Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Lighten Up On Yourself....

Ok,  I'm just gonna say it.  We all need to just lighten up on ourselves for everything that we do in our lives.  There are times that we compare our worst selves to the best we see in others.  I was reminded just the other day that the "posts" we read or see on social media are just the "highlights" of that person's life.  The posts rarely show the struggles they are going through.  They rarely show how tough their life really can be at times.  I'm not saying that people need to start publicizing all the "bad" that happens to them each and every day - (for example no one wants to hear about the cold shower I had to take this morning cuz someone flipped the wrong breaker switch and turned off the hot water heater…yeah, that was a great start of my day!) - I'm just saying that we need to be more realistic with the expectations we put upon ourselves.

We also need to be less "envious" of those who seem to have it all together.  I promise you that after Miss Sally posted about having the most wonderful day ever - or whatever - the cat puked on the rug, the dog got out of the fence yet again, and the washer blew up.  Yep, these things happen.  I know because they happen to me all the time!  I'm really not complaining, I'm just starting to realize that I should really stop comparing my "bad days" to other people's "great days".

I had a friend that once called me a "domestic goddess" cuz she thought I had it all together.  She thought my life was all super organized and that nothing ever went wrong for me.  Boy was she ever wrong!  Little did she realize that on my bad days I called her for the support I so desperately needed at that time.  She had plenty problems of her own and she was very willing to share her burden with me.  After talking to her for a while, I realized that if she could go through all the bad in her life, I could get through the bad in mine.

As I have been trolling my Facebook account (yes another time waster, but at least I don't spend all day long on it!), I came across a post from a friend who had a daughter serving a mission in Italy.  She and her companion had been using a particular bus route each day and on that bus was a man that seemed genuinely happy all the time.  They were intrigued with this man and had made a decision to talk to him if the chance ever arose.  That chance finally came when they found they were the only three passengers on the bus one day.  They asked him about his life and the things that had brought him to where he was right now in his life.  They found out this man had a very difficult past with many trials.  They were really big trials too!  My friend's daughter was blown away with the things this man had endured in his life.  She asked him this very important questions that had an even more profound answer.  She asked "If you have had such a difficult life why are you happy all the time?  I have never seen you without a smile."  He replied, "God wants me to be happy.  Even though my life has been hard, I choose to be happy."

You see, being happy is a choice that we are given each and every minute of our lives.  I could be really upset about how my hubby totally forgot my birthday yesterday, but I'm not - really, I'm not!  I was so grateful and happy he took the time to bake a cake with the kids and build that happy memory with them.  You see, I don't need a gift to make me happy - I'm more than thrilled that I got to witness happy memories being made between father and children to do something special for their mamma.  Besides, having a cake built by my children and hubby, who don't know the first thing about doing something like that, will stick in my memory far longer than a "last minute purchase" would have ever filled my happy memory bank!


No matter your circumstances in life, you have to get through this life somehow.  You can either go through your life mad or sad or grumpy, but those feelings won't change the fact you still have to go through whatever trial you have been given at that time.  I agree with Elder Neal A. Maxwell when he said "We are here in mortality, and the only way to go is through; there isn't any around " (Ensign, May 1998, pg. 9)  and with Sister Marjorie Pay Hinckley when she added "…the only way to get through life is to laugh your way through it.  You either have to laugh or cry!....I prefer to laugh, crying gives me a headache!"

So mammas, take the advice from the video below.  Stop being so hard on yourself for everything.  You are doing so much better than you think you are.  You deserve to be happy no matter what you are going through.  God loves you for who you are and the efforts you are putting into your "mission" here on earth.  Don't ever give up on yourself and quit trying to be like "Perfect Sally Neighbor" cuz in truth, "Perfect Sally Neighbor" is really trying to be just like you!
Image result for little things video the things we tell ourselves
Click here for video
 (I have my 'little girl' picture to help remind you have yours?)

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Life is an Adventure....

A new year has just begun and with it comes a brand new adventure.  I was in church just last Sunday, and the teacher talked about which side of the "line" we live on.  Do we play things "safe" or do we look to take "risks"?  Do we stick to a routine, or stretch ourselves to reach beyond what is comfortable?  He then asked what we find to be "adventurous" (basically how do we define adventure).  At that moment, I leaned over to my hubby and said "Children!"

Yes, children can be the biggest adventure of your life!  You never know what they are going to say or do in the next minute, hour, day or week!  They keep you hopping from one foot to the other with anticipation of what comes next.  They could be smiles and kisses one minute then it's as if someone flips a switch and POW! they turn into Mr. Hyde who wants to rip you to shreds!

I have experienced this phenomenon countless times in my years as a mamma, and it NEVER gets easier to handle.  If I had some way of deciphering the moods or reactions of my children, say something like the "Doppler Radar" the weatherman uses, maybe I'd be right at least 40% of the time and could "batten down the hatches" for when the storms are about to blow.

Because we don't have the technology that can "forecast" our children's moods or behaviors, it helps me to remember that there is really only one person whom I can "read" - that is little ol' me.  I can choose to be in control of ME at all times and in all situations.

I am reminded of the story of the grandfather who is going through a grocery store with his small grandson, who is being a typical toddler, tantrums, throwing stuff, whining for things you won't give him….(if you are a mamma you definitely know what I'm talking about).  The grandfather is showing an amazing amount of self control by calmly saying things like "It's ok……Almost done……Don't get worked up….You're doing great….."  It isn't until the end of the story you find that the grandfather is working on his own self-control and not once trying to control the actions of the small grandson. (click on picture below for the short video clip of full story.  Beware - you'll need tissues before you reach the end!)

This is such a touching story to me cuz I can completely relate.  I have been trying really hard to implement these same principles into my family and surprisingly enough, they work!  I have found if I gently remove my tantruming child from the room, take them to their own room where they can gain control over themselves, and walk quietly away, it is far more effective than screaming and yelling at them in my own version of an "adult tantrum".  I have instead shown and taught my children that it isn't ok to "lose it" and that I love them enough to help them see that their actions aren't acceptable.  I have also taught them that they have control over how they choose to react to the situations around them.

I'm not saying that I have mastered this technique - YET - but I am working on it and it is getting better each and every day.  My children no longer fight with me once I deposit them into their rooms.  They also know that they aren't allowed back into "polite society" until they can control themselves enough to apologize for their tantrum and are ready to "be nice".  This has also made it less of a battle at our home.  There is less yelling and more smiles and love.

So, if you are tired of the daily "fight", remember that you can take control of the situation and how you are going to choose to respond to said situation.  It takes two or more people to fight about something, YOU need to CHOOSE to NOT be one of them!

I hope you have a year full of adventures (whether it be with your children, spouse, grandchildren, or other forms of adventure) and that you strive to find the self-control you need in the "adventures" that life is gonna throw your way.  

Image result for grandfather with grandson in grocery store

Saturday, December 23, 2017

"Gold, Circumstance and Mud"

As I sit here watching the lights and waiting for the kids to fall asleep, I am pondering a story that was given to me just earlier today from a neighbor.  I would like to share that story with you now.  It will hopefully give you a chuckle, but might also trigger you into thinking about what Christmas is truly about.

(a story written by Rex Knowles entitled "Gifts of the WiseChildren; or Gold, Circumstance, and Mud") 
It was the week before Christmas, I was baby-sitting with our four older children while my wife took the baby for his check-up. (Baby-sitting to me means reading the paper while the kids mess up the house.)
Only that day I wasn't reading. I was fuming. On every page of the paper, as I flicked angrily through them, gifts glittered and reindeer pranced, and I was told that there were only six more days in which to rush out and buy what I couldn't afford and nobody needed. What, I asked myself indignantly, did the glitter and the rush have to do with the birth of Christ?

There was a knock on the door of the study where I had barricaded myself. Then Nancy's voice, "Daddy, we have a play to put on. Do you want to see it?"

I didn't. But I had fatherly responsibilities so I followed her into the living room. Right away I knew it was a Christmas play for at the foot of the piano stool was a lighted flashlight wrapped in swaddling clothes lying in a shoe box.

Rex (age 6) came in wearing my bathrobe and carrying a mop handle. He sat on the stool, looked at the flashlight. Nancy (10) draped a sheet over her head, stood behind Rex and began, "I'm Mary and this boy is Joseph. Usually in this play Joseph stands up and Mary sits down. But Mary sitting down is taller than Joseph standing up so we thought it looked better this way."

Enter Trudy (4) at a full run. She never has learned to walk. There were pillowcases over her arms. She spread them wide and said only, "I'm an angel."

Then came Anne (8). I knew right away she represented a wise man. In the first place she moved like she was riding a camel (she had on her mother's high heels). And she was bedecked with all the jewelry available. On a pillow she carried three items, undoubtedly gold, frankincense, and myrrh.  She undulated across the room, bowed to the flashlight, to Mary, to Joseph, to the angel, and to me and then announced, "I'm all three wise men. I bring precious gifts: gold, circumstance, and mud."

That was all. The play was over. I didn't laugh. I prayed. How near the truth Anne was! We come at Christmas burdened down with gold—with the showy gift and the tinsely tree. Under the circumstances we can do no other, circumstances of our time and place and custom. And it seems a bit like mud when we think of it.

But I looked at the shining faces of my children, as their audience of one applauded them, and remembered that a Child showed us how these things can be transformed. I remembered that this Child came into a material world and in so doing eternally blessed the material. He accepted the circumstances, imperfect and frustrating, into which He was born, and thereby infused them with the divine. And as for mud—to you and me it may be something to sweep off the rug, but to all children it is something to build with.

Children see so surely through the tinsel and the habit and the earthly, to the love which, in them all, strains for expression. [The Guideposts Christmas Treasury (Carmel, NY: Guideposts Associates, 1972), pp. 197–98]

I was grateful for the gentle reminder that Christmas isn't all about the hustle and bustle of finding the "perfect" gift.  It is about the humble reminder of Heavenly Father's greatest give of love to each and every one of us, the birth of His Son.  With this gift, we have the opportunity to repent of any wrongdoings we may make, and become the person that He knows we can be.

I hope that each of you take a moment to reflect on the true meaning of Christmas and remember the "perfect" gift you have been given.