Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Be Prepared

Sunday our Stake President came and talked to our ward.  He said that he had given the same talk in all the wards in our Stake and that our ward was the last one to hear it.  It was about being prepared.  He told of an experience he had when he was in New York visiting friends not too long ago.  He had gone to church with his friends and an Area Seventy was there talking that day.  The Area Seventy felt inspired to tell them to be prepared for a hurricane to come through their area, which as we now know, was Hurricane Sandy.

Our Stake President pointed out that he wasn't saying there was anything specific, he just felt very impressed to remind us all to be prepared for whatever may come whether it be financial, physical or spiritual challenges, to do all that we can to be prepared.

Several weeks ago I had come across this quote from Elder L. Tom Perry that I had highlighted and it goes right along with this:

Just as it is important to prepare ourselves spiritually, we must also prepare ourselves for our temporal needs. . . .  We have been instructed for years to follow at least four requirements in preparing for that which is to come.  First, gain an adequate education.  Learn a trade or a profession to enable you to obtain steady employment that will provide remunerations sufficient to care for yourself and your family. . . .  Second, live strictly within your income and save something for a rainy day.  Incorporate in your lives the discipline of budgeting that which the Lord has blessed you with.  As regularly as you pay your tithing, set aside an amount needed for future family requirements. . . .  Third, avoid excessive debt.  Necessary debt should be incurred only after careful, thoughtful prayer and after obtaining the best possible advice.  We need the discipline to stay well within our ability to pay. . . .  Fourth, acquire and store a reserve of food and supplies that will sustain life.  Obtain clothing and build a savings account on a sensible, well-planned basis that can serve well in times of emergency.

I also really loved this quote from President Ezra Taft Benson:

The revelation to produce and store food may be as essential to our temporal welfare today as boarding the ark was to the people in the days of Noah.

I had really been thinking a lot about being prepared and felt that both the quotes and the Stake President's talk were very timely for me.  So many things have changed around here with all the weddings and missions and I think it is definitely time to re-evaluate our plans and preparedness in both temporal and physical ways.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Hermana Amiga

Taylor arrived at the missionary training center for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Mexico City yesterday and received her official name tag that says:  "Hermana Friend."  When she first got her mission call I started calling her "Hermana Amiga" as I thought it was just really cute.  All the time and effort she and, well, us too, to get her on her mission was indeed a lot of hard work.  This is the last picture I got of her as she headed out to the airplane that would take her to her 18 month mission.  It is still surreal that she is really gone and our house is going to be very quiet without her.  We have 78 weeks to go of looking forward to her weekly emails!  So proud of you Hermana Amiga!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Creating Your Own Strategies

To the left of this post is what I have what I call my "Breathe Strategies."  Just as much as I need to take my medication daily, I need to use my strategies daily as well to help me with my depression and anxiety. 

As I was talking to Taylor the other day a thought came to me that I would like her to have her own strategies to help her on her mission.  I asked her what her favorite word was and she said, "believe."  So we thought of strategies that would go with that word and came up with some actions that she would be able to do while on her mission to go along with each strategy.  This is what we came up with:

B-Be still (prayer, meditate, comforting things)
E-Energize (exercise, have fun & laugh)
L-Love (positive self talk, delete negative self talk)
I-Invest in herself (self-care things like dressing up, eating right, etc.)
E-Exform [note: this is a word I learned from my therapist who explains that we all have
     information coming at us constantly and "exformation" is getting all that information out of
     your body]  (journaling, honest communication with companions and mission leaders)
V-Value herself (daily gratitude and self love lists, repeating the Young Women's motto,
     sing I Am A Child of God)
E-Enrich (teaching, serving, sharing)

I made her a bookmark with her Believe Strategies to keep in her scriptures for a reminder to follow these strategies daily, but especially when she is having a hard day.

So what is your favorite word?  What would your strategies be?  How would they be written into your favorite word so that you can remember?  I would love to know!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Bedroom Shuffle

No, the Bedroom Shuffle is not a new dance, it is the name I gave rearranging bedrooms several months ago and this week we did it again.  The first few years in this house felt like I was constantly shuffling things around as we worked and repaired a lot of the house.  Eventually, I felt like everything was fixed and in their place and it felt so wonderful!  That lasted about two years before we moved Taylor into our house.  We gave her the guest room to live in.  We didn't know how long she would stay and didn't realize how much she would become a part of our family.

Taylor had almost been with us for a year when we ended up taking in Adam's girlfriend and moving her into our den.  Shortly after that Adam and Hannah got engaged.  It was sometime last summer that we had our first bedroom shuffle.  Adam and Hannah's wedding was a few months away and they were planning on staying with us for an undetermined amount of time after they got married.  I got this wild and crazy idea in which Adam and Hannah could have the guest room once they were married, thus the first bedroom shuffle idea was born.

We moved Hannah into the guest room where Taylor had been staying, then moved Adam into the den and moved Taylor into Adam's room.  We let Taylor paint Adam's old room and she bought her own furniture and decorations and created her very own wonderful oasis.  The room turned out beautifully!

Not long after the first bedroom shuffle, my daughter, Megan, got engaged and her fiancĂ©e, Nik, who is from Alabama moved here to be closer to her.  We set up a temporary room for him in our exercise room for several months.  When Adam and Hannah got married he moved into the guest room with her and Nik moved into the den.

With Megan now getting married and not needing her bedroom downstairs, I came up with the idea of Adam and Hannah renting half of the basement (with an easement to my Studio, of course).  Thus began the second bedroom shuffle. 

After Megan and Nik returned from their stay with his family in Alabama after their wedding, we moved them into the guest room upstairs and gave them overflow into the den.  Then we moved Adam and Hannah into Megan's old room, the family room, bathroom and kitchenette all downstairs.  We did the moving out and some of the moving in all in one day.  It was crazy!  Then we painted Adam and Hannah's new bedroom before moving all their furniture into it.

Maybe my Bedroom Shuffle ideas were great, but they sure were a lot of work.  Now that my kids are all married and moved into different spaces (as well as Megan and Nik moving back to college in a few weeks) it is wonderful to think that there will be no more bedroom shuffles in the future, hopefully!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Working Toward Perfection

I was reading the article "Becoming Perfect in Christ" by Elder Gerrit W. Gong in the July, 2014 Ensign and realized that this article was so much more than trying to be perfect.  Elder Gerrit says:

A misunderstanding of what it means to be perfect can result in perfectionism--an attitude or behavior that takes an admirable desire to be good and turns it into an unrealistic expectation to be perfect now.  Perfectionism sometimes arises from the feeling that only those who are perfect deserve to be loved or that we do not deserve to be happy unless we are perfect.

He goes on to talk about how challenging trying to live that way is.  I have come to realize that there is no such thing as perfect, there is only trying to perfect ourselves.  Kindness to ourselves is allowing ourselves to make mistakes just as our Heavenly Father and Savior, Jesus Christ, expect us to as well.  Being able to accept who you are is being able to accept where you are at in your journey toward perfection as well.

I frequently use the phrase that balance is like a teeter-totter bouncing back and forth, it is the same for trying to perfect ourselves.  One day we will do great and the next, not so much.  This doesn't mean we have failed or are failing, it just means we are human and are trying.  Just do your best to bounce back.

I loved this final thought from Elder Gong in his article:

As we act and are not aced upon, we can navigate between complementary virtues [think of the teeter-totter] . . . , we can cease to be idle without running faster than we have strength.  We can be "anxiously engaged in a good cause" while also periodically pausing to "be still, and know that I am God."  We can find our lives by losing our lives for the Savior's sake.  We can be "not weary in well-doing" while taking appropriate time to refresh spiritually and physically.  We can be lighthearted without being light-minded.  We can laugh heartily with but not haughtily at.

Have a desire to be perfect, do what is in your power to do so, but be realistic, the desire and the effort to work toward perfection is what is important not the unrealistic actually being perfect.