what is a squiggle?

According to fifth-grade teacher Mrs. Hill, a squiggle is a beginning point, a small, wiggly line on a page with the potential to become something more--a brilliantly drawn fifth-grade picture!

A beginning point. A silly phrase from my preschooler, my teenager rolling his eyes, or my kindergartner deleting my entire 3rd chapter...

Friday, September 30, 2011

Scripture Squiggle: Doctrine & Covenants 101:16

"Therefore, let your hearts be comforted concerning Zion; for all flesh is in mine hands; be still and know that I am God."

I can't watch the news. Too many stories break my heart and fill me with dread and worry for my family. Sometimes, especially if one or more of my children are away from home, I am so overcome with fear for them, that I almost can't function. This promise from the Lord, that He is in charge of all things, is what I rely on to ease my fears.

The Parable of the Geckos

We do our best to protect our home from the bark scorpions that lurk outside, hoping to come in and find food and shelter. But we know they are out there, so we've taught our children to be careful when they play outside, picking things up with caution in case a scorpion is hiding underneath. And we use extra caution at night, when the scorpions are roaming around, searching for bugs.

Sometimes the knowledge of this danger threatens to overwhelm us. We know the scorpions are outside, we know they are dangerous, but, although we can take steps to prevent them from coming inside, we cannot eradicate them completely.

But we also know we are not left to fight the scorpions alone. At night, the geckos appear on our outer walls. Whether they actually eat scorpions, or just the food the scorpions seek, the geckos help us keep the scorpions away. We point them out to the kids and tell them that the geckos are on our side of the fight.

Just seeing them brings us comfort. They are our reminder that the Lord's hand is in all things.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Scripture Squiggle: Hebrews 2:1

"Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip."

This scripture was part of our Sunday School reading for this week. It immediately made me think of General Conference, just over a week away. Very appropriate! We should give more earnest heed to the prophets' words--we are privileged to hear them speak twice a year! My goal the past few weeks has been to better prepare myself for conference, and I've challenged my family to do the same.

A fine member of the Church was talking with a neighbor who was not of our faith. When the topic of discussion turned to general conference, the neighbor asked, “You say you have prophets and apostles? And twice a year in a worldwide conference they reveal the word of God?”

“Absolutely,” the member replied with confidence.

The neighbor thought about that for a moment. He seemed genuinely interested and then asked, “What did they say in the last general conference?”

At this point the good member of the Church went from feeling excited about sharing the gospel to feeling embarrassed. Try as he might, he couldn't think of the details of a single talk.

His friend found this troubling and said, “You mean to tell me that God speaks to man in our day and you can’t remember what He said?”

The brother felt humbled by this exchange. He vowed that he would do better to remember the words spoken by the Lord’s servants in general conference.

We all know how hard it is to remember every message of general conference, and I’m confident that we need not be embarrassed if we don’t remember everything. Nevertheless, there are messages in each general conference given as a gift and a blessing from heaven specifically for our personal life situations.

The Lord does have messages for each of us, and during those sessions of conference I've approached with specific prayers and questions I have heard those messages the Lord has sent for me. Read and follow President Uchdorf's counsel and you'll find General Conference can have personal, as well as global, meaning.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Scripture Squiggle: Ether 14:1

"And now there began to be a great curse upon all the land because of the iniquity of the people, in which if a man should lay his tool or his sword upon his shelf, or upon the place whither he would keep it, behold, upon the morrow, he could not find it, so great was the curse upon the land."

Sometimes I think my house in Buckeye sat on some of Jaredites' cursed land. Things disappeared pretty regularly there--and never resurfaced. The first item was the knead bar to my bread machine. The last time anyone ever saw it was in the dish drainer on the counter. Gone. My son's pacifiers were next. By the time we took his pacifier away at age three and a half, we had gone through fifteen pacifiers. They simply vanished, and no amount of searching ever uncovered them. Many other items fell victim to the curse over the eleven years we lived in that house: my daughter's stuffed pony, a swimsuit, puzzle pieces (not the small 1000 piece puzzle size, but the large, 5 piece ones designed for toddlers), jeans, t-shirts, and of course, socks. When we moved out last February, we fully expected to find the missing things. We didn't really believe the house was cursed, or that imps were running off with our possessions.

But we didn't. Not one missing item turned up when we emptied the house. Yes, we even slit the cover on the bottom of our couches to see if anything had somehow ended up inside where we couldn't see or reach. Still nothing.

The Jaredites were a numerous people. The land upon which they lived had to be vast, because my new house seems to suffer from the same curse. A few months after we moved in, my toddler's sippy cup vanished. As did my free movie tickets. And now, my oldest son's i-pod.

This house seems to have more expensive tastes.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Scripture Squiggle: Mosiah 23:21

"Nevertheless the Lord seeth fit to chasten his people; yea, he trieth their patience and their faith."

Few things try my patience the way potty training can. Especially with my youngest son. I had decided, after six kids worth of potty training experience, that the best time to start working with a child was around the time they turned three. So, I was quite content knowing I had until next May before I even had to think about potty training. Until Levi decided he was ready for potty training, shortly after he turned two.

At first I humored him, taking his diaper off every time he indicated he needed to go and plopping him on the toilet. This went on for a week. Then one day, I pulled off his diaper, sat him on the toilet with a sigh and was surprised by a tinkling sound as he actually went potty. He was rarely dry when he said he needed to go, but he began consistently going every time he told me he needed too, usually no more than a small trickle, but going nonetheless.

So when summer started, with the older kids out of school to help, we tried putting him in underwear. He of course wet every pair we put on him. After two days we ran out of clean underwear and put him back in a diaper. The only times he wanted to go potty were during Sacrament meeting, at Wal-Mart, at Grandma's house, and after we put him to bed each night.

But he was still going. I began to worry that if I didn't try to harness his desire to go potty in the toilet and actually waited until he turned three, he would be harder to train. Alas, I determined to start things again after everyone settled back into the school routine.

I bought him new Thomas the Tank Engine underwear and we began. The first day he peed regularly--in his underwear--anytime he laughed, cried, screamed or sneezed. I prayed almost constantly for patience as I cleaned up after him each time. In the morning, I dreaded the moment he would wake up and the battle would renew.

When he did wake up, though, he was dry. He gave me his usual trickle in the toilet and then stayed dry for nearly an hour. Progress. Or not. He continued to wet, continued to refuse to go when I knew he needed to, and I continued praying for more and more patience.

We tried candies. I gave him a jelly bean every time he was dry. I checked his pants each half hour, celebrated with him when he was dry, gave him the candy, and invariably changed him a few minutes later. He hardly stayed on the toilet long enough to accomplish anything, so we tried Smarties. One Smartie if he went a little, another if he would get back on and go some more. For a while, it worked, but when he tired of the Smarties, we went right back to him jumping of the toilet before he'd even started.

Patience. A week and two days after we started full fledged training, I felt inspired to place board books in all of the bathrooms in the house. The next time he went potty, I pulled out one of his favorites and was rewarded with a boy who sat long enough to finish going.

Yesterday, he actually went nearly the entire day without an accident. He still has a way to go, but we are definitely making progress.

And the Lord continues to teach me patience--now the boy demands multiple readings of multiple books before he will got off the toilet!

Hmmm. Maybe I should be careful what I pray for...