Monday, July 27, 2015

Life is like a river


I have been thinking about my life lately and how much things have changed over the years. Life is like a river. After some time erosion or floods can change the course of a river. I remember as a girl, I was at my parents cabin and we were stuck in doors because of the rain. We barely made it across the bridge with our car so we wouldn't get stuck with no way out. It was amazing we didn't get swept away with the rushing water. Every time we go and visit I look at how different the creek looks. There are rocks piled and broken branches everywhere. Everything is wider but there is not enough water to fill it.

If we could look back on our lives, we would notice all the bends and turns. Our life could change and take a different course in a short period of time or over years. My life changed when I served a mission for the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day saints. My life changed its course when I met my husband and we became close through letters of encouragement on our missions. When he got home I moved to be with him and stayed with a relative of his who had lost her husband right before he had said okay to me staying with them. Each of these times Jesus was changing my course without me even realizing it. Change is when you get married. It is the birth of your children. It is illness gripping your every chance it can or trying to pull you under the current of despair.

Sometimes you can stay on course and just ride the current. This last weekend we went tubing on a river. It was a lot of fun but at times a little tense. We all tried to stay together, holding on to ropes and straps. Sometimes we would get stuck on some rocks. A few times we had someone get flipped over. One of those times was a 2 year old. Luckily the children had life jackets and were rescued swiftly. If we lost someone in the group we eventually would bump into each other. As long as we could see those who were separated there was still hope for them to hold on. Each time we went back to the beginning and try the rivers course again, we would face new challenges. How many times in life do we get out of our raft or are knocked out, just to be pulled in another direction or under the water. There are bumps and stops along the way. Life can be rough and unpredictable. It shouldn't ever stop us from staying on our raft or trying to get back on if we get knocked off a time or two! Like life we cannot control where it takes us. A river is ever flowing and life is ever changing. We just have to chose to enjoy the ride and go with the flow.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

When one door is locked you can open it!

My littlest man is a full blown busy and determined toddler. Everyday he discovers more and more what he can do. His latest trick is locking himself in a room and us out. He begins to cry when he realizes he is stuck. Maybe in some small way he knows he is responsible for his plight. When he cries in desperation and jiggles the door my heart breaks and I want to get him out in the first place. If he locks himself in our bathroom it is  tiny and sometimes I feel this makes him panic! The door knob also does not have a key on the other side, so we had to make a special tool to get him out.

As I thought about this more lately, I realized many times we are either shut out or we are stuck inside a mess of our own creation. Sometimes our loved ones shut us out of knowing how they are feeling. They are jiggling and fiddling with the lock but don't know what to do to get out. How much better do children feel and parent , when, after time they are both on the same page? Emotionally no one feels locked out and hurt.

If we are the one locking our hearts and feelings from those we care about; we create that barrier. Maybe we are just too overwhelmed so we unknowingly lock the door of our possibilities. We may feel trapped or held hostage by feelings we don't understand. Maybe we worry no one will hear us jiggling the door and calling for help. Perhaps, we are stubborn and don't want help? I have been there many times myself. The biggest mistake we make is to stop trying to break free from hopelessness, fear, anger, depression or anxiety. We need someone on the other side; our side! That someone is Jesus Christ. He says in Luke 11:9

 "And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you"

We feel like the  weight is lifted from our shoulders when the door is opened. We have possibilities and enlightenment. We may also feel comfort and freedom. Just like in the case of our bathroom door, the "special tool" we can use to "get out" is prayer and supplication. This is true for us as the rescuers for our children or the ones trapped and lost. Lately I have been trying to pray with all my heart. To me this has come to mean, with all my feeling and emotions.

This includes:
  1.  praying for the Lord to inspire my heart 
  2. thinking of ways to help
  3. showing love and kindness by not shouting and listening
  4. going to work and doing whatever I feel guided to do
Eventually he will answer the door or like the famous quote by  Alexander Graham Bell dictates " When one door closes another one opens" Ask for help, get on your knees! Don't panic because he will help us! Whether we are trapped on the other side or need to help a loved one who is.

Here is another picture from my scripture journal. This is a reminder to me to  pray with all my heart!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Take back your Turf Thursday

It has been a long time since I have written a Take back your Turf Thursday in a while! Yikes! I really have just had my hands full, honestly. My energy has been drained by stress and illness. The last few weeks, however, I have been taking an hour first thing in the morning to get things done around the house. I have cleared clutter areas and vacuumed everyday. I need to vacuum that often to help my poor little guy with allergies! A year ago I found out that he had such severe food and environmental allergies. He is still pretty much the same. Every night we don't know if we will be up at night with him scratching and crying. he picture below breaks my heart. Hi pop face! My husband and I couldn't take him sleeping in our bed so we moved him to his bed until he wakes up and wants to come I our bed. A little more freedom and room for us! I'm taking back my room!

I also have changed my living room set up again! Tee hee. I just can't help myself. The best thing is that it is free!

I used this end table as a coffee table. There are ottomans on both sides that can be pulled out for extra seating.

One last huge hurdle I must overcome is my children's toys. I have filled the four big bins I was planning on rotating. I still have more toys to go through ughhh.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Summer of Sucess week 8-Dive in to the ocean and scripture journals

Day 1- July 13th
Our little family is diving in deep in the ocean and into our scriptures. I am also planning on diving deeper into mine since last month I was trying to reach 8 pages a day to read the Book of Mormon in a month! We have been enjoying shark week so much that we will continue looking at the ocean this week.
Devotional:2 Nephi 31:20
Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life.

"Commitment is like diving into the water." says President Dieter F. Uchtdorf. He continues saying "Either you are committed or you are not. Either you are moving forward or you are standing still. There’s no halfway. We all face moments of decision that change the rest of our lives. As members of the Church, we must ask ourselves, “Will I dive in or just stand at the edge? Will I step forward or merely test the temperature of the water with my toes?”
I asked them to commit and make a promise to be nice to each other and read the scriptures everyday.

They DIVED right in!

After the message it is suggested to draw a picture of gospel activity that shows commitment.
I suggested they draw what they read about in their scriptures. Here is my unorganized thoughts and what I got out of reading. I am tweaking an outline to follow. Also I started a study of Nephi and added my favorite quotes on the topic honor your parents. The last picture is the kid's journal page. I love the fireworks! I think they felt some fire works inside, from the spirit too! :)

writing prompt:ocean animals for each letter
My kids love Bill Nye and the magic school bus....and getting screen time!

Day 2-July 14tth
Devotional: Work on memorizing 2 Nephi 31:20
Watch: Magic school bus takes a dive. I like this one because it was all about being partners and how certain animals benefit from each other.
Writing prompt: In the sea there is ________Something they learned about the animal
  I also let the kids explore on the Internet and looking up things they wanted to learn about. Here were a few websites they looked at

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Summer of Sucess week 7- Shark week Day 1 and 2

Devotional: Alma 17:10
 10 And it came to pass that the Lord did visit them with his Spirit, and said unto them: Be comforted. And they were comforted

We talked about fears and what we can do when we are afraid. Then we read this story

We made a pool out of a tarp and tires and threw some plastic sharks in. My daughter gives it a thumbs up!

Letter: S

snack:Watch out for the watermelon shark!

We have been checking out the official site for shark week. There are shark feeds to watch and highlights and videos.


We watched a funny video of Donald duck

We have another Shark we love in out house.....that is my vacuum! Instead of eating fish it eats dust and Legos! I guess you could say every day is Shark week at out house!

Sharks and yoga!

An old favorite, shark teeth(or dino teeth) necklaces with marshmallows and cereal.

Happy Shark week!

Monday, July 6, 2015

Faith, Fourth and Fireworks

I am a little behind on my posting. Here is some birthday and fourth of July festivities! LOTS of pictures!
Water gun salute! Sparklers! The tires and tarp are my brilliant idea for a pool and it worked!

A little Harry Potter in the mix! Expelliarmous!

My boys! My family!

Chima cake for the birthday boy!

Tonight we got together with some neighbors. We talked about Faith. I used this Family Home evening lesson and combined a visual aid about fireworks. After the lesson was over we did fire works in a jar. I had the kids help me with this one. First you get a jar of warm water. This represents us.

Next, in a bowl mix vegetable oil and food coloring. The bowl is our hearts and the food coloring are seeds of faith. Then, you mix those two together. This is like when faith is stirred in our hearts. The last step is to pour the oil mixture into water. I told the kids to say silently as they poured it in, things like I believe in Christ, I know my Father lives or the scriptures are true. Something amazing happens when we have faith.

Then we set of fireworks! Of course! 
Some of those fire works were loud! I better cover my daddies ears!

Friday, July 3, 2015

My journey through mental illness and how one scripture brought me hope

I am almost done with my reading the Book of Mormon in the month of June challenge. It has been challenging to find time to read 8 chapters a day. However, my children have heard me listening to or seen me reading. I hope they know how important it is to put the things of the Lord first. Tonight, I was reading in Ether 2:24-25.

24 For behold, ye shall be as a whale in the midst of the sea; for the mountain waves shall dash upon you. Nevertheless, I will bring you up again out of the depths of the sea; for the winds have gone forth out of my mouth, and also the rains and the floods have I sent forth.
 25 And behold, I prepare you against these things; for ye cannot cross this great deep save I prepare you against the waves of the sea, and the winds which have gone forth, and the floods which shall come. Therefore what will ye that I should prepare for you that ye may have light when ye are swallowed up in the depths of the sea?
  After the fall of the Tower of Babel the Lord had compassion on Jared and his friends and family's language is not confounded. The Jaredites are preparing to leave and go to the promise land in barges. The brother of Jared asks the Lord how they can have light in these dark vessels. The Lord proposes that the brother of Jared find a way for there to be light. The Lord says:

"Therefore what will ye that I should prepare for you that ye may have light when ye are swallowed up in the depths of the sea?"

I really felt a connection this time to the story. A deep connection like these scriptures were describing exactly how depression feels I have never really thought about this passage of scripture in that way before. As many of you know I struggle with depression and all that comes with it. I have taken medication off and on for 5 years. I feel like that only masks the pain for a while. I feel swallowed up in a sea of despair and darkness at times. I thought about the question the Lord asks the brother of Jared and feel its application for my depression. What can I do so that I can have light when I feel like I might drown in my seas of woes? I just sat and thought about this question for a while. Could I have enough faith to find my cure and then ask if it is what I should do. So many days I feel like I will do anything for a way to make it better, to feel normal again. Could I?

I feel a warmth and hope that I have not felt in a long time. I have been tossed to and fro, thoughts and experiences have crashed against me. The flood of tears are guilt stained and hopeless. This mental illness has felt like a chain drowning me. I am crying, now, but only because I feel those seas of darkness calming and that the Lord has given me all I need to surface, breathe and gather courage to battle it all again. He has built me to be a strong vessel, but it is up to me to keep the light. He can touch and light my heart and give me that hope.

Hope is a light that only fades if we let it. I have been grasping for hope for so long. This scripture gives me peace and hope for the day I will not be tossed so easily by this illness and that the darkness will be swept away. He will rescue me and guide me through this!

I have hope! 

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Summer of sucesst week 6- Challenge to change your parenting

So far it has been tough to do the things on my daily happiness card. It has been so hot that by noon I am not so productive anymore. Swamp cooler in 100 degree weather is not really effective. I am just wondering how long this little rut of mine is going to last. I saw another friend of mine write on Facebook. Kids for sale! Then she proceeded to say how her kids were fighting and not cleaning and I just had to chuckle. What am I doing wrong? Is it my parenting? My children's strong will? I always hear from them that  "Summer is supposed to be fun and relaxing, not work" We have been swimming and the movies, but I am mean and don't let them have any fun. Right? I have gotten to the point where I don't even respond anymore to that. This fish is not taking the bait thank you!

How do other Mom's do it? My stress goes through the roof when I have to fight with them. I feel like I am in a boxing match. I want to make a meaningful connection but all I get is defiance and told how I am doing it all wrong. There are so many blogs out there answering these questions with as many How to's as we could possibly want. How to stop fighting, or how to get them to clean up and much more. I want them to want to clean, obey and so forth with out any manipulation or bargaining on my end. The thought of taking away everything so they can't make a mess has occurred on many desperate occasions.

 I know children are only young once and they will be grown up before I know it! In fact, I found these sweet and sticky foot prints on the kitchen bench. It is leftover from the drips of a Popsicle. In that moment of discovery, all is bliss! I think of how cute my little mess maker is and a smile creases my frustrated face.

In some ways my kids and I are similar. Our interactions would best be described in these stubborn moments as 2 rams butting heads. Other times we are working together as a group. I need to figure out the tricks to nurturing and teaching them without driving me to the end of my sanity. That is what I plan on working on for the rest of the Summer. I definitely feel like I  need to surrender to a new way of thinking.

Challenge: Figure out what my kids personality is. Write down what there strengths and weaknesses are. Then figure out what I can do to nurture what they thrive at and strengthen where they are weakest.

I also plan on having them tell me what they would like to learn about and give them a lot more options on what they can do. Their reading is continuing at least. :) I can't believe we are in July already!