7.29.2014

You Don't Have to do Anything

We do so much out of obligation.  It's almost culturally acceptable to moan about "all the things" we have to do.

I have to do the laundry.
I have to make dinner.
I have to sign up to feed the missionaries.
I have to watch my friend's kids.
I have to go to bed early.
I have to....
I have to...
I have to...

It's interesting, though, that in the scriptures we read, "All that he requires of you is to keep his commandments (Mosiah 2:22)."

But there are so many!

True.

But the Lord also gently reminds us, "If ye love me, keep my commandments (John 14:15)."

I have one child who, when asked to help with some household chore, will crumple up on the floor in tears or stomp to their room.  My usual response is, "It's okay.  You don't have to. You just won't get the promised reward if you don't."

Think about that. The Lord says the same thing to us.  "It's okay. You don't have to.  You just won't get the promised blessings I have in store for you."

Remember, too, this is all said without manipulation or guilt attached. It's not a "do this or else" type of attitude.  Rather, in the place of manipulation and guilt, there is love.   He means every word.  We don't have to.  He will never force us.  The Lord's plan is agency.  We get to decide and have the capacity to understand the Holy Ghost's guidance in our lives.  Through those whisperings we will know when we can do something and when we can refrain.

Women's hearts are born to nurture and to love (in general).  Our hearts are so willing sometimes, that we place ourselves in bondage by our obligations.  If we love Him, we will keep His commandments.  In keeping the commandments we will receive the reward.  The ultimate thing that is required of us, however, is our hearts and a willing mind (D&C 64:34).  With such a mind and heart we no longer feel the burden of all the "have to's" in our lives, but feel the joy that comes from serving the Lord.

His is a plan of happiness.

7.24.2014

Just 15 Minutes

I remembered something today. 

I have a bedroom. 

And it locks. 

Sometimes it's nice to remember that it's okay to take just 15 minutes to strengthen yourself.  
Take a nap. 
Read a book. 
Write. 
Pray.  
Cry.  
Whatever is necessary to refill the motherhood bucket, those 15 minutes are precious....and it's O.K. to take them!


I want to make this sign and hang it on my door when I need it!

7.21.2014

Look Up!

image from diligentagroup.com
My yoga instructor recently enlightened the class by telling us that when you look up, you feel happier.  There's something in our nervous system that clicks on when we look up. I can testify of my own joy when I look up into the skies.  I thought it was just my awe for God's creations, but apparently there's more to it!

As I thought of this (during my yoga session), I was reminded of a talk a few years back.  Elder Carl B. Cook shared a story of being completely overwhelmed with his new calling as a General Authority.  Dwelling on this burden with his head down, he descended the church office building in an elevator when another individual entered.  He soon heard the familiar voice of President Monson say, "It is better to look up."

Elder Cook says of that moment, "Since then I have pondered this experience and the role of prophets.  I was burdened and my head was down.  As the prophet spoke, I looked to him.  He redirected my focus to look up to God, where I could be healed and strengthened through Christ's Atonement."

How many times do we look to ourselves for the solutions, thinking we can do it all ourselves?  Or what about the number of times we look to the side, expecting others to give us answers or join our plight?  Why is it that we forget or choose not to look up?  It is so easy to see what is right in front of us.  It is easy to believe in the tangible.  And so we do.  We look to what we can physically see, touch, feel, and understand.

And yet, ironically, Moses experienced that for the children of Israel, looking up was too easy.  The serpent was tangible and visible and touchable, but the Israelites would not believe what was right in front of them.

Grasping onto the Atonement can be similar.  Though it is not visible and tangible, it is right in front of us...and it's almost too easy to believe.  "What?  I just need to lay my burdens at His feet? No way.  There's got to be something (bigger, harder, better) than that!"  And so we search and grab any and all other, more visible solutions.  But to no avail.

Elder Cook continues, "Experience has taught me that if we...exercise our faith and look to God for help, we will not be overwhelmed with the burdens of life.  We will not feel incapable of doing what we are called to do or need to do.  We will be strengthened, and our lives will be filled with peace and joy.  We will come to realize that most of what we worry about is not of eternal significance - and if it is, the Lord will help us.  But we must have the faith to look up and the courage to follow His direction."

If we truly want those happy endorphines to be released, maybe we should practice looking up more...literally and spiritually.  It's easier than it seems!  Just ask Him to show you how.  :-)

7.16.2014

“Summer’s lease hath all too short a date.” ― William Shakespeare


Phew!  After over a month of Julia going MIA...I'm back!

With another miscarriage and my father-in-law's passing away, we had a pretty rough spring.

Plus, I swear the last month of school is the worst!  Concerts and meetings and graduations and award ceremonies and more concerts, it was all I could do to just keep up to the day to day mayhem of family life!

Then summer began which brings it's own transitioning and activities (including a two-week family vacation).

Long story short...I'm still alive (barely) and finally getting back into writing.  It feels so GOOD!

So today...

Let's talk about Summer.  



JL shooting BB Guns @ Day Camp
Technically, this our first "real" summer vacation.  When homeschooling we'd just flow into summer with few changes, just a more relaxed schedule.  With my kids coming back home, I had all sorts of plans and dreams!  Park dates and library visits.  Free summer movies.  The kids setting goals and working diligently.  More hands to help me do the chores again (yay!).  And reading aloud!

Well...I have to admit, that is not really how things have been going. Yes, they have been working on their goals, we had a fabulous family vacation, we are reading together, and for the most part we're having some good times.  However, the problem is ME.

I'm loving them being home too much.

All summer it seems I've been thinking "Only X more weeks and then they're gone again," trying to make every minute count.  I feel like I need to be with them all the time and feel a bit guilty doing stuff without them or keeping them home while I go do stuff (some necessary, some not).  I've been hoping they're happy...not too overschduled, not too bored.  I'm trying to be at their beck and call, available for their every need.

Grandma and Grandpa with their 24 grandchildren

Well, as much as I believe it's Mom's responsibility to be available for her children, this mentality of "missing my kids before they're even gone" has left me feeling overwhelmed and exhausted at the end of the day!

So, I decided to stop it.  :-)  I've decided to just let the kids be kids!  If we do stuff together, great.  If they just hang out together and meander around with friends, great.  I just want to make each day what it is....a day.  Some days we'll work and some days we'll play.  Some days we'll be busy, some days they just might get bored!  It doesn't really matter.  My mental presence is more important than my physical presence right now.  If I am constantly dwelling on "six weeks from now," the memories will not be memorable (in a good way at least).  I need to start enjoying the moments I do get rather than forcing or missing the ones I don't.

A good friend of mine who has gone and raised her seven kids once said, "I did the summers where the kids learned how to sew or do this or that.  But the best summers seemed to be the ones where we just kicked up our heels and ate popsicles."  I love that because I need to remember it!

So, welcome to MY summer.  I hope your is going well and you are enjoying your children!

*****


“Summer will end soon enough, and childhood as well.” 
― George R.R. Martin

“Some of the best memories are made in flip flops.” 
― Kellie Elmore

“I wonder what it would be like to live in a world where it was always June.” 
― L.M. Montgomery

“Rejoice as summer should…chase away sorrows by living.” 
 --Melissa Marr

A with cousins ready to climb the ropes course @ Aspen Grove

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