Wednesday, December 5, 2012

I Can Dream

Too often when we get married ... or maybe it's when we have children, we lose ourselves in that role.  I'm a wife now.  I'm a mother now.  Somehow being a mother makes us decide everything else doesn't matter at all and we forget our dreams.  We forget who we were once.

I started thinking about the things my husband wants and my kids need or want.  It's good to care about these things.  They are important things to care about.  It's good to value what other people want.  But don't lose yourself in it!  I got to the point where I would feel guilty for buying a bottle of fingernail polish for $2 because it wasn't important enough.  It was a waste of money.  I had to ask my husband's permission first.  Was it him that made me feel this way?  No, it was me.

Although it is not right to completely and selfishly disavow responsibilities for dreams, it is ok to dream!  It really is.

So sit down and remember who you were before you were married.  Remember what you cared about, what you dreamed about every day.  Remember what you aspired for.

Before I was married, I loved to sing.  I liked doing my hair.  I liked being with people and learning from them.  I wanted to write a book.  I wanted to be a mother someday, but I also wanted to travel.  I wanted to see Paris.  I wanted to see Prince Edwards' Island.  I wanted to meet celebrities.  I loved art.  I wanted to create it, but felt I couldn't do it well enough.  I loved climbing our willow trees.  I loved dreaming about love and romance.  I liked creating heartfelt gifts for other people.  I liked going places with friends.  I had a curiosity for being rebellious but never really was.  I admired rebels. :)  I liked to drive.  Just drive until I got lost and then found myself again.

That's still me.  I can still dream about these things.  Of course, I shouldn't strive for those dreams at the expense of what is most important to me, my family, but I can still dream of these things and remember who I am.  I can still remember what I used to care about, even if my husband doesn't care about those things so much.  It's ok to do that.  It's not selfish.

So go write down the things you value and dream about.  Just you.  Not what your kids like.  Not what your husband wants.  Just what you want.  It's ok to buy that bottle of fingernail polish once in a while.  It's ok to dream.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

I Can Be a Tool in God's Hands

As I was preparing for Sunday, I was getting ready to teach my 11-year-old class and the lesson was on the destruction of the Jaredites in end of the book of Ether.  It's a crazy horrific scene of a bloody war with millions of people getting killed, bodies everywhere, and it all comes down to two guys (Coriantumr and Shiz) fighting each other and fainting because of blood-loss until finally one of them kills the other one.  Ether watches it all from a cave, and isn't sure if the last guy even survived, really.  Pretty crazy rated-R stuff to be talking to 11-year-old girls about.  But Coriantumr lives and happens to be the one that in an earlier chapter remembered the words of Ether, the prophet, and repented but had no power to help the rest of the people stop fighting.  He is mentioned earlier in the Omni, actually, which I thought was interesting.  Omni 1:20-21 says he lived with the people of Zarahemla for the space of "nine moons."

But anyway, the point in the lesson was that Ether had been preaching to these people multiple times, trying to get them to stop it!  He had gone down and told them to repent, to love each other, to follow the commandments of God and be kind again.  But they were too angry.  The spirit of the Lord no longer dwelt with them, as the scriptures said, and so Satan had full power over them.  So the lesson's focus was more on obedience to God's laws.  As I pondered this, I thought about how people often think of God's laws as rules that hold them back.  People want to have freedom, and this is often the case with teenagers - the world these girls are about to enter.  But the truth is, freedom is found in following God's laws.  His laws help us to be happy because as we do what is right, are choices have good consequences that make us happy.  Choices that are bad lead to bad consequences, unhappiness, and bondage.  So, even though a rule may seem like shackles, it is actually what helps us to be free.

As I pondered this lesson, I thought of a kite and found myself writing a poem!  It felt inspired and so I wanted to share it.  I gave the poem to the girls as a hand-out.

The Disobedient Kite
by Danielle Palmer

I once went flying with my master
He took me out on a windy day
He let me grow higher and higher
As the wind pulled me up and away

I pulled on the string he had tethered
Wishing to climb greater heights
I beckoned him softly as to whether
He’d give me my freedom in flight.

He shook his head at my imploring
Stating the string held me up
‘But the string just anchors my exploring!’
So I asked again, I wouldn’t let up.

Finally he said he would show me
The value in rules he had set
And he cut at the string from below me
Exulted, I leaned, the wind swept

But the soaring expected then faulted
And broken, I began the fall
For the connection I’d found as a burden
Was what held me up high after all.

I didn't make many edits to the thing.  It was like it just poured out of me.  It's simple, for one of my poems, but it served the purpose I wanted it to.  Then, while I was giving my lesson, we read this scripture together:

Ether 12:4
"Wherefore, whoso believeth in God might with asurety bhope for a better world, yea, even a place at the right hand of God, which chope cometh of dfaith, maketh an eanchor to the souls of men, which would make them sure and steadfast, always abounding in fgood works, being led to gglorify God."

The word "anchor" caught my attention here.  Because it is the very word I use negatively in the poem to describe the lack of freedom the kite feels.  But here in the scripture, it is using the word to describe a safety and peace.  If we keep that anchor there, and hold to our faith in it, we will be sure and steadfast, always doing what is right and finding happiness!

This really testified to me that God loves the girls in my class.  Even though I rarely have more then two students at a time!  I have a very small class!  But these girls are so special, and when I really pay attention and try to follow the spirit as I prepare my lessons, the Lord will work through me.  It made me so excited to feel like I was being used as a tool in His hands to bring this message to these beautiful girls.  I learned from it too!

It made me also rededicate myself as a teacher.  I'm going to try to invest myself more in the future in the lessons I teach so I can keep the spirit with me during my lessons and so we can learn and be uplifted by His words.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Loving Me

I had a conversation yesterday that really opened my eyes to the way I look at myself and my life.  I've heard commonly the cliche that (and I'm using quotations very loosely) "If you don't love yourself first, others can't love you and you can't love others." and I knew this was true.  But until yesterday I never really took it in completely.

Here's an example for you (that may sound familiar, because it's not uncommon).  For the sake of ease, let's call this woman Rachel.  Rachel doesn't feel love toward herself.  So she's constantly trying to find love from others outside herself.  She gives to others, trying to be a selfless person, but it never seems like what she does is really appreciated.  She wants to love other people.  She tries to do services for others, but it never makes her happy because it never seems like other people return her services.  It doesn't even seem like what she does is appreciated.  She then tells herself she must just be unlovable.  Rachel goes through life feeling like she can't be loved.  She looks in the mirror and thinks she could be pretty but she can't think that about herself because it would be selfish.  She won't take compliments because there is no way any of the compliments could be true.  People are just saying those things to make her feel better.

Sound familiar?  Maybe Rachel is like someone you know.  Or maybe Rachel is like you.

I really feel bad for Rachel.  I pity her because she is trying so hard!   But she never can REALLY love others and she never can REALLY be loved by others.  She can't.  Because she doesn't love herself.

Yesterday, I was getting ready for the day after this conversation I had, and I looked at myself and thought, It's OK to like myself!  It's OK to LOVE myself!  I CAN think I am beautiful, and I can be proud of the way I look and who I am!  In fact, doing this is BETTER!  Feeling this way about me won't make other people think I'm cocky or mean.  Feeling love for myself doesn't bring others down, but it will lift others up!  It will actually help others to love me!  It will help me to love others!

It felt so freeing to look at myself and think this way.  It feels so good to say "I love me!" and mean it.  Really loving myself, feeling that glow inside for myself, helps me feel that glow inside for others.  It helps me to want to just give to others and love them, no matter what they do in return.  No matter how others feel, I can be happy!  Because I love me!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Learning from Bees

One synchronicity I failed to write about was about bees.

I recently read the novel, The Secret Life of Bees, which is fantastic!  Yes, it's the book that they based the Dakota Fanning movie on.  And then general conference happened at the beginning of October and Ballard spoke about how bees work together and what it means to us, if we tried to apply them to the way we live.  He even talked about the health benefits of honey, which is something mentioned many times in the novel I had just read. :)

I was just taken in completely by his talk as he related it to our lives.  Bees are such intriguing creatures in the way they work so hard and keep helping each other.  The novel mentioned often about the gender roles of bees because it's a book that focuses quite a lot on the feminine, as well as race issues, of course.  But Ballard also talked about the amount of work it takes to make one pound of honey.  How much?  Going to check?

I'll wait....

Got it?

Yeah, that's right!  A hive of 20,000 to 60,000 bees must travel about the equivalent of two times around the world, visiting millions of flowers!  And this is done all the time!  I mean, how many pounds of honey did you see on the shelves at the store today?  It's fascinating!

But even more is the amount of honey that would equal one bee's contribution.  Did you see it?  That's right... one twelfth of a teaspoon.  One twelfth!  One might think, that's so miniscule it would be easy to give up and say it wouldn't make that much difference.  But bees never do that.  Each bee always makes their contribution to the best of their ability.  Maybe it's instinct or something, but we have a lesson to learn from them.  Maybe I should remember that even if the difference I make is a small one, if we can all work together in a common goal, we can do huge things.

I admired the bees represented in the novel I was reading and how they symbolically played a part in the entire novel.  The writing was genius!  It's a novel I'm glad I own now because I would want to read it again and again because of the way it uses language and makes you think about life.

I think there has to be more for me to learn from this synchronicity, and I'll keep watching out for it.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Getting Clarity of Thought

It's crazy how some inspirations come at the oddest moments where it seem like everything may just be random.  But in truth, it's all part of God's meticulous plan.  I am sitting in a very spiritual meeting when it dawns on me that my book could begin in a different way then I previously had written.  Ding!  Funny.

Next to that, I was thinking about how much praying vocally helps clarify things.  And even more, how much writing things down clarify things even more.  Keeping a journal is not just good advice, it's inspired advice.  It may be hard to begin writing down all the thoughts you have - even things you are ashamed of - but it is freeing and really clarifies things.  I mean, sometimes my thoughts can get all muddled and start going in circles until I sit down and just write it out.  Somehow, writing things down slows down your brain process enough to really give more meaning in the concepts.  And talking helps too.  Something about forming the words into some kind of language, instead of just letting the concepts whirl in your head, can really clarify everything.  Sometimes I am having really deep thoughts and I simply HAVE to call someone and talk about them before I explode.

Maybe I'm just strange that way.  But this makes good, trustworthy, nonjudgmental friends a necessity.  Usually I call my best friend and other times I call my mother.  Lately, I also have the ability to call someone I know strictly on a first name basis to keep anonymity and that really creates a new venue!  But I don't use it as often.  I'm blessed to have a good genuine connection with my best friend and mother, where there is no fear involved in admitting the worst part of myself without any kind of reprehension or repression.  I'm guessing I'm pretty blessed to have that, because the more that I see of the world the more I realize how lonely so many people are because of the people that push them away, or that they have pushed away....

Anyway, this post has too many tangents.  Can you tell I journal?  Haha!  Journalling is all about tangents because it's mainly stream-of-thought type writing.  Really gets those juices flowing so I can really write.

The point I was going to get to about writing things down and praying aloud, though, is this.  Where do you think that extra clarity comes from?  A philosophy teacher of mine would argue that language is everything.  Our words create meaning and we don't have any comprehension of specific concepts until we have the words to describe them.  I think this is in many cases true - as in the studies of the man without a language that was done, it shows this to be accurate (which is completely fascinating!), but I want to think more about the spiritual side of this idea.

Truth with a capital T comes from God.  People way say that truth is epistemic, or created by the knowledge of something.  But I believe in a truth beyond the knowledge of man.  God's knowledge.  Clarity of thought comes from within.  (Wow, this is getting deep!  Let me get to the point already!)  Where do we get God's knowledge to testify within our hearts of the truth of things?  From the Holy Ghost, from the power of the spirit of God.  The Holy Ghost can hear our thoughts and He knows the intents of our hearts, though.  So, why is it that when we write things down or speak them aloud we gain more clarity?

This is where things get a little more grey in the "doctrinal" side of things, and goes more toward my opinion and what I feel spiritually is true, for myself.  I believe that our ancestors, and other angels watching over us, are present when we are writing things down or praying aloud.  They cannot know the thoughts of our hearts.  But they can read our writing and they can hear us speak.

Have you ever felt like there's someone reading over your shoulder as you're writing?  I have.   :)

But they wouldn't be judging you for what you are writing.  They would be helping you feel of their presence and helping you feel that they understand.

Ok, this may seem too weird for some of you to understand or believe, but it's something that I take very seriously.  I know that writing and praying aloud help me find more clarity of thought.  The next time you have muddled thoughts, try writing them down.  Whether the angels are reading it or not, it's been recommended by all kinds of therapists too. :)

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Lost Soul

This morning I woke up thinking about a moment years ago again.  I hadn't thought about this particular moment for quite some time now but it has haunted me for years on and off.  It was a moment when I felt I should approach someone and speak to him.  But I didn't.  I watched him ubruptly remove his button-up shirt in frustration, throw it in the back of his truck, and drive away.  I think I might have called to him because I felt the desire to talk to him build at that moment.  But it was too late and I let it slip away.  I never saw him again.

I think about him now and then.  I wonder where he is or what he has done with his life.  I wonder where he has ended up.  I had looked him up online before, but never was able to find anything.  He never was the big social media type I guess.

But this morning he came to my mind again and I thought I would try again to look him up online.  And there he was.  The mug shot made him look harsher and he has facial hair now.  The light has completely left his eyes and I couldn't help but cry.  Now he's a registered sex offender.  I have no idea what the circumstances were in his charges but it still made me so sad because of where he has ended up.

I wonder what kind of change I may have had if I had followed that prompting in that moment when he was leaving the parking lot in his truck. I think back and picture his face and I can imagine him thinking "I'm never coming back here.  Ever."  Maybe I could have given him the hope to return.  Maybe I wouldn't have made a difference at all.  Still, it made me feel so sad that I didn't do it when I had that opportunity.  When I felt that prompting.

But then I remembered a talk I heard or read once a long time ago and I wish I knew who said this, but I can't remember.  He said that God is aware of all of us.  He loves all of His children and would never make it so they had just that one shot.  He would always give them many chances to make good decisions or do what is right.  I was not this guy's one shot to being better.  This missed prompting of mine wasn't his only opportunity.  God is still aware of him.  It made me feel a little better.  I cannot blame myself.  But now I have a new perspective on people.  I don't think I ever have felt compassion for a registered sex offender before in my life!  But I do now.  It goes to show that even people who make dispicable mistakes are God's children.  That boy had a hard home life growing up.  I don't know what he had to go through but I witnessed its effects.  He could have been a good kid.  He could have turned into a good man.  My heart breaks for him and all I can do now is pray and hope that I can listen a little closer to those promptings from here on out.  This is the repentence I must do to let that moment go.

I will never forget the way he looked the last time I saw him.  I hope he gets the lights in his eyes again someday.  I really do.

Thursday, September 13, 2012


I mentioned before that I have been reading about synchronicities and so I've been looking for those little coincidences in my own life to learn from.

Lately my husband and I have been thinking a lot about plans for the next few years.  I've been trying to also follow the Lord's plan.  I know there are people out there who rely fully on the Lord's plan when it comes to the timing of their children.  Some people never use birth control because they just want to trust the Lord.  But if I never used birth control I would constantly be pregnant.  And now that I've had a miscarriage it makes me think even harder on the subject.  I won't go into details but we were looking at our options and I was struggling with my decisions.

A part of me feels like I might still be mourning my last pregnancy.  Perhaps I don't want to do anything big to prevent pregnancy because a piece of me still wants that baby.  It's insane because before my miscarriage, we were not trying for children and I did not think it was good timing.  This hasn't changed.  I know we have more to our family to come, but the timing is logically not right at the moment.  But I still felt uneasy as my doctor appointment approached.

There is a careful balance to keep.  One must rely on the Lord's guidance, but at the same time, one must make ones own decisions.  We have our agency for a reason.  So I once was told that I can just make my decisions based on my own knowledge to the best of my ability and then confirm the decision with the Lord.  If I feel wrong, after all that, there must be something wrong with the decision.  If it is ok, it will remain ok in my mind.  But I kept stumbling with this decision.  But was it because of a "stupor of thought" as the scriptures say?  Or was it my own anxiety, or my own hormonal irrational feelings?  I discussed this with my husband the night before my appointment.  We talked about how to know if the feelings I have are from me or from the Lord.  He said he wasn't feeling anything wrong with the plan, and we went to sleep.

I got up in the morning and when I read my inspirational quote of the day (which includes all subjects- not just spiritual subjects) and it just happened to be exactly what I needed to hear.  "God does not work for you, he works with you." Pandurang S. Athavale, who is an Indian philosopher, and Hinduism reformist.

It really made me think about how much I rely on the Lord's assistance in my decisions.  I don't often take that leap of faith so perhaps this was to be one.  I went to doctor's appointment, then, only to find that the plan we had discussed was going to be too expensive.  So there goes that.

Now I think back about this and I realize that sometimes I could be feeling uneasy about something just because I don't have all the information.  Yes, we need to make our own decisions.  God doesn't work for me.  But He was working with me.  He won't ever leave me alone.  Somehow I knew it wasn't going to work.  Something just wasn't right about it.  I should trust in my feelings.  God works with me every day.  I am never left completely alone.

After writing this post, I was just uploading a family video to another blog and looking on YouTube and this video happened to pop up.  I thought I would embrace the coincidence and include it here. :)  I can't get the embed code to work so,  CLICK HERE.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Aware That the Lord Is Aware

On Friday, we decided to ride our bikes to school.  Jameson started kindergarten that week and it was the first day all week that didn't have the sun blaring down in scorching heat.  So we got our gear together (the littlies riding in my bike trailer) and rode our bikes to school.  Livin' the dream! :)  He left his little two-wheeler outside with the pile of bicycles from other kids and went in with an excited grin.  I have been so happy with the way he's transitioned to this new way of life.  Actually, yesterday his uncle asked him about how starting kindergarten felt and told him he saw his picture from his first day of school and he replied with, "Oh, that was back when I was little."  :)  A week ago.  Kindergarten really makes you grow up, I guess.

Anyway, in the afternoon, it started drizzling.  I knew it might be a little rainy that day but I would take riding my bike in the rain far over riding my bike in the scorching sun!  So I didn't let it bother me too much.  I left early to be sure I was there on time and rode in a slight drizzle.  But as soon as I got to the school, it came down in buckets.  We took shelter in between the front doors until it let up right before the bell rang for Jameson to get out of school.  (Good thing I left early, right?)  We then headed back for home.  By this time, Jimmy had texted me letting me know he got home early.  I texted back asking if he wanted to rescue us, but he missed the text somehow.  In any case, we didn't need rescuing, we were being watched over.  As soon as we made it home, strapped the younger littlies out of the bike trailer and got in the house, it came down again just as it had before.


Well, I've been reading this book lately, Embracing Coincidence by Carol Lynn Pearson, in which she relays many small stories of ways the Lord can touch her life or teach her little lessons or give her reminders every day in just little synchronicities or coincidences.  Since I'd been reading her cute little stories, I thought this was one example in my own life of a tender mercy shown to me by the Lord.  I think these things are often taken for granted.  So many things happen every day without our noticing.  I decided to notice more often.  So I began paying attention more carefully after that.

We were leaving for the long holiday weekend to go visit my sister.  So we got everything ready and headed out about 5:30.  On the way out of town we saw a big hawk dive down in front of the car.  It was beautiful and daring.  Simply breathtaking.  I took note of it.  Later as we were nearing the freeway, it happened again!  Another hawk, a little larger then the first, dove down in front of the car in almost the exact fashion.  I thought, wow.  That's quite the synchronicity.  But I wasn't sure what the message behind these hawks might be.  Perhaps they were reminders for me to watch the road and drive carefully.  That thought felt boring to me, so I kept trying to think up some other reason these hawks were putting on their show.  Because then after we were on the freeway, we were stuck in traffic (and of course I didn't stress out about it- remember my last post?) because of an accident up ahead and there it was!  A third hawk was flying along to the left of our car in the stop and go traffic.  It would sore to a great height and just hover there in the air as though it were suspended on a string.  I sat in awe to watch it and was grateful for the moment to be stuck in traffic at a standstill so we could watch the hawk do its tricks.  Still, I wasn't sure what kind of message I could gain from this beautiful synchronicity, so I kept paying attention.

The rest of the trip went on normally.  We stopped to get sandwiches from Arby's for dinner, and continued on.  Before we knew it, the sun had gone down and we were getting off the freeway.  I went to the allotted corner and turned to drive down the little road out into the countryside next to the town.  My sister lived a short way out of town.  There's a little blue building along the way which has longtime memories for me.  My grandparents also live down this road an have for generations.  The little blue building is the electric building where my grandfather worked and I remember always pointing it out in my childhood when we were excited that we were nearly there after the long roadtrip.

As I was approaching the blue building, I suddenly felt a small panicky feeling inside that told me I was driving too fast.  I was still in "freeway mode" and had begun to speed so I looked down at the speedometer and began to slow carefully.  But in the next moment, I looked up and noticed a long trail of lights to my right a short distance away.  I was approaching the intersection where the blue building stood on the corner and a semi truck was coming fast on the road perpendicular to mine.  The feeling increased as I realized this truck was not slowing!  He was approaching his stop sign with as much speed as I was approaching my throughway.  I had already begun to slow, but I had no idea how I would be able to stop.  I know I made some kind of explanation as we neared the intersection but I can't remember what it was.  I only remember coming to a halt just in time to see the semi whip it's way past in front of us, and I still have no idea how I stopped in time.

I was melted to the seat with my heart throbbing in my toes and my throat choking on air.  Somehow, we were still alive and unharmed.  I inched at about 25 to 30 miles per hour the rest of the way, thanking the Lord we were ok.

In the moment, I could only think about the moment.  But afterward I was given more understanding.  In an event like this, every second counts.  If I hadn't noticed I was speeding and slowed down to begin with, it would have been too late.  My entire little family was in that vehicle and any other result...well, the very thought makes me cringe away and I cannot imagine.

I am so grateful for the awareness of the Lord in my life.  I know it wasn't just me.  The story doesn't end here.

Yesterday as we were getting ready to leave my sister's and head home, my youngest littlie and baby boy nudged a 4 by 6 mirror and it felt right on him, shattering to pieces.  I was calm, but my sister felt it necessary to take him in to be checked for glass and I agreed that it would be the best thing to do.  He only ended up with a few superficial scratches on his head, face, and hand.  They appear almost like cat scratches, but finer.  There was one wider mark on his head that they ex-rayed to be sure there was no glass and all was well.  We noticed later that he had been next to the coffee table and must have fell flat down and so the mirror hit the table first and broke there to shower him with bits of glass.  He he had been between the table and the mirror, it would have been much worse.  Again, I am so grateful it was the way it was.

My sister told me stories, and I'm sure anyone reading this has their own, of people who have died in random ways.  Getting caught in just the right way between two solid objects or hit in just the right spot to be fatal.  So it goes both ways.  We talk about how sometimes these sad circumstances that end in deaths are just such flukes it's incredible.  However, we are so fragile in this life!  The fluke isn't that any of us die, it is that we are all still alive!  That's the fluke!  In every day of our lives, in every moment, there are things that could kill us.  We are fragile beings in this world that are faced with close calls at every tern.  That may seem to sound kind of paranoid, but it's not.  Because I know the reason why I am still alive.  I know the reason why we are all kept alive in this world.  And that reason is because there is someone all-knowing and all-loving who is watching over us.  When it is our time to go, it will be our time.

I know my time wasn't yesterday.  I don't know when my time may be.  So for the moment, I am going to live in this fragile life in a way that I know I will be proud of and in a way I won't have regrets.  I'm going to forgive a little quicker.  I'm going to allow a little more.  I'm going to smile longer.  I'm going to hold my children closer.  Because every moment is a blessing.  And I am so grateful for the Lord's protection in these moments.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Stuck in Traffic

Have you ever been stuck at a stand-still on the freeway?

How did you react?

Were you alone and booming the radio, muscles tense for action when nothing is happening?  Did you have a car full of sweaty impatient people tapping your shoulder telling you to go when you have no way to obey their orders?  Did you have a bunch of whiny thirsty kids repeating the sing-song "Are we there yet?" at the top of their lungs?

Well, let me tell you a story.

We took a long trip recently up through Idaho, Oregon, back through Idaho to Montana, and then back to Utah.  It was a long trip and we had three small children the entire time.  Guess what happened?  We got stuck in traffic in the middle of the desert in southwestern Idaho.  Nowhere to go.  We sat there wondering what to do and then something happened.

People got out of their cars.  They were conversing around us, having a good ol' time, being friendly and making the best of the situation.  One of them was a trucker and probably found out through his radio what the hold-up was.  The man from the car in front of us came to our window and told us there had been a chemical spill up ahead and the wait would probably be a couple of hours.

What would you do?

He informed us that he knew a back road off the last exit we passed and was going to go back to it and we were welcome to follow him.  So we followed him driving along the median against traffic until we could cross over to the opposite side to continue back toward the last exit and then followed him through some small towns to get back to the freeway.

It was so kind of this man.  And a positive experience!  How often do we have horrible experiences because of traffic?  Let me tell you, I can't imagine something like this happening in Utah.  Everyone is too bent on where they need to be and how someone else offended them personally because they needed to get into their lane.  "How DARE they get right in front of me when I can't go anywhere anyway!"

Come on, people.

Makes me miss the laid back friendly attitude people can have in smaller places.  It's why Idaho is that way - most places in Idaho are small.  Well, everywhere is small compared to other states.  Anyway, it just made me realize how much we freak out about little things.  When these little things can actually turn into something fun if we just have a good attitude about them.  Try it.

I also was thinking about how this could be a metaphor for all life.  Sometimes we want to get somewhere, and get there fast.  Sometimes we hit something that gets in our way and then we have a choice.  We can just sit there and whine, we can throw a fit, we can stress every muscle in our bodies until we're sore, or we can take a deep breath and look around for something worthwhile.  Some things are just beyond our control.  Like being stuck in traffic.  And when something is beyond your control, there is nothing you can do about it, and pouting never helps anyone.  So using these people from my experience as an example: what did they find to do that was worthwhile?  They looked around and saw there were other people on the road who were also stuck.  Instead of glaring and trying to inch ahead of the next guy (with no real meaning to it anyway) they got out of their cars and took a moment to get to know each other, make friends, and uplift.  The man in front of my car even took the time to help us.

So when I'm "stuck in traffic" in my life, instead of getting depressed and self-involved, maybe I should look around at the other people around me and find out that there are opportunities everywhere to help other people.  And maybe if I step out of my own world for a moment I will realize how insignificant my problems really are.  Maybe I'll step out of my "vehicle" to talk to, uplift, or help another person, and turn around and see that it's just that.  A vehicle.  Stuck in traffic.  For a moment.  And that moment is my opportunity.  I should take advantage of it.

Monday, July 2, 2012

In the Middle

I recently read this talk by Uchtdorf and I thought it was amazing timing for me.

I had just had a conversation a couple weeks ago with my sister about our minds being present, and therefore wise.  She said a counselor told her that we live in different minds at different times.  There's our emotional mind (when we ride a roller coaster or are in some way emotionally involved), and our logical mind (when we are balancing our checkbook or in some way concentrated on logic).  Then there is our wise mind.  This is when we are using both our emotional mind and our logical mind.  It was sorta hard for me to think of an example.  She asked me when there is a time that I am both emotional and logical and I finally thought of when I go to play the piano.  I am logically thinking about how to play, but also emotionally involved in the music and just letting go.  It's a relief.  I go there to enter my wise mind.  I go there to be present and let go of everything else.

She told me we can be there all the time.  All we have to do is focus on the now.  Any moment.  Driving in the car, instead of worrying about the future, or regretting the past, think about now.  Focus on the temperature at the moment, how your body feels, what the steering wheel feels like in your hands, and then you are in the moment.  Or in the middle of a crazy day with the kids, start thinking about the moment.  This is the stage my kids are in right now.  This is what they are learning right now.  Suddenly I feel more grateful for my life.  Suddenly I am entering the eternal perspective and forgetting the things that are not as important.  I'm also forgetting to worry about things beyond my control.  It forces me to be more connected with things in my control and let go of things that the Lord will take care of for me.

Be present.

As Uchtdorf quotes in his talk, "Forever--- is composed of Nows." Emily Dickenson

Monday, June 18, 2012

Painful Blessings

Some things I tried to understand simply cannot be understood until it's been experienced first hand.

About a week ago, I found out I was pregnant.  Again.  Now, for those who don't know, I have three little boys.  They are my life right now, whether I like it (most days I do) or not (which comes and goes).  My boys are ages 5, 3, and 1 at the moment.  My youngest turned one in May.

So, finding out I was pregnant wasn't the jump-for-joy kind of experience.  But, although logically I was thinking "Oh, here we go." and trying to talk myself into the reasons this was a good thing, I couldn't help feeling this little smile inside.  It was like a creeping feeling of happiness that I couldn't suppress even though I logically fought it and didn't want to tell anyone about it.  It just wasn't a good time, I kept telling myself.

Then a week went by of me keeping this little secret to myself and trying to grow used to it.  There was this secret little smile within me about this untimely blessing only I (and my husband) knew about.

I was also feeling mixed feelings of gratitude.  Because a cousin of mine recently had a tragic but beautiful circumstance in her own family where she was told at about 6 months pregnant that her baby had something called Trisomy 13, and her little growing beloved one would not live much past birth and most likely would be premature.  I had followed her story over the last couple weeks, my heart hurting for her.  The baby was born and was healthy enough for her to take this little angel home with her.  Her mother was there and wrote emails to my mother, which were forwarded to me.  I followed the story, holding my breath.  Each moment with that baby was a blessing for her.  I think about if this were me, and I would be afraid to sleep.  The baby, little Elsie Jubie Lee, lived for 10 days.  I couldn't make it to the funeral so I thought hard about how I could possibly show my support.  I ordered a beautiful picture of Christ holding a newborn and planned to frame it.  Then I also ordered a book called "Gone Too Soon" which has scriptural and spiritual comfort for those who have experienced miscarriage, stillborn, or the death of a new baby.  Before sending the book, I decided I would read through it in its entirety since it isn't so long.  I received the book shortly before I found out I was pregnant.  I read it for about a week, packaged it up as a gift, and sent it.

The next day, I miscarried.

And my little smile was gone.

All I can say, is the Lord knows me.  He knows me more then I know myself.

I had suspicious symptoms at a barbeque at a friend's house, but by the next morning it became more clear what was happening to me.  I lay in bed with my mind blank.  I kept asking myself how I felt and couldn't answer myself.  Until my husband asked if he should stay home with me that day and I began to cry.  All I could think is, "Oh.  This is how I feel."  Later that day, I went to the doctor to see on their screen the little sack where the baby should be and there was none.  I was told there was really nothing I did wrong.  99% of the time, it is something that went wrong with the cells and the fetus.  It was just not right.  I understood.

But what I couldn't understand was why I had to go through this.  Why did the Lord give me a pregnancy when I wasn't looking for one, and then take it away?  Why did He give me a blessing I wasn't certain I wanted only to take it away before I could realize how much I in fact wanted it?  I still don't know the answer the this question, but I do know one thing.  I have learned, and I have changed.

Before this, I took everything for granted.  Pregnancy was easy for me.  It was something that just happened.  I rode it like I was in a boat floating over waves without oars, relying on someone else to guide me safely, and being happy that way.  Now I realize what a miracle healthy pregnancy and childbirth really is.  I also have learned so much about sincere service.  So many people can try giving well-meaning advice or words of comfort that just plain ISN'T comforting.

I don't want to hear "They're in a better place." or "It just wasn't the right time."  I don't want to hear "Now you have a reason to try harder for Celestial glory." or "This baby was just an angel, not meant for life in this wicked world." or "One in five pregnancies end in miscarriage, so it's pretty common."

It might be a better place, but it's not with me.  I know it's not the right time, but why this "here you go, or not" thing?  I already was trying, and I didn't need another excuse to feel unworthy.  AND I believe every spirit son and daughter of God gets to live on this earth.   They all get a chance at life.  I don't understand where they are or what they will do, but God does.  And just because miscarriage is common, doesn't mean it's not INCREDIBLY heartbreaking and PAINFUL!  But all this aside, just stop it.

Words don't help anyway.

The week after this happened was like a single day.  Days just passed, and it forever felt like the miscarriage began yesterday.  I tried doing laundry and it lasted all week.  Time just passed.  I knew this was a sign of depression.  I attended a temple session where I slept through it (eyes open or shut).  Then my husband's birthday came and went, we celebrated the next day with dinner and a movie where I felt a little more normal, then it was my birthday and we went to visit family for a reunion.  By the end of that day, I felt outside my own body.  Maybe I didn't drink enough water.  Maybe it was the heat and wind.  Maybe it was just a combination of everything.  But I cried again on the way home.

I'm exhausted.  I'm physically so tired.  But I'm also tired of feeling this way.  I don't know how to feel better.  I want to just pick up and do things.  I try to stay busy, doing what I should, but if I'm honest with myself, all I want to do is lay on the couch all day and watch movies.  But I can't do that with these three small children climbing out, over, and through everything and their mothers.

So I clean.  And I hope to feel better.  And my heart goes out to those other mothers who experience miscarriage later in pregnancy when there are more procedures needed.  And my heart goes out to those other mothers who experience the death of a fully grown baby, whether still in the womb or in their arms.  And my heart aches for their pain.  And my heart aches for their crazy hormonal emotions, which everyone experiences after childbirth anyway - but the upside is that there is a baby there.  So what if there isn't one?

 I love you, women.  All of you.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Priesthood

I recently picked up the conference issue of the Ensign that just came out, and randomly opened it up, deciding to read whatever talk I turned to first.

This was it, and I so appreciated it.  When I first began reading I didn't think I was going to get anything that new.  After all, isn't the priesthood something that doesn't concern me so much, besides the fact that I should be supportive?  Well, reading this talk made me change my mind.

These words struck me closely.  I never really knew what it meant to "be supportive" to priesthood holders.  I've heard people say it means to give them the opportunity to use their priesthood by asking for blessings and things, but I didn't realize it's more than that.

I should look at my husband differently.  Because he is a priesthood holder, he is different and special.  I should look at him and treat him with a special respect because of the holy power he has been given.  Supporting the priesthood means seeing him as a man with that gift, and wanting to tap into it whenever I can.  Also, it means encouraging him in every moment to feel worthy of that power.  It made my love for him feel a bit more transformed.  It never ceases to amaze me how love can keep growing and changing through the years.

Then further, I was thinking about my boys.  When they grow older they should understand this as well; so when they receive the priesthood they will know that they are different and, in turn, should act differently.

I am so grateful for conference talks and the clarity they bring when you are seeking the words of God.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Natural Man

 I've been especially touched by this scripture lately so I made myself a printable.  Thought I would share. :)

Monday, February 6, 2012

Corny Muffins

Growing up, I used to love using this metaphor about friends that my closest friends were my muffins because they were baked in the same pan a me.

The metaphor was cute and well-intended but I have since realized how closed-minded I became when I thought this way.  I would categorized my friends and that is never a good thing. Sadly, I once even told someone I love that they were not one of my muffins.

This unequal frame of mind is not uncommon. Most people may not give it such a cute name, but everyone is guilty of discluding others at some time.

As I contemplated this metaphor something entered my mind.  We are nit all baked in the same pan. Some people are very different from others. But we are all made from the same batter. (I know this is corny...bear with me.) Some of us are over cooked or under cooked and wouldn't even know it if we never expanded our vision to those baked in other pans.

So I was thinking about this in a spiritual sense too. Knowing that we are all God's children, we need to see each other in the way He sees us. W are not all equal. Not really. We are all different, with different strengths and weaknesses. But we are all divinely worth the same. That worth is infinite!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

D&C 122:4

I read this in my scriptures this morning and loved it so much I had to make it look cool to share.  Happy Sunday!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Guess what! The spirit works!

My husband prayed for me to come ask him something the other night while I was in the other room.  Five minutes later I came into the room and felt something REALLY strong.  So I asked him about it.  It freaked him out so much, he couldn't even answer my question the way he wanted to because he wasn't ready for it that quick.

Surprise! The spirit works! :)

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

One Little Word

So I've been thinking a lot about the new year.  Of course, my priorities are getting fixed after the semester of crazy and I'm going to try to focus on the more important things this year.  My family is at the top.  I'm going to try to live it up with Jameson around as much as possible because he'll be starting kindergarten in the fall and then...well...he'll grow up even faster!  So I'm going to treasure the moments right now.

That being said, if I wrote down EVERYTHING in a list of New Year's Resolutions, I would get overwhelmed quickly.  So besides getting my priorities straight, I thought I would do this one little word thing.

I stole this idea from my cousin.

She got it here.

So what's my one little word?


 I've been working on getting my sub-teaching certification for my new job and it is talking a lot about positive reinforcement and such.  This stuff works on your own kids, it says.  Of course it does, if I can keep myself under control in my own home.  People say kids behave the worst for their parents.  Well, you know what the reason for that is, I think?  The parents have to deal with these kids all the time and their patience gets warn out so they reinforce bad behavior by acknowledging the bad more then the good, and frankly acting just as bad themselves!

I am feeling more and more like a little kid throwing a tantrum lately whenever I let my temper get the better of me or I lose patience.  So I'm going to practice taking a deep breath and talking even QUIETER whenever I feel like yelling.

This goal began yesterday morning.

I yelled yesterday.

Let's hope I do better today.  But, really, my goal is for the whole year!  I'm posting this here to remind me that by next New Years, I should be doing pretty well with this word.


And then I can choose a new word.  If I've failed by next New Years, well, I'll have to keep it.  So let's hope I get past it and can move on to something else by then.  Or next year, my post might be kinda boring. :)

ALSO!  Another way this word can be applied is by thinking about spiritual things too.  If I'm quieter, what will I be able to hear more of that I couldn't pay attention to before?

Happy New Year everyone!