A New Way of Parenting: Allowing Emotion

This type of scene is a common one with my 3-year-old. She wants something sweet and can’t have it. She melts down, and I heat up. I reiterate all the reasons why she should already know she can’t have candy right now. “Why are you crying?” “You  have to fill up your puff ball jar [good behavior jar] before you get a treat,” “You haven’t finished your lunch yet, anyway. Go eat that food instead.”

Then I get tired of the crying, especially because she gets more dramatic in response to what I’ve said. So then I say, “If you can’t stop crying, you’ll have to go to your bed. That’s 1; that’s 2; okay, that’s 3..time for bed.”

And so the story continues with my main goal being for her to quit crying. The result? She stuffs away her emotions to put on a fake happy face, and she’s likely feeling resentment and anger towards me all the while. Even though in my head, I thought, “Wow, I avoided anger, didn’t yell, and kept my voice even. She stopped crying. Annoying moment over. Phew”

Yet, there was no teaching or learning in those moments. There was nothing done that would help things go differently the next time.

I’ve been learning a new way of parenting that I love. My friend Kassandra told me to run to my child when I actually want to run away. That visual has stuck in my head. She also told me to get on my child’s level and to empathize rather than chastise. I’ve had to turn against my instincts here because my child is often pushing my buttons, and all I want to do is chastise.

I also found a parenting author named Dr. Laura Markham. I’ve listened to a few interviews with her and love her ideas. I signed up for her email list, and I want to read her books. She teaches about allowing a child to feel their emotions and not be shamed for them, and I realized that’s what I need even as an adult when I’m feeling negative emotions. So why would I expect my tiny child to be able to move on without that kind of support?

I especially loved Dr. Markham’s interview about sibling rivalry. She talked about how when we get involved in a sibling fight in the wrong way, we actually increase sibling rivalry. This is because we make one child feel like they’ve won and the other feel like they’ve lost.

Even if I can clearly see my son was at fault when he stole his sister’s markers, I didn’t see yesterday when my son was unjustly clobbered by my daughter. So I never truly know the complete story, and I am better off when I assume each child has a perfectly good reason for the way they are feeling.

I wish I could transcribe Dr. Markham’s whole interview here. Her specific actionable ideas and phrases to use in the middle of a sibling fight are so helpful. But the key takeaway is that my job as parent is to empathize with each upset child. I am learning to say, “Wow, I can see how that would be hard,” “You must be really upset to act like that,” “You are feeling really frustrated right now because…” “It’s hard to be the big brother…”

These simple, loving phrases that seemed so unnatural for me to say at first are making a big difference, and I think they are making me a better person overall. When anyone around me is having a tough emotion, I can meet it with understanding rather than trying to get rid of it. I can hold space for their big emotions and sit peacefully in understanding. When any of us are given the permission to lean into our emotions and really feel them… when we are given the security of someone’s love while having a tough time, then those emotions pass and we can move on.

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Yesterday, I stripped my baby’s dirty clothes off in the kitchen after a messy meal. She started crying because she didn’t like the tight shirt passing over her head. My 3-year-old was there and started dancing and singing to cheer up her sister. The magic entered the room when my 3-year-old stopped trying to make the baby happy and instead put her hand on the baby’s back and said, “I know it’s hard; it’s okay.”

Time stood still for me, and I was so happy to think I taught her that. It is a skill I am still working on myself, and yet there was my daughter figuring it out. I am so excited about this new skill because, truly, if my kids and I learn that emotions should not be shamed, then we will all be much better equipped to learn from the trying experiences of life.

My Motherhood Master Plan

My friend quit working full-time to become a full-time mom to her three kids. She said she was going into it with a CEO mindset. If she were CEO of her home and family, how would she run things?

I loved borrowing her way of thinking about motherhood because it made me think about goal-setting, vision, mission statements, and purpose. It was also a little funny to me thinking how underpaid Home & Family CEO’s are.

But lately I have been thinking about how much real value I am putting into the world just by putting in TIME here at home, creating the life I/we want for our family. I find myself wanting to educate my children about all sorts of things. And as I envision a Motherhood Master Plan for what I want my kids to know, it looks something like this…

I want my kids to know all about God. Heavenly Father and Heavenly Mother. Jesus Christ. The Holy Ghost. Of course. Yes. Everything I know, I want them to know. I want them to know it is their journey, an exciting journey that only they can take the steps for. I want us to have daily religious discussions and daily prayer.

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I want my kids to know about health. Even though I’m not the optimal daily example, I give them the “chore” of “Sunshine and Exercise.” They have to get outside and move their bodies before they can have screen time or play with friends.

I want my kids to know about food. I often think about past cultures all being centered around gathering and cooking food. And then here I am in the 21st century, getting around that by zapping some frozen food in the microwave or grabbing some fast food. The more I learn about and prepare nourishing, whole plant foods, the more connected I feel to eating this way. I honestly can’t imagine going back. It feels right in so many ways. Thankfully I have access to modern conveniences like frozen and instant plant foods, but I want to learn and also teach my kids how to cook these foods from scratch.

I want my kids to know about healthy relationships. I want them to know about sex. I want them to know about their own sexuality. I want them to be able to have healthy discussions about these things without wanting to hide. This requires me to open my mouth. It requires me to study and learn and get myself to healthy mindsets. These are the foundations of life! I am thankful to have the time to talk about these things with my kids in casual settings.

I want my kids to know how to work through conflict. Lately I’m realizing just how much I have to learn in this area. But it’s great, I get to learn with my kids because too often I act just like a kid when I am in conflict with someone. I often read parenting articles, books, and listen to podcasts. My biggest lesson learned lately? In a conflict, everybody’s number one need is empathy. I’m working on giving it.

…which leads right into my next point. I want my kids to know that love is the most important. So often, I have to remind myself to set achievement aside as the lesser goal. Who cares what you can do if you have no love in your heart? Who cares about all your talents if you make no sacrifices on behalf of others? Who cares if you’re right if they don’t even know that you love them?

And yes, I still want my kids to know about achievement. I want them to feel the satisfaction, the joy, of accomplishing big things. I want them to feel that joy within themselves so they don’t feel a huge need to seek for praise from others. I want them to learn to persevere and work hard.

I want my kids to know about failure. Here is another area I am learning alongside my kids. I tell them often, “It’s okay to fail,” which is perhaps just as much a reminder for myself as anyone else. Sometimes we go around the dinner table and talk about a way we failed that week. If we’re not failing, we’re not trying. What is failure anyway? It is just missed expectations. Pshhh, that’s all? It doesn’t seem so bad on paper. I want them and me to able to admit failure, to be able to say sorry, to think about how to be better, and then to pick themselves back up and happily carry on. SO important.

I want my kids to know mom is just there. One day they will see the enormity of that gift. I try to find ways to fill my own cup with things that delight me, so I am here emotionally for my kids. I try to take care of my physical body so I have the endurance to work hard all day. I make time to seek God daily so I have a testimony to share with my kids. If I practice all these areas of self-care, then I really can BE THERE for my kids in every way.

As mother, I want to be more than a taxi driver, more than a microwaver or drive-thru fast food lady. I want to be more than an accidental teacher. I want my actions as mother to be purposeful. I see the life I want and the things I want to teach my kids, and I am trying to take action to get there. In big and small ways, I am working on changing what I do so my actions align with those priorities. It is hard work and demands the best of me.

I see myself as the creator of our family life. Maybe my job title could be CFL? It is a fun job and an important job. I love the creation part of this job, and I look to those higher-level creative planning duties when the daily monotony gets old. I love being Mother.

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This is not an anti-Mormon video

I like this. If you’ve left the LDS church or are having a hard time with the church, that’s okay with me. I like this guy’s willingness to be bold and talk about it and “bridge the gap.” If you have left because of historical things like he talks about, I empathize with the feeling that learning about history has brought you pain and disbelief to the point where you left. I have nothing but love for you and trust in your journey.

I also want to say where I am at in my journey. I stay for reasons similar to his. I love seeing that despite humanness and mistakes, prophets have brought about beautiful doctrine that rings true to me, which isn’t found anywhere else. There have been MANY times when I have failed to carry out what the Lord expected of me, even simple things…or that I fought against it, delayed, performed poorly, etc.

Despite my mistakes and failures and clear LACK, I see beautiful things happen in my life as I follow the gospel laid out by Jesus Christ. Even if I don’t see clearly now how it all works, I know it does work.

For me, faith has become everything and is the principal I keep choosing daily to build my life upon in so many areas of my personal development. I have witnessed miracles, healings, power, visions, inspiration, ministering of angels, and the quiet whisperings of the Spirit. I realize that lumping all of those things together in one sentence sounds incredulous, but it is true.

And yet, honestly, it is hard to keep choosing faith. Every day I find myself making that conscious choice as I decide whether or not to pray, read scriptures, and follow inspiration I’ve been given. I have to remind myself what I already know from past spiritual experiences.

Like this guy said, if the evidence weighed heavily on one side or the other, there would be no place for faith. The lack of hard evidence gives me much empathy for friends who believe differently. But my favorite thing about faith is it looks for the good and holds onto it tenaciously. Faith trusts. Faith helps me repeatedly give all of myself to God. I am keeping faith. 💜

Flaw or Strength

“And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.” –Ether 12:27

So I’ve heard that any flaw or weakness you have is actually one of your strengths taken to the extreme.  I can see this is somewhat true for me.

I am detail-oriented, which makes me great at being an accountant. It also makes me bad at telling stories because I have a hard time leaving out unimportant details.

I am good at saving money and cutting out unnecessary spending in order to meet our financial goals. This also means I am bad at being generous and spending money on unnecessary but important things.

I am good at thinking about how others feel. This helps me to reach out to others. But this also means I can be oversensitive or allow myself to feel bad when I notice someone doesn’t like me.

I am always “seeking for better,” which is great for helping me improve myself. But sometimes I am too hard on myself and also not good at admitting failure.

I am good at tempering my anger and refraining from conflict. But then I also see myself as a victim too often.

Seeing that my flaws have a positive side helps me to be kinder to myself and consider how I can come closer to a happy medium instead of operating at my two extremes.

Preachy

““Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” –Mark 16:15

The last time I went to Relief Society, we talked about sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ with others. We especially focused on social media. We discussed the problem of fearing what others might think of us or coming across in the wrong way-like being too preachy!

If there’s one thing I know I might be guilty of, it is being preachy!

I like to post about God and spiritual things on social media. I suppose some of this is out of pride or a desire to be seen as a good person. I imagine sometimes people think I’m a little heavy-handed.

I am working on improving myself in these areas. But I’m also coming to love myself anyway and forgive myself for the times when my motives may be a little less than pure. And I know that overall, I share because I am doing my best to give to others some of what I’ve been given.

One thing I’ve learned about being a follower of Jesus Christ is the responsibility to share my testimony of Him with others. This allows the Spirit to do the work of testifying of truth to those listening with an open heart.

Phew! Knowing that it is the Spirit’s job to convert and not mine takes a lot of the pressure off. And it allows for me to be human and err in sharing too much or sharing things that are not actually inspirational.

In that Relief Society class, we also talked about whether or not social media is the right place to talk about our testimony. I can understand that for some people they may not feel inspired to share their testimony on social media. But for me, I don’t get out of the house much! And when I do… well, I’m not brave enough yet to talk to the grocery store clerk about Jesus (nor do I always have my sanity at that point when I have my kids with me). Maybe one day I will be that gutsy and sane.

So for now, I feel called to share on the internet. And I hope anyone reading this will overlook my faults as I do my best to share the most important part of my life: my testimony.

I know we have a Father and Mother in Heaven who love each of us. I know Jesus Christ lives, and I know He made me who I am and deserves all the glory for any good I might do. I know the Spirit is real and has power to testify of truth, to help us remember, and inspire us to do good. I know The Book of Mormon is scripture. I know Joseph Smith was called to be a prophet of God. I know that The Church of Jesus Christ is the Savior’s true church on the earth.

The more I learn, the more I know that I don’t know. There are many more things for me to seek after and  learn of and then testify about… and I honestly can’t wait to learn those things.

I am She, and She is Me

“Be one; and if ye are not one ye are not mine” –D&C 38:27

For the longest time, I have felt that I fall extremely short in having humility. I have spent much of my life prideful and also fearful. I have felt that if I can’t be the best at certain things, then where is my value? If somebody excels at something, somehow I start to feel worse about myself. I know these thoughts are backwards, but I can’t help myself.

I have prayed for charity for those around me. I have prayed to be able to let go of my jealousies. I have prayed to have love for my “enemies.”

And oh, how I have admired those who are able to cheer on everyone around them, with no discrimination and no need for recognition themselves. I want to be one of those people; but when I try, it always feels very forced. And it requires a lot of mental exertion to go against my natural inclination of jealousy and feeling “less than.”

When I heard this talk by Sister Marriott a few months ago, her words described how I felt:

“Independently forcing ourselves to have humility and trying to make ourselves love others is insincere and hollow, and it simply doesn’t work. Our sins and pride create a breach—or a gap—between us and the font of all love, our Heavenly Father. “

But lately I feel like I’m feeling a sort of breakthrough, a merciful change of heart from God.

It started at Time Out for Women. Zandra Vranes gave a life-changing “spoken word poem.” The kind where you get the chills because of her inspiring vulnerability, pin-pricking truth, and excellent delivery. The kind where the whole audience jumps up with a standing ovation. It was titled, “I am She, and She is Me.” Racism and sisterhood were the primary topics; but for me, the message opened my mind to a universe of connection.

Microbiomes have been in my thoughts because I have been reading a lot about how our diet affects the microbes in our gut. As it turns out, the microbes in our gut have been with us for millions of years. Reading about how big of a role these living organisms play in our lives has been almost eery to me. We rely on these living things to help us stay alive and maintain good health. And actually, “The human we see in the mirror is made up of more microbes than human cells, … [and these] microbes provide more genes for human survival than human cells.”

We universally crave human connection. Could it be that the reason is because we are all more physically connected than we realize? What about the fact that we are all spirit children of God…? Are we all bound together in spirit somehow, unseen to the human eye, as brothers and sisters? Do we all carry some sort of homogenous spiritual substance from our Heavenly Parents with us? What about the way God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ are one? Just how connected are they? Can we all be connected as fully as they are?

I don’t think I am eloquent enough to describe this change in my perspective, but this is what God has granted me: I am starting to be able to look at everyone around me as if they ARE me. We are ONE.

She is better than me at something? That is wonderful; seriously, way to go! I am She, and She is Me.

She is hurting and alone? Wanting to help bear her burden becomes very easy because I am She, and She is Me.

She has messed up big time and made serious mistakes? Let me be the first in line to extend mercy because I am She, and She is Me.

She rubs me the wrong way and seems to judge me at every turn? I can extend my patience for her journey and realize she is not a badly finished product because I am She, and She is Me.

I can truly love her!

And this new perspective doesn’t feel forced or contrived, like I sometimes feel when trying to force charity. It feels very real and true to me. I feel like this insight has been a gift from God, an answer to prayer. It feels different than the idea of just imagining how someone else feels; it is one step further – I AM she; she IS me.

Of course, I am not perfect in applying this perspective; it may depend on the day and how “at one” I am with God. But I have found it applies well in any relationship. In marriage (I am he, and he is me): Can I envision us as truly “one flesh?” Can I parent with this perspective in the middle of a tantrum? I am my daughter, and my daughter is me.

My parting thought is about having the right kind of confidence so that jealousy has no place in my heart:

No matter what, we always have worth in the eyes of our Heavenly Father.

I don’t have to be or do anything to have great worth. My value as a daughter of God is the same and is unchanged no matter what I do.

And that is the beautiful, gospel truth.

“[W]e put His will first and with a broken heart plead that Christ will pour streams of cleansing water into our pitcher. At first it may come drop by drop, but as we seek, ask, and obey, it will come abundantly. This living water will begin to fill us, and brimming with His love, we can tip the pitcher of our soul and share its contents with others who thirst for healing, hope, and belonging. As our inner pitcher becomes clean, our earthly relationships begin to heal.” –Neill F. Marriott

As I read that final quote, I get the overwhelming feeling that I haven’t arrived, and this is just a baby step on my journey to feeling more of Christ’s love for others. But for now, for me, it is working.

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Happy Anni

Yesterday was our 13th wedding anniversary. I have to say I think this last year was possibly the best in our married life. We grew so close through Joni’s health problems.

And then building a house together was actually a wonderful experience. I loved having something we communicated about constantly for months. We were a great team and hardly disagreed. It was so fun feeding off each other’s ideas and creating a home we both love. I will miss that constant communication once we are all settled. Maybe we will have to choose a new project to work on together… Or maybe raising kids is a good enough project!!

Anyway, I love Kent and his good heart. I am grateful for all we learn from each other and our differences.

I wanted to write down  some ways I’m pushing myself in marriage lately:

1) Expect less and appreciate more. I’ve found so many times that expectations lead to disappointment; whereas appreciation leads to happy surprises. Thus, I’m trying to do a lot more of the appreciating!

2) Don’t over-estimate my own contributions to our family. I think it is actually scientifically proven that most people tend to overestimate their own benevolence.  I know I’m guilty of it. I work hard at home all day, but I forget how hard it is to work a full-time job, especially without complaining…since Kent rarely complains.

3) I’m learning to communicate better like Kent does and just say what I need and want. How does he do it so naturally? I have the hardest time saying, “I really need your help,” and instead wishing he could read my mind. Life is a lot easier for both of us when I “channel Kent” in my brain and just say what I need.

4) I learned this next one while reading “The Happiness Project” by Gretchen Rubin. When I’m feeling resentful about always being the one to do some task around the house, I ask myself, “Does this really need to be done this way, or is it just what I want personally?”

The truth ends up being that most things I just want and aren’t a need. So then if some chore, like having clean counters, is a “want,” I deliberately tell myself I’m doing it for me. “There is no need to be resentful because this is something I’m doing just for me.” Nobody else needs the counters clean right now! It is so freeing to let go of that resentment and do things for myself!

And sometimes if I really want something and can’t get to it or mentally can’t do it alone, I can still ask for help. As it turns out, my joy over Kent helping me out is even greater when I realize the task is just for me and not a family need.

5) Deliberately physically connect with Kent in some way each day. I have to remind myself of this one constantly because life gets so busy, and physical touch doesn’t feel like a need. But lately I’ve realized I benefit more than I ever supposed. When my heart is heavy, or my mind is weighed down, I’ve noticed physical connection makes a difference for me, and bonus-Kent and I act more loving toward each other in many ways when we are connecting regularly in a physical way.

Happy anniversary to my man! Let’s keep doing more of this marriage thing.

A Silent Christmas

I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Four years ago, I created a video presentation for my ward’s Christmas Relief Society activity. I had seen the idea from someone else, but I wanted to create my own version.

At the time I created the video, I had in my head that I wanted to share my creation with others on the internet, especially since it took me so long to create (about 10 hours). I had no idea at the time that so many people would end up viewing the video.

While creating the video, I felt heaven’s help in choosing quotes and especially in piecing everything together in a good sequence with the music. When I watched the completed video, I had the feeling that it was not my work.

“A Silent Christmas” was our theme for the night. After having a buffet of appetizers in the cultural hall, we entered the chapel silently where this movie was set up on a projector. The video is 25 minutes long, with a 20-minute message and five minutes of reflection time at the end. The women were asked to remain silent until they returned to the cultural hall  for a dessert buffet afterward. It was a great night!

I wanted to share the video here with all the links I have for downloading because the more I can share the message of Jesus Christ, the better.

This YouTube link has the video as originally presented, with text telling the women to return to the cultural hall afterward for dessert.

To download your own copy of this version of the video, go to my Dropbox page here.  The video will preview as 15 minutes long on Dropbox; but when you download it, you will get the full length.

I had multiple requests for a different copy of the movie, edited to remove the slide talking about returning to the cultural hall. Here is that version on YouTube. And if you’d like to download the video with no cultural hall text, go to my Dropbox page here.

If you’d like a Word document with the text used in the video, here it is.

The Cheerful Nun

“In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” –John 16:33

Lately I’ve been working on being more cheerful. To be honest, I’m not sure I’m getting much better so far, but it has been good to be aware of it. I’ve had this story on my mind that I heard once. This is the essence of it:

Two nuns live together in a convent. One is young and always cheerful and pleasant, with a sweet voice and a smile on her face. When things go wrong or get difficult, she seems unphased by them and maybe even a bit oblivious. Let’s call this nun Cara.

The other nun, Ann, is a bit older and has a harder time acting happy, especially when there is so much surrounding her to be distressed and sad about. She remarks to another nun how it is almost unfair that Cara is so naive to the world around her, how unfair it is that she was born with such a happy inward disposition.

Then the story moves along to reading in Cara’s journal. Cara makes note of Ann’s beliefs about herself, and Cara writes that it is in fact not easy at all for her to be cheerful all the time. She consciously chooses happiness and puts on a smile because it is her way of serving those around her. It is her way she chooses to serve God also, by choosing to have a thankful, cheerful heart. Cara states that she is in fact not oblivious to the discouraging events around her, but she chooses to have joy despite them.

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This story impacted me a lot. I thought about the people I see as naturally cheery and considered that it is a choice they make to be that way.  I also reflected on my native disposition. I tend to hold back outward emotion as a way of guarding myself. I also have a fear of being seen as naive, and I need to let go of that fear. But how much more could I be of service to others around me if I were willing to be cheerful, speak positive words, laugh heartily, and smile easily?

So, I have been trying to “be of good cheer,” as Christ says, despite tribulation. It is can be really hard! Especially when I want to go into victim mode and think everyone else is making it harder. It is hard to be cheerful when I think my kids are being difficult, my husband isn’t meeting my expectations, or I am expecting too much of myself.

My husband is a basketball coach and has been out of town a lot and gone at practice every day after normal work hours. He does this every year, but life seems particularly busy this year with four little kids and just having moved to a new house. This last weekend I had a particularly hard time when I felt everything converging-messy house, need to feed kids, unpacking to do, and ornery kids.

There was a moment I was feeling really hurt by my son’s words and the way he was choosing to act. And then I remembered my goal and decided to choose cheerfulness and not play the victim. I decided I knew I was doing my best to be a good mom, and I didn’t need to take responsibility for the way my son was choosing to act. I chose to smile and thank my kids for any good thing they were doing and to empathize with my son that life was hard for him in that moment.

It was so hard for me, but it also felt really good to be in control of myself instead of wallowing in the victim position. It felt good to have empathy and say, “Sorry that things are hard,” instead of dishing out punishments, threats, or guilt. It felt good to decide that I was fine instead of letting my son’s words affect my feelings of worth.

I have been telling myself some affirmations I have been hearing about on the Bold New Mom podcast:

-I have the perfect amount of time to do what is really important to me.

-Everything that happens is exactly what is supposed to happen.

-I get to choose my thinking and the way I respond to what happens around me.

-It’s not about me.

All of these thoughts help me to be more cheerful in difficult moments.

Answered Prayers

Beckett was fighting with the idea of going to church all morning. We had just gone to the Cedar City temple open house last night as a family and told him to wear church clothes, so he wasn’t excited to wear them again today.

Beck has fought going to church on and off for a long time now, and we’ve struggled with knowing how to motivate him. I don’t want to force him, but I also definitely want him to go. This scripture was on my mind a lot this morning as I struggled with knowing how to parent Beck:

“No power or influence can or ought to be maintained…only by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned” –Doctrine and Covenants 121:41

My natural parenting response is to want to force or bully my kids into doing what I want when the crying starts, their attitude turns on, or time is short. But today, I tried extra hard to speak lovingly and with understanding. I agreed with him that it is hard to wear church clothes two days in a row, and church doesn’t always seem fun or exciting. But I made a polite request of him to come, and I explained why I thought he should go.

I also prayed to Heavenly Father that Beckett would have more of a desire to go and have more good experiences at church that would help him enjoy it. I asked my sister-in-law for advice, and she recommended having Beck write a note to his teacher. That was a great idea since this is our last Sunday in our current ward. He was excited to give the card, but not enough to get dressed and go.

I didn’t want to resort to bribing, but I figure it never hurts to sweeten the good experience. I said anyone coming in the car would get some granola bars on the way to church. That pushed Beck over the edge of indecision; and he finally, begrudgingly got ready for church. We got to church late, and things went fine after that.

As we arrived home afterward and were walking to the front door, Beck said, “Mom, guess what? I felt the Spirit today. First time!” And he had a big smile on his face.

Talk about music to my ears! I asked him to tell me more about it, and he said he felt a really good, happy feeling all over his body as soon as our car entered the church parking lot that morning . And he said the good feeling stayed for all of church. I asked him if he was expecting that good feeling to come, and he said emphatically, “No, not at all!” I was so excited; yes, he was exactly right! He really did feel the Spirit. What a blessing.

I told Beck how I had actually prayed this morning that he would have good experiences at church and more of a desire to go. I asked him if he thought my prayer was answered. He said yes.

Then I said, do you think any other prayers were answered? Do you remember you have been praying for months to know if you should get baptized? Do you think this was your answer? He said, “Yeah, I think so!” And he told me he wanted to be baptized.

Then I talked to him about how prayers are a form of work, and how he has also been doing work by reading The Book of Mormon to find out if he should be baptized. We talked about how the Lord answers our earnest prayers, especially when we put in the work to know for ourselves, even if it might take a while. Over the last few months, I regularly asked Beck if he’d received answers to his prayers about baptism yet; and he’d shake his head and say with slight exasperation, “No, not a bit!”

For the last few months, I have also been praying for the Lord to answer Beckett’s baptism prayers. It is funny how no matter how many times I have had prayers answered in the past, it still takes faith each time to trust that the Lord will hear and answer. And it is hard to wait on the Lord, especially as I watched my son working for so long to get answers.

I was reminded today of these lyrics from a Hilary Weeks song, “Do what you can, give everything that you have, and then give God the rest.” I felt satisfied that we had done our best to teach Beckett what the Spirit feels like and had taught him about baptism, prayer, and The Book of Mormon. Then we gave the rest to God and trusted Him to lead our son.

Today, I am so grateful for answered prayers for my boy and for me too.