During April 2018 I will be blogging about my memories as MOM OF 6 from A to Z . These challenge posts will also be found at Creation and Compassion http://marcyhowes.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Why Must I Sleep?

Why Must I Sleep?

This is a question that has been foremost in my mind for quite some time.  Of course,  I do know why I need to sleep.  Our bodies are made in such a way that we need a regular period of rest and rejuvenation and restoration.   Type the question into your favorite search engine  and you'll find a plethora of articles expounding on the subject:  Link  Link Link Link Link

Modern day scriptures even exhort us to get our daily dose of rest:

" . . . cease to sleep longer than is needful; retire to thy bed early, that ye may not be weary; arise early, that your bodies and your minds may be invigorated."  
--Doctrine & Covenants 88:124

But some days, like today, when I have so many "creative" ideas just floating around in my brain, I really don't want to take the time to sleep.  If only I didn't have to sleep, I could get so much more done! Today I put in my eight or nine hours at work, then spent several hours this evening in my favorite place to contemplate.  On the way home I stopped at the store to buy some bread, took  the time to warm up some dinner, then sat down to write a bit, my mind just brimming with all of my contemplations  and grand ideas and goals. There is the story I'm trying to rewrite, the weeding and yard clean up that needs to be done, the never-ending laundry, the de-cluttering, the quilting and the sewing, the Sunday School lesson preparations, the emails to the kids and letters to the parents, the minutes from last week's neighborhood community council meeting to type up.  And of course we need to take time to eat and review the day with the dear husband and daughters still at home, read the scriptures, say the prayers, compare notes of what needs to happen and who is doing what when.   Before we know it the clock has long since struck the magic hour of midnight, and some  head off to bed.  Yes, I'm tired, my eyes hurt, my head is dull, my back is aching,  and I need to get up again in six hours, but the ideas are still swimming around in my head.  If I don't put them down somewhere permanently, by tomorrow they may be long gone and forever forgotten.  Oh, and look! Here's an email telling me that someone has re-pinned one of my pins on Pinterest . . .I'll just take a quick peak, and look!  Her board has so many more good ideas.  Another half an hour is gone before I know it.

I had a teacher way back in the olden days when I was in high school.  He was a teacher because he loved it, but he was also a building contractor during the summers and on the weekends because his family needed the extra income.  I remember him often lamenting the time he had to give up in order to eat and sleep.  Back then we didn't understand.  We'd laugh and think he was joking.  But now I understand.  Life is short.  There is so much to do; so many wonderful things to experience.  How will we ever be able to see it all, do it all, read it all, experience it all???

My dear sweet mother has spent her life working hard and serving others. As the oldest child she carried a heavy load helping with housework, tending younger siblings, caring for animals and gardens and orchards. She was a wonderful student and an excellent violinist, the concert mistress of her university orchestra.  She became a school teacher, and then a wife and mother on a family farm.  She loved to read and she loved music and she loved her farmer husband and her six children.   Her days were filled to the brim, and she would often still be up way past the kids bedtimes finishing up the dishes and folding laundry or ironing or sewing a costume for the upcoming school or church production.  But, even she knew the logical order of things.  We all need sleep.  Eventually she knew it was time for bed, and would encourage a procrastinating daughter doing homework to close the books and  head to bed too.  "Tomorrow is another day,"  she would say.  "You need your sleep."

My beautiful mother is now nearing the 89 year mark.   She has been ill for several months and her heart is tired.  We all know that the end of her day is near.  But there is still so much to do!!  She is reluctant to leave, and we are reluctant to let her go.   I wish I had visited her more often, shared more books and movies and music with her.  I wish I had learned more of the family stories and shared more of the work of searching out our family history.  I wish I had done more to help her, hugged her more and kissed her more.   But it's time to get ready for bed.    There is work to be done in another place; more things to learn; more people to meet and teach and serve.   We need to let her go and let her know that  we love her and that it is ok for her to go.

 "I love you."

"Tomorrow is another day."

"You need your sleep."

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

More Happy Things

1.  Daylight Savings Time:  Yes, I know that I often moan and groan about getting up in the dark in the mornings, but really truly, I am happy that we have more daylight in the evenings now.  Yes, the days are getting longer and eventually we will be enjoying the long spring and summer days, but it has been nice to do a bit of shopping or working in the garden after work this week before it gets dark.

2.  Warmer weather:  Maybe we are done with winter?  Here in our neck of the woods we have hardly had any winter or snow at all yet, so I'm reluctant to say that we're done with winter, but if this week's weather is any indication, we may just be well on our way into spring.  Hopefully we will get more of our needed moisture in the next few months, but perhaps it can still be warm and not freezing cold and snow?

3.  Things are starting to grow:  We now have some baby yellow daffodils and some pretty white hyacinths in the front yard.   There are buds on the trees and the strawberries and onions are starting to green up.

4.  I was able to plant seeds today!  I thought that my seed supply was all used up.  I have been doing some window shopping in the seed sections of the stores the past week or so, but the budget hasn't allowed me to make any purchases yet.  But the weather was so nice this afternoon that I looked through my old seed packets and found some spinach and lettuce and green onions left  from last year.  I dug up one of my small plots and planted away.  I also found in the neglected garden patch some basil and marigolds from last year and planted some starts indoors in some potting soil from last summer's flower pots.  There was also a package of Big Max Pumpkin seeds that hadn't been used, so several pots of those were started too.

5.  Free Lunch:  Last week I went to a few meetings at my work.  On two days the meetings included a free box lunch!

6.   DD2 Fixed Dinner tonight:  Delicious pasta with veggies and chicken and Pesto.  Delicious dinners prepared by others are the best! She even cleaned up the dishes!

7. I've found some time to read.  I don't have any library books out right now, but a week ago I pulled out one of my old favorite reads from my childhood/teenage years:  The Family Nobody Wanted by Helen Doss.   I read this book many many times, and then my kids read it too.  My original paperback copy (like the 2nd image above)  eventually wore out, and DD2 gifted me a new copy (the top image above) several years ago.  It has always been one of my favorite fun reads.

8.  It's National Sister's Week! (This links to information about National Catholic Sisters Week, started in 2014 as part of National Women's History month, but I like the idea of also celebrating my wonderful biological sisters too!)  I have three of the most amazing sisters in the world.  Our dear Mother has not been well for the past few months, and my dear sisters have been taking turns staying with my parents around the clock, leaving their own families and jobs and other normal activities in order to care for and pamper our dear sweet Mother who has spent so many years of her own life in the service of others.

Yes, things have been a bit stressful around these parts lately, but life is still good.  For everything there is to complain about, we can also find a blessing and something to smile and be happy about!

Count Your Blessings
Text: Johnson Oatman, Jr., 1856-1922
Music: Edwin O. Excell, 1851-1921

  1. When upon life's billows you are tempest-tossed,
    When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,
    Count your many blessings; name them one by one,
    And it will surprise you what the Lord has done.
  2. (Chorus)
    Count your blessings;
    Name them one by one.
    Count your blessings;
    See what God hath done.
    Count your blessings;
    Name them one by one.
    Count your many blessings;
    See what God hath done.
  3. Are you ever burdened with a load of care?
    Does the cross seem heavy you are called to bear?
    Count your many blessings; ev'ry doubt will fly,
    And you will be singing as the days go by.
  4. When you look at others with their lands and gold,
    Think that Christ has promised you his wealth untold.
    Count your many blessings; money cannot buy
    Your reward in heaven nor your home on high.
  5. So amid the conflict, whether great or small,
    Do not be discouraged; God is over all.
    Count your many blessings; angels will attend,
    Help and comfort give you to your journey's end.
  6. Text: Johnson Oatman, Jr., 1856-1922
    Music: Edwin O. Excell, 1851-1921

Sunday, March 1, 2015


I've developed a fairly recent love for Wint O Green Lifesavers Mints.  Sure, I've always enjoyed a good lifesaver. As a kid I preferred the fruity ones, like cherry or lime or lemon, but I don't think I ever turned down a mint lifesaver either.  And it was always fun to try and get them to spark as you crunched in the dark, right?   I've always actually preferred chocolate when it comes to sweet treats or candy, and I will usually choose a chocolate candy bar over a roll of lifesavers if given the choice.  But lifesavers are a convenient, inexpensive, easily stored and easily portable source of a quick sugar fix.  And Wint O green lifesavers have the added bonus of being an effective breath mint too!  Now days I like to have them in my purse, on my desk at work, and in a bowl on the kitchen table.

I've discovered another use for Wint O Green Lifesavers Mints:  I use them as a tasty visual aid in teaching lessons about the Prophet Lehi's dream of the Tree of Life as found in The Book of Mormon.   In this dream, or vision, the prophet Lehi was led by a heavenly messenger through a dark and dreary waste to a beautiful white tree laden with delicious brilliant white fruit which proved to be very satisfying to his soul.  The tree laden with fruit was  a representation of the love of God.  A narrow path to the tree through the dark and dreary waste ran alongside river of water.  Between the river bank and the path was a rod of iron (representing the gospel of Jesus Christ) which was there to safeguard the travelers from falling off the narrow path into the river or wandering off the path into the darkness.

When I teach this scripture story, I like to prepare a visual aid of a tree representing the Tree of Life, and on this tree I attach an abundance of individually wrapped Wint O Green Lifesavers Mints to represent the exceedingly beautiful, white, and deliciously sweet fruit of the Tree of Life.  Class members then take turns following a narrow path holding on to a rod or a rope to the tree where they can partake of the delicious "fruit" that represents the Love of God.

Most children and youth that I share this lesson with appreciate the visual aid and the delicious white treat of a Wint O Green lifesaver.  I'm grateful that I can share my knowledge of the story with them, and hopefully strengthen their belief in our Savior Jesus Christ and the precious gift His atonement and His love for all mankind.

I'm also grateful whenever I can share a delicious Wint O green lifesaver with someone else!

(For a more comprehensive explanation of this story you may want to read The Iron Rod, April 1971 General Conference Address by Harold B. Lee .)