Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Once Upon A Time

LDS Printables: General Conference
What are you doing to make your "Once Upon A Time" the very best that it can be?

A couple years ago, I was feeling the pinch that comes with being "just a stay at home mom". The kids were abundant, the money was tight, and so we decided to have me stop working and stay home. Up until that point I had always worked in one fashion or another, most recently running my own very successful business as a birth doula. 

I was sort of a fish out of water. I didn't know my purpose, beyond, you know, keeping everyone alive. I felt sort of stunted too. I was this PERSON who was no longer doing anything that in the eyes of the world equated value because my bank account registered zero. 

I was a bit a lost. 

So, I really had to soul-search, to find what it was that I wanted out of this new gig I'd been gifted. Yes, utmostly (is that a word?) I wanted happy, healthy, productive children. Of course. But there is more to it than just the kids. 

I wrote, as an answer, a personal Manifesto. It outlines what I believe I am, and what I believe I want to be doing with my life. 

I still look back and refer to it on occasion, though I remember it in detail. 

More importantly though, I'm living it. 

Do you have a manifesto? Whether written or implied, who are you? What do you want with your life? 

Are you living your manifesto? 

Are you learning and growing? 

My mother is SUCH an incredible example of someone who lives her "Once Upon A Time" while working for her "Happily Ever After:" As a child, I watched her learn, grow, and teach us the same. She taught herself Greek and Hebrew, she sewed, cooked meal after meal, served tirelessly in callings, at the schools, taxied us, and on and on. She was and is amazing at living her "Once Upon A Time" As we've grown and reluctantly left the nest, she has continued to make her life HERS, while living FOR CHRIST. 

It is a talent I try to develop. 

You only get this one chance. 

Just one. 

And yes, the days can be terribly boring, dirty, gritty and exhausting, no matter your chosen profession, but are you still seeking the good in all things? 

Don't ever stop reaching for light, growth, and to attempt to get a bit closer to that PERFECTION that Christ has in store for you. 

Friday, October 18, 2013

1 Peter Chapter 1

I really wanted to do a VLOG for this post, but there are three short people who are refusing to cooperate, so I give up! Written word it is.

In 1 Peter, chapter 1, it says, "Where ye greatly rejoice though now, for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ."  (1 Peter 1:6-7).

Then in verse 8:

This has been on my mind a lot lately, rejoicing THROUGH trials, difficulty, the things we have to GET through. None of us is exempt from trials or pain. None get the "get out of trials free" card in this life. We knew what we were getting in to, when we signed on.

Yet, sign on we did. For all the pain and sadness, we knew we'd find true joy. Just like the apostle Peter said, the TRIAL is precious because brings praise, honor and glory to Christ from us.

Trials are a form of sanctification.

Trials are holy.

Trials, in their awful, nitty, gritty, dirty, down low, painful, worldly, earthly, exhausting way, are holy.

At the end, Peter promises, "Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls." (1 Peter 1:9)

If we can view the things we are being tried with as HOLY, DIVINE promises of further grace, further light and knowledge, further growth spiritually, it allows us a greater, deeper patience.

More patience within, more patience in trial.

Because that refiner's fire is oh so hot, sometimes, we waste precious time and energy pulling away, refusing to participate more fully in our own refinement.

But Peter assures us that our souls are in the salvation process as we are tried, as each day we don't give up.

He sums it up beautifully in verses 13, "Wherefore, gird up the loins of your mind, be sober and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ."

We can't know the plans that the Lord has but we know He wants good to come to us, through Him.

So, let's go forward, girding our loins, fresh courage taking, determined to be better.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

How to Handle Bad Days

It's sort of a catch 22... be happy, be joyful, be grateful, be happy. I mean, we've got so many blessings!! We have no business being grumpy, or irritated, or tired, or headachy, or...

Except when we're grumpy, or irritated or tired or headachy or...

See, today? Today I'm not in the mood. I'm not in the mood to cook for the five ravenous children demanding to be fed.

I'm not in the mood to educate my children.

I'm not in the mood to do the dishes.

Or the laundry.

Or deal with the CONSTANT mini-battles that seem to define and shape the interactions of my children.


And I feel guilty about that.

I'd LIKE to want to.

I'm not actually sure WHY I don't want to.

But, I just know that I've already threatened to lock each and every one of my sons outside for the duration because of one reason or another.



Phew. I wish even that small tirade made me feel less like running away screaming.

It didn't.

I think we all have days when we just don't feel like doing the things we're supposed to do everyday.

Some days we feel less happy and thrilled with life than others.

It's normal. 

Thing is, I think the way we handle THESE kinds of days are the real test, ya know? How do you deal with the frustrations, the little challenges, the little tests? How can you rise above your own desires (TO BE LEFT ALONE) and serve the way we've been called to?

Here are some ways to deal with the days like this:

1. Pray. Pray for strength. Pray for a quiet heart. Pray that God will grant you the wisdom to get through a tough moment. There are times when I genuinely have to simply walk away from my children, go to my room, shut the door and hit my knees. In times when that isn't possible, a prayer heavenward in my mind can remind me of my purpose.

2. Change it up. Can you shake up your routine in any way? What can you do differently? Go for a walk? Put in the afternoon at the park? Make something untraditional for dinner? What can you do to make it all seem less frustating? Less monotonous?

3. Enlist help. I think sometimes, (not all the time) it is appropriate to share with your kids that you are having a rough day. It's okay to ask them for help, to ask them to be kinder and more patient with each other, because it will help YOU be kinder and more patient with them. I don't think there is harm in showing your children that you are human.

4. Work. The best cure for not wanting to work, is to get up and get to work. Work your frustrations out on that dirty counter, or the pile of laundry. Instead of loafing and wasting time, getting to work will allow you, despite your initial feelings, a great deal of satisfaction. You worked that frustration to your favor.

Gordan B. Hinckely said,“The best antidote I know for worry is work. The best cure for weariness is the challenge of helping someone who is even more tired. One of the great ironies of life is this: He or she who serves almost always benefits more than he or she who is served.”
― Gordon B. Hinckley, Standing for Something: 10 Neglected Virtues That Will Heal Our Hearts and Homes

5. Accept that every single day will not be sunshine and roses. It's okay. Tomorrow will be better. While we are that we might have joy, most days are just regular days. Try and find the joy in the moments. If there simply isn't any, then hang on, because you never know what tomorrow will mean.

Hang in there. I know that for myself, today, I'm surviving. I'm trying NOT to be a grumpy mom. I'm failing. But, I'm going to go practice the above list, and I'm having faith that it will get better.

Monday, October 14, 2013

A Lesson From A Goat

My life is strange. I have these goats. They are funny creatures, who are mainly tasked with mowing the lawn. They do an EXCELLENT job, as I have not used the lawn mower since July. LOVE that.

Our goats though tend to prefer to aim higher than merely grass. I had to fence in my poor abused peach tree babies because the goats were nuts for their leaves. The fuzzy peaches held no fascination and were all quickly wasted and knocked to the ground.

Any small sapling or low hanging branch is for their taking. And if it's tall or hard to reach, they will still try, often using one another to stack themselves a bit taller to reach.

It's funny, and obnoxious all at the same time.

They are determined to reach higher.

They are not hungry, there is a plethora, a feast even upon the ground and yet those delectable leaves, the ones that at first glance seem out of reach are irresistible to them.

This afternoon, my kids came in to report that Sally, the most determined of the trio had climbed the ladder left propped next to a shed-in-progress that Derek is working on. She had done so in order to get to the brilliant red maples leaves completely out of reach. Sure, she could eat the ones that had fallen to the ground, but the ones up higher were just so much better.
Practicing Perfection 2013
And you know, I have been thinking about the applications of that darn goat-on-the-roof situation all afternoon.

Here is what I have concluded:

It is so important to be happy with all we have, to be content and grateful for that which the Lord has given us.


We also always need to be aiming higher. How can we practice perfection and eternal progression if we're stagnant?

Be grateful for the lengths and strides you've made, do not wallow in the imperfections, but always always be working hard to achieve the potential that the Lord has in mind for you. 

The famous Billy Graham said, "Being a Christian is more than just an instantaneous conversion- it is a daily process whereby you grow to be more and more like Christ." 

Don't get complacent, don't get discouraged. Be thankful, and prayerful and keep moving upward, reaching for the heights God wants you to reach. 

You got this! 

Thursday, October 10, 2013

When All is Said and Done


I've been reading through conference talks... it was so good wasn't it? 

I want to share with you what Sister Linda K. Reeves, second counselor in the Relief Society General Presidency said during the Relief Society General Broadcast. 

I want to touch upon another way that can instill us with confidence and faith. We sometimes, as women, have a tendency to be very critical of ourselves. During these times we need to seek the Spirit and ask, “Is this what the Lord wants me to think about myself, or is Satan trying to beat me down?” Remember the nature of our Heavenly Father, whose love is perfect and infinite.6 He wants to build us up, not tear us down.
As members of the Church, we may sometimes feel that we need to be part of a “perfect LDS family” in order to be accepted by the Lord. We often feel “less-than” or like misfits in the kingdom if we feel we do not fit that picture. Dear sisters, when all is said and done, what will matter to our Father in Heaven will be how well we have kept our covenants and how much we have tried to follow the example of our Savior, Jesus Christ.
I love this quote. This quote perfectly sums up what my goal with this whole project is: To help people understand that the atonement of Jesus Christ allows for us to be accepted, even with our imperfections. Through His sacrifice, we are made clean, and deemed worthy through His grace. 
Never allow Satan to make you feel like you don't belong, that you aren't good enough. YOU are His, a daughter of the Most High. 
That is more than enough. 

Monday, October 7, 2013

Excerpt from PRACTICING PERFECTION, Chapter Four, Perfection Within the Church

Chapter Four: Perfection Within the Church
“I have a sister who no longer attends church. One of the excuses she gave me was because she felt like we expected too much of people when being perfect wasn't possible. That really got me thinking about what it is. The concept of perfectionism is a difficult one to understand. Why should we strive to attain something that we know isn't possible? Yes, we probably won't achieve perfection, but striving for perfection gets us so much farther along than throwing our hands up in the air and just demanding that it's not possible. We are asked to strive to be perfect, not to reach perfection. There is a big difference. Once I figured this out I understood the pressure much better and it made it much easier to deal with!” ~Amy~

 “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect” (Matthew 5:48).  Jesus didn’t charge us with trying to keep up with everyone else’s assumed or observed spiritual perfection.
Yet, so often within the world of the church, we find ourselves comparing, contrasting, wondering what she has that I don’t, wishing we could be as spiritual as that person, or that person.

While the gospel is a beautiful and simple gift, it can very difficult in the church (as in our ward families, stakes, or even neighborhoods, depending on your address) to remember that we are all experiencing the simplicity of the gospel in our own special, personal way.

As discussed in the social media chapter, when we find ourselves looking outward, and judging, we easily can become discontent with what we do have.

“Judging? I’m not judging.”
Yes you are. Even if your view of the person whom you are looking at is positive, you are still judging.
In the world full of “tolerate this, don’t judge me, I’m doing right by me,” we have begun conditioning ourselves to think, “I feel a certain way about something but that doesn’t mean I’m judging.” After all, in Matthew, right before Christ reminds up about the whole beam/mote scenario, he says, “Judge not, lest ye be judged.”

So, instead of “judging not,” we do judge, try to act like we’re not, and then in turn are judged by others. It’s just a cycle.

Let’s look at it in a less literal way, and use the rest of the chapter to give us some guidance. After Christ says not to judge, he reminds us that our own issues are of real concern and no one else’s should we be worried about. Then, in verse 5 he tells us all to not be hypocrites.

Ah, there it is. The key word. “Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye.” (Matthew 7:5)

Don’t be a hypocrite. Don’t judge.

All right. It is super easy to just say “Stop judging”. There, I just said it. But to actually practice it? Well. That is a whole other ball game. 

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Blessings WILL Come


Do you ever feel like you're just not getting what you need from Heaven? There have been times in my life when I have felt confused, scared, worried, and utterly inept. 

It didn't help that when I prayed, I felt like the blessings I needed weren't coming. 

When I was very nearly due with my fifth baby, I just wanted to be DONE. I prayed that she'd come. She didn't. All of my kidlets come at 39 weeks 5 or 6 days. Always. Every time. 

I didn't want to wait. I wanted her OUT and I wanted it NOW. I started this line of thinking at oh, 37 weeks. 

But, I waited. I prayed. I cried. I walked. I walked. I walked. 

And when she came, perfect, healthy, and whole at 5 o'clock in the morning at 39 weeks 6 days, JUST LIKE THEM ALL, I was reminded:

Blessings come to us when God knows it's time. NOT when we do. 

Elder Holland so eloquently reminded us if this in April 2013 conference. 

Sometimes we get exactly what we wanted, like a kid on Christmas morning. 

But... our Heavenly Parents know us better than we know ourselves. Sometimes this means we get DIFFERENT blessings than we think we need. 

And when we're trying our hardest, and sometimes, even when we're just barely scraping by, the Heavens open in ways and means we couldn't have imagined. 

What is in your heart today? What are you praying fervently for? Don't give up. Pray that God's will, which is perfect, will be done in your life. Have faith that all HE wants for you is goodness. It will come. 

It will come. 

Doctrine and Covenants 104:2 
With promise immutable and unchangeable, that inasmuch as those whom I commanded were faithful they should be blessed with a multiplicity of blessings;