Friday, February 7, 2014

Elements of a Home

Most of our belongings were in storage from August to the end of January.  It was so fun to see that I actually had more than one pair of jeans and one necklace!  We felt reminiscent as we put our pictures back up on our wall.  The children spent a long time looking at each one. 

On one section of wall in my bedroom, I have framed pictures of each of the children as babies with Abe.

Jordan’s baby picture is of him in a car seat while Abe is kissing him.  Jordan said he used to think about Daddy kissing him in his car seat every time he buckled himself into his seat in the van because of that picture.  He said he remembered doing that even way back when we lived in Utah.  Jordan was only 5-years old at that time!  I was grateful that I was hearing about how much he valued that simple picture.

Tyson looked at one of our family pictures and talked about the light that surrounded each of us.  To him, it meant angels were near our family.   The children took several walks down memory lane as they talked extensively about how much we all changed in each picture.

Since my home was returning to order with decorations and all, I decided it was time to start making my homemade bread again.  In Michigan, I rarely even bought bread.  Little 6-year old Mariah was working on the computer, so she hadn’t noticed me kneading the bread.  I put the bread in the oven, and shortly after, the aroma of fresh baked bread began to fill the house.  Mariah stopped what she was doing and began to sniff around the kitchen.  Excited, she said, “I remember that smell!!  I smelled it in our home in Michigan!!!  I can’t remember what it is!! 

Feeling so happy that it was triggering a happy memory, I reminded her it was my special homemade bread.  The children cheered.  Their mouths were watering so much that by the time the bread was done they were standing in line waiting for a piece.  :-) I made 2 large loaves and one very small loaf.  Only a few pieces of bread remained from the final small loaf after only about 30 minutes of munching!

I LOVED watching their excitement over the small details that symbolized their experience in the home.  As part of our morning devotional as a family, we have been reading out of President Gordon B. Hinckley’s book, “Stand a Little Taller.”

In this book, he shares a scripture and then expands on that scripture.  These are President Hinckley’s words from today:

“A great man was once asked which one of all the books he had read had most affected his life.  His response was that he could no more remember the books he had read than he could remember the meals he had eaten, but they had made him.  All of us are the products of the elements to which we are exposed.  We can give direction to those elements and thereby improve the result.  Make every effort to enrich your environment with the reading of good books.” 

Beyond good books, I’ve been thinking all day about the elements of our home that make us.  As a mother, I sometimes wonder if the little efforts I put forth matter to my children and my husband.  They sure do!!  I asked the kids what reminds them of home:

The pictures of Christ remind the children of HIS love for them.  Sunshine and our many nature walks of years past have enriched their love for God’s creations. The family pictures keep them focused on our forever family.  …and the bread?  The smell of fresh bread will always remind my children of many happy memories, and their mother’s love for them.  I have yet to discover what future memories will withstand the test of time.  What will they pass on to their children?

I also pondered on the undesirable elements in our home… but I’m discovering that it’s to our benefit to leave the undesirable behind.  I believe God helps us to remember the good.  HE created us to be strong enough to forgive those who have inflicted the undesirable elements upon our lives… so that we can take the good and become even better as we let God and HIS forgiveness take place in our hearts.  I certainly hope my children will be able to forgive my many mistakes and carry on only the good.

When I think about my home growing up, I remember the morning candlelit scripture study with my mother before school, the Crumpli- Galushka, fresh vegetables, homemade bread, homemade ice cream, and avocado sandwiches.  Sometimes I eat graham crackers with milk poured over them… just so I can return to happy memories of seeing my dad at the kitchen table eating just that.  I also remember hours of board games and going to art fairs with my dad to sell my mom’s cornhusk dolls… talking for hours about the gospel along the way.  The list really could go on forever…

I’m grateful to know that as we do our best to provide good elements within our homes, God takes care of the rest and has the power to turn everything to our good when we do our best to turn everything to HIM.

Just some fun pics of family life in our new home. :-)

Jayden wanted to be held, but he's almost twice Juliana's size and half her age! :-)

Jackson is "fixing" Juliana's knee. :-)

…and consoling Mariah while he plays the piano.

The children are soaking in some morning sunshine.

Tyson is facing the jungle beside our house.