Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Take Your Place

A message I gave at my church's Relief Society birthday party in March.  Just thought I would share.


A few weeks ago I was having a bad morning.  The kind where your 4-year old is throwing a fit over breakfast and the baby is yelling in the high chair.  I looked around myself and saw a mess of a house in every room.  Dishes piled high, laundry to be done, food stuck to the wall, toys and junk mail scattered everywhere, shoes (mostly mine), diapers, bottles, burp clothes, spills on the floor, unmade beds, uncleaned carpets, a bathroom coated in water spots and toothpaste, bottles of various products and wet wash clothes.  Stairs with dust and dirt in the corners and the massive clutter of things that get put on top of other things waiting for me to decided where their home really is or if they are even needed.  I thought of my seemingly mile long to-do list tat didn't even include "deep clean the house because for. the. love how can you stand it anymore!"  All the while the 4-year old fit still playing in the background and I thought "Heaven help me I can't do this anymore!  I just can't."

I was on the verge of my very own 40-year old fit and decided to put on some music to soothe the savage beast within me.  The first song that played was "Come Take Your Place" by Hilary Weeks.  I started to cry.  I listened to the words and they touched me.

"You carry the light of the Son.
An running through your veins is royal blood.
You're the strong, You're the brave, You're the faithful
You have been saved for this moment in time
You hear the call, you feel the flame, you've been prepared
Come take your place."

I had been pondering what message I wanted to share with you as sisters and in that crazy chaotic moment of my life I knew this was it.

Sisters.  Do you know how loved you are?

Just think about it.

Some of us are blessed to know we are loved without doubt.  Never questioning.  Others struggle daily, sometimes hourly with feelings of self worth and insecurity.  Still others are in between.  Bouncing back and forth.

I wish with all my heart that I could saw the words that would take all that insecurity away.  That every one of you could go home and never feel insecure again.  That my words could fix hearts, heal wounds, take pain away, put light in your eyes, give purpose to your step, to your life.  That I could change your whole outlook to one of joy, hope, confidence, and security.

But that is not my super power.  It's His.  You carry the light of the Son of God.  You.

Running through your veins is royal blood.

You are strong-- look at what you've faced, what you've gone through and are going through to be here.  This place in your life.  Here and now.  In your own specialized personal progression.  Look at your past and see His hand in your life.

You are brave-- You are brave
You are faithful.

You have been saved for this moment in time.  These latter days.  These days of joyous blessings amidst the seeming insanity of the world.  You were chosen to come here and now.  You are here when the gospel of Jesus Christ is strong and established and under attack because you are incredible.  You have something that the rest of the world needs.  You know that you are a daughter of God.  Your nature is divine.

You know that Heavenly Father is more than a vague concept.  You know he is real and cares very much about what happens in your life and your level of joy.  "Men are that they might have joy."

You know that you can talk to him and he will listen.  Hey will answer your prayers.  He will help you through your trials.  He loves you.  As you are and who you will become.  He is your Father, the father of your spirit, the creator of you.  And if you doubt his love for you... Ask him.

Ask Him.  Out loud or in your heart, simply ask God of his love for you.  He will answer.

You hear the call and you answer.
You feel the flame of the Spirit testifying of truth, the truth of who you are and what this life is all about.
You've been prepared.
Come take your place.

Want to learn more about Relief Society and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints?  Visit www.lds.org

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

My Mom Must Hate Me

It's the only explanation.  She must hate me else why would she do the things she does?

Ben here by the way.  Mom's off doing laundry and other super fun stuff that I'm not allowed to do.  Again.  She calls them chores but I think that anything that has to be done that much must be something fun.  But I digress.  She hates me.

I can think of no other reason why she would do the things she does.  Her and Dad both!  The two of them together drive me nuts sometimes!  You should have seen them this morning.  I started putting the helicopter and the man on the table so we could all eat breakfast together.  I mean helicopters get hungry too ya know.  Dad told me that I couldn't do that.  I looked at him like he was crazy because clearly he was.  I immediately went to mom because she's usually the more level headed of the two and would see the idiocy of the whole thing, but bam! Not this morning!  Oh no, it was all "You know the rules, no toys on the table when we eat."

Toys.... TOYS!!!  Didn't she understand that these aren't toys they are my friends!  Friends don't sit out on meals!   Then she had the audacity to tell me I could put them on the stool next to me.  Like they are lower than me.  Second class citizens instead of die hard playmates that have my back every minute of the day.

Well I let her have it then.  I showed my frustration as clearly as I could and she just sat there... looking at me like I was daft or something.  I mean how hard is it to read body language anyways! And then she's all like "I can't understand you, use your words".  USE YOUR WORDS!!!  How much more clear can I get!  I threw the "toys".  I grunted in obvious frustration.  I even let out a little scream.  I was clearly upset, any food could see that.  (Okay, I did feel bad about throwing my friends, but they knew I needed all the help I could get to make my point for their sake.  I apologized to them and besides, they have my back.)  Then she had the nerve to tell me that I had to the count of 10 to pick up my "toys" and put them on the stool or they would be hers.  SERIOUSLY!  Am I the only one who sees this blatant hatred!  Why else would she threaten the lives of my friends unless she hated me.

But wait, there's more.  If that were the only instance this morning then I could possibly have let it slide.  But not so my friends... we're working with professionals here.  I finally capitulated for the good of my friends and put the helicopter and the man on the stool, where they sat apart... segregated... alone... , but not before mom got to 8, I'm not a complete push over you know.  And with great effort I over looked her obvious lack of care as she did not have the Bumbo seat (which she says I'm too big for, but that's another story) perfectly aligned with the back of the chair which I had to fix because otherwise my life would have been in danger.  (Those Bumbos are tricky you know, the slightest bit of misalignment could throw the whole thing off balance and I would tumble on the floor And Die.  I really don't know why they use them with babies anyway.)  So, after saving my own life from danger I was then left to... wait for it... pull myself up to the table!  Right!!!  I was clearly too far away and she just ignored it.  Totally ignored people!  What kind of mother is that anyway!  Please tell me I'm not the only one who has to deal with this stuff.  Sheesh!

SO with great effort I pull myself up to the table under her uncaring eye, tell myself that it's going to be okay and that I can handle it in the secret language that I use as a test to see if people really care (those who can understand are those who care because they have looked into my eyes... my heart and can see the pain and want to help.  Needless to say my parents don't understand.) and get ready for the prayer on the food.  That goes well... at least it did after I straightened out my fork several times during the prayer because it too was in the wrong place.  Big surprise.

Anyway, the prayer is said and I am once again left on my own.  The eggs that my mother put on my plate were not cut.  NOT CUT!  Like what am I supposed to do with that?!?  They aren't cut and there's no ketchup on my plate to be seen for my dipping pleasure.  I could very well starve! So with a bit of irritation in my voice I said "Cut my eggs now!"  Mom said "Excuse me?"  I said "Cut My Eggs NOW!" I also added a grunt for good measure and pointed with vigor at the offending uncut eggs.  And then she looked at me with calculated coldness and said... "Ask nicely."  And that was it.  I lost it!  A kid can only put up with so much and I. Was. Done!  Done I tell you!  I pulled out all the stops and yelled.  Oh I yelled.  I pointed at the offending eggs as I yelled and THEY JUST STARED AT ME!  Stared!!  Like I had two heads or something.  Like they didn't know what I was trying to say!   So I yelled more.  On and on I went.  And they laughed. LAUGHED! my parents looked at each other and laughed in the face of my pain.  The people who are supposed to love me best laughed!  My toys, my eggs, my lack of ketchup, my life!  They laughed! They said something to each about starving bad behavior, whatever that meant, and went on as if I weren't there. Oh it was horrible.  Horrible!

Mom cleared her dishes and I continued to yell.  She wiped down the table and I continued to yell.  It's like I wasn't there.  My yelling had no effect!  So I had to up my game.  I threw myself at her legs, grabbing her pants sobbing, and she pretended not to notice.  Well... at least I think she was pretending because she had to have felt my hands around her legs right?  I can't vouch for her hearing... I think that may be going.  She is old you know.   I usually have to repeat myself a lot.  But all of it?  No, I'm not buying it.  She had to notice.  But did she do anything? No.  Just acted like I wasn't there.  She even talked to my dad, who apologized to her and wished her luck for some reason.  I am the one she should be apologizing to.  But no.  Mom laughed with my dad, said thanks, and went back to the kitchen and all the while I was clinging to her leg. Unnoticed.

I just don't get it!  I don't.  I finally had to dumb it down for her.  I mean really dumb it down.  I finally said, "Mommy, will you cut my eggs please?" She said "what, I can't hear you?"  (See what I mean about the hearing part?)  So I said it again, louder this time.  Apparently that was the magic word or something, because at last... at long, long last, my eggs got cut.  Ketchup was put on my plate. A waffle was cut and added as well along with syrup and a glass of orange juice... and all was right in the world.

Maybe she doesn't hate me after all... maybe she's just hard of hearing.  Huh.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Blow Me To Bermuda!!

Do you ever have those days?

The days when you just want more than anything to be sitting on the beach with the drink of your choice in hand, soaking up the sun, reading a book maybe.  Nothing but the sound of the water hitting the sand.  Warmth filling your body.  No one needing your attention.  No one to take care of but yourself.  Warm.  Peaceful.  Alone.

Don't get me wrong, I love my family.  Really I do.  I just want the chance to miss them.  And them me. I feel trapped in this cycle of dishes/laundry/cooking/cleaning/Mom-I-need______  wash, rinse, repeat.  Like that's all I'm good for.

Not all days are like this, but more are than I am comfortable with.  It could very easily have something to do with it being January.  Icky grey weather, few chances to feel the warmth of the sun on my skin.  Running out of activities to do with children who also feel increasingly smothered by the lack of outdoors.

It could have something to do with the fact that I don't like any of my clothes and my hair still hasn't gotten to a length that I like and can work well with.

It could be financial stresses.  Not quite seeing how all those bills will be paid on time.  Trying to figure out what to cut down on that hasn't already been trimmed as much as possible.  Knowing deep down that it will all work out because we are doing what we can so it has to.  Right?  Doesn't it just have to somehow?

Starting a new job.  One that won't take too much out of the week, but enough to worry just a bit about how the scheduling of it all will work out.

So much to fit in.

Or it could be something different all together.  Something more on the inside rather than the outside.

In "The Gifts of Imperfection" I'm on the section about Cultivating Self-Compassion.  This passage has given me much to think about.

"Mindfulness: Taking a balanced approach to negative emotions so that feelings are neither suppressed nor exaggerated.  We cannot ignore our pain and feel compassion for it at the same time.  Mindfulness requires that we not 'over-identify' with thoughts and feelings, so that we are caught up and swept away by negativity."
So I don't want to ignore those negative emotions, but I don't want to over exaggerate their importance in my life either.  Feelings are real and need to be honored.  They need to be expressed so that the things that are causing those feelings can be dealt with.  Good and bad.

I have good things going on in my life as well.  My boys crack me up and I can't imagine loving them more.  Sometimes I just want to bask in those feelings of love for the little hugs and kisses, smiles and giggles.  Those big and little personalities that are so much a part of my life.  That I want to be a part of my life.

I am excited about my new job and a bit of time out of the house even though the schedule worries me a bit.  It might even help get us to a place where I could buy a shirt that I like! Maybe a pair of pants that fit and aren't technically maternity pants.  (oh the secrets you learn by reading this blog!)

Bottom line... I'm allowed to feel.  I have a right to feel.  Good and bad.  I will own it.  I will not shame myself for feeling down.  Especially in January, with no easy access to a beach and sun or Bermuda.  Though I would still like to go there.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Broken

This week has been hard.  I don't know if it is just one of those weeks or if my heart and mind are in just the right place to really make things difficult.

I've been writing things down throughout the week that I have discovered about myself.  I have thought about sharing them several times now and have chickened out repeatedly.  Thinking that if I gave it a little more time then maybe it wouldn't leave me so vulnerable when I finally did share it because time would numb it somehow?  I'm not so sure my strategy worked.

In fact, that's one of the things that I learned for certain this week.  I run from things in whatever way I can.  On Tuesday I found myself with 2 whole gloriously free hours.  One child at school, the other in bed, and my husband in meetings outside of the house.  Freedom my friends.  The perfect time to take a look at being authentic and figure some things out.  I headed to my desk, looked at the computer and books that were there waiting to guide me on my journey and picked up a pair of scissors and the tv remote.  I promptly settled in to episodes of One Tree Hill while cutting and sewing quilting squares for that two hours of gloriously free time.  Knowing full well that I was running away from myself.  And the cool things was I totally justified it!  Totally!  These quilt squares were going to be used to make quilts to donate to CAPSA.  A worthy cause.  It it wasn't for CAPSA it would have been for a gift for someone else, or for my son's bed or for anyone but myself because doing things for myself is selfish and unworthy, but doing them for someone else?  Totally noble and worth any sacrifice.

So realization #1:  I don't think that I'm worth spending time on.

I'm not for sure how far this extends.  Just myself? Others? Either way it runs pretty deep.  Which is why I fill my life with so many things for others, or so many chores that need to be done (the to-do list that won't quit!), or responsibilities that I have taken on myself, that it's impossible for my true self to get a word in edgewise.

And let's take a look at that one... true self.  Or rather the fear of letting my true self be known, be seen, be out there.

Somehow I have the impression deeply rooted in my psyche that my true self must be pretty ugly and unlovable because I'm so afraid that if I let all of myself out there I will be weighed and measured and found wanting.  How did that happen?  I don't think that I'm alone in this one.  What has caused me to focus so much on my flaws that I actually believe that I am more bad than good?  Or rather that the few "bad" points/character flaws/personality conflicts/whatever will outweigh any good that ever was in me and people will reject me outright.  "If they knew the real me they would not be my friends anymore."  And the crazy stupid thing is that when you spend enough time around people your flaws leek out automatically anyway and your friends see you for who you are and they still like you.  Even better than before.  Which means my true nature is actually out there but I'm the only one who doesn't know it and the only one who hasn't accepted me for me.

Realization #2: I'm the only one who hasn't accepted me for me.  I'm the one that weighed, measured, and found myself wanting.  I'm the one who can't see my beauty.

There's more.  But this is all I can share right now.  I'm trying not to push myself too much.  I don't want to get burnt out or rush through lessons that need more time to soak in.  And besides that, I'm not quite sure what to do with the realizations yet.  Changing the way one thinks and feels about oneself... well that's no simple task.

Till next time.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

The Down Low... The Low Down??

Okay... Authentic.

Let's see how this goes.

This will be my place of sharing.  My place to vent my frustrations, my a-has  and anything else that goes under showing up and being real.  It might get ugly for me... and painful... and wonderful.  That's what my gut tells me.  Learning is more often painful than easy.  And if you are reading this then you get to have a small part in the journey with me.  Please be kind my friends...

A little more on the why.  Why I chose this word.

I am a habitual people pleaser.  I want to make those around me feel validated and loved and better about life.  That by itself is no bad thing.  In fact it's very admirable.  But what if it's fake?  What if it's at the expense of my true feelings and my integrity?  What if my need to please people causes me to read things into a situation that just aren't there.  To think people are reaching out for help when they aren't.  To think that I'm more needed than I am.  To think that I can't say no to anything.  To be tossed about on every wave of perception at the expense of my own sanity and my ability to take care of those that I am legitimately responsible for.  In short, what if people pleasing is driving me mad!?!

That's kind of what I feel like.  But at the same time I am a very capable person.  I can do things for others.  The question is whether or not I should.

It's a dangerous thing to get trapped into thinking that the world would stop turning if we don't do something.  Or worse yet to think that we are the only ones who can do something because we are "clearly better at it" than anyone else.  Aren't we depriving others of a learning experience when we do this?

There are just so many thoughts running through my head these days about what is really right and what is really wrong.  What is just a habit or a routine, rather than a choice.  Something thought out and decided upon intentionally.  Honestly.

It's a little mushy in my head these days.  But back to people pleasing.  I have found that I am biting off way more than I can chew sometimes.  I think that I am more capable than I really am.  Not that I can't do the thing being asked, but that I can't do the thing being asked and make dinner.  Or spend time with my littles.  Or shower for crying out loud!  And then I find myself overwhelmed into a paralytic state with feelings of bitterness and anger.  Happy right?

I was in one of these states when I picked up Brene' Brown's book "The Gifts of Imperfection" and began reading it again.  I never finished it the first time because there was so much in it that I didn't want to rush it.  I wanted to take my time and really digest the information presented.  And you guessed it, it didn't happen.  It sat on my shelf patiently waiting for me to pick it up again when I was ready.

It's in Brene's book that she talks of authenticity.  It struck a chord.  A painful promising chord.  Painful in that it pricked my heart as something that I needed more of and would require change on my part.  Promising in that the false front would be removed.  I could stop hiding behind good intentions or false modesty.  I want to own my struggles and be able to admit when I'm having a hard time of it.  I want to be free.  Just free.

It scares me though.  It really does.
So again my friends... be kind.

PS.  I'm publishing this journey on this here blog because if I don't share it, I know myself well enough to realize that I will stop.  I will hide.  I will cower and forget the whole thing ever meant something.  I will sell myself short.  That said, if anything here offends, feel free to stop reading.

Friday, January 1, 2016

New Year, New Word

Here we go again my friends.  It's a new year and a new word.  In the past I have taken this a little more lightly.  I have chosen a word that I liked but didn't really require much of me. Something that I could reasonably achieve in a few moments of a-ha or even not really think of at all and still feel like I "done good".

This year??  Not so much.  In fact this year my word chose me.  I didn't want it to.  I stumbled across it, not even looking for it mind you, and it said "Hello there... I see that I make you a little uncomfortable, let's be friends.  In fact let's spend the whole next year together."  I cringed a little and said "Oh... that's okay.  You're cool and all but I don't know if I can really be myself around you."  It cleverly responded with "And that's the problem."

So without further ado, the word that chose me this year and I decided to keep is "Authentic".



Anyone out there see why I cringed?  

Lots for me to learn folks... lots to learn.

Happy 2016 everyone.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

I'm Here Because I Asked

There is so much going on in the world today that hurts my head and my heart.  So much hatred coming from so many different places.  Those far away, those near and dear to my heart.  So much misunderstanding and so many conclusions jumped to.  Love and kindness, or hatred and meanness?  Real? Perceived? Misguided?  Uninformed?  I don't know.

The LDS church of which I am a member, has recently made a change in the handbook concerning the ordinances of Blessing (giving a name and a blessing of an infant to be known on the records of the church) and Baptism of children being raised in a same-sex marriage household.  There are many different opinions going around as to the right and wrong of this decision.  My purpose in writing today is not to judge either way.  I am not interested in debating the rights and wrongs, perceived or real, in this change.  I don't have all the information.  I don't know all that went into this decision.  But I do know that it has made facebook explode with conversations about it.

So what is my place?  That is the question that I continually ask myself.  Where do I fit in this mess of religion, politics, and social media?

I first asked myself this question when the whole "pants to church" episode exploded people's minds.  I didn't know all that much about the movement at the time, but I was absolutely appalled at the hatred that showed up.  Women condemning other women for wearing pants to church and vice versa.  It hurt my head and my heart deeply.  The hatred.  And I found myself questioning my faith.  Questioning my belief.  Did I want to be a part of this?  

I sat in church one Sunday pondering these questions.  Pondering whether this church was the place for me.  Women whom I knew and loved were so full of anger on this topic, readily condemning those who were a part of this movement as faithless.  I did not feel the same way.  So where did I fit?  Where did I belong?  What was I to do?

I was in sacrament meeting, sitting on the front row, heart hurting, when I decided to ask.  Not my bishop.  Not my husband.  Not my parents.  Not my friends.  I asked God.  My Heavenly Father.  I said a prayer in my heart and asked Him where he wanted me to be?  I really wanted to know.  Where would He have me be, what would He have me do?  And guess what folks... I got an answer.  Peace descended on my heart and words came to my mind telling me that He would have me here.  In church, partaking of the sacrament and renewing my covenant to always remember Him, to follow Him, to keep His commandments.  I felt very strongly that I was right where the Lord wanted me to be, doing what He wanted me to do.  Which is strive to be like him. To learn his ways and practice loving like he does.

Practice. Loving.

Keep trying.  Keep learning.  Keep loving.  Keep going.

I do not have all the answers.  I don't think I'm ready for all the answers.  Living the gospel is given to us line upon line, precept upon precept.  Milk before meat. (Isaiah 28:9-10)  The lesser law (the law of Moses) was given before the higher law when the sacrifice and resurrection of Christ fulfilled the law of Moses.    Men were then commanded to sacrifice their will to God.  A broken heart and a contrite spirit.  A heart willing to follow God.  Something that was much more difficult to sacrifice than a lamb on the altar.

So I will stay here.  In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints because I asked God if it was still the place for me and he answered. I do not understand everything.  But I do know that God, my Heavenly Father, wants what is best for me, always.  And best does not always mean easy.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Just Enough...

This is what my life has been looking like lately.







Notice the things that are shoved to the side?

Making just enough room to get by.  Just enough room to set the table for breakfast.  Just enough room to open the door, get up the stairs, type on the computer.

It's just a sampling of the house.  Sadly every room is in that state.  Things are shoved aside in the bathroom giving just enough room to take care of personal hygiene.  

I try, I really do.  The pictures you see are the ones taken after I at least picked up the toys, because no matter how you paint it, if there's very little room to move around, cars/animals on the floor just aren't going to work for personal safety.  They get stepped on... and then cursed at under my breath. But that's beside the point.

The point.  My point that I'm trying to get at, is that's it's okay.  It's okay to have times where you do just enough.  It's not a sign of laziness, apathy, or bad housekeeping.  It does not mean you are a bad person.  It does not mean anything negative at all.  It means that there are some things that are just more important.  It may mean that you have so many irons in the fire that a nice clean organized house is just not in the cards for awhile.  And that's okay.

I saw something on facebook a few nights ago that said "You didn't let your three year old drive the car today right?  Then you're a good mom!"

Take that to heart my friends.  Are your children still alive at the end of the day?  Did they get fed?  Success! 

On a side note, this happened:


He turned three months old last Saturday.  Three whole months!! He's filled out, he's babbling all the time, he's smiling and happy and such a blessing in my life.  And usually he gets more of my time than just enough.  Just as it should be.