Thursday, May 23, 2013

The Invisible Mom

Today I received a letter from my good friend Morgan.  She is serving a mission for our church in Kennewick, Washington.  I always look forward to getting her letters.  They always inspire and encourage me. She put a story in the letter I received today.  I had never heard of it before.  It is now one of my favorites.

"It all began to make sense, the blank stares, the lack of response, the way one of the kids will walk into the room while I’m on the phone and ask to be taken to the store. Inside I’m thinking, ‘Can’t you see I’m on the phone?’

Obviously not; no one can see if I’m on the phone, or cooking, or sweeping the floor, or even standing on my head in the corner, because no one can see me at all. I’m invisible. The invisible Mom. Some days I am only a pair of hands, nothing more! Can you fix this? Can you tie this? Can you open this?? 

Some days I’m not a pair of hands; I’m not even a human being. I’m a clock to ask, ‘What time is it?’ I’m a satellite guide to answer, ‘What number is the Disney Channel?’ I’m a car to order, ‘Right around 5:30, please.’

Some days I’m a crystal ball; ‘Where’s my other sock? Where’s my phone?, What’s for dinner?’

I was certain that these were the hands that once held books and the eyes that studied history, music and literature -but now, they had disappeared into the peanut butter, never to be seen again. She’s going, she’s going, and she’s gone!

One night, a group of us were having dinner, celebrating the return of a friend from England . She had just gotten back from a fabulous trip, and she was going on and on about the hotel she stayed in. I was sitting there, looking around at the others all put together so well. It was hard not to compare and feel sorry for myself. I was feeling pretty pathetic, when she turned to me with a beautifully wrapped package, and said, ‘I brought you this.’ It was a book on the great cathedrals of Europe. I wasn’t exactly sure why she’d given it to me until I read her inscription: ‘With admiration for the greatness of what you are building when no one sees.’

In the days ahead I would read – no, devour – the book. And I would discover what would become for me, four life-changing truths, after which I could pattern my work: 1) No one can say who built the great cathedrals – we have no record of their names. 2) These builders gave their whole lives for a work they would never see finished. 3) They made great sacrifices and expected no credit. 4) The passion of their building was fueled by their faith that the eyes of God saw everything. 

A story of legend in the book told of a rich man who came to visit the cathedral while it was being built, and he saw a workman carving a tiny bird on the inside of a beam. He was puzzled and asked the man, ‘Why are you spending so much time carving that bird into a beam that will be covered by the roof, No one will ever see it And the workman replied, ‘Because God sees.’ 

I closed the book, feeling the missing piece fall into place. It was Almost as if I heard God whispering to me, ‘I see you. I see the sacrifices you make every day, even when no one around you does.
No act of kindness you’ve done, no sequin you’ve sewn on, no cupcake you’ve baked, no Cub Scout meeting, no last minute errand is too small for me to notice and smile over. You are building a great cathedral, but you can’t see right now what it will become.

I keep the right perspective when I see myself as a great builder. As one of the people who show up at a job that they will never see finished, to work on something that their name will never be on. The writer of the book went so far as to say that no cathedrals could ever be built in our lifetime because there are so few people willing to sacrifice to that degree. 

When I really think about it, I don’t want my son to tell the friend he’s bringing home from college for Thanksgiving, ‘My Mom gets up at 4 in the morning and bakes homemade pies, and then she hand bastes a turkey for 3 hours and presses all the linens for the table.’ That would mean I’d built a monument to myself. I just want him to want to come home. And then, if there is anything more to say to his friend, he’d say, ‘You’re gonna love it there…’ 

As mothers, we are building great cathedrals. We cannot be seen if we’re doing it right. And one day, it is very possible that the world will marvel, not only at what we have built, but at the beauty that has been added to the world by the sacrifices of invisible mothers."

Powerful, right?  I want to build the best cathedral I can build... and not mind being invisible while doing it.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Deuces Facebook

Tinsley was at school and Hollins was napping.  I thought I would be cleaning the house and having "special Mommy and Blakely time."  I found myself at the computer when Blakely came up to me and asked if she could go jump on the trampoline.  "Sure you can!" Oh this was perfect... the trampoline would entertain her for a "few" minutes while I finished wasting my time looking at time wasting things.  Then it hit me.  She didn't even ask me if I would jump with her.  She saw me at the computer and figured it wasn't going to happen.  My heart hurt and I blurted out, "Do you want me to jump with you?"  "YES!!! YAAAAAY!!!!!"  She was jumping up and down and smiling from ear to ear. We started walking to the back door.  Before going outside she turned around and said, "Hey mommy?  Don't bring your phone."  Guilt set in.  They do notice.  They notice when I am on my phone and the computer.  I left my phone on the computer table.  We went outside and she jumped her little heart out while I was right beside her. I wasn't just hearing her laugh this time but SEEING the smile that came with that darling little laugh.  As we jumped I realized what I had really known all along... I need to be present when I'm with my children.

I decided to deactivated my facebook. Let me start off by saying that I don't think facebook is bad and I won't be gone forever. I actually think facebook is great!  I have loved keeping in contact with old friends, new friends, and family.  It's been a wonderful way for me to share my thoughts, my testimony of the church, cute pictures of my kids, and to talk about how wonderful (and hott) my State Farm agent is ;) But I became addicted to it.  Yes, the rumors are true... my name is Catie and I am addicted to facebook.  I had thought about getting rid of my facebook for about... I don't know.... a year?  But when it came down to it, I felt like I could not give it up.  "What about all of my cousins that I keep in contact with through facebook? What if it snows?  I will need to get on to see if school is canceled. What about when I need parenting advice?" Yup, I could never get rid of it.  But deep down I knew I needed to.  Again, I'm not saying that facebook is bad... I'm just saying that for me personally I knew I needed to get off for awhile.  I wish I had the discipline to get on and off real quick, but I don't.  It's just too easy to click on that little blue square app and start scrolling.... next thing I know I am looking at pictures of puppies that belong to the cousin of the girl I had 9th grade gym with.(haha Oh my goodness I am just now realizing how embarrassing and ridiculous this sounds...)
So last week when I found myself scrolling down on my newsfeed and clicking on pictures while my kids played around me I thought, "I hate this. I am so sick of this. Such a waste of my time..." More importantly... such a waste of the time that should be spent being fully present when I'm with my children. It's time that shouldn't be spent checking my facebook to see if anyone responded to that controversial post someone put on their wall while playing the Ladybug game with Tinsley. Or telling my girls, "just one second" so I comment on the picture my friend posted of the cute snacks she made for her son's tee-ball team.   I know that there are going to be days where my mind will be preoccupied because that's life... but I don't ever want it to be because of time spent on facebook. I was done. I deactivate my facebook.  FREEDOM! It felt so good!  It feels so good!  I haven't missed it at all... not. at. all! I would miss sharing my thoughts and feelings so that's why I'm going to be writing on my blog.  I find blogging every few days to be a lot less time consuming and a great way to still share my thoughts. I can't even tell you the difference not having my facebook has made! I am happier.  I know it's only been a week, but I'm so happy I did it!  
So here's to being more present when I'm with my sweet little girls! Who knew life without facebook could be so wonderful?  

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mother's Day

I heard Tinsley coming up the stairs as she asked David if she could please bring me my card.  I knew David would tell her not to until I was awake but I know that eager feeling of wanting to give a present or card to someone so I quickly shouted, "I'm awake!" 
"Dad, she's awake!"
Love the sound of her little feet running... she busts open the door.  "HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY, MOMMY!  I made you this beautiful card.... and this picture of a birthday cake!" Then I hear another pair of feet coming... "HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY!"  Soon all five of us were on the bed.  Tinsley says, "Mom, I hope you have the best Mother's Day today.  We are going to do everything we can to make it special.  Whooooooo loves Mother's Day?!" We all shouted, "I DO!!!!"  Tinsley then tells us all to put our hands in for a cheer.  "Ready?  GooooooOOOOOOOO Mother's Day!"  I love this girl's enthusiasm! Love all my girls.  Love being a mother.
I had a great mother's day. 

Like most mothers... I thought a lot about motherhood as mother's day was approaching.  I thought about being a mother.  I thought about all the mothers in my life.  I thought about my mother....

 As a little girl I remember my answer was always the same, 
“I want to be a mom when I grow up.”
I wanted to do just what my mom did.  I wanted to send my husband off to work with a kiss and a peeled orange in a piece of Tupperware and a napkin.  I wanted to make breakfast for my kids, pack their lunches, kneel and pray with them before they caught the bus.  When they accidently left their lunches at home I wanted to drop off it at school for them with a little note inside saying how much I loved them. I wanted to make grasshopper pie for family night. I wanted to have a hug and kiss waiting for them when they got home from school as well as a special snack.  I wanted to make “sick beds” on the couch when they got sick and give them as many popsicles as they wanted. I wanted to do laundry. I wanted to wear an apron. I wanted to comfort when my kids had been hurt. I wanted to give my kids rides.  I wanted to make dinner. I wanted to make chore charts. I wanted to help with homework.  I wanted to help with projects. I wanted to volunteer at the school. I wanted to pay bills.  I wanted to clean once white shoes until they were white again (she was the best at that!) I wanted to iron my husband’s shirts. I wanted to have vacuumed floors and cozy lamps turned on when my husband came home. I wanted to organize. I wanted to grocery shop.  I wanted to tuck my kids in. I wanted to wake my kids up by kisses all over their faces.  I wanted to quote scriptures and inspirational quotes to my family.  I wanted my children to not feel like a burden but a pleasure to serve.  I wanted to have family scripture study and prayer before bed.  I wanted to French braid hair.  I wanted to put fresh sheets on the beds. I wanted to tie shoes and kiss skinned knees.  I wanted to go to the post office.  I wanted to lay in the bed talking about anything and everything with my kids. I wanted a baby…. To rock, feed, change, sing to, snuggle, teach, love. I wanted to make my home smell good and feel good the way she did. I wanted to be to my kids what my mom was to me.  I appreciate how she always told me how much she loved being a wife and mother.  I love that she felt blessed to be a stay at home mom. 
Because of the kind of mother my mom was…. I wanted to be a mother.  I want my children to love and cherish me and way I do her.  I want to make life as wonderful for them as she did for me. I love my mom and I love being a mom!  It is hard but there is nothing else in the world I would rather do!  I only wish I found doing laundry and ironing as exciting as I did when I was a child… ;)


Monday, May 6, 2013


Have you ever had a crazy, busy and exhausting day of traveling home?  You know that feeling of opening your front door? (minus the thought of all the unpacking and laundry you have to do.)  That's how I feel when I'm with David.  It's a familiar, comfortable, safe, and happy feeling.
I love David with all that I have. I often tell him how sad I would be if he wasn’t mine.  It’s true… I would be so very sad.  And not only because I know that he is the one I am supposed to be with for eternity but because I love and like him too.  A lot. There is so much good in David.  He has so many qualities that I hope to one day have.  I love and appreciate who he is.  We are in love and I am grateful for it!  But don’t think for one second that is always hugs and kisses, “no, I love you more!”, romantic dinners, and love notes. Nope... our marriage does not always look like some of the pictures I post of us...


This may come as a shock to you (ha) but I can be snotty, sarcastic, and down right rude sometimes. There are times that I slam the cabinets and doors (why does that feel so good?) and lay so close to the opposite edge of the bed that if I so much as sneeze I’m going to fall right off.  David can drive me crazy sometimes. And there’s no doubt I can drive that boy up the wall. Our marriage isn’t perfect. Marriage is hard. Marriage is work.  And we constantly have to work at it. There will always be up’s and down’s. But I find that some of the "down" times are when I am being selfish.  Putting my wants and my desires before his. But I can honestly say that when I put aside my selfish thoughts and put him first that we are both happier.  It’s about being humble.  Being humble can be hard.  There are times that I pray, "please, please, PLEASE help me to be humble!!" and there are times where I have to pray just to have the desire to want to be humble! 

I love what my cousin recently wrote on her blog about her marriage… 
“We aren't bound to each other only by a marriage certificate or even the sealing that was so very sacred and special. We're bound to each other because we love, forgive and respect each other.”

Love that. Especially the word forgive.  There will be many opportunities to do that in marriages.  Actually, in all of our relationships. 

Side note: I am reading The Peacegiver.  Have you ever read it?  If you haven’t, you HAVE to read this book and if you have read it, you have to read it again…. It is so good! The things you come to understand about forgiveness through the atonement and the Savior’s love for others is absolutely incredible.  (It is a great read for those who are married, single, divorced, teenagers... anyone and everyone! PLEASE read this book!)

I loved Elder Clayton’s talk during General Conference. He said some really good things.  Here is one of my favorite things he said…

“Humility is the essence of repentance. Humility is selfless, not selfish. It doesn’t demand its own way or speak with moral superiority. Instead, humility answers softly and listens kindly for understanding, not vindication. Humility recognizes that no one can change someone else, but with faith, effort, and the help of God, we can undergo our own mighty change of heart. Experiencing the mighty change of heart causes us to treat others, especially our spouses, with meekness. Humility means that both husbands and wives seek to bless, help, and lift each other, putting the other first in every decision. Watch and learn: repentance and humility build happy marriages.”
Selfless, answers softly, listens kindly, faithful, meek.  How wonderful would it be for someone (especially your spouse) to describe you with those words?  Humility is key. 
Sometimes there are things going on in our marriages and lives and we may feel like there’s no hope.  Elder Clayton says,

“There are those whose marriages are not as happy as they would wish, as well as those who have never married, are divorced, are single parents, or for various reasons are not in a position to marry. These circumstances can be full of challenge and heartbreak, but they need not be eternal. To those of you in such situations who nevertheless “cheerfully do all things that lie in [your] power” to persevere, may heaven bless you richly…. Keep the commandments, and trust the Lord and His perfect love for you. One day every promised blessing concerning marriage will be yours.”

 No matter what your situation is if you bring it back to yourself (the only one you have true control over) you will find peace as the Lord will bless you.  I am really trying to work on this in all of my relationships.  Want to try with me?