To enjoy the ministering of angels

This post is part of the General Conference Odyssey. This week covers the Priesthood Session of the October 1998 Conference.
I have studied the topic of ministering angels in the scriptures before, but I don't know how I somehow missed Elder Oaks' talk in this session where he makes a connection I'd never made before: between the ministering of angels and the sacrament!

His reasoning goes something like this: ministering angels come as a gift of the spirit. If we want the spirit to be with us, we need to thoughtfully and worthily take the sacrament every week. Then we will be worthy to receive the ministering of angels. 

It's better in his words:
Baptism is for the remission of sins, and the sacrament is a renewal of the covenants and blessings of baptism. Both should be preceded by repentance. When we keep the covenants made in these ordinances, we are promised that we will always have His Spirit to be with us. The ministering of angels is one of the manifestations of that Spirit.
Elder Oaks goes through some scriptures supporting his point, and then elaborates:
“The word ‘angel’ is used in the scriptures for any heavenly being bearing God’s message.” The scriptures recite numerous instances where an angel appeared personally…When I was young, I thought such personal appearances were the only meaning of the ministering of angels. As a young holder of the Aaronic Priesthood, I did not think I would see an angel, and I wondered what such appearances had to do with the Aaronic Priesthood.

But the ministering of angels can also be unseen. Angelic messages can be delivered by a voice or merely by thoughts or feelings communicated to the mind. President John Taylor described “the action of the angels, or messengers of God, upon our minds, so that the heart can conceive … revelations from the eternal world.”
I thought that was so interesting because it seems like angels might almost…share the work of the Holy Ghost? That is, I'm used to thinking that if I have thoughts or impressions, it is the Holy Ghost speaking to me. But it's cool to think that it might be an ancestor or some other ministering angel who has a special interest in me, speaking by the power of the Holy Ghost, but with their own emphasis or personality coming through. There actually have been times I have felt this might be the case in my life, but I've been unsure how it's done. (I'm still unsure, but this is another piece of the puzzle!) It also sounds like the message may be enhanced or clarified through that specific person's bringing of it, almost like a person who loves you has power through your shared connection to help you understand the things of God. I love that idea!

Making the connection one more time (never let it be said that an Elder Oaks talk is unclear):
In general, the blessings of spiritual companionship and communication are only available to those who are clean. As explained earlier, through the Aaronic Priesthood ordinances of baptism and the sacrament, we are cleansed of our sins and promised that if we keep our covenants we will always have His Spirit to be with us. I believe that promise not only refers to the Holy Ghost but also to the ministering of angels, for “angels speak by the power of the Holy Ghost; wherefore, they speak the words of Christ.” So it is that those who hold the Aaronic Priesthood open the door for all Church members who worthily partake of the sacrament to enjoy the companionship of the Spirit of the Lord and the ministering of angels. 

Their children will be at home

This post is part of the General Conference Odyssey. This week covers the Saturday Afternoon Session of the October 1998 Conference.
Our Stake President has been talking a lot about balance lately—the need for balance in our families and maybe especially our children's lives. He counseled us to evaluate our activities and make sure they're in line with what we really want for our families, and to ponder how much time we allow for less "urgent" but spiritually important things in our families, like studying the scriptures together, eating dinner together, going to church activities, etc. 

The timing of this counsel was funny because it came right before I went to a cross-country parent meeting where the coach had nearly the polar opposite attitude—going on and on about how single-minded and dedicated "championship teams" needed to be, and how important it was not to be distracted by work or church activities or family trips or other "non-essentials." Ha! I was annoyed by it even though I sort of understood why he felt he had to set those priorities. But come on. What happened to hobbies and pursuits you do just for fun? Those don't seem to exist in high schools these days.

Anyway, I thought about all this as I read Elder Packer's talk, "Parents in Zion." He talks about how important it is to have our children "at home":
Some youngsters receive very little teaching and support at home. There is no question but that we must provide for them. But if we provide a constant schedule of out-of-home activities sufficient to compensate for the loss in those homes, it may make it difficult for attentive parents to have time to be with and teach their own children. Only prayer and inspiration can lead us to find this difficult balance.

We often hear, “We must provide frequent and exciting activities lest our youth will go to less wholesome places.” Some of them will. But I have the conviction that if we teach parents to be responsible and allow them sufficient time, over the long course their children will be at home.

There, at home, they can learn what cannot be effectively taught in either Church or school. At home they can learn to work and to take responsibility. They learn what to do when they have children of their own.
I've come to feel the truth of this need to have children "at home" in whatever ways we can manage it. (Convincing my children of the value of this is another story.) Obviously it doesn't mean they are always literally at home. But I do feel an urge to simplify and take advantage of whatever time we can reasonably be together, and being "at home" is a big part of that. And my great hope is that, even when my children grow up and move out, they will be "at home" in the sense that they stay close to the family and the truths they learned at home.

Elder Packer also said this, which I hadn't thought about as part of my role on Ward Council:
The ward council is the perfect place to establish the balance between home and Church. Here the brethren of the priesthood, themselves fathers, and sisters of the auxiliaries, themselves mothers, can, with inspired insight, coordinate the work of the organizations, each of which serves different members of the family.
I don't generally speak up much in that ward council meeting because I feel like "what does the Primary have to do with this?" But it was interesting thinking that part of my usefulness there can be as simply a mother, speaking for what I feel is best for families. It inspired me to say something last Sunday from my perspective as a mother. :)

Then, my favorite thing in the talk was this promise Elder Packer ended with (and I'm clinging to it!):
As the world grows ever more threatening, the powers of heaven draw ever closer to families and parents.
Oh how I hope that is true! We need those powers so much!


Other posts in this series:

Without any disclaimers

This post is part of the General Conference Odyssey. This week covers the Saturday Morning Session of the October 1998 Conference.
When I was talking to Abe on the phone the other day, he told me that he and the other missionaries in his district were discussing conspiracy theories and which ones they thought were true. Ha! It made me laugh, but since then I've also been thinking about how many people (in Abe's generation, especially!) seem to be suspicious of everyone and everything. 

Don't get me wrong—in a lot of ways, I understand and sympathize with that attitude! I've grown more and more distrustful of many institutions, including the government, this past decade or so. And while the phrase "conspiracy theorist" is meant to conjure up visions of some crazy crackpot, of course we know through ancient and modern prophets that secret combinations will be commonplace in the last days! So it's not that I blame a lot of these young adults for being skeptical and even cynical. But I also think it's too bad that so many of them don't seem to be able to trust anything, or believe that truth can be found at all. A life without any sort of anchoring truth is subject to so many winds and storms!

I thought about that when I read Sister Virginia Jensen's talk about prophets. She says,
There aren’t many guarantees in this life. There isn’t a car made with a warranty that covers everything. No bank on earth can absolutely guarantee that your money is completely safe. Even the Good Housekeeping seal of approval has a disclaimer written right on it! Nothing man-made or man-controlled can ever be truly guaranteed! But here’s the miracle. The Lord has given some marvelous guarantees without any disclaimers. And this is one of them: He will choose the prophet, and He will never let that man lead us astray. Imagine for a moment the impact of that promise. There is at least one place we can turn for pure, unpolluted guidance.
I love the simplicity of that. There aren't disclaimers or footnotes to God's promises about His prophets. They just won't lead us astray! We can count on it! And as much as we could legitimately try to MAKE it complicated if we wanted to…"He wasn't speaking as a prophet! He didn't say it in conference! He's a man and he's fallible! We have to think for ourselves! Etc. etc. etc."…

…for me, it is so comforting NOT to complicate it. Everything else might be confusing and up in the air. All other certainty might feel out of reach and unknowable. But to have this one institution, our latter-day prophets, to count on absolutely—that seems to me one of the most calming and steadying blessings we could possibly have. 

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August Birthday Season and the end of summer

I somehow inadvertently started the tradition this year of getting the kids balloons on their birthdays. Here is Daisy's birthday donut.
This is a puzzle Goldie made Daisy for her birthday. So cute! It did have those other pieces at some point.

It was weird this year; the boys had a cross-country race before school even started! It was on Sebastian's birthday, so it was extra sad when I woke up at 5 a.m. to Seb in my room saying hoarsely "I'm too sick to go to the race." Such a sad start to his birthday! We left him home in bed and went to watch Malachi run.
Malachi is the only person I have ever known who smiles while running! He told me, "People act like it takes more energy to smile. But it doesn't." I think it's a bit of a point of pride for him now—the Speedy Smiler. (That should be his nickname. But it isn't. In fact, his nickname on the team is "The Magician." I didn't believe that was real until we talked to Ky's coach after the race and he said, "Great race for The Magician today!" haha.) It was a big race and Malachi looked really good! He said he also says "good job" to people as he passes them. "It's really demoralizing," he explained. 

We were doing some errands at Target later that day when we ran into a few people from the cross-country team there. Then when we got home, it turned out they had been buying presents and treats for Seb and had showed up at our house to celebrate his birthday! It was really sweet. I was so happy to see Seb sitting outside with his friends, not forgotten after all.  

Lifeguards, Dinosaurs, Squished

In July we went to do baptisms at the Provo City Center Temple. I was hoping the whole family (well, all the ones old enough) could come, but it turned out the boys couldn't, so it was just Sam, me, and Daisy. That was fun too.
On Pioneer Day we couldn't face paying a million dollars to drive the van down to Provo (gas was $5.60 a gallon!) for my mom's ward's ice cream party, so we made our own homemade ice cream and had a picnic at a park. It was so hot! But we stood it for a while. Clementine and Gus crawled around on the grass.
The playground was pretty with the sun coming through it, like stained glass.
Hot and rosy Daisy

In the center of your souls

This post is part of the General Conference Odyssey. This week covers the General Young Women Session of the April 1998 Conference.
I've been really drawn to many beautiful statements about women's roles lately. (I wrote about some last week too!) I think it's because my daughters are getting older and we've been having a lot more talks about their gifts and their futures, and I hear a lot of women talking about how they're going to teach their daughters differently than they were taught. They say they don't want their daughters to feel like the "only" thing they can do is get married and have a family. Like we ought to have grown out of thinking that's "all" women can do. Or like the church was stifling women somehow, by giving them the advice to stay home with their families. I can imagine it was harder in the past for the women whose lives didn't "fit the mold;" I've heard some of those stories. Some women still feel that disconnect now. And I know that, as someone whose life HAS fit the stay-at-home-mother mode, I need to be sensitive to other perspectives. I think most of us women in the church are trying our best to get revelation for our own lives, and following it the best we can, and it's obviously okay for us to have different journeys.

I know all that. And yet I read these old talks and I feel a deep sense that all this doctrine about women's roles and women's nature is still true. It hasn't become obsolete and it doesn't need to be "updated" for our modern world. I'm not sure how it applies to every situation; I suppose that's where personal revelation comes in. But as I read this counsel I just felt again and again that these are eternal truths my daughters need to learn in order to be truly happy! If they don't feel they fit these descriptions of what women are, they can grow into them! But they can't just leave them behind as relics of some old-fashioned world—not without forfeiting the blessings too.

Here is a sampling of some of the quotes I found beautiful and inspiring from this session. From Sister Margaret D. Nadauld's talk:
It is a divine and priceless blessing to be born a woman. Your Heavenly Father blessed you, His daughters, with some very precious qualities in extra capacity—qualities such as sensitivity, spirituality, a loving, nurturing nature. Please take opportunities to develop these divine gifts and then use them to bless others. Be happy. Scatter a little sunshine. You could observe faithful women you admire and then adopt into your own life the qualities that make these women successful, happy daughters of God.
I love that, and I thought this next quote was really sweet too:
In your mind’s eye, do you see yourself as nurturers of precious sons and daughters of Heavenly Father? You can practice now by being loving and gentle to little children and by saying the kindest things in the kindest way in your home. Do you picture yourself as a mother who could help her children with learning math or science or history? If so, guess what you’d better do at school! Do you want to have beauty and music and refinement in your home? Today you can begin developing your artistic and musical talents for the sake of your future home and family. Do you want to have peace and order in your home? Then, my dear young sisters, be the peacemaker, help keep your home clean and orderly, help with the laundry. Can you imagine your future family sitting around a table laughing and sharing ideas and enjoying the delicious, nutritious food that you prepared with love? Then it looks like you’ll have to learn to cook! Help prepare the meals. Collect recipes from your mother and grandmother. Learn how to make strudel or poi or tortillas—your family favorites, whatever they are.

Let me tell you what I see in you. I see in you young women who are getting an education and are preparing to bless others through it. Please, for yourself and your future family, choose a fine education. Be qualified. Be well rounded. Work hard. In you young women, I see girls who look forward to establishing a home of love, a home of order, a home of faith.
I was eighteen when these talks were given, and I did try to practice these things as a young woman! One gift my mother gave me was a clear message that she loved homemaking and motherhood. And so, although I didn't know quite what to expect, I fully believed I would learn to love those things too. And I have! I want to give my daughters that gift, and I like this idea of tying their current activities to a vision of their future. None of that feels limiting to me. Of course it's true that some girls may not grow up to have children or get married, but all of them will build a home, and all of them will have the opportunity for nurturing relationships. It seems wonderful to teach girls to prepare now for those things!
 
Here's a statement from Sister Carol B. Thomas' talk that felt bold and almost startling to me, in today's culture. But if this was true in 1998, it must be true now, and shouldn't our young women know it?
As each one of you practices being a homemaker, you are doing exactly what the Lord wants you to do. In every young woman’s heart is a deep yearning to someday be a wife and a mother. These feelings were nurtured in your soul long before you came to this earth. President Hinckley has said, “Women, for the most part, see their greatest fulfillment, their greatest happiness in home and family.”
Then there was President Faust's talk, which was so good I want to quote the whole thing. But I will limit myself to a few favorite sections:
As a woman you have been born with many unique endowments that are not common to men.

President Spencer W. Kimball, in speaking of the separate roles of men and women, said: “Remember, in the world before we came here, faithful women were given certain assignments while faithful men were foreordained to certain priesthood tasks. While we do not now remember the particulars, this does not alter the glorious reality of what we once agreed to. You are accountable for those things which long ago were expected of you just as are those we sustain as prophets and apostles. … This leaves much to be done by way of parallel personal development—for both men and women.”

This statement suggests that before we were born, male and female, we made certain commitments and that we agreed to come to this earth with great, rich, but different gifts. We were called, male and female, to do great works with separate approaches and separate assignments.…

Becoming like men is not the answer. Rather, the answer lies in being who you are and living up to your divine potential by fulfilling eternal commitments.
Again, that feels bold in today's climate. But I thought this was so interesting and prescient:
You cannot trust the many conflicting voices that clamor about what women should or should not do in today’s society. Some of the loudest voices are echoes of those others who are out of harmony with themselves and out of tune with life in general rather than being unhappy with their role as women.
It's true. I don't know why we would listen to those "out of harmony with themselves" when we could learn from the many women we know who are happy, fulfilled, and faithful. I know many of those in my own family and my own Relief Society, and in other circles too. People like my friend Montserrat who loves homemaking, or my friend Nancy who calls heaven down into her home daily. Rozy who stands firm and holds onto hope for her adult children who have left the faith. Anne who loves and nurtures every soul in her home, even the wounded ones. Women of other faiths, like Leila Lawler who talks so practically about the joy that comes in just fulfilling your God-given duties! And so many others. So many people to learn from and share with and emulate—all of whom are "in tune with life in general" and happy with their roles as women. I have miraculously found these people in my life when I need them!

And then here's my favorite part of President Faust's talk:
Do not be deceived in your quest to find happiness and an identity of your own. Entreating voices may tell you that what you have seen your mothers and grandmothers do is old-fashioned, unchallenging, boring, and drudgery. It may have been old-fashioned and perhaps routine; at times it was drudgery. But your mothers and grandmothers have sung a song that expressed the highest love and the noblest of womanly feelings. They have been our nurturers and our teachers. They have sanctified the work, transforming drudgery into the noblest enterprises.

Homemaking is whatever you make of it. Every day brings satisfaction along with some work which may be frustrating, routine, and unchallenging. But it is the same in the law office, the dispensary, the laboratory, or the store. There is, however, no more important job than homemaking. As C. S. Lewis said, “A housewife’s work … is the one for which all others exist.”

There are ever-increasing demands on women that challenge their traditional role of caregivers. But as women, the roles of wife and mother are in the center of your souls and cry out to be satisfied. Most women naturally want to love and be loved by a good man and to respond to the God-given, deepest feelings of womanhood—those of mother and nurturer.
I've written about it before and I'm sure I will again, because this is what my life is about! Homemaking and motherhood fill my thoughts and my days, so anything that reassures me that those things are valuable is precious and comfort-filled doctrine. The small things matter. The mundane things matter. I'm happiest when I'm remembering these truths, and I want my children—daughters especially—to remember them too!

Even more comforting is the fact that we, as women, have been given gifts to make all this possible. I loved this: 
All of you will have to sometime answer to your natural womanly instincts, which the Prophet Joseph said are according to your natures. He said, “If you live up to your privileges, the angels cannot be restrained from being your associates.” You should respond generously to those instincts and promptings to do good. Hold your soul very still, and listen to the whisperings of the Holy Spirit. Follow the noble, intuitive feelings planted deep within your souls by Deity in the previous world. In this way you will be responding to the Holy Spirit of God and will be sanctified by truth. By so doing, you will be eternally honored and loved. Much of your work is to enrich mankind with your great capacity for care and mercy.
I often feel inadequate and unequal to the tasks required of me. I certainly don't feel competent at raising teenagers or…really…any age of children. (Newborns, maybe? After 10 tries I might be getting a little better at newborns.) So I don't know how I could possibly keep attempting it without truly believing this—that somehow my Heavenly Father and Mother have "planted deep within my soul" the tools and instincts I need to bless my family. I want to live close enough to the Spirit that I can not only recognize those instincts, but, where needed, develop them and make them stronger within myself so I can do the work God has given me to do!


Other posts in this series:

Birthday Sunflowers

We don't really do birthday parties in our family, but we usually try to do some activity as a family, which has somehow become known among the children as the "fun thing," as in, "Do we get to do Junie's Fun Thing tonight?" So for Daisy's Fun Thing, I decided we would go to a sunflower farm I had read about in North Salt Lake. I was excited about it and thought Daisy would love it too!

Unfortunately I did not account for…other opinions about what constituted a "Fun Thing." I had gotten tickets in advance and when certain parties realized they were stuck going to a flower field for the evening, there was a fair amount of complaining (some overt, some less so), followed by a fair amount more when we got to the place and it was really, really hot outside. 

With the little boys dragging along and Clementine fussing, the atmosphere just went downhill from there, until I was on the verge of tears and vowing to give up ever planning anything for anyone again. Let alone managing to enjoy the flowers.
But there we were, having paid the entry fee already, and so we set grimly off, with poor Daisy and Junie and Goldie reading the prevailing mood and being extra helpful and cheery to compensate (bless them).

And it helped. After a while we couldn't help but start marveling at how pretty the flowers were, and how interesting all the different kinds were. I finally remembered that I'm the one who sets the tone for everyone else at these sorts of things, and feeling sorry for myself wasn't helping anything, so if I wanted Daisy to actually have a fun birthday, I had better get my act together!

Funny how often I have to have that realization.

The heavens’ embroidered cloths, Enwrought with golden and silver light

(Not my own, but Yeats', by the way)

Here's a sampling of the latest pretty skies around here. There have been a lot of them! We've had lots of thunderstorms or almost-thunderstorms, and plenty of huge clouds to go with them. I love it so much! I would love this kind of weather year-round.

Daisy in the pinky-gold light. And on the other side of the sky…

It looked like this. Beautiful!

One night we had the most amazing lightning storm. First it was far away over the west mountains, with flashes every ten seconds lighting up the whole sky. Seb came in from a bike ride saying "You have to come see the lightning!" So we all went up on the hill to watch. There were some other people out there too, and we all said "ooohh!" every time there was a particularly good flash. This picture above makes it look like it was still a little light, but actually, it was very dark:
…this dark!

Esteemed for their very nature

This post is part of the General Conference Odyssey. This week covers the Sunday Afternoon Session of the April 1998 Conference.
I liked this session. Lots of good talks, lots of things I remember. These talks are starting to feel almost…recent! How strange. President Hinckley announced a bunch of temples and said we would have a hundred of them by the year 2000. I remember how amazing that was. And I remember Elder Scott's talk on leaving behind negative cultural traditions. I've always been so curious about which specific things prompted him to give that talk! Elder Lynn G. Robbins' talk on anger is so good too. I've always remembered (though still not mastered!) the doctrine that "becoming angry is a conscious choice, a decision; therefore, we can make the choice not to become angry." 

I also really liked President Packer's talk on the Relief Society. He talked a bit about priesthood power too. I feel like today we have more "official doctrine" on women and priesthood power that we've ever had. I know I have certainly learned a lot more about it than I used to know! But it's interesting that nothing President Packer said here contradicted any of the "new" (I don't know if it's really new or we just discuss it more?) things we've been learning. The fundamental doctrines are so consistent! Like this:
"However much priesthood power and authority the men may possess—however much wisdom and experience they may accumulate—the safety of the family, the integrity of the doctrine, the ordinances, the covenants, indeed the future of the Church, rests equally upon the women. The defenses of the home and family are greatly reinforced when the wife and mother and daughters belong to Relief Society.

No man receives the fulness of the priesthood without a woman at his side. For no man, the Prophet said, can obtain the fulness of the priesthood outside the temple of the Lord. And she is there beside him in that sacred place. She shares in all that he receives."
This next part was intriguing to me. My first thought was "No one would say this now." But I don't know, maybe President Packer still would! He was not afraid of what people would think. Anyway, I'm sure this line of thought would bother some people, but I think it's so interesting! I want to try to figure out what he meant by it: 
In the home and in the Church sisters should be esteemed for their very nature. Be careful lest you unknowingly foster influences and activities which tend to erase the masculine and feminine differences nature has established. A man, a father, can do much of what is usually assumed to be a woman’s work. In turn, a wife and a mother can do much—and in time of need, most things—usually considered the responsibility of the man, without jeopardizing their distinct roles. Even so, leaders, and especially parents, should recognize that there is a distinct masculine nature and a distinct feminine nature essential to the foundation of the home and the family. Whatever disturbs or weakens or tends to erase that difference erodes the family and reduces the probability of happiness for all concerned.
Earlier in the talk he said, "The tender hand of the sister gives a gentle touch of healing and encouragement which the hand of a man, however well intentioned, can never quite duplicate." That sort of talk bothers people too—"sexist idealization of women!" I can hear people complaining. But I don't know. Gender roles have always felt so exciting to me, like because I'm a woman I can just count on having certain inherent gifts and talents. Even if I don't FEEL like I'm naturally good at those things, I can trust that I can get good at them. That's very comforting to me. Plus (as I tell my girls all the time), I just feel like I got the best end of the deal, being a woman. Women are so blessed! We get the best roles of all! I'd never trade!

So, all that to say that I don't mind President Packer saying "there is a distinct feminine and masculine nature essential to the foundation of the home and the family." He wouldn't have said that if it weren't true. I'm glad we need both, and I'd like to know how to better fill my side—the feminine side. As he says, many things can be so easily done by either men or women; it's easy to think everything can be. So which areas do I need to make sure are uniquely mine? Where do I need to concentrate my specifically female gifts and make sure my "very nature" is being used to the fullest?

I don't know, but there was a time in our family recently when I was worrying and worrying about something. I couldn't stop fretting over it and turning a million solutions over in my mind. But as I prayed over it, I kept getting the answer "That's Sam's job. Let Sam worry about it." It felt so strange to have that be the answer, and I worried that I just wanted it to be the answer because it meant one fewer thing for me to take care of. But every time I prayed about it, I felt the same thing: "That's for Sam to do." I finally apologetically told him what I'd felt (I didn't actually want HIM to have one more thing to worry about!) and he was fine with it, but I still kind of feel like taking over on it myself sometimes! I have no problem with division of labor in marriage, but since so many things are left up to us and our preferences, it surprised me a little to get this pretty firm answer of "that's not your job." So maybe it really was one of those cases where our unique natures matter. And maybe there are more of those I have yet to discover! I'm curious what they are!

This next paragraph also stuck out to me because it was basically the theme of all three Stake Conference sessions we just had. Our Stake President emphasized a balanced life over and over again. He encouraged us to slow down, simplify, and focus in on the most important things—discarding any other things as necessary. So I've been thinking a lot about that, trying to evaluate our family life and if we need to make changes, and then suddenly here is President Packer saying the same thing:
At those times when parents feel smothered and just cannot do it all, they must make wise and inspired judgments as to how much out-of-home activity of all kinds is best for their own family. It is on this subject that the priesthood leaders, in council assembled, must pay careful attention to the expressions of the sisters, the mothers.
That makes it sound like here, in the area of "how the family should spend its time," is another place where it really is important that the mother's view be particularly prioritized—not just for some vaguely sexist cultural reason, but because she has an inherent, God-given sensitivity to what her family needs! I don't find that limiting at all. Intimidating, maybe! But I also find it reassuring—because it means God will help me develop my sensitivities as I try to exercise that gift. He's not going to tell women to do something and then not give them the tools to do it!

Other posts in this series:

Happy Birthday to Clemmie

Hooray, hooray! Happy Birthday to the little queen! We celebrated her as much as we could.
Here she is admiring her clementine garland.
Ziggy was so cute while we were singing Happy Birthday! So enthusiastic. And he wanted to stand right next to Clementine! He was definitely as excited, or more excited, than she was! She wasn't quite sure what to think of it all at first.
But then she decided she liked it.
She quite liked it, in fact.
By the end of our singing, she was as pleased as could be!
She had some helpers for blowing out the candle.
Then it was time for presents. New donuts! Because ours are all broken. And the stand for them is broken. And some parts are missing. Like every other toy in this house.
Goldie made Clementine this "whacking stick" as a birthday present. She loved it.
And Goldie also made Clementine a little box which she could put things in and take things out of. Goldie knows just what babies like!
We also gave Clementine a little baby doll. As you may recall—if you have a very long memory, that is—Daisy was SO HAPPY when she got one of these babies for her first birthday. She had the happiest, most excited smile ever. Let me just remind you:
Oh that cute little Daisy!
Anyway, Clementine wasn't…UNhappy about the baby. She gave it a nice chomp on the head.
And then she threw it with a gleeful shriek onto the floor! So…good birthday, I guess! We sure love our little Clementiny!

Clementine's first year

I was looking back at some of these old "first year" posts as I was making this one. I only started doing it with Junie (much to Daisy's indignation), and then who knows what happened with Gus! I think I probably thought "what am I doing this for?" and stopped. It's not like I don't take any OTHER pictures of the little dears. 

But then there's just something so fun about looking at these babies month-by-month, all lined up together.   So I made another attempt with Clementine, and even though I missed September, October, and November (!) it's still cute to see how much she grew and changed! I think my favorite thing is seeing how babies refuse to sit docilely in one spot by the end of the year. They crawl all about and even stand up! Almost as if they have minds of their own! :)

(And after making this, I felt bad about Gus and went back and hastily found a few monthly pictures of him too. And posted them back-dated in 2021 so we could watch him change from a skinny Gus to a chubby Gus. Because that was some transformation!)

Anyway, here is Clementine in…some of the months of her first year. The little darling.
She has quite a monkey-ish expression in that last picture, and I'm sorry to say it is an accurate reflection of her current monkey-ish soul! She's not at all the placid little bundle she once was. Luckily, we've had plenty of other monkey-children around here and have become accustomed to it!
And here she is on her birthday. Biting her foot.
Looking sad.
And being the sweetest little squishy snookums!
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