Tuesday, October 28, 2014


Last week I wasn't feeling well. Perhaps it was allergies or a touch of something viral, but Tuesday night found me in bed a little after 8 p.m. trying to catch some ZZ's. Unfortunately, the Sandman wasn't doing me any favors. It's hard to stay asleep with a dry, rasping cough. After about an hour or so of tossing and turning in bed and drifting in and out of sleep, had an epiphany.

I need purpose.

It's not as if I am wasting my days. I know that I (specifically) am engaged in the important endeavor or rearing and caring for children - my own and a couple of bonus kids from time to time. I am aware of the importance of my efforts towards keeping our home running smoothly. I am the meal planner, shopping list maker, chore organizer, regular tidy-upper, and do-it-yourself queen. I also (along with my partner in crime, Ben) spend hours each week helping with homework, cooking, cleaning, doing laundry, shopping, disciplining, playing, entertaining, guiding, and caring for our kids and our home. And although this is not the only worthwhile thing anyone could possibly be doing with their lives at any given moment, this is where we are in our lives right now. The tasks I spend most of my time doing really are among the most important things for me at this time in my life.


I still need purpose.
I need goals.
I need to be working for something. 
I need to feel like I am accomplishing something that is measurable.

This is probably one of the biggest things I miss from having a full-time job. I thrived on deadlines projects and structure and organizing. With parenting there are few deadlines. There are mostly just transitions into different phases. The only way I get a feeling of accomplishment these days is when I figure out how to sew sleeves on my daughter's Halloween costume, fix a toilet, or remodel the bathroom. And not one of those things are just for me.

Once I realized this, I asked myself what I wanted.

"I want to create something beautiful."

That's what I wrote in my journal. Then I wrote down a few goals. Interestingly enough, I only remember the first one. And that one goal I have been keeping up with all week. It isn't about creating anything, either. It's about nourishing my spirit. And I have been doing it. It wasn't appealing at first; I would have to make myself do it each day. But now... now I love it.

And finally, a week later, I finally have the desire to set another goal. In this goal, I will be nourishing my body. I expect I'll have to make myself do it at first. That's okay. Eventually I will love this, too.

I find it interesting that my desire to create led me to nourish myself first. It's hard to grow a healthy garden when your soil is barren and rocky. Perhaps the same principle is at work here. I will work on making the good stuff a part of me for now and not try to rush anything.

I can't wait to see what comes next.

Friday, October 24, 2014


I have a confession. Sometimes I overreact. You know what I mean. Something happens and my response is just a leedle bit over the top. Why do I do it??

Sometimes it's because I'm tired and/or overwhelmed. 

Take yesterday, for example. My 6-year old was arguing about doing his homework, my 4-year old kept changing his mind about what he wanted to watch on Netflix, my 10-year old was trying to get a snack, I was sleepy-tired, and my husband had just gotten home from work. Someone was going to do something that pushed me over the edge. It just happened to be my 4-year old that got the brunt of it when he came over to me complaining because he wanted me to put on another show for him. Ugh. I hate it when I lose my temper and yell at my child.

Sometimes it's because my emotions are raw.

Earlier this year a close friend lost her son. I have wept with her and for her many, many times since it happened. I have never seen such intense grief. Sometimes the "missing-him-right-now" hurts so much that it obscures the "I-know-I'll-see-him-again-someday" and there's nothing to feel but deep sorrow. In the year previous to that, a young mother I knew lost her infant daughter to SIDS, my brother's family lost their unborn son, and a friend's father suffered a tragic death. Sometimes I look around and life just feels so heavy with loss. Since my friend's son passed earlier this year, I find that I am particularly sensitive to feeling the grief of others. I wept for the sweet young mother I knew who placed her child for adoption. I knew it was a good choice, but I grieved for her all the same. Another family I know lost a son this week, and I find that my reaction is also more deep and intense than I expected. I ache for his family, and most especially his mother.

Sometimes it's because I'm avoiding the real issue.

Recently something happened that was very difficult for me to deal with. I was hurt and shaken by the situation. After several days of tears, prayers, and introspection, I was able to let it go and move on with my life. Unfortunately, I let it go a little too quickly. I still had unresolved feelings and questions that needed to be addressed. However, rather than acknowledge and try to resolve them, I pretended they didn't exist. I diverted those emotions towards something else (that really didn't impact me directly) and decided I was angry with someone had harmed those I loved. Now that I have worked out my other issues, I am no longer "angry" about the other situation.

He who has the most emotion invested in the problem OWNS the problem.

Ultimately, I am responsible for my own emotions and feelings. When my reactions aren't proportional to the situation at hand, I am learning to let that be a signal for me to stop, evaluate, and see what is really going on in my mind. Am I tired? Do I have too much going on? Am I just overly sensitive to this type of situation? Is there something else bothering me?

Sometimes we all need to go to Time Out and think about what we've done.

It's not a bad place to be.
Image from here

Sunday, October 12, 2014


I went to my counselor this past week. Can I just tell you how awesome she is? There has been something bothering me for the last few months, and I finally feel like I am able to move forward again and deal with it. It's too personal to talk about here, but I have to mention it because a very real burden has been lifted. And it's glorious.

Maybe that's why I can't get enough of this song...

(sung by David Archuleta) 

There are times when you might feel aimless;
You can't see the places where you belong.
But you will find that there is a purpose.
It's been there within you all along. And when you're near it,
You can almost hear it.

It's like a symphony; just keep listening,
And pretty soon you'll start to figure out your part.
Everyone plays a piece, and there are melodies
In each one of us. Oh, it's glorious!

You will know how to let it ring out as you discover who you are.
Others around you will start to wake up
To the sounds that are in their hearts.
It's so amazing, what we're all creating.

It's like a symphony; just keep listening,
And pretty soon you'll start to figure out your part.
Everyone plays a piece, and there are melodies
In each one of us. Oh, it's glorious!

And as you feel the notes build
You will see

It's like a symphony; just keep listening,
And pretty soon you'll start to figure out your part.
Everyone plays a piece, and there are melodies
In each one of us. Oh, it's glorious!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

To Act for Myself

Twice a year on the first weekend of April and October my church has a world-wide conference that is broadcast over the internet and by satellite. It consists of 5 two-hour sessions spread over Saturday and Sunday. Instead of attending regular church services on this weekend, our family listens and watches the broadcast from our home. I admit that as a child and teenager I often dreaded "conference weekend". It meant being consigned to sitting in a pew at church (this is before the wonders of the internet, of course) for hours and hours with nothing to do but doodle in my notebook. Since my artistic talents are greatly lacking, this did not hold my attention for very long. As soon as the lights were dimmed, I generally shifted into the most comfortable position I could find and tried to fall asleep so it would be over faster. (Incidentally, this was my strategy on long car rides, as well.)

As a young adult, I realized that many of my friends looked forward to conference weekend, and my personal feelings began to change. I actually listened to the talks that were given, and often heard profound statements and sentiments that filled my heart with a desire to be better, to do better, and love Christ better. Now, twenty years later, I find that I love it even more. It nourishes my soul and revives my spirit. Listening to my inspired church leaders helps me understand more clearly what I need to do to remain a faithful, kind, and committed Christian during this time when many around me do not share my convictions, morals, or beliefs. By the end of the weekend, I have taken pages and pages and pages of notes. This past weekend was no different.

One topic that came up which I feel is worth mentioning here on this blog came from this talk by Elder D. Todd Christofferson. It is entitled "Free Forever, to Act for Themselves." He covers a lot of doctrinal things in this talk about our personal accountability and the importance of commandments, but I want to focus on this particular quote:

"God will not act to make us something we do not choose by our actions to become. Truly He loves us, and because He loves us, He neither compels nor abandons us. Rather He helps and guides us."

He follows it up with these words a few lines later:

"The gospel of Jesus Christ opens the path to what we may become. Through the Atonement of Jesus Christ and His grace, our failures to live the celestial law perfectly and consistently in mortality can be erased and we are enabled to develop a Christlike character. Justice demands, however, that none of this happen without our willing agreement and participation."

As I heard this, I realized that I have the ability to do better. It's not so much that I am passive about my spiritual growth, emotional connections with Ben and the kids, or even my own personal health. Rather, I do not take advantage of the opportunities I am given. I allow myself to be distracted by electronics (Candy Crush Saga, anyone??) or other things that have no real value in my life. When I fill my time with spiritual "junk food", is it any wonder that I fill my body with junk food as well?

The spirit and body are connected - intimately so. I cannot nourish one without  nourishing the other. Likewise, I cannot neglect one without neglecting the other. That, too, was a point driven home to me this weekend.

Now, lest I lead anyone to the conclusion that I am being hard on myself, let me be clear. There is a big difference between saying, 'I can do better" and "I should have done better". I am not berating myself. I am not feeling guilt or shame. I am simply more aware of an area in which I have been given a gift that I have not yet fully accepted. When I rely on Christ, He can take me so much farther than I can go on my own. He does not require perfection, but a willing heart and mind.

Can I do that?
Will I choose to act in a way that I can become the person He desires me to be?
Time will tell, but today my answer is...
Yes, I can do this.
Yes, I can grow.
Yes, I can nourish.

Image from here.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Owning It

It's time for me to start writing again. I'm not sure exactly what has taken me so long. At first I didn't have anything profound to say, and then I was doing other things, and then I was distracted. But what it comes down to is this:

I don't want to hide any more. 

It is exhausting to think that I always need to put on a certain face or show a certain amount of progress or think a certain way. And although I started this blog to help me learn how to nourish myself, I'm not going to be good at it all the time. And that's okay. 

No, really. It's OKAY.

A couple of months ago I was praying about how to improve my health and why - even after taking the baby steps recommended by my friend - I was still feeling overwhelmed and trapped by my health goals. I realized that I had chosen to place the responsibility for my health on someone else, and so in my mind I was trapped by the rules and restrictions I had been given. Interestingly enough, she had never asked for it. She probably didn't even realize I had absolved myself of responsibility, any more than I was aware of it before then. With that in mind, I decided to stop working with a coach at all for now. At this point, I need to work on just "owning" it.

What does it mean to "own it"? 

When I "own" something, I acknowledge that it belongs to me. It goes way beyond just my physical health, too. It applies to my emotional health and relationships as well. Although I can't control what others do, I am able to decide whether to take quiet time for myself, exercise, make healthy eating choices, or do things for others that I really don't want to do. Here are a few examples:
  • I haven't really exercised lately. Sure, I'm busy, but I have wasted a fair share of time. If I had wanted to do it, I could have. I'll own it.
  • I few years ago I was hurt by some things I heard a friend had said. I chose to walk away from the relationship without trying to clear it up with her first. Looking back, I realized that much of the information was third-hand. It was easier for me to walk away than it was for me to risk my heart even further by approaching her about it. It was my problem, not hers. I'll own it.
  • I choose to eat the frozen pizza for lunch with my kids rather than make a sandwich or eat a salad. My choice, not theirs. I'll own it.
  • My family hasn't been doing a great job at reading scriptures together lately. It's easier to just let them watch TV at night, and I just want a few extra minutes of sleep in the morning. Although I'm not the only one who can be trying to get this done, I am one of the people letting it get overlooked. I'll own it.
What it all comes down to is this: I am going to take responsibility for my own life or not? If the answer is YES, then there are a few things I need to make sure I'm doing:

1) Live deliberately. I need to make goals and then work to achieve them. If my life doesn't look the way I want it to look, I need to identify what I'd like to have change. Although I can't control everything and everyone in my life, there is much that I can impact by making good and better choices. I can't just expect things to happen the way I want them to because I wish it to be that way. I have to work it to be that way.

2) Live authentically. Honesty and forthrightness are two attributes I value highly in myself and others. Although I try to be open and honest about most things in my life, I still find myself trying to cover up personal habits that I am ashamed of. That needs to stop. If I catch myself trying to hide something, it should send off alarm bells and I need to immediately work on changing or at least "owning" that behavior. 

Another way of being "inauthentic" is not acknowledging my honest feelings. Too often when I am hurt or scared I shove those negative feelings away and try to pretend that they don't exist. I recently recognized that I was exhibiting avoidance behavior. I knew I was upset about something, but I didn't want to look at it too closely. As a result, I began making poor choices in my sleep and eating habits. I wasn't able to break the cycle until I admitted to myself that I was struggling with something emotionally and determining what that was.

3) Live joyfully. It is not enough to survive life. Joy can be found in even the most dire circumstances, and my situation is no where near hard enough use that excuse.

Hopefully I will be able to implement these more and more often into my life until they become habit. But as I take this journey, I must remember to be gentle with myself. It's okay that I am not exactly where I want to be. When it comes down to it, who is? Life is almost always three steps forward and two steps back, but in the end I will get where I am going.