Monday, December 30, 2013

A New Year and My One Little Word for 2014

In 2012, I chose Whisper.  It helped me to focus on speaking softly and listening closer to the spirit.

In 2013, I chose Serve...then swapped it out for Diligent half way through the year because I felt I was losing myself in the service a bit too much... but I think this year just spun off kilter because I've been on the wrong birth control and it made me a different person.  But I do feel like I have learned to be more diligent in my self discipline by the end of this year.  I have renewed my efforts to be a better person and be closer to my Savior then I have been before. (And I got off that stupid stuff.)

Now I'm looking 2014 in the face with a shock because it seemed like yesterday I was just changing 2013's diapers and now he's walking his little hiney out the door and I'm greeted with a new face.  I'm not sure if this face is friendly or not yet.  2014 has some secrets for me that are not going to be revealed right away.  I visualize 2014, not as a newborn baby like 2013 seemed to be.  But as a cloaked stranger, waiting to lower his or her veil to reveal the face of my future.

In 2014, my family will hopefully, fingers-crossed, most likely be starting a new adventure into the unknown land of living with "Law-school Daddy".  Right now, Daddy is sorta the glue that holds Mommy's sanity in check.  So, let's hope "Law-school Daddy" isn't much different.  Or let's hope "Law-school Daddy's Wife" is up to being Full-time-Dedicated-Mom-of-the-Year, because right now she's feeling a little pathetic at the moment.  The trapeze artist needs more balance before she can walk that rope.

2014 may or may not hold a relocation for our family as well.  You see, law school is big fat book laying on my chest with a binding that won't open yet.  Inside this book's pages lies the answer to where we will live during law school.  Whether we will remain here among this loving outstandingly supportive neighborhood... or whether we will move to [somewhere else] where who knows how supportive or unified the neighborhood will be?  This will be somewhere where my oldest will start second grade, and my second child will start kindergarten.  This will be a place we may live for only one year, but nothing is set.  Nothing is planned.  Nothing is made to order.  This to-go box is going to come ready-made, and when it's cooked through we will be given what we're given.  No turning back.  We'll have to eat it.  That's up to 2014.

That's not to say we have no choices to make.  There will be choices.  The hard part is waiting on what those choices will be.  Are we going to have to decide how to get a second vehicle for commuting?  Or will we be deciding how to downsize our belongings to fit into a small apartment?  Will we be installing new carpet and giving our home a new paint job for us to enjoy, or for someone else to enjoy?  Will we be driving across states with a trailer truck that holds everything we own?  Will I be saying goodbye to my small but promising positions with the little local paper, my little piano students, my essential oils friends, and my ward family?  Or will I get to keep it all?  Somehow that seems like too much to expect right now.

So, as I look at 2014's unfamiliar and shadowy face, I am once again asking myself what I will choose as my One Little Word this year?

Outside of all the unknowns, what are the things I really need to work on this year?

I need more patience.
With my kids.  With my life.  With my husband.  With my family members.  With myself.
I need to breathe.
I need to stop myself from speaking, acting, lunging forward, shouting, screaming, interjecting, rescuing...
I just need to stop.

This is my one little word for 2014.

In that crazy out-of-my-mind moment when all day I have been picking up emergency messes in my house, when my children just haven't been listening to me and I feel like a broken record.
Don't do that.  Don't do that again.  Don't do that.  D o n ' t .


And in that moment when I'm busy, my mind is focused, I'm feeling as though I'll be finished any minute now.  Just a little longer and I will feel accomplished, and my child interrupts me.  Mom.  Just a minute, I'm busy.  Mom!  Just a minute.  Mom, look!  Hold on a second.  MOM!

In that moment when I discover another secret naughty act, after the millions from the day.  That moment when my son looks up at my face with that tiny glimmer of hope in his eyes that maybe if he's just honest with me I won't break.  That moment when I feel like my body is  s h a t t e r i n g  into a million pieces just like that precious heirloom that was happily thrown against the wall earlier that day with a squeal and dashing bare feet.  When I can feel my blood pressure rising and my head begins to pound.

Pause.  B r e a t h e.

I can do all things with the Lord who strengthens me.

This too shall pass.

I'm not perfect, Lord.  Take this cup from me.  Carry my cross for a moment.
I need Thee every hour.
I need Thee, Lord.  Oh, I need Thee.

Tomorrow I will be better.  Tomorrow I'm going to Pause.
Tomorrow will be my jumpstart into 2014, and all the surprises that await.
When if my husband says we will pick up our lives and begin again somewhere new.
Before I react in some unknown way that is now hidden in my subconscious mind where I am not allowing myself to go...
I will Pause.

If when I am given a "golden" opportunity to share my experiences with someone who might "need" it,
Before I voice my opinion
Before I post that comment
Before I interject
I will Pause.

When if I wake up in the night to the sound of little feet shuffling into my room and a groan from the tired man next to me,
Before I roll over and let him deal with it
Before I rush that little body out of the room
I will Pause.
and remember this too shall pass. And do I want it to?

If when I am finding myself distracted by unimportant things and my child is trying to remind me to look them in the eyes again.
Before I brush him off
I will Pause.
and I will see him.

When if I find my kitchen drenched in milk and chocolate chips.
Before I scream.
Before I cry.
Before I fall down dead.
I will Pause.
.... and maybe then I'll find something to laugh about.

Happy New Year!
What's your One Little Word?

Thursday, December 26, 2013

I Am Already Amazing

For Christmas I got a couple books and so today I began reading a book by Holley Gerth called You're Already Amazing.  It's been quite refreshingly inspiring for me to begin reading a book like this.  I should read more books like this.

Anyway, so far the part that really caught my eye today was a section called "Most People Don't".  She gives examples of the kind of self-talk that can be destructive.  When we sit and think about how most people don't do what we are sitting in front of a computer screen writing for hours on end.  Then it becomes things like "What's the matter with you?  Why can't you be more like most people?"

"Most people don't...wear themselves out in the kitchen because they believe a meal feeds hearts and fills bellies.  Most people don't...throw off their entire schedule because they take time to listen to the stranger in the grocery store who's having a hard day....
...It's true.  Most people don't do what you do, love what you love, feel the kind of passion you feel about that thing.  I started thinking about this recently and I realized we're in pretty good company if we feel like we're not like most people.  After all:
Most people don't build an ark.
Most people don't lead people through the desert to the Promised Land.
Most people don't die on a cross to save the world.
But aren't we glad one person did each of these things?
If most people don't do what you do, and you're passionately pursuing Jesus with your life, then it's probably not just a human plan.  The heartbeat of God is probably somewhere within it.  We need you, just you, to fulfill that purpose, complete that project, bring that gift to the world in a way no one else can.
Most people don't...but you do."

This really struck me.   Because I am constantly giving myself crap about the way I spend my time.  I try to do what I need to do and not just what I want to do because everybody needs priorities.  But my leisure time is always questioned in my mind.  "Is this important enough?"  or "Does any other mother do this in their spare time?"  What spare time?

My sister said something over Thanksgiving that I keep reminding myself too.
"Don't should'a on yourself."
Meaning, don't ever look back with regrets, but instead, think forward.  I'm trying my best to do just that.  Because what I'm doing is good enough.

I don't have to do more to be good enough.  I don't have to do more to be loved.  I am already.  I really am amazing already.

"I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but aChrist bliveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the cfaith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me." Galatians 2:20

Friday, December 13, 2013

Who's Birthday Is It Anyway?

The transition from childhood to adulthood can be pretty rocky for some people.  It seems like typically the youngest of a family struggles the most with this.  Maybe it's because we are spoiled, or maybe it's because we never want to stop playing or lose the magic of childhood, but something about being the youngest holds us back from embracing the fact that, yes, I'm over twenty years old now.  In fact, I'm reaching thirty soon.  But I guess the number doesn't matter that much because I don't feel that much different (unless I'm jumping on the trampoline or something) and I still want to play and feel the magic of love inside my heart.  Too often adults get caught up in being serious and responsible and forget about having fun and being curious and looking for the wonder in life.

So keeping this in mind, Christmas this year is once again giving me a struggle because I have been wrestling with the magic.  I miss the days when Christmas was all about the childlike excited anticipation of "what's going to happen?" and the belief in things happening that are not ordinary, but special and magical.  Now I get caught up in the idea that I have to make these things happen and I miss out on the magic because I think...I'm not magical.  How am I supposed to create the magic for my family?  And I lose out on that special Christmas feeling that I used to feel all December long as I gazed at the Christmas lights reflecting off the shining ornaments of the Christmas trees, or when I caught snowflakes on my tongue.

But I am starting to remember what the magic really is all about.

I attended a small Christmas party last night where we drank hot cocoa and gathered around their make-shift fire-lit living room with couches and comfy beanbag chairs by the Christmas tree, and listened to stories.  One of the stories was about a little boy living in a backwards town.  I found the story here!  It tells about how on his birthday everyone did what was unexpected and not what was expected.  This little boy spent his entire birthday watching people give each other gifts instead of giving him gifts.  His mother gave his birthday cake to the mailman, and his grandparents came to visit a neighbors house instead of his.  Finally this little boy gets a megaphone and rides around the neighborhood shouting "Who's birthday is it anyway?"

We need to remember who's birthday it is, anyway.

I was truly touched by this story.  When she began reading it, I had no idea how it was going to relate to Christmas, but in the last line it hit me like a dagger to the heart.

I've had all kinds of goals and plans this Christmas.  I wanted to teach my kids to be more selfless by trying to make home-made gifts this year for each other.  It's been a huge challenge, because since my kids are 6 and under really it's me coming up with these home-made gifts for them to help me make for everybody.  It's become overwhelming but I want to see it through.  I want Christmas to be more then just receiving.

Then today I had a telephone conversation with my mother-in-law that prompted me to post this blog post.  She talked about her desire to convey the message about the true meaning of giving gifts at Christmas.  The gift doesn't have to be expensive.  It doesn't have to be stunningly beautiful in a material way.  Giving at Christmas is more then what's wrapped inside the wrapping paper.  It's what you feel inside, and it's what you sacrifice for each other.  My mother-in-law's definition of Christmas is that Christmas is sacrifice.  Because we make sacrifices for each other to remember the greatest sacrifice given to us, that of the Christ.  I'm going to add to this and say Christmas is finding the joy in making sacrifices for others, no matter how small they are.

At the Christmas party last night, we were given Christmas Jars, following after the book by Jason Wright, where we can make a tradition to save a little in the jar all year round in order to save money for gifts for each other in our own family, or to give to another family for Christmas.  It's a beautiful tradition, and shed some light on the little sacrifices we can make all year to remember the sacrifice given to us by our Savior and our Heavenly Father.

"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life." John 3:16