The Punctuation of Life

The past couple of months have been hard.  They have been defined by loss, grief, sadness, a broken heart, and reflection.  But they have also been punctuated by happiness, faith, hope, love, and joy.  And let’s just say that punctuation is what makes ALL the difference.

 

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Three wonderful people have said good-bye for now, although it always seems too soon, and I have realized that it is not for us to decide.  As I have reflected on these wonderful people I can’t help but think about important people in my life and truly for life itself.  Today is the nine year anniversary of my seizure– aka- my second chance of life.  It is always a solemn time for me to be reminded of the life I have lived since that fateful day in September.  It is a time for reflection on the goodness of others and their willingness to help me and fight for me, when I was truly helpless.

This year is has been different though.  It feels different due to the loss around me.  It feels joyful to know that there is hope and that even though there is hope and that even though grief is not a great friend, it can be a wonderful teacher.  I have realized this time how I have been grieving for a long time for someone that I love and my heart feels like it has been broken for a long time.  She is still here, physically, but has slipped away slowly each year getting farther away from who I know her as.  Her mind is fogged, her words don’t come to her lips, her fingers don’t play the piano anymore, and her hands are unsteady.  It has been a cruel process to watch, especially from 300+ miles away.  The decline has been felt and watched from each member of our family.  We are grieved, we are all unsure, and it is hard going to memorials/funerals because I know that someday it will be me behind the tear-filled eyes.

But it is not me officially, so it feels foreign to feel that unwanted friend of grief.  My heart longs for some more punctuation and fewer run-on sentences.  That is all we have, two dates with a dash in-between, but it is the dash that makes all the difference.  For now, I am trying to make the most of the punctuation and enjoy those little things of life.  I have done a lot of living since nine years ago- brought three precious kids into the world, have a wonderful husband, and have not always made perfect decisions, but I have tried my best.  I am praying I can do my best with my time with my mom and help her enjoy the punctuation as well.

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Love Lessons

My cute little boy has a favorite friend.  I am sure that many kids have a stuffed animal or other snuggly thing that they tote around for comfort and for friendship.  Well, I want to introduce you to Moo-Moo.  20180530_131512.jpg

Who is Moo-Moo you ask?  Well he is a blanket…but don’t tell my son, he is animate that Moo-Moo is a stuffed animal.  But, well, he is really a blanket.  My mom made this fun cow blanket when I was expecting my little guy.  It was just one of the many that she made, a soft receiving blanket where she crocheted the edges and had a matching burp cloth.  Well, my little guy loved this blanket.  Soon they were inseparable.  Moo-Moo went everywhere with us and became a member of the family.  Although he wasn’t allowed to go outside and play in the mud or ride trikes, he is always around.  He was so loved that his fabric started to wear and the original crochet edge came unraveled.  So my mother-in-law redid the crochet and just a few months ago, Moo-Moo became the proud owner/wearer of patches.  You see in that picture up there, there are two different kinds of cow pattern.  Moo-Moo also has a head.
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It is one of the corners of the blanket that has been shaped a little and put a collar (a.k.a. hair band) around.  Moo-Moo likes to tickle, lick, point, poke, and snuggle with his “head”.  He even talks.  He has his own language and he is from Cow-afornia.  Yep, he is super fun!  I always knew that my little guy loved Moo-Moo, but it has been more evident recently.  As it goes with getting older, and riding scooters and playing outside there always seems to be one of my kids that needs a band aid.  Well, the first thing that happens when my son gets hurt, is “I need Moo-Moo!”

Moo-Moo needs baths too, and after a whirl around in the washer and a spin in the dryer it is always a kissy fest when he is clean.  And my favorite is when my son comes home from school and calls from the bottom of the stairs, “Moo-Moo, oh Moo-Moo! I’m home, I will be there to get you in a minute.”  Moo-Moo is very loved.  I have been thinking about this sweet relationship and although it is not unique to my son (both of my girls have their favorite animals as well), the love that is shown is so pure, sweet, and tender.  Everyday. My son shows great joy and love to Moo-Moo everyday.  I thought about how I share my love with my kids, my husband, and with God.  I need to show more joy and love with everyone.

My favorite quote right now,

“Power comes from love.  Achievement and ability come from love.  We can try to do it on our own or we can really achieve with the Savior- by accepting His love and be being willing to love others in return.” Chieko N. Okazaki

Just think about that.  “Power comes from love.”  Have you ever noticed the difference when you are with people you love and who love you in return.  You act differently, your body language is different, and your ability to open yourself up is different.  There is power in showing love, sharing love, and stating love.   I have been more mindful of that in my life the past few months and have learned a lot about myself and those around me.

Let me just tell you about one thing.  The last day of school for my kids is tomorrow.  I love having my kids at home, but they have all been a tired and excited and just whiny and grumpy because they won’t go to sleep on time and then they wake up super early.  Anyway, I have been thinking about how to show love to them more.  They don’t ever seem to get sick of me, even when I make mistakes.  They are the best examples to me of love, unconditional love.  I sometimes get mad (think peeing on the floor when they are next to the toilet, etc.), sometimes I yell, sometimes I just want them to not get any toys out because the house is clean, sometimes I am impatient, sometimes they don’t like dinner, and sometimes I eat all the chocolate while hiding in the kitchen, but you know what…they still love me, they still give me the best hugs, they still want to snuggle and read a book, they still want to tell me their stories, they still want to give me every picture they create because it is unique and beautiful, and I am grateful for that reminder EVERYDAY!!!!!  (The same goes for my sweet husband, who is patient beyond words with me and still tells me I am beautiful even when my metabolism is going crazy).  I need to remember this more with my relationship with my Savior.  His love for me is unconditional as well.  His love gives me power, even though I block it a lot. He allows me to achieve and gain ability from His love, even though I am just human.  He willingly loves me EVERYDAY!  I need to be willing to do the same.

So just remember, Power-comes-from-Love

p.s. Moo-Moo gave his permission to be photographed and included in this post.

Connect

This past weekend was an exciting weekend for our family.  Our eight-year-old daughter choose to be baptized into our church. Both sets of grandparents came into town to support her as well as many others.  It was an amazing weekend with answered prayers and spending time with people whom I love and I am grateful for.  My in-laws stayed at our home for a few days and our children LOVED it.  Then on Monday, Grandma and Grandpa had to leave and my husband left on a business trip.  Our home went from a full home, to a home where it seemed too quiet.

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One night I stayed up too late watching a re-run of Criminal Minds. Back in the day, I loved crime shows but I get too emotional about them now.  Anyway, sometimes those crime shows suck me in and it did that night.  I have no idea what the episode was called but at one point Penelope is going to visit a guy that is on death row and only has 24 hours left until he is executed.  She goes because she wants to “clear the air” and understand why he did what he did.  At first the guy doesn’t want to meet with her and then a little later in the date he abruptly changes his mind and they are able to talk.  Penelope asked why the change of heart but the guy is testing the waters and as she continues to talk he says something to the effect that she only came for herself.  In the short scene it becomes apparent that he is looking for someone to care about him and how scared he is and that he doesn’t want to die alone.  He never has visitors, no human connection and he doesn’t want to go out of the world alone.  He asks Penelope to come and witness the execution but she says she doesn’t think that she can.  Anyway, as the show goes on she realizes that just as she needs someone to talk to and listen to her and be there for her, she needs to be there for the death row guy.  So she goes to the execution for the death row guy.

I thought about how we are all hard wired for connection.  Many people give into “internet”connections and that is why they are so powerful because it fulfills a huge need.  With my husband gone I felt like half of me was missing, our connection felt far away and quiet.  I am not saying that I need my husband attached to my hip, but I missed him.  He means more to me than I could even express.

Anyway, with these two colliding thoughts in my head I just thought about how well am I nurturing my connections? Do the people I love know how much I love them, why I love them, and what makes them special to me?  Now, get off your technology and go connect, really connect.

Be Kind

I am sure that most people have seen Disney’s live action version of Cinderella.  I have been thinking about Cinderella’s mantra from that movie, “Have courage and be kind.” It doesn’t seem like much but have you ever really thought about that?

The past couple of weeks I have been struggling.  It is hard to describe, but my whole life I have struggled with low self esteem and non-existent self confidence.  Well, it came back in full force, but this mantra kept coming back.  I have been working at my home yoga practice to get through the funk and taking slow days for meditation to pinpoint how to overcome and conquer this once and for all.  And the mantra came back…it isn’t what I expected.  Many times when I have thought about being kind and having courage it is always an outward expression and action to “be a helper” to those around me. I needed to have courage and be kind to myself.  For real…do you know how hard it is to be kind to yourself, to stop the negative self talk that has rambled in your head for most of your life and to actually BELIEVE that it is NOT true? It is a process for sure.

Something that helped me over the bridge of self doubt was Christ.  It was when I was typing a text to my cute husband after he asked how the day was going (our lunch time check in :)) and I could finally put it into words.  I have a belief in Christ and His power to heal, uplift, and strengthen each person but I realized that although I believed in Christ, I didn’t BELIEVE Christ could do that for me.  I was too broken, to unworthy, to bad of a person, to unlovable, to receive that gift from Christ.  As I was typing it I thought of the little lesson I was able to teach on Sunday.  In my church I get to teach children aged from age 3-11 and my topic was the Atonement of Christ.  Studying the material and searching my scriptures was a needed blessing.  The lesson material talked about a gift and how we can accept or reject a gift when it is given, but it was still a gift for you.  No matter if you take the gift of the Atonement of Christ or not, it is always on the table, and Christ has atoned for each individual regardless of the individuals acceptance.

What a blessing for each of us to have that gift on the table and to not be forced to accept it but come and take it.  I had that gift, but I was understanding that I needed to physically take it, open it, and make it part of me.  As all these things were rolling around in my head, along with the tender love and compassion from my husband, I knew the next step for me was to ponder and pray.  One of the best places I know to do this and to be away from the distractions of every day life is in the temple.  I went on a Tuesday night and it was just what a needed.  In a place of peace and a place where I can tangibly feel my Saviors love, my soul was filled.

My answers to my prayers are not the easy answers that I thought they should be.  They are answers that require work, that require time, and that require me to act on my faith to truly understand.  Truly “kindness begins with me” and it takes courage to be kind.  I am trying to treat myself as I would treat others, which sounds backward but many times we are the meanest to our self and our family members.  I am also moving forward with a great reminder from a man I look up to a lot;

“I believe in His perfection, and I know we are His spiritual sons and daughters with divine potential to become as He is. I also know that, as children of God, we should not demean or vilify ourselves, as if beating up on ourselves is somehow going to make us the person God wants us to become. No! With a willingness to repent and a desire for increased righteousness always in our hearts, I would hope we could pursue personal improvement in a way that doesn’t include getting ulcers or anorexia, feeling depressed or demolishing our self-esteem. That is not what the Lord wants for Primary children or anyone else who honestly sings, “I’m trying to be like Jesus.”… “Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him … ,” Moroni pleads. “Love God with all your might, mind and strength, then … by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ.” Our only hope for true perfection is in receiving it as a gift from heaven—we can’t “earn” it. Thus, the grace of Christ offers us not only salvation from sorrow and sin and death but also salvation from our own persistent self-criticism. ” Jeffrey R. Holland

And words from a woman I am trying to be more like,

“Let me point out the need to differentiate between two critical words: worth and worthiness. They are not the same. Spiritual worth means to value ourselves the way Heavenly Father values us, not as the world values us. Our worth was determined before we ever came to this earth. “God’s love is infinite and it will endure forever.” On the other hand, worthiness is achieved through obedience. If we sin, we are less worthy, but we are never worth less! We continue to repent and strive to be like Jesus with our worth intact. As President Brigham Young taught: “The least, the most inferior spirit now upon the earth … is worth worlds.”No matter what, we always have worth in the eyes of our Heavenly Father. Despite this marvelous truth, how many of us struggle, from time to time, with negative thoughts or feelings about ourselves? I do. It’s an easy trap. Satan is the father of all lies, especially when it comes to misrepresentations about our own divine nature and purpose. Thinking small about ourselves does not serve us well. Instead it holds us back. As we’ve often been taught, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”We can stop comparing our worst to someone else’s best. “Comparison is the thief of joy.” Joy D. Jones

We are all a work in progress and although I don’t know why this has always been my struggle, it has made me into me and I am learning more and more about what God sees in me and what I can truly be with Him.

One more thing on kindness.  I know that I need to be kind to myself but I also need to turn that kindness outward, especially with all that is happening in our world right now.  What is that song, “What the world needs now, is love, sweet love.” Love and kindness.  Kindness is love that is tangible!  I end with a quote by Mr. Rogers one of my very favorite people in the world,

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ To this day, especially in times of ‘disaster’, I remember my mother’s words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers- so many caring people in this world.” Mr. Rogers

I want to be courageous! I want to be kind! I want to be a helper!

I am courageous! I am kind! I am a helper!

Happy New Year of Yoga

”The thinking brain, the neo cortex, is the seed of our freewill and allows us to have a choice and opinion. The one thing I noticed about people who had changes in health had changed their thinking. If they changed their thinking, was the effect in the brain sending a new signal to their body? The answer is yes… Our thoughts have a direct connection to our direct level of health. Thoughts make a chemical. If you have happy thoughts then you’re producing chemicals that make you feel happy. It you have negative thoughts, angry thoughts or insecure thoughts, those thoughts make chemicals to make you feel how you’re thinking… There is sound evidence that our thoughts do matter. We always replace those old patterns with a greater ideal of ourselves. If rehearsed mentally, we will grow new circuits in the brain, the platform in which we stand on to execute a new level of self.”

– Dr. Joseph Dispenza from Physics, the Brain and Your Reality

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Just let that settle in. Isn’t it amazing how our thoughts can make or break us?  Now, onto the post.

I am sure that everyone has been thinking about what they want to do with this new year.  Most people make goals or resolutions at the beginning of the year and put them on the shelf.  If you want to read a good blog post about where the name January comes from, read this.  I love the imagery of looking forward and backward, because that is what I tend to do.

Two years ago I made it a goal to exercise more.  I signed up for a program called Great in 8, where you were paired with a team, had daily accountability in regards to food, water intake, and exercise and had to report back weekly.  To be truthful, my perfectionist me was having anxiety over the whole thing.  Seriously, I thought about getting out and going to eat my tub of cookie dough with a helping of brownies and a tall glass of milk.  But, I didn’t.  I pushed through those 8 weeks and looked forward to treat day!  But you know what, I didn’t lose any weight, and I actually didn’t want to eat very much because on the program you got points for each veggie you ate, so I was eating more.  And I didn’t feel as awesome as I thought I was going to. But mentally, I felt like a champion.  I didn’t give up and I made it through all 8 weeks, with an awesome team (and made some amazing friends!). Besides that 8 weeks though, I was not too into exercising.  At the time I was mom to three busy active kids under 5, my husband was in graduate school and working his full time job and I just couldn’t keep it up.  I tried getting up early to exercise but then I turned into a mom basket case.

Last year I made a goal to exercise 4-5 times a week.  I was motivated and I was determined but I changed my goal in April to 2-3 times a week.  I still wasn’t doing that and then I noticed my body changing.  On my downhill slide to 40, I started seeing my metabolism slow down and I didn’t like that.  So in August I recommitted myself to 3 days a week.  I started off just being more mindful of exercise and doing my favorite workout DVD’s.  It started out great, but I hit a plateau.  So I went on You Tube, yep I did, and I started doing some yoga.  I had done some yoga before but not consistently or whatever.  Well, I found a channel that I love and it had just want I needed.  30 days of yoga…now I love a challenge, so in October I started my at home practice with Yoga with Adriene.  I bumped my goal up and I have been doing yoga 4-5 times a week since October of last year.  I feel great.  I can’t say I have lost a ton of weight, but I haven’t gained.  So I like to say that I exercise to support my food habit!  Haha.

Any who….one aspect of yoga that Adriene mixes into her practice is the practice of being kind to self and of working with you, not just pretzeling into a shape and holding your breath, but accepting where you are and that each day is a gift.  It has been amazing for my physical and mental health.  My favorite so far has been Yoga Revolution. It was 31 days of awesome!  I can’t wait to do this year’s challenge which is called True, but I have been finishing up another series.  So, you probably won’t see me in a public class, but my at home practice is amazing, for me.  Another bonus…my sciatica pain is pretty much gone.  I get a flare up every now and then, but it is amazing to not be in pain all the time!!!  Hip openers are my friend, forever!  So, go out on a limb, try something new and do some yoga!

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Two for One Time

Okay, I wrote this post in early December and I totally forgot to post it.  So I am going to post it (pretend it is still December) and then tack on my next post.  It is going to be a little long, but I hope you will stick around til the end! So two for one, aren’t you excited!

#1-Winter is Here

Fall is usually my favorite time of year.  I love how the trees magically change color and how everything looks at us from a different eye.  I love the mountain dashed with brilliant colors and the weather changing to cool down. But this year has felt different. This year I just feel like everything is dying and I don’t like the barren trees.  It makes me feel exposed I guess and I am really not looking forward to driving in the snow. I haven’t been looking forward to the change of the leaves, I have dreaded the chill of winter coming and have missed the green grass and flowers in delicate colors.  A Sarah McLachlan song keeps rolling through my head;

“The winter here is cold and bitter
It’s chilled us to the bone
I haven’t seen the sun for weeks
Too long, too far from home.”

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I guess I have just not been ready to be freezing all the time and never be able to get warm.  I also had a hard time sending my kids off to school this fall.  I love my kiddos and it is hard to not spend more time with them and to hear their laughter and see them all play together.  Now, the nights are full of homework, piano practice and reading minutes.  My kids complain about not having time to “just play” and I am totally with them.  So, I am not ready for this year to be gone.  Where did the year go anyway?  I feel like it was just April, but it is December.  Seriously, time does go faster when you are older.  I just want time to slow down a little.  I want to continue to enjoy snuggles with all of my kids before they don’t hug me or they are bigger than me.

So now I am trying to get into the Christmas spirit but I keep dragging my feet, pretending that it is Spring.

One thing for sure is that I realize I like all the seasons for different reasons.  I don’t really have a favorite anymore, but I am sure looking forward to spring!

#2 Shine On

I play the piano, I don’t claim to be the best piano player but I can mostly hold my own when I have some time to practice.  A couple of weeks ago I played the piano for a musical number at church.  I was pretty excited they asked me to, because it was all the men in a family I think the world of.  So, the music was brought over and I was like..yep, lots of practice time for this one! It has always been a challenge to get all the practice time I need with my kids.  It was hard though to get through all 11 pages of the piece in one sitting without one child needing help, or someone screaming, or you know just life here!  It was a beautiful song though and it was a fun challenge to up my game for this quartet, because they are all amazingly good singers.

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When I accompany anyone or any group my goal is to go unnoticed and have the singer(s) be center stage.  Basically I am letting them shine!  When I was preparing this last time it just reminded me that accompanying people is a lot like life.  There are many people behind the scenes helping us shine and look good.  Do we thank those people enough?  Do you think about those people?  Do you thank them for their “practice” time.  It is a lot like being a parent!  But my mind also turned to my Savior.  He is always there behind the scenes for me.  He has put in a lot of work for me, and continues to always uplift, inspire and strengthen me.  What a blessing to have just had the Christmas Season upon us.

Our Christmas was simple and relaxed and we did a lot to help focus not just ourselves, but our children toward Christ.  Did you remember Christ at Christmas?  I hope you thought about how that little baby born long ago is not a baby anymore, but is your brother and friend and is doing His best to make you shine.  Look for those people that help you and allow you to shine, thank them.  Then, look for people that you can help and let them shine!

 

 

 

The NON-shopper

mandalay-bay-retail-resort-shops-shopping-bagsEveryone has talents right?  Well, I am going to tell you about a talent I DO NOT have.  I do not have the talent of shopping.  I don’t really enjoy shopping for food, because it is like a bottomless pit.  I am not good at just browsing, if I go to the store I want to have a reason.  I am not good at clothes shopping, I seriously struggle with having a sense of style.  If I had the money I would just pay someone to go and find some clothes for me.  Now, let’s get one thing clear…I do not have money to buy new clothes usually.  I still am not sure how some people always seem to never wear the same thing twice and are always wearing the newest fashion.  What happens to their clothes, they must have a magic closet?  I wish I had a magic closet.

I did have a magic closet.  Let me explain.  I am the youngest of five kids, two brothers, two sisters, and then me.  My magic closet came in the form of my sisters’ clothes.  I was always the “biggest” sister in size which worked in my favor because then I could just borrow something in the “magic” closet!  It was a sad day when they both of them were out of the house and married, the magic closet disappeared and my woes with being a non-fashionista had begun.  I can match clothes, don’t get me wrong, but picking out the right ones is the HUGE problem.  My other magic closet came when I went to college, insert roommates.  Thankfully one of my roommates (who is still one of my best friends) was very fashionable and nice to help me out in the fashion area.  Then after college, my magic closet disappeared.

We had a wedding coming up in the family and we are all suppose to wear one or some of the colors, I totally understand, but my HUGE problem has come out again.  It has been rough and with colors not in season as of right now, my lack of talent was not helping me.  I was totally discouraged and disheartened.  To add to my lack of talent, it doesn’t help that I am not the same body type that is compatible with many popular styles. So I felt like I had my lack of talent and the fashion world against me.  I was totally stressed out about it, spent way too much time on my phone googling things, looking through clothes, and just getting more discouraged.  Enter, my sweet husband to put things into perspective.  He is so great, seriously.  I was able to calm me down and I wasn’t the fashionista at the party, but at least I found something.  Hopefully it didn’t look too bad, and if it did…I would love someone to be my free shopping assistant.

The other point in my life when my non-talent really creeps is in clothes for family pictures.  Wow, it is HARD for me.  I can’t just pull things out of closets and make everything look good together, that is a huge talent.  I am always amazed when I see family pictures and how I would never have thought that some things look good together, but the picture is amazing!  So, if you see me in my struggle to look presentable, I probably do need help, tell me what works and what doesn’t and hopefully I can be a little more fashionable than my three-year-old who wears a different shade of pink for every piece of clothing and then her bright green frog boots to finish it off!

Phones and hard lessons

A couple of weeks ago I read an article that has been rolling around in my head.  I read a few more studies and articles in the past week and it has be hard to read, truly.  All of the articles and studies have to do with smartphone usage in kids, specifically 10-17 year-olds, and it has be eye opening.  All of the articles usually start with the story of a teenager or soon to be teenager that was bright, funny, smart, and outgoing but attempted suicide or became severely depressed.

One article talked about about between 2010 and 2016 (where nearly every American owned a smart phone) major depression, suicide, anxiety, and an overall feeling on hopelessness has jumped at an alarming rate.  Teenagers especially have be affected and another article which dubbed this generation (1995-2015) iGen is not completely unfounded.  Instead of teenagers getting together to hang out (which back in my day was to talk and talk and talk, eat something, maybe play some games and watch a movie) has turned into teenagers shutting themselves in their rooms with their phones and mindlessly browsing, posting pictures on social media, googling whatever comes to mind, and texting.  There is little need for human connect it seems like.

But the interesting thing that I pulled out of each of these articles is that the teenagers are actually looking for acceptance, someone to talk to, and need social interact but do not know how to get it.  Many times in the stories that started out the articles, the teenagers telling their stories, decided to try and commit suicide because they knew they needed help but didn’t know how to get it and/or ask for help.  Instead of our next generation learning social skills and ways to interact with people, build a network, have people around that like them for them, relax, and be fine with just reading a book, there is a new norm. They are expected to look perfect all the time, never relax because there is always someone watching, fear social interactions because they might say something wrong, have a network of “friends” on social media, they are never sure is someone really likes them or is just being nice because there is rare face to face interaction.  Now, I am not saying that every kid is like this but man, all these articles and studies I have read was so sad to me.

Now, I am totally an introvert, and would much rather text someone if I am just asking a question really fast or want to set up a play day, but I also value talking to real people.  I love having my husband home and the talks that we have at the dinner table, or what we call “couch talks”, it is valuable time and time that I love.  I have a friend that just makes me feel happy every time we get together (and every time we get together we always talk about how we need to get together more than once a month:)).  The value of interaction and face to face contact is so incredibly important but when people are looking to screens for friendship and acceptance, it is not always truth.

I guess this stuff all hit me hard because of another reason.  My phone randomly died a few months ago and through fighting with the company and shipping and yada,yada…I was without a smartphone for like 3 weeks.  It was great for like the first 3 days, and then it was just rough.  I am sad to admit that I felt disconnected from outside life.  I just had my little life here, in my house and it was hard.  I didn’t realize the effect technology had on me.  When I got my phone back, I didn’t do it on purpose, but I was ALWAYS on my phone.  It was like my brain was addicted and I had to make up that time lost.  This past week, as I have been reading these articles I have felt a lot of guilt about being more present with my screen than my kids at times (lots of time on my phone this week trying to find clothes for a wedding).  I have already made new goals and have moved forward with them.

Truthfully I am sad that this is happening, that not just kids but adults as well, are relying so much on what social media has to say and how it is hurting all of us.  So, I am not telling you to throw away every smartphone but set limits (for kids and yourself), stick to the limits, be parents to your kids, pray about how to help those around you, and most of all make memories with those you love and tell them that they are worth it and just how much you love them!

Just an ordinary person

I have always been enamored with the thought of how one person can make a difference.  For some reason it just strikes me how just a little person can do so much good or so much bad.  I have been reflecting lately on how in my life it definitely has been little things that have made a difference.  And all those little things involved people that were ordinary people but people who stepped up and where DOING something.  I guess that is what I want to get at today, it is in the DOING that we are able to give.

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I am usually not into TV shows where there are judges and then people vote for whomever they like, but for some reason (probably because I was just tired and needed to veg) I turned on “America’s Got Talent”.  And there was an amazing person that I just happened to tune in for at the right time.  She was a singer/songwriter and performed an original song in the first round of the competition. It was amazing, the song had so much depth and her voice was amazing, and she was deaf.  It was Mandy Harvey. You really should go read her story.  But, I was touched by her, not just her vocal or her musical tone, but by her courage to not just audition for AGT but to return to music in her life. She got a golden buzzer from Simon and the AGT journey began, she ended up being 4th overall this season, but she didn’t walk away a loser by any means, she has so much ahead of her and she is doing it little by little with courage and grace.  What an amazing example of DOING something to help others and in turn helping her find herself.

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My cute husband and I watched a foreign film last night.  We hardly ever watch movies, so it was hard to even choose a movie, but I had heard about it from the book so we launched into it.  At first, I thought I was not going to be super into the movie because I had to read all the subtitles, but I was wrong.  It was called, “A Man Called Ove.” You can watch the trailer here. I really wanted to read the book but our library doesn’t have it, which I couldn’t believe, and I rarely buy a book unless I really know I am going to like it.  Well, the short of if it is this, Ove is a grumpy old widower and is the mindset of everyone is out to make him miserable so he is going to make everyone else miserable.  But as the story unfolds, we learn of Ove’s story and how he lost the joy in his life because of little choices along the way.  In the end he turns around and learns how to find joy and touches many others that are in his path.  I am not going to lie, I was bawling through the end and as I kneeled down to say my prayers last night I found myself feeling all sorts of emotions for this made up character that hit home for me.  It was a great exercise of introspection and love for all those people in my life, that even though they have their own struggles, reach out to others.

Just this week I have been blessed by the love of others.  From a text, an email, a Facebook message, a smile at kindergarten pick up, a huggle (a hug and a snuggle) from my three year old who is so cute but the terrible threes are making her look bad, going out to lunch, the big smile my 7 year old gives me when she comes walking toward the van when we pick her up from school, my  5 year old asking endless questions and being able to learn together, my husband taking time to be together with me and talk to me and love me and watch the kids while I go to meetings and folding laundry and sweep the floor and take the time to understand me. I just hope that I can give back to others in ways that they need, in ways that they will know that someone loves them, cares for them, and that we all have a Heavenly Father who puts people in our paths to be His earthly hands.

Many times it seems like there are no earthly hands waiting for us to give us a hug, pick us up, or just talk to, but I know that it is in those times that as we reach toward God and talk to Him we will feel heavenly hands.  I have had lonely times in my life and times where I was purposely lonely, but I always can turn to God.  He knows me, and He knows each one of us.  As small and insignificant as we seem, He can help us to get up and DO.

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Just keeping it real

I have just been keeping it real here the past few weeks.  Two of my kids started school so that was exciting.  It is weird to just have one kid home with me for the 2 and 1/2 hours of kindergarten.  She thinks it is the greatest thing in the world.  When people ask my little three year old what she does with mom when the other kids are at school, her answer is always, “Me and mom get to hang out!”  Haha.  Then I got a new calling (ie a new responsibility) in my church which was totally unexpected and threw me for a loop.  Then I got a cold.  It started out as tons of snot running down my throat, to a hot and burning sore throat, to a mucus-y cough, to a dry cough, and then I lost my voice.  One night after being up coughing all night and my head feeling like it was going to explode from the sinus pressure, I was sure it was something more than a cold.  Then my phone went crazy.  It turned itself off and then got stuck in a “boot loop”.  My cute hubby tried everything to try and fix it, we took it to a local repair place, but they didn’t want to be too invasive because of the warranty (I only had the phone for less than 6 weeks) so then we had to call the company we got it from and it just so happened to be a holiday weekend, so OF COURSE they were closed.  On top of it, I went to the doctor, and he told me I had a cold (oh really?!) and that I would probably be coughing for 3 weeks or more.  The next day after going to the doctor, guess what?  I got pink eye and had to go again.  Seriously…SO…I am going on two weeks of coughing and on my second week of no phone.

In one way it has been nice to not have a phone, especially when I was at the height of being sick and couldn’t really think.  My head was literally full of snot and I just couldn’t think.  It has been nice to not worry about charging my phone or forgetting it somewhere and just be more present with what is actually going on around me.  I don’t have the need to see if someone has sent me a message or if an email went through.  I guess all in all, I have been less distracted.

On the other hand it has been hard to not be able to text or call someone when I feel the need.  I have worried about something going wrong at school with my kids and they try and call me, but there is no answer.  I miss my daily texts at lunch time from my cute husband. So, I miss my small human connections that my phone helps me to propagate.

So, here is to another week of coughing and hopefully only half another week without a phone.