Category Archives: Uncategorized

Reach Up, He’ll Take Your Hand

Parenting is hard. And I’ve only just started. Right now the naptime struggle is REAL. The number of times she has fallen asleep without a near or full-on melt down would fit on two hands. While the struggle to get her to fall asleep has been a source of great frustration, my biggest disappointment has been my reaction when she puts up such a fight before going to sleep. I get angry and agitated and right in the midst of her meltdowns I join her and silently have one of my own. Tears flow and I find myself getting angry with her (as if she has any awareness or intention behind this behavior.)
It seems silly that something as small as a nap not happening can throw me into a spiral. Whenever I respond this way I feel ashamed, forgetting that I everyone gets angry or frustrated when their child doesn’t do what they want when they want. Sometimes I have to leave her in the crib and have a moment — as in a sitting in the bathroom with my head in my hands weeping in frustration moment — pleading with Heavenly Father to take these feelings away from me. The feelings didn’t disappear right away, but I managed to get her to sleep with the help of my sweet hubby. Later that night I asked Heavenly Father to give me patience with her.

That night my hubby mentioned to me, “We need to remember that a lot of her behavior is learned from our behavior.” and I realized that if I can’t put her down for a nap without getting frustrated, what makes me think that she would go down for a nap without getting frustrated? Throughout the night and into the next morning his words ran around and around in my mind,

When naptime came the next day we had the usual song and dance, up and down and up and down and up and down and up and down and up and down and . . .

It hit me that I am learning a pattern for us both right now

. . . something was different. There was laughter. Suddenly the situation became humorous. There was no huffing and puffing in frustration. In fact, the overriding feeling was peace throughout the whole naptime tango and I knew exactly where that peace was coming from. It hit me that I may need to fervently pray for peace with every nap, but I will have His help every time I do. The spirit helped me to remember that I am learning a pattern for us both right now, that whenever things happen that are out of my hands or shatter the scope of my expectations — which happens on the daily right now — He will be there to help me rebuild and show me the way.

He cares about us so much that He wants us to come to Him with every concern so that He can teach us how to overcome.

We can — no we must — rely on God’s help if we are seeking true peace and joy in this life. He is omnipotent. He knows the purpose and outcome of all things and He will be there for all of us in our very personal, private, unseen trials; even and especially those where we might think to ourselves, “Why would I waste His time with this?” I mean, it would be easy to wonder why God would care how I feel about my child’s naps. But I know He does because I know He loves me. Because I have felt the spirit encouraging and guiding me to seek His help during the times where I felt I was about to implode. And He cares about all of your seemingly-insurmountable-yet-still-small-enough-to-think-you-shouldn’t-bother-God troubles too. He cares about you so much that He wants you to come to Him with every concern so that He can teach you how to overcome.quilts

He doesn’t expect you to do it alone. You were never meant to be alone and in fact you never are alone. Even in your darkest moments, He is right there anxiously waiting for you to seek after him. He is always there and you can rely on His help whenever you need it. All you have to do is reach up and He will be there. You are His child. He loves you. Just as a parent takes a child’s hand He wants to hold yours and guide you through. 

So pray to Him about all the little things, and the big things. Pray to Him about everything and watch His hand come lift you through them all.

 

A Time To Every Purpose Under Heaven

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven -Ecclesiastes 3:1 (and The Byrds) 😉

I was recently talking to a friend who is on the board of a wonderful charity called PJ’s Forgotten Children. While I was pregnant with Chloe I had several opportunities to volunteer at their headquarters but many times didn’t go because of exhaustion, morning sickness or both. I was telling her how much I wish I had been there more when I had what now seems like loads of time and how I would love to be there to help now. She said to me, “There is a time and a season for everything.” I loved hearing these words and the thought stuck with me. 

A few weeks later I managed to make it to yoga because hubby was working from home. (Yay!) During the class our teacher mentioned that since his 18-month-old twins came into the world he hasn’t able to practice nearly as much as he would like to. His body is not what it used to be. His practice is not what it used to be. But he knows that this is a season of life that will come and go. It is temporary. This is not always how it will be. I layed there in savasana with a smile on my face and couldn’t help but notice the recurring message the spirit was sending to me.

Today I asked my hubby, “Don’t you love being a parent? You’re so good at it you’re such a wonderful daddy.” His response? “It’s hard.”
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We talked about all the things that we used to do and used to be. When you are single, the world is your oyster and you can up and go anywhere whenever for as long as you want. You can pursue your passions without worrying about the effect it will have on others to a great degree. Then you get married and that changes slightly, but you can still do the things you love and even redo your bathroom without worrying about using your sledgehammer or saw during naps and finish it in a LOT less time. Then you have children and that changes completely. Things have to be placed on hold or at the very least given less of your attention which can feel frustrating and sometimes hard.

img_8294“This too shall pass. She will never be this small again. One day you won’t be able to hold her in your arms. Enjoy this time.”

Whenever I start to get frustrated during the 3AM feedings, or when my little one refuses to take a nap and I find myself crying along with her (which happens more often than I dare admit) I say a prayer asking Heavenly Father to take the negative feelings away and every single time the spirit whispers to me, “This too shall pass. She will never be this small again. One day you won’t be able to hold her in your arms. Enjoy this time.” and with these thoughts my frustration dissipates and my heart is peaceful again. That is the power of the atonement of Jesus Christ. He is there for us in such infinitely personal ways. And he loves us so much he only not wants to take away our pain, he wants to give us a greater peace than we could expect. 

I know many who are on the other side of where I am at right now and are actively pursuing other goals and dreams now that their children are a little (or a lot) more grown. I know many who are in the thick of it. Two, three, four, five children in. I know many who have journeys completely different of their own or have yet to know what this journey feels like. Is it hard? Yes. Is it beautiful? Yes. Is it transformative? On every level yes. Is it worth it? A thousand times YES.img_8184

There is so much beauty in creating with God and experiencing a life unlike any other I’ve ever known. There is such beauty in the process that as a friend put it, “tears you apart so that you can rebuild yourself as a mother.” There is such beauty in the growth that takes place in such a short period of time; in having this person who needs you and loves you and who looks to you for every comfort. This person who is eternally sealed to you. Yes, there are all kinds of experiences we are unable to have right now. But so many of these experiences are temporary and fleeting. A yoga class here, a bike ride there, a concert, a movie, a quiet night to ourselves. I have been reflecting the last few days on how all of these things are impermanent. All of it. Except one. 

The one permanent thing, the single thing that we can take with us when we leave this earth, the one thing that is everlasting and is worth every second of our time and investment is the family we are each a part of.

Families are not fleeting. Families are not temporary. This is life eternal and families are forever. 

Getting Through the Spiritual Highs and Lows

In the two weeks since conference I have had some incredibly sweet and tender experiences brought about through following the admonitions of conference speakers (Elder Rasband in particular), along with the power of Christ and the combined effort and unity of the organizations within the church and my family. Answers to prayers that have been in my heart fervently for months on end came about, miracles took place, lives were brightened, missionaries were born of the young women I teach, and no words can express the joy and happiness and astonishment I felt at all that transpired. And then, just like that, it feels like the rug was pulled out from under me and I am left feeling disheartened and depressed.

There must be opposition in all things. Opposition permits us to grow toward what our Heavenly Father would have us become. A friend once told me that often times a great spiritual experience can be followed by a spiritual low of sorts and I have often found this to be the case. Satan doesn’t want us to remember or grow from the exhilarating experiences we have and he waits in the outskirts of our lives for the perfect moment to pounce and drag us back down to any degree possible. When Joseph Smith was first visited by the angel Moroni, he found himself completely exhausted. “I shortly after arose from my bed, and, as usual, went to the necessary labors of the day; but, in attempting to work as at other times, I found my strength so exhausted as to render me entirely unable. My father, who was laboring along with me, discovered something to be wrong with me, and told me to go home. I started with the intention of going to the house; but, in attempting to cross the fence out of the field where we were, my strength entirely failed me, and I fell helpless on the ground, and for a time was quite unconscious of anything.”

As Elder Dallin H. Oaks described, “After Joseph Smith had completed translating the Book of Mormon, he still had to find a publisher. This was not easy. The complexity of this lengthy manuscript and the cost of printing and binding thousands of copies were intimidating. Joseph first approached E. B. Grandin, a Palmyra printer, who refused. He then sought another printer in Palmyra, who also turned him down. He traveled to Rochester, 25 miles (40 km) away, and approached the most prominent publisher in western New York, who also turned him down. Another Rochester publisher was willing, but circumstances made this alternative unacceptable.

Weeks had passed, and Joseph must have been bewildered at the opposition to accomplishing his divine mandate. The Lord did not make it easy, but He did make it possible. Joseph’s fifth attempt, a second approach to the Palmyra publisher Grandin, was successful.”

So when these times come around to you, and undoubetdly they will from time to time, I offer these suggestions to pull you out quickly and efficiently.

  1. Gaining a testimony is not a one-and-done experience and neither are the spiritual experiences surrounding us. Yes, it is wonderful to have a grand experience where prayers are answered and everything seems perfect in the world for a time. These experiences are the result of hard work, faith, prayer, study, and following the spirit. But the thing we are working towards is often not a one-and-done situation either. Whatever it is you are seeking, it is very likely that this blessing will require continued work, faith, patience, and diligence once it is received. If you have a chance to share the gospel with a friend you have been praying for, or if you finally gave birth to the child you have been hoping for, or you met the man of your dreams, it never ends there. We have to keep working, keep praying, and keep trying as we move from one grand experience on to the next. This is what enduring to the end is all about.
  2. Let go of expectations. Oftentimes we work hard towards a goal that in our minds is something that is worth the time and effort and is an attempt to unify and uplift friends, family, neighbors etc. but those efforts are not received as we had hoped. This does not mean we throw in the towel and say, “well, all that work did not accomplish what I had in mind, why bother?” If we follow a prompting we will not always get the results we were expecting. We may not even see the end result of the effect our efforts had on others, but this does not mean we stop the effort. This is our opportunity to trust in the Lord with all our hearts; and lean not unto our own understanding. Our efforts will make a difference either now or later. Whether the outcome is what we expect is not what matters. What matters is that we act. 
  3. If you are feeling sad or let down by the results of your efforts, or the reception of those efforts by others, take it to the Lord. Sure, it can seem like a good idea to vent to a friend about your feelings, but this can often have the opposite result from what we wanted, dragging them down with us and creating a misconception in their mind about beliefs or actions or situations. Disappointment, depression, sadness, fatigue, discouragement, resentment, anger, frustration, all of these can and will be taken by the Savior if we but ask. He has already taken these things upon himself, don’t carry them — or worse don’t go spreading them around. I recently read the Peacegiver by James Farrel and loved the message it contained regarding forgiving while recognizing the sin that is in ourselves. Christ suffered for our sins and for the effect of the sins of others. If you are hurting because of the action — or inaction of others, take it to him. Ask him to remove it from you and he will. Today I found myself feeling so disheartened and could only think of a good cry and a shower as my best way of dealing. As the warm water was washing my tears away I began to pray. By the time I was done I was already beginning to feel the peace that I was hoping for. My vision which had previously been clouded by all these negative feelings started to clear and I was able to find the focus, hope and joy that I was longing for.
  4. You needed his help before, you will need it now, and you will need it tomorrow. The sooner we can remember this and access his love and at-one-ment on a daily, hourly, sometimes minute-to-minute basis, the sooner we will feel his peace and pure joy in our lives. We can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth us and we need him every hour. 
  5. During these difficult times, it is so important for us to endure it well, with a cheerful countenance and not to murmur since being angry or disgruntled can often lead us down a path that is painful and difficult to return from.
  6. Finally count your blessings. Works like a charm every time. Here’s a picture of one of mine❤️

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I know that in this life, we are to be tested to see and know for ourselves what we can and will be willing to do as the spirit directs and that if we are to keep a positive outlook and a close relationship with the Holy Ghost, the Savior and our Heavenly Father, we will be blessed with peace and joy in every situation. I say this in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

It’s Official

I’ve been a mother for just over six months now, and while some would say that I became a mother the day I found out we were pregnant or the day she was born I fully realize I am a mother because of the dream I had last night in which I had a man telling me that I was probably just sitting around the house all day doing nothing and I proceeded to lecture him about how my job never ends and that I work twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week and I don’t take breaks or days off!! LOL 

Another Way to Consider Loving Thy Neighbor

It never ceases to amaze me the ways that further light and truth come with each new reading of the Book of Mormon. I recently came to Mosiah and began again to study King Benjamin’s words. (AH! Can I get a witness for King Benjamin?!! I mean couldn’t we all just read the first chapters of Mosiah and be edified for months or years on end?) Something stood out to me this time around in Mosiah 4:28 which has lead me to ponder more:

kingbenjaminAnd I would that ye should remember, that whosoever among you borroweth of his neighbor should return the thing that he borroweth, according as he doth agree, or else thou shalt commit sin; and perhaps thou shalt cause thy neighbor to commit sin also.

The words, “perhaps thou shalt cause thy neighbor to commit sin also” jumped out at me. What an interesting thought that our own actions could lead others to commit sin. “But that’s silly,” you might say, “I cannot cause someone else to act or behave a certain way. I’m not some kind of sorcerer or hypnotist.” You may think that you just don’t have that kind of power but perhaps each of us does. Perhaps if our own actions cause someone as Paul said, “to fulfil the lust of the flesh” then we do have that power. One person’s actions could lead others into “adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and the like” as Paul outlines in Galatians 5. 81e1ea89f0294d03c19f239b179e1623

What an interesting way for King Benjamin to testify of Christ’s commandment to love thy neighbor nearly 125 years before Christ himself ever walked the earth. It is yet another testament of Jesus Christ in itself and another testament to the truthfulness of this marvelous book. And what great direction and motivation to be more Christlike in our behavior. While we all have our agency, and each of us is ultimately responsible for our own behavior, we must strive not to allow our actions to cause feelings or responses from others that would cause them to sin. To not treat others in a manner that would cause jealousy, anger, resentment, feelings of betrayal, isolation, worthlessness, sadness, the list goes on and is something I know we all, myself especially, can strive to improve on each day.

Which brings me to another thought that has been going through my head and I believe is the antithesis to the first half of this post. For the last few weeks R.A.O.K. (Random Acts of Kindness) have been on my mind as we attempt to strengthen family bonds through these during the month of April. See the cute little pinwheels I found at the dollar store to kick things off?!

RAOK

As I have been prayerfully thinking about what to do for whom in my family, I have had the spirit bring me promptings to also do things for my neighbors. For example, there are a number of homes that I walk or drive by almost every day and I think to myself, “Wow what a beautiful yard and home they have! They work so hard and it really shows and it is delightful to look at each time I see it!” I honestly do feel joy each time I see their houses and yards, and I decided, “hey, instead of keeping this nice thing to myself I am gonna write them a note and tell them!” I know crazy, right? It’s not creepy or stalker-ish at all. LOL But seriously, even just starting to think about R.A.O.K. for my family is leading me to see the endless opportunities and fun there could be in doing this for others. 

Yes I said fun. SO much fun! And I’ll tell you something else. It’s kind of addicting. And joyful. And addicting. Kyle and I had SO much fun driving all over the valley dropping these pinwheels off. What a great antidote to King Benjamin’s warning about behavior that may cause others to sin. This is quite the opposite I believe. Especially for someone who you might have had hard feelings towards, or someone who might have hard feelings towards you. I plan to do random acts of kindness for any and everyone who falls into this category for me, along with all the people I feel prompted! I encourage you to try it because it feels oh so good!

Women’s Conference Reflections

Such wonderful messages shared on Saturday night! Items I look forward to pondering from #LDSconf women’s session.

💕 Lean not unto thine own understanding. When we spiritually lean to one side or another, we are moved and are not centered on Christ. The more we lean onto our own understanding with spiritual matters we become malaligned, off center, and moved away from the Savior. As we trust in the Lord, the result is always that we will be moved closer to him.

🌟 The beauty of holiness. Every Moment of our lives MUST be holiness to the Lord. Our mortal experiences give us the opportunity to choose holiness.

💕 Becoming certain women; free from doubt or reservation; confident; sure; that may be depended on; trustworthy; unfailing; reliable

🌟The Lord gives peace in his own way. He gives us weakness that we might be humble and in our humility we are given his grace.

💕in times of trouble, remember the times that the spirit has visited you and the power you felt.

🌟the Holy Ghost is not only the comforter, but the companion who will help us along our path to eternal progression. Our classes and organizations along with the guidance of the spirit can help to increase our power to do good.

Begin Again

Again, the spirit has called and called me here to write and to share. Again and again I allowed myself to get caught up in things that distracted me. Now, here I am with a six-month-old baby wishing I had been recording my spiritual insights and experiences here all along and kicking myself for not doing this day after day.

Today I begin again. Because the day I walked into Niki Mantyla’s class nearly three years ago and the day she announced that our final for the class would be a blog discussing something that changed our lives (the very blog you are reading) I knew this was the message Heavenly Father wanted me to share. The joy I had in my heart would grow and grow each time I did.

I promise not to be like Chemish and Amaron. I will not blow my chance to bless a life and say nothing of value or be arrogant in my comments. I will do all I can to give my readers something useful, something good, something beneficial to think on and learn from.

I promise not to be like Chemish and Amaron. I will not blow my chance to bless a life and say nothing of value or be arrogant in my comments.

Today I want to begin by sharing the thought I had while listening to Mormon Channel Talk Radio. Yes, this is a thing I do several days a week if I ever know I am going to be home for a while and have no place to go or nothing pressing that day. I listen when I need a little spiritual upliftment. I listen when my scripture study was cut short by things like feeding the baby or changing the baby or playing with the baby. You catch my drift. At any rate, I highly recommend that anyone try listening. Each day is filled with conference talks, Mormon Messages, programs produced by the church and the Mormon Channel. The content is fabulous and trust me you will thank yourself for listening.

I love how the spirit can make any talk, any scripture, any discussion relevant and so very personal to each of us if we are seeking to receive it. Today I had the restoration on my mind since this is the theme for April in Young Women’s. I received several thoughts and direction due to segments today. I was excited and grateful to look further into the promptings I received. Then later as I was putting the baby to sleep, I overheard a piece of a BYU speech from Elder Holland that gave me much to reflect on. The quote, “When suffering, we may in fact be nearer to God than we’ve ever been in our entire lives. That knowledge can turn every such situation into a would-be temple.” 

This quote was especially powerful today because I have a dearly loved sister who is going through an excruciating experience and I have had a hard time finding the words to express comfort to her. Last night, I found myself on the phone with her explaining how I will sometimes look for others are in much worse situations than I am to help me find the good in difficult times. When I was going through my divorce, I would read holocaust novels. When we spent ten days with Chloe in the NICU I would think of parents who were not able to hold or take their babies home from the hospital. Last night it was a tale of a friend who endured something similar but without the support and companionship of a loving husband.

“When suffering, we may in fact be nearer to God than we’ve ever been in our entire lives. That knowledge can turn every such situation into a would-be temple.”

As I was listening to Elder Holland’s speech today, it hit me that maybe the reason we do this is that as we look for examples of suffering greater than ours, we will ultimately be lead to the perfect example who is Jesus Christ, who suffered more than any other human ever has or ever will. He suffered so that we would not have to, and when we give our pain, disappointment, discouragement, suffering and doubts over to him, we will learn as Elder Holland says, “every experience can become a redemptive experience if we remain bonded to our Father in Heaven through it.

. . . maybe the reason we do this is that as we look for examples of suffering greater than ours, we will ultimately be lead to the perfect example who is Jesus Christ . . .

These difficult lessons teach us that man’s extremity is God’s opportunity, and if we will be humble and faithful, if we will be believing and not curse God for our problems, He can turn the unfair and inhumane and debilitating prisons of our lives into temples—or at least into a circumstance that can bring comfort and revelation, divine companionship and peace.”

Elder Joseph Fielding Smith even said that perhaps such sufferings have to happen—not only can they happen, perhaps they have to. Regarding the events that took place at Liberty Jail, he said:

“As I have read the history of those days, the days that went before and days that came after, I have reached the conclusion that the hardships, the persecution, the almost universal opposition [toward the Church at that time] were necessary. At any rate they became school teachers to our people. They helped to make [them] strong.

I testify that this is true. I know that the challenging times we have in this life are all there to give us experience. Everything that we survive becomes our teacher, helping us to help others, to have empathy and compassion and a deeper understanding. It is my prayer that I will be able share this hopeful message with any of you who may be suffering. I urge you to listen to the words of Elder Holland, yes all 45 minutes of it, and I promise you will be uplifted and edified. Christ will carry you through your most difficult times if you reach up, he will take your hand. I know this to be true and I leave this testimony with you in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

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Much to Tell

For months I have felt prompted to get back on here and keep up with my posting, and I have put it off, or written elsewhere (namely facebook and my journal) but all the while still pondering the use and intention of this blog. Walking into Nikki Mantyla’s writing class where this all began was such a great blessing because it gave me the chance to spend each day pondering, studying, and putting into my own words the testimony that I had gained and was continuing to gain. I have missed it. I have thought many, many times about writing my experiences here without logging in. It feels so good to be back.

Since my last post much has happened. I got engaged. We (Kyle and I) planned a wedding. I got laid off from my job of nine years. We bought a house. We were sealed in the Salt Lake temple. We went on a crazy honeymoon — which stories I can’t wait to share here. Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years. Major home renovations. A calling to teach the high-school age kids in our ward. So very much.

Today we had ward conference that was filled with great messages. In Sunday school, the Stake Sunday school president shared a talk from President Eyring that reminded me again how much I need to be writing things down here, so here I am. I will start by sharing the talk. It’s a great one.