I will do better this half year at studying the talks that we get. In a few years, I would like to make our Family Home Evenings about these talks and we can share our notes that we have taken at the previous conference.
I loved this General Conference talk when I heard it and I love it again now that I have read it. While I was reading it, I kept hearing Elder Holland's voice in my head. He has so much emotion while speaking. I'm excited to share with you some of the things I thought of while I read it today. Here are my thoughts on "Lord, I Believe."
Elder Holland started out by telling the story of the man whose son had an evil spirit. He had gone to Jesus' disciples in hope of receiving a blessing of healing for his son, but they were not able to do it. The father approached Jesus and asked for a blessing from him. "If thou canst do anything," he pleads. Jesus responds, "If thou canst believe." I never caught that parallel before Elder Holland pointed it out. The father continues, "Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief." I really wish that the scriptures could tell us exactly how this man said that response. Did he respond quickly at first and then at Jesus' glance realize that he had some doubts? Did he challenge Jesus? "I believe, show me now Your power to relieve all my doubts." I can certainly imagine the desperation that this father had. I would do almost anything for my kids.
Elder Holland now tells us three observations he has had about increasing faith.
The first observation is one that I have come to realize through personal experience. I have had many doubts and questions in my life, but these things I know. I know the Book of Mormon is true. I know Heavenly Father hears and answers prayers. I know these things through personal and spiritual experiences that I cannot, and would never want to, forget. Occasionally I take my questions off the shelf and think about them again, trying to resolve them or find some sort of answer. But I have to come back to the things that I *know* absolutely. When I have my doubts or concerns and I can't resolve them, I often say to myself, "I know the things that I know. I will have to wait to find out the answers to the others." I often think of the questions that are on my list to ask Heavenly Father when I get to heaven.
The second observation is close to the first. In fact, Elder Holland calls it a variation on the first. "When problems come and questions arise, do not start you quest for faith by saying how much you do not have." He continues:
I am not asking you to pretend to faith you do not have. I am asking you to be true to the faith you do have. Sometimes we act as if an honest declaration of doubt is a higher manifestation of moral courage than is an honest declaration of faith. It is not! . . Be as candid about your questions as you need to be. . . But if you and your family want to be healed, don't let those questions stand in the way of faith working its miracle.
Everyone has questions, but we don't need to get hung up on them to the extent that we can't see the faith that we have. It's like if you talk about or only think about the bad things that your spouse does. Pretty soon all you will notice are the things that drive you crazy. And not in a good way. I also loved this quote:
Brothers and sisters, this is a divine work in process, with the manifestations and blessings of it abounding in every direction, so please don’t hyperventilate if from time to time issues arise that need to be examined, understood, and resolved. They do and they will. . . And remember, in this world, everyone is to walk by faith.
I love the wry humor in that fact that it must be terribly frustrating for Heavenly Father to have to deal with imperfect people, but he deals with it. And so should we. We expect our bishops to always be patient, to always know the best way to deal with our multitude of problems. Sometimes our bishops and stake presidents get tired and sometimes they are distracted and don't get all the inspiration that we may need. I am sure that I never want to be in their shoes.
Elder Holland's third observation is "When doubt or difficulty come, do not be afraid to ask for help." We will have doubts and difficulties. Life is not one unending rainbow road. So if you have doubts, you are not alone, but you do not have to stay in your doubts. God will answer the sincere in heart and we can find strength in the testimonies of others until we have gained our own. Elder Holland closes his talk with his own powerful testimony. I thought about quoting his whole testimony but instead I encourage you to read this talk and to list the things that you know. Examine the faith that you have and hold on to that.
I was really excited to read and report on this talk. I am always looking for things to help me improve in our marriage. This talk entitled Marriage: Watch and Learn gave five principles for a good marriage.
It stinks when you don't listen to a prompting. I didn't listen today and Sunshine got hurt. It's not bad and it's been a couple hours now and he doesn't even think about it, but I do. I knew what was going to happen, but I brushed it off and thought, "No, he's smart enough. It won't happen." And then it did happen and I couldn't stop it.
It's one thing if you ignore a prompting and you, yourself, get hurt. You think, "Man, that was stupid. Now I'm paying the price for that." But when your child gets hurt because you didn't listen to the Spirit's whisper in your mind, it's much worse. You want to take their hurt away, but you can't. You just get the guilt.
Hopefully next time I will remember what happened today. Next time, even though it's a little inconvenient and it may take an extra couple seconds of my time, I will listen and do what needs to be done. Because this little face should not get hurt.
I'm so thankful for the blessing of the Holy Ghost and I'm thankful for a Heavenly Father who watches out for us. I'm thankful that I know my Heavenly Father hears and answers our prayers.
A friend of mine asked me this the other day and because I didn't have an answer, it's been bugging me ever since. I have thought about it and this what I came up with.
-Getting used to picking up two sets of baby gear. Well, not always. We don't always need two baby seats or exersaucers, but we need two carseats and two highchairs. You think once you put one infant seat in the car you're done. But no, you need to get the other carseat and put that in the car too. And man, those carseats are heavy.
-Doing two of everything. Change one diaper and you're done, right? Nope, the other twin will probably need to be changed also. Just do them at the same time and hope that one of the babies doesn't think, "Hey, I'm clean. Great. Time to load'em up." Put one baby in the highchair. Boom, done, right? Not so fast. Find your other baby and put him in the highchair too. And then clean-up afterwards. Catch baby's hands and clean them, find some place safe and clean to put him. Reach for and grab another baby's hands and clean them. Remember you haven't cleaned the babies' faces. Go find twin #1, wash his face too and clean up whatever mess he made while he was somewhere "clean and safe." Oops, one twin is heading for the stairs that you haven't gated off yet. Bring him back and sit down to work some more on the blog or your curriculum and notice that now both babies are heading for the stairs. Pick them up again and vow to buy a baby gate this weekend.
-Nursing two. Nursing one is a beautiful, sweet experience. Your baby latches on and drifts off to sleep with milk dribbling out the side of his mouth. Here's nursing two. Your babies are both screaming, frantic for some milk because when you noticed that they were hungry you had to grab not one, but two little bundles. You put them down somewhere safe while you go search for your nursing pillow that saves your life.
You find that your other kids have been using it for a tunnel into their fort. Apologizing to the kids, you collapse their fort when you take their tunnel. Go back and find the twins. Realize that you forgot they can roll, you find one has kicked his way off the couch so his head is hanging off the side and the other is getting ready to roll over the side. Put them both back where they belong, put the pillow around your waist and sit down on the couch careful not to sit on the babies heads. Pick up one twin, put him on the pillow. Pick up the other twin, put him on the pillow. (Remember you have to do two of everything.) Then, start to make your breasts accessible. One is open for business and gets sucked in by one baby quickly while the other baby starts trying to nurse through your bra. Get them both finally settled on and enjoy 7 minutes of peace while you hope Sunshine isn't getting into anything important and the other kids won't fight while you are kind of stuck on the couch. Oh, yeah. Forget walking around while you nurse. I don't think it's possible.
-Trying to integrate babywearing into a twin lifestyle. I don't classify myself as an AP parent and I don't wear my babies in the home much, but I do use a wrap to wear my babies at the mall, church, and other stores. However. . .have you tried to wear two babies at the same time? And if you can't wear them both, which one gets to be the "special" one and be in the wrap?
Yes, I have worn them both when they were smaller, but about the time they hit six months, it was too much for me. Now I use the stroller at stores. Or at church I wrap one and stroller one and they trade places frequently.
-Feeling overwhelmed. I used to think that I could handle any number of kids. Now, I'm feeling very outnumbered. I feel guilty sometimes because I don't think that these twins are getting as much snuggling from me that their brothers and sister got. They get loved by their siblings, but sometimes I feel like I just feed them and set them down. I haven't felt as engaged with these babies. I wonder if i didn't get just a touch of the "baby blues." It hasn't been enough to really stop my daily activities or interrupt my life, just enough to keep me a little . . . distanced?
-Feeling like a celebrity. Whenever I take the twins out, people stop and look. We were out at Santa Cruz a while ago and a lady whose daughter had a baby the same day as the twins took a picture to send to her daughter. People want to tell me their twin story. I've heard about people who had three sets of twins and five sets of twins. Yeah, I'm a celebrity. People stop, look, take pictures. I can't imagine what it would be like with triplets or more.
So, how is my life different with having twins? I'm a little busier as you can see. I don't take a normal pregnancy for granted anymore. I've had to adjust some of the things like nursing and babywearing to a different level. I've learned to be more gracious and open when people stop me and want to talk. I'm a little more flexible. I've joined an elite society where the entrance price is two babies for the pregnancy of one.
I'm reviewing a book today that I can recommend to anyone with girls. It's called The Care and Keeping of You: The Body Book for Girls and is published by American Girl.
Today's General Conference talk profile is titled "Come, All Ye Sons of God." As I was picking out talks a few weeks ago I thought I might skip the Priesthood session of General Conference. After all, it didn't really apply to me. I was a mother of boys, but not a priesthood holder. As I was reading the conference titles though, I felt impressed to include this one, especially since it was given by the prophet. I am so glad that I read it and I feel like I learned a lot from it. I started reading it from the perspective of a mother of boys that need to prepare to serve a mission, but I learned about teaching the gospel and teaching my investigators.