Posted by: Emily Schmutz Garcia | January 2, 2018

A Talk on Repentance

When I was a mighty senior in high school, my mom was my English teacher, Shakespeare and British Literature to be exact. The year before my mom had come to me and said she wanted to teach a Shakespeare class and asked if I could get all my friends to sign up for Shakespeare. I was a drama geek. It was the best class ever and totally ruined college English classes for me.

I definitely suffered from “Coach’s daughter syndrome.” I felt above school rules – my mom was the teacher, obviously I was not to be subjected to the same attendance suggestions as the other poor students.

One particular day, my mom had a doctor’s appointment and wasn’t going to be in class. She told me she wanted me to go to class to help the substitute and make sure everything went smoothly.

Instead of obeying my mother, I choose to ditch her class and go to breakfast with a couple of friends. Once we returned to school, I asked a classmate what the sub had been like and how class had gone.

Later, when I went home for lunch, my mom asked me how her class had gone. Thanks to my friend, I told her exactly how the sub was. When my mom tells this story, she prefaces it with the saying that there is a God for Mothers. After I finished telling my mom about her class, my mom asked where I was at 9:30 that morning.

She then told me how she had gone to breakfast with her friend and at 9:30, Lisa turned to her and said, “Isn’t that Emily, Jana and Tim?” We had driven past her breakfast stop on our way back to school.

My first mistake was not obeying my mother. My next mistake was trying to cover up the mistake of disobeying my mother. Elder Renlund said in October 2016 General Conference,

“Minimizing our mistakes, even if no immediate consequences are apparent, removes the motivation to change. This thinking prevents us from seeing that our mistakes and sins have eternal consequences.”

I had minimized my sin of disobeying my mother and lying to her. Sometimes we recognize our mistakes and make course corrections quickly. Other times it takes us a bit longer or even some correction from loved ones. It took me a few years to learn some of the basics of repentance. In fact it was on my mission, as I was trying to teach others about repentance when I started to learn more about the process.

For people who had never heard about repentance, I told them about the ABCs of repentance.  I’d like to share the ABCs of repentance now especially with the Primary kids as a good way to remember the steps of repentance.

A Acknowledge that you’ve done something wrong. How much easier it would have been if I had told my mom, “I don’t know how your class was because I choose to go out to breakfast instead of going to your class.” Life is easier when we acknowledge our mistakes right away. I also should have gone to her class.

B Be Sorry. In the Bible, in Psalms 38, David talks about being sorry. In verse 18 he says, “For I will declare mine iniquity; I will be sorry for my sin.”

C Correct it. If you broke someone’s window, you need to pay to have it fixed. If you knocked over your brother’s block tower, tell him you are sorry and help him rebuild it. Pray to Heavenly Father for forgiveness.

D Don’t do it again. Another way to say that is to forsake your sin or mistake. When we forsake something, we stop doing it.

In D&C 58 verses 42 & 43 we read,

“Behold, he who has repented of his sins, the same is forgiven, and I, the Lord, remember them no more.

“By this ye may know if a man repenteth of his sins – behold, he will confess them and forsake them.”

So, with the ABCs we have a basic process of repentance – A, acknowledge our sins, B, Be sorry, C, Correct it and pray for forgiveness and D, don’t do it again.

So that is how we repent, but what about why we repent?

Elder D. Todd Christofferson explained in an October 2011 General Conference talk,

“Without repentance, there is no real progress or improvement in life…only through repentance do we gain access to the atoning grace of Jesus Christ and salvation. Repentance…points us to freedom, confidence, and peace.”

President Stephen Owen, the Young Men General President, said in a 2017 General Conference talk,

“My message to all…..is that repentance is always positive. When we speak of repentance, we aren’t just talking about self-improvement efforts. True repentance is more than that – it is inspired by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and His power to forgive our sins. The joy of repentance is more than the joy of living a decent life. It’s the joy of forgiveness, of being clean again, and drawing closer to God. Once you’ve experienced that joy, no lesser substitute will do.”

Like Lehi said, “Adam fell that men might be and men are that they might have joy.”

We repent so we can have joy – the joy of forgiveness. That can sometimes be a hard concept to remember or focus on. When my mother caught me in my lying and disobedience, I wasn’t penitent, sorry or contrite. My heart had started to harden. Sin has a tendency to harden our hearts. Repentance, forgiveness and mercy are helpful cures for hardened hearts.

President Owen also said in his talk,

“True repentance inspires us to make our obedience a commitment – a covenant, beginning with baptism and renewed each week at the Lord’s Supper, the sacrament. There we receive the promise that we can ‘always have his Spirit to be with [us],’ with all of the joy and peace that come from His constant companionship. This is the fruit of repentance, and this is what makes repentance joyful!”

Even with all of these reminders of how and why we repent, I still make mistakes. And I often forget the importance of repentance. Something that helps me remember is my oldest son. He will come up to me after I’ve lost my temper and will quietly give me a kiss on my cheek. The reminder of his love despite my flaws, helps remind me that I need to repent and also why. His kiss is a bit of a “coming back to myself” moment.

President Owen mentioned moments like this in his talk. He said,

“There’s something poignant about that pivotal moment when the prodigal son ‘came to himself.’ Sitting in a pigsty, wishing he could ‘have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat,’ he finally realized that he had wasted not only his father’s inheritance but also his own life. With faith that his father might accept him back – if not as a son then at least as a servant – he determined to put his rebellious past behind him and go home.”

It’s not easy to “come back to oneself.” There are times when I’m so lost in frustration I can’t see any way out. But Heavenly Father is always there for us. I’m so grateful for my sweet son and for his kisses that help me out of those lost states. Admittedly, there is still work to do after “coming to oneself.” For me, recognizing that whatever it is isn’t that big of a deal and taking some deep breaths, along with forgiving my children and asking for their forgiveness is usually part of the process.

President Owen continued,

“I’ve often wondered about the son’s long walk home. Were there times when he hesitated and wondered, ‘how will I be received by my father?’ Perhaps he even took a step back toward the swine. Imagine how the story would be different if he had given up. But faith kept him moving, and faith kept his father watching and waiting patiently, until finally:

“‘When he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion on him, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.

‘And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son.

‘But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet:…

‘For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’”

Coming alive again after being dead. Sounds like it could be a good experience. I hear it is joyful. So let’s go home, and everyone repent at 5pm and by 5:05 we should all be translated…right? After all, that’s the end of the story, yes? Not quite. Amazingly enough, my son has had to kiss me more than once. I’ve made more than one mistake. Repentance is something we need to do on a continual basis.

In regards to a continual need for repentance, President Owen said,

“It is not enough just to gain a testimony; you have to maintain it and strengthen it. As every missionary knows, if you stop pedaling a bicycle, it will fall, and if you stop feeding your testimony, it will weaken. This same principle applies to repentance – it is a lifelong pursuit, not a once in a lifetime experience.”

President Owen continued to say,

“We are all prodigals. We all have to ‘come to ourselves’-usually more than once-and choose the path that leads back home. It’s a choice we make daily, throughout our lives. We often associate repentance with grievous sins that require ‘a mighty change.’ But repentance is for everyone – those who are wandering in ‘forbidden paths and [are] lost’ as well as those who ‘have gotten into [the] strait and narrow path’ and now need to ‘press forward.’ Repentance both puts us on the right path and keeps us on the right path. It is for those who are just beginning to believe, those who have believed all along, and those who need to begin again to believe.”

I think I find myself fitting into all three of those categories. And now we face a new year. As we start to focus on resolutions and personal change, let’s make repentance, the Lord’s plan for personal change, a permanent and positive part of our lives all year.

I feel like repentance is the ultimate resolution fix. How many of us have made resolutions and failed? I know I have. Repentance fixes that. When we mess up, which we all will at some point, we can repent and start new.

Making repentance a daily/weekly pursuit will be one of my resolutions. And if I can remember to repent right away, rather than trying to find out what the substitute was like in the class I skipped, remember the ABCs to acknowledge my mistakes, be sorry for them, correct them and pray for forgiveness and don’t do them again, then I will have joy, like the Prodigal son returning home. May we all have joy in this New Year is my hope and prayer in the name of Jesus Christ, the one who makes it all possible, amen.

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Posted by: Emily Schmutz Garcia | September 29, 2017

An Updated Opinion

Once upon a time I had a political opinion. It was a time when there were two decent candidates running for President. One was the guy I wanted to win, and one was the man who became President. There were many things I liked about the man who did get elected. He was a family man who had a beautiful family. He said nice things. He gave many people hope. I might not have agreed with all of his policies, but honestly, I don’t pay enough attention to know which ones I didn’t agree with.

I digress. My point today is to say that in this previous election I did not vote for either major candidate. I think I have pretty much left the party I was raised in because I am so very tired of their intolerance. Don’t get me wrong, I have not joined any other party. I think there is too much intolerance in political parties these days. I’m tired of hearing how evil everyone else is. I want to believe that everyone is motivated by love and goodness and kindness. I want to believe that everyone is trying to have courage and be kind. I believe the best way to do that is actually to stop posting about politics and focus on every other good thing in life, but before I give up on politics all together, I would like to share my thoughts in a space that I feel is safe: my blog. I’ll probably post a link to FaceBook because this may be one of the only times I share my political opinions with anyone aside from my husband.

Okay, so, do you want to know? Well, I’m going to tell you anyway.

Abortion: (Is this even an issue still? I mean, I know its one of the main dividing points but isn’t it all pretty legal now?) I don’t like abortions. I don’t like the idea of abortions. I hate the idea of a woman getting pregnant and not wanting to be pregnant and so deciding to have an abortion be she 13 or 50. So, how do I prevent people from having abortions, which I think are abominations? Well, I don’t know. If passing out condoms in high schools would help, okay. Will that increase sexual activity in teens? Maybe? I think the ones who weren’t going to be sexually active, probably already made that choice and giving them a condom will not change that. Sex education-let’s have it. Let’s teach the virtues of abstinence until marriage-let’s quote sociology studies on the verity of that. And then let’s remind them that all those emotions are great and wonderful and should be treated with care. And then give them condoms so they can make their own choices and mistakes. It’s high school, how much are they going to listen to anyway?

Immigration: So there are like millions of Syrian refugees who have no where to go, yes? Aren’t we paying people to live in Alaska? Has anyone ever seen the wide, open plains of Texas? Let’s set up colonies for refugees and help them establish themselves with schools and hospitals and markets. Why Texas? Everyone in Texas has a gun, almost, maybe not everyone in Austin, but most everywhere else. If there are going to be terrorists sneaking in with the millions of other legit refugees, let’s put them in a place that could handle itself in a terrorist attack. And I think the bears and moose in Alaska could also take care of themselves. What about all the other immigrants? That’s a really good question. I have a friend who just married a man whose mother brought him here when he was 18. He’s been working a good job and is a great human…while living here illegally for the past decade. I don’t have the perfect solution. Ideally, we would keep all the cool people and kick out all the uncool people, but that’s not an option owing to various definitions of cool. What about New Mexico and some of those states in the middle that are not well populated? Start colonies for recent immigrants. We could take some of the many unemployed, educated/trained professionals and have them help start up schools, hospitals, communities, etc. These plans would require tons of work…if only we had a body of elected officials who needed to have all their well-payed-working-hours put to good use.

Health Care: I actually don’t have a solution for this. I don’t believe in socialized medicine. I served a mission in England and saw too many people go to hospitals for little things and have their lives ruined by the visit to the hospital. Unfortunately, I think we are heading in the same direction. I don’t know the solution. Perhaps we should go back to the days where people paid doctors in livestock? I do think people should be free to choose whether or not they want to have insurance and not be penalized for that decision. I mean, I think not having insurance is scary, but if you believe in that, then you should be able to pay for doctors visits out of pocket as you choose.

What other issues are out there? Gender equality? Race equality? Equal rights for all? Black versus Blue lives? National Anthem etiquette? Kate’s new baby? Our current president? Um, after having taken my three kids into the women’s restroom with me for their 5.5 years of existence, I would like all restrooms to be family style restrooms where every stall is its own room with a sink and a changing table. Expensive upgrade? Probably. I don’t have solutions to the other problems/situations. I think we need to start assuming the good in others. It is something I am going to try to work on.

I think we live in an amazing country, a promised land that is choice and above others (I know, total American snob). I think we can let our differences divide us or we can choose to be glad that we live in a diverse country that allows ourselves and others to believe whatever they want to believe.

One last thing I feel very strongly about: Naked’s Kale Blazer Smoothie Drink is vile and should be avoided. Cucumber juice, Celery juice and Kale? Avoid this beverage. Naked’s Green Machine on the other hand, is quite tasty. So if you are feeling like going green, go with the Green Machine. You’re Welcome!

Posted by: Emily Schmutz Garcia | March 24, 2016

A Testimony

I would like to share my testimony, or at least, where I’m at right now. I belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I believe it to be the most correct of any Church on the Earth. I believe Jesus Christ leads this church through a modern day prophet, President Thomas S. Monson. I believe Jesus Christ is our Saviour and that he suffered and died for everyone so that we could live in perfect happiness someday with our Heavenly Father, if we so choose. I believe we have our agency and that God has given us that gift so we can choose for ourselves whether to follow Him or not. I believe God loves everyone. I believe The Book of Mormon is another testament of Jesus Christ, as the Bible is a testament of Jesus Christ. I believe Joseph Smith was called by God to restore the fullness of the Gospel to the Earth and that he translated the Book of Mormon by the gift and power of God. I know that God answers prayers. He has answered my prayers many times and I have seen Him answer the prayers of others.

After 32 years of living, I know that I don’t know many things. I do know that I love my kids. I want the best for them. I believe that I have a Father in Heaven who loves me more than I love my kids and who wants the best for me. I know that my life is better when I follow God and keep His commandments. I hope I can teach my kids to love God and rely on His help through this difficult life, because it makes life easier and happier. I believe there is a God who loves us and wants us to have joy. May God bless us everyone and may we find joy this Easter season and life. I leave these thoughts with you in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Posted by: Emily Schmutz Garcia | October 28, 2014

“Loving Others & Living With Differences” and “Lord, Is It I?”

In the Pre-Nursery Sunday School class this week our teacher asked us if we wanted to share any insights from General Conference (a big LDS meeting where Prophets, Apostles and General Authorities give excellent counsel to us). Someone mentioned loving Elder Oaks’ talk about loving others and living in the world that we live in, with so many differing viewpoints and differences of opinions. Someone also mentioned Elder Uchtdorf’s talk, “Lord, Is It I?” Saturday night on our drive home from our family road trip, my dad played Elder Uchtdorf’s talk for us in the car, so that one was pretty fresh in my mind. I didn’t however remember everything about Elder Oaks talk, so I decided to read that this morning for my scripture study.

What an amazing talk! So to the point and helpful. He talks about the importance of loving others as Jesus loved us, which means loving everyone in spite of differences. He talks about the importance of avoiding contention as well as the appropriate places for teaching truths. “In dedicated spaces, like temples, houses of worship, and our own homes, we should teach the truth and the commandments plainly and thoroughly as we understand them from the plan of salvation revealed in the restored gospel.” Another line from his talk that I love was, “though we may disagree, we should not be disagreeable.” He reminds us of the Saviour’s Golden rule: “whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them (Matt 7:12).”

As I was reading this talk, I began to think, “So and So really needs to read this talk. This talk is exactly for them. Oh and this person needs to read this talk too. How better their lives would be if they heeded Elder Oaks’ counsel.” And then I remembered Elder Uchtdorf’s talk, “Lord, Is It I?” . . . Ooops.

 

The jist of Elder Ucthdorf’s talk reminds us that the Saviour’s apostles did not point fingers when he told them that one of them would betray him. They responded, “Lord, is it I?” They weren’t saying, “Oh, that must be Peter because he is so hot headed,” or “Oh that must be Judas because he seems a bit dodgy.” They simply asked, “Lord, is it I?” Elder Uchtdorf reminds us that we need to stop pointing fingers and ask “Lord, is it I?”

Well, as I was mentally pointing fingers this morning, I realized that I needed to ask, “Lord, is it I?” And amazingly enough, a recent conversation came to mind that I had with someone about something that I feel strongly about. It occurred to me that I might not have shown the love in my statements that the Saviour would have. I did not condemn the other person but I also may have switched to offensive mode in my defensive position, which is not something the Saviour would have me do. Perhaps it is I who will have to work on putting Elder Oaks’ talk into practice.

I also recalled some dealings with people who I want to read Elder Oaks’ talk. I have a tendency to lose patience with those who struggle with “living with differences.” My lack of patience for their struggles is also less-than-Christlike. I now have some behaviours to improve in my pursuit to be more Christlike and to follow the prophets and apostles. And that is what I learned this morning.

Posted by: Emily Schmutz Garcia | February 24, 2014

Reflections of 30

30 things I’ve done before today (my 30th birthday):

1) Graduated with my Bachelor of Arts from BYU
2) Traveled to Western Europe (visited England, Ireland, France, Spain, Italy, Austria, Switzerland, Germany, Luxemborg, The Netherlands and the Isle of Mann)
3) Served an 18 month mission in England for my church

England mission
4) worked in a job that had been my focus of study in college for two years
5) dated a handsome man from Texas for a year and a half
6) got sealed to that handsome Texan in the San Antonio, TX temple

another temple shot
7) honeymooned in Costa Rica

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8) went white water rafting, zip lining and waterfall repelling in Costa Rica and lived to tell the tales
9) ran two Corona del Mar 5Ks (one before I was married and one after having a baby)
10) lost 100lbs on Weight Watchers (50lbs before I was married, 40lbs after David’s birth and 10lbs since Derek’s birth)
11) gave birth to David William Garcia on Jan 1, 2012

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12) gave natural birth to Derek James Garcia on Nov 10, 2013

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13) visited the east coast from New Hampshire to North Carolina
14) took a cross country road trip with my handsome husband and 18 month old while 5 months pregnant

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15) lived in California, Utah and North Carolina
16) visited Japan as an exchange student for ten days (when I was 13)
17) rewrote the lyrics to a number of Disney songs and a few other classics and performed them for school projects and zone presentations or talent shows
18) visited Mexico twice
19) visited Canada (the Totem Pole, Beautiful British Colombia side)
20) memorized The Very Hungry Caterpillar and read at least 100 books to my two year old
21) changed thousands of diapers
22) read and sung my two year old to sleep

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23) read The Book of Mormon more times than I’ve read the Harry Potter series
24) read The Old Testament cover to cover (no simple task), along with The New Testament, The Doctrine and Covenants and The Pearl of Great Price
25) breast fed my two sons (a blessing and struggle at times)
26) made a bus for my son’s ABC play group out of cardboard moving boxes, a great deal of yellow duct tape and labor assistance from my handsome husband

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27) decorated my first home with artwork I created

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28) learned to cook/continue to learn and have cooked hundreds of meals for my family
29) washed, folded and put away thousands of clothes (predicting #s will reach millions before my time is done)
30) successfully completed my mom’s potty training (as I begin to contemplate my son’s potty training, I begin to realize just how impressive this really is)

As I reflect, I discover that I am quite content with how I have spent my time so far. Now to make the next 30 years even better!

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Posted by: Emily Schmutz Garcia | August 27, 2013

Only the good die young

My heart is heavy. My cousin-in-law’s husband passed away last week. He was a good man. He had a wife and son who is just a few months older than my son. He was a good husband and father. I wish instead of one of the good ones, it could have been one of the crappy, deadbeat dads who cheat and leave their wives and abandon their kids. It seems like there are an endless supply of those, why not let one of them get some random disease that kills them within a month?

One thought comes to me as I think of this horrible situation. There was a people who lived in ancient times on the American continent. They had been a ferocious and blood thirsty lot until they turned to The Lord and changed their evil ways. They refused to ever again take up their weapons of war, even to defend their own lives.

One day, some of their wicked brethren decided to fight them. The changed people refused to defend themselves and prayed to God as their brethren fell upon them. Many of them died at the hands of their brethren, but their brethren were so ashamed of the murders they committed that many of them repented and turned their hearts towards God. The number of people who joined The Lord that day were more than those who had lost their lives. Furthermore, those who had died had died pure in heart and were taken home to that God who gave them life.

“And it came to pass that the people of God were joined that day by more than the number who had been slain; and those who had been slain were righteous people, therefore we have no reason to doubt but what they were saved.”
(Book of Mormon, Alma 24:26)

I didn’t know my cousin-in-law that well, but on the times when we hung out, he always seemed like a great husband and father. I am sure that he will be well received by that God who gave him life and who died for all of us that we might live again.

“Now, concerning the state of the soul between death and the resurrection—Behold, it has been made known unto me by an angel, that the spirits of all men, as soon as they are departed from this mortal body, . . . are taken home to that God who gave them life.

And then shall it come to pass, that the spirits of those who are righteous are received into a state of happiness, which is called paradise, a state of rest, a state of peace, where they shall rest from all their troubles and from all care, and sorrow.”
(Book of Mormon, Alma 40: 11-12)

Perhaps the deadbeat dads will turn their lives around given more time on this earth, or they at least need that time so that when they are judged they won’t be able to say that if they had more time they would have changed.

My tears, thoughts and prayers are with this good one’s beautiful wife and their beautiful son. May that God who suffered for us all comfort them at this horrible time.

Posted by: Emily Schmutz Garcia | August 18, 2013

Oh the cleverness of me!

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I feel like a genius! I had a problem. There was a large blank wall in my home. I needed something to clear up that situation, but my husband and I just moved to North Carolina for him to go to the MBA program at Duke. I’m staying home with our 19-month-old, which means we have no money to spend on expensive wall decor.

So, clever me, decided to make something. But what to make? That was the question. I had a clever friend in Southern California who put a bunch of sticks together in a circle and made a really cool wall art piece. On my walks/jogs around the neighborhood here, I have noticed a great many sticks on the ground. (Durham is covered in trees, so it is not surprising that there would be lots of sticks on the ground.)  I decided to look online and see if Google had any ideas for stick wall art.

Pinterest had some etsy pieces that looked rather cool, as well as something that I might be able to duplicate, so I decided to give it a try. I started collecting sticks at a park day my women’s church group had. One of the little boys had found this awesome stick that he was playing with. I waited patiently until he was done playing and then snatched up the beautiful stick. The next morning on my jog I picked up a bunch of sticks (I jog slower than a snail’s pace, so stopping to pick up sticks really doesn’t affect my pace). That night after little David went to sleep I dragged out my sticks and started arranging.  Conveniently enough our backyard has a bunch of trees and sticks right behind it, so when I realized I needed a few more sticks, I just went out and grabbed some.

I used a pocket knife to saw one of the sticks into quarters for my fence post. After nailing the fence together and some of the “tree trunks” and “branches,” David came and helped with a couple more of the “trunks.” Not all of the “branches” seemed like they would survive a nail and hammer, so I attached them with twisty ties. I stripped the plastic off the twisty ties to make them less noticeable. I also read something about a finisher or sealer, so I went to Lowe’s and picked up a spray wood finisher/sealer thing that I used after my sticks had been assembled. I also decided to add a couple of little fake cardinals because I saw a cardinal in our backyard the other day.

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I ended up nailing the fence to the wall as well as one of the tree branches. I think it will stay up and be quite decorative for the next two years. It is not sturdy (how the Little Pig who built his house of sticks managed to get them to all stay together long enough to call it a house is a mystery to me), but I made it and think it is fabulous! Not perfect, but fabulous.

I also decided to make a second bit of stick art for our bathroom, which has a woodsy theme going on. Another something I saw when looking up stick art. I rather like the way this one turned out as well. David had to help me mount it on the wall, and it too will not survive a move or excessive huffing and puffing, but I’m hoping I will also enjoy it for the next two years.

Feel free to admire and adore the craftiness and cleverness of me! I know I do. Cheers.

Posted by: Emily Schmutz Garcia | June 16, 2013

Fathers

Happy Father’s Day! I have been spoiled when it comes to Fathers. I was raised by a humble and righteous dad, who was the best dad in the world. I am married to a man who has an awesome dad. My sister has a wonderful husband who is an awesome uncle. I am married to the most amazing dad and husband ever.

My dad:
I remember going to ward choir practice with my dad when my sister and I were in primary. I remember going to chapel cleanup and seeing my dad anxious to clean and be helpful. My dad was a great example of always helping. He would always pick up little bits of trash if he saw it around the church. I now feel guilty if I don’t do the same. I am grateful that my dad honored his priesthood. He gave us blessings at the beginning of the school year and at other times when we needed them.Grandpa

My dad and I went on hikes growing up. I loved getting up early on a Saturday morning to go on a hike with my dad. He helped us with our math and science homework. He read me stories before I went to sleep. He coached my soccer team and always came to my water polo games-even though I was just an alternate player that maybe got to play the last two minutes of the game. He came to see all of my performances in various high school musicals.

What made my dad great? He was there and he was hands-on. He wasn’t afraid of dirty diapers. My mom was the disciplinarian in our family-she was the one with the vocal chords, but my dad had a much more effective way of punishing us. My dad had a disappointed look that would crush anyone. My sister and I avoided that look. Having mom yell at us was way more tolerable than seeing that look on my dad’s face.

My dad always tells us how much he loves us. Every night before going to bed he would give us a Butterfly, butterfly, Eskimo, lipper and I love you. Dad was always there to comfort us when we were scared. If there was a dinosaur outside our window in the middle of the night, a hug from dad and sometimes a story would make it go away. Yup, I was spoiled to have such an amazing dad.

My husband’s dad:
Papa GarciaHere’s a dad who I have only known for a few years now, but who has made a significant difference in my life. On one of my first dates with David he told me about how his dad could fix anything and loved projects. He taught his sons the value of hard work by having them do hard things like build trenches in the middle of a Texas Summer. I remember David’s mom telling how Dale made it possible for them to move back to her Texas home by fixing their broken family car with spare parts found at various junk yards.

Papa Garcia is a brilliant engineer who has always worked very hard so his wife could be the stay-at-home mom she wanted to be. (His wife is amazing and is a mini-Hercules, but this isn’t the blog post to go into that.) He has raised sons who know the value of and who look for work.

He also taught his sons the importance of being active in church and serving. The Garcia boys could always be counted on to stack and put away chairs after an event (this coincidentally was why I pursued my husband-he always stacked chairs after church events, something my dad always did too). And unless you were on your deathbed, you were going to church. Something I’m grateful that he instilled in my husband. I’m grateful my husband was also spoiled to have such a great dad.

My Brother-in-law:
Uncle MikeMike is a surgical technician at Hoag hospital for the labor and delivery ward. He can do infant CPR, which makes him one of the few people I feel fully confident in leaving my son with. He’s also not afraid of crying babies or poopy diapers. He likes crying babies-it means they are okay! He has changed at least one of my son’s poopy diapers-a task that in my book makes him great. He’ll watch Little David on his downtime so I can go to a doctor’s appointment without having to entertain Little David during the visit. When he is needed, Mike is there. And Little David loves his Uncle Mike. He lights up when Uncle Mike is around.

Also, he makes my sister (who is in fact Wonder Woman) an even better person. I remember in high school when they were dating, Chrissy and I were fighting about some little thing and after I had left the room, Mike told my sister to not fight with me because I was her sister-oddly enough I think Chrissy and I fought less after that.

Mike is the health nut in our family and he has inspired my sister to take up tennis again, which she now plays 3-4 times a week. She even started swimming again. I’m grateful for a health nut in the family. We all like to eat, but overeating has serious consequences which I hope to avoid by taking a few notes out of my brother-in-law’s health book.

Most importantly, he makes my sister happy. Life hasn’t followed the path that they had planned on, but despite challenges and disappointments, after 11 years of marriage, my sister is still very happily married to her best friend. I’m very grateful that my sister is married to such a great dad.

My Husband:
the DavidsThis one could go on forever, but I will see what I can do to condense. What an amazing dad he is. He goes to church and listens to lessons and conference talks on how to be a better husband and father and then implements various suggestions. A little over a month ago he added scriptures, prayer and good night hymns to Little David’s bedtime routine-something that may sound like a no-brainer, but when you are learning how to take care of a mini-human, implementing anything aside from sleeping, pooping and eating is really hard.

He takes turns taking Little David to nursery, sacrificing two hours of Sunday school and Priesthood lessons to do so. He also takes turns  changing dirty diapers, something I am eternally grateful for. And Big David is the one who really has helped get Baby David’s bedtime routine in place. He helped establish a night time bath and bottle, as well as the scriptures, prayer and hymns.

Little David is always so happy to see his daddy because his daddy is always overjoyed to see him. They love to go on walks and adventures together in the evenings (which gives mommy a very much appreciated break.) To my jealous delight Little David laughs the hardest when he is playing with Daddy. I love when David comes home from work and peals of laughter can be heard from the next room where the Davids are playing.

I am a worrier and Big David really works hard so I don’t have to worry as much. He has worked very hard for the past 2.5 years that we’ve been married and made it possible for me to be a housewife and a stay-at-home mom. He has gotten life insurance in order so that if anything happened to him, Baby David and I would still be taken care of. He helps us budget so that we stay on top of the finances. How wonderful it is not to have to worry about money as much, because Big David figures it out and lets me know my budget for various things. Oh how I love this man!
I am so eternally grateful that I married the most wonderful man ever. We are so blessed to have great brothers and to have been raised by amazing fathers. (I decided not to make this blog post a long novel. I only talked about my sister’s husband, but Big David has 4 awesome brothers as well. Jon is an awesome husband and father to two of the cutest little girls in existence. Stephen, Jacob and Brandon are all wonderful uncles and great guys.) I am so grateful for great men for my son to be surrounded and influenced by. To all the great dads out there, whether you currently have kids or not, THANK YOU! And Happy Father’s Day!

Daddy David

Posted by: Emily Schmutz Garcia | February 11, 2013

Come, Come Ye Saints

“Come, come ye Saints, no toil nor labor fear; but with joy wend your way.
Though hard to you this journey may appear, Grace shall be as your day.
‘Tis better far for us to strive our useless cares from us to drive;
Do this, and joy your hearts will swell- All is well! All is well!

Why should we mourn or think or lot is hard? ‘Tis not so; all is right.
Why should we think to earn a great reward if we now shun the fight?
Gird up your loins; fresh courage take. Our God will never us forsake;
And soon we’ll have this tale to tell- All is well! All is well!”
-William Clayton

I’ve kind of strongly disliked this song since my days at Brigham Young University. Every hour on the hour the bell tower chimes, “Come, come ye Saints.” Just not that big of a fan, until today.

Today at the end of a great relief society lesson about motivation and making choices, we sang this song. This song was what I needed this week and possibly just what I’ve been needing for a bit.

My mom had knee replacement surgery on January 9th. “No toil nor labor fear.” Baby David and I have been spending our week days out in Moreno Valley helping her. It has been hard. I feel weighed down. I have been stressed and grumpy. My beloved husband has been finishing applications and now preparing for interviews for business school. It is very exciting and stressful. It has been a busy and rough time. “Why should we mourn or think or lot is hard?”

Today this song hit me. It was that feeling that Heavenly Father is speaking directly to you. Sometimes it is through hearing another person’s testimony or reading a scripture. I have discovered that for me, I feel his loving embrace a great deal through music-perhaps because that is the one time I am paying close enough attention. Either way, I felt like this song was gently and firmly telling me to “gird up my loins, fresh courage take. Our God will never us forsake.” And soon I, too, will have this tale to tell- All is well! All is well!

Here is my favorite version of “Come, Come Ye Saints.” The music is only on the first two minutes of the clip.

Posted by: Emily Schmutz Garcia | February 2, 2013

Oops!

Last night I was telling my husband that we have a very precocious son. At only 13 months he is already throwing “terrible two” tantrums. My husband opened his mouth and then quickly closed it-an ominous sign.

“What?”-me
“No idea.”-him
“No, really…”-me
“Oh dear. I only hate you because it is true. Oops.”-me

Laughter

“I was going to warn us about what kind of behavior we model.”-him

More laughter.

I’m sure it wouldn’t be so bad if I hadn’t just thrown a tantrum on Monday morning. I was having a fight with a new carseat seat belt and losing. I would like to apologize to the neighbors I scared as I was raging at the seat. Most tragically my son was in the carseat at the time watching Mommy’s tantrum. And yet I complained about him throwing a tantrum when he couldn’t get the door open at GrandMumzie’s physical therapy appointment. I wonder where he learned it from. I repeat, “Oops!”

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