Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Getting Christmas

I haven't felt very in the mood for Christmas this year.

I'm sure its because of our move and all the new things we get to experience.

Mostly, I've been feeling:  "if I can just get through Christmas, then things will calm down and start to feel normal."

But, then I had this thought.

I don't want to just "get through Christmas".

I want to "get Christmas" this year!

I want to feel the Christmas spirit.

I want to be able to focus on the reason for the gift giving, and the treat making, and the decorating, and all of the craziness.

I want my kids to feel the Christmas spirit.

And that is not going to happen if I'm just getting through each day.

So, my goal is to recognize the purpose in what I am doing.

And to deliberately do the things that make it seem like Christmas in our house (baking, caramel making, serving, decorating).

Not just do them because I feel like I have to or because its a tradition.

I want to be able to say that Christmas is a wonderful time of the year, and mean it.

I want to get it.


Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Being Happy with Who You Are

I was asked to do a presentation for the young women in our church on, "Being Happy with Who You Are".  My first thought was, oh, am I one of those people?  You know the kind that the young women look at and think "well, look at her she seems to be happy even though she shouldn't be." (haha!)

Then I realized its probably just because I'm a positive person and smiling all the time.  So, it was all good.

But, I spent a while thinking about what makes me a happy person.  And I came up with that it's knowing that God loves me no matter what.  

And that my life is so much better when I focus on my strengths instead of my weaknesses.  Anyway, here's what I told the young women:

I'm not going to lie to you and tell you that you shouldn't care what other people think.  That's like telling birds not to fly.  We are women and we care.  In fact, I couldn't figure out what to wear to this tonight, so I called my friends (who happened to be together so they put me on speaker phone!) to help me out.  I care what people think!

So, have you ever laid outside and looked up at the stars and wondered why you matter.  If you imagine all of the people in the world and all the prayers being said to God, "why would he even think of me?"

David, of the Old Testament, wondered this same thing.  "What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?" (Psalms 8:4

Moses had the same feeling after being shown all the inhabitants of the world.  "Now for this cause I know that man is nothing, which thing I never had supposed". (Moses 1:10)  And yet when God spoke to Moses he called him by name, "Moses, my son".

God knows each of us individually.  He knows our name.

I also like the story of Mary and Martha in the Bible.  Jesus was visiting them in their house and Martha was working hard to serve him while Mary wasn't helping her at all.  I've always thought of myself a little bit like Martha "cumbered about much serving". But when Martha complained to Jesus about it, Jesus' response was "Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things:  But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her." (Luke 10:38-42 emphasis added)

Mary had chosen to listen to the Savior, but was Martha bad because she was trying to serve the Lord a different way?  No.  In another passage about Mary and Martha, it says , "Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister . . ." (John 11:5).  He loved them both the same.

Mary and Martha just had different personalities.  Different strengths.  When their brother Lazarus died they reacted differently.  "Then Martha, as soon as she heard that Jesus was coming, went and met him; but Mary sat still in the house".(John 11:20)  Was one better than the other in their reaction?  No, they are just different people.

All of us have strengths.  I think as women we have a tendency to focus on what our weaknesses are and how can we "fix" what we are bad at right now.  When what we really should be asking ourselves is, "What am I already really good at, that I can do even better to help others?"  

What is something you are good at?

One of the things I'm really good at is crying.  I was always told by my siblings growing up "you're such a crybaby!"  Well, now how is that a strength?  Actually it is.  Because I am an emotional person I can show empathy to others.  It is easy for me to mourn with those who mourn.  I feel deeply and that is OK.  I now look at it as a strength.

What are some of your strengths and how can it help others around you?

Now, another thing you need to know is that God does not love you more or less than anyone else.  He loves everyone the same.  I have learned this more fully in the past year as I have helped some of my cousins. They have made some very poor choices and been in jail.  But guess what, God doesn't love me more than them just because I try to do what's right.  He loves them just as much as me! 

So what is the point in doing all this good stuff?  I do it because I love Him.  It is the choices that we make that bring us closer to God.  And the closer we are to him the more we feel his love.  His love isn't more, we just feel it.  It's like the sun.  The sun shines the same, but when you are in the shade you cannot feel it.  And the closer you get to it the more it warms you.

If you are having a hard time coming up with thinking of a strength you may have, here's a few suggestions.[insert awesome handout that I had hubby make]  You can also ask a parent.  What am I good at?  Or ask a good friend.  And then the hard part - believe them.

I was given a challenge a while back, with some others, to ask God what He thought of me.  I want to give you the same challenge.  Sometime this week when you kneel down to pray, ask God what He thinks of you.  And then wait and listen.  Everyone I know who has taken this challenge and then waited for their answer has felt His love.  I know I have.

God loves each of you unconditionally.  You have a ways to go in figuring out who you are.  You are really just beginning to see yourselves and become who you want to be.  But God knows you.  He sees you as your best self.  And He loves you no matter what.  No matter where you are in your life or what choices you have made - He loves you.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Running Hills (part 2)

When I was in college, there was a hill I used to run up; from my apartment to a boy's house. 

About a month ago I spent the night at my sister's house in Orem.  Close to where I went to college.  I went running that morning and decided to run "the hill."

A flood of memories came back to me.  I remembered all the thoughts that used to occupy me as I ran. 

I didn't really like who I was back then. 

There was the angst of boyfriend issues, the worries of what would become of my life. 

I think I may have used that hill as a punishment.  I thought that if I could make it up this hill then I could control the other "out of control" things in my life. 

What a difference 20 years makes. 

I was amazed at just how different I felt. Not just physically, but mentally and emotionally.

I had the biggest smile on my face as I ran past his house.  I remembered all the good memories, and realized I really like who I am now.

Don't get me wrong.  I still have angst and worries about the future.  And I definitely have lots of improvements to make in my life.

But, getting to the top of a hill does not make that stuff go away.

The reward of running hills is not getting all my problems behind me.

The reward is the actual running of the hill. 

It's what makes me stronger.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Running Hills (part 1)

So, I've been doing it all wrong.

Last year, when I was training for my half marathon, I avoided hills. 

The problem is we kind of live on the top of one. 

To really go any kind of distance I'd have to go down one. But, I'd have someone come pick me up so I wouldn't have to go back up.

When I did have to go up one I'd make a really big deal out of it.  I'd hype myself up for days.   

I think it was because I had set a goal during training and the actual race, to never walk.  And even though I could mostly make it up a hill running, I would be dying by the flat part at the top. 

Unfortunately, there was this hill near the end of the half-marathon.  And it just about killed me. 

Going up was fine, but I could barely make it the last mile and a half on the flat part.

A wise friend of mine (and a really good runner) told me she walked the hill since she didn't want to be dead for the last part.

What a concept!  You mean, you could walk during a race?  Why hadn't I thought of that?  Why did I think that walking was against the rules?  More specifically, my rules?
This year as I started running I decided I wanted to do hills.  Even if I was just going to walk up them.  I gave myself permission to just take it easy and not care if I walked a little. 

And now guess what?  I do hills.  Lots of them.  And I'm not even walking most of them.  I will sometimes walk a little when I get to the top just to catch my breath.  But mostly, I just keep running. 

And here's where I figure out what I was doing wrong. 

I would get myself all psyched out for these hills.  I'd look at them and think I can't make it up there.  Or I'd think about how tired it would make me by the top of the hill. 

Then, while I was running, I would keep looking at how far I had to go and how steep it was.  Definitely the wrong way to go about it. 

Now, when I come to a hill, I tell myself, "let's just see how far we can make it", or "I'll walk when I get done with this hard part". 

Then I just put my head down and watch my feet and maybe a little bit in front of me.  I hardly ever look up.  I might take a glance about halfway to the top. 

But if I'm just watching my feet and pushing along it doesn't seem steep at all, it just happens to be where I am.

Now, here's where I do my analogy thing. 

I've been struggling this summer with what seems like this giant hill in my life.  It's unavoidable. And I keep looking at it thinking, how am I supposed to do this. 

I need to give myself permission to "walk up this hill" if I need to.  There is no shame in that.

Then I need to put my head down and keep moving.  Focus on what is right in front of me, not what is coming up and may be really hard.  This is just where I am.

So even though I don't really want to say, "Give me more hills!"  I finally am feeling like I can make it through all of this.

And you know it is a fabulous feeling to get to the top of those hills!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Job Hunt

At first I thought finding a job was a little like trying to get married.

It was so exciting to think about the future and what it would be like.

Then after a while you start thinking that maybe there's not just one special one out there waiting for you. 

You would be happy with any good one; but a lot happier with a right one.

Now, I'm beginning to feel that our job search is more like being pregnant.

It's pretty exciting at first.  But towards the end you just feel tired and apathetic.  And you just want to get it over with.  And you start to think that it's never really going to happen.

Who knows, maybe a few more months of job hunting will feel like something else.

I'm hoping for a graduation type feeling and not a death.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Straight (jacket) Talk

I think I've blogged before about how the mind is a powerful thing. 

I've just been wondering if anyone else has a voice in their head as sarcastic as the one in mine. 

I guess you'd call it my conscious. 

I sometimes have these conversations with this voice in my head. 

Its obnoxious. 

Especially when I'm trying to have one of those "martyr" moments. 

You know the ones. 

The -  "Poor me."  "Why me?"  "This is the worst thing ever!"

You get the idea. 

Tonight, sarcastic inner voice came out pretty strong. 

(This is totally embarrassing, but I'll share it anyway.)

Martyr voice:  "Well, I guess it shows that I'm not the most important thing in his life."

Conscious voice:  "Well, at least YOU are the most important thing in your life right now."


Ok, got it.  Thank you very much.  I'll just go hang my head in shame and get my act together. 

Got to love people who will tell it to you straight.

Even if it is the voice in my head.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

I have a habit of dispensing advice.

Sometimes (most of the time), the things I hear myself say end up being what I needed to hear.

Here are two gems I recently advised (myself).

1.  Instead of coveting other people's talents and saying: "I wish I could . . . like that person" you should say: "What am I already good at that I that I can do better to help others."

2.  Kids always need to feel special, but especially teenagers; because it's so easy for them to forget.

Good stuff.  I hope I can remember this.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Fitting In

Even though I may "live in the moment" there still have been times when I've moved that I've felt like I just didn't fit in.

In fact, one move I spent almost an entire year feeling that there was no one else around in just the same situation as me and therefore, I was all alone.

But here's the thing about fitting in: it's better not to think of it as a puzzle piece trying to fit into that one exact spot in the puzzle.

Think of it more like a piece of clothing that can really go with any outfit.

Or better yet, some kind of fruit to go into a fruit salad.

The fruit salad of life!

We already "fit in"; its just up to us to put ourselves in.

And most likely, we'll end up being that fruit that someone else has been waiting for to complete their salad.

So, what fruit are you?

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Living in the Moment

I have a list of projects that I wanted to get done before we moved again.

I finally finished one.

I re-did my mission scrapbook, getting rid of all of the old magnetic pages and just pasting the pictures on white paper and protective sheets.

It brought back so many memories.

But, it also made me feel very sad.

I am the worst person for keeping in touch with others when I move.

I looked at pictures of people from my mission who I loved so much and meant so much to me. And I have hardly kept in touch with any of them.

How could I be such a loser?

But, then I had one of those defining moments.

I live in the moment.

I don't just survive where ever I go; I thrive.

I meet new people; I get involved; I don't look back.

This has been a great strength to have for all the moves our family has made.

To be able to quickly move on and make the most of wherever I happen to be planted at the time.

Unfortunately, that means that I start to lose touch with those who I have been so close to.

(Social networking has helped me do a bit better staying in contact with everyone I love.)

But I choose to look at this as a strength and continue to live in the moment.

I hope that everyone knows how much I care for them - right now.

In the past.

And forever.


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