of King Benjamin must have had to be able to turn to the Savior immediately.  Perhaps this is how Peter felt as he was walking on the water and why he began to sink.  But he did not hesitate to plead for help and reach out his hand. And we see that the Lord did not hesitate to lift him up.  Alma 34:31 says: 

 Yea, I would that ye would come forth and aharden not your hearts any longer; for behold, now is the time and the bday of your csalvation; and therefore, if ye will repent and dharden not your hearts, immediately shall the great plan of redemption be brought about unto you.

The let-down appears to be an essential part of conversion and coming to Christ.  The question may not be if it will happen, but rather how we will respond.  Will we harden our hearts and turn away from the only source that can bring comfort?  Or will we be as Peter and reach out our hand and our voices in pleading for the Lord to lift us up again?  

Perhaps this is what is meant in the Relief Society Declaration when it says we "seek spiritual strength by following the promptings of the Holy Ghost."

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Annie's First Year

So I know she just turned 2, but I chose so many pictures that I had to split it into 2 videos.  Her second year will be posted shortly.