Sunday, August 16, 2015

Mother of Nine, Servant to All

It is truly rare to be able to know a hero personally.  I'm lucky in that one of my heroes happens to be my sister, Anjenette Updike Pond.

Often, if I am having a particularly dark day or hour or need a little extra TLC, she is the first to call or send a letter, package, or email.  She seems to know when I need extra prayers and, as such, is often a direct answer to prayer.  At distinct crossroads in my life, such as diagnosing my long-term, mysterious walking disorder (as told in my book), she has been the one to receive inspiration on my behalf.

And I'm not the only one for whom this is true.  With so much helping of others, you would think she has nothing else to do but sit around and receive and follow inspiration for others.  Turns out she has nine children.

And nine wonderful children.  Each of them is interesting and interested in many good things, intelligent, faithful, and normal.  :-)  All have at least three (that I can think of) extra-curricular activities going at most times - an instrument or two, a language, and a sport.

So how does she, one who could easily be entirely consumed with her full-time employ of raising nine wonderful human beings, have the capacity to serve all whom she knows?

I wanted to know, as having the spiritual bandwidth to serve beyond my demanding little family is a challenge of my motherhood (can you relate?).  So I interviewed her (as you do!).

Anjenette said that her constant prayer is to be inspired as to who she can help.  In fact, she said, she doesn't offer that prayer anymore - she has developed such a relationship with Heavenly Father such that He knows that is her heartfelt desire, and she knows that He knows she can be trusted to follow-through on inspiration.

Q: So how do you know if something is inspiration?

A: It doesn't matter, was her frank reply.  If all things that are good come from Christ, if something good to do for another comes to mind, do it.  If you follow inspiration (or think you are following inspiration), Heavenly Father will note it, and trust you with more.  It's a positively-reinforced cycle (and conversely, if you don't follow through, Heavenly Father will trust you with less and find another to do His work).

Q: And how do you find the time to be a mother of nine and serve so many?

A: This was interesting, because when I had one and two, my capacity was much less. It grew with each child.  And I rely on the Spirit.  Often, it will remind me of little things that are important to me. Like the other day, I was relaxing and enjoying my children when all of a sudden, the thought came to me at 12:31 that Truman had tennis right then, so I had him run out the door.  There is no way I could have remembered that with all else I had going on, but the Lord knew that was important to me because I had already paid for it!

I also write things down - physically.  I keep a notebook in the car or close to me at all times so I can write things down.  If I think to contact someone in my congregation or neighborhood, I figure out how to do it that day or immediately.

The interview went on and we ended up talking about receiving revelation and perfecting the art.

Obviously, she is particularly good at it.  What I have often observed and learned from her was that receiving revelation takes mental and spiritual work.  It's not just that she will receive inspiration, write it down, and do it.  For larger problems, she will pray extensively, talk to people she trusts, and think about the issue.  While I was visiting her for the last three weeks, I witnessed this process. She underwent an extended battle with a good friend's problem.  She knew she needed to do something, but struggled to know how.  Her natural man wrestled with the Spirit for a while before I saw a transformation and final miracle as she relayed the fruits of her labor.  A relationship was built and much-needed friendship extended by her, possibly the only one within her circle who could have done what she did.  I was moved by her struggle and final transformation.

My sister, my hero.
Small Wonders

* Although we are now in Boston/Belmont, G will ask when we are driving to go to Trubie's house, and today in church, he wanted to go sit by Trubie.  He will also want to go visit Iori when we are out walking.  I have a hard time explaining how far away his favorite cousin and friend are.
* He will often steal her toys, but G today very sweetly found toys for Esther and brought them to her.
* Ever since visiting his cousin Levi where he built his first train tracks, G will ask to build train tracks wherever we are.  When he finds them, he will spend hours and hours building and plaining with "Toby the Train."
* G slipped in the bathroom and fell on his bum.  As he is accustomed to us "kissing it better" as a method of healing (placebo affect at its best), he asked Lance to do the honors and promptly assumed downward dog to facilitate the kissing.  Wish I had gotten a picture of that!
* I took G & E for their first visit ever to the temple as we are within minutes here in Belmont.  G is familiar with the "I Love to See the Temple" song and kept saying, "I want to see the temple!  I want to go inside!" Today after church he recognized where we were (even though no temple could be seen) and said "I want to see the temple!" We did a drive-by and then he said, "Bye-bye, temple!  I love you!"
* Esther is saying more things that sound like words, like "all done," knowingly say "dada" and today we were pretty sure she said "Gideon."  Who knows if this is speech development, but I think she gets the concepts.
* Esther is *very* interested in doing whatever Gideon is doing, be it reading, building train tracks, or rough housing with daddy.  She insists on his being in her line of site.  G will do the same.
* E recognized daddy at our reunion by pulling at his nose and exploring his face.  She will rough house with dad by sitting on his tummy and bouncing up and down relentlessly, squealing with joy.

We enjoyed one more morning of fishing with the Ponds

ice cream with the twins and Logan - classic twin poses.

Enjoying the Pine Hills Country Club pool 

kiddie car ride
We loved going to Bay Beach in Green Bay - rides are 25-50 cents each!

Truman helped Gideon get on and off each ride.

Two brave boys going on the Ferris Wheel with "Aunt G."

I love to see the temple
I love to see the temple.  
I don't know if she felt the Spirit or what, but she was certainly more than her normal giggly self on the temple grounds, despite the 90 F + full humidity weather!


  1. LOVED seeing these darling pictures of your kids, and am wondering how your London ward will EVER get along without your family! What takes you to Boston/Belmont? My love and very best wishes to you all, as you set up housekeeping and create a new home in a new place, Terri Jensen

    1. Hi there! Lance's first counselor got called as bishop, so they are in good hands, not to worry. Both of us love the Boston area, and we are about as close as good tax laws and more balanced politics will allow. I don't know if you saw my post about why we chose New Hampshire, but we are feeling like it was a good choice! Thanks so much for your kind words!

  2. What a great article about someone I know and love. She was so kind to me when we lived there in 2006. We even figured out how we are related. Lol She is truly amazing and miss her.

    1. Hi there! How do you know Anje? I miss her terribly, too.