Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Life's great happiness is to be convinced we are loved

* no means am I saying I am good at this!  It is the hardest thing in the world for me, but when I do make the effort and allow love to enter my heart I am so much happier!

Life is hard and there are so many painful things people go through in this life.  Many are given more than their fair share it seems.  There are so many situations that seem so unfair and can make life so miserable.  Especially those circumstances brought about by other’s choices.

I have been thinking and studying about love so much lately.  Not romantic love, but Christlike love.  The kind that is given in spite of what has happened in the past, or what the other person has done or continues to do.  No matter if another person is unlovable or irritating, or difficult.  Our Savior didn’t just mingle with those who believed him, he purposely went to those who were unbelievers and even those who mocked him, he served them, he forgave them and extended to them his mercy and unconditional love.

In my own life I have seen some pretty incredible people live this principle of love and mercy and forgiveness (because you can’t have unconditional love without those).  I have seen love and forgiveness extended in some seemingly impossible situations.  Death, divorce, abuse, addiction, infidelity and the list of painful circumstances could go on and on.  I have seen love, forgiveness and mercy extended in every single one of those circumstances.  It wasn’t easy for sure; it was the person who had been victimized making a very conscious choice to extend their love.  It didn’t matter if that person who hurt them deserved it because in most cases they didn’t ask for the forgiveness.  It was the softening of the heart of the victim and the putting aside their pride and desire for peace in their own life.  It came from a desire to live like our Savior and lay the burden at His feet instead of harboring it in their heart.  Forgiveness doesn’t just happen, it is an active conscious choice.

The greatest people I know have not only forgiven in their heart but have also been willing to reach out and extend love toward those who hurt them.  It is truly a miracle to watch and can only be brought about by the love of God.  It is only He who can change our hearts and fill our hearts with enough love to see that person as His child.  Many of these amazing people have been refined year after year, difficult circumstances one after another and have chosen to have a soft enough heart to do extend His love. He works miracles in our lives daily, but this may be his greatest miracle in extending to us his mercy so that we are allowed to extend it to others.

I realize not everyone can do this.  I realize in some circumstances it is necessary to distance yourself from that person who hurt you so badly for safety’s sake.  Whether that safety is physical or emotional safety (or both in a lot of cases), it isn’t wise to put yourself or your family in harms way.  However we can fill our hearts with the love of God and by doing so can drive out the bitterness and anger….if we allow it to cleanse us.

(the title of this post is a quote by Victor Hugo from the book Les Miserable)

Monday, February 25, 2013

Monday musings

The Power of Moms retreat for Las Vegas is on April 12-13th and registration is now open!  There are only about 60 spots available and I think it will fill up quickly!  I promise it will be well worth your time and money spent!  I went last year (see this post) and it was so uplifting and empowering!  It was wonderful to spend time with so many other deliberate Mothers and get ideas and support.  We laughed and cried, it was one of my favorite Saturdays I have ever spent.

If you want to register HERE is the link.

In other news…I have gone a week without Facebook.  I did pop on last night to put the link up for registration for the retreat but that is the first time I have gotten on.  Did you know that when you deactivate your account all it is is basically logging off.  You can log right back on and and you have all of your old stuff right back up.  So I spent some time last night looking through what I had missed last week.  Turns out I don’t feel like I missed much at all.  In fact my time has been way more productive this last week.  In fact it’s quite liberating and I have been thinking of all the things I can do, books I can read and talents I can work on in that time.  My house is cleaner and I have played with my kids so much more.  So I will deactivate tonight again and go cold turkey again. 

We had Stake Conference this weekend (a meeting with 14 of our local congregations where our church leaders speak to us and give us direction).  In our Saturday night session our Stake President asked every household in our stake to read 2 chapters in the Book of Mormon daily starting March 4th.  Boy oh boy are we going to have to be creative because often times we have a hard time reading 10 verses a night.  But we are going to do it, so if you have any great, creative ideas I would love to hear them!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013


Two interesting reads this morning.  This article is about how the youngest kids in their grade fair in school.  For me it validated our decision to have our son repeat kindergarten (read about that Here.)

Sarah from Clover Lane (I think my favorite blogger ever) today posted a letter to her children (read it HERE.  She boldly states her values and opinions on many moral issues.  I wanted to applaud after reading it!  I happen to agree with everything she said and think it was so courageous and bold of her to post it because you know she will get many disagreeable and possibly nasty comments. Sarah has 6 children and is Catholic and is such a wonderful woman.

What do you think?

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Closing the "book"

Last night I was spending time with my two little ones as my husband and older boys went on a Scout campout.  We were having a fun time and had settled down to watch a “My Little Pony” movie.  I was on the couch with my daughter and looking at my phone.  She grabbed it out of my hand, threw it on the floor and said, “Put that phone down, and watch this movie with ME!”

Maybe a funny little story, but it probably says more about my habits than I want to admit, my husband has also mentioned that I am on that thing all the time. Also this week there have been a few articles I have read that I have not been able to get out of my mind.  In fact last night, I was up from 2-4 a.m. thinking about one of them.  You can read the articles HERE, HERE andHERE.  (the person writing the article on the last link is named Cheryl, but isn't me)

I have become a slave to that phone. I am constantly checking my Facebook and reading people’s comments and status’ and looking at pictures.  It really is impeding my relationships with my husband and kids.  I find myself getting annoyed with them if they need me while I’m checking status updates or comments.  I don’t text or check out Facebook while driving, but if we get to a red light I pick up my phone to check things out, instead of talking to my kids. It really is a bit ridiculous that it is taking over.

I have justified all the time I spend on there that I am sharing uplifting and inspiring articles and pictures.  I was in the Relief Society presidency for a few months and I justified by saying I was checking in on the sisters in the ward (which was true, but why couldn’t I just call or go visit them?)  Having “virtual” relationships just isn’t the same as having face to face relationships in my home.

So I am deactivating my Facebook account this coming week.  I am not just taking a “break” because I’ve tried that before and I stay away for about 24 hours and then I’m right back to where I was before.  I am going “cold turkey” and don’t plan on coming back anytime soon.

The thing is though, I am sad about losing touch with many friends I have come back into contact with on Facebook.  I have a lot of useful things that happen on Facebook.  I have a group that I get meal ideas from, I have a group where I can buy and sell items in a “garage sale” type page, I have a group of friends from 20+ years ago that I worked with at a girls camp that I have loved keeping in contact with.  I have cousins I have gotten to know better and have been able to reconnect with. I have other friends that we commiserate on kids, teenagers, lack of sleep, illness etc.

But I also find myself caught up in the “drama” of facebook.  I get caught up in the comments people make, and in things people say.  I’ve never been a “drama queen”, but find myself caught up in the drama and gossip that inevitably happens on facebook.  I don’t like it.  There are situations and people that I don’t need to get caught up with.  I don’t need to solve people’s problems or worry about what they think of me.  I find myself far too worried about what my “virtual” friends think of me. I even click on comments my Facebook friends make on their friends status updates, people I don’t even know! 

While I love those people I have reconnected with, none of them are as important to me as the 6 other people I live in this house with. If they are feeling like what I am doing is coming between us then I am stopping it.  I have seen too many sad endings in families to let anything come between those relationships.  It may seem silly to some that this is the case, but it is what it is.

 I only have a few short years until my kiddos start leaving my nest.  I need to give all my energy to them.  I want to focus on them and look into their eyes and have conversations and not be interrupted by my phone/computer/Facebook.  I have an amazing, loving, selfless husband who I want to give my best self to. I want to “cleave to him and none else”.

Last year I attended a Power of Moms retreat where I learned many amazing things, but one has stuck with me.  To start with the end in mind.   In 30 years what do I want my kids and husband to remember was most important to me?  I have a feeling right now they would say my phone.  I don’t want them to talk about my phone habits at my funeral. J   I want them to say that they knew THEY were my most important priority and that I loved being with them and playing and talking and just being together.  I want them to say that they knew I would drop everything for them if they needed me. 

Yesterday my two littles and I went to the park.  I left my phone in the car and I played with my kids.  I watched my 2 year old master climbing on a jungle gym by himself. He looked at me with his smiling eyes and said, “Mommy I’m doing SO GREAT!” (the picture above is right after he said that to me).   I pushed my 5 year old daughter in the swing and even sat in the swing next to her and started to swing myself which totally delighted her.I   was completely absorbed in them and my daughter grabbed my hand on the walk back to the car and said, “Mommy thanks for playing with us, you are the BEST Mommy ever!”

That right there is reason enough to close the “book” and re-engage with my kids and husband.  If you want to keep in touch I would be more than happy to give you my cell phone # so we can text and chat on the phone.  I will give out my email address to anyone who wants to reconnect that way.    I will still be on Instagram (willow5kids) because I love the “snapshots” of life that happen on there and it isn’t nearly as much of a time sucker for me.  I will also be writing much more on this blog and my family blog (…by invitation only, if you want an invite let me know) because that is where I will capture the little moments that happen in our family.  I plan on making blog books from the past few years to document our life.  So there are still many ways to keep in touch, it just will take more effort on my part. Comment and leave your email if you want my information.