My thoughts on God

I’ve been in a very contemplative state lately. I feel like I am in a stage of really trying to prioritize what is important to me and of trying to understand God better.  Do I remember to pray every morning and night? No. Do I read my scriptures often enough? No. Am I at a stage where I am ready to be more gentle with myself and where I am in my spiritual progression? Yes. Does it help a person who is trying to get healthier to beat themselves up when they slip and have seconds on dessert? No way. I am really starting to learn that focusing on my weaknesses in my spiritual progression is the same way. I think human beings thrive and are much more successful when we focus and build on our strengths and the positive and good. As imperfect as I am, I also know that I have been blessed with some spiritual strengths (and have been reminded of some of them lately). I am trying to focus on and build upon those strengths right now.

One of the words that keeps repeating in my head over and over lately is “light.” I have been trying harder to lately to bring “light” into my life. Light can come in the form of where I am physically, who I am with, what I am doing, what I am thinking, what I am reading etc.. If a conversation with a friend starts feeling too dark, I am reminded that I need light in my life. If I am impatient with my kids and talk to them in a mean tone, I can feel the light within me start to fade. But the good news is is that I can quickly do things to start bringing it back.

Another thing I have really been contemplating lately is God and my relationship with Him. And when I say him, I am also very certain that there is a loving Heavenly Mother, so I have also been thinking about Her and what my relationship ought to be with Her. I can’t help but think that she wouldn’t have some extremely insightful advice to me as a woman and mother.  I wonder why we don’t talk about a Heavenly Mother more. This is something I have also been pondering.

This last week I have been given several reminders that God is so very real. I had this book recommended to my this last week, and as I am a sucker for children’s books, I went and bought it the next day.

This book was a really good reminder to me of God’s role in well… everything. God connects us to this wonderful earth that we live on. We can see God through the beauty of the earth. We should see God in each other. I truly have felt like the more that I look for God, the more I see God in everything. This is why I LOVE working with children. It is so very easy to see God in children. They are so pure and precious. It can honestly be a little harder to see God in adults at times, but I really do think that there is something good to see in everyone. It really is amazing to think of how much better the world would be if we all tried harder to see the goods in others. There is so much pride in this world of ours.

The next thing that really got me thinking about God this week was this song by Regina Spektor:

I’ve heard this song many times before, but for some reason, I really took the time to listen to it this time. I was so struck by the lyrics:

No one laughs at God in a hospital
No one laughs at God in a war
No one’s laughing at God
When they’re starving or freezing or so very poor

 

No one laughs at God
When the doctor calls after some routine tests
No one’s laughing at God
When it’s gotten real late
And their kid’s not back from the party yetNo one laughs at God
When their airplane start to uncontrollably shake
No one’s laughing at God
When they see the one they love, hand in hand with someone else
And they hope that they’re mistaken

No one laughs at God
When the cops knock on their door
And they say we got some bad news, sir
No one’s laughing at God
When there’s a famine or fire or flood

But God can be funny
At a cocktail party when listening to a good God-themed joke, or
Or when the crazies say He hates us
And they get so red in the head you think they’re ‘bout to choke
God can be funny,
When told he’ll give you money if you just pray the right way
And when presented like a genie who does magic like Houdini
Or grants wishes like Jiminy Cricket and Santa Claus
God can be so hilarious
Ha ha
Ha ha

No one laughs at God in a hospital
No one laughs at God in a war
No one’s laughing at God
When they’ve lost all they’ve got
And they don’t know what for

No one laughs at God on the day they realize
That the last sight they’ll ever see is a pair of hateful eyes
No one’s laughing at God when they’re saying their goodbyes
But God can be funny
At a cocktail party when listening to a good God-themed joke, or
Or when the crazies say He hates us
And they get so red in the head you think they’re ‘bout to choke
God can be funny,
When told he’ll give you money if you just pray the right way
And when presented like a genie who does magic like Houdini
Or grants wishes like Jiminy Cricket and Santa Claus
God can be so hilarious

No one laughs at God in a hospital
No one laughs at God in a war
No one laughs at God in a hospital
No one laughs at God in a war
No one laughing at God in hospital
No one’s laughing at God in a war
No one’s laughing at God when they’re starving or freezing or so very poor

No one’s laughing at God
No one’s laughing at God
No one’s laughing at God
We’re all laughing with God

How often do people forget or even mock God? I know that it really is so much easier to rely on God when times are hard but then we forget to give Him (and Her??) credit for all of the beauty and good that is in our lives. Many people even doubt the existence of God or think there is no need for a higher being. There are many things I don’t understand in this life, but the fact that God is and loves each of infinitely is something I do not doubt. At all. Sometimes I forget. Sometimes I feel lonely. Sometimes I disappoint myself and feel so small.  Sometimes I feel hopeless in moments but then I receive a tender mercy to remind me. So many people I know have been answers to prayers lately and remind me that I am not forgotten and that God cares so much about me, but not anymore than he does any of His children. He really does see the great potential and worth in all of us. And I really think that nothing makes Him/Her happier than when we see the good in the people that aren’t easy to see the good in and when we take care of our brothers and sisters. There really are so many things I don’t understand in this life or even within the Mormon culture/doctrine, but I do know that God loves us! And it is one of my greatest missions to help my children feel and share this love! Should you ever struggle or doubt God, give me a call. I can remind you of many things that are special unique to you. And why God loves you too!

 

 

Becky hillstrom - July 11, 2014 - 7:27 am

Thanks Kara! That thought was a really good way to start my morning. I’ve had some experiences lately where God has let me know that He is aware of me. And right back at you…if you ever doubt or feel disappointed, give me a call. I’ll tell you all sorts of wonderful and unique things about you.

Niki Wieland - July 11, 2014 - 7:41 am

Kara you are able to write and share in such an eloquent way! I agree with you on everything you have said, and it is so sad to me that there are so many who feel there is no God, and how lonely that must feel. I know that when I really try to find the hand of God in my life I find it in the smallest of acts to of course the big ones, my favorite is the small things that I never realized were Him!

Thanks for sharing so beautifully your thoughts on God and I hope you know that you are a light to me!

kara - July 14, 2014 - 10:16 pm

Becky and Niki,
You are both people I really admire. Easy to see God in you two :)!!

School Gardens

This last spring, Sofia was able to participate in garden club at her school. The Lincoln Garden is run through my work (The Healthy Youth Program), and Amoreena did such an amazing job with the kids. Amoreena was set to give a presentation at the school board meeting in June, and she asked Sofia if she would share her feelings about school gardens in front of the school board. At first Sofia said she didn’t know if she wanted to do it, so I didn’t push it. A couple of days later, Sofia walked into my room and handed me a piece of paper with the following written:

“Hi, my name is Sofia Becerra, and I am going to be in the 3rd grade at Lincoln Elementary.

I think gardens are important because they give fresh air and help kids and adults get outside.

And I think learning to plant and take care of plants is fun and can help you when you are older. I also think that it is exciting to see the things you planted and to eat them.

Gardens help save the earth because they don’t pollute it by being sent in trucks to stores. I think it is important that kids know where food comes from.

I am lucky that I have a big garden in my backyard. I think that school and community gardens are important for people that live in apartment buildings and small places so they can learn how to take care of plants. I’m glad that on some Fridays  in the second grade, we got to visit the garden for science with my class, and I also participated in garden club after school. My favorite thing in garden club was when we had a weed challenge. We were supposed to pick 20 weeds out, and  I picked 102.

Thank you for listening and goodbye!”

Sofia decided that she did want to share her feelings after all, and she did such a great job. When she walked up to testify, the board members were all surprised to see that she was a little girl after announcing a teacher from Lincoln Elementary :). After Sofia finished and said goodbye, she literally said goodbye and ran out of the room. The superintendent noted that she had never seen someone so anxious to get out of their after testifying!!

We are so proud of Sofia and the thoughtful little gal that she is. Sofia at this point does not seem to like the idea of a large group of people’s attention on her, so this was very brave.

Last week in the mail, Sofia received the following note in a card from Dr. Prince (the current superintendent):

Dear Sofia-

I did not have a chance to thank you personally Monday night, as you “escaped” quickly out of the board room :)! Your testimony to the school board was perfect! You were so well spoken and articulate. I could tell how much school gardens mean to you. I really appreciate you taking the time to come talk to the board. Although it seems scary, we are here to serve kids like you to make sure school is the best experience as possible. You help us be better! Thank you Sofia! Happy Summer,

Dr. Prince, Superintendent

We love you Sofia and are proud of you. We hope you always stick up for things that you think are important or right!

Miriam

I realized that I never wrote a birthday post for Miriam in January. So I will write a half birthday post since I am that far behind :). This blog has been asleep for quite awhile, and although I may have few readers, I still really want to take the time to document our life right now.
Here is a little bit about Miriam over the last few months:

  • Miriam loves to be muddy. Miriam loves to be naked. Miriam REALLY loves to be muddy AND naked. Where we live, there are almost daily opportunities to find mud, so Miriam loves to take full advantage. A free spirit she is.
  • She started preschool in April. And.. she loved it for the most part. She did have a hard time with the transition of me leaving her, but her teachers assured me that within a minute after me leaving, she was usually just fine.
  • Miriam is extremely verbal. She talks and talks and talks. The other day she let me know “I’m so proud of you mommy.” And.. “You’re the cutest mommy in the world!” I think that 3 really is one of the very best ages. They can listen a little more than a toddler (though not as well as I wish she would), and every thing that comes out of their mouth is funny.
  • She is sassy. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you haven’t been around Miriam very much. You know when she puts her hands on her hips and points her fingers, that she is going to let you have it. You think that we would have things down by child #3, but it is hard to know what to do when this little girl is a stinker at times.
  • She is also for the most part a joyous and happy girl. It is pretty easy to experience joy through this girl. She loves to sing , dance around with a very serious expression on her face, and make jokes.
  • Miriam loves to sing “Let it Go” (along with most other little kids) and she loves Ingrid Michaelson’s new song “Warpath.” Listen to that song if you want to get a feel for the sassiness level of this little girl. She loves her friends and cousins. She is a really good eater for the most part.
  • She has started going on short bike rides on the tag-a-long. It is her favorite thing to do in the world right now.
  • It is just amusing to try to imagine what she will be like when she is older. She has told us that she wants to be everything from a princess to an evil scientist when she grows up.

This little girl brings us all joy, and she is teaching me a whole lot about patience!!! Joy and patience are good things to learn in this life, so thanks for being my teacher Miriam!

 

Anita - July 5, 2014 - 6:19 pm

Love that 3 year old sas! wish we could see you guys this summer!!!! miss you

Maui

 

 

 

We spent spring break and part of the following week in Maui. Oh my goodness, it was seriously so divine.  It was so awesome to spend time with my family. Everyone in the family relaxed and enjoyed. A few things that I want to remember about Maui:

  • Mackena beach was my favorite. We watched spinner dolphins and whales from the shore. We swam for hours.
  • Sofia reminded me so much of myself as a little girl. She never wanted to get out of the water.
  • Whale watching. Seriously.. is it too later for me to switch careers? Studying whales would be so awesome.
  • Snorkeling!
  • Hiking with the fam
  • Spending good quality time with my dear friend Meredith and her family. Meredith and Ryan are such lovely people.
  • Playing like a kid. I literally kept feel like doing cartwheels I was so giddy. The last time I felt like spontaneously doing cartwheels… um.. never.
  • Feeling so happy watching Chris play.
  • Watching my kids play in the sunsets.
  • Eating fruit fresh from trees.

 

C Martin - April 10, 2014 - 4:52 pm

Lovely, I hope you got some pictures of Chris. You need to take the camera from him once in awhile. I want to hear more details about the trip when the day comes that we see each other in person. I think we live in the same city right?

Kara - April 11, 2014 - 10:36 am

Cherie,
We did get some pics of Chris, but it looks like they ended up only on facebook. But… I definitely should get more. We got a few cute family shots that also didn’t end up on here I just noticed. You probably are more aware of this than the average person being the one behind the camera :). Life has a funny way these days that keeps me pretty busy, so I am so excited to see you tonight!!

Kelly - April 17, 2014 - 4:41 pm

Kara,
I’m so glad you had an amazing time. I love that amongst your highlights are seeing the animals that I have spent more than a decade studying. It’s a great reminder of the passion that brought me here and the joy of sharing it. Did Sophia tell you about the spinner dolphin feeding videos I showed her when she and Chris visited and what the fish they eat look like under the microscope? I hope seeing them live helped make the science real for her, too.

Chopped

Sofia really loves the show “Chopped.” I had never heard of it until I watched it with her, but it is a cooking competition where the contestants are all given certain ingredients that they have to use creatively. The food is judged by fancy chef judges, and the loser of each round gets “chopped” until it ends with one winner. Last week we had the craziest snow I have ever experienced in my almost 10 years living here. We were getting pretty stir crazy after days of being stuck at home, so I decided that the kids would play chopped. I gave each kid the same ingredients to work with which were: blueberries, plain yogurt,almonds, and carrots. I told them that they could each choose an additional ingredient from the kitchen, and they also had access to any spices that they wanted. I had no idea of how into it the kids could get, and it was pretty adorable. We will for sure be playing this game again!

Sofia decided to juice her carrots and make a smoothie. Gabe wanted make a beautiful bread arrangement, and Miriam just wanted to combine all of her ingredients in a food processor and throw a piece of bread into all :).

sharon - February 13, 2014 - 5:37 pm

what a great idea!