Listen to an interview with Kary Ann Hoopes, a wife, mom, convert, temple lover and photographer. Kary Ann shares her conversion story and the one simple thing she discovered that connects her to God. Kary Ann also discusses her early motherhood experiences as well as life-changing lessons her children have taught her as they have become teenagers and adults.
How to Listen
SMM 080: Why Your Weaknesses are Blessing Your Children|| Kristen Walker Smith
SMM 083: How to Give Up Overwhelm + Value Connection in Motherhood || Kristen Goodman
SMM 026: Parenting a Strong Willed Child + Showing Children Their Worth || Lynnette Sheppard
Follow Kary Ann
Follow Spiritually Minded Mom
Intro: You’re listening to the Spiritually Minded Mom Podcast. This is episode 88: How to Listen to the Lessons Your Kids are Teaching You with Kary Ann Hoopes
Darla: Hi, this is Darla Trendler and welcome to Spiritually Minded Mom. My goal is to help you gain confidence in your ability to hear and follow God’s voice in motherhood and in life. Listen to hear interviews with all kinds of moms who are learning to navigate motherhood by partnering with our heavenly parents.
Darla: Welcome to the Spiritual Minded Mom podcast. I am so happy to welcome my guest today. Her name is Kary Ann Hoopes and she had her first experience with LDS temples while going to the San Diego temple open house in 1993, and she was not even a member yet. We’re going to talk about that in a minute, but this led to a desire to learn more about the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and she actually did join the church a year later. Her love for temples has grown into a passion to photograph them, and Kary Ann is also a wedding and portrait photographer, and she currently serves as a church service missionary photographer. She is the social media director of Havenlight Art and she earned her degree from Brigham Young University-Idaho. In her spare time. She finds any excuse to travel and photograph temples. She loves the ocean, cheese and BYU everything. (I think we can be friends. I love BYU.) And she lives in Arizona with her husband, David and her three children. So, welcome to the podcast Kary Ann, I’m so glad you’re here.
Kary Ann: Thanks so much for having me. We already are friends, so it’s fun when you get things that unify you even more.
Darla: Yes. It’s so great. I’m so glad that we have been able to connect over these last few months. It’s been really great. So, I want to back up to you said 1993 in your bio that you went to the San Diego temple open house and you were not a member of the church. So, tell me about that experience. How did you end up there? What happened?
Kary Ann: So, what a fun journey it’s been my, my freshman year, so backing up two years from there, my freshman year, one of my very first classes I walked into and I noticed that my English and my Spanish teacher, it was the same teacher. And come to find out by the end of the day she was a Mormon. And that’s what she said. I’m a Mormon. And I had never heard what that was. So, I had gone to her English class and then later in the day I went to my Spanish class. And in that Spanish class we were supposed to say a little piece of ourselves who we are, mind you that was, you know what, 1991, 1992. So, she talked about her religion. So, me being inquisitive, I went up to her after class and said, what is a Mormon? And uh, she told me a little bit and so there was such a spirit about her. We connected right away, and I was actually really excited that she was going to be my teacher. So, we developed a relationship. I mean, just such a great friendship. And at the time, you know, such a weird time when you’re 14. Feeling like, there’s so much going on. And she was always there for me. And so, by the end of that year we were very good friends and she was one that I, well she was a confidante, you know, this teacher was incredible. The next year the temple was being built. And so, she reached out to me one day and just said, “You know, my church is building this temple and when it’s done, I would love for you to come.” And I was like, okay, I don’t know what that is. And we didn’t have the internet then. So, it wasn’t like I could Google it. And so, I told my mom and she’s like, “Oh, we went to the one in St. George,” and I remember her saying that, and I’m like I don’t remember that. So, she’s like, “Yeah, that would be wonderful; you should go. They’re beautiful.” And so a couple months passed and the temple open house came and so she got permission from my mom and a couple of other students that she had invited and I was in the car with her mother, Mary Fellers and I remember, like, okay, what do you guys do there? I don’t understand. Like, you know, it’s just me asking all these questions. So, we get there, of course, I feel something I had never felt before. I just remember thinking I’m going to be back here someday. And I was 15. I remember as we walked out, if you’ve, anybody that’s been to the San Diego temple, there’s, it says, holiness to the Lord on the East side of the temple. As we were walking out, I remember specifically turning around and looking at that sign and going that place is a place where God dwells and for whatever I was, you know, very active in the Catholic church. And I don’t, know what came of me for that, but I remember it like it was yesterday. And that feeling that I had. And so, a couple months later, well, backing up, we got in the car and I had about a thousand questions and I didn’t remember that until last year she was here. And, I said, “Tell me about that day.” So many people ask me about going to the temple open house. And she goes, yeah, my mom still talks about the questions that you had. Like you already knew them. The veil was so thin for you, but you were asking all these questions and I just thought that’s me asking questions because I’m so inquisitive. And, and she said, and I knew you’d be a member that day. And so, she never pushed. She never did anything, but she always answered my questions. Well, a couple of months later, her brother and sister we’re both going on missions and so they had a double farewell and they invited me to that. And I had my first discussion. I was given the Book of Mormon, and I went home and put it on the bookshelf and just thought those guys are really, they’re cute, and they’re… I love their message but didn’t really understand the connection and it just seemed like piece after piece, things kind of came together. And the night before my senior year. So this is, you know, almost two years later, I just happened to be like organizing room, stressing, you know, I’m going to be a senior and then I’ve got to graduate and go out on my own. And I just started reading in First Nephi by the time I read through the night and went to my first class my senior year and I went right into her classroom and I said, “You’ve got to write me a pass. Like you’ve got to get me out of class. I have a billion questions.” And sure enough, she wrote me a pass, so whoever’s hearing this, if you knew that she wrote that past don’t fire her. But, she answered all my questions and I was baptized about three weeks later. So, it was amazing how it was this kind of slow process, but not really, you know, I knew, and I had a lot of adversity coming at me to join the church. My mom was super supportive, but I had other family members that were not. They’ve all come around and all of them have seen how it’s blessed my life. But um, my love for the temples began that day when I saw that and I, I knew that God had a place in that Holy temple. And I of course, a few years later was sealed to my husband in that temple.
Darla: It had to be San Diego. Right?
Kary Ann: Yup. And it, it truly is. Every time I go back, which is regularly, there’s something that connects me back to that day and I hope I never forget that feeling. I feel like my testimony was there and it has gotten me through. A lot of times it is remembering that moment when I knew that something was different.
Darla: I love that. I totally felt the Spirit when you were telling that story and I really, I really love what you said that you had that foundational moment that you can go back to because you know, we think, I think when I was growing up and I grew up in the church, I have thought, Oh, I just get a testimony and then I grow up and I’m good to go forever and that is not really how it, how it happens, right? Like we go through these peaks and valleys and you know sometimes we really feel strong and sometimes we really feel weak and it’s so great to have those moments that we can go back to like your moment in the San Diego temple even before you were baptized. I love, I love that thought that we can anchor ourselves with those moments and those times when we, we know, we felt the Spirit, we know we gained a testimony of something and then, and then be able to go back to it.
Kary Ann: I feel really blessed too because I, I didn’t know it was a testimony. I didn’t know what it was. It took me years until I realized, you know, when those dark low places, you know, where we all get. And at those times where you think I’m not a good enough mom, I’m not a good enough wife, I’m not a good enough sister. That I realized that moment was Heavenly Father giving me that little tender mercy to remember that I’m a daughter of God, you know? And I wasn’t even a member of the church yet. And so, I feel very fortunate that I have that. I know some people, it’s harder to find that moment, but I have pictures of the temple, of that, of the San Diego temple and I have. Every time I go to any temple, I take a picture of that sign that says holiness to the Lord. And so, it’s something that, there was something that connected me. And so, I hope that everybody can find something. Look for it. I, I feel fortunate that I didn’t have to look for it, it took me a long time until I realized it was already there.
Darla: Yeah. And I think, I think most people don’t see it in the moment. It’s always coming back and reflecting and I know, At least I know that’s how it’s been for me coming back and reflecting and saying, wow, God was everywhere in that moment and I didn’t even see it.
Kary Ann: He is in the details. He’s in the details and sometimes we can’t see those details because of distractions or because really, I believe growth, we’re not, we’re not supposed to know yet. And then when we do, we realize, okay, this was really divine, how he placed that and where we grow is from not knowing. And then when we do, it is being able to see his hand in that detail.
Darla: Totally. I, yeah, I have seen that over and over in my life. So. So let’s talk about your life. So, you, you joined the church as a senior in high school and you were sealed in the temple in the San Diego temple to your husband and then you become a mother. So, tell me about motherhood and you know, what was it like those first few years of motherhood, I know you have three kids. What did that look like for you?
Kary Ann: So, yeah, it’s funny how, you know, you get married and you have this plan of what you’re going to do and the Lord’s got a different plan sometimes. So that first little bit was rough. I have very difficult pregnancies and uh, I had had a miscarriage and then we got pregnant right away with our son after the miscarriage and, you know, this young 21 year old, you think you know everything and then come to find out, you know, life kinda got a wrench thrown in it with my health. I basically had home health care nurses and I can’t, I had HPI. It’s where you just throw up nonstop and they take all your nutrients. Yes. It’s what, it’s what I can’t even think, but Duchess Kate had it.
Darla: Yeah. I actually know someone that has that. So yeah. I know what you’re talking about. So, you have to get, did you have to have a nurse come in? You had to be on IVs for your pregnancy.
Kary Ann: All three, all three, yeah. And so, my first, my first one was the worst and it was literally, nine months nonstop. And after I had the baby, it was like almost that it fixed it and it was something with the hormones. So, there’s a, they told me that it was less than 1% of the population, has it for their entire pregnancy, And I had it and it was awful. So, to give you an idea, I got pregnant at about 105 lbs, and at six months pregnant I was 82 pounds. So, I was six months pregnant. I mean, you know, I was so sick. And I remember just thinking, my husband, my poor husband doesn’t know who I am because all I do is throw up and I’m sick all the time. And, he was trying to go to school and so, and then of course the financial burden and it was just incredible. And so, we had the baby, and everything was great, and I just found right away that I could not do it without the Lord’s help. That was almost instant. And I felt pretty comfortable from the very get go. And then we got pregnant again pretty shortly after. And so, we had two babies about 15 months apart. And so, that was my third pregnancy. My body at that point was very weak and third pregnancy in a little over a year. And so, it was pretty rough. And I had, you know, these two babies and my husband’s working all the time and I, that’s when I really found that I needed to take time for the temple. And I needed to find time for myself. So, I started by taking the kids to the temple, like walking around the temple grounds in Provo, just trying to find that peace because it was really hard as a nursing mother to, to get away enough to get into the temple and be gone that long. And you know, my husband working, and it was just, it was tricky. But, I just relied on the Lord. Like I, I felt like it was one of our best times in my life because I was so faithful. You know, I was reading, kids would get in the tub and I would read the scriptures and we would talk and laugh, and it was kind of like having twins because they were so close. And so, we just kind of became this automated machine and it was awesome. And then I got pregnant again and had another miscarriage. And I remember at that point thinking okay, what am I doing wrong? Like, why am I not being blessed with these babies? Why, you know, why am I struggling with this? And then I had a friend who could not get pregnant. And it was a wake-up call for me to realize that you’ve got two babies, you know, like you cannot complain about your blessings. And I remember that day I was at my friend Allison’s house and my husband was out of town and I was miscarrying. And so, she was helping me with the kids. I was in extreme pain and she just said, “You are so blessed to have these babies and your body is just so, it just has such a hard time with these pregnancies.” And she just said, “You just need to turn it over to the Lord.” And I remember her, her saying that, that I realized I haven’t really prayed for Him to just take it from me, you know, take to just trust in him. Anyway, a couple, it was probably about a year later, we got pregnant and we weren’t trying. It was just one of those things and I remember thinking, okay, I heard you Heavenly Father. I get it. I’m listening to you and I recognize your hand in this detail, and I will be done. And so, at that point, the doctors had very much, told me that I could not have any more kids. They said, in fact, after my first son, the doctor said, I will not take care of you if you get pregnant again; he refused care. I had to go to another doctor. And then that doctor said, “If you have any more, I’m not going to help you with that pregnancy.” So literally my two doctors said they wouldn’t help me because my body was so weak. But I felt, you know, well, the Lord’s got it. I’m turning it to Him. So, if I get pregnant, then the Lord is you know, I’m trusting him. And after that we realized, okay, you know, I pushed my luck a little bit. And so that was really hard. That was a hard pill to swallow that I couldn’t have any more children. So yeah, that was a really low point in my life when I realized, that, you know, I kind of felt like half of a mom because half of a woman, because I didn’t, I wasn’t able to do that anymore. At the same time, I needed to raise my other three. And so, there was all these kinds of turning points and in my motherhood of like, but I really, it didn’t come easy. It seemed like all those things came from somebody else. Somebody else taught me something. And that’s when I was humbled enough to recognize the Lord and the detail. It didn’t just come so easy and each of those, and I think that’s why I specifically can remember some of those things because the Lord knows how I work. That I need something tangible. I need something to recognize. That I had to get kicked in the pants to understand. You know, it’s important that you do the Lord’s will, and not my will.
Darla: So, I’m, I’m picturing these years for you, and you are trusting, and you do have low points, but you are so trusting of Him. Where was He showing up? Where did it, can you give me any examples of just, places that you recognized that he was showing up in your life during that, I mean, it had to be difficult to be so sick and to have little kids and, and the miscarriages and so many hard things.
Kary Ann: I, you know, I think I was blessed with a companion who has more faith then anybody. I mean, he just trusts to the point sometimes where I’m like, do you not get it? Like it’s just not that easy sometimes for everybody to just trust in him like that. It’s easy for my husband. And so, I feel like through my husband many times there were things that came out that I just was like, I didn’t even think of it that way. We would sit and have scripture study or talk with the kids or he would say something. And I’m like oh, my gosh, I never, he has taught me so much, number one about the gospel, but number two about just trusting in the Lord. And so, I feel like I could see so often and my kids how much the Lord loved them. And I had a, my oldest had some eye problems. He still has eye problems and I have never prayed so hard than letting that first little child go into, you know, the surgical room, letting them go and trusting that these doctors and I just literally was physically ill. I mean just the thought of not being right there by my little guy’s side. And I remember thinking, who’s now 20 and he had gone through quite a few surgeries. I remember thinking the Lord is with him. Like his other father, his father in heaven’s like with him. So, I feel like there was so many times that happened where I’m like, it doesn’t matter that I’m there because if I teach my kids to trust in the Lord, they’re going to know he’s there. And I wasn’t necessarily taught that. And I was learning that as a mom and then trying to teach them. And so, I feel like he was everywhere, and I can look back now. And I see him everywhere and I think, “Oh man, I wish I would’ve recognized that.” One of the places for me where I find solace is the temple. And the other place for me is water. There’s something about the ocean and rivers, it does something to my soul. It calms my soul. And it seems like my mind opens and he can talk to me. And so, there was one time specifically I, it happened many times, but I, and this was just a couple of years ago where I was finishing up my degree. I did my, my bachelor’s at BYU Idaho. And I did it in about two and a half years. So, I had three teenagers, you know, and I was getting my bachelor’s degree and my husband said, you are so stressed; pack up your bag. We are leaving. And I said, where are we going? I don’t have time. Like I’ve got things. We got in the car and we drove, you know, the five and a half hours to California, and he said we pulled up to the beach and he said just go, go put your feet in the water. And the whole time I was kind of frustrated as we were driving out. Like I didn’t clean the house. I don’t want to come back to a dirty house, you know, I still had a couple assignments I needed to finish up that night. You know all these things because that’s how I am, a little list-maker, and I need to check off boxes and we got to the beach and I got out of the car. He had all the kids in the car and I just walked out through the sand and stood in the water. I was just there, and I just like sobbed and I just kind of let my worries wash away in the ocean. And I remember feeling that peace of Heavenly Father’s creation, that creation, I feel like was there. He created the oceans and the water for me because I can ground myself in it. Well, I got back in the car and he said, “Are you good?” I said, “We can drive back right now and I’m good, but let’s go to the hotel.” And we just giggled, and he just knew what I needed at that moment and I feel like so many times when we are not distracted, and we see what other people like my husband doe,s and he can see what I need. He was there, he was in those details and I don’t think my kids understood like why can’t I get out and go play in the water? And my husband saw mom just needs a minute. Like she just needs to not be a mom. She needs to not be a wife. And she just needs to like let it cry. And literally it changed the course of everything because I realized it’s those simple things for me. You know, it’s the small and simple things that bring these huge things to pass. And I was able to just kind of my shoulders relax and like I can do this, I can, I can get the schoolwork done and I can balance being a mom. My husband at the time was a bishop, so we had all these things going on and I remember thinking, “Yeah, I can do hard things.” And I reflect on that on a weekly basis. Like it could be worse, you know? It’s the little things that will let that burden go away. And for me it was that, putting my feet in the ocean. So sometimes it’s putting my feet in the bathroom water and my kids are like, “Mom’s washing her feet. What’s wrong?” But it’s true. There’s something about it that heals me, and it may seem silly, but you know, somebody else, it’s taking a walk or somebody else it’s podcasting or getting, you know, a two mile run in whatever it is that you find. You can kind of commune with the Lord and just recognize his hand in things. Then whatever, how silly it is or how not silly. It’s your thing and you need to find it because it’s important that you find something where you can feel grounded like my husband taking me there. It’s just silly, you know?
Darla: I totally love that. And yeah, you’re making me think of what the prophet’s been teaching us for all these months about hear Him, right. How do you hear Him? And you have made that connection that it’s through water. And I love that because you’re giving hope to someone who doesn’t quite know how they connect with him. And you’re giving hope that it doesn’t have to be in the way that someone else does. And it may not even be in a conventional, way that we think about in the gospel, you know, we think, oh, I read the scriptures and I connect with him. Or oh, I go to church and I do this. But it doesn’t always have to be, you know, those standard things. It can be just standing in the ocean.
Kary Ann: Yeah. For me it’s not. It’s pulling up my scriptures. Yes. It helps me and it reminds me, but my feet in the ocean my feet in the river at the bank. Just a couple of weeks ago we were up. I can’t even think what Saguaro Lake up in Mesa and just putting my feet. I don’t know what it is. I hope someday when I pass to the next life, He explains it because I’m grateful I found it. I know I’ve got lots of friends where they, I have one who said I can just sit and listen to the whistle of the trees or birds chirping. And I’m like, really? Like, yeah, that doesn’t really do anything for me. But for me just feeling the water. I, I can’t explain it, but it, that’s when I talk my best to him. And that’s when I get my most advice from him.
Darla: I love that. I love that. The phrase that I’ve been thinking a lot about lately is God is a personal God. He comes to us individually and, and you illustrate that point perfectly. So, anybody who’s wondering, how do I hear him? Maybe it’s in a way that you really would never have thought, and you would never think. But I love that your husband helped you to see that it helped you to make that communication, you know, that connection. And, and to know that that is so beautiful. I love that you have figured that out.
Kary Ann: Well, and I think he didn’t necessarily find it in a sense of like, Oh, let’s do this for mom. I think it was more like, she’s crazy. Like she needs a break. We need to find something. She needs a break from her life. And he recognized that. And so, and he knew that ocean calmed me and so, I don’t think he knew the depth of that. And so, there’s lots of times where I’m like, I need to go to the ocean. Like I need to it is medicine. It’s medicine for me. And so, for whatever it is that, that helps somebody. I, you know, some people can get lost in a book, they can sit down and get lost in a book and that is enough for them to quiet their mind. It doesn’t do that for me. It may not do that for you. But finding those things that quiet our minds so we can hear Him is so essential, especially as moms because sometimes well not Sometimes we do get lost in who we are. We lose our identity. All of us do in a sense of we’re doing it, we’re serving our family and we’re serving our kids and our husbands doing all these other things and trying to balance everything out. It’s hard for us to hear our own needs, much less hear Him. And so, if we don’t find those things, that makes it really tricky to be a good mom and be a wife and a good sister and all those things.
Yeah. What a blessing that your husband helped you to recognize that and you know, just even though he probably didn’t realize that he was doing something that God needed for you to have, but he just did it and, and it all worked out. As I’m hearing your story, I’m kind of seeing the theme that you, you learn a lot from the other people in your life that God places people in your life to guide you and direct you and to help you to know who he is. So, I would love to know what have your children taught you about God and about your relationship with Him and about the gospel?
Kary Ann: Oh man, that’s, my kids have taught me everything. That’s the thing. There are so many times we have sat, especially with this new Come Follow Me program, and my husband will give out an assignment for Come Follow Me and the kids will teach. And I’m like, what in the world? How do you know that? Like it just blows my mind and I constantly find myself saying we do not give kids enough credit. And I, I’ve always believed that, um, really they need, we need to listen to them and we need to see what they see in their world because they really were preserved at this time. To be here at this time to teach us. I, I had specifically when, when you said that I had this one thought. In November, one of my kids was just really not communicating with me. And, I just said, “What is going on? Like I really want you to tell me.” And the, the comment to me was stop pushing. You will push until you get your answers. And I said, “Something’s up and if you don’t communicate, I can’t fix it.” And I think when I said that I made myself vulnerable enough and it was like, “Okay, you are you sure you want to hear it?” And the child responded to me and said, “Are you sure because I’m just going to tell you how it is.” And I said, “Yeah, tell me the truth; like what’s going on?” And the response taught me something huge and this kiddo said, “For so long I’ve been wanting to tell you and I’ve been too scared.” And I literally was like, “Why are you scared to tell me something?” and basically, proceeded to say how they felt some of the, basically my weaknesses, but things that I was doing that was making them feel Inadequate. And I listened and cried and the only response. I mean, no one’s ever said anything to me like that. I wouldn’t say hurtful is the right word. That wasn’t it. It humbled me to understand my actions, how much my actions create their reaction, and I literally was all like, all that came out of my mouth was, “Thank you so much for telling me. I love you so much and I’m so grateful you did this.” And I remember hearing at that moment kind of like sigh of relief. They didn’t scream at me. It was a turning point and I’m not kidding, this just happened in November. It was a turning point for me as a mom of like, how did I not open up that gate where they, that person can feel or any of my children can feel like I was approachable enough that they could say that? And so, a couple of weeks kind of passed and I just, my first reaction was I just went to the temple the next day. I went for like five or six days straight after that and started just going back to the temple a couple of times a week trying to just find peace within me of not having mom guilt, number one. Number two, knowing I’m doing the best that I can, but number three, really finding, like, how can I be better? Like how can I be better tomorrow than I was today? And so, a couple of weeks later this kiddo and I were talking and, and I just said, “I just want you to know I’ve done better. I’ve been better. I’m working on it and I’m so grateful.” The response that came back to me was “I had been so scared that you would not want to talk to me, that you know, you would be so angry.” And I’m like, “Have I ever made you feel that way?” It made me sick. But how many times in our lives are we afraid to go to Heavenly Father and say something or do something? And I just kept thinking that in my mind. That I, at some point, gave a judgment or at some point gave that feeling where they felt like they couldn’t talk to me. And I don’t know that I’ve ever been in a lower point as a mom and yet now I feel like, why didn’t this kiddo tell me this years ago because I would be a totally different person because I approach things completely differently now. And so that has probably been one of the biggest turning points as a mom and single moments that I can remember my kids teaching me that number one they were feeling enough trust that they can tell me this thing. And it wasn’t like I did anything crazy. It also taught me that they’re learning and they’re growing and they’re building their testimonies and they’re growing their trust for people and they felt like they couldn’t trust me because of maybe what my response would be. It has. It’s been huge for me too, when anything happens, so I now have a new, a new way that I deal with something. Like if something is said, I pause. I wasn’t really that mom, I would just have a response right away and now I’m like, I need a timeout, you know, and I take a walk or I go outside and water the garden. My plants were growing really crazy good because I was out tending to my garden a little bit. Just finding other kind of coping skills of how do I react to this or how do I respond to this or how do I, even things that weren’t necessarily anything I did, but how do I, how do I approach this? Like Heavenly Father would use it as a teaching moment. And so, my husband was already good at it, but I wasn’t, I would just say it and I’m like, I think that’s just kind of the authenticity of me where my husband could just say something, and it would come out really kind. And I’m like, I, that’s not really like, but it’s this and I need, I realized that I need that moment to kind of process my thoughts before it comes out. It’s been huge. It’s been a huge thing for me to, to help recognize how I can grow because it’s helped me across all things that I’m doing in my life as a mom, as a wife, you know, everything as just a disciple of Christ and to act as he would do. And so, I finally one day told my other two kids a little bit about that conversation and they’re like, good. That conversation needed to happen. I thought, “Who do you think you are?” You know, but really, I wish because we’ve always had an open relationship. I just wish that I had said that. Be honest with me. Just tell me I’m not going to be hurt. I somewhere along that line gave this, that I would be offended, which I wouldn’t be. But you know, I, I think the kids don’t want to, you know, they don’t want to disappoint us. And somewhere along the line I made them think that I was disappointed and that wasn’t the case at all. But it’s, the communication between parents and child that is so complex. I’m telling you, learning from other people has helped me and watching my friends and I’m like, “Oh, I wish I would’ve handled that that way,” or “Oh, I wish I would’ve taught my kids that,” or :Have you felt like have you seen that in your own life?”
Darla: Totally. What I love about this is the Christlike attribute of humility. I mean that’s really from my perspective, what you were learning, is how to be humble. And when we are humble, the Spirit can teach us. We can learn from other people. And we can become better. We can become, who heavenly father wants us to be. And I, I think, I think sometimes learning that humility, and we’re kind of at the same stage of motherhood. So ,tell me if this is what your experience has been, but that has been a shift for me of going from a mom of little kids to a mom of older kids. When you’re a mom of little kids, you’re kind of the authority and you know what you say goes sort of, you know, and you have to make a transition. And being humble is part of that. To say “My kids have something to teach me.” And not to say that they don’t have something to teach you when they’re young, but I love that, how that story illustrates that, that transition that you have these older kids and they’re not even kids anymore. They’re, they’re becoming adults and they have something to share with you that can bless your life, that could help you the rest of your life to be a better person. And not only a better mom, but a better, like you said, a disciple of Jesus Christ. And that’s, that’s a beautiful thing about motherhood. I think it’s hard. It’s hard to make that transition, but it’s a beautiful thing. I love it.
Kary Ann: And I don’t think, I think, that, you hit right on that. I don’t think I transitioned well. I know that it’s not about, I don’t think. I did not transition well, to I’m not just your mom. I need to listen. And that was really what it is. “You don’t listen to what I’m saying,” is basically what the gist of the whole thing was. And I thought, but I’m the mom. Like you listened to me, and that’s what it was. So, you just taught me that. That’s really the transition didn’t happen. And I’ll tell you, parenting baby adults is not easy, and is not for the faint at heart. And yet it is a brilliant time. I’ve loved every, every stage of motherhood I’ve loved. But now I’ve got 16 19 and 20 and so by the end of this year, I’ll have 17 20 and 21 so I’ve got adults, I’ve got baby adulting happening in our house and it is not easy, but man, is it fun to see them doing things and you just think, how rad are you? Like you’re doing that. I would have never been doing that at that age. They’re just such rad kids, And, and yet I got in the way of some of that. And that’s what I’ve learned is that we need to step back a little bit and we need to listen more and let them, do their thing. Let them fail. Let them crash a little because that’s, this is the best time for them to learn when they’ve got that safety net of us. But I’ve also learned this because in a transition of a year, I went from having three kids at home to having one on a mission who had just graduated, and another one getting ready to graduate, and one, you know, at the end stage of high school, and it is the nuttiest thing when you realize, oh my gosh, we’re closer to empty nesting. And the important role that my transition of a mom is, I’m closer to a grandma than I am of being a mom, you know, you, you’re in this weird stage of like, who am I? Because now I want my kids to be home and me making them food. I love serving them, but it’s weird to think I don’t want you to leave. I just, I’ve got everybody home right now. Everybody’s, you know, home because of this Covid 19 and I’m loving it. I’m like, why do you have to go to work? Like just stay home. Be with me. I’ll make you food all day. I love it, but that’s not the reality of things is that they are going to leave. And that is probably for me. The very hardest part of motherhood is trusting that I’ve done what I’m supposed to do so they can go and it is a hard thing to let them go on a mission. It’s a hard thing to let them leave the house and here I am saying let but, we don’t want to, we don’t want our kids to go. You know, and yet we have to trust in the Lord that we’ve done our part to teach them, and that they will take what we taught and they will be good and they will do good and they’ll be kind and they’ll go out into the world and change the world. And I know that they will, but it’s hard. It’s hard to let go.
Darla: Yeah. That good old thing of agency, such a great gift. But it’s so hard for parents. It’s so hard to be a parent and let your kid have agency. It really, it really is hard. But yeah, I feel you. I’m right there with you. I know exactly, exactly what you’re saying. And I have loved everything that you’ve shared. I think a younger mother, you know, can look to you and maybe not make those same mistakes and make that transition a little bit, a little easier because you’ve been willing to share your story and I just, I love that. I love talking to you so much. I do have one final question for you and that is, how have you seen them felt your heavenly parents as your partners in motherhood?
Kary Ann: You know, for me, the temple has been such a place of peace and learning in the temple and being in the temple and learning that I can be what Jesus wants me to be. I’ve, I’ve learned that in the temple and felt that Peace that it brings to me. And I work, I work as a photographer and I see on a regular basis, moments in life that I capture. Um, I see little, almost like the veil pulled away for a moment and I think I am amazed at how much Heavenly Father loves me enough to trust me with his children. I can’t imagine how hard that was for him to do that. And so, I, I think of that often, you know, I think as a young mom I thought, are these really mine? Like I get to take them out of the hospital, like, do I have to sign them out or how does this work because he trusted me and now I feel like all the time how grateful I am that these kids were put In my home to teach me, but more importantly that Heavenly Father and Heavenly Mother loved me enough to give his kids to me for a little bit to try and do what I can do and mess them up in my mess up way and love them here on earth and then turn them back over to Him. It’s just like I just feel like he has taught me so many times. It seems like most of the time in pain where I recognize that that pain will go away and he’s there, you know? I feel like I’ve been given that gift to really feel him often. And to constantly humble myself and remember that they’re not mine. And they’re just on loan and, and that I got lucky enough to be placed in their path and it’s because Heavenly Father and Heavenly Mother were willing to trust me.
Darla: Yeah. That’s beautiful. I love that. Kary Ann, thank you so much for being here today. I really appreciate it.
Kary Ann: Thank you so much for having me. You are just a light and I love what you’re doing with this podcast. I know it’s blessing the lives of so many and it’s nice when we can be vulnerable and, and share, and not criticize, you know? I think so often in the world, people are so quick to judge and point the finger instead of recognizing none of us are perfect and learning, I’m like you said, I’m big on that. That when we learn from each other, it’s way more. I just think we teach each other so much more and I love that you’re doing this and connecting people. That helps make their experience be, you know, a little less painful, and helps others to recognize that we’re all in the same boat. We’re just in different places.
Darla: Yeah. I think it’s so I think it’s so important that we know each other’s stories and we know we’re not alone.
Kary Ann: I totally agree. So, I appreciate you having me on and trusting me to share my thoughts.
Darla: Oh, it’s been a delight. Thank you so much.
Kary Ann: Thank you.
Outro: I hope you enjoyed the podcast and if you did share it with a friend. I would love it if you would leave a review and rate it on Apple podcasts. This actually helps more moms to find the podcast and to gain confidence in their ability to hear and follow God’s voice in motherhood. For show notes, resources, and information about courses to help you be more spiritually minded, head over to spirituallymindedmom.com. For more motherhood inspiration. Follow along on Instagram @spirituallymindedmom. Have an amazing day and remember, you are a beloved daughter of heavenly parents who want you to succeed and who want to be your partner in motherhood.