Friday, October 7, 2011

Tender Mercies!!

This has been a week of Tender Mercies. In a talk awhile back one of the leaders of our Church, Elder Bednar, said that " the Lord’s tender mercies are the very personal and individualized blessings, strength, protection, assurances, guidance, loving-kindnesses, consolation, support, and spiritual gifts which we receive from and because of and through the Lord Jesus Christ."

I have experienced many blessings this week. Some have been financial blessings, some have had to do with the children, and some were very 'small' but meaningful to me personally. I think of one in particular when I think of 'tender mercies'.

When we moved about 8 years ago, my engagement that was waiting to get fixed, was lost somewhere along the way. For about 6 years, I wore just the simple gold wedding band that matched it. Two Christmases ago, my husband suprised me with a brand new set of rings. They were beautiful!! It had an engagement ring, with a band on each side that had little diamonds in them. They were connected to each other, by a small band on the bottom. The problem was the band broke, and so we had to bring it in to get it fixed. They fixed it, and I went back to wearing it for about a year or so. Then it broke again. The little bar would get caught on everything I ran my hands through - trying to wash/brush mine or the kids hair, trying to make bread, put tights on the kids, etc. So, I would take them off when I took a shower, and put them up on the shower ledge. Not the one where you put the soap, but the very top. That is where I had had them the last time, and they had stayed safe. So, they stayed there waiting to get fixed again. They were there for a good two to three months - waiting for a little extra money, and for us to remember to bring them when we were in the area where the jeweler was.

About 7 weeks ago or so, we went away for our first trip away from the kids in over 5 years, and our first two night get away in over 10!! A few weeks after we came back, we discovered they were missing. We found one of the bands in the laundry room, but could not find anything else. A friend of mine later on asked if I was missing anything, and I told her about my rings. She said that her son had found a broken ring with out a diamond in it on her driveway. I was hoping it was just a coincidence, that that wasn't really my ring. We had had hurricane Irene come through after that weekend, and there was no way that a loose diamond would ever be able to be found after sitting in someone's driveway for a few weeks, under regular conditions, never mind a hurricane!!! We continued to pray and search our house - looking through vaccuum bags, under couches, under heat vents, through drawers - everywhere.

Last weekend was General Conference. President Monson told a story of how when we was young, during the Great Depression, he had worked really hard to earn five dollars. He had it in his pants pocket, when his mother sent it off to be laundered. There really was no hope in getting it back, however, he prayed and prayed, that it would stay in that pocket till it returned home. I thought maybe he was going to say that he got it back, because it turned out that it had fallen out somewhere at home, rather than actually going to the cleaners. As he told the end of the story, about how against all odds, the five dollar bill returned in the wet pants, right where he had left it, I felt really strongly the impression to pray again for my ring. I silently pleaded, that if the Lord could step in and return a five dollar bill, could He please help me get my ring back. I know that in the scope of life, a lost ring, is not of major importance. There are so many other things to worry about. 

That is to me what makes what happens next a tender mercy. It didn't have to happen. On Wednesday, I called my friend to check on something else we were doing together, and she informed me that she had meant to call me. Earlier this week, her son was outside playing, and he found the diamond wedged in a crack in thier concrete driveway!!! This was not a huge multi-carot ring mind you - it was about a half carot or so. She now has, in her possession, my ring, which isn't as badly broken as I thought it was, and the diamond that goes in it!! 

I have recieved a very personal, very tender blessing from the Lord this week. We have actually recieved several this week, and I am extremely grateful for them. They have greatly enriched our lives, and strenghthened our testimonies, that He is there, and that He loves us, and that He is watching over us. We know these things anyways, and do not seek after 'proof' that they are true, but when experiences like these are given, they are cherished, and held very close to our hearts. 

May you look around, and be able to recognize all the 'tender mercies' that the Lord showers upon you this week!!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Mother of an Adult? Already??

Well, it's official. I am now the mother of an adult. My oldest son, M, turned 18 today. I know it is cliche to say this - but I can't believe how fast the time has gone by! It really does seem like it wasn't that long ago, that we were waiting for him to be born.

I would come from work, and decorate his room, and fold his clothes, and mark another day off on my hundred day countdown chart, while waiting for my guess date to appear. Finally we got to the guess date week! My husband had been working a bunch of overtime that week, as they were doing inventory, and he had put in about 60-65 hours. His sister and a mutual friend, had come over to keep my company for the night, and while they were there, I started having this 'feeling' that it wouldn't be long.

I went into labor that night, headed to the hospital the next morning, and M was born at 1:00pm. Now, I am celebrating his 18th birthday already?? We have watched him take his first steps, learn how to ride a bike, and all of the other milestones that occur along the way. Why did they seem to take so long to get to - yet now, they appear to have happened all at once? 

Now, he has graduated, been accepted into a university, and is working to pay for both his schooling, as well as a two year mission he will leave next fall for. He will continue to live at home for the next year - but after that he will be out on his own. It is a weird feeling to know that very shortly, your family will not all be living together anymore. For 18 years, we have all been together. We have continued to add to our family throughout all these years, as well as homeschool - so our house is always bustling with activities. Even though the older kids, starting hitting their teen years - we have mostly been a family with a large number of small children.

This identity has been slowly changing, and it finally dawned on me the other day. Whereas we used to have 3 children under five, this winter we will be down to one child under five. While we still have very young children, we also have two much older children, and three middle children. Our family dynamic is slowly shifting from days spent chasing after toddlers, to days spent doing Algebra, teaching driving, and getting ready for dances.

While I miss the days, that they were all little, and we just stayed at home and played and learned together - I also enjoy watching them grow up into young men and young women. Realizing how fast they grow up, has allowed me to enjoy my younger children in a way that I never did with my older ones. It has also given me new perspective on what things are important to focus on while they are little, and what things not to bother with. Having the younger ones around, gives the older ones a chance to still 'play', and encourages them to be good examples, and to help out with them. Some of the best moments I have as a parent, are those spent watching my older children, spending time reading, listening to, or teaching the younger kids.

I know as the years go on, this dynamic will change too, and eventually, we will be a family of all older  children - but as I am learning - we need to enjoy today - as it will soon be yesterday.

Friday, September 23, 2011


My name is Brenda. I have been married to my husband for just about 19 years. We are the parents of nine children - M (b,18) C (g,15), K (g,12),  J (b,11), K (b,9), L (g,7), J (g,5), S (g, 2), and a baby that is due in Feb.

Faith plays a very important role in our life. We attend Church every Sunday, where we both have 'callings', (volunteer positions), and we bring the children to midweek and monthly activities as well. Though we started our marriage with my husband Catholic, and myself nothing, we are now both members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latterday Saints. We converted fairly early in our marriage, when my oldest son was just two, so we have had the chance to teach them all from the time they were little, about a loving Heavenly Father, and their Savior Jesus Christ.

We are a homeschool family. We started when my oldest was in the first grade, and then continued for the next four years. When we moved to a town with a better school system, the oldest four were all curious to try it out. After a year and a half, our family decided that we preferred homeschooling, and so they all came back home the next school year. We had our first graduate last year, and he is currently working to pay for the university classes he takes, as well as saving for his mission in a year.

There is so much more that I cannot wait to share, these are just tiny glimpses for now to introduce our family.


Welcome to Effort and Grace!!!

This blog is a place where I thought it would be fun to chronicle the events of our family, share the challenges that we face, show gratitude for our many blessings, and post insights that we have gained/learned throughout the years.