Friday, October 22, 2010

My Cause

For quite a while now, I have been really trying to find my cause. I know that we are all here for a lot of the same reasons, but I personally believe that since we are all individuals, we also have special individual things the Lord wants us to be doing. Using our talents and passions to help others, to make the world a better place.

I have always been a person that falls in love with just about anything I am doing whether it's gardening, cooking, crafting, sports, health, reading, music, art, relationships, service, whatever. You name it, I almost always love it. This makes for a very fun and joyful life for me, but at times a little confusing. What is my personal cause? What are my special talents? What does the Lord want me to do during my time here on earth?

Then I began working with the Power of Moms, and I received the conformation and may have been coming for awhile: my biggest passion in my life is the people I love. My family. Since becoming a wife and mother I have always delved into countless parenting and marriage books and information of all sorts, always trying so hard to be the very best wife and mother I can be. I want so desperately to give my husband and kids the best life experience possible. I want countless happy memories. I want to be a good example of a strong value system and testimony, a good marriage and parent, a good friend, good health, humility, service, etc. I feel so blessed to have the parents I did....I had such a happy, fulfilling childhood that truly gave me what I felt like was the best start possible. I want so much to give that and so much more to my own sweet little angels that Heavenly Father has entrusted me to raise and care for and love.

This world we live in is so completely beautiful. There are so many wonderful things at our fingertips. So much information and opportunity to learn and connect with others. So much opportunity for growth.

But this world is also very daunting. It seems that lurking just around every good corner, are so many evil, scary, confusing things that some seem to face and conquer without a hitch, and others seem to cower to and fall away into despair. There are so many bad choices a person can make that are so full of so many scary and negative consequences that cause so much heartache and grief.

How do you protect your children? How do you teach them to know for themselves what's right? More importantly, how do you teach them to want to do what's right? How do you give them the strength of character, conviction and courage to truly be all they can be?

Then I realized, this is my cause.

My family.

These people whom I care so deeply for, whom I so passionately desire to teach and raise and love the right way. The way my Heavenly Father wants me to.

Maybe that's why he made me an oldest child as well as a mother. I don't doubt all that experience as "big sister" has helped me immensely as a mom. Who knows?

Then I began to pray. I prayed more than I ever have in my life. I prayed for guidance, direction, and humility. I prayed that I would be led to do things that would help my family, and possibly someone else's family too. I prayed to know how I could use my cause to follow the Lord's will.

Shortly after this prayer I received an email from the Power of Moms website inviting moms everywhere to apply to join the board of moms contributing to the website.  I had never done anything like this before, but felt so strongly about the purpose and direction of the website.  I felt so compelled to apply that I did despite my inexperience.  I wanted so badly to contribute to the cause somehow and also rub shoulders with women around the world that shared my same passion for family.  My mom called a couple hours later telling me about the same opportunity and wouldn't you know? She applied too, for the same position!  We immediately emailed the board and asked to but put in together if either of us were picked. A few weeks later, we were asked to be the Family Values Co-Managers for Power of Moms.  Total dream come true (even though it wasn't a dream I realized I had at the time.). 

This year has been an exceptionally busy year for us, so I wish I could say I've taken the ball and run everywhere I wanted with it, but I haven't quite yet.  I feel like I'm getting there though.  It's very challenging and intimidating for me to do something and feel so completely clueless as to how to do it.  But I feel the ball starting to roll now and suddenly I am bursting with new ideas and even stronger conviction that this is where I am meant to be.

Just a week ago, I received an email from the Power of Moms ambassador.  She also happens to be in charge of a pilot program for the LDS church.  She has been loving what my mom and I have been doing and asked us if we could help her compile a book and a course study for the missionaries to begin teaching "Family Skills".  She has also gotten permission to reference/use anything from Power of Moms and Values Parenting(one of my other favorite websites). I guess the church feels like there is a real need for a program to aid families, especially in certain areas of the world were media is especially harmful.  This lady in charge of it sounds like such an amazing person.  She is running the church's pilot program in Japan and once it's ready it will be taken worldwide.  I am SO excited to see/help it all come together!  One amazing opportunity after another.  I don't know too much yet.  My mom and I tried Skype with Melanie last week but we had some connection problems and she had her sixth baby the next day.  In the meantime I am furiously trying to collect my thoughts and information from any source I can while still struggling to get this month's value updates.  So busy, but SO fulfilling!

This has made so many things I have been struggling to make sense of come together more in my mind.  I won't go into the details now, but I will say I know for a fact that the Lord has been preparing me to work on these things for a long time(both the website and the course, I mean).  I am hoping and working on slowing my life down a little more so I will have the time I need to work on both things more.  I think blogging will help me get some more/better writing juices going on in my brain, in addition to helping me plan for that time.  Any suggestions for fitting in computer time with small children would be helpful.  So far I only seem to steal a little time late at night while everyone is sleeping, which makes for a very tired mommy.  Tired but happy and excited.

I feel so blessed to finally reach a little moment of clarity.  And extremely excited to see this program come together and Power of Moms grow.  Wish me luck on my new endeavor.  And feel free to support me by paying a few visits Power of Moms over the next few months (and I'm sure after that you'll be hooked in this website like I am) and give me LOTS of feedback and suggestions of your own.  Two heads is better than one, and more is even better right?

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Schedule - Finding Balance

I have been learning the hard way that I forgot how busy a baby keeps you, especially when there are other kids in the house. I have been trying my best to keep up on my own, but to no avail. I finally sat down one day a month or so ago and made this little beauty:

My Daily Schedule
5:30 am: get up, get dressed, exercise, shower, pump
6:55 am: breakfast prep, Flylady, feed/train Tucker (Wes walks him in the morning), feed kittens and chickens
7:30 am: boys up, breakfast, family prayers and scriptures*
8:00 am: boys get dressed and do morning chores
8:30 am: leave or free time
12:00 pm: home, lunch, dinner prep
1:00 pm: boys' naps, Flylady, brush Tucker, free time
3:00 pm: snack, free time for boys, massage Jonah, baths for boys, fix dinner
5:30 pm: dinner
6:00 pm: evening jobs, playtime, walk Tucker
7:30 pm: feed Tucker and kitties, bedtime - stories, prayer, Happies and Sads, etc.
8:00 pm: lights out for bog boys, Jonah's bath and bedtime
8:30 pm: laundry and cleanup, pack lunches for following day
9:00 pm: clean M.O.M. inbox, free time
9:30 pm: get ready for bed
*night shifts for Wes, do scriptures at breakfast, day shifts for Wes, do scriptures at dinner

And also this beauty:

My Weekly Schedule
Monday: Joyschool for boys (I teach every other week), me errands or housework, Wes drives boys every other Monday

Tuesday: Carmen cleans - run errands or take the boys somewhere fun, FHE, MonaVie meetings or conference call, volleyball night for Wes (the last three things are after kids are in bed)

Wednesday: Joyschool - cuddle time at the library with Jonah, office work day

Thursday: MOPS every other week, on off week Wes takes the boys out for the morning, volleyball night for me

Friday: swap with mom (the person who teaches Joyschool that week gets three hours of free babysitting each Friday morning to run errands without kids), Family Fun Day (the boys and I do something fun on Fridays, and we have a movie/pizza picnic night on the Fridays Wes works late. We always try to do something fun together as a family also.)

Saturday: chores, Sunday prep, bathe/clean all pets, date night :)

Sunday: church, Sunday Sessions, family conference, goals, spiritual sharing, interviews, monthly testimony meeting, Sunday Saw Sharpening (we plan the week ahead - each taking time to ourselves to prepare for the upcoming week.)

This makes me laugh because it seems so impossible to me. Maybe because I am currently getting up four to five times a night nursing a baby. Maybe because Wes works eight straight days and then has four days off the following week. When Wes is off, I have a hard time having the discipline to follow the schedule. I want to snuggle him in bed, I want to finish undone projects, he has business meetings, we want to make sure we have extra family time, etc. It's amazing to me that when I put it down on paper, I am amazed at how much I really do get done during the day and that I ever fit in any extra fun things.

But I also see how possible this is. I see that if I can have the discipline (and flexibility when need be), I can take care of my health and our health, spiritually, physically, and mentally, have both scheduled and non-scheduled quality time together, and I can really prioritize my time. I have always resisted organization my whole life, but as I get older I have seen how freeing it really can be. I have been learning, thanks to Mind Organization for Moms, when I can let things go and when I need to stay focused (or course you can never completely have control because that life, especially life with kids), and when and what I can commit myself to. I see my weaknesses and strengths easier. Following a loosely rigid schedule I can actually relax and not try to be so hyper-productive. I am better able to enjoy the good things in life.

I noticed something a little while back when the Relief Society went to the Bishops' Storehouse to volunteer: the church is extremely, extremely, organized. It is a well-oiled machine that is able to give so much. So much time, energy, money, focus, and most importantly, LOVE. God organized this earth and everything in it. I'm starting to see that organizing beyond the basic "to do" list is not just essential, it's a godlike quality. It enables you to do and have so much more.

I do not believe in being overly rigid. But I do believe in trying to have a consistent routine in life with kids...well, family life in general. In my experience, it makes for much more peace and love and joy in the home. It helps with the inevitable in life: change, which happens all day every day. Trying to stay as consistent as possible helps bring the family security and reduce stress so that when change happens, it doesn't turn your world so upside down. I only wish I had learned this sooner. (And I wish right now I could drag my tush out of bed early enough to really have time to pump. But I'm valuing my "sleeping in" a little too much right now. And I don't feel the least bit guilty about it.)

I have been skipping naptime quite a bit lately, as well as pushing back bedtime more and more. I can't even begin to describe the amount of stress and fatigue and the lack of productivity this has caused everyone in our family. I am exhausted enough without dealing with exhausted kids also. I am recommitting myself to do my best to stick to this schedule for a good two weeks, allowing for the flexibility when need be, but not spontaneously throwing it aside for something more fun. I am definitely a "yellow/blue" personality, and my "yellow" comes out a lot when an opportunity for something fun presents itself. Spontaneity is NOT my problem, so I think I will be just fine trying to be a little more rigid than normal. I'm hopeing it willhelp me gear up better for the holidays...have less stress and more time for meaningful things.

Wish me luck on my endeavor. I will be tweaking my schedule once a week. Maybe after a few weeks I will be able to see if there's anything I need to eliminate or delegate. I am excited to get control back, be working on things more meaningful to me, and have a good rhythm going in our family life throughout the holidays. What a gift that would be for everyone!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Power of Moms

For a year or so now, I have been a huge fan of a website. There are so many good websites out there, but this one is truly unique. This website is called "The Power of Moms" and you can find it here: http://here/ 

I love SO many things about it that I don't know where to start! Maybe the first thing that sparked my interest is that it's run by one of the Eyres. If you know me at all, you know what a HUGE Eyre fan I am. (It takes an amazing group of people to do all they've done, and you can bet that I'm going to try to soak in from everywhere I can all the good ideas and systems that they've implemented with their families. Someone's doing something right over there and that's for sure!)

This website is designed for one sole purpose: to unite, uplift, and improve mothers across the globe. What a noble purpose! And what amazing job they've done. I can't even begin to describe the changes in my life brought to pass from this website. They offer many fabulous things from great articles to read that are added daily, "Motherhood Retreats" (you've got to make room in your budget for this one! SO worth it! I will tell you more about it later.), M.O.M. which stand for Mind Organization for Moms (this system has completely changed my life and freed me of so much stress and worry and guilt, along with helping me to be more "in the moment" and at the same time be more productive and fulfilled. I cannot think of one person that wouldn't benefit from this system - mom, dad, child, teacher, business owner, next-door neighbor....seriously. Check it out and you will be thanking me for telling you about it. Another thing they offer is an online interactive game for self-improvement, called the "Bloom Game". I have tried to stay on track with this one, because I am a goal-lover and setter by nature, but it's been on that back burner lately behind something else very exciting, challenging, fun, and meaningful to me. And that is that I have the privilege, along with my own amazing mother, to be on the Power of Moms website board as the Family Values Co-Manager. I write articles, booklists, network, etc. in this area of the website. I am SO not perfect, or even good at this yet, and I've been working on this since this spring. But I love, love, LOVE it! I work with some of the most amazing and inspiring women doing something that is so important to me in my own life. I struggle with the writing part of it, and with three little ones following me everywhere all day long it's hard to implement the many ideas I have. But things are starting to come together a little. Key word: starting. There are so many things I want to do with this but haven't been able to yet. I will post on my blog every time I have updated my area of the website so you will be able to check it out and give me feedback. I need it! Also, if you have an article to submit, they are always looking for new authors and if you like to blog, then you are already a writer. I haven't written any everyday articles yet, but I plan to in the near future.

Boy oh boy does this sound like an infomercial or what? Can you sense my enthusiasm?

Is it Already October?!

I can't believe it! I used to be such a good blogger, but I haven't seemed to get my groove back on since I got preggo(maybe even before, I don't crazy is that?). People aren't lying when they say life with three kids is a hard transition. It's definitely been the hardest for me, but at the same time the most FUN!

I think Wes and I have an addiction....


It feels like we are always being thrown a slew of new information of all kinds on all subject. I feel like I'm always learning at an alarmingly fast fast that my head may explode with all these new ideas and information I am constantly thinking of and trying to write down and inplement somewhere before I forget. All amazing, beneficial, life-improving things. I feel like once we get almost caught up with it all once again a zillion things fly at as from all different directions. My heart is so full of gratitude for all the incredible blessings that have come our way.

Life for us has always seemed to be hard. Not bad, just hard. Hard work mostly. I have worked harder since I got married than I ever dreamed I was capable of. But I have learned and improved more because of that, and I am so grateful for that. There have been many challenges mixed in with many tender mercies to get us through. Now I feel like we are on the opposite end of the spectrum where the challenge is actually all the blessings. So many good things, so little time. How do people manage it all? I am not complaining....I am so happy and grateful that our plates are overflowing with so many wonderful things.

I'm going to try to catch up on all my pictures and life events of the past while. So many things have happened! It's probably going to take awhile. So for now, I'm going to say stay tuned, watch all the changes and updates taking place both on the blog and in our lives. The winds of change are blowing with full force.

And I'm really, really excited about it.

Life is such an amazing journey!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

"Harmony" Update

I took a little hiatus from blogging - again - to really horn in and focus on goals and routines and upcoming changes. It has been truly unforgettable. One of the greatest things that happened is that Wes caught the vision of goals/vision boards, etc. and really jumped in with both feet. Man oh man when that guy sets his mind to something he gets it done!

Does that mean things have gone perfectly since we sat down and set our family and individual goals? No. Does that mean we have followed through on every single thing we are wanting to do? No. Does it mean we have faced every challenge with a big ol' grin and laughed in the face of adversity? Definitely not!


We've taken things a day at a time, a week at a time, held true to our decisions (even the hard ones), and grown so close as a couple, as a family, and as individuals. We have managed to find quite a bit of time each week for important things and for fun things. We have lifted and encouraged ourselves and one another. We have grown so much and have felt so much joy and spirit in our home! It's been incredible and also really exciting to see what some vision and elbow grease can do.

After I picked my word this year, I got the direction and vision I was searching for in my goals. I set them pretty quickly and shared them with Wes. Shortly after that, as I pulled it together enough to begin attending the monthly lia sophia team meetings, I was challenged at one meeting to create a vision board. Making a vision board is one of those things that I had been putting off for years. Part of that for me was because I couldn't decide or really see where I wanted things to go. There are so many unknowns in our lives, so many things changing constantly all the time, that I thought I would wait until things felt just a little more predictable. But at that meeting I realized how very wrong that was. I am not supposed to just sit and wait and survive until my life feels more in control. I'm supposed to find a vision, a purpose, and a kind of "loose" control per say. Find the joy in the journey on a whole new level. I have always been one of those people, thanks to my parents, that really does make lemonade out of lemons most of the time, and adapts pretty darn well to whatever challenges life may throw me. I really do enjoy and love life and all the experiences that go with it. Life is full of hard things, but life is so good!

I realized as I sat down to make my vision board that the area of my life that I neglect the most are the parts that are meaningful to me and me alone. Music, art, time with friends, rock climbing, dogs, knitting....the list goes on. Nobody prevented me from adding or even occasionally giving myself a little "me" time except for me. I hear all the time how important it is to take care of you first, and how it can bless your family, but I guess I just didn't fully understand that before. I have been generally very happy and content with life and didn't really realize what I was missing I guess. But the end of January, I felt inspired to start something called a "Learning Circle" (more on that later), and when we had our first get together there was much discussion about taking care of you first and what that really meant. I was amazing to me that we were all feeling the same thing on different levels, and how lost you can feel as a mom and not even realize it! Anyway, we all challenged ourselves to make and keep some kind of commitment to ourselves - something that either helped create some time by eliminating a time-waster, or by following through on a few things each week that are important to us as individuals. This doesn't mean neglecting responsibilities and family and having "me" time as the world says to have it. It is doing something that brings you joy and strengthens you in your ability to do those things that are so important. For some reason, I have a thick skull on this one and can't seem to get it through my head that "me" time benefits everyone. But boy oh boy have I seen it at work in my own life since we learned this valuable lesson! Not only do I feel more refreshed and ready to take on life's daily and sometimes mundane tasks, but I have felt many, many little "nudges" in my life leading me where to go next. I have been able to grow as a person and as a mom. I have learned much about myself....gotten to know myself a little better. I have found my "cause" for the time being (more on that later) and have filled my life with much joy and adventure! It feels like part of me came back alive that I had lost, and it's spilled out into all the areas of my life.

Seriously, if you haven't tried it, take a little "me time" today. Give yourself a little afternoon nap, take up a new hobby you can do while the kids are outside playing or napping. Take care of your needs....let yourself get a shower every day, go to bed on time and know the cleaning that feels so important right now will be there in the morning and go to bed. Whatever it is for you. Try taking care of you and see how it helps everyone around you - it's amazing!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

2010 Word of the Year


One of my newer traditions I have adopted in the past few years is choosing a one-word theme for the year. It really seems to help guide and direct me to what I feel is important, as well as keep me grounded and focused on the right things, the things I think I need most in my life. I always work my goals around my word, not always in the same way, but it helps my goals feel like there's more of a natural ebb and flow and that they are in line with what I want for the year completely. Sometimes my goals lead me to my word, sometimes it's vice versa. The first word that I did was in 2008, and it was SIMPLIFY, which was definitely a good one for me. Last year it was CHOOSE.

I guess because I have been feeling a little more contemplative lately, I had so many ideas for my word of the year this year. I really liked FOCUS, to really concentrate and horn in and put my focus into what really matters, and it was so easy to tie into my goals for the year. I also really liked CHERISH. When I looked it up in the dictionary, it defined cherish: to hold dear, to feel love for, care for tenderly, to nurture. Totally perfect for my feelings of life. There were so many other good words! But I think I will tuck them all away somewhere and hopefully next year I'll have my word all ready before the year begins. But the word I picked for this year just kind of came to me today, and it really stuck with me. There are so many reasons I picked this word. I am really excited about it now that I've finally decided what it is!

So, the one-word theme that I chose for this year is....drumroll please....


The definition for harmony 1. Consistent, orderly, or pleasing arrangement of parts; congruity. 2. Agreement, accord.

I found it a little ironic that I have been full of such gratitude for music finally being back in my life, and that I chose a word like harmony. In music, harmony is when you sing several different notes played/sung at once, but when blended together from each singer/instrument with the right output and balance from each part, sounds absolutely beautiful. Breathtaking. Sometimes life-changing (I know it sounds a little dramatic, but for me, music really is life-changing). There's so much to it. Let's say I have five people all singing a different note in a harmony. If everyone sang as loud as they could, to their heart's content, without paying any attention to the other parts and how they were doing, harmony would be absent. The music may sound good, and may not sound good, but it definitely wouldn't sound harmonious. Harmony would come when all the parts are in perfect balance. Maybe someone had a louder voice, someone a quieter voice, so they would have to compensate for that, balance one another out. If the singers listen to one another, molding their voices a little to put them in balance with the other voices in the other parts, that's where the harmony takes place. And oh man, if you've ever heard, played, or sang a great harmony, you know that there is such an amazing feeling of synergy (another word I love).

That's what I want in my life this year. I feel like the events of the past year have truly led me to this next one. Amazing how that happens, isn't it? There have been so many changes, there still are so many changes, taking place in my life, in our family's life, all the time. I love change! But I will be the first to say that change is also a challenge. But challenges are such an adventure! I am excited for all the challenges we have coming this year. The challenge of potty training another child (sigh), the challenges of my body changing so much all the time, hosting another little soul in there until he/she is ready to come out and conquer the world, the challenge of all the new opportunities that lay in front of Wes and me, such as Mona Vie and lia sophia, the challenge of continuing our debt repayment plans and Wes's extra hours at work each week. We have so many things we want to do and accomplish. We have many things we want to do to our home and yard this year, we have many more health goals, we have goals to continue being politically active, which can be a challenge when life gets so crazy sometimes, and we have many, many preparations to make before this new little one arrives halfway through the year. We also have some goals and dreams for our family life, including revamping and changing around some of our family traditions, strengthening relationships and developing some quality relationships with neighbors/friends, serving others more....becoming more aware of what is going on around us and what the needs even are.

So many things encompass our everyday lives I guess. Each one of us is overwhelmingly busy, all the time. It's so hard to pick and choose, constantly (because it's always changing), what is worth how much time, and what needs to be done to compensate for it.
Slowing down the past few months has really shown me a lot. I have learned so much about being still and listening, and being more aware of little things, the little goings on that sadly, I was missing some of the opportunity for before. It's also taught me how to talk and listen to the Lord even more every day, and to have more faith that things will all go according to his plan, and that everything will be okay. My anxieties of life are still there, as are frustrations and stresses, but they have lessened immensely.

The biggest challenge this year is going to be arranging that harmony. Making sure the important parts are all there, and all equal in a way that each part of my life is in harmony with the next. Finding that "perfect balance". I am so excited to see what the next year brings, and how that harmony comes into play. Wish me luck for lots of HARMONY this upcoming year!

Monday, January 4, 2010

With a Full Heart

The past few months have been very challenging ones. Well, probably the past year or so has been. Don't get me wrong, we feel very blessed and wouldn't change a thing that has happened, but it's been hard.

Between the poor health I've experienced the past several years, and our lives being life, and just continually changing, I have slowly shifted into survival mode. I had gotten to the point that my life was just completely out of control. Seriously.

And then I got pregnant, which was totally an act of faith for me because although Wes and I want lots of kids and I would probably welcome a new baby into our home at any given time, I just wondered how in the world we were going to pull it off. We already had such crazy lives with both of us building our own little "side hustles" and Wes working long hours with an hour-long commute, making him gone most of the boys' waking hours. We had already cut out of our lives nearly everything that didn't feel absolutely necessary, and even some of the necessary, because there was just no room for extras in our lives. So, how was I supposed to factor in pregnancy, recovery, and a new baby into all the chaos? Was it really the right thing to do?

But we both thought about it often, until we finally decided to pray about it. I think we waited to pray for a bit because deep down, we knew what the answer would be. We prayed and nearly immediately felt like it was right to add another sweet little spirit to our family. Then, I was reading one of Linda Eyre's books, "A Joyful Mother of Children" and she talked about a similar experience she was having....that it felt time for a baby, but they were very busy (her husband was a Mission President in London at the time, and she had several small children already), and she wasn't sure if she could do it, or wanted to at that time. Her and her husband discussed it, made a list of pros and cons, and took it to the Lord, and received a very strong conformation that it was right. She then went on to talk a little about that child, and how much they needed him in their family, and how grateful she was to have followed the promptings of the spirit. Anyway, like I always feel when I read their books, I could totally relate to this experience, and it gave me the courage I needed to just "go with it".

Fast forward to now, and here we are, almost 4 months pregnant, 15 weeks today. I look back and hardly remember much about the last few months, except right before Halloween, everyone getting a nasty flu bug that lasted almost three weeks. At different times. I was still having my turn with the flu when much to my surprise, morning sickness hit. Both times before, I have felt a little nausea and definitely the fatigue of pregnancy, and the sensitive stomach, but I could function, and the second time around I never even threw up. Not the case this time. I've lost count, and I've felt so horribly sick that at times I have worried something was wrong. Just because it's been so incredibly different this time around. But all seems to be well, and we feel very blessed for all the things that this little challenge has taught us.

Being sick all through Christmas time was no fun at all. But now that I am beginning to feel better (although I still throw up daily) it seems to have been very fleeting. We had to simplify our lives even more. I had to surrender to morning sickness. I've spent so much time in bed that Wes finally got me a more comfortable bed, in hopes that I would sleep a little better and be a little more comfortable when I'm not feeling well (what a guy! it's really helped!) I quit watching our money, I quit cooking and cleaning and the poor dogs were so bored and stinky and Tucker's hair grew so long that he almost couldn't see before I got around to cutting the poor little guy's hair. We haven't been on too many dates. Poor Wes has still never had a birthday party (I'll need to cook up something really special since he's been such a good sport about it). I quit agility, I quit knitting, I couldn't shop or drive much, it's been tough.

But let me tell you, the blessing and miracles we have experienced through all this craziness has far outweighed the challenges. I have felt so much strength from the Lord. I have felt closer to Him than ever before. I have had to totally rely on him for everything. It had made our marriage stronger, and the boys have become much closer and learned a lot about "helping" and have really adapted each day to what I can do for them. They are so amazing, and my love and awe for them has grown immensely. They are really amazing people! Another blessing that came back into my life was music. That was one of things that has kind of fallen by the wayside as we've struggled to get our bearings. But one day, I just needed a lift so bad that I went down to the basement and brought up my keyboard, my guitar and flute, all my music, and I have played and played and played. Boy oh boy has that brought an amazing spirit into our home! I had forgotten how music can reach you like nothing else. I feel like that alone has made everything worth it. I draw so much strength from it. And everyone else seems to also. I will never again let music fall by the wayside. In our family, it seems to be as important as scriptures, prayer, and food. Another way to nourish the soul. :) What a special gift to have been given at a time when we needed it so much.

The other thing I have learned is to just surrender. I tend to throw myself into a million things at once....I LOVE to be busy, and feel like I am contributing and improving every day. But boy howdy I had to learn to slow down even more than I ever thought possible, and I've had experiences sweeter than ever before, and so much time to think about things....what's important, what I need, what will improve our family life, how to make the best of and thrive in our current much! My heart is just overflowing with gratitude and inspiration. I have learned so much in so little time it seems. Now I feel so much excitement and enthusiasm for what life is bringing, and the direction we are headed. We have just been showered with so many blessings, and I feel so strongly that it's because there is so much that we need to be doing, and the Lord is making it possible for us. I hope with all I am that I don't let Him down. We will see what the next year unfolds for us, already there are so many changes and challenges and ADVENTURES! We can't wait! I have so many goals and ambitions and dreams for this next year, as well as many unknowns. I am excited to see it all unfold!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Is it Really 2010?

My goodness, when I think about the past decade, I feel so blessed. I was 15 a decade ago! What magic a decade can bring! Life is so wonderful, isn't it? I just thought I would review, for my own documentation, the highlights of the last decade.

The Good: I got my drivers' license, learned to play the guitar, flute, oboe, and piccolo, got involved in Clayton Productions (the most AMAZING singing/performing group ever), made the volleyball team, learned how to rock climb, snowshoe, ran a 1/2 marathon, met and dated Wes, finally began my dream of dog sport while learning agility with my dog, started and ran various businesses, finally settled on Mona Vie and lia sophia, won an award for sewing a beautiful dress, learned how to cook, learned how to grow many beautiful and yummy things in my garden, taught a bird how to talk and do tricks, went on many mini weekends with friends, family and of course my hubby, moved 7 times, learned to surf, got to watch some amazing beach volleyball in person, started writing my first song, got two new brothers and two new sisters, a new brother-in-law, and a new sister-in-law, took the boys on their first airplane ride, got better at writing, read hundreds of books, got to be in a really fun play, learned a ton about photography, learned a little ASL, got to ice skate competitively, got ironically much better at dance once I quite figure skating, got involved in a daily yoga practice - all these things have really enriched my life

The Bad: both my Grandma and Granny passed away, as well as two of Wes' grandparents, lost a nephew to an extremely preventable, tragic situation that sadly heightened my awareness to the sad reality of child abuse, learned a hard lesson about car buying when we got stuck with a lemon for two years in which we lost thousands of dollars when we finally sold it, had the worst job of my life - really a nightmare, went on a bad honeymoon (really, I promise on this one. I am not hard to please, but our original plans fell through and we had to throw something together very last-minute. We ended up at a cabin with no running water and very little power that we had to conserve for what little cooking we could do. I had to shower in the boys' bathroom by the pool all the way at the bottom of the mountain, we rode motorcycles that broke down quite a ways from where we left, we were in a near-death rock climbing experience which involved a rescue from another neighborly group of rock climbers, we finally left a day early to have somewhere to shower and sleep before we started our trek to Nevada.), my mom and I got into an argument with an unconcerned, unprofessional Lehi cop that has resulted in a strong dislike for most cops for both of us as well as hating to live anywhere near Lehi - watch out for this guy, he is a creep! we've acquired a Valentine's jinx in which every single Valentine's Day from the time we were married up until now, has been ruined by some catastrophe...hopefully this one will change with the start of a new decade!

The Ugly: gained 46 pounds with each pregnancy that I am still struggling to get a handle on while beginning my third pregnancy, after five years of telling every do tor that would see me that something wasn't right, I had a large, benign ovarian tumor removed in emergency surgery which stemmed a plethora of health problems ranging from severe acid reflux to asthma to anxiety, got a third job doing medicine deliveries while living in Nevada which quickly proceeded to be the biggest, most expensive nightmare job ever, student loans and medical debt....need I say more?

The Beautiful: married my sweetheart and best friend in the Salt Lake temple (I still pinch myself every morning when I wake up next to him), had two sweet, beautiful, healthy boys, found some new passions in life including gardening, the great outdoors, health and nutrition, handwork and making things, to name a few, got to be a youth counselor in the Special Needs Mutual for a few years, having the joy of carrying our third child, due this summer, climbed Mount Timpanogas during which I had one of the most spiritual experiences of my life, got our two sweet, darling dogs, have learned and grown at a much faster rate since becoming a wife and mommy and seen so many little blessings and miracles come our way, met many amazing, inspiring people that have touched my life in so many ways, started and continued a gratitude journal for nearly a decade now, got my patriarchal blessing, set and reached many goals and dreams

Wow, when I look back, I know so much more has happened. It seems like such a long time and such a blur at the same time. I feel so happy at all the good (and bad) things I have experienced and accomplished. I have learned so much and been so enriched! Now as I am in the process of writing my New Year's resolutions, here's to another year, and decade, of many miracles, blessings, joy, and success!


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