I know its been a while since I posted last. I apologize. I was told on Thursday by a devout reader (namely my cousin Lexi- Hi girlie!) that she reads my blog every day and that I needed to update it.
Things have been a little hectic around here to say the very least, well maybe not more hectic, but the more pregnant I get, the more I find that things that I used to squeeze into my schedule with ease are harder and harder to find motivation for. I've been very discouraged as of late- worried about the baby, worried if I will be a good mom, worried about finances, worried about my husband...and I definitely have felt like a broken record- a broken record that plays one complaint after another...
Lately, my solution to end the broken record feeling has been to avoid the question of how I'm doing, or to lie and say I'm fine...of course, this doesn't work with my husband or my family members who live close by because they look at me and know I'm lying...My husband has been ever so gracious to remind me where liars go...so I've come to the solution that I need a new solution.
This weekend has been a very fun filled and enlightening one.
My cousin Samantha kicked off the weekend on Thursday with her wedding. With the exception of my uncle Neil and his wife, all of my aunts and uncles came to help celebrate. As I sat at the reception visiting with family members that I haven't seen in a long while, a part of me started to get a little sad in a way...the event became almost bittersweet.
Why was it bittersweet? It was a wedding for goodness sakes! Well, the reception reminded me greatly of the family summer picnics we used to have. We'd all go over to grandma and grandpa's condo and have a big picnic lunch or dinner and a pool party. They also served our famous Winberg family punch at the reception- which of course reminded me of all the Christmas morning waffle breakfasts we used to have... I started to wonder...how did it get to be that we grew apart? We would come together at least twice a year every year when I was a kid. It was fun to see everyone and rejoice in being together. It was fun to watch my dad and uncle tease eachother and be goofballs. I remembered my grandpa wearing his "Bah Humbug!" sweater every Christmas morning and pretending to be a Scrooge until the Lil Smokie sausages were complete, making it possible for him to eat his waffle breakfast...
After my dad and grandpa died, the waffle breakfasts and picnics seemed to come to a screeching halt. I guess losing 2 vital members in one year would be a major shock for any family. For a while, we started having a pre-Thanksgiving or Christmas pizza party at Leo's Place, a local pizza restaurant in Idaho Falls. It almost felt like normal again...but gradually, as cousins aged and people became busy those get togethers eventually stopped too.
I couldn't really pinpoint it, what had happened to us? Why had it been 2 years since I'd seen most of my family members? These people are the last link I have to my dad...you would think I would be chomping at the bit to make excuses to get together...
I left the wedding excited to have seen everyone and to have had the opportunity to introduce my husband to family members that had not met him yet and hadn't made it to our wedding, glad to see that some things never change- made evident by Uncle Jeff who was the same goofball he's always been- but terribly frustrated...what was the answer? Why had we become so distant that, even though many of us live in the same town, we never see each other? (of course, this became added to my list of worries and concerns...)
All I can say is I am so grateful for General Conference this weekend. The Lord knew what was weighing heavily on my mind, and I was blessed with the answers.
What is General Conference you may ask? Some of you are not members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and some of you may know about the church, but don't know what the hoopla is about. Every first weekend of October and April (every 6 months) there is a worldwide meeting of the LDS church known as General Conference. Many people flock to Salt Lake City with free tickets into the Conference Center (lucky ducks that they are) or to the overflow in the Tabernacle to listen in person (or almost in person, since those in the Tabernacle watch via satellite) while other members of the church watch or listen from their homes of churches around the world. We have 4 sessions of General Conference that are 2 hours long a piece beginning with 2 on Saturday (plus a fifth general Priesthood session specially for the men) and 2 on Sunday. During this meeting, we listen to the inspired words of our church leaders (namely our beloved Prophet Thomas S. Monson, his counselors, our apostles, members of the quorums of the seventy, and other auxiliary church leaders.) No one is given a specific topic to speak on. All people called upon to speak by the Prophet are instructed to pray and speak about what God prompts them to talk about.
Some of you are thinking...this girl is nuts- she sits through 8 HOURS of church!!! To which I proudly respond- you're darn right I do!
I listen because there are always words of council and great hope. I can promise you, whatever ails you, you will find the cure in a conference address. That address may be from our beloved Prophet, or it just might be the address of the 2nd Councilor in the Young Women's General Presidency....there is something for everyone.
This weekend was a veritable spiritual feast for me. All my worries and concerns seemed to melt away.
I must admit, I'm horrible at remembering who gave what address- so bear with me as I give you the highlights.
Yesterday, there was a wonderful address that spoke to my heart in the second session of conference about the importance of families and, more importantly, our divine duty to be parents. Since I married, I have had many people that I respect question the decision of my husband and I to start our family so soon...frankly, we weren't expecting it quite as soon as it happened, but we had made the decision that we would welcome children with open arms if and when the Lord chose to bless us with them. Knowing that I had been told in high school that I would have a difficult time conceiving children, we acted in a manner that we thought was the best to increase our chances of being able to have biological children, but those sweet moments of grief where my husband held me and told me that we would travel the world and adopt from every continent will remain etched in my memory. I am so blessed to have him....anyway...back to the address... the speaker related his own story. As a young, newly married, returned missionary, he and his wife had made the difficult decision that, while they wanted to start a family, they would wait so that she could work and support the household while he finished medical school. Shortly after this discussion, they were visiting his in-laws for the weekend and happened upon an article in the Ensign (an LDS church magazine that contains articles and addresses from church leaders). This address from a then apostle Spencer W. Kimball (who would later be the prophet) cautioned the saints that they shouldn't put off having families for what the world tells them they should have. The speaker related how within 30 minutes he was in the office of President Kimball, relating his decision with his wife and their reasons. The sweet, then apostle, listened carefully to him as he related all his concerns. He simply told him that he should not delay working for eternal happiness in order to secure temporal happiness. He said that if you are working towards things that matter to God, he will bless you so that your needs are met.
In other words, we shouldn't delay in starting our families our of fear that we won't be able to give them all the latest gadgets and toys- should we be smart in thinking about our situations- yes, but, with the Lord's help, you will always be provided for. Of course, this is something that I had been telling myself over and over as I have been questioned about the choice that my husband and I made- but it seemed more striking as I heard it from the pulpit. It brought me peace. The world and the people in it may not understand what drives us to have families and children, we may be told that we should seek for other things first like world travel or riches, but we understand the riches that we will receive from heaven as we have the sacred and special opportunity to be mothers and fathers- to watch someone grow and help them navigate through this world. All the time that I could have spent singing in a foreign country or living with all the worldly goods money can buy will not be able to replace the sacred and special moments I've had while carrying this baby- they cannot replace the sacred and special moments with my husband- the moments where we make decisions and work together towards our ultimate goals with the help of God- I wouldn't trade the day that I found out I was pregnant or hearing our baby's healthy heartbeat for the first time for all the gold and riches that the world could offer me.
There were also great addresses given about how we use our time. (Hello answer to my worry about my family) We were cautioned in one address to evaluate how we are using our time and to not allow ourselves to become swept away and so concerned about social networking, tweets and facebook that we forget to make time for the Lord and our families. We were reminded that social networking and the Internet can be of great value in sharing our beliefs and reconnecting with family members (alive and dead) after hearing the several addresses given about time management, I have decided that I am going to make a few goals: 1) I will write a facebook message or email to at least 1 family member a day while I am spending my time doing my "social networking" 2) I will try to be better at writing on my blog- many of my family members use it to keep up with me and I have noticed that it has become a journal of sorts. This blog could be printed and invaluable to my children and my grandchildren on down the line. From it, they will be able to read my thoughts, feelings, and gain insight from my experiences and 3) I will replace one time that I log onto facebook to check messages and notifications with a solid 30 minutes of scripture study. Yes, keeping up with friends and family is a good thing, but I also need to keep up with my Heavenly Father and scripture study is one way to open that window of communication.
In the first session of Conference today was a wonderful talk given by one of the general young women's presidency. She addressed something that Jeff has been concerned about- What do I do with a little girl? This question has plagued him for the last 14 weeks...because that is when we found out that we were going to welcome a daughter into our family. This address really touched me because it made me even more grateful to my Heavenly Father for blessing me with such a wonderful man to share this life and eternity with. So- what do you do with a girl? You love her and you set a good example by loving her mother, by honoring your priesthood, and by acting as a patriarch in your home- asking questions and interviewing her and her friends to gain the insight you need to preside over them justly and honorably...as this sweet sister described the attributes of a good father for a daughter I was brought to tears. I have such a wonderful husband, and I know from conversations we've had before this address that he will be the kind of man to do all the things she described- he likely would have done them without there ever having been a conference address on how to be a father to a daughter- but it was nice to have some suggestions spelled out- those suggestions just made me love him even more and made me even more grateful to have him in my life.
Finally, a talk given towards the end of the last session of Conference was enlightening and brought me great peace. In this address, we were taught about the importance of prayer and the importance of understanding how prayer works. When we're out in the world in the busy hustle and bustle, its easy to forget who is the source of all the bounty, wealth and blessings we receive. Some important points were made about why we pray and why we need to pray more often, namely: God loves us, and what is important to us is important to Him. Just like any parent, if we don't approach him and tell him what we need, how can we expect to be blessed with it? We also need to remember that prayer requires action. We can't pray to do well on a test in school and expect to do well if we haven't been paying attention in class or even have attempted to study for it. We must be working with God to prove that what we want is important to us and worth our time- if its worth our time, it is worth His. Also- EVERYONE has the right to pray. The speaker said almost verbatim that thinking we are too spiritually gone to seek help from the Lord is like saying an ill man is too sick to seek help from a doctor.
So- as for all those worries I've had...well, I know that being a good mother is important to me. I know that I am doing all I can at this moment in time to help my little family be in a good financial situation. As I pray for guidance and help I know that there will be a loving God there to help me, lift me up, and point me in the right direction. Most importantly, I must remember that patience grows from long-suffering. Every trial and concern that weighs on my heart is an opportunity to grow stronger spiritually and to forge a closer relationship with God- the catch is that I have to remember to turn to Him.
I am so grateful for the spiritual feast I received this weekend. I am so grateful for a loving Heavenly Father who continues to speak to His servants today and to me. I know that as I work to be more Christ-like I will be blessed to grow closer to God and to be able to serve my friends, family and strangers in their times of need more completely and wholly.
If you read all of this- bless you- I know its probably a novel of gobbelty goop, and you may not have the same beliefs that I do. Let me say that my humble prayer for you and all of my friends, family, and associates is one of peace and clarity. I pray that everyone I meet will be able to find the answers they seek as they navigate through life, that they will be able to make good choices and be able to please themselves and God (if they believe in Him). We are so infinitely blessed. We have families and friends to surround us in times of struggle and we need to remember to call upon them. We also have a loving God- our father- who willingly waits to listen to our prayers and help us solve the problems of life and overcome obstacles and trials. We also have the ultimate big brother in Jesus Christ- who loved us so much that he chose to be our Savior and Redeemer. He paid the price of our sins so that we wouldn't have to. He also worked and continues to work to help make up the deficit when we fall short in our lives. Call upon Him and our Father in Heaven for help. While you may not see the blessings immediately, I can promise you that there will be peace, I can promise there will be love and the answers will come.
The Tabernacle Choir sang one of my favorite songs today. It is based off of a scriptural passage from the New Testament (I think Matthew) Christ addresses a multitude and shares with them the secret to having continued faith through struggles. I will leave you with those words:
Consider the lillies of the field, how they grow?
Consider the birds in the sky, how they fly?
He clothes the lilies of the field, he feeds the birds in the sky
and he will feed those who trust Him
and guide them with His eye.
Hugs and loves until next time darlings!