Tag: Imperfection

37 Weeks!! …………………………………….Postpartum

37 Weeks!

That’s right, if I were pregnant, I’d like to think my baby would be knocking down my uterus door but she wouldn’t be and I’m not. My baby would probably want to hang out for another month in my apparently very comfortable uterus. And while I may not be 37 weeks pregnant, I am 37 weeks postpartum. Check out my baby bump.

37 weeks postpartum

 

My Baby Bump

It’s true. There is no actual baby inside of it. But it’s still a baby bump because it was home to two babies at different points. It stretched and ballooned up, and like a balloon, it just didn’t return to it’s pre-blown up state.

Balloon Blown up and released and new

I didn’t pop. The air, or baby and all of the gory, juicy things that came with it, went out of me. And what was left was my used balloon. I blew it up again. My mom blew hers up 5 times. I have a friend who’s mom blew it up 18 times. Each time, the balloon sustained some wear and tear, but weren’t the prizes worth the slightly damaged shell?

My Badge of Honor

I am still trying to lose weight and get in shape. I want to be healthy so, I’m eating healthier and working out. But even with all of my efforts to change, I don’t think I will ever go back to the pre-blown up balloon. My skin might be a little looser, I may not be able to jump on a trampoline and I can probably write off modeling as a future career option.

my little creations

But look what I helped to create! My body sacrificed and I paid the price to have these beautiful little humans in our family. I never want to go back to the pre-blown up balloon, because that me-balloon hadn’t experienced the strongest love that can only be brought about by the greatest sacrifice.

I am 37 weeks postpartum and my heart has never been more full.

37 weeks postpartum with my two babies
Grayson looks angry, but he is really just extremely focused on splashing.

 

Read my son’s birth story for a riveting tale of endurance, or my daughter’s birth story for an adventure of even more endurance.

Be Happy – 10 Ideas to Boost Your Mood

It’s hard for me to choose to be happy sometimes. There are times when I really just don’t feel like doing anything, don’t want to move, don’t want to talk and don’t want to think. I must have just snapped. I was so productive a week ago. Projects got checked off my list at lightning speed and then all of a sudden… nothing.

wanting to be happy but collapsed on the couch
What I look like when I get in my funk…

Granted, we all got hit with colds and I feel like I have a balloon swelling inside of my brain. If there is anything to knock you out and put you out of your element.

 

Choosing to be Happy

Because this always seems to strike every couple of weeks to me, I wanted to compile a list of things to help me combat the blues. I want a list that will help me be happy and feel like One Helluva Homemaker again.

1. Clean Your Living Area

I know this is a hard one to do. The very thought of cleaning made me want to burrow deeper into the couch cushions and cover myself with a blanket. But beginning to organize the clutter in your life can provide a lot of clarity and at least jumpstart the process to be happy again.

2. Shower

This one is actually not too bad. Even if you feel like poop, a shower is relaxing and inviting. It also can sneak attack you with feeling refreshed to help you make a little course correction.

3. Read from the Good Book

For me, the good book is the Book of Mormon. Other Christians might find a boost from reading the Bible. And if that is not really your style, finding a book that uplifts you and inspires you can help get the endorphins going again.

4. Call Someone

If you’re stuck at home, like I was, you will discover that we have these amazing devices called ‘cell phones’. Or even a house phone! With it we can connect with someone else even if they are not physically in your presence.

Sometimes I think about my Grandma. Once a week she would walk to a payphone at a scheduled time to call her mom in Canada. I can’t imagine not being able to call my mom ANYTIME. What a blessing! My mom knows she is my go-to-gal when I need to gab to someone to help me be happy again.

5. Say a Prayer

Even if you are not religious, trying to connect with a higher power can help you be happy by just trying to connect with something greater than yourself. I pray to receive comfort and guidance. I am not always happier after I pray, but I do feel peace.

6. Set a Little Goal and Do It

It could be as simple as getting off the couch, making a snack, getting dressed. Just decide to do something and do it. Accomplishing anything will give you enough of a boost to set a new goal.

7. Talk to Someone About How You Feel

Sometimes even just sending a text to a spouse or a loved one about how crappy your feeling helps validate the way your feeling. When someone else knows, it feels better. If there is someone who understands even just a tiny bit, it opens it up to you to be happy again.

8. Make a Special Treat

Today, I made brownies. I decided that we needed a little treat to boost our spirits. Even though we had done nothing to earn a treat, except for the mere fact that we were still alive, it felt good to be reminded that we were worth making a treat for.

9. Go Outside

Even if you can only make it to your front porch, the fresh air can do wonders for just getting your happy juices going. It can clear your head and give you the energy you need to be happy again.

10. Pump up the Tunes

Music is a soul healing wonder. Turn on your favorite jams and your sure to get a little pick-me-up. If you’re feeling up for it, turn it into a dance party.

 

Now!

Now you’ve got to get off your bootay and put away your phone, tablet or computer and go and be happy! Go get some happiness!

 

Still not Feeling It?

If you’re still feeling depressed, here is a more serious article to help you fight more than just the blues.

Or if you are wanting to laugh, you can check out my battles with my baby and trying to get him to sleep.

If this didn’t help and now you want to just shop away your sorrow:

Amazon is here to help!

 

Rough Night – Healing Your Child’s Soul

I sat on the uncomfortable rocking chair around 3 in the morning after the rough night. My son arched his back as if he couldn’t get comfortable. His head lifted away from my chest. Occasionally it would bounce back, and the cool tears on his face would wet my skin. After just a minute or two, the gas slipped up out of his stomach and his neck slowly relaxed as he rested his weary head on my chest. It got heavier and heavier and so did his eyelids.

rough night with an infant, mom cradling

After 4 hours of trying to help him, he finally succumbed to sleep, trapping me with 24 lbs of squishy baby weight. And in spite of my exhaustion, I sat unmoving and just held him. My cheek pressed against his fuzzy warm head. His breathing, remnants of sobs abandoned. My precious boy nuzzled against me. It was my reward for my toil, so I enjoyed every special second. Thirty minutes of quiet snuggles on a squeaky, unyielding rocker. I watched the shadows and breathed deeply. There aren’t many moments like this. It was just me and my boy.

At 3:30 in the morning I finally slipped between my sheets and my eyelids slammed shut.

My Rough Night

The Likely Cause

That day, we had gone to his six month appointment. We found out he was off the charts for weight and pretty big in all other growth aspects. And to top it off, he has got a giant head that comes from my side of the family. If you ever wonder why some hats are so big, it’s for people like me and my son.

grayson at the doctor, cause of the rough night

He got two shots. I didn’t think anything of it. With his first couple of rounds he had been fussy, but nothing I couldn’t handle. My daughter had never had many ill effects from the shots.

I put him to bed around 7 just like any other night. He fussed a little more before he fell asleep, but soon he was breathing out Zs.

 

I just had to…

As a matter of safety, I usually take the sound machine out of his room at night after the loud noises in the house have disappeared. He has a bad habit of putting a blanket on top of his face and if I’m asleep and he’s having a hard time breathing, I want to be able to hear immediately.

beginning of the rough night, he wakes up

My daughter was in bed, my company had left and I was about to sleep as well. So, like every night, I snuck into his room and took it out. Usually he moves and then goes right back to sleep.

On this particular rough night, he moved and then woke up.

Quick Fix

All right, this wouldn’t be a problem. I’d just give him a bottle, top him off for the night and that way I made sure we all got a good night sleep.

He drank about half of it and I thought that he probably wasn’t hungry because he’s been sleeping through the night for a couple of days now.

 

The 4 Hours

The rest of the four hours that made up my rough night are a little hazy. It all blurs together now. I know that some things happened during that time. Here is a list of all courses of action in no particular order:

  • Gave him Tylenol.
  • Rocked him.
  • Held him.
  • Sang “I am a child of God”
  • Left his room about 15 times.
  • Entered his room about 15 times.
  • Sang “I like to look for Rainbows”
  • Sat on the floor by his crib and held his hand while he tried to settle down.

  • Let him play with my face.
  • Sat on the couch and the living room while he looked at the lights.
  • Let him lay in mommy’s bed. (Austin was out of town.)
  • Burped him. And again and again and again. So many burps.
  • So much spit up.
  • Bottle attempts 1, 2 and 3.
  • Wrapped him in a semi-swaddle

  • Pacifier.
  • Reached under the bed for all of the pacifiers he had chucked by the wall.
  • Wiped his tears.
  • Gave him Ibuprofen.
  • Caressed his head.
  • Tried to let him ‘cry it out’. (I can only last about 15 minutes at the most.)
  • Bounced him.
  • Sang “Down in the River” over and over and over again.
  • Prayed for any possible relief about every 10 minutes.

There might be more. I don’t know. It was a rough night.

 

The Unexpected Reward

I know I am not alone in the ‘rough night’ department. Most parents get to experience this joy at some point or another. Most of the time, you are only rewarded with an hour or two of much needed sleep.

But sometimes, the world stands still and all is quiet as your little one finally falls asleep in your arms. The whimpers subside and you get a small glimpse at how much your baby must love you. His face is pressed against you, cheek smashed against your skin. The deeper he falls into sleep, the more his breathing levels out.

Only you could heal his whole soul. Not only have you labored to help his little body feel better, but you also kept his spirit full. He knows that you are there for him and that you love him and have taken the time to understand him.

You heal his whole soul regardless of whether or not he falls asleep on you. But if you are lucky enough to feel your trusting little one nuzzle in, you can take the time to pat yourself on the back. Because you did it. Even if it took you until 3 or 6 in the morning, you did it. You healed your baby’s soul.

 

More Rough Nights to Come

So I hope I can remember when I have another rough night and many more, that every time I choose their needs over mine I heal their soul. I heal their physical hurts and I show them for the rest of their life, that they are worth me climbing out of my bed.

And in the quiet moments when I have evidence in my arms of how much my children appreciate it, I hope I can remember that I am doing okay. I healed my baby’s soul and I think I healed mine too.

 

I’ve had many a rough night with my toddler too.

Patience – 3 Different Kinds – Which one do you struggle with?

Patience is always a Christlike attribute that I have struggled with. But I haven’t figured out what EXACTLY it is with patience. There are a lot of connotations and meanings of the word and as I was floundering in my spirituality recently, I think I have sorted out in my mind some of the different aspects of patience and why the trait seems to be so elusive to me.

So, if patience is something that you have questions about, hopefully this will answer some of your questions.

patience watching the clock tick

Connotations of Patience

For me, a whole list of thoughts or ideas comes to mind when I think of the word, patience. Here are some of the thoughts I have.

  • Waiting in a waiting room.
  • Trying not to get frustrated with those who make me wait.
  • Not getting a reward immediately.
  • My children having to wait for a treat.
  • Trying to bite my tongue when my husband is taking longer than I had decided he should take to complete something.
  • Watching someone struggle with something and having to teach them the same thing over and over again… aka children.

All of these can be frustrating if you are a person of little patience, like me. Not all of them are frustrating to me, but some are definite triggers.

But, I think there is a much more concrete way of looking at this word and dividing it, so that I can focus on one area where I struggle. I struggle with all of the aspects of patience, but there is one in particular that seems to get me down again and again.

1. Patience with Others

This aspect of the attribute is one that I seem to do okay with. While I may have impatience at the start, I usually notice and try to reign in my frustrations. After all, I am imperfect too.

Having patience with others is something that I think most people will find they are better at doing. We know we need to be charitable and we know we shouldn’t judge. We get those lectures all the time.

Impatience with Others

Usually, having impatience with others is a series of instances where a person does not measure up to your expectations.

Let’s break that down even further. This means that first, there is someone or something in your life with which you consistently interact. If you didn’t have this kind of interaction, there would be no need to have patience with them. Their offense would be fleeting and the impatience experienced with them would not force you to practice this attribute.

Second, you have unfairly imposed your expectations on someone else. For example:

  • I can’t understand why my child can’t read yet. I was reading by the time I went to Kindergarten.
  • Why is he always so slow getting out the door? It would have taken me 15 minutes to do this.
  • Why does she insist on making fun of me every time we hang out?
  • Does he have to keep tapping his foot in that annoying manner? Is anyone else tapping their foot?!
  • He should know how I’m feeling. I shouldn’t have to spell it out for him.

Does any of this sound familiar? This is like the story of my life. I have thoughts like these frequently and have to work extra hard to exercise a little patience. I’m sure some of you reading this, are professional patience practitioners and are shocked that people like me even exist. We do. And we are probably impatient with you at times.

patience with your spouse

Overcoming Impatience with Others

Now that we understand how we can offend the divine attribute of patience in this manner, there are ways that we can overcome it as well. I have listed a couple of steps that help me.

  1. Identify what is making you angry. (Usually impatience leads to anger and that is when we recognize the emotion.)
  2. Let it Go OR
  3. Address the Issue & then Let it Go
  4. Forgive Self

I will list them all again, but go into further detail.

Steps to Overcome Impatience with Others

1. Identifying the Cause of Anger

Evaluate the situation and reflect on how it made you feel. Try to identify what particular action triggered that emotion.

2. Let it Go

Sometimes, you don’t need to understand why someone is behaving in a way that irritates you to your core. Maybe the foot tapper has a nervous twitch that flares up when he feels uncomfortable. Take the opportunity to try and be grateful that you don’t feel anxiety when you are surrounded by other people.

With this step, I usually need divine help to actually let it go. I say a prayer and I ask Heavenly Father to take away my frustration and be able to focus on whatever it is I need to do. I have always felt peace when I ask for His help. He knows the other person who is frustrating you and will always want you to have more love for them too.

3. Address the Issue

This one is the hardest to do. It requires a lot of love, a lot of listening and a lot of love. Yep, love twice. Don’t even try to do this unless you take the time to love the person first.

Child Learning to Read

In the example with the child who is having a hard time reading. You could try something like this.

“Kayla, I want to talk to you about something. We have been trying to read for a while now, and I can’t help but notice that you don’t seem to enjoy it. Why is that?”

Then, you have to just listen. Listen until you can’t listen any more. Chances are, your child wants to read just as desperately as you want them to.

patience with children learning to read

Spouse is taking too Long

I wanted to use another example where the priorities of the two individuals may not be aligned.

You are trying to go somewhere and your spouse just doesn’t seem to take the hint that you want to go NOW. You watch as they dilly dally, take their time finding their favorite jacket, don’t help get the kids ready or whatever it is that keeps them from getting in that car.

Now it is important to address the issue by communicating your feelings. And just start with a blanket statement of how you feel. It should literally be only 3 words. ONLY THREE.

I feel (feeling word). Here are some examples:

I feel frustrated.

I feel annoyed.

I feel upset.

I feel angry.

I feel ignored.

I feel forgotten.

Don’t say, “I feel like you…” That’s just another way of accusing them of doing something.

They will probably ask why you feel that way and you can then explain by saying something like this.

trying to be patient with spouse getting ready

“It’s been very important to me to get to Carl’s gymnastics on time. The teacher has already talked to me about it before and so when we arrive late, I feel embarrassed.”

Notice that you are still not accusing your spouse of anything. If you accuse your spouse, they will feel defensive because they might have been trying to get ready fast too. Or maybe they feel embarrassed because they took longer than they thought they would.

4. Forgive

Once you have either let it go or you have addressed the issue with the person and then let it go, it is time to forgive them and move on. If you are not ready to do this step, you have not adequately done steps 2 and 3. Go back, and try it again.

 

Here is another example of when I lost my patience with my daughter.

 

Patience with Self

This kind of patience requires you to recognize that you are imperfect and be okay with your imperfections. Obviously you want to become better. That is part of human nature. Of course we want to grow and progress, but a lot of times our growth is not dependent on our own time table.

Let me share with you a personal example that I am sure many people can relate to.

Getting Back in Shape

I am 6 months postpartum. At 3 months, was New Years! And guess who made some awesome New Years Resolutions. Some of those resolutions centered around losing weight.

I decided I was going to do a work out program that was supposed to take 3 months and then BAM! I would have my fit body ready to show off to the world. If anyone watched my Beauty and the Beast – Mom Parody you will know that that did not happen. There is evidence in the video of that.

scale and tape measure

I lost a little weight, but nothing like I had planned. In a fit of embarrassment and shame I cried as I thought about all of my great plans. I was going to get a new swimsuit, fit into my old clothes again and basically be a babe. Summer was just around the corner and this was the year that I was going to be ready for it.

Confusion and despair threatened to overwhelm me. I had done everything I was supposed to do and when I had done this 10 years ago, I had lost the weight super fast!

But, I’m not the same person I was 10 years ago. I have to have patience with myself and my body and it’s imperfections. That just means that I have to wait longer to get what I want. So, here is to the next 70 years of my life eating healthy and working out. I guess it will never end. What a great practice of patience.

stretching girl
This is what I will look like for the rest of my life I guess.

Overcoming Impatience with Self

The Steps in this one are the same as they are with overcoming impatience with others.

  1. Identify the cause of the anger.
  2. Let it Go OR
  3. Address the Issue & then Let it Go
  4. Forgive Self

This is a heart to heart with yourself. It’s easy for a lot of people to not worry about being patient with themselves. But this is so important. You are just as important as those other people you have impatience with. You have unfairly placed expectations on yourself that maybe you couldn’t meet.

 

Steps to Overcome Impatience with Self

1. Identify the Cause

Sometimes I just feel Meh as people describe it now. I don’t want to do anything or I just feel “off”. If I am feeling this way, it is usually because I am being impatient with myself. Some expectation wasn’t met and now I need to deal with it before I can feel like myself again. When I am feeling this way, I might just feel like laying on the floor with my cheek pressed against the carpet. Maybe I just can’t sit still. Or sometimes I am just depressed.

2. Let it Go

I only recommend this option if you have already taken the time to address the issue with yourself. If you already know why you are feeling this way and have taken the time to do an inventory with yourself, then you can start with Letting it Go. Again, this usually requires some divine help.

3. Address the Issue & then Let it Go

If you haven’t taken the time to identify how you are feeling and why, it’s time to dig deep. Sometimes it is helpful to talk to someone about it, write it down, pray about it, draw, scream or express yourself in some way. Find a way to work through those feelings and do it.

Once you have sorted out the cause of your impatience, say a prayer like mentioned before and ask Heavenly Father to take the feeling of impatience with yourself from you.

4. Forgive Yourself

Accept yourself for who you are. For me, I have to accept that I can’t lose weight as fast as I would like to. I did everything I could for 3 months and still lost the pounds at a snail’s pace.

But, I’ll be the tortoise in the Tortoise and the Hare. I just have to keep going, keep trying to be better even though I may not be able to see the results that it is yielding immediately.

 

Here is another example of when I lost patience with myself.

 

Patience with God

This is the one that I struggle with the most. When I follow commandments or do something good, I expect that all of my troubles and trials will be taken away. I expect to be rewarded for all that I am doing and I get frustrated when God does not do things in my timetable. Doesn’t He see how hard I’m working? Do my efforts not make any difference?

I am sure they do, that’s where faith comes in. But He does them in His own timetable.

He knows what we want before we ask Him and we may ask and not receive it, or maybe not receive it right away.

That can be SO frustrating.

 

Theatre

I have always loved performing, being in plays and showing off. That’s just in my nature. You might never guess from meeting me because I don’t have a very loud personality.

juliet's balcony
This is the balcony in Verona, Italy referred to as Juliet’s Balcony.

When I was 14, there was an audition for Romeo & Juliet. I was so excited because duh! Juliet was 14 in the play. I was the perfect age and thought that I could surely get the part. After memorizing and memorizing, praying and pleading I went to the audition. I was nervous, but I had done what I needed to to prepare.

Guess what happened. TOTAL FLOP. I couldn’t seem to remember the lines, got nervous and basically just froze. I left knowing I wouldn’t get it. What a terrible, embarrassing feeling. I wanted to crawl into a hole inside of a cave and die.

And the embarrassment led to anger. Hadn’t I been doing everything right? Didn’t I practice and work hard? Why hadn’t I received help? If my audition had at least gone smoothly, I could have been happy with that even if I didn’t get the part, but it was a disaster!

We’ll come back to this story.

Overcoming Impatience with God

If you haven’t figured it out yet, the steps with this one are the pretty much the same as the ones in the other two impatience categories.

  1. Identify the cause of the anger.
  2. Let it Go OR
  3. Address the Issue & then Let it Go
  4. Try to Align your Will with His

This type of impatience is a lot harder for me to overcome. I usually don’t want to let it go. I want to just stay mad, bitter and insulted. Real mature, right?

 

Steps to Overcome Impatience with God

1. Identify the cause of the anger.

A lot of times this springs from feeling entitled. We felt like maybe we deserved more blessings. Or maybe we had an expectation of God that He didn’t fulfill, even though He never agreed to it.

2. Let it Go

This is not the same as ignore it. You definitely don’t want to build up frustration with God. You need to figure out what is going on, recognize that you had an expectation of Him that He didn’t necessarily agree to and accept that.

3. Address the Issue & then Let it Go

He will ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS talk to you about anything because He loves you. Say a prayer and let Him know you are disappointed or frustrated so that you can start to reconnect with Him. Don’t you think He wants to know how you are feeling? You can tell Him you’re angry. He will even listen if you are angry with Him. He’s not going to get defensive or offended. He is the perfect listener and loves you and wants you to come to Him, even though you may feel like that is the last thing you want to do.

4. Try to Align your Will with His.

This is different than forgive Him, because there is nothing to forgive. He is perfect, therefore we know that He did not make the error. Now, we need to do the hardest thing and let go of what we want and try to see what He wants for us. I promise it is always better.

Romeo & Juliet

I was disappointed for a long time and even more devastated when I found out that the ENTIRE freshman class was going to go and see Romeo and Juliet because they were reading the play that year.

That could have been me! Everyone could have seen me perform. I don’t remember why, but for some reason, I couldn’t go. I think I had a doctor appointment or something, which was too bad because I wanted to go.

Then, the next day, I heard the reviews. “It was terrible!” “The worst play ever.” “All they did was make out the whole time.” “Disgusting.”

Imagine my relief when I realized, that could have been me. That night I said a prayer of gratitude that I didn’t get the part. First of all, I would have been extremely uncomfortable with making out with some boy I didn’t know at 14 years old, when I had never kissed anyone. And I would have been embarrassed that everyone in my whole freshman class would have seen me ‘making out the whole time’ in ‘the worst play ever’.

I think God’s will for me was much better than my will for me.

 

Here is another example of when I lost patience with God.

 

Patience

It is hard for me to trust God’s timing. When I want things, I usually want them right away because that’s just how I am. I want to check things off my list, quit stressing and move on, but God doesn’t work the same way as me. He knows what will shape me and help me become the person I am supposed to be so I guess I can trust him.

Answer My Prayer – When it Feels Like You’re Not Listening

I am sure I am not the only one who has sat alone in my room and looked up, wondering if He really loves me. Am I the only one who wonders if He cares? Does He really know me? Will He answer my prayer?

Reassurance of a Parent

I have often wondered why, when I am feeling this way, when I really want to feel the love of my Father in Heaven, do I not immediately receive heavenly help? Wouldn’t my Heavenly Father want to remind me that I am loved, that I am not alone? Wouldn’t he want to reassure me that He is there?

answer my prayer the way I answer my daughter's request for a hug

Sometimes when I have prayed in anger at my lack of answers, I have told him that if my child needed to know that they were loved I would never hesitate to tell them. I would never hesitate to show them. If He was in fact my Heavenly Father, why would He not want me to know just as immediately.

Where are my guardian angels? Why can’t I feel the warmth in my chest? Is it too much to ask for a heavenly hug?

I wrestled with this question for months. Why wouldn’t He just reassure me of His love? Deep down, I was pretty sure that He did, but I felt like I needed to be reminded.

Unexpected

My answer came after much studying of the scriptures and General Conference talks. It came after praying and pleading with my Heavenly Father to just show me His love for me.

If I knew He loved me, I didn’t have to feel alone. When everything else felt like it was falling apart, I would at least know that He was with me.

After much praying, studying and crying, I finally stumbled across this talk. It was by Elder David A. Bednar, and He talked about ways that we can receive revelation from God. I wasn’t necessarily trying to find the answer to my prayers in this talk, I was just trying to draw closer to the Lord.

He used two examples during his discourse.

Example 1

When you walk into a dark room and find a light switch, you turn it on and immediately the room is illuminated with light. Suddenly you can see more clearly. Everything is shown to you at once.

answer my prayer like lightbulbs being turned on in a dark room

This type of revelation is infrequent and rare. It is most commonly used when you are in dire need of a course correction in your life, Elder Bednar says. This is one of the ways that we can receive revelation.

When this has happened to me, I have looked around me in shock that no one else seemed to feel what I was feeling. It felt so tangible and real. It also came when I really needed the assurance of God’s love. I have only felt this kind of revelation once or twice in my life that I can remember.

And to be honest, this is the kind of heartwarming, bosom burning answer from God that I was looking for. Elder Bednar goes on to say that while powerful, this kind of revelation is not necessary for receiving a testimony.

Example 2

Imagine you are  facing the east and watching the sun rise. First you would see evidences of the rising sun. The darkness would begin to lift and more and more of the surrounding wilderness would be revealed to you.

sunrise as an answer to prayer

In fact, you might not notice it was even happening unless you were watching for it.

Even though the source of this light is the most powerful source of light in our world, sometimes we do not even notice that we are using it.

This type of revelation, the kind that comes quietly is much more common and frequent. We can receive answers to prayers like this all the time.

 

Answer My Prayer

Suddenly I realized that He had been answering my prayer all along. He didn’t need to show me with trumpets and a burning bush. He was guiding me little by little in my life. My Heavenly Father could answer my prayer, simply by showing me that He was with me by BEING with me.

Just because He wasn’t answering my prayer the way I wanted Him to, doesn’t mean that He wasn’t answering it.

 

To Recognize When God Wants to Answer My Prayer

As I went through this experience, I realized something especially important. I wasn’t hearing the answer because I wasn’t actively listening. I was doing what I was supposed to; going to church, saying prayers and reading my one chapter a day.

praying to God to answer my prayer

But I wasn’t doing everything I could to discover what I wanted to know. In a way, I think I expected Him to answer my prayer without having to put in any effort. But when I didn’t go to Him, how could I hear his gentle whisper?

 

What I know

I know that God loves me. He loves all of us. I am constantly amazed at the evidences that He knows us each individually and wants us to return to Him. I know that He is always with us, always wanting to help us. We just have to draw close to Him and ask. As we are near Him, we will always hear His answer.

answer my prayer like a sunrise so it lasts longer

I am so grateful He answered my simple prayer with a simple answer. I learned way more about how to be close to Him than I ever would have if He would have just obliged my demands. He certainly knows me better than I know myself.

 

I have had God answer my prayer on many occasions. I am sure that I will write more, because His love constantly amazes me. General Conference is always something that inspires me and during this last one I received an answer to my prayers about loving everyone.

Love Everyone – Knocking Down Pedestals is Essential

Pedestal PicThere has been a lot of talk about stopping the hate. I hear all the time about how I need to love everyone and I absolutely agree. We do need to learn how to interact with more love. My only hope with this article, is to break down one of the stumbling blocks to the admonition to love everyone. What is holding us back?

My theory is that people are having a hard time with the idea to love everyone, because they don’t recognize how many pedestals they have set up in their minds. Everyone has heard the phrase “being put on a pedestal”. This is usually applied to people who are admired or looked up to. We set them up to be our idols, for better or worse.

 

Putting Yourself on a Pedestal

It should be obvious why this one can make it hard for you to love everyone. But, let’s go over it. If you are placing yourself on a pedestal, it really makes it impossible to love anyone. You are so much better than everyone.

Maybe you think you are better because you have more money. Maybe you are more in shape than everyone else. Are you lifting yourself up because you are a superior writer. Perhaps you’re smarter. Maybe you are a more beautiful specimen. Perhaps you think you are a better parent. Maybe you are willing to forgive someone who isn’t willing to forgive you back.Perhaps someone has offended you, hurt you or disappointed you and you would never do that.

Whatever the reason, you are putting distance between yourself and someone else.

 

Putting Someone Else on a Pedestal

Wedding pic of us on a pedestal
Austin & I literally on a pedestal.

This is something that most people will not immediately view as a hinderance towards the mandate to love everyone. After all, if you are looking at someone’s great attributes you must love, respect and admire them.

And while you may respect and admire them, the love you have for them is more of your idea of them. You assume that they are above or are more talented at something. There is the conjecture that if they are talented at one thing, or have more money than you or thinner than you, their life must be better than yours. There is no way they can possibly understand how you are feeling.

An even more dangerous strain of thought is when you start hypothesizing about how they got there. They must be naturally good at that. He probably inherited all of his money. She must have great genetics. We frequently assume that if someone has something we do not, they don’t have to work for it.

By putting someone else on a pedestal, we choose to distance ourselves from them and believe that they are different from us. We usually assume they don’t have to work as hard, don’t have as many troubles as we do and the next logical conclusion to draw is that they also view themselves on the pedestal. They must think they are better than everyone else.

 

How to Love Everyone without Pedestals

One of the hardest things to do is to love everyone and the one thing that will single handedly help the most is to knock down all of the pedestals you have built up in your mind. Knock down the one you are standing on. Knock down the ones that you have placed your friends or acquaintances on.

And when you’re standing in a field of broken pedestals with everyone else, you will start to see the most amazing thing.

We are all human, we all struggle, we all want to be better. At times we all doubt ourselves and are scared of being alone. We want to make connections with those around us. You will suddenly see everyone as they really are and not as you imagine them.

Try knocking down a pedestal and watch what happens to your relationship with that person. It might not be immediate, but I promise it will be different. (Also, you may have to knock down the pedestal many times. Sometimes we struggle to remember.)

 

I’ve even put myself on a pedestal over my daughter before.

General Conference – An Invitation to Become Better

What is General Conference

Every spring and fall, I look forward with great anticipation to my church’s General Conference. If you don’t know what this is, allow me to explain.

I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. People commonly refer to us as Mormons. Every six months, the leaders of my church who are literal Prophets and Apostles speak to us and give us new direction on how to grow closer to our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. You can see it streaming online, broadcast on television and live in the Conference Center in Salt Lake City.

Tabernacle before General Conference
Austin and I went to General Conference together for the first time when we were dating. We’ve watched it together ever since.

All of the members of the church take the weekend and listen to up to 10 hours of talks or discourses. It is amazing. And even though it is frequently only members of the church who know that it is going on, ALL are invited to watch and listen. Because, if you haven’t noticed from our 70,000+ missionaries around the world, we want everyone to come unto Christ.

 

Memories of General Conference

Since I grew up in the church, for as long as I can remember, I have been watching General Conference. We lived in Alaska, so the morning session started at 8 am. My parents would drag us out of bed and for the first session we would all lay in my parents’ room and try to stay awake while they talked…or at least try to make it look like we were awake.

By the time we had woken up for the afternoon session (which for us started at noon), we would have eaten and gotten a fresh wave of energy, so we usually busted out Monopoly and I would beat my brothers and sisters every time. It’s not their fault. They didn’t know that the key to winning was to get the orange monopoly every time. I figured this out early on in my Monopoly playing days.

Other times we would draw, do art projects, cook, or try to keep the noise down long enough to stay under my parents’ radar.

 

What I LOVE about General Conference

It seems like every time General Conference comes around, I try to think of questions I have that I would like answers. And I can’t ever seem to think of something specific. Because I have heard so often that we should go with questions and that we would definitely receive answers to our questions.

Temple Square with Austin
Hanging out at Temple Square in between Sessions

And pretty soon, my favorite time of year is upon me and I haven’t asked a question. I listen to the talks and suddenly all of the thoughts and concerns I have been having are addressed. Questions I didn’t know I had are being answered and I feel like even though I didn’t think I was prepared to listen, Heavenly Father knew exactly what I needed to hear.

This was my experience today, after the first two sessions of General Conference. Later, I perused my Facebook feed and everyone else who listened to conference said that General Conference was tailored to them. How is that even possible?! Because I know that it was tailored to me.

It’s possible because God knows us each individually and His Spirit can touch each of us to guide us specifically for our lives.

Every six months we receive revelation, specific to ourselves, individually and it is up to us to decide what we will do with it. We can just listen and log it away. Or we can let it change us to become a better disciple of Christ.

 

New Traditions of General Conference

Now, we live in the Eastern time zone. That means that our first session of General Conference doesn’t even start until noon. So, we have the entire morning and Priesthood session doesn’t end until 9:30 or 10:00 at night.

Waiting for Music and the Spoken Word before General Conference in the Tabernacle
Waiting for Music and the Spoken Word before General Conference. Sorry the pic is blurry.

This year we started a new tradition. Austin’s brother and his wife are coming into town tomorrow, so we spent the whole morning doing some Spring Cleaning. So, I guess our kids will grow up doing some deep cleaning the morning of General Conference. What a way to make them look forward to it every year! We’re awesome parents.

 

Tomorrow

I am so grateful for General Conference and I can’t wait to hear what our prophets and apostles have to tell us tomorrow. And I guess with that, I mean, I can’t wait to hear what God would have us know.

Austin & I in Front of SLC Temple
We had no idea that less than a year later we would be getting married in that building behind us.

This is literally the best time of the year. If you have never had a chance to listen, please tune in tomorrow for the most uplifting experience of your life. You will not regret it. I have included the link at the beginning and again here.

General Conference is literally, my secret key to becoming One Helluva Homemaker.

Most Important To Do on your List Every Day

Cheesy Post Alert!!

Don’t care. Sometimes you need a little cheese. Today, it’s all about the cheese… and cute pics of my babies.

Most of my days end up just like today. I have a long list of things I should be getting done, but I don’t really get many of them done. But that’s okay. I think I did the most important to do on my list. I didn’t finish folding the laundry, or write this blog until super late. Dinner happened, but it was just Macaroni and Cheese, nothing special.

It seemed like a lot of things just got left undone. Some days I get even less than that done. But I always try and accomplish my most important to do. I try to remember to keep it at the top of my list. Because if I only do my most important to do every day, then my day is successful. If I accomplish it, I know that I am still One Helluva Homemaker.

In the House

Especially during the winter, most of the time we just hang out at home. Our home is our children’s world. They get to be in the place where they are most comfortable and can act like themselves the most. At home, it’s super easy to do your most important to do. And being at home all day, I love watching my babies just be. They are 100% themselves and they are so full of love!

toddler watching television in the middle of laundry
Sometimes, the laundry doesn’t get put away for a long time, so it becomes a nest for my toddler to watch TV in.
showing my toddler my most important to do
Her favorite spot to hang out while I try to whip together 3 meals a day.

My little boy

my daughter sporting some tude
I don’t know how I got a photo with so much attitude, but I absolutely love it!
most important to do in action from my son
This is what he looks like right before he goes to sleep. My heart!
Siena helping her brother
The little mommy helping her brother.
both my kids in the crib
Siena always loves to get in the crib with Grayson and play with him. He loves it too. I love watching them play together.

I love going out and letting them explore too. But, sometimes it is great to just be homebodies and enjoy being around each other.

Most Important To Do

That brings me to the most important to do. You could get absolutely nothing done ALL DAY LONG in terms of getting stuff done around the house, cleaning, shopping, whatever and still have a productive day as long as you do the most important thing on your list. Love your family. Just show your babies you love them. Show your spouse you love them. That’s all you got to do, and your day just became one of the best days ever. Literally, it is the BEST thing you can do every single day. That is what makes you One Helluva Homemaker.

most important to do shirt
Customize your shirt with different colors or choose from so many of the other products!

Remember it!

So, because I wanted you to have a way to remind yourself that you are amazing just because you loved your family today, I designed some shirts, water bottles and phone cases! I love how they turned out.

Check them out! 

 

My Husband, Perfect for Us

Prescriptive World

I read so many articles telling men and women what their roles should be in relationships. Women should be working, men should be helping more with the kids, women should be happy at home and men should be content providing for their family. We live in a prescriptive world where people feel the need to tell my husband and I how we should think, how we should behave and how we should raise our kids.

But, I don’t really care what other people think my relationship and my family life should be like. My family is amazing. We may not be the trendiest idea of a family right now, but who cares? It’s what works for us. My husband is the breadwinner and he is so good at it. He is also an incredible father and the love of my life. I am a Stay at Home Mom right now and I love it! (I don’t love it every day… nap time today was a monster.)

So, keep writing your articles, telling me how to live my life and how I am supposed to think and act. From now on though, I’m going to try and ignore them. So, ignoring the trends and the social norms, my husband, this is why I love you and us, just the way we are.

 

Dear Husband,

You may not see this post for a little while because I know how busy you are. I am so grateful that you come home and immediately play with the kids instead of perusing social media. That is amazing. I know that work is exhausting and that all you want to do when you come home is relax. But somehow, you make the time anyways. You are amazing to me.

Every single day, I may not always see it. I may complain, I may be grumpy or I may just not be looking for it, but wish that I could always see it. Because I know some of just how amazing you are. You are my husband and I hope to see all of your greatness one day, but for now let me tell you some of the little things that I know.

The Things You Do

I’m impressed by the things you do. You listen to your scriptures on the way to work. Sometimes you make dinner for us. There are so many times when you help get the kids ready or help me tidy up the house. I know you don’t have to. No one HAS to. But you do it anyway, because you love us. You ask me how I’m feeling and you really want to know. When you ask for my opinion, you really want it. You see me as an equal and you value my input.

When I talk with you about things that bother me, you infrequently argue with me. Instead, you discuss it with me and we work together to make it better.

You always drive when we’re together. It might seem silly to some. But I don’t like driving and much prefer to dork on my phone and talk to you while you cruise the streets.

You stop by the store on your way home from work even though you hate going to the store. That really means you must love me because you don’t want me to leave after you come home from work.

You go to work Monday through Friday. You provide for our family. I see you clinging to your pillow in the mornings and know that you would much rather sleep. I notice when you are so excited that it’s Friday so that you can have a break. You love your job, but it’s not always fun to work. I get that. But every single day, you go anyways even though you might rather stay in bed and snuggle with the kids.

The Things You Don’t Do

I’m impressed even more by the things you don’t do. You don’t criticize the house when it’s messy. There is never blame placed when something has gone wrong. In the mornings, when you have to go to work early, you don’t wake me up. You shut the doors so the noise and the lights will not interrupt my sleep.

my husband with our newborn sonYou don’t interrupt me when I’m talking or crush my dreams. I never question whether you think I am competent because you don’t do everything for me. You don’t expect meals to be ready. Sometimes, you don’t do the things that you want to do because you know there is something important to me that I want to do.

You don’t lie to me. You don’t keep things from me. There is never any reason for me to wonder if there are secrets I don’t know about. You don’t do things that would compromise your health.

My favorite thing that you don’t do though, is you don’t allow me to talk about your favorite person negatively. You want me to treat your favorite person with as much love as you have for her. You want me to be nice to her. And I try to do that even when my self doubt and insecurities would tempt me to not be nice to myself.

All that You are

Austin, I love all that you are. I love your strengths. You lift me up when I am weak and are seeing me struggle. When we got married, your strengths and my strengths became our strengths and now we are so much stronger together.

I love your weaknesses, because after we got married, they became our weaknesses and we can become better together and through Jesus Christ. Now we have each other to lean on as we work to become more like Him.

I love who you were. I love learning about where you came from and why you are the way that you are now. You have such a rich history and it has shaped who you are today.

I love seeing who you will become. The amount of potential you have sometimes astounds me. You are truly going to become something great one day and I can’t wait to see it.

I love who you are now. I get to see you right in the middle of your journey. You’ve come so far and I get to see the evidences of that character building every day in our home. You’ve got so far to go and I am ecstatic that I get to go with you. We are a team and get to be together forever. Thank you for being my partner. We are going to do such great things!

You are My Husband

But the reason I love you the most, is because you are my husband. I chose you. You chose me. We chose each other and the fact that we are committed to each other is why I love you no matter what. We promised to make this work and I plan on keeping my promise. I love you forever.

Love,

The Love of Your Life

 

My husband, me and my daughterYour Family

So, for those of you who are constantly measuring your family against the opinions of everyone else: stop. Your family works because you are the ones making it work. You are trying your best. Don’t worry that it might not be the way everyone else describes as the ideal. If you are happy, you are right.

I love my husband. My husband is right. I love myself. I am right. I love my family. My family is right.

We work to make it right every day.

Grandpa’s Last Words and how they Changed my Life

It is not very often that you get to hear someone’s last words. This experience, though special, is not something most people want to experience. Because inevitably, it means someone has died. I never really got to hear a ‘last words’ speech with either of my Grandmas and my other Grandpa is still alive.

Me and my Grandpa before he died and gave me his last words
Being with my Grandpa Haroldsen one last time before he passed away.

Getting to Know my Grandpa

My Grandpa sitting on the couch before his last words
I was impressed at his flexibility at 80 years old!

My Grandpa Haroldsen was a stern man. He always liked to be on time and he frequently didn’t have patience for the crazy antics of me and my four siblings. And to his credit, we were rambunctious kids.

He worked an egg farm and had spent much of his life working hard. Every morning he had a hearty breakfast of bacon, eggs and toast. He read the paper and when we would come and visit, he would wake us up way too early in the morning by rubbing his unshaven, prickly whiskers on our faces. If you think an alarm clock is bad, you should try that.

One of My Memories

Because we grew up in Alaska, he and my Grandma would frequently fly up to visit us. This allowed us to spend some time with our grandparents without my parents having to drag all of us to the Lower 48. (And yes, that is what we call the continental US. My husband makes fun of me and says that we must refer to ourselves as the Upper 1)

One Christmas, when my grandparents were visiting, I woke up early to go sneak a peak at what Santa had brought for us. It was around 3 in the morning. And to my surprise, and honestly, disappointment, my Grandpa was sitting at the kitchen table with my sister’s globe that she had gotten for Christmas. He spun it on the table, obviously caught in some distant memory.

I said, “hi Grandpa.” Hoping that that would be my only required discussion with him, I anxiously looked around him to the couch where my presents were hiding.

“Good morning, Jennifer.” He then asked me if I knew where he and my Grandma had traveled.

I shook my head. And for the next 3 hours, he regaled me with all of his journeyings throughout the world. He pointed all of them out on the map. At some point I had to sit down on the floor, because I had gotten tired.

At 6 am I was rescued by my brother who emerged and distracted my Grandpa long enough for me to FINALLY see what presents I had. I will never forget that lecture of his world travel, at least the fact that we had it.

When My Grandpa was Dying

I was a sophomore in college. Right before I was about to go back home for the summer, I decided I would drive up to Idaho and keep my Grandma company for a couple of weeks. I wanted to be there for her and help her out.

Spending time with my grandma while i received my grandpa's last words

I also wanted to spend time with my Grandpa who had been diagnosed with cancer a year and a half ago. He had been put on hospice, and I knew it was probably the last time I would see him. That trip holds some of my most tender moments with both of my Grandparents.

Aside from my Grandpa’s last words, I remember being by the dining room and kitchen when my Grandma got off the phone with someone. She held the phone and let her hand fall to her side before looking at me. “I wish people would quit asking me how I’m doing.” She started crying and I held her while I cried too.

She gave me that. That impossible urge to cry when someone else does was her doing. My mom has that curse too.

My Grandpa’s Unofficial Last Words

My Grandpa right before he passed away and gave me his last wordsTo me, they are his last words, because it was the last time he tried to impart wisdom to me. He said them to me in full awareness that he wouldn’t be seeing me again once I left and I wouldn’t be seeing him until I died.

He had just let me win a game of Twenty Thousand with him… I know, because I tried to let him win and was finding it extremely difficult to do so. And he was lying on his hospice bed and I was lying on my Grandma’s daybed that they had put in there for her. We were mindlessly watching some TV show. And while we’re both laying there, he says, “Honor your Marriage Covenants. That is the most important thing.”

Kissing my grandpa on the head before he died and gave me his last words“Okay, Grandpa.”

And that was it. His last words were short. I wasn’t even looking at him when he had said them, but they stuck. I guess that’s the thing about last words. They are impactful enough to stick.

Understanding His Last Words

If you are unfamiliar with my religion, I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. This is important, because it will help you to understand the impact of what my Grandpa’s last words were when he said, Marriage Covenants.

my grandpa following his own last wordsWhen we are married, we get married in the temple. We believe that as Husband and Wife, we are sealed together as a family unit for Time (life on earth) and all Eternity (life after earth). This means that we are bound together, our children will be bound to us and nothing will be able to separate us, unless we break our covenants.

That means at the end of my Grandpa’s life, the last words that he felt were essential to share with me was his over arching wisdom that when all is said and done, our family is the most important. Family is the most crucial thing to fight for. If you honor your Marriage Covenants, you will get to be with your family FOREVER. And my poor Grandpa, knew that that is what he wanted after he passed.

He was going to be separated from my Grandma for a time. But he loved her so much and his children so much, that fighting to keep that bond in place was the most crucial thing he could have imparted to me, even though at the time, I was not married.

Keeping My Promise

My husband and I adhering to his last wordsHis last words still pop into my mind from time to time. Keeping your marriage covenants includes commandments such as being faithful to each other, loving God and loving our fellow man. The best part about these covenants is the more we adhere to them, the closer we grow to each other, the more we want to be together and the stronger our bond on earth becomes.

I love my husband so much. He is my strength and my support. There are many times when I feel like I am weak and he is there to lift me back up again and cheer me on.

My grandpa’s last words were not just important for the eternities, they are essential for me now. They remind me of my love for Austin. And by adhering to them, we become better friends every day.

A Note to My Grandpa

I know you’re not physically here now. I’m so happy that now you get to be with Grandma. But I hope you know that by having the courage to share some last words with me, you have impacted my life for the better. I know it was probably scary to share them with me, acknowledging the fact that we weren’t going to be together that much longer. You broke the unspoken rule and brought attention to the fact that this was temporary. I am so grateful that you did. It probably didn’t seem like it made much difference to me, but it did. I heard you and I’m trying to do as you instructed. I love you Grandpa. Save a spot for my family next to yours.

To read about one of the ways we are trying to honor our marriage covenants, you can visit: My Imperfect Husband & His Imperfect Wife