Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Seasons without rubrics

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:

A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;

A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;

A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;

A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;

A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;

A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace. Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

This scripture calmed and strengthened me when I so desperately wanted to start my family. I knew the Lord could have blessed me with a baby, but he wouldn’t. Something told me that I wasn’t in that season yet. I felt stuck in one season and wishing for another. But then I started praying to gain a testimony of the fact that this is what God wanted for me, and praying to grow and learn in the way Heavenly Father wanted me to during this painful season. And, of course, praying to gain a testimony that the fruitful seasons of joy would follow those of growth and struggle.

I'm not saying that fixed everything, but it did teach me about timing, patience, and Godly parenting. He knows how to succor, and he knows how to teach, and he knows how to give me just the experience that I need.

(As one of my charming side-notes, I’ve really pondered the casting away stones bit, but it still doesn’t make much sense. I like the imagery, though.)

I've been thinking about the new season I've entered. Is it what I expected? Am I doing as well as God wants me to? Is he pleased? Am I growing and learning in the ways I should to be prepared for the next season?

It's not quite the way I imagined it. Some things are harder (i.e. being on duty all day long) and parts are easier (i.e. being in a BYU married ward with rabbit-like reproduction). I want to be the best mom I can be, and it's so hard to do that satisfactorily when no one agrees on just what good parenting looks like. I guess the teacher in me just wants a clear-cut rubric.

This is a season of fruitfulness -- years of waiting finally fulfilled. But it's also a season of planting -- forming habits and having adventures she'll never remember. It's a season of beginnings -- struggling to understand a new life, a new part of myself. But, it almost goes without saying, it's a season of slow goodbyes to my independence.

And I'm loving it. I'm not always sure I'm doing it right, but I'm definitely enjoying it. (especially the naps.)

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Definitely, Maybe

Warning: You might not like this entry. I'm sure I'll disagree with a few people. But we can still be friends, right?

So, you know the scripture in 2 Nephi that says that the Devil leadeth us "carefully down to Hell"? I believe that applies to our media. The storylines of modern theater, movies, and music not only reflect our culture but drive it.

So Scott and I rent "Definitely, Maybe." Betsy's asleep, we're snuggled together in bed, and I'm expecting this adorable chick flick that actually does leave you wondering what the end will be. Which is a nice departure from the typical formulaic romance.

Turns out I'd rather have the formula. I should have known I might have misgivings when they first five minutes has an eight year old repeatedly using the word penis. It's just not a sign of most high-class films.

But what really left me thinking (another move atypical of romantic comedies) was the approach to marriage. Here's the premise: Daughter is spending time with her dad. She's upset because he's divorcing her mom. She asks to hear every detail of how they got together, and he tells her a "mystery love story" and changes the names so she won't know which of his three love interests is her mother. And the back of the box alludes to her learning that love can be complicated and him learning that maybe happily ever afters are possible.

Sounds like it has potential, right?

But the script is manipulated to give preference to one woman, and she doesn't end up being the mom. Fine. So the daughter has herself a good 30 second pout, and then -- for our dramatic ending -- encourages her dad to go hook it up with the preferred love interest.

Is it any wonder our values are so polluted? Stories like this one seem to subversively, underhandedly cripple our morals. Here's the gunky lessons from Definitely, Maybe:

  1. Sleeping around is juuuuuust fine. (Unfortunately, it's nearly impossible to find a film indicating otherwise.)
  2. Difficulties in marriage occur because you've married the wrong person.
  3. Divorce is the best answer to problems in marriage.
  4. Divorce isn't easy on kids, but they'll be okay. And probably in a matter of hours.
  5. Besides, kids are way more interested in the so-called happiness of parents than they are in their parents staying together to form a complete family unit.
  6. I hate Hollywood.
It's interesting. Divorce was totally portrayed as just another difficult, but necessary, part of adulthood. Most perturbing was the thought that Hollywood was no longer thrusting these ideas on an unwilling public, but simply reflecting the common outlook.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

The Fourth That was the Most

Most beautiful moment of the day: Kate painting Betsy's fingernails and toenails a pink that matched her cute "Adore" onesie.

Most awkward moment: That would have to be the mayor of Kaysville trying to get everyone to sing "Happy Birthday to America." It didn't work.

Most anticipated moment: Fireworks finale. And, let me say, it was a bit of a let down.

Most debated moment: How many of the bottled water and glowsticks would Scott and Chase sell? (Answer: they sold out entirely.)

Most serrendipitous moment: Scott and Chase were busy selling glowsticks, Kate was watching the fireworks elsewhere with Tanner, and I had my mom and dad to myself. (Well, with Betsy.)

Most surprising moment: Betsy up and rolled over. For the first time. Totally by herself. In front of the entire extended family.