Tuesday, July 1, 2014

My Faith is Not Blind.

Image Source: Jesus healing a blind man.
How great it feels to make that declaration! It's one that has been on my mind for quite a while now and it's time I let this out for the world (and my children should they ever read these blog posts!) to hear.

My faith is not blind.

I hear so often from non-believers, sometimes well-meaning or curious, sometimes exasperated, but more often hostile - how I as an adherent to my religion - could be so blind. Such a blind follower. Why on Earth would I believe in things I cannot see and cannot prove and have no evidence for? Just because it is more convenient to not have to think? Am I lazy or intellectually incapable? Am I just gullible - a product of some highly effective parental brainwashing? Afraid of death without the comforting idea of a God? What? What is the deal?  

My answer is this: No. I'm none of those things. I'm not lazy, intellectually incapable, or particularly gullible - though it took me a few years to figure out my husband's humor - it's dry and he has a rather monotone voice. ;) I'm not afraid of death, nor will I have regretted any of my choices should I to my complete and 100% total shock and surprise find something else than what I know to be True on the other side of living. While my parents have greatly influenced me on my journey - there are points where we differ in opinion, and that's ok - evidence that I have a brain and use it, and my parents use theirs, too. But, I repeat:

My faith is not blind.

While I don't have the answers for every difficult question (turns out that's a long process) ;), and I don't know every detail of the future God has planned for me - I can say definitively, that my beliefs and knowledge of God (and what I believe to be His True church upon the face of this Earth) - are not just based on some sort of fuzzy feeling and a wish. Though there are tender inner feelings and a true desire on my part to believe what I believe, too. What I have gained in my understanding of God and His ways is as real and tangible as the keyboard I am typing this blog post on this very moment. It is as ever-present as my baby's movement in my womb. It is as warm, consistent, dependable and all-consuming as the sun as it peaks up over the horizon each day. 

My faith is not blind.

I have compiled over two decades of real evidence, a sweet harvest of fruit, of what working toward an intimate relationship with my Creator means. In no sense of the word has that process involved any laziness, intellectual slack, or fear/lack of asking hard questions. Quite the opposite in fact. Neither have my deepest most precious convictions come from any instruction from anyone else but what God inspired to spoken, written (by others) and/or graciously perceived (by myself) through His Holy Spirit.

I love this speech by Spencer W. Kimball - one of the previous Presidents of my church on "Absolute Truth." He makes a point that is especially salient to those who  contend that there is a lack of intellect involved with those claiming to hold spiritual truths:

"If I can only make clear this one thing, it will give us a basis on which to build. Man cannot discover God or his ways by mere mental processes. One must be governed by the laws which control the realm into which he is delving. . . Any intelligent man may learn what he wants to learn. He may acquire knowledge in any field, though it requires much thought and effort. It takes more than a decade to get a high school diploma; it takes an additional four years for most people to get a college degree; it takes nearly a quarter-century to become a great physician. Why, oh, why do people think they can fathom the most complex spiritual depths without the necessary experimental and laboratory work accompanied by compliance with the laws that govern it? Absurd it is, but you will frequently find popular personalities, who seem never to have lived a single law of God, discoursing in interviews on religion. How ridiculous for such persons to attempt to outline for the world a way of life! . . . We learn about these absolute truths by being taught by the Spirit. These truths are “independent” in their spiritual sphere and are to be discovered spiritually, though they may be confirmed by experience and intellect (see D&C 93:30). The great prophet Jacob said that “the Spirit speaketh the truth. . . . Wherefore, it speaketh of things as they really are, and of things as they really will be.” (Jacob 4:13). We needed to be taught in order to understand life and who we really are." 

Just as more temporal knowledge requires diligence and specific study to acquire it, complex spiritual depths of knowledge, require the appropriate spiritual laboratory work to match the task of acquiring them.

My faith is not blind.

I have done my best to comply my every whim with the laws of God's spiritual laboratory my entire life through. As a result? The blessings I have reaped have been too numerous to count, too powerful, and too evident in the lives of others who have followed the same or a similar path to be a coincidence. The pattern of deliberate, consistent, willing obedience to God's spiritual laws brings the same result to everyone who tries them: joy, purpose, connection with the very best parts of themselves, a light which bursts forth most clearly in their countenance, a clear conscience and confidence in God's presence. 

My faith is not blind.

Some of the blessings I've received have been temporal, but more than that, spiritual blessings have been poured out in my life because of my diligent research in God's spiritual laboratory. I often discern things about others, that no one else can see. I find the ability to speak messages of truth to others that I did not construct or even fully understand myself before they providently flowed to my mouth in just the right moment. Through carefully following Spiritual promptings, I have had opportunities to be a part of miracles that ultimately took several years to construct - the outcome of which, I could have never had imagined until all the pieces lined up before my eyes as a completed portion of a puzzle. I have found that by following Spiritual promptings, I have had opportunities to be blessed and to learn from people who have come into my life whom I would never have known otherwise. My character has grown in miraculous ways and continues to do so. On literally hundreds of occasions (in moments of despair, or questioning, or faithful desire to know/understand more), I have opened my scriptures to read a message just for me. I have found in both specific instances and daily living, other-worldly peace, which I - with my over-active, ever-worried mind, could never have created on my own. That last one is profoundly true - even coming from a Hypnobabies instructor, mind you! ;)

My faith is not blind.

I study my scriptures, and then I study the events of the news today and I can see that they are the same thing. I hear others speak - often in defense of horrific moral wrongs, or other things I know to be untrue - and I wish there was some way I could lovingly show them that in their words and their acts, they are literally fulfilling the prophecies which they denounce! The prophecies found in scripture and proclaimed by modern prophets, being fulfilled all around us, remind me now every. single. day:

My faith is not blind. 

I know that God is real, and that He loves me. I am his spirit daughter - and you are His spirit child. He loves you, too. He has a plan for you and for me. He sent His Son to teach us how to live, and to provide a way back to live with Him. He loves us so much in fact, that He won't choose our own path for us - He's letting us choose whether we want to follow Him or go some other way. Other ways may range from dangerous, to compelling, or even somewhat noble, but if we don't choose God's way, we will not find life with our Father in Heaven possible. We have to choose His Son.  We have to choose His church.

Just as it is completely intellectually/spiritually inconsistent to say that Jesus was just a great moral teacher because of the radical claims He made about Himself; He was either a crazy blasphemer or He was actually the Son of God - He could not rationally qualify to be something in between. The same is true of His church: He only has One true church upon the face of the Earth, today. While some other church's may have some of His truth, there is only one church to which He has given His Priesthood authority to act in His name under His direction and which has all the necessary saving truths. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is either it, or else it is blasphemy. It cannot be just a nice social program, there is no in-between. I know of no other church that meets all the requirements of being Christ's church than this one. I know that this church, is God's. But, these things, like all other spiritual knowledge, are the questions we must bring to God to be able to find the answers - they can't be found or understood just by reading one blog post.

Mercifully, through His inspired plan and His providing temples - everyone, even those who never heard Jesus' name in this life, or had access to His Priesthood power to receive the ordinances (such as baptism) which Christ explained were necessary to be able to live with God again - will have a chance to learn of Him and follow Him in death.

If Eternal joy, development, and progression with God and our families is what we most desire, there is only one path that will lead us there. But we have to want it enough to seek for it, to study and apply the ways of God's spiritual laboratory - to ask God for the direction we seek. I know that if we really want to know, God will make good on His word - He always has, still does, and forever will:

"If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him." - James 1:5

My faith, is not blind - and neither need yours be!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Be a Rebel: Have an Opinion

Philosophical Debate in Vienna

On my study abroad in Vienna, I had all sorts of interesting conversations with my "host dad" about our differing world views. I loved talking with him even though (and perhaps especially because) we saw everything from completely opposite ends of almost every spectrum. His view of America's founding, for example, was such that it reduced all who came to settle our country as dishonest, rebellious, traitorous, fortune-seeking criminals. *Cough.* 

One morning at breakfast, we had a rousing debate about the issue of absolute truth vs. moral relativism. He boldly declared with a mischievous smile, "You tell me something that you think is always wrong, and I will show you a situation where it is right!" With my wobbly German, I was never able to express as eloquently to my host father then, what has become so much clearer in my mind and tongue in recent years, "How could you so brazenly claim to be able to discern how the application of any choice might be  'right' or 'wrong' at all, if you have truly rejected the idea of absolute truth?" 

(Not-so-common, even, Counter-culture) Common Sense

The answer: not without hypocrisy that totally undermines the whole notion that truth is relative. It is impossible to make the argument that there can be a right or wrong to any question, when one's guiding premise is that there is no force which governs morality in the universe.

In my experience with my host dad, and myriad others, I have discovered a pattern of thought in debate. Essentially, all positions can be boiled down to one of these two world views:

  • Universal, unchanging truth exists. If Right and Wrong were appropriately used to guide our decisions, there would be more joy and prosperity for all humanity and more bounty on the Earth.
  • There is no right and wrong, only preferences. All ideas and value systems and choices are equal. "Only (ironically, hypocritically) those who believe in right and wrong are, 'wrong.'" 

Only one (and I'll let you use your best guess to determine which) of those two world views can hold up to critical thought. Only one values the power of the rational human mind, and encourages people to live on a higher moral plane than animals. Only one, quite surprisingly and beautifully, allows for diversity of ideas. That one is True. The other view is a bold-faced lie that people have been lapping up from the sewers of progressive ideology for far too long, and our society is now sick from that rancid water. Sick, because more people than don't, now actually believe (or live) as though it doesn't matter what you believe or how you live, you should just do whatever "feels" right to you.

The Society of the Blind

Our society has essentially been brainwashed into this Lie. I say brainwashed, because once this idea that "all ideas, values systems, and choices are equal" is accepted, the host has pretty much forfeited his/her ability to reason critically. 

When someone, such as myself, presents something they believe is true, ultimately, those who very much subscribe to the Lie that all beliefs are equally valid (while denying the validity of mine . . .) only have this pitiful submission to offer, "You are just being so judgmental and so close-minded! You're so extreme! You live in an echo chamber! Live and let live! Other people think different stuff, too! You're a meanie!"  

I can't express how many times I have engaged in a debate where I offer rational thought, evidence, and solid rebuttals to weak suggestions, against which the opposite side only responds with Argumentem Ad Hominem (distracting attacks on the opponent, to avoid discussing the actual topic) including jokes about my faith.

As one who steadfastly holds to the world view that there is Truth and Lie, Right and Wrong, I take pause to examine, each time I share an opinion and am undoubtedly accused from the opposition, whether I have truly been an unjust "meanie." Because, you see, I believe there is a right and wrong way to share an idea - and I - like everyone else, will be held accountable for how I did that, as well as whether the message I was trying to spread was correct (as far as my understanding of the issue allowed me to discern.) 

But seriously, the hypocrisy of progressive ideologues labeling me with distasteful names every time I expound on an issue I believe to be Right or Wrong, is amusing at best. If a person can't do wrong, if all ideas are equal, then how could anything I do or say be categorized as mean? How could I be judgmental? How could I be close-minded? Let alone, "wrong." No negative or positive labels should exist for an honest proponent of moral relativism. There is no such thing as an honest proponent of such a philosophical lie. I'm not saying that to be "mean," either. It's just the plain Truth. 

Truth Subscribers should also be Truth-Seekers

I feel sad when I read personal attacks from moral relativists. They get me and other truth-subscribers so wrong. Because - truth be told - quite contrary to the suggestion from those who oppose my world views, I love to learn the Truth about every issue I possibly can. The Truth about all the issues matter to me. As a person who subscribes to the idea that there is Truth, it is in my very nature to be a truth-seeker. And you know what?

As a truth-seeker, I love to hear other truth-seekers expound on what matters most to them. I believe that every person who believes in truth, has some truth and light to offer to me, to you and to the world. And sometimes, when those individuals who subscribe to moral relativism choose to be philosophical hypocrites, even they offer snippets of truth, too. ;)

We all care about different bits of truth:

some about how certain foods and exercise affect our bodies,
some about how animals are treated before they are processed into the food we eat,
some about which wars we are engaging in or that we engage in them at all,
some about how school systems are run,
some about how best to be self-reliant,
some about what equality between the sexes looks like,
some about how most ethically to run a business,
some about the problems with the health industry,
some about how we should treat and interact with others,
some about which God(s) we should worship and how,
some about how much we choose to spend our spare time,
some about how we view sexuality,
some about how we give birth to and raise our children,
some about how to maintain freedom,
some about how we feel about human life,
some about how we maintain our vehicles or homes,
some about the size of our home and the number of possessions we have,
some about how we define marriage,
some about how we develop our character,
some about how certain companies or banks manage their (our) money,
some about how we manage our own money and resources,
some about how we care for the Earth
and on and on and on and on.

Speak up!!!

And I? "Close-minded", "judgmental" little me who lives in a so-called, "echo chamber?" I want to hear it all. Put it out there. Put it out there for the world to read and to see and to dissect. Put it out there and honest truth-seekers will gain from it. I will gain from it. And I'll share my bits of truth right along with you.

If you believe something is true so much so that you believe if others believed and lived like you do, that the world would be a better place - I want to hear about it, and other people should hear about it, too. You won't hear me call you names, that's for certain. If you present it in a debate format, and I feel passionately some other way, I may prod where I see holes, in the nicest and most civil way I can, of course. Visa versa, too, I would hope. And that is a wonderful thing. This is how good ideas grow and spread. That's how truth is discovered. Not at the end of debate threads, laced with lazy ad hominem attacks.

I love people who are willing to open themselves up to share the things they believe are true, that they believe others would benefit from knowing and living. It takes a whole heck of a lot more courage to share something you feel to be morally true, than to deny any existence of truth.

Moral relativists on the other hand - the so-called "open-minded" ones so rampant in modern-day society - those are the ones who try so desperately to get me and you to shut up. Name-calling, intimidation, PC policing, whining - they do it all. They give their hypocritical affirming nods or "likes" on facebook  to those who write comments that try to stifle truth-speakers. It's irritating. It's grating. It's tiring.

Speak up anyway.

Ultimately, it is the truth-subscribers/seekers who gain most from conversations about the morality of certain choices or views. They will be enriched and grow as they learn the actual meaning of tolerance - you know, living peaceably with people, even though they espouse and openly express and live different ideas about what the Truth to every question is. They will also undoubtedly come closer to the real truth on every issue.

While at the end of the day, we probably won't agree on every (or perhaps even any issue), we will have done our duty: we will have been honest keepers of the truth - because honest keepers of truth, share it.

Yes, in today's morally-relativistic culture: true rebels share their opinions, and they do it with great confidence. So if you want to be a rebel - courageously and boldly believe in something, be as true as you can in living it - and then share it until you're blue in the face. I'll give a listen, I'll let my mind chew on it for a while, and if it makes it through my chewing process, I might add it into my sharing repertoire. One thing is certain, you can be confident that my face will be bright blue, right next to yours.

Tell me Subscribers-to-truth: What would you shout from the rooftops if you could? What bit(s) of Truth do you care about most?

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Hodge-podge Happiness

Signed, Sealed, Delivered

Squire always teases me, "You know, you should read or watch something just for fun some time." That's probably true. I tend to get in the mindset that the things I spend my time on need to be for some specific purpose - to enlarge my or my family's spiritual or intellectual development, to prepare, to develop skills, to be useful. Hence the reason the only shows I really let Lincoln (and myself) watch are educational things from the library (an occasional Veggie Tales) or an episode of Planet Earth on DVD. A couple Friday nights ago Squire proposed we watch something fun as a family. So, I submitted we download an episode from this show I saw while I was at my parent's house back in May: Signed, Sealed, Delivered. What can I say? I'm hooked. Living without a TV the last 8 years, I have thoroughly cleansed myself of all TV addictions. (Just in case you were wondering - no, we don't do Netflix.) We really hardly watch anything, and honestly I love it that way. It has been a huge life upgrade for us to keep our media intake to a low. But this show - this show is one worth watching. It's not educational per se. But it IS clean, wholesome family fun - a show that is quirky, funny, heart-warming and truly uplifting. Probably one of my favorite shows since Gilmore Girls - though less risque. The show also offers a Bible study that can go along with the shows that can be emailed each day if you are interested. So that is nice, too. It's my latest totally-not-guilty though-guilty-of-not-being-for-an-express-purpose-other-than-fun pleasure. I love it and look forward to the show each week.

Global Mom: A Memoir

Along those lines, I just finished some intense reading. Over the last couple of months I've read about 7 1/2 books - none of which was non-purposeful reading. (My favorite of the bunch was Journey to the Veil by the way. Highly, highly recommend it to you if you are needing a spiritual recharge.) Squire and I are reading one I've already read on my own, together, now: Visions of Glory: One Man's Astonishing Account of the Last Days. We are really enjoying that when we both have the time and energy after Squire's long days. (He's doing his surgery rotation now. BUSY!) That being said, I've decided to take Squire's advice, and have decided to give my mind a bit of a fun rest with the latest book I am reading: Global Mom: Eight Countries, Sixteen Addresses, Five Languages, One Family. It's great! I'm about a third of the way in now - still in Norway, her first country. If you have an interest in other cultures, this book gives well-written and quite humorous stories that illustrate the feel of them quite well. Can't wait to read more.

My kids and their Hair-dos

Atley loves wearing a bow in hear hair now - finally! She requests I put one in her hair every day. So I scoop up all the fine strawberry-blonde hair on the top of that girl's head I can grab and put it in a sprouty pony tail and clip a giant bow on her head. And Lincoln requests "pokey" hair, since Atley can't be the only one getting special hair-dos! My kids are cute. I love them.

At the mall - "flying" a helicoptor ride, that I didn't pay 75-cents for. :)
Atley didn't get a real ride either - but hey - we had Wetzel Pretzel bites for lunch, with cheese dip!
Not happy to be taking a picture on the bronze elephant at the zoo, but still looking cute.

Summer Fruit Season at Sprouts

I love Sprouts. It is my favorite grocery store, bar none. Costco is #2. I will always be a loyal double-ad Wednesday Sprouts shopper as long as I live near one. I tried another store or two this past year - to see if I could save more - but #1 The Homicide that happened in the parking lot of one of those stores dissuaded me from returning, and #2 Even without the homicide to dissuade - I missed the atmosphere of my favorite hippy store, and the quality of the produce. It's just the best. And their fruit selection right now - AHHHHHH! These are the glory days, my friends, and they are only getting better! Mangoes, nectarines, strawberries, grapes - all so sweet, ripe and perfect - and at a great price. Something of my soul comes back to life when this time of year comes around. Summer fruit season is just the best. The best. In honor of this time of year, I have come up with a recipe and share it gladly:

This Awesome Fruit Topping for Breakfast Recipes Recipe

I concocted this recipe recently and have made it about six times now. This is one seriously delicious fruit topping to go over waffles, pancakes, or German pancakes. My kids really like it over these pumpkin waffles (which freeze very well by the way.)
1 Mango (the smaller yellow ones), diced
1 Nectarine, diced - or a yellow peach, (would add a dash of lemon juice, too if using a peach)
1 large or 1 1/2 medium Banana(s), diced
1 TBL. Butter, salted
1 TBL.Maple Syrup, the real stuff
1 TBL. Honey
1/2 tsp. Cinnamon
1/4 tsp. Allspice
Throw the butter, syrup, honey and spices in a saucepan on medium heat. Stir until mixed and the butter is melted. Add the fruit. Stir occasionally on medium heat until fruit is all warmed through ~3 minutes or so. Serve warm over waffles. Enjoy!

A Natural Homemade Deodorant Recipe - That ACTUALLY Works!!

This year, I have been wanting to learn how to make my own cleaning and beauty products from more natural ingredients at home. This homemade deodorant is aluminum-free, and unlike Tom's, actually works. It keeps me smelling fresh longer than any other deodorants I've tried - natural or otherwise. This makes me so happy! I do have to mention though, I cut the baking soda by half (I have found the same or a little bit lower ratio to the cornstarch and arrowroot powder is about right) because it was giving me a rash. And I use a few drops of some nice-smelling DoTerra oils (instead of the Bergamot oils recommended in the original recipe) my midwife gave to me. Now all is well. Highly recommend.

Plastic bag Holder

I made one of these because apparently I still don't have my re-usable grocery bag thing down, and I was tired of my pantry and kitchen exploding with puffs of plastic bag every time my kids opened the pantry door and started to rummage through it like angry bulls. Life is better with this little guy:

The tutorial can be found here. I would have made it a little smaller I think - although I'm using every bit of space in it! ;)

Homemade Napkins

Can I attempt to redeem my eco-friendly image with these? :) I made 12. I probably need more like 24 to keep a steady supply of napkins in between loads. It's nice to not have to buy napkins anymore though. And, they look really cute.

I made this scripture graphic a while back. These verses have really stuck with me the last couple of years as I have been studying the topic of how to prepare spiritually (and temporally) for the Second Coming of Christ. I wanted to visualize what I was picking up from the scriptures, and put them up where I could see them and ponder them every day. So, I made this, printed it, put some cute scrapbook paper behind it for a border and have it on the front of my fridge to look at every day. I think it is partially to credit for my latest endeavor - getting my home organized.

Getting the house organized - early nesting?!

I totally should have taken "before" and "after" pictures. It makes the whole experience more satisfying. But I just kind of jumped in to my projects and before long they were already done. (At least I got some "after" pictures, Granny!) Just imagine lots of jumbly piles of stuff all over the place for the "before" pics.

My bathroom cabinet.
Linen closet that is really the everything-else-in-the-house closet.
My pantry. Love these Flip-tite storage containers for our food. I need a few more, but having these has already made a huge difference to the space. 30 Ziploc bags full of stuff piled all over each other in a big mess? Not cool.
My spice cabinet/more pantry.
Kitchen cabinet.

Build an Ark song. 

Have you heard this song? It is the kids' and my favorite new church song. A couple of years ago, this song was printed in The Friend magazine. I didn't see it then, but my friend Brittany who teaches the Primary kids in our ward for singing time, taught it to the kids and I have decided to teach it to my nursery-age kidlets at home. It is powerful. I feel the Spirit speak to me every time I hear it. The time to prepare is NOW, people!

New Callings for Squire and Me: Sunbeam Teachers

Yep, I learned the Primary song in singing time because back in February I got released as my ward's Young Women Secretary and am now team-teaching a Sunbeam class with Squire. A calling most definitely not for the faint-of-heart! ;) Sort-of teasing, there. In any case, we enjoy our new calling, though we are still learning to work together as we have quite different approaches. :) I miss working with the Young Women, though this calling is a little less demanding time-wise so that is nice to have a break that way. Overall, it has been a good change for us. 

Poopy Update

Lincoln may be finally getting the poop thing under control - or at least I've just decided to stop getting mad when he inevitably makes a mistake - or poops in his pants at the most inconvenient time on purpose and laughs about it while I clean him up. ;) We had a couple of major regressions, but this week we are making some real progress. (He pooped on the toilet twice today - without any prompting from me!) At this rate, this kid is for sure going to be potty-trained in time for college, so that's a relief! ;)

Atley said Jesus for the first time (April 5, 2014)

On that day, I wrote, "Today, Atley was sitting on my lap as I rocked her in the rocking chair. She stood up and pointed to the picture behind us and said, 'Jeez! Jeez!' 'Jesus?' 'Jesus!'"I was surprised she knew Him so soon. We do talk about Jesus a lot, but I don't ever recall ever explicitly teaching her that the picture on the wall was of Jesus before that night. It was a very proud moment for me as a mom. Atley loves to point out Jesus to me in every picture she sees of Him at church and in books. I can feel that Atley has a special relationship with her Savior. Out of the mouths of babes - a testimony.

Lincoln and Atley holding hands and walking around the house together today.

Today while I was doing a little workout, Lincoln and Atley were playing together. They came out of Lincoln's room holding hands and walked all around the house together like that for several minutes. Lincoln was being patient and kind about it, too - not dragging her on the ground because she is a little slower keeping up with her shorter legs. This moment was sweeter to my Mother heart than the mangoes we've been eating from Sprouts are to my taste buds. A moment to blog about.

A Snapshot: The old lady I saw at Costco.
A very elderly lady at Costco asked me if the walkey-talkey radios were cell phones. I explained they weren't, that they could only connect to the other person who owned the same radio. She had long white and gray-streaked scraggly hair, several inches past her shoulders. She was wearing baggy gray sweat pants and a loose fitting baby-pink t-shirt. She was missing four or five teeth in her bottom gums. She had a host of white hairs sprouting from her chin and her face was weathered with years and years and years. Behind her thick large glasses, her eyes were magnified about five times, and those big eyes were lonely and a bit nostalgic. She complimented me on my children. "They are just so beautiful! I can tell that they are good, good kids. And you have a boy and a girl! You got just what you wanted!" "Yep! And I have another one on the way, too." I said smiling, to point out the obvious so she wouldn't have to. "You know why you are doing that? Because you're a good mom." She said as she reached out and squoze my forearm. She told me all her children and grandchildren were grown now. "They grow so fast. And before you know it, they are all grown and gone, and your life is just over!" She told me with a bit a lip-pouting, trembling frown. "How many children do you have?" I inquired. "I had three boys. I had to wait a long time to get a girl with my grand-daughter, but she was worth the wait. She loves me best. But they all live in Idaho now!" "I know how difficult that is to be far away from family - our family all lives out of town, too." We talked about a few other things and then she said, "I so enjoy looking at your beautiful children. Just cherish this time. It will be gone before you know it. And then, your life will just be over!" Her lip trembled out again. I told her tenderly, "But is it really over when it's over? I don't think so. This isn't the end." We parted ways with a wave and smile. I hope I told her what she needed to hear. She surely told me what I needed to hear: that I was a good mother, and that I should cherish the time I have with the ones I love.  


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