Thursday, January 29, 2009

"Holding a Family Together"

I have been thinking over the years of our family life, which seem to have zoomed by. As I was pondering one night, I realized there were some quotes that I referred to frequently over the years to inspire,uplift and motivate me. In the hopes this may be helpful to someone else, I decided to share.

The quote with the title,"Holding a Family Together" by Spencer W. Kimball was used in a talk in 1999. It came into my life in the year 2000. There had been great intensity in our home for a year or so. It was quite a time for our family. It struck me with such great force and I had periods of time I would refer to it daily.

"It is an act of greatness and heroism to hold a family together, to set before them an example, to teach them in ways of truth, to live a life of consistency, to provide necessities, to nurse and serve in sickness, to wash, to cook, to clean, to make, to mend, to counsel, to love, to understand, to pray,to be patient, and to do the thousand other things that it takes to rear a family, to make a house a home - and to do it every day, sometimes without seeming gratitude - and to lead a family righteously unto eternal life."

This quote strengthens me again and again in all of the different situations and twists and turns our family life takes.

Another one that I have to paraphrase and I still haven't located it again to give credit to the author, "That which you love you sacrifice for and that which you sacrifice for, you love." I think this is profound and it bears out in real life. Serving others brings you to a higher level of love for them.

My last quote I memorized and began quoting to myself as a teenager, "I can do all things through Christ, which strengtheneth me" (Phillipians 4:13) There have been many days and times I did not feel I could accomplish certain things, but as I pray for help, I have been helped, again and again.

Our family is such a blessing to me. As a nurse before the days of Hospice, I took care of many dying patients in the hospital. It always struck me that jobs, houses, social status, etc. were not on their minds as they were dying. It was always their families. I saw many patients hang on with their last reserves until a certain family member could get there to say goodbye.

I do not feel as our kids are leaving the nest that our duties to our family will be done. I believe extended family members have an obligation and duty to be there to help the families hold together. Not to enable or encourage younger families to be weak or dependent, but to encourage and strengthen where need be. There will need to be good communication so that expectations match up and resentments not brew. I look forward to the growth of our family in the years ahead.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Aunt Bee or Alice! Where are you?

I have decided I need to find one of them for our household. For those of you who are not immediately picking up on this due to being younger than me, Aunt Bee is a character on the "Andy Griffith" show of Mayberry. She was Andy's aunt. He is a widower with a young son, Opie. Alice is the live-in housekeeper for "The Brady Bunch". These women are not so noticeable on these shows and quite taken for granted. However, the older I get, the more I appreciate the role these women played in their fictional TV family lives. Everyone else runs in and out of the house, having adventures and dramas while these two steady eddies keep the houses running like a dream, plus take care of the myriad details for their loved ones. I really need one of these women here to help us! In 1998, my grandmother came to stay with us for 3 months in order to have a serious surgery and be supported by our family through it. After she was over the initial shock of the surgery and still facing her intense physical therapy, she was physically in our home most of the time. There was no energy for shopping or sight seeing. So she utilized observing our lives as a distraction. She was shocked by my calendar and all the entries on it and all the running here and there. Now, I had reduced my calendar during this time in order to be available to take her to PT 3 times a week. I did not work my part time job during this 3 months, thanks to my hero husband for taking my workload on. She observed to me she had a new appreciation for my life since it was totally different from hers when she was raising her kids. She told me she did not know how I did it. I had always managed to take the kids and make the 4 hour trip to visit her every couple of months, but before her stay with us, she would let me know in subtle ways she wished she could see us more often. After her return to home, she was just grateful we were able to make it that frequently to see her. In a couple of years, I will be finished raising our children (and finished with the whole homeschooling thing!) and look forward to returning to my profession fulltime. Yet, I also feel trepidation. How will the household run at that time? What I do here is valuable to our family, even the ones who come in and out for Sunday dinner or a visit during the week. I am just so available to all of them. This past Monday, I spent the whole day on the phone trying to make 3 (count them! only 3) Dr. appointments for my husband and I. It turns into an all day thing to make appointments now. I can never watch a rerun of those two shows now without focusing more on Aunt Bee or Alice than on the main characters.Their presence makes the lives of everyone else easier. Lest anyone think my husband is a deadbeat around the house, he is the reason I was able to do all my grandmother observed. We have always helped each other since the beginning of our marriage. I guess together we make an Aunt Bee or Alice and I will have to rely on that when I merge back into the busy highway of fulltime nursing!