It’s funny, I look at these pictures of Mother’s Day and I think, “Oh, looks like a perfect day.”

But Mother’s Day was kind of tricky for me this year, at least in the beginning.  I don’t know why.  I know it’s a tough day for some moms.  Some like my friend are struggling since they have lost their mother.  Some struggle with relationships with their mothers.  Some have hearts who ache heavily to feel a heartbeat inside them and for someone to call them “mother,” and cannot for myriads of different reasons.  I think so many moms get to Mother’s Day and feel lacking and wish they were as good a mom as so-and-so is.  And quite honestly I think there are lots of moms who just wish for one day someone would acknowledge that they are THERE.  And not invisible.  And that they make a difference in the life of their family.  A big one.  I mean, it’s a day to celebrate moms, for crying out loud, and they are still buried under laundry trying to get kids out the door with matching socks and detangled hair.

Don’t get me wrong, I adore Mother’s Day, and I’m so grateful for a chance to reflect on my mother and Dave’s mother and all the mothers that make up so much goodness in this wonderful world, but for some reason it all started off on the wrong foot this time around.  We set off on our traditional Mother’s Day hike (I proclaimed my birthday and Mother’s Day as our family hiking days years ago…I love it so much and figured that would be a great way to get the family to go with me and soak in all that beauty).  I told Dave and the kids that I didn’t want any fussy breakfast or gushing or favors, I just wanted to hike together as a family.  And then I got a little huffy that Dave was huffy about going on a hike in the first place (he will claim he wasn’t, but he doesn’t like the thought of hikes, but loves them when we get there, and I love the thought of them and sometimes hate them when we get there…wimpy problems).  I chose a really easy hike, (Lucy cannot see well enough for anything too tricky these days), and one that would be easy in and out so we could get back to get ready for church in time (we have church at noon), and also that hey, “dogs on a leash” were allowed, so we could bring Bo along.

It started out pretty awesome I must say.

It was gorgeous.  The relentless sun stayed behind a haze of clouds, there was a little breeze, and the desert scenery was incredibly majestic to me that day.

Those sweet girls of mine had decided earlier that the hike would be a good spot to give me their gifts they had put together, so I followed them, with Bo in tow, and Dave carrying all our gear, and my heart sung with how lucky I was to be there, surrounded in beauty on every side, including those good people I was with.

We found a perfect spot to sit and eat our little brunch we brought along.

That’s when we realized we were in the midst of an absolute army of little teeny burs that were catching and snagging on everything.  They crunched under our blanket and stuck to our shoes.  And most horribly, they clung to every inch of poor Bo Jangles fluff.

She sat there by us as the girls tried to give me their sweet gifts, but we were so worried about poor Bo that we couldn’t concentrate much on the beauty of their thoughtful preparation.

Sweetest girls alive right there I tell you.

We hurried and packed up as Bo was getting in worse and worse shape.

She couldn’t even wag her poor tail by the time we got back to the car, there were thousands of these little things clinging to that poor dog:

Don’t let these smiles fool you, Dave was mad as a hornet about the whole deal.

That dog isn’t on his good side these days.  And remember hikes aren’t either, especially hikes that involve that dog, infested with 18,374 burs or not.
I spent over thirty minutes when we got home brushing out that fur of Bo’s while everyone else got ready for church.  At first she fought it, but in the end, she just laid there and let me take care of her.  She emerged triumphantly, wagging that poor tail again all fluffed up, but boy howdy, that was an adventure.
I sat in church letting those creeping feelings come in…I have so much work to do as a mother!  How can I balance my time better?  How can I “be there” for these kids in a more balanced way?  How can I up my game?  How is it that almost half of my children are already gone?  Have I taught them enough?  Am I on the right track to teaching these ones still home enough?  Each is struggling with some big things right now, how can I be more guided as I nurture them?  Not too much, not too little.
Our congregation sure takes care of mothers on Mother’s Day.  All the men take over the womens’ “jobs” and we had such a nice lesson in the last hour about testimonies and motherhood, and these kids came in to sing to us at the end:

And suddenly all that worry and angst started to wash away.  I looked at that daughter of mine in the red glasses singing her heart out right to me with a big smile across her face and realized you know what?  I really am doing ok.  And just like I said in the last post, it’s ok to be the “okayest” mom, as long as I’m striving.

I loved one quote that was shared from Elder Packer:  “There are few things more powerful than the faithful prayers of a righteous mother.”

I have that power.  The power of prayer.  And I need to continue to USE IT to help these children of mine in the ways that they individually need that help and guidance.

The worry faded gradually away after that…Grace wanted some pictures because she proclaimed she didn’t have any with the two of us:

And I ate that right up because I have a hard time getting that girl to be in pictures these days.

And of course that spilled out into pictures with the other girls.

And also this guy who gave them to me:

…and also gave me the world, even if he could take or leave hiking :).

They whipped up a great meal while I tried to write my Mother’s Day letters (more about those back HERE).

Lucy excused herself early to go read:

We realized in horror as we wrapped up dinner that Max had tried to Skype us an hour and a half before then.  We had the time mixed up!  I was dying so worried that we wouldn’t be able to connect.  But then he wrote that he was still there and could Skype in 45 minutes.

Relief!  We had all been counting down the days for that call, SO excited to talk to that boy of ours!

I love this picture accidentally snapped of the girls waiting for us to get things set up…each doing their thing.

We got Elle hooked up in Hawaii on one computer, and got everything ready for Max to call on the other.

And then, there he was!

He looked and sounded so great, just glowing with that missionary spirit.

That may well be the last time we talk to him over Skype, he could be home for Christmas (transfers are either right before Christmas or at the end of January, and we’re hoping we can get him home to start the semester of school), and we are pretty dang excited about that little fact…although trying not to get our hopes up too much.

The best Mother’s Day gift a girl can have.

Still with all that hoopla, pretty hard to pull Lucy away from that book of hers!

It was a good day.  A good day for renewing goals and soaking up this family I love so much.

To wrap this up, let’s take a close-up look at Grace’s gift to me since I didn’t get a good look on the hike:

Gorgeous pottery from her pottery class at school.

Oh I’m so grateful for these kids.  Out of all the people in this world, God sure hooked me up with my very favorites.

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  1. I love the family portrait that includes your two oldest! It's such a snapshot into what life is like in 2017 with families spread wide, but still connecting. Can you imagine generations looking back on this? Just love it.

  2. I love the pictures of you and Grace. Wow, does she ever look like you!

    It's interesting to hear that it was a tricky day for you. I guess if you take mothering seriously, there's always something you want to do better.

    Happy Mother's Day.

    1. It would appear he was doing it and the family side didn't realize it. A phone call could have cleared it up fast.

    1. Good question. She isn't reading any fabulous literature right now, but some books she got at the book fair, which I love because it gets her reading. She loves the "Whatever After" series and any book about dogs 🙂 This summer I have a goal to help her take her reading up a notch, I'll let you know what we find. Her favorites in the past have been on this list I posted back here:

      Here's another list: (but many of those aren't chapter books)

      I think Lucy's favorite of all time are the C.S. Lewis Narnia series. She relates so much to those books in her every day life and I love it!

  3. Wow, are you ever beautiful! Why does it look like you're getting even more beautiful as the years pass?!
    And I have to say, your thoughts here, especially that second paragraph, were both deep and perfectly articulated.

  4. I have been reading your blog for years but have never commented. Thank you for sharing your experiences publically. I can relate to wanting to be the best mother I possibly can. That is one of my main goals and passions in life. However, I couldn't help but wanting to say, there is a line between humility and insecurity. Children tend to obtain or acquire the mindsets of their parents. I want to model to my children that I know that I am "enough". I want to model that I am secure in myself and secure in Christ. Of course we all experience times of insecurity, doubt, failure, and not being the best ever all the time. But so what? Why make that the main focus? Why make that the overall theme of our lives? I want the beat of my heart to be gratitude and contentment mainly because that is what I want for the beat of my children's hearts and minds. I pray that all of us will someday fully accept the imperfections of ouselves and of life itself. May we radiate peace and confidence rather than "woe is me I'm just an okay mom/(son, daughter, student, athlete, father, church member, missionary, etc)" Feel what you want your children to feel.

    1. You are exactly right. And I'm sorry if this came across wrong. This may sound funny, but I actually think I'm a great mom, because I try my very best and even if sometimes what comes out is only "okay," it's enough :). No matter how much you try, there will always be those slivers of doubt and worry and feelings of being off-balance especially when kids are going through rough stuff and you are struggling to help. That's just the way life is. And for some reason this mother's day those feelings sure came out for me. But that's ok too. It's all part of the journey. And I think the realization of some of the imperfections in ourselves is healthy and can build building blocks for more strength. Sometimes it's just tough to express that all in a blog post.

      I appreciate your thoughts and all the goodness and kindness in these comments. THANK YOU for helping to build and lift.

  5. Oh, I can so relate on the puppy! I think our puppies are about the same age, and I often think I am crazy for taking another thing on, especially right in the middle of the thickness of life with teenagers and a toddler. But I also have this hope, or maybe even a vision, of what she will become when she is more mature. (I try to remember it when she drives me NUTS!) My purpose for the puppy was meant to be a form of therapy, and I will say it was not quite what I was expecting, or even hoping for. But there are moments, when I see it, when I feel it. I guess we just need to hold onto those moments and realize, that is what it's all about. I am learning that I am not as patient as I thought I was, even with puppy-training, I see that having a puppy is not for wimps!

    Being a young widow, our family dynamic is a bit unique, and so Mother's day was hard for different reasons. They had my oldest son speak in church, so that helped a little. Being a mother is hard work in any circumstance. Just when there seems to be a "flow" to life, then something always comes along to shake things up, right? One thing my grandma always says: the most important thing is love. She has had wayward children/grandchildren, but she always just loves them no matter what, and that is truly the most important thing. You clearly love and adore your children so much! And I think you are one FANTASTIC mother! And I do not even know you! Thanks for letting us look into your life and learn with you. You are a wonderful example to so many people that you will never know! <3

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