Thursday, October 13, 2016

Working Hard

I was texting with Taylor yesterday about how nervous she is to start a new class and this is what I told her:

"You don't need to be nervous about something that is completely under your own control!  If you don't do good on your first assignment then you know you need to work harder on the next one and so on until you know how hard you need to work to get what you want!"

After I sent it, I thought how that is so true for each of us, we just have to figure out what it is we want, then do something and if it didn't bring the desired goal then we work a little harder until we see at what level we need to work to get the desired result.

But don't forget what my husband is always trying to remind me, "work hard, play hard, balance in all things!

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

I Am Here

I've been having one of those times when everything leads to one thing, one moment that I'm now realizing has more significance in my life than I could have ever imagined.  It actually all started with something that happened at my CTMH convention a few months ago which lead to a mentor and to finding a deeper why in my business.  In a nutshell, my mentor told me that if my why doesn't make me cry then I haven't gone deep enough yet.  When I was talking to my husband about this, at one point I said, "I just want to say, I'm here."  That's when it started, that simple phrase, "I'm here," brought tears to my eyes and has started a journey I know I'm just in the beginning of.

When I was younger, I used to hide behind the couch and wait to hear something like, "where's Renae."  Unfortunately, that never happened and eventually I would give up and climb out firmly believing that I was not seen or missed.

As several other experiences the last few weeks all lead up to this same childhood experience and resulting beliefs, I realized I needed to do something to work through them.  I went and saw my therapist for the first time in a long time.  We talked about all of the loneliness and feelings of not being seen as well as how I felt I was not in control of my life right then.  At the end she said something that turned everything around for me, she said something like, "you saw yourself enough to make yourself be seen by others."  I had such an amazing feeling when she said that, I am seeing myself, I am in control of my own life, I am here!  I know there is still more to work though on this new journey of mine, but shat an amazing start!

Monday, August 8, 2016

Looking for the "Be Happy" Every Day

I have been having a paradigm shift happening lately and I've been changing a lot of different things.  I have also been trying to find little ways to connect with friends.  As I have been finding these different ways to connect, it has been making me sad because I know I would have found a fun way to connect with Stacey who died in October.  As I have been pondering this and wondering what I could do about it, someone mentioned to me that whenever she sees a ladybug, she knows it is a connection with someone close to her who has passed on.  She said I should be looking for something that reminds me of Stacey in my every day life as a symbol that she is still connecting with me.   At first I thought maybe the sun or sunshine as at her funeral it was mentioned that "that was her color."  But then on Sunday during Sacrament meeting I was thinking about it and I thought about how I got a stamp at my CTMH convention that says "Be happy" and that reminded me of how she would always say that to me.  Then a friend gave me a mug that says "be happy" because she knew that's what Stacey would tell me.  I felt really good about looking for the "be happy" every day and knowing that was my connection with her.  Then right after Sacrament meeting, a friend was showing me a picture and in the picture the words "be happy" were written, I couldn't believe how quickly my desire to feel connected to Stacey was answered!  With that connection in place, I will now be looking for that and I hope she feels connected with me as well when I notice the be happy's in my every day!

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Me and my Boys

I come from a family of all girls (I have six sisters) and my son was the first grandson in the family (after 5 granddaughters) so for me it is so great to have my two new grandsons.  They are so precious and so fun and they definitely keep us all busy with feedings, diaper explosions, spit ups and outright throw-ups as well as lots of playing and snuggling.  I wasn't able to be at home when my kids were infants so I'm trying to make the most of having these two at home with me right now as I know that won't always be the case.  Family truly is the best thing in the world and I'm so grateful that I have an eternal family so I'm connected to these two cutie boys forever!

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Take a Step . . . Listen

I have always told my children when they unsure of what direction to go in their lives, to just keep moving forward until they get a "no" or direction to go a different way.  I have been reading The Success Principles by Jack Canfield and came across this section which takes my advice to my children a step further and I love it:

Whatever it is, its important to listen to the feedback.  Simply take a step . . . and listen.  Take another step and listen.  If you hear "off course," take a step in a direction you believe may be on course . . . and listen.  Listen externally to what others may be telling you, but also listen internally to what your body, your feelings, and your instincts may be telling you.

If you have read much of this blog, you will know that listening or hearing messages from your spiritual self, your body and your Heavenly Father are very important.  I just loved that added step of stopping to listen as your move along your path!

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Blogging It

I went to church a few Sundays ago with a prayer in my heart about this blog (I'm just trying to get my life reorganized and pulled back together and this blog is part of that process).  I knew it was important to me, but I wasn't sure where I was really going with it and how important it was to my Heavenly Father.  So I was asking him where I should take it, how often I should do it and so on. 

I go to church really early every Sunday so I can sit and read the Ensign on my ipad while I wait.  I opened it up and finished the article I had been on the Sunday before.  Then I slid to the next article which was entitled, "By Small and Simple Blogs" by Mindy Anne Selu.  I knew from the title alone that Heavenly Father was answering me.  In the article, she shares this:

Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles counseled us . . . “Do not be afraid to share with others your experiences as a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ. We all have interesting stories that have influenced our identity.”

It was a great article about sharing about your life and what you learn which is exactly why I started this blog.  It was a wonderful, gentle reminder for me to take what  I have learned that has enriched me and to enrich others with it.  It was also really wonderful to get an answer to my prayers and be reminded that my Heavenly Father loves me.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Divine Assistance Talk I Gave In Church

The talk that I was given as a reference is “Receiving Divine Assistance through the Grace of the Lord” by Elder Gene R. Cook, Of the Seventy.  Bishop Argo highlighted parts of this talk, one of the first things that he highlighted was Elder Cook saying:  “How many of us, at times, try to resolve life’s challenges ourselves, without seeking the intervention of the Lord in our lives? We try to carry the burden alone.  As some are faced with trials and afflictions, they say, “Why won’t God help me?” Some have even struggled with doubts about their prayers and their personal worthiness and say, “Perhaps prayer doesn’t work.”  Others who have suffered with sickness, discouragement, financial crisis, rejection, disappointment, and even loss of loved ones may say, “Why won’t the Lord heal me or help me? Or help me with my son?  Why didn’t He prevent her death?  Does life have to be this unhappy?”

This is not an uncommon concern from our church leaders, Elder Bruce C. Hafen said:  “Some Church members feel weighed down with discouragement about the circumstances of their personal lives, even when they are making sustained and admirable efforts. Frequently, these feelings of self-disappointment come not from wrongdoing, but from stresses for which they may not be fully to blame.”

And W. Craig Zwick In his talk, “The Lord Thy God Will Hold Thy Hand” said:  “The great plan of happiness includes a proverbial roller coaster of challenging times along with the most joyful times. Yes, we all have our moments of difficulty and heartbreak. Occasionally, they are so difficult for us that we just want to give up. There are times when our steps are unsteady, when we feel discouraged and even reach out in desperation.”

In Elder Cook’s talk he shares principles that may help us obtain divine assistance.  As I did research on this subject I found some other great talks that also had suggestions of keys to help us find that divine assistance we may be looking for.  I put all those principles and keys together and came up with three to focus on.

When I first started therapy many years ago I told my therapist that I really didn’t understand the scripture “Men are that they might have joy.”  I knew life was a test and that we are here to learn.  I had so much on my list to do each day.  I had so much on my list of things to perfect in my life so that I could return to my Father in Heaven.  Life was hard, frustrating and demanding and so I just didn’t see where joy fit in or why Heavenly Father would even worry about us having joy in life.

Years later I was at therapy and I was telling my therapist about a beautiful day I had with my kids at a beach in Hawaii when we went to get my son settled into BYU Hawaii.  I described a particular moment to her, Megan was playing in the sand next to me, Adam was in the water with his new roommate, the sky was just starting to go dusky with stars beginning to appear, the ocean was gently lapping at the beach and I felt such a moment of openness and peace.  It was such a beautiful feeling, so much so that my therapist suggested we give that feeling a name.  She said, “let’s call it joy.”  I started to cry and I said, “is that what joy is?”

Ronald E. Poelman in his talk, “Adversity and the Divine Purpose of Mortality” said:

“Happiness,” in the words of the Prophet Joseph Smith, “is the object and design of our existence; and will be the end thereof, if we pursue the path that leads to it.” Often that path includes affliction, trials, and suffering—physically, mentally, and even spiritually.

Not too long ago on one of Kate Arrasmith’s and I scrapbook days we were talking about something she did that made her really happy and I said, “I think we underestimated the importance of happiness.”  And it was in that moment that I truly understood why it is that our Heavenly Father wants us to have joy, because the power of joy, of happiness lifts us from the darkness of this earth life, from the daily living in a temperal existence.  Happiness reminds us that we are children of a loving Father in Heaven, it reminds us that there is more to life than whatever adversity may be in the moment.

I remember watching a tv show where a doctor was panicking about the surgery he was just about to perform and he gave himself 10 seconds to panic and then he was going to get to work.  When we are feeling, what my husband calls, the boulders of adversity, it is ok to feel the pain, frustration, anger, sadness or fear of it, but we should do our best to only give ourselves a short time, probably longer than 10 seconds, to feel all of that, but then at some point we need to get to “work” so to speak.

Years ago when I was deep in my depression I was talking to one of my sisters and she said that I just needed “to do the dishes.”  Of course, at the time, I thought she was crazy, but then I began to understand what she meant, to just do the most basic of what you can, what I call my widow’s mite.  So what is our bare bones basics of reaching out for divine assistance, the dishes so to speak?  Of the categories that I chose, I believe that seeking and listening to the Spirit is the most important.

Seek and Listen to the Spirit (prayer) and Scripture Study (learn)

To quote Brother Poelman again, he said:

[W]e should follow the counsel of Amulek: “Let your hearts be full, drawn out in prayer unto him continually for your welfare, and also for the welfare of those who are around you.” (Alma 34:27.)  Next, our prayers should be accompanied with daily scripture study. The eternal perspective attained thereby reminds us of who we are, what the true purpose of this mortal experience is, and who placed us here. The availability of divine help is repeatedly reconfirmed.

I remember reading in a book on depression about how many people suffering from depression feel as if their pleas and prayers to Heavenly Father seem to stop at the ceiling.  I’m very grateful that I never experienced this, and if this is how you feel whether because of depression, trials or challenges, then take that next step, which in my mind is, to seek out a priesthood blessing.  If you feel like Heavenly Father and the answers you seek are far away from you, then do everything you can to get close to Heavenly Father.  Go to the temple often, and I don’t just mean once a month, to really seek Him, go weekly or more if you need to.  If you don’t have a temple recommend, go to the temple grounds.  In my youth I found myself often on the Provo Temple Grounds, I felt peace there, I felt closer to my Heavenly Father, I got answers there. Pray, not just for a few minutes, but pray for as long as you can, maybe even set a timer to keep you on your knees.  And when you pray, spend as much time listening as you do talking.  Read your scriptures, study them, look up footnotes or words in the dictionary, look up past talks and articles online, pretend like you are preparing a talk on the subject, delve into it, truly seek in all sense of the word.

When Taylor got home from her mission, we met with President Rodarte for him to release her as a missionary.  During our conversation Taylor stressed several times that to stay close to our Heavenly Father you needed to do three things, pray, read and go to church which leads me to my next category which is to keep the commandments, or more basically, be obedient.

Keep the commandments (obedience)

I love the story that Bro. Gunn shared with us about making the decision once to go to church every week.  I know we talk to our youth about making certain decisions when they are young, like never having alcohol.  Making the decision once or before you are even in a certain situation, takes the drama out of it, it’s done, it's over, you have decided.  A decision of mine is that I want to return to my Father in Heaven, and not only to return to Him, but to reach the highest Degree of Glory in the Celestial Kingdom.  I don't remember making this decision, I must have made it at a very young age or maybe I just came with it already in my head.  This decision is so strong that it has carried me through many of my life’s challenges and obstacles.

Elder Holland reminds us that the “symbol of the cup that cannot pass is a cup that comes in our life as well as in [the Savior’s]. It is in a much lesser way, to a much lesser degree, but it comes often enough to teach us that we have to obey”.

I have shared many times one of my favorite quotes which is that “we need to accept that what we are going through is the only way for us to learn what we need to know to progress spiritually.”  When I read this quote from Elder Holland, it made me realize how many times in our lives, during our challenges, we too have done what the Savior did, asking our Heavenly Father to “let this cup pass from us,” but how often that cup does not pass, but we know we will not be left alone in these times, we will be supported, we will be strengthened and we will overcome.  Which leads me into my next category which is doing all we can in our own power.

Doing all in your power

So what does it mean to do all we can in our own power?  I think it means to seek our Heavenly Father’s help, but then we do everything we possibly can to solve the situation ourselves.  I’m always telling my kids that when they are seeking guidance, but feel like they aren’t getting any, then they need to keep moving forward in the best way they can until they get a no or direction to go a different way.  Elder Cook said:

[T]o pass successfully through the trials we encounter, we must keep our eyes and our hearts centered on the Lord Jesus Christ.  We should have great hope in knowing, however unworthy we may feel or weak we may be, that if we will do all we can, He will come to our aid and provide for us whatever we may lack. “For we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.” (2 Ne. 25:23.)  Thus, unless one has done all in his own power, he cannot expect the grace of God to be manifest…. it is not based just on what we know, how strong we are, or who we are, but more upon our giving all that we can give and doing all that we can do in our present circumstance.

Remember it says, “all that we can do,” not more than you can do, not less than you can do.  This is where I want to stress again, this is your widow’s mite.  Just as the widow looked at what she had to give, make sure you look at what you have to give and give appropriately.  Elder Hafen said: 

A constant public emphasis on grace might encourage some people to ignore the crucial “all we can do” in that two-part process.  The Savior himself was not concerned that he would seem too forgiving or soft on sin. Said he, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. … For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matt. 11:28, 30). . . .  His yoke is easy—but he asks for all our hearts.  His words do not describe an event, but a process. He does not request the answer to a yes-or-no question, but an essay, written in the winding trail of our experience. As we move along that trail, we will find that he is not only aware of our limitations, but that he will also in due course compensate for them, “after all we can do.” . . .  A sense of falling short or falling down is not only natural, but essential to the mortal experience. But, “after all we can do,” the Atonement can fill that which is empty, straighten our bent parts, and make strong that which is weak.

The“doing all we can do” part can get a bit sticky.  I believe there is a very fine line between “doing all we can do” and putting our trust and faith in our Heavenly Father to take care of things for us.  One of my favorite songs is, “Which Part Is Mine,” by Michael McClean.  The end of the song says:

Which part is mine?
And God, which part is yours?
Could you tell me one more time,
I'm never quite sure.
And I won't cross the line
like I have before.
But it gets so confusing sometimes.
Should I do more, or trust the divine?
Please, just help me define which part's mine,
and which part is yours.

Did you hear me?
I can feel you near me.
It is the answer
that I've been longing for;

just to know you hear me,
after I've done my best,
and to feel you near me.
I know you'll do the rest.
It is the answer that I've been longing for! 

It is in that surety that after we have done our best that God will do the rest.  Elder Cook said:

Jesus taught that we pass through all these trials to refine us “in the furnace of affliction” (1 Ne. 20:10), and that we should not bear them unaided, but “in [the] Redeemer’s name” (D&C 138:13). In spite of our feeling, at times, that He has forgotten us, He testifies, “Yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee …  “Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands.” (1 Ne. 21:15–16.)

What a great image that is, that we are graven upon the palms of His hands.  He will not forsake us no matter what our trials are.


I feel like that sometimes getting divine assistance during our trials feels like a guessing game, am I asking my questions the right way, am I doing the right things and so on.  The key is to get closer to Christ and our Father in Heaven, not distancing ourselves.  I just read in an article this morning that by “separating ourselves from gospel living limits our opportunities to receive such inspiration. As a result, we are left open to the negative influence of Satan, which can cause us to look “beyond the mark” (Jacob 4:14), weakening our testimonies.”  

I know that Heavenly Father and our Savior will not lead us astray.  If the answer is no, you will know it.  You will receive a very strong no, or it will be a challenge every step of the way and it is time to do something different than you have been doing, open up yourself to the Lord’s will, let go of what you are clinging to and trust that He has something better for you than you can even imagine.

If it is a maybe or a not now requiring us to be patient is when it seems to be most challenging.  Like I said, move forward in the best way that you can.  I am definitely one of those people who like to see the whole map ahead of me and really life doesn't work that way, it is little by little that the way lights up.  If you trust God and take that first step, you will then be able to see the next step and from there the next step and so on.  Putting your life in God’s hands completely can be really scary, it is so worth it, the blessings He has for us are so great, and once you have put your life in his hands and received those blessings you will be able to do it again and again.

I would like to close with a quote from Elder Hafen:

Each of us will taste the bitter ashes of life, from sin and neglect to sorrow and disappointment. But the atonement of Christ can lift us up in beauty from our ashes on the wings of a sure promise of immortality and eternal life. He will thus lift us up, not only at the end of life, but in each day of our lives.  “Hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God … giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. … They that wait upon the Lord shall … mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint” (Isa. 40:28–31).

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Stick Up For Yourself

I hate it when I am feeling frustrated and I have been feeling that way for several months now.  I have been talking to my husband about it and realizing that I am being very codepdent with so many things which I have to admit frustrates me even more.  I was also telling him about some things that made me panic, I was giving him a scale between 1-10 with 10 being where I panic the most.  As I listed items and where they fit on that scale, he commented on how interesting he thought it was that the items that panicked me the least were the most codependent.  Wow, that was an eye opener for sure.  I panic the most over items that are more for me and that really blew my mind.

I really had to take a step back and re-think things.  I was remembering about someone I worked with who had a specific routine that she did every day when she got home which included things like picking out her clothes for the next day, etc.  She was very adamant about sticking with that routine, no matter what.  I was thinking that I needed to do that too, that I need to be adamant about doing that basic routine that I need to help me with my self-care items (what I call my breathe strategies).  So I decided to focus on that this week and it went really well, I got so much more done, I felt better and I was a lot less frustrated!  So what did I learn, I learned that it is ok to stick up for yourself, it is ok to demand what you need for yourself.  In the end you will be less frustrated and more available to those around you.