FREE to be Me ...

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Day-Old Child 
by Carol Lynn Pearson

My day-old child lay in my arms.
With my lips against his ear
I whispered strongly, "How I wish--
I wish that you could hear;

"I've a hundred wonderful things to say
(A tiny cough and a nod),
Hurry, hurry, hurry and grow
So I can tell you about God."

My day-old baby's mouth was still
And my words only tickled his ear.

But a kind of light passed through his eyes,
And I saw this thought appear:

"How I wish I had a voice and words;
I've a hundred things to say.
Before I forget I'd tell you of God--
I left Him yesterday."
posted by Jake and RaNette Free at 8:52 AM 0 comments

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

I'm going to be a Mom...

There is no preparing oneself for this, is there?

The practical side: Yes, with time I can probably learn how to change a diaper, warm a bottle, and burp the little guy. On the other hand: No way!  How can I be prepared to have this small person completely dependant on me 24/7? And not only that, but to know that I am responsible for raising them to be a happy, helpful, honorable, and contributing member of society.

"Parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness, to provide for their physical and spiritual needs, and to teach them to love and serve one another, observe the commandments of God, and be law-abiding citizens wherever they live. Husbands and wives—mothers and fathers—will be held accountable before God for the discharge of these obligations." -The Family: A Proclaimation to the World

Okay, whoah! That's not exactly a checklist where I can complete one each day and call it good. Let's face it... I am about to be overwhelmed. But I can see that motherhood is not only a responsibility, but a gigantic  privilege that I am about to be entrusted with.

Not so long ago, in my teenage years, I often told my friends I wanted a house overflowing with children. Eight or ten sounded about right to me. That's just how it was, and it made so much sense that having a large family would be ridiculously fun - that I would have a whole army of kids to play with and call my own. Well, when I left home and met with the world, I also became better acquainted with responsibility. And when I got married, I came to realize that the the possibility of creating new life came with a whole lot of strings attached. Strings that my husband and I weren't so sure about, or confident enough to handle right then. So, I grew accustomed to a life for two - blissful, adventurous, comfortable life for two.

But wait! We are commanded to teach future generations of Christ, we are improved by learning things that only parents can learn, and we really do want to experience the fullness of life that raising children would bring. There comes a point when you just know that your window of opportunity will not last forever, and you have to take a little leap of faith.

So here we are, having leaped right past the point of no return, and wondering how we will ever live up to this agreement --- Having promised to support each other, having made a commitment to parenting, and knowing we are inferior to these tasks. It is amazing! ... and insane really.

But I know that when our little one is born, we will be able to look into his eyes and see a son of God who stood with us in the pre-mortal life. That we, only a few years ahead of him in our earthly progression, have provided a mortal body for him, and an earthly home. And now we must help him, and he must help us, to return to our heavenly home.

And about that "eight or ten kids" that I always wanted --- Well, let's just do this one at a time and see how many we deserve. We will be looking to God to help us fulfill what He has in mind for our future family. Because really... trusting Him is our best chance for preparation. 

“Motherhood is not a hobby, it is a calling. You do not collect children because you find them cuter than stamps. It is not something to do if you can squeeze the time in. It is what God gave you time for.” -Neil L. Andersen



 
posted by Jake and RaNette Free at 3:00 PM 0 comments

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Where's the line to see Jesus?

Christmas time was approaching; the snow starting to fall,
Shoppers choosing their presents, people filling the mall,
Children waiting for Santa with excitement and glee,
A little boy tugged my sweater, looked up and asked me,

Chorus:
Where's the line to see Jesus?
Is He here at the store?
If Christmas time is His birthday,
Why don't we see Him more?

As I stood in amazement at this message profound,
I looked down to thank him, he was nowhere around.
The little boy at the mall might as well have had wings
As the tears filled my eyes, I thought I heard him say,

Chorus:
Where's the line to see Jesus?
Is He here at the store?
If Christmas time is His birthday,
Why don't we see Him more?
Where's the line to see Jesus?
He was born for me.
Santa Claus brought me presents,
But Christ gave His life for me.

In the blink of an eye, at the sound of His trump,
We'll all stand in line at His throne.
Every knee shall bow down, every tongue will confess,
That Jesus Christ is Lord.

Chorus:
Where's the line to see Jesus?
Is He here at the store?
If Christmas time is His birthday,
Why don't we see Him more?
Where's the line to see Jesus?
He was born for me.
Santa Claus brought me presents,
But Christ gave His life for me.

Listen to this song
posted by Jake and RaNette Free at 12:50 PM 0 comments

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Nativity

As I pulled out our Nativity set, and unwrapped each piece, I tried not to be caught up in the clutter of Christmas decorations and craziness that was all around me. I tried to focus on the Christmas story and the birth of Jesus Christ. Just a few of the thoughts that I had:

First I pictured the scene where the Innkeeper simply had no room for them. Symbolically, I often think I have no time or "room" to fit in one more church activity or one more Visiting Teaching meeting - and what I realized is that  no matter how much we think we don't have, I know that we always have something that we can share.The Innkeeper perhaps could have made more room if he would have known, but he did give them somewhere to go. And no matter how humble Christ's circumstances were as he grew up a carpenters son, He was always found giving.


Knowing that the Wise Men brought gifts to baby that were fit for a king, made me think about giving my best to Him. For example: Not barely remembering to say my prayers while I drift off to sleep at night - but giving him the best part of my day and best part of my attention (before I do everything else) while I communicate with Him and learn from Him. They knew Jesus was the Savior, and acted (prioritized) accordingly.

I think of the situation Joseph found himself in, and the struggles he must have faced! Not only in providing for Mary, but the turmoil within himself about the whole ordeal. In spite of the cultural norm to end the betrothal to the pregnant Mary, He was told by an angel of the Lord that he should take her to wife!? It was not a request that he do so, but strict instructions. Whatever his personal inclinations may have been ---“Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him...(Matthew 1:24)


Mary. For some reason I tried to picture her existing in today's world. A young pregnant teenager, and I am sure at some point was somewhat confused about what had happened to her and what would happen to her. I am certain that her Faith had been cultivated for this very specific purpose and that she was chosen for many reason. I know that people are often called to do hard things, but that the way is provided for us to be prepare for them - We too can be used by God to change the world!Or at least the part that God has in mind for us to change.

And well, I don't pretend to know what the donkey was thinking :)

By sending Jesus Christ to Earth, our Heavenly Father gave us the way to find happiness. All the gifts and wishes that are on our temporal " Christmas Lists",  cannot compare to gifts that Jesus Christ has already given us through His example, through His love for us, and  through the Atonement. I know that He lived for us - that he died for us - and that His Resurrection was necessary for our own Redemption.

I am so grateful for these gifts! That Jesus was born to show us the right way to live. And for the HOPE, as bright as the star of Bethlehem, that can be found within the gospel.
posted by Jake and RaNette Free at 5:07 PM 0 comments

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Mud Puddles

The rain has ended, and in it's wake
Shallow pools abound, the clouds did make.
Some to bother, obstruct, or annoy
Others are sought out for absolute joy.
Silent and still before their moment of chance
To trap the unsuspecting, or join a messy dance.
A youthful leap is all it needs.
On impact it shatters, and happily bleeds.
Each splash makes a sculpture, all its own.
Amused and delighted when it is known
Not all are so lucky, to see heel or toe,
Or even a tire, through it to go.
The one that is saddest, is the one un-noticed
In solitude sits, evaporating un-purposed
And so it will linger, and slowly drain,
Until it is gone, waiting for the next rain.
posted by Jake and RaNette Free at 10:40 PM 1 comments

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Valiant Faith

I had kind of a crazy weekend. Lots of fun mixed with some new experiences. I went down to Salt Lake to visit a good friend and celebrate her 26th birthday. (Are we really that old? hahaha) I guess I kind of rediscovered what a great friend really is.

During our fabulously anticipated girls-night-out we found ourselves in a place that was altogether new to me. And as much as I had looked forward to the events of the evening, I suddenly felt horribly uncomfortable and out of place. It's a strange thing to be so ill at ease around my closest friends, but I distinctly felt a lack of the spirit. I regret to inform you that I did nothing to remedy the situation. We left a little earlier than planned, for no particular reason, and went on to have an excellent time. I mean, what's better than eating at Dee's with your buddies at 3 o' clock in the morning? :) After this yummy breakfast, some games at someones apartment, and lots of laughs we zonked out around 6 am. I know... we're crazy, but what is life without a little silly adventure now and then?

Waking up a few hours later was all kind of a blur as we packed our stuff and got ready for a new day. Back to the real world! One of us even had to be at work by 6 am and never went to sleep at all. (Hope that went okay for you there buddy - Thanks for your sacrifice and hanging out with us. Wouldn't have been the same without ya.) Anyway, three of us carpooled for the ride home and kept each other awake.

We began to chat, as good friends do on a road trip. About  memories of the past, about our lives at the moment and about nothing at all. (And of course we had 98 degrees, Spice Girls, and Glee music playing in the background for good times sake.hahaha) Like our breakfast at Dee's, this is the kind of time we enjoyed best of all.

Well, time marches on and Sunday morning dawns. I was blessed with a nice long morning to catch up on sleep, then my hubby and I were off to church at 1:00. Made it through sacrament meeting and finally got in tune with what was going on during Sunday School. The Stake Pres. was in attendance at our ward so we had some extra insights and a good meeting. It was in Relief Society that everything kind of came together for me --- a lesson truly learned.

Just being there (and a lot of the points of the lesson) got me thinking about how completely opposite that feeling is from the way I felt the previous night. I was not uncomfortable here, I was not out of place, and I most certainly felt the spirit present. As I made this connection I had a twinge of guilt about acting one way on the weekend and still being abundantly blessed with the spirit at church. I guess I kind of felt like a hypocrite. Not that I had acted negatively or been a different person throughout our activities, because I was the same inside all along - It was that I had not acted positively either. To someone who did not know the person I am inside, it would not have been clear what I believe in. I had left the lines rather grey and smudgy with my lack of doing.

Well, it's a good thing for Sundays because I found the inspiration I needed to set things straight. I was able to write each of my friends a little note. I felt like I had let them down and owed them an apology. It was a little tricky,  but I knew they all felt the same things to some degree, and I wanted them to know what I had learned --- Very humbling experience to try to put all of that into words. I came to find out that true friends will not second guess or criticize, but will support you in things like this.
 
I found a talk by Elder Bruce R. Mconkie called Be Valiant in the Fight of Faith. It expresses a lot of the principles I encountered this weekend. Here are a few of my favorite quotes

As members of the Church, we are engaged in a mighty conflict. We are at war. We have enlisted in the cause of Christ to fight against Lucifer and all that is lustful and carnal and evil in the world. We have sworn to fight alongside our friends and against our enemies, and we must not be confused in distinguishing friends from foes. As another of our ancient fellow apostles wrote: “Know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.”

Now there neither are nor can be any neutrals in this war. Every member of the Church is on one side or the other. In this war all who do not stand forth courageously and valiantly are by that fact alone aiding the cause of the enemy. “They who are not for me are against me, saith our God.”

We are either for the Church or we are against it. We either take its part or we take the consequences. We cannot survive spiritually with one foot in the Church and the other in the world. We must make the choice. It is either the Church or the world. There is no middle ground. And the Lord loves a courageous man who fights openly and boldly in his army.

“I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.
“So then because thou art lukewarm, I will spue thee out of my mouth.” 
Members of the Church who have testimonies and who live clean and upright lives, but who are not courageous and valiant, do not gain the celestial kingdom. Theirs is a terrestrial inheritance. Of them the revelation says, “These are they who are not valiant in the testimony of Jesus; wherefore, they obtain not the crown in the kingdom of God."

I am grateful for the ways in which God gently reminds me of divine truth. I know He lives and is ever present in our lives. And as I promised those who were there that I would be a better friend, I promise my Heavenly Father that I will be more valiant. 

VALIANT FAITH (click here to listen)
To many people are just sliding by
Plugged into the world missing the meaning of life
But I was born to be a warrior of light
With faith to move mountains and the power of god filling my life

Chorus:
I wanna live my life with honor and faith
I wanna return to his arms unashamed
It’s not enough for me to live it halfway
I’ll follow him fearlessly all of my days
I will live with valiant faith

I live for ages
I have prepare for this life
I won’t be confused and cross to the enemy’s side
I am guarded with power and truth
Siding with God he’s pouring out blessings in all that I do

Chorus:
I wanna lve my life with honor and faith
I wanna return to his arms unashamed
It's not enough for me to live it halfway
I'll follow him fearlessly all of my days
I will live with valiant faith.

Valiantly, fearlessly, fighting for the mighty king
posted by Jake and RaNette Free at 7:57 AM 1 comments

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

A thought on LOVE for Valentines Day

"Since the beginning of time, love has been the source of both the highest bliss and the heaviest burdens. At the heart of misery you will find the love of wrong things. And at the heart of joy, you will find the love of good things."
posted by Jake and RaNette Free at 3:21 PM 0 comments