Love and Choice

"If we did not have moral agency we would simply be puppets manipulated by the strings of fate. ...the great purpose of mortality is to learn. [Faith] is a spiritual gift...and it always requires that we act first, and then the power comes. We don't know where to go, we don't know what to do. But my trust in Him enables me to act. He blesses me with His power, that confidence increases, we then can ultimately navigate the most difficult circumstances in life, knowing that we will never be alone, and we will always have His help.

"The greatest gift that the Father gave to us was His Son, and the gift that comes to us through the Savior's atonement is agency. So agency is central to the Father's plan, and it is the capacity to act and learn from our own experiences. That is the very essence and purpose of being here in mortality." a 3-minute video by David Bednar

The greatest lesson I have learned in my life is: This life is about love. If I am not loving, I am not doing it right.

The greatest gift we have is the gift of the atonement, from which I am bestowed the gift of choice. My greatest job is to love, no matter another's choice.

I love this family. This is my family. And their photos tell a perfect story.

Free. Completely, Passionatly, Blissfuly Free.

Do you think our happiness can be directly linked to our ability to love? I believe that; I believe that sometimes the measurement of our love is also the measurement of our happiness. 

What I think is hard about life, and motherhood, is that it constantly throws stuff in our face that disrupts our love, and in turn our happiness, and vice versa. With incessant demands placed on us and growing babies who constantly throw us out of our comfort zones, our home - what should be our "safe haven" - can at times feel a war zone, each one of us fighting for the love, the happiness, the caressing, the comfort we crave and long for. 

I have had tiny moments recently that have led to thoughts of, "I am sincerely enjoying this moment." A recent one was when I grabbed one of my girls to tickle her. I'm typically annoyed with their grabbing my face, "mom. mom. mom. mom. woot-at-me (look at me). mom. mom. mom. mooooom." I most likely haven't taken one breath by myself in 24 hours and am annoyed that if I start playing with them I'll have to keep playing with them forever and ever and everrrrr ('cause once you [start] the fun don't stop). But, this time that I grabbed Annie, I was filled with gladness to be to playing with her and tickling her. I was enjoying her laughter, her curls, her smiles, her happiness (the romance ended when she kicked me in the nose but at least now I know the happiness is in there somewhere.) Another moment was while doing dishes. I am always complaining about washing too many dishes and why haven't I been to Costco yet to buy 50 million bowls and plates and cups so I don't have to wash one more?! (By the way, Tyler and I have been married seven and a half years and have had a dishwasher for all of 3 months of those.) But this time I found myself genuinely happy while standing at the sink washing loads and loads of dishes. These moments have struck me because they are very, very unlike the norm. I now know that happiness is a feeling of peace and contentment that can come despite the circumstances - it comes over time, and can be difficult to find, and the moments come and go, but I feel refreshed that in the mundane there are pockets of joy to be found, and I have found some of them.

I am also beginning to enjoy mothering my babies; I feel happy to stay home with them, and I am not fighting to constantly get away from them and the feeling I am drowning, or they are smothering me, or something... I'm not saying I "love every single moment because it's going too fast" - definitely not that! And there are plenty of minutes and hours I want to scream and drive far away while they tantrum on the kitchen floor. But as our lives unfold together I find myself happy to love them and even happier to be their mom. The measurement of my love had increased, as has my happiness while I'm around them. My heart, and our home, suddenly feels lighter and more full of laughter and love.

I was almost brought to tears while photographing these three. During this hour together happiness took over and love was all that was known. Every worry and care went flying out a wide open window into a breeze waiting to catch and carry them away, far from our joy and laugher. Everyone practically skipped down the shadowed path that lead us to sun kissed waves, glittering sand, hazy mist, and a wide open beach to frolic and play. Few were the spoken words, and overflowing the emotions of closeness, remembrance, and peace, creating a moment and a memory unable to be forgotten.

Cotaberts Family

Has your heart ever felt so full, so happy, wanting to explode with joy and excitement, so about to burst that it makes the world seem light as a feather - that you're floating along as if to have not a care in the world? I am there right now. I haven't felt this way over the last little while though, more the opposite: pressure, barely hanging on, unreachable expectations, drowning, heavy. For reasons I know and now recognize, but which I am learning to let waft past me. I now know how to recognize those hard moments and mentally and spiritually step aside so they flutter by hardly with my noticing them. I have a long blog post in my mind that I will write soon, but for now this family and the photos of them remind me of lightness, floating, free, acceptance, peace, progression, overcoming, and most importantly becoming.