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I hate bedtime. That is a strong word, but it is true. It seems to be always too late and too rambunctious around here with 3 boys. #boymom

I have really made an effort this last year to be more consistent with it.

But it still ends up being pretty crazy.

The baby runs around and yells.

Brandt constantly gets out of bed.

Van has one more story to tell.

I need a drink!

Tickle my back!

Mom is tired and starting to get cranky.

Giggles, goofy sounds, constant noise....and the list goes on and on.

Last night was one of those rare moments in time that I want to remember forever.

We read a couple of books and had started reading scriptures. I had barely started to read the second verse when Brandt speaks up.

My thoughts drifted to, "Well, now what?"

Brandt's blue eyes darted around and his little voice spoke in trepidation.

"Mommy, what happens when we go to heaven?"

"Mommy, will we come back to earth?"

"Mommy, will we be a kid?"

"Mommy, where do the fishes go?"

Van chimes in, "How will I know you?"

We talked about heaven. We talked about being together as a family forever. We talked about being with Heavenly Father. We spoke about our purpose and about bodies and spirits.

My little boy, who never seems to listen, who is too busy being busy to stop and think, who tests my patience nearly everyday, is indeed thinking. Thinking very deeply about what all this big stuff means. #planofsalvation

Brandt @shalaleephotography

How humbled and how grateful I was that I had some answers for him. How humbled I was that he could ask something that was so hard for him to say.

So grateful that I know where I come from, why I am here, and where I am going. So grateful that I had people who loved me and taught me as a child. #gratitude

So grateful that I have the opportunity to love and be a steward over these little spirits. That in quiet moments between all the crazy. We have little moments that teach so much.

Back in 2013 I began a series of religious themed artwork. I had always loved to draw and paint but putting my heart and soul into something and then sharing it-was extremely daunting. Rod had always had such a confidence about himself as an artist and he pushed me to share and create. I couldn't have done it without him.

I wanted to paint a picture of Mary, mother of Christ. What an incredible stewardship she was asked to take on! I wanted her to be young-because she was young! We asked our friend's daughter (who also babysat for us on occasion) to model.

I got some great portrait shots outside my home and then the thought struck me to have her pick up my 18 month old Van. And then some magic happened.

A little behind the scenes...

Normally when I conceptualize a painting, I think of an idea and then form an image around it.

This time, the picture brought to life a story.

A profile shot that we captured unfolded a story of motherhood that I had to paint.

"Waiting on the Carpenter"

In my painting, “Waiting on the Carpenter”, the young mother Mary holds the toddler Jesus as they watch Joseph the carpenter, his earthly father, walk the path home.

But Mary holds in her arms, not just a boy who would learn his father's worldly trade, but the boy who would learn a Heavenly trade and grow to carve and shape all of mankind’s souls as the Savior and Carpenter of the World.

Mary is a true example of stewardship to me. She looked after Christ. She kept him safe and warm, and taught him truth. What an incredibly humbling job! To be the mother of the Savior! To know from the very conception that you were the vessel of the Son of God!

Isn't that how we look at our children? When they lay in their beds dreaming? Don't you wish the world for them? Don't we just know they are destined to be amazing!

More and more I come to understand that I can't control everything. I can't make my children act the way I want all the time or be emotionally logical over what I might deem insignificant. Each day comes with it's own frustrations and triumphs.

I can love them though. And I can teach them to love.

I can teach them that God loves them.

I can teach them forgiveness-especially by example.

I can teach them that they are sons of God.

The boys Photo by @shalaleephotography

We all have a stewardship in this life. Whether it is as a mother or father, as a sibling, as a daughter or son, as a neighbor, as a leader, a teacher, and the list goes on and on.

I type this from a place of humility. I am in no way perfect either. But it is my job as a steward, just as Mary, to look after those that I have been charged with. It is my responsibility to see their divine potential, just like God sees in them and as he sees in me.

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