Thursday, May 25, 2017

"Your 9-Point Survival Guide for Hard Times"

So I have been going through some tough times, and finding that blessings come through these hard times.  I came across an article that I absolutely LOVE and thought I needed to share with you.  These few words will really help you when you are going through your hard times.  It is also a great reminder to know that someone bigger than you loves and cares about you.  I hope that you can take as much comfort in this reminder as I found.  (This is taken from an article from the website.  Click on the title to visit the exact article.)


 Your 9-Point Survival Guide for Hard Times

Hang in there! Better days ahead.
man standing on a cliff
Photo illustration by Getty Images

Accidentally ripping your brand-new shirt or losing your math homework is one thing. Losing a loved one is quite another. We know that trials come in all shapes, sizes and degrees of difficulty. Some are easy to shrug off. Others, not so much.
Here are some tips for those times when a trial feels like more than you can handle.


1. Don’t forget to pray

young men praying
“When sore trials came upon you, did you think to pray?”1 Heavenly Father knows when things are hard for you. More importantly, He knows how to help you through it. He’s ready to listen, anytime, anywhere (see Alma 34:17–27).


2. Be positive—literally

young woman listening to music
You’ve probably heard a million times to “think positively,” or “just stay positive.” Sometimes, though, that’s easier said than done. Here’s another way to think of being positive.
In buildings, certain rooms are often kept at “positive pressure,” which means air is pumped into the room so that any openings (like doors or windows) cause air to flow out rather than in. Why do this? Well, in a hospital, for instance, patients might be kept in a room at positive pressure to make it harder for airborne bacteria or harmful chemicals to enter.
You can be like that room. If you’re constantly pouring good things into your mind, heart, and soul—things like scripture study, uplifting music, or words of the prophets—you become so full that it’s much harder for negative thoughts or difficult circumstances to affect you. On those days when it’s too challenging to conjure a smile, try to conjure 10 more minutes for the scriptures. Keep building that positive pressure. It will also bless others around you.


3. Take care of your temple

bowl of vegetables
Photo illustration by Getty Images

Taking care of your physical body—such as getting enough sleep, eating healthy foods, and exercising regularly—helps immensely when times get tough. For example, think how much easier it is to focus in school after you’ve had a good night’s rest than when you’ve stayed up late. If that holds true during times when life is going smoothly, then it’s just as applicable (and even more crucial) to take care of yourself when you’re dealing with something hard. Give yourself every advantage—and don’t give yourself disadvantages—as you push through this.
President Russell M. Nelson, President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, taught, “Spirit and body, when joined together, become a living soul of supernal worth. Indeed, we are children of God—physically and spiritually.”2


4. Find ways to de-stress

archer drawing bow
Photo illustration by Getty Images

In archery, a bow that’s always strung tight will eventually lose its spring. The power in a bow lies in its ability to snap back into position after being bent. But if it’s always bent and under stress, that power fades and can even disappear.
In the same way, it’s not healthy for us to remain in a constant state of stress. We need to find ways to get rid of bad feelings, especially when times are rough.
Find a few activities that help you unwind, and then schedule them regularly. Going for a walk or jog when your emotions run high, for example, almost always helps to clear your head. Try doing jigsaw puzzles. Maybe take up an instrument. Or scribble down all your negative thoughts on a piece of paper and then shred the paper into a thousand pieces. Whatever works for you, work to find healthy ways to get rid of unwanted emotions so you can make room for better ones.


5. Change what you can; let go of the rest

hands making heart symbols in the sun
Photo illustration by Getty Images

Millions of people across faiths and backgrounds have found comfort in the following prayer, often referred to as the Serenity Prayer: “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.”3
If something really hard happens—say one of your closest friends suddenly turned against you—it might not be possible to change how he or she feels about you right now, and maybe not ever. But you can change other things. For instance, you can adjust how much time you spend with that particular friend, work to find a new circle of friends, or choose to spend more time with family.


6. Examine your life

person sitting and holding book
Speaking of changing what we can, one of the first areas to examine is our choices. If we’re breaking commandments, trials can follow.
Elder Richard G. Scott (1928–2015) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught, “Throughout your life you have seen the terrible consequences of incorrect choices individuals make that damage their lives and often hurt others. When viewed honestly, they are simply violations of the commandments of God that bring the tragic consequences He has warned will follow serious transgression.”4
Here’s something to keep in mind, though. The appearance of a trial does not necessarily mean you’ve done anything wrong. In fact, often it doesn’t. Elder Jörg Klebingat of the Seventy taught, “Some trials come through your own disobedience or negligence. Other trials come because of the negligence of others or simply because this is a fallen world. When these trials come, the adversary’s minions begin broadcasting that you did something wrong, that this is a punishment, a sign that Heavenly Father does not love you. Ignore that!”5
Yes, ignore those messages. Set matters straight where needed, but don’t let the adversary turn a trial into a guilt trip when you’ve done nothing wrong. You already have enough going on.


7. Serve somebody else

young woman helping girl with tablet
At first glance it might not seem to make sense, but when we’re trudging through trying times, one of the best ways to lift our own spirits is to lift up someone else. And you don’t even have to do something huge or impressive. One of our hymns says it beautifully:
Slightest actions often
Meet the sorest needs,
For the world wants daily
Little kindly deeds.6


8. Don’t stand alone; stand strong together

group hug
The scriptures teach us to yoke ourselves with Christ (see Matthew 11:29) or, in other words, to allow Christ to both strengthen us and take part of our burden.
The same goes for the people in your life who love and care for you. Make sure you allow those who want to help you, to help you. And do the same for them. We stand stronger when we stand together.


9. Look for the lesson

young man walking on beach
When truly hard things happen in your life, it’s not always easy to find a silver lining to be glad about. Especially in the moment. Yet when you seek closely, there’s always something you gain from each challenge, even if it’s to learn empathy so you can better help others who go through similar trials in the future.
In 2 Nephi 2:2, Lehi teaches his son Jacob, “Thou knowest the greatness of God; and he shall consecrate thine afflictions for thy gain.”
You aren’t going through these trials for nothing! This same trial that’s so painful right now might give you the strength and wisdom you need to do something incredibly important down the road. Something, in fact, that you wouldn’t have been able to do at all if this trial hadn’t come into your life now.
Remember, God is with you every step of the way. So keep taking those steps. You’ll get through this with Him.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Never Give Up On Being a Mamma

Yesterday marked yet another Mother's Day here in the good ol' USA.  I was not too thrilled to be celebrating this "holiday".  You see, when you have sassy, disrespectful children it is kinda difficult to get all worked up and happy about a day set apart to celebrate the thing that you are terribly failing at.  I mean, who is supposed to raise the children to be kind, loving, respectful, helpful, obedient……(etc) people?  The mamma.  I spend 24/7 with said children so if they don't learn these things and then act upon the things that have been taught who's fault is it?  That's right - mine.

I had been going through a ton of "stuff" for the past week.  My children have been less than cooperative and even less kind and obedient to me - their mamma.  They were even finding ways to make each other miserable and any excuse to fight was good for them.  I really did try to accommodate all of their needs compassionately and with the most kindness I could muster.  I even tried to help them resolve their disputes without being harsh.  But after being emotionally trampled upon time after time, I eventually turned to yelling (imagine that, a mamma who yells.  Yep, I'm one of "those" mammas).  I don't want to be a mamma who yells and is constantly angry about things, but when you have children that make you feel as if you are not wanted or welcome even in your own home, you start to feel a little depressed and get really hard on yourself.  I mean, these children are this way because I failed in some part of my training of said children, so it must be my fault - right?

I have read hundreds of books, posts, and blogs about being a good mamma.  I have consulted many friends and family members about how I can make things better in my family.  I have tried EVERYTHING under the sun to be the kind of mamma I know I should be.  The key word here is I tried.  I haven't just been complaining about the situation I am in, I have put into action the things I have been given and have experimented on these suggestions to see which things would work or not.  Some of the suggestions I have been given work, others….well, not so much.

One of the biggest suggestions I have been given lately is "cut them off".  This particularly applies to the older children.  You know who I'm talking about, the ones that are now adults and have experienced "freedom" to do what they want and no longer feel they have to "answer" to or "listen" to the parent.  "Cutting them off" implies that you, the parent, no longer give them the things they expect, or feel they are entitled to, because you have been giving them these things for their entire life.  I have had a really difficult time accepting this advise, because I love my children too much and I really don't want to lose them, but I do need to do something.  That means I really need to grow a backbone and "cut them off".  I don't think I can ever come to the point of asking them to leave my home, but I just might if things don't change.

Now, if you are a young person reading this, please keep in mind, your parents will bend over backwards to help you out anytime you need them.  They will stand up for you, protect you, and even give their life for you if necessary.  The question I ask you is, what are you giving your parent in return for their love to you?  Are you sassy, argumentative, disobedient, combative, disrespectful, standoffish?  Do you try to start fights or arguments with your siblings on purpose?  Or do you really try to be the respectful, kind, helpful, obedient person that your parents have tried REALLY hard to raise?

Ok, so back to yesterday.  As you can probably guess, I was less then happy to sit in church and listen to the praises given to all the "wonderful" mammas out there.  The mammas who have their ducks swimming neatly in a row, who don't have dirty dishes or laundry piled to the ceiling, the ones whose children are always kind and respectful, the mammas who don't yell.  Basically the kind of mamma that often times makes me want to throw-up!  Come on!  Do mammas like that even exist?!?  If they do exist, I would LOVE to spend an week in their home and see how they do it.  Cuz I am so far behind that mark that I don't think I will ever reach that level of mamma.

I was given a little bit of hope though.  As I was trying really hard not to bolt out of the church house, I heard one sister say there is hope for me yet.  I just can't give up.  She quoted Elder Jeffery R. Holland who said,

"no love in mortality comes closer to approximating the pure love of Jesus Christ than the selfless love a devoted mother has for her child….To all mothers in every circumstance, including those who struggle—and all will—I say, “Be peaceful. Believe in God and yourself. You are doing better than you think you are."

So, there it is.  No matter how hard your struggle is, you are doing better than you think you are.  We as mammas just need to hold on, keep praying for the strength to carry on, and never give up.  Our blessing as mamma will be difficult at the best of times, but if we just "hang in there" it will be more than worth it.

Do I struggle to feel like I am a good enough mamma?  You bet.  Is my home always peaceful and organized?  Not a chance.  Do my children know that I love them more than words will ever be able to express?  I hope they know, cuz I do!  Will I ever give up trying to be the mamma that Heavenly Father knows I can be?  NEVER!!! 

I plead with you younger persons to give your mammas a break, they are doing the best they know how to do.  When we became a mamma, we weren't given a manual on how to do things, we are learning by hands-on experiences, we're bound to mess up once in a while.  Just remember that we mammas will love you no matter what and without fail!

I encourage each of you mammas, NEVER GIVE UP.  After all, "you are doing better than you think you are."