I am not very good about making time to post too many things on here. I feel like the last few months have really just been a whirlwind of events and emotions. But I'll do my best to include a few highlights.
First, I've been thinking a lot about how important it is to give ourselves time. I went to a fantastic teaching conference this week that focused on deeper understanding and how to help students truly be prepared for the real world. It's not just about being able to rush through an assignment to be the first one done. It's not about being able to talk about your ideas as soon as the teacher asks you to. It's so much more than that--and for now, my feeling is that true understanding is about time.
When we are children, it takes time to learn how to crawl, how to walk, how to speak, how to hold utensils ourselves, and even how to understand our place in the world. And for every child, that timing is different.
When we are teenagers, it takes time to learn how to prioritize our time, how to perfect a skill or hobby, how to write a research paper, and again, how to understand our place in the world. For every teenager, that timing is different.
When we are adults, it takes time to learn how to live on a budget, how to land a rewarding job, how to be a good companion, how to take care of our children, and again, how to understand our place in the world. For every adult, that timing is different.
And yet I find myself every single day wishing I could measure up to so-and-so, wishing I had perfected certain skills at such-and-such age, wishing I were the perfect companion and the most inspiring teacher and the best mom in the world. I find myself running from one event to another, one service project to another, one stack of papers to grade to another, one website telling me how to raise the best kids to another...and I find myself quite exhausted.
My point? I'm recognizing--again, because if you know me at all, you know this is a recurring lesson in my life--that I need to give myself time to just BE. Deeper understanding of myself is going to come if I give myself time to spend doing one thing, rather than just running from one thing to the next faster than I can even think about it. Deeper understanding of my relationship with others is going to come as I spend more time with them--not just trying to make the perfect Christmas gifts for them. Deeper understanding of my relationship with God is going to come through quiet and still moments when I get to think about Him, not running from one event to another and trying to be the perfect Christian woman. Deeper understanding of my role in this world is going to come not just through trying to be perfect at everything all at once, but at working hard in the simpler, more important areas of life--focusing on my family, particularly.
I can so easily figure these things out for other people, and I am really great at telling others they should take a day off, relax, and let themselves enjoy the day. And still I struggle with the same thing. But this past week, after a major emotional breakdown--they weren't kidding when they said pregnancy hormones make you crazy--I realized I just can't do it all. I can't keep trying to be perfect, I can't keep trying to do everything the way other people want me to, and I can't put other people before myself all the time. *I realize that, out of context, this would seem like a very selfish statement...but I'm hoping it's understandable to those who really are reading...*
And as the year is winding down and I'm refocusing on the Savior, my family, and my relationships with them, I am really trying to work on taking real time to be with them. There will be times later when I can run around and do whatever is asked of me. But for now, I just need the time to be still.
One thing that always helps me feel calm and refocused is the reminder that Christ was born—simply and without pomp and circumstance—and that because of His deep and ever-growing understanding of His relationship with His Father and with others, He was able to bless the lives of every person who has ever lived.
In other news, I feel SO excited about Christmas this year—more so than I have felt in a long time. I don’t really know what else to attribute that feeling to than the fact that I am 7 months pregnant and feel so much more an understanding of what Mary must have felt like. Certainly our circumstances are different. But because of a few choice experiences I’ve had in the last two years, and especially during the last few months, I am gaining a much greater appreciation for her struggle and sacrifice. The things I used to think about having children—which I’ll tell you were never negative, but full of excitement and sacredness—have all been added upon. (Line upon line, precept upon precept…that’s really how we learn, isn’t it?) I feel like I’m part of something so much bigger than myself, much bigger than anyone can understand without going through it themselves. I am in awe every day at what a privilege I’ve been given, and my heart goes out to the thousands of women who want the same opportunity and just have not had it yet. I feel so much joy when I can feel our little baby moving, and I just can’t imagine how incredible it will feel to finally be able to hold him in my arms. I have this beautiful painting hanging in our bedroom, and it is called, “Hope.” For me, it perfectly connects the power and majesty of Jesus Christ’s birth with the sacredness of all children. Especially when I’m feeling overwhelmed at the thought of completely rearranging my life and changing so many things I’m doing, I am able to look at this painting and feel a sense of reassurance and peace that things are going to work out—and work out for the better. What greater word could describe the feelings of a mother than “hope?”
We have also decided on a name for our little boy, and we couldn’t be more thrilled with it. After long debates over initials and giving him the same name as several of my current students (ooooh boy), we finally decided on a name much more unique and perfectly suited for him. And the drumroll please…
Audric Peter Singer
Some of you, like my mother, may be thinking, “Uh, so, did you make that name up? How do you spell that? Does it mean anything?” So here are the answers:
No, we didn’t make the name up. You can Google it yourself. I’m sure you’ll find it. We first saw it in a baby name book, and I was immediately drawn to it. I’ve always loved Cedric, but Jordan couldn’t get past Cedric Diggory from Harry Potter…so that one was out. However, I still wanted something more traditional but not as common as Henry and George and Oliver (which I feel like everyone these days is using!). When I saw Audric, I got really excited…and it has just stuck. We didn’t want his first name to have any connection to anyone or anything else…it should be his own. So this was perfect. (But joke's on Jordan: Audric sounds like "Godric," as in Godric Gryffindor. Harry Potter wins again! Muahaha)
His name means, “wise and noble ruler,” according to the baby name book we have. It comes from Great Britain, although some websites, I’m told, say the name is Germanic and French. All the better. Bring on the European culture ;-*
His nickname, of course, will be Audie. Not ow-dee (like the car), but odd-dee (minus the “odd” part). Jordan, however, insists on calling him Otter (say it out loud—it’ll make more sense). We already read and sing and talk to him, and he seems to like his name. When I read him Peter Rabbit for the first time, he actually started squirreling around…so I think he likes Peter, too.
Peter is a name that does have a lot of meaning to us. We’ve decided all our kids’ middle names will be “legacy names” with some kind of connection to people who have made a difference in the world in some way. Simon Peter, Peter Rabbit, Peter Pevensie, Peter Burke, Peter Jennings…the list could go on and on. Some of these are obviously more important to us, but some are just men with a really great name ;-* Either way, Audie has a lot of great role models to look up to.
So there you have it folks. Get to know him—he’s gonna conquer the world. I can already feel it.
I thought it would be a good idea in this post to include some pictures from the Sunbeam Halloween party we had at our house back in October. Everyone knows a good Halloween party includes great costumes, donuts on a string, pin-the-bowtie-on-the-skeleton, fishing for candy, musical chairs, cookie decorating, and a mummy wrap. This party had all that and more. The four kids who came to our party were HILARIOUS, and it was so much fun to play with them! Anyway, here are some pictures for your enjoyment:
Ah, we love our callings. It has certainly been a learning experience for us to work with such young kids, but we're enjoying it.
And with that, I will end this very long book. Thanks for sharing a piece of our lives with us ;-*