Thursday, December 31, 2015

It's Okay to Drop the Ball

I was laying in bed a few days ago thinking about the last several months and feeling really unsatisfied with how things were going.  I have really felt like my life was out of sorts and that I dropped the ball in so many areas.  So I started a list, yup that's me, I just love lists!  I titled it, "Things to Change."  I also made a list of things that I felt like I was behind in and, truthfully, it wasn't as long as I thought it would be.  At first I was thinking I would start getting things pulled together beginning the first of the new year, but then I thought, "why wait?" so I started this week.

As I looked at things and dates I could obviously see where the failure happened, when my friend Stacey died, and then everything made sense.  Her loss has been very hard on me, I can't even imagine how her family is moving forward.  Anyway, understanding what happened has helped me feel less like a failure and to be more understanding of myself and why I let the ball drop on so many things.  When I told my husband this he asked me if I have gone through all the grieving process.  I told him I wasn't sure as there are moments where I still feel sad and some where I feel mad, but I guess that I am far enough that I can put my life back in order.

The first thing that I did was get Taylor's mission blog all caught up.  It's interesting because I can see where her life got really tough too.  She really was having a hard time and pulled back during that time as well, we got less emails and letters from her during that time.

Why is it that we pull away from the people we love and things we love to do when we are struggling?  I'm not really sure, because that is exactly what we need the most.  One of most important things I did this week was to get back into my Studio every day and do something creative every day.  I know this helps me immensely!  Another thing that is helping me is using my new planner, I know that is silly, but for me, having a visual planner is a joy.  I have been trying to go all digital on the planner front, but I have just missed having a paper one so I'm very grateful to have it.  Also, I have been extremely focused on using my Fitbit and all its applications.  My husband always talks about using the right tools for the right job and that's just what these things are for me, the right tools for my "job."

I have only a few things left on my "catch up on" list, they are mostly cleaning items, so I am feeling much better about that.  I guess what I learned most through evaluating my life right now was to be patient with myself, that there was a reason things were falling by the wayside.  I just had to move through the process and that it was okay for me to drop a few balls.  I have picked them back up and will slowly get them back up in the air.  Hopefully, the next time I let the balls drop I will ask myself why first and not be so hard on myself as I know in time I will pick them back up.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Reach Out During Changes In Your Life

The last several months have had a lot of changes in them which has sent my world in a bit of a tailspin.  The end of August my first grandchild was born which is an awesome change!  I'm so blessed to have my son and daughter-in-law living with us so I get to be a huge part of my grandson's life and help them out.  Then the beginning of October my best friend died which was a really hard change that I'm not sure I will ever get used to.  I guess my point is this, changes always happen, good and bad, and how we handle those changes can make or break us.

With both of these changes, I have put a lot of my energy into them.  I spend a lot of time with my daughter-in-law and grandson which is super fun.  With Stacey's death I've spent a lot of time in sorrow.  Needless to say, the rest of my life sort of fell by the wayside.  So I've been thinking a lot lately how I need to pull things back together and also about how to flow better with changes in general.

I was talking to my daughter about how I was struggling to get the most basic things in my day done.  She came up with an idea for us to all work together.  The lesson that I learned in this was that instead of trying to get the things I need done all on my own, I needed to get help from others.

Several weeks ago a friend and I started buddying up to encourage each other to lose weight.  We text each other every day with how we are doing.  Maybe we haven't been doing as great as we would like, but I know with consistency we will get there and it is so much easier with a friend encouraging me!

I think all to often we think we have to power through changes all on our own and we really don't have to.  I realized that through these changes I have relied on different people for different needs.  I also realized that there were times when I should have reached out more when I was trying to hold things in.  And if you think you don't have anyone to reach out to, you would probably be surprised how many people are in your life just waiting to be there to help you.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Sunshine and Shadows

I knew this past week was going to be a pretty tough week with Stacey's funeral coming up and I wasn't sure how I was going to survive it.  Monday started out the week with my birthday and for the first time in over 35 years, I wasn't able to talk to Stacey.  That was tough, knowing all day that I wouldn't be hearing from her.
On Wednesday I went to see my therapist because I knew I was going to need help surviving this week.  She asked me what is was that I needed.  I told her that with Stacey I was always happy to be in her shadow, to be in the background and just watch as the rest of the world noticed her and not me.  I realized that for once, I wanted to be noticed, I wanted people to realize that I was important to her.  I wasn't sure how something like that would happen as I really didn't think most of the people in her life had ever really noticed me.  Then at the Visitation when Stacey's sister-in-law, Laurie, noticed us and spent time talking with us, as well as Stacey's two brothers, that made me feel recognized as a part of Stacey's life.  Stacey's daughter, Taylor, went out of her way to make sure I knew about the funeral which meant so much to me!  But, it was when I saw Stacey's mom (she called me "my Renae"), that it hit me, that the important people in Stacey's life already knew that I was important to her (and them as well, I realized) and that was all the acknowledgement that I needed.
My therapist had suggested that I take something with me to focus on, that would help me remember to feel and not close up.  I chose a simple elastic bracelet that has a bead that says "breathe" on it (as you know, that is my word).  When I first put it on before flying to Utah, it was snug and tight on my wrist.  By the end of the weekend it was crazy loose as I had rubbed and twisted it so much that I pretty much destroyed it.  But it served its purpose!
Jenny, Brooke, me & my sister, Corinne
I really have to thank a few people that really helped me survive Stacey's funeral.  My cousin Karen, who let me stay with her and is truly a balm to my soul.  My friend Jenny, who drove me to the visitation and funeral.  I did my best to feel my feelings, to let them flow, but at the end, the sadness was coming faster and harder than I could control and I was trying to hold most of my feelings in when suddenly I found myself unable to breathe.  Jenny got me out of the church where I could cry freely and pull myself back together.  Her support was immeasurable.  My sister Corinne, who showed up to the funeral without my even asking her to be there for me, took care of me the rest of the day.  I had always been the caretaker in our family, but I haven't been strong enough to do it for years and I definitely wasn't strong enough to take care of myself during this funeral and she was really there for me.  I will always be so grateful for her loving care that day!
As we were at the cemetery, I was watching everyone after the ceremony talking and hugging.  The sun was shining on Stacey's coffin (they did say during her funeral that her color was sunshine, which, to me, was proof right there) and I was standing in the shade of a big tree.  I thought, here I am, in her shadow again, and I am okay with that.  I stood by myself for a long time, just feeling the cool breeze, watching all the people that loved her stay near her, unwilling to leave her.  Her mom came up and hugged me and I told her how I was just standing in the background, in her shadow again and how okay I was with that.  She said, "weren't we all," which made us both smile.  How you can feel peace in a moment like that I will never understand, but I did.  I knew I had to say goodbye and leave, but I didn't want to.  I cried as my sister finally took my hand and lead me away.
I felt like I was saying goodbye, but Stacey knew otherwise.  She showed me that she cared in a very simple way.  During the funeral her parents spoke about when she was 3 and how they had used a hair dryer on her.  This was one of the old style with the head piece that had a hose coming out of the side and connected to the hair dryer machine.  It was such a cute story and made everyone smile!  During the luncheon afterwards, I brought out some pictures and notes from Stacey that I took to Utah with me.  I was sitting with her sisters-in-law and we were looking through everything when we saw a card that she had sent to me on my 35th birthday (27 years ago) with a picture on it that stopped us in our tracks.  On this card was a picture of one of those old hair dryers just like what her parents had talked about during the funeral.  We couldn't believe it.  Her sister-in-law showed it to her parents as well as the rest of her family and they too were surprised (the picture above is me with her mom and that card).  Her parents hadn't planned on sharing that story, but they did.  I had wanted to bring something of Stacey with me and for whatever reason I grabbed the bag of our notes to each other.  Only Stacey would have known the connection of the story and the card.  Her simple message was beyond simple, I felt like she was telling me that I was still important to her, it also brought joy, peace, love and the knowledge that she is still nearby to all of us. 
I'm not sure that I found "closure" as people like to say, but I did share several days with those who love Stacey.  We shared her silliness together and felt the pain of her loss together.  Her family showed their strength and commitment to the knowledge of the Plan of Salvation and of being with her again.  They were all exhausted, but still genuinely loving and comforting to those who attended the celebrations of Stacey's life with them.  To them I wish to thank for sharing her and their lives with me, I will ever be so grateful that they were willing to let me be the tag-a-long in her life!  And to Stacey, most of all, thank you so much for letting me be your shadow, you will always be my sunshine!

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Dust Off Your Faith

I love this, I had put it in my "Speaks to My Soul" file and just felt like this was a good day to remember this:

Focus an eternal light on your struggles by making time to use the tools he gave you.  Dust off your faith and move it to the top of your priority list.  Actively exercise it.  Doing so will bring you an inner peace and strength.  The positive power of the Atonement will buoy you up despite the turmoil, challenges and ravaged surroundings you find yourself in.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Just Be Happy

My best friend since high school was killed on October 3rd by a distracted driver while she and her husband were riding their bicycles.  They were just a few blocks from their home and though these pictures represent what happened to her, they are not what I want to remember.

I've had a hard time being able to face it and actually write about her being gone.  I couldn't stop the tears at all, my heart was broken and I didn't know what to do about it.  Her husband was in critical condition for quite awhile too which was tough for her children and the rest of her family and friends.  Gratefully, he is doing better.  After more than a week of complete sadness, I woke up Monday morning with Stacey in my head saying, "just be happy."  Which is something she has often said to me.

Stacey is just one of those joyful, happy people and she had a knack for sharing that joy and happiness.  So, I took her words in my head to heart so now every time I think of her, I am choosing to see her happy face (this picture with her husband that her sister-in-law shared is a perfect example) and hear her say, "Renae, just be happy."  I do know with all my heart that she IS happy where she is, I don't doubt that one bit.  I was just sad for those of us left behind, not to mention the shock of her leaving us at such a young age.

There have been some beautiful things shared and done on Stacey's behalf that I wanted to share too.  The local bike store created this beautiful "ghost bike" and left it where she was hit.  They also put a sign out at their store and organized a memorial bike ride.  Then the hospital where she worked for many, many years left beautiful ribbons on the trees on their grounds in remembrance of her.  There has been a Go Fund created to help pay for the costs and so much more.  

One of my friends expressed concerns of not being deserving to feel this devastated over Stacey's death as she wasn't as close to her as she used to be.  I told her that anyone who was touched by Stacey's life deserves to feel devastated.  If she shared her beautiful smile with you, you should feel the loss of not being able to see it again.  But, also feel blessed to have been on the receiving end of that smile, I know that I am.  Until I see you again Stacey, I will do my very best to just be happy, I love you!

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Dear Stacey

How do you write about something you desperately don't want to be true?  I guess you pretend it isn't and write as if it isn't.  So I'm choosing to do just that . . .

Dear Stacey,

Remember when we were talking about me becoming a grandma and you were jealous that I was going to be one first?  Well, here I am a grandma now, it is so weird to think that we could be old enough to become grandparents!  Doesn't it just seem like yesterday that we were cruising in the green valiant by SK's house when the car died and we were so embarrassed!

When I think about our friendship I wonder sometimes what it is that you saw in me as a friend.  I know what I saw in you, I have never laughed in my life like I laugh when I am with you.  I just laugh thinking about our sleepovers and how you would laugh in your sleep and in the morning would have the funniest dreams to tell me about!

I started singing a silly song to my new grandson the other day, by the way, he looks so much like Adam it is just crazy, anyway, I was making up words as I went along which made me laugh thinking about all those songs we would make up and sing, how about singing "taking the long way home" when we were taking the shortcut home through the tennis courts from high school.  I can't even sing the eight apples and bananas song without thinking of you and just laughing!

We had the most gorgeous foggy morning the other day.  Oh gosh, remember how much we loved to drive around in the fog!  We even came up with our own analogy about life and how we can only see a little at a time like you can only see one line in the road at a time, but that you move forward on faith that the next line will be there and that it is ok to not see everything ahead of you all at once.  Of course, there was that one day after a basketball game when we were driving in the fog and a bunch of guys from school drove past us honking and waving only for us to come across them further down the road with them pulled over and all in a line mooning us, oh my gosh, we laughed so hard!

Speaking of driving, not too long ago I saw a Bronco which reminded me of your Conorb.  We had so much fun in that thing!  I was laughing and thinking about how when we would drop Jenny off at her house and you would back up into someone else's driveway, then pull forward into someone else's and so on and so on until you were just driving us in circles.  We would be laughing so hard, so dumb, but we thought it was hilarious!  Oh my gosh us and cars, so funny, besides the bronco later you had the red bug.  Do you remember the day when we were driving around and a spider on a web dropped down between us in the middle of your car.  You couldn't stop fast enough and we both flew out of the car.  I got it out before you would even consider getting close to the car again.  Then there were my cars, the green valiant that seemed to die on us almost every time we turned left, the dark green valiant that had a "three in a tree" but that would jam in gear and we'd have to open the hood and smack it into the next gear, then that crazy Javelin that I drove for the first time around the corner to your house in first gear so you could teach me how to change the gears because I didn't know how, and finally the Fart, yes it was a Fiat, but we called it the Fart.  I'm pretty sure you named it that, I think after the first time we drove it around with someone in the back seat because it kept bouncing under the extra weight and making farting noises.  Way too funny, right?!

 Now speaking of names, you know how serious I am and how it is hard for me to be silly, but I wanted to come up with a fun, ridiculous name for a user name for a new game app I got.  It was so stupid that it was hard for me to come up with something, then I thought about how you always called me "Raw Nae Cros Bay" and I used that to come up with a variation of my own for the game, you should be so proud of me.  You do inspire me to reach out for my silliness and joy.  I know before I was diagnosed with depression you had a hard time understanding why I was so down, I guess I didn't really understand either.  You said, "just be happy."  It has always been easier for you to choose joy and I love that about you!

Oh my gosh, do you remember that trip to Lake Powell that your parents let me go on with you?  I got so burnt and your mom made me stand in the water while the rest of you were eating.  She kept yelling at me to stay there and let the water take the heat out of the burn.  I did tan out of that though, I think the first time ever in my life that I was tan.  Remember how we pretended that your dad was Clint Eastwood when were at the docks getting gas, we ran up to him asking for his autograph, he wasn't too happy about that one, but, of course, we thought it was hilarious.  Then there was our trek out to the bushes with the port-a-potty, enough said about that one!

Speaking of your dad, remember that day that we were all in the kitchen talking about something and he said, "I guess I should have that talk with you about the birds and the bees."  And you said, "you don't have too, Renae told me everything."  I thought he was going to kill me!  I was taking human biology and we always did our homework together and, well, there you are.  No really, I love your dad.  I love your mom too, I loved it when we could get her laughing because she would laugh so hard she would cry and that was the best!  Like when we were all sitting in your basement watching your silly cross-eyed cat running around and crashing into the walls, couch, etc., that was so funny!

Did I ever tell you that my daughter reminds me of you.  She has the same happy, joyous and silly personality as you.  You know how you would always beep Tuffy's nose and then how you started beeping mine too, drove me crazy.  Then one day, my daughter beeped my nose and seriously I thought, "how did I have Stacey's baby?"  Thank you for being good to her and Adam every time we came to visit, they love being at your house too!

I don't think I told you, but I started working at the temple pretty cool right?!  Remember how much we loved to be on the grounds at the Provo Temple.  I always tell everyone that that is my temple, not only because my dad helped build it, or because I saw the beautiful bride room before it was dedicated and I promised myself I would be back, but also because we spent so much time up there.  We just felt so peaceful and loved when we were there, didn't we.  Maybe we couldn't go inside yet, but we just loved being on the grounds.  Except remember that time we were in our sweats and were barefoot and we were sitting on the grass that was kind of behind the bushes on the hill in the back of the temple.  I think we talked for hours, then we realized that it was getting dark and it was really quiet.  We found ourselves locked inside the gates and no one around, yikes!  We finally found a guard to let us out, but that look he gave us with our attire, oh my gosh, what were we thinking?!

My kids were talking about their computer classes they had in high school recently, I had to laugh, no such thing for us, was there.  But I did tell them about our typing class and how when we had free time at the end we would type notes to each other, they laughed.  I know you know that I still have all those notes, they are so funny to read, we were so weird!  Some of our made up words, poems, songs, etc. are written in those silly notes, there's no way I could ever throw them away!

Will you do one thing for me, will you thank Kevin for letting me be such a big part of your lives.  I laugh now and think, poor Kevin, I don't think he realized when he married you that he was getting both of us.  I didn't think about it until years later when I got married and moved away at how dumb I was in not realizing you guys needed your time together.  You know me, if you asked, I was there and loved every minute of it.  Like our trip to Vegas together, so funny now when I think about it.  I just loved hanging out with you and Kevin was so nice to always let me be there.  I don't think he will ever realize how much his kindness meant to me.

Stace, you know you saved my life once, I think you remember it, when I had that really bad roommate and you, well, let's just say, sternly, reminded me of my worth and what I had to live for.  Thank you for that!  I will always be your biggest fan!  I loved going to your pageants, meets and more.  Attending events with you, definitely one of my most favorite things to do.  I'm not even sure other people in your life knew that I was there, because I was always so happy to just be there, stand back while you were in the limelight.  You know me, I'm happier in the background.  But, I think it is just in your nature to encourage others to step forward in their lives and claim the good things.  I think you always want more for me than I do myself.  So, another thing to thank you for! 

I could probably go on forever, but I'll stop for now, just remember that you promised to come visit me for a change and  I'm going to hold you to that.  I love you with all my heart!  See you soon!  Renae

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Captained by Christ

I loved this quote from President Ezra Taft Benson, he said that people who are "captained by Christ will be consumed in Christ. . . . Enter their homes, and the pictures on their walls, the books on their shelves the music in the air, their words and acts reveal them as Christians."

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Being Grandparents

There has been a lot going on in our home over the last several months, my daughter-in-law was pregnant and it wasn't exactly an easy pregnancy on her so I helped her out a lot.  Our new grandson was born almost a month ago, both he and his mom had a few problems after delivery, but everything is good now.  My husband and I are settling into our roles of being grandparents for the first time.  I'm really blessed to have my son, daughter-in-law and grandson living with us.  It is such a joy to be able to hold this sweet little boy every day, I'm just loving it!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Lest We Forget

Lest We Forget
Author Unknown

She came tonight as I sat alone
The girl that I used to be . . .
And she gazed at me with her earnest eye
And questioned reproachfully:
Have you forgotten the many plans
And hopes that I had for you?
The great career, the splendid fame
All wonderful things to do?
Where is the mansion of stately height
With all of its gardens rare?
The silken robes that I dreamed for you
And the jewels for your hair?
And as she spoke, I was very sad,
For I wanted her pleased with me . . .
This slender girl from the shadowy past
The girl that I used to be.
So gently arising, I took her hand,
And guided her up the stair
Where peacefully sleeping, my babies lay
Innocent, sweet and fair.
And I told her that these are my only gems,
And precious they are to me;
That silken robe is my motherhood
Of costly simplicity.
And my mansion of stately height is love.
And the only career I know.
Is serving each day in these sheltering walls
For the dear ones who come and go.
And as I spoke to my shadowy guest,
She smiled through her tears at me;
And I saw the woman that I am now
Pleased the girl that I used to be . . . .

This Thing is Too Heavy

When I was listening to my scriptures the other day (I use the LDS Gospel Library app and listen while I get ready in the mornings) and I was in Exodus 18 where Moses' father-in-law comes for a visit and Moses is being a judge for the people.  Hearing this reminded me of a book on co-dependency that had referred to this scripture and pointing out that Moses was being co-dependent in this situation.  He felt that he had to do this for all the people despite the fact that he was being completely worn out.  His father-in-law says this to him:

17 . . . , The thing that thou does is not good.

18 Thou wilt surely wear away, . . . for this thing is too heavy for thee; thou are not able to perform it thyself alone.

This is exactly what a co-dependent person does, they do everything on their own and do more than they should and surely we wear away ourselves.  Then his father-in-law gives him advice to get others to rule over the thousands of people, others to rule over hundreds, others over fifties and others of tens.  He teaches Moses that he can still do what he feels like he needs to, but he doesn't have to do it alone. 

The first phase of a co-dependent cycle is feeling like we have to do a particular something, that for some reason we truly believe that no one else can do it or help us, etc.  How I have helped myself in this first phase is to write down what it is that I have to do and then being honest with myself and asking is this really something that only I can do, if not, write down who can.  Do I need to ask my spouse or hire it out to someone.  Is it something that really needs to be done at all (sometimes I just perceive that it is something I have to do when in reality it is someone else's responsibility, especially when it is something that has to do with their own lives).  It is not healthy to take on things that are "too heavy" for us, we are here to help each other.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Keep Moving

I definitely overindulged over the weekend and I am feeling it!  I can't believe that I used to feel like this all the time and didn't even realize how bad I felt.  I'm supposed to be on a low fat, low fiber diet for my Gasteroparesis, but I really didn't do any of that over the weekend.  So today it is back to eating right and moving my stomach.  Because the nerve that makes my stomach contract isn't working properly I pretty much rely on stomach acid and gravity to move the food through.  My nutritionist wants me to walk everyday too which moves the stomach as I walk and can help aid in the digestive process. 

This morning I had a song running through my head, Shake It Off, by Taylor Swift and so I kept doing just that.  As I stood there brushing my teeth, folding laundry, etc, I just kept moving my body to move my stomach and thinking "shake it off" as I did.  It reminded me of what Denise Austin calls "fidgitcising" so anytime when you normally would just be standing (like when you are cooking) or sitting (like when you are talking on the phone) also do some sort of simple exercise.  I did do my walk today, but the second that I stopped moving I felt sick to my stomach again and I could feel this heaviness inside my stomach.  I will definitely keep "shaking it off" and keep moving the rest of the day.  Feeling like this is a bad reminder of what not taking care of yourself feels like.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Picture Challenge

I was leaving for the Close To My Heart convention where I would be learning, growing, having fun and celebrating my 20th anniversary with the company.  But as I sat at the airport waiting for my flight I received a phone call telling me that our Bishop and friend had died.  Leaving at that moment was so hard as the news was really hard on my family, but my husband told me to go have fun and that this was proof that life is short and we should make an effort to enjoy each moment.

So I went and it was a wonderful experience.  I learned so much, won a few prizes and was truly inspired business wise, creatively and spiritually.  An amazing moment was when the owner and CEO bore her testimony of how she knows God loves her despite the physical challenges she is going through.  I got very little sleep as ideas rolled through my head both day and night.  But I have to say that the thing that really got me to enjoy myself was the challenge that my husband gave me.  He challenged me to send him pictures every day showing him that I was having fun.  At first it was a little challenging for me, but then I really got into it.  I even asked others to join in with me as I told them his challenge for me and had them pose in pictures with me.  I stepped out of my comfort zone by introducing myself to a lot of different people and having them be in my pictures.

Shortly after I returned home, the funeral for our Bishop and friend was held.  After the funeral there was a luncheon during which a slide show with pictures of him played.  My favorite was a selfie that was taken of him with those that were with him the day he died.  He looked so happy, as he did in all his pictures.  Watching that slide show made me think of the pictures that I took on my trip.  A picture may be worth of thousand words, but for me, one word will do -- joy.  Joy in the time I had on my trip and joy in knowing a wonderful man.  Take joy in your every day, it is worth more than a thousand words.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Looking for Peace

A few weeks ago one of my daughter's best friends returned home from her mission and I was so excited to see her, she is so sweet and so beautiful and it was wonderful to hear her talk in church about her experience.  One thing that she mentioned was that her mission president gave them all a challenge to read their scriptures every day and every time they came across the word "heart" to highlight it.  I really thought this was a great idea and as I have been thinking about it, I wanted to do this same experiment, but I wanted to choose a different word, one that would help me through my current challenges.  I have thought about it and prayed about it and have decided to watch for the word "peace."

Since my anxiety started around 2005 or 2006, I haven't felt much peace.  A few years later was when I had my first full-blown panic attack, then later I started therapy and so on to now.  Also, as I have been working through these latest childhood issues, I had wondered what I wanted at the end of this, what am I looking for?  After much thought and prayer, I realized that I was looking for peace.  I'll randomly update this blog on my progress of looking for peace, not only in the word in the scriptures, but also in my life.

What word would you look for?

Tuesday, June 30, 2015


I know my posts have been far and few the last few months, but to be honest I am really struggling.  Once I received my diagnosis of Gasteroparesis I guess I lost my way.  It's not that it is a huge awful thing, it really isn't and some people have it so much worse than I do, at least I don't throw up all the time.  I think its just that even though it is a smaller event in my life, it is life altering.  It doesn't help that some childhood stuff triggered around the same time as well and between the two physical and emotional events I'm just scrambling for my footing. 

Next week I get to go to the annual Close To My Heart convention, this will be my 13th convention and I will be celebrating my 20th Anniversary with the company this year at the event.  As I think about going to this event I am planning how I will eat, if I need to take food, what I can find there that will work for my stomach and so on.  But I have to admit, despite the food issue, I am really looking forward to the convention.  I always find inspiration at convention, spiritually, emotionally and for my business.  Just as New Year's brings on resolutions, a new school year brings on routine, convention, for me, brings on renewal.  I love to plan for a whole new year of creativity for myself and my customers.  I love the new ideas and hope for a great upcoming year!  After the last several months, I really need something energizing and new!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Just 3 Hours

One of the things I have just started doing to help pull myself back together after a rough March and April is going back to my favorite app "30/30."  I've posted in the past about the "Ideal Day" concept and I was playing around with it in my app, putting all the different files I have in there into one long one just to see what would make the most sense of my ideal day and it suddenly hit me that it would make more sense to have one file with all of the most important items together not necessarily my whole ideal day.  I have also mentioned the "Power Hour" idea where you do a focused hour on what needs to be done the most and then after that you work on what ever you would like.  So I kind of did a mash-up of the Ideal Day and Power hour.  I have 3 areas that I felt like need attention daily which are 1) self-care, 2) chores and 3) my home-based business.  So I created a file in 30/30 that is 3 power hours all together which is 3 hours, right, make sense?!  So no matter what is going on, no matter how I feel, I have been telling myself that "it's just 3 hours."  I can totally do just 3 hours and then I can fill the rest of my day with other things that need to be done.

My self-care power hour includes a half-hour of taking a shower and putting make-up on.  These are important because they make me feel better about myself.  The other half of the power hour is a half-hour walk which is a new requirement from the doctor for my Gasteroparesis.

My chores power hour includes 15 minutes of straightening up my bedroom and a little bit of laundry, 15 minutes cleaning up the kitchen and a half-hour of a weekly chore (one day it is vacuuming, another dusting, another the bathroom and so on).  Being a housewife, this is important to me that my husband can come home to a house that is in order and doing a little bit every day accomplishes this.  After my 3 hours I can always come back to something if it needs extra attention (sometimes I'll even pause the 30/30 app if another minute or two will finish up the kitchen).

My business power hour includes 15 minutes of online work, 15 minutes of business work such as placing orders, banking, etc., 15 minutes of customer communications and 15 minutes of creative work.  Again, after the 3 hours is up I can work on anything that needs extra attention.

Once that final alarm goes off I take a break and then do whatever else needs doing the rest of the day or if I'm having an off day then I take care of myself.  I'm loving this and if I keep telling myself that it is "just 3 hours" I think it is something that I can continue doing daily.  I even did it last Saturday and I just loved it.  I'll keep you posted on my progress! :)

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Back to Therapy

It's been kind of tough month for me emotionally and so I decided I needed to go back to therapy.  I actually haven't been in a few years, but I realized that the things I've been dealing in the past month were more than I could work through on my own.  It's not that anything really bad is going on, its just emotionally there were some big things.  After almost of month of feeling that sucked down feeling I knew I had to do something or it was only going to get worse.  I knew how I was feeling was one of two things, emotions or depression.  If it was my emotions getting me down then I needed to deal with them.  If my depression was worsening I needed to go to the doctor and change up my medication. 

I made a plan to deal with the emotions first by going back to therapy, making sure I do the basics every day (shower, exercise, create something, do a power hour of work and my Chi machine - which is way cool by the way), talk to friends more and go back to therapy.  I've given myself a deadline and if I'm not feeling better by then it will be off to the doctor I go.  I guess what I'm learning is that you don't have to try and deal with everything on your own and to realize when you need help get it as soon as you can.  I read something the other day that I really liked, its from an article entitled "Lessons from the Sacred Grove," by Elder Marlin K. Jensen in the December 2014 Ensign:

"God's plan for our lives contemplates a similar interconnectedness for us.  We are to work out our salvation together, not in isolation.  The Church builds meeting houses, not hermitages."

Dealing with emotions and depression requires us to reach out to others, trust me, being a hermit will not solve the problems, nor make you feel better.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Diagnosis is . . . Gasteroparesis

Many of you know that I have been having stomach problems for the last several years (in all honesty I have had problems with my stomach since around 19 and was diagnosed with Gastritis then).  In the last few years we found out that I was having gallbladder problems which was solved almost a year ago with emergency surgery.  Also, a hiatal hernia was found which I will most likely have surgery on some time this year.  I have gone through a lot of different tests and finally in the last month a diagnosis was delivered.

I have Gasteroparesis (gastero - stomach + paresis - paralysis) and this was finally found through a stomach emptying study.  So apparently the nerve that controls the contractions of the stomach has been damaged and so it isn't functioning properly or at all (I don't have that answer yet, I still need to meet with the doctor).  Unfortunately, this isn't something can be healed so I just need to change my lifestyle.

Last Friday I met with my new Nutritionist and she put me on a special diet.  For the first two days of this diet I was to be on clear liquids only.  I had apple juice, Jello, popsicles, Gaterade and lots of water.  I wasn't hungry per se, but I sure was missing biting into something.  The rest of the week I was on a no fat, no fiber food plan.  This wasn't too bad as I got to eat food again, but I had a hard time getting enough calories and boy I could feel a major drop in my energy levels.  A few days ago I was able to start the low fat, low fiber portion of the food plan.  I do this for a week, then I can start trying foods and see how I do with them.

I have been very strict in putting down everything I eat into the Myfitnesspal app (oh, I found out that I can connect my Fitbit app with Myfitnesspal and it is so cool to have it all in one place).  I also have been putting down notes as to when I have symptoms.  Unfortunately, I don't meet with the doctor until the end of May so I will have to wait for a few answers, but in the meantime I'm trying to figure out what I can and cannot eat to relieve my symptoms.  I'm just really grateful to have an answer! 

I keep thinking about the first specialist that I saw, he was convinced that there was nothing wrong with me.  He told me that he would do the testing and find nothing.  I'm so glad I changed doctors because we found three serious things.  I have a friend who says you are your best doctor and I definitely believe that after all of this!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Self-improvement vs. Self-acceptance

I shared a talk I gave at church a few weeks ago and in that talk I shared how I love self-improvement books.  But as I was preparing I had a sudden thought, "should we be working on self-improvement or self-acceptance?"  This was an entirely new thought for me, but when I did a search on self-improvement vs. self-acceptance I was surprised that this was something already talked about and considered.  I loved reading other people's thoughts on the topic.  At first I thought I should have been working on self-acceptance not self-improvement all this time, but as I read more I realized that both thoughts have their pro's and con's. 

Self-improvement seems to be recognized as the process of making yourself a better person.  In fact, I started on self-improvement long before I started therapy.  I just always liked the thought of making this better, like when I'm doing organization I'm looking for the most efficient way of doing things.  To me that is the bottom line of self-improvement, being the best and most efficient I can be.

Self-acceptance seems to be recognized as the process of being happy with who you are.  As I think about it now, this is probably what I was able to do through my therapy process.  I didn't love myself, I didn't accept who I was with all the good and the bad.  To me I now believe that self-acceptance is loving who you are no matter what you look like, what you do or do not do, believe you are worth everything you have and will have in your life.

After pondering self-improvement vs. self-acceptance and reading various articles online I see that both are important, but I do feel like having self-acceptance first will benefit anyone before tackling self-improvement as it is too easy to take self-improvement to a level where you cut yourself down.  In the end, I'm back to my teeter-totter analogy, its the bouncing back and forth between self-improvement and self-acceptance that creates balance.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

But If Not . . .

One of my favorite scriptures is in Daniel 3:17-18 where it says:

If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king.  But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.

I love that they have so much faith in God that He will deliver them, but they also know that if not, it will be okay, it will be God's will.  Elder Neal A. Maxwell in the October 1994 Ensign said it this way:

We will [not] always be rescued from proximate problems, but we will be rescued from everlasting death!  Meanwhile, ultimate hope makes it possible to say the same three words used centuries ago by three valiant men.  They knew God could rescue them from the fiery furnace if He chose.  'But if not,' they said, nevertheless, they would still serve him!

I try to remember this as I face challenges in my life, I pray for what I think is right for me and hope that He will give it to me, but if not, I know that I will be alright!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Grandma Time

How exciting is this, I'm going to be a grandma for the first time in early September.  I got to see Lil'm (it's a nickname for the baby) at my daughter-in-law's first doctor appointment which was so amazing!  This ultrasound was at their second appointment you can see Lil'm's arm reaching out, so very precious!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Imagine It, Feel It, Receive It

I've been reading The Power by Rhonda Byrne again, its her second book after The Secret and I just love it!  It is all about learning how to love yourself.  There was something that I read that I didn't really remember reading the first time around.  Just as in The Secret she talks about the Law of Attraction, but in this one particular line she said, "imagine it, feel it, receive it," and also had you do it with more of a meditation action along with it.  She suggests doing this every day for just 7 minutes.  How cool is that, just 7 minutes to relax, close your eyes and "imagine it, feel it, receive it."

I have a really hard time getting to sleep at night as my mind is busy, my body is uncomfortable and so on.  I decided to do the "imagine it, feel it, receive it" process before going to sleep since I'm laying there awake anyway just hoping I will fall asleep soon.  I just think of a goal and imagine myself doing it as well as imagining how it would feel.  It has been working great as I do feel like I am moving towards my goals fast and I tend to fall asleep easier too.  So I think I'm going to just keep on imaging, feeling and, of course, receiving.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Foundation Answers

A few Sundays ago in church we were talking about the basics that we all should be doing which are prayer, reading scriptures, attending church meetings and Family Home Evening.  Often these basics are casually referred to as the "Primary," "Sunday School," or "Seminary" answers.  Then a lady shared a story where she had attended another ward and someone tried to refer to these basics in one of the casual ways and the teacher said that they didn't call those that, that they only refer to them as our foundations.  I loved that so much, they are out foundation and if your foundation is strong and sure you are doing the basics.  So for me now on prayer, scripture study, church meetings and Family Home Evening will always be the Foundation Answers to remind myself  that if I want a strong foundation I need to be doing the basics.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Moving Forward Financially

We have started to look at the possibility of being able to retire down the road (those thoughts start to cross your mind at 50, hopefully others let it cross their minds earlier than that).  As we look at our finances we can see our many mistakes over the years, but we can also see what we can do currently to get on track for the future. 

I love the goal list by Dave Ramsey and I have been working on this, here is his list in order of what he feels they should be accomplished:

     1-$1000 savings for emergencies
     2-debt snowball (except house)
     3-3-6 months emergency fund
     4-retirement savings
     5-college funds
     6-pay off home
     7-build wealth to give away

I'm not sure where I got this quote, I found it among some notes and I really like the idea so I thought I would include it:

But paying down your debt should not be your only goal. I want you to avoid accumulating a large debt load like this in the future. How? It's easy. Save some money you don't have. Here's how that works: Every raise, promotion, tax refund or windfall must be split 50/50 between you and your savings account. This is money you don't yet have, so you won't miss it. I want you to fund an emergency savings account while you are paying down your debt with a goal of stashing at least six months' worth of living expenses.  I know that sounds like a lot, but once you get going, it will take on a life of its own. Pay yourself first. That may mean you will have to skip a few meals out or make other small sacrifices during the month to get going. But the sooner you do, the better you'll feel.

I also added an app called "Debt Snowball" to my iPad that lets me put in my debts and then see how quickly they can be paid off by increasing payments each month and I find that really exciting to see.

I've also started keeping better track of retirement accounts and even Social Security accounts.  I think just paying attention to these things on a consistent basis will really help us move forward!

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Cycle of Energy

I remember the first time that my therapist shared this cycle with me, it was so new to me and I told her that I think I had just been moving between Impulse and Action and back again. 

I can't remember what my therapist actually called this cycle, but I like to think of it as the Cycle of Energy.

First, we have an Impulse or an idea and I have come to realize that sometimes this stage may last for many days, weeks or even months.  If for instance I don't have what I need to act on the Impulse I will end up waiting or even if I don't have the energy needed for the idea it will also take more time.

Next in the cycle is Action and this happens when everything needed for the Impulse falls into place.  I love this stage, the whole experience of getting something done and seeing the result is very fulfilling for me.
Next is Recuperation, this is the part of the cycle that I didn't understand was crucial.  After expending energy for the Action the body needs to recover.  Because I failed to allow myself to recuperate, I exhausted myself beyond more than my body to recover easily and it took a very, very long time to reach a full recuperation.  Now I understand this this step in the Cycle of Energy is extremely important.
The next stage is Reintegration, the definition of reintegrate is:  to renew with regard to any state or quality, to restore, to bring again together into a whole.  Essentially, this means that after we have completed Recuperation we become whole again.  This is where I go to my teeter-totter analogy for balance, you have Action on one side and Recuperation on the other and the "bouncing" back and forth achieves balance, in other words, our energy is whole again when we are balanced between the two.
The last stage is Homeostasis which defined is:  a state of psychological equilibrium obtained when tension or a drive has been reduced or eliminated.  I liked how one definition I found referred to Homeostasis as when conditions remain stable.
I really believe in this Cycle of Energy now that I understand how it works and how following it keeps me balanced and stable.  I love the word "homeostasis" it just sounds like being settled and even-kill, like the calm before the storm.  I just need to remember to recuperate after the various storms of life and I know that I can be back in Homeostasis before I know it.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Unshaken Faith

Last year we had a speaker in a Relief Society Meeting bring a picture of Jesus walking on the water with Peter walking toward him after leaving the safety of the boat and that speaker really made me look at this story in so many different ways.  Recently I was reading an article in the 2013 March Ensign and author Ricardo Reyes Villalta shared what seeing that picture meant to him in a moment when he was doubting his ability to pay his tithing and his bills which I just loved and wanted to share.  This is what he said:     
Heading home from work one afternoon after getting paid, I thought of all my debts. I closed my eyes and prayed, “Father, what am I going to do?” At that moment I opened my eyes and noticed on the ceiling of the bus a poster of Peter sinking into a stormy sea with the Savior reaching out to rescue him. At the bottom of the poster were the words “Unshaken Faith.” I realized I needed to pay my tithing if I ever wanted to pay off my debts.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Three Choices Talk

This is the talk I gave in church last Sunday:
The theme for our talks today was taken from the talk Three Choices,  by Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin.  I thought the title alone sounded really interesting.  Then I started reading the talk and in the first few lines Elder Wirthlin says:
I would like to offer my own self-improvement program. It consists of three steps that have been useful to me.
It was like music to my ears, I love self-improvement programs and just three steps, how awesome is that?!  Elder Wirthlin goes on to share a story about a young man who found himself homeless and with many addictions.  The young man not liking the way his life was going seeks out the help of a bishop.  This bishop guides this young man with three basic choices.  The first choice the bishop shares is repentance.  The second choice is priorities and the third is choosing the right.  I chose to focus on the second choice which the bishop presented this way:
“[Y]ou’ll most likely have a rough time if you think you can make yourself perfect all at once. What you must learn is to choose your priorities. You have to put first things first.”

In most cases, growth comes slowly—one step at a time. We understand this when it comes to mastering a musical instrument, becoming an accomplished athlete, or flying a jet aircraft. Yet, we often can scarcely forgive ourselves when we don’t make the progress we expect in all areas of our own lives.

I am not particularly a patient person and, especially, that last line really reminded me of myself, how he says, “we can scarcely forgive ourselves when we don’t make the progress we expect.”  As I mentioned at the beginning of my talk I have a thing for self-improvement programs.  I have read, I have studied and I have listened to various programs over and over.  One of the consistent things in self-improvement programs is learning how to accept and love yourself.  For me it was learning how to love myself for who I really am and understanding my value as a child of God. 

I have shared before how I received a very clear message in the temple one day that my Heavenly Father and Savior love me.  I wish I could say that I after that amazing experience I immediately loved myself as well, but I didn’t.  I really had to work at it.  One of the things I did was to quantify, or give myself a number on how much I loved myself.  The idea was to get to, what one self-improvement book called, the Tipping Point.  The Tipping Point is 51 which seemed like a more realistic number to me than 100.  Each day I would ask myself how much I loved myself and then write down the first number that popped into my head.  When I started doing this the number was 12 which is pretty sad, but that is where I was.  It took me years to reach the tipping point of 51.  Sometimes I would get stuck at numbers for many weeks and I would have to pray and think of ways to do things that would help me improve that number.  It was very exciting for me when I reached the goal of 51.  I continued keeping track of that number until I was somewhere in the 80’s and then I didn’t feel the need to keep track any more.

The reason that I tell you this story is because in this process of learning to love myself I did have to learn to put first things first.  I had to pay attention to my priorities, but then I also had to act on those priorities.  Elder Wirthlin said it this way:

We become masters of our lives in the same way—by focusing on first things first. We all have a pretty good idea of the most important decisions we need to make—decisions that will improve our lives and bring us greater happiness and peace. That is where we should start. That is where we should place our greatest effort.

In asking ourselves where we should start, I think the scriptures is a great place.  One of my favorite scriptures is 3 Nephi 13:33 which says:

But seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these thing shall be added unto you.

What does it mean to seek the kingdom of God first? Awhile back, I was thinking about this scripture and I decided to try an experiment focusing on the word “first” in that scripture.  When I started my week, I start with Sunday and church first.  When I made appointments, I made my Visiting Teaching appointments first.  When I paid my bills, I paid my tithing first.  Before I did anything else in the morning I prayed first and so on.  It was a wonderful experience and I still do many of those things first, but I have let many other things creep in and take first spot.  This is where looking at our priorities come in.

In one of my self-improvements books, the author had you write down in order your priorities and then she had you keep track of the hours you spent during the week on different things then compare your hours with your list of priorities to see if your time and priorities actually align.  I did this exercise and, unfortunately, my time was not reflecting my true priorities and I had to refocus.  But herein lies the problem, you cannot stay on track with your priorities by listing them once and then not looking at them on a consistent basis.  This is what the bishop in Elder Worthlin’s talk does:

Each night before I go to bed, I take out a small card and write a list of the things I need to do the next day in order of their priority.  When I arrive at the office in the morning, I check my card and put all my efforts into the first item on the list. When I accomplish that item, I move on to the second and so on. Some days, I finish every item on my list. On other days, some tasks are not completed. I don’t become discouraged, however, because I’m focusing my energies on the things that matter most.

After sharing this skill with the young man, he too began to do the same thing, Each night before [he] went to bed, he made a list of the most important things he needed to accomplish the next day.

I appreciated how Elder Wirthlin said that the young man’s list was made of the “most important things.”  I am sure those lists included many other things than just work.  I wouldn’t be surprised if that bishop’s list included prayer, scripture study, items for his calling as well as his work tasks.

Those that know me know that I love a To Do List, I even got a new to do list app that dings when I check off an item when I have accomplished it.  Jim was just asking me the other day what all the dinging was about and I told him about my new app.  A few days before that when Kate Arrasmith was over we were being all excited about all the dings as I checked items off my list.  What I have come to learn over the years is that my priorities are more than a list, more than things to check off, they are things that I do because I am healthier physically, mentally and spiritually when I accomplish the most important things on my list.  Author Nancy R. Gunn from an Ensign article in June of 1980, had this to say:

One of my most difficult struggles as a wife and mother is finding time for all my commitments.  But a class I attended recently has helped.  The instructor used Section 25 of the Doctrine and Covenants, the revelation given to Emma Smith, to explain a woman’s priorities.  Our first responsibility, found in verse two, is to our Heavenly Father as his daughter.  We should develop those talents and inclinations that will aid us in our goal of exaltation—we should be “faithful and walk in the paths of virtue before [him].”

I know that putting our relationship with our Heavenly Father first shouldn’t seem like a hard thing to do, but sometimes it is.  I have a word that I use that reminds me daily to put the most important things first.  The word that I use is “breathe.”  Many years ago I was starting to have a lot of anxiety and I would constantly be telling myself, “breathe, Renae, breathe” because with the anxiety I didn’t feel like I could breathe.  Then one day I had a full-blown panic attack and I really felt like I couldn’t breathe, so breathing is obviously a priority for me.

Years before the anxiety had started the word “breathe” had popped into my head with an acronym.  The most important things in my day come back to this acronym and on the days when I am feeling better, when my unease, anxiety and depression are at bay are the days when I do this first.  I’d like to share a little of this acronym with you, such as the first letter, the letter b, stands for be still.  This comes from another one of my favorite scriptures, D&C 101:16:

Therefore, let your hearts be comforted concerning Zion; for all flesh is in mine hands; be still and know that I am God.

To fulfill the Be Still category I pray and write in my journal.  When I don’t take the time daily to communicate with my Heavenly Father and my own soul I struggle more.  The letters go on and I won’t share them all with you, but I call these by Breathe Strategies.  It takes me about an hour in the morning to accomplish these strategies and when I do them first in my day, I am more open to my family, friends and the things that my Heavenly Father would have me do.  When I do not, as happened this past week, I feel out of sorts and disconnected with my Heavenly Father, those around me and myself.

As the author Nancy Gunn goes on in her article, the counsel to Emma Smith continues with her priorities as second her husband, third her children and her family duties and fourth her church calling.

Elder Wirthlin says:

[C]hoose your priorities. Let your family come first. Hold worthwhile family home evenings. Let the time that you spend with your families be consistent with how important they are. Cherish and nurture family members and never allow busy schedules and frustrations to drive a wedge between you and your loved ones. Strive each day to be more obedient to the Lord’s commandments.

We have never been great at Family Home Evening and family scripture study, we have been more of a hit and miss with that, but I know that we have taken every moment we could to teach our children.  When we were driving in the car, a moment at dinner, just before bed and more.  Before Taylor left on her mission we got really good at both of these.  We started family home evening every week with all the kids including fiancĂ©es, who are now their spouses, as well as my mother-in-law comes over and joins us week.  During dinner every night while we ate one of us would read a scripture and then we would discuss it until dinner was done.  I know we were really trying to help Taylor be more prepared for her mission but it was also a really great experience for all of us.

I want to focus a little on a something the bishop in Elder Worthlin’s story said about his to do list, he said that he puts all his efforts into the first item on [his] list.  I don’t know about anyone else, but it is very easy for me to get distracted and eventually I do get everything done, but the key point on this was that he puts all his efforts into the first thing.  This reminded me of the scripture in D&C 4:2 which says:

Therefore, O ye that embark in the service of God, see that ye serve him with all your heart, might, mind and strength, that ye may stand blameless before God at the last day.

If we were to put together the ideas of first things first and all our efforts into the first can you imagine the strength and commitment we would have to our Heavenly Father and His kingdom.  In Mosiah 7:33 it says:

But if he will turn to the Lord with full purpose of heart, and put your trust in him, and serve him with all diligence of mind, if ye do this, he will, according to his own will and pleasure, deliver you out of bondage.

I have a friend who shared with me how she puts the idea of full purpose of heart into practice with her prayers.  She prays for 15 minutes imagining herself in her temple dress talking face-to-face with Heavenly Father.  From time to time I have tried doing this, and unfortunately, I’m still not very good at it.  I was told in a blessing not too long ago to talk to my Heavenly Father in conversation as I do with my husband. 

Before I go on, as I mentioned I can easily get distracted with other things to do so I have started using a timer app that I love.  I set times for different activities and the app alarm goes off and then tells me which activity is next.  This really helps me stay on task and do the most important things first.  I decided to use this app with my prayer so I could spend more time praying, stay focused as I pray and to put more time into my prayer.  So as I prayed I tried to imagine myself having a conversation with my Heavenly Father and as I prayed things popped into my head.  Normally, I would later forget these things, but this time I followed the counsel given in my blessing, if I was talking to Jim and he shared advice with me I would stop and write it down so I wouldn’t forget, so I did this with my prayer.  I shared my thoughts and concerns with my Heavenly Father and as things came into my head I took heed of the counsel and wrote it down and then continued on in my prayer.  It was a wonderful prayer and I really felt like I was closer to my Heavenly Father.  I felt like I had put all my efforts into my communication with him.

So to sum up my thoughts on this talk it really comes down to this:

·         Know what your priorities are and find a way to remind yourself of them daily

·         Seek ye first the kingdom of God by putting first things first

·         Follow those priorities with a full purpose of heart by putting all your effort into the first thing and then the next and so on

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Food Storage Planning

My husband and I have been talking and rethinking our food storage plan lately and looking at various companies to try out their products.  As I was thinking about how my food storage is organized on my shelves, I decided that I wanted to create a Word document with cells representing each rolling shelf (I have two Shelf Reliance shelves one that holds only #10 size cans and one that holds a variety of sizes of cans) and another sheet representing the regular shelves of food storage that I have.  This is the page showing the rolling shelves.  Each cell represents a rolling can section, what is on that rolling shelf and how many.  As we have been rethinking what we want on the shelves I think I will write in red what we actually want on that shelf as we start buying new things.  A friend had a great idea to laminate it once it is the way we want it then we can keep it in the kitchen and change it as we use items which I think is a great idea.  It is a process and I'm just getting started so I'll keep you posted on how it is coming along.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Treat Your Body Like a Child

I have been very indulgent since October (my son's wedding, my birthday, Halloween, my daughter's wedding, Thanksgiving, out to dinner for Taylor leaving on her mission, my anniversary, Christmas, New Year's and everything in between).  Before then I had lost 23 lbs., but at the end of all the celebrations I had gained back 8 lbs.  I'm sure it could have been worse, but who wants to repeat all the work (apparently I do).  So it is time to get back on track.

As I was looking through some notes the other day I came across this one my daughter found in a dance magazine:

You have to treat your body like a child, don't indulge it's whims but know the limits of what it can endure.  by Uliana Lopatkina

I love this quote, we all have that little child in us that wants and wants and wants.  I know I would not have given in to my children on as much junk food as I have to myself  for many months now.  Just because I "want" doesn't mean I should let myself do that.  I feel like I need to ask myself before I consider having a treat if it is just the child in me "wanting" and if so I need to be the adult in that moment and say no.

As to the last portion of the above quote, that is also something that I have had to learn over time, know the limits of what your body can endure.  I used to push way past my endurance and that is always when I would hurt myself.  You need to know how to push yourself enough to get a good work out but not so far as to cause harm.

I guess the bottom line here, is know yourself, be kind to yourself and part of being kind is not over indulging.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The Living Christ

In our Relief Society class on the first Sunday of this year, our Relief Society Presidency announced some goals for all of us.  One of the goals was to memorize The Living Christ, to read it click on this link: 
A few of us looked at each other like they were crazy!  I thought that might be a bit of a challenge so I told my friend that I thought instead I would just read it during the passing of the sacrament each Sunday.  So I started that next week, I read through the whole thing once and then just focused on the first paragraph.  I have been doing this for several weeks now and have been surprised by a couple of things.  First, it really helps me focus on the Savior during the Sacrament which I should be doing anyway.  I think more about Him and His life and the sacrifice He made for me.  The second thing is, I am actually remembering the first paragraph after giving it so much focused attention each week.  So I think I will keep going and in February I'll continue to read the whole thing through once and then focus on the second paragraph.  So maybe our Relief Society Presidency's goal wasn't so crazy after all.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Create a Habit

I'm sure I am not the only one that has a hard time making yourself do things.  When I would talk to my therapist about this I would say things like, I just need to "force" myself to . . . and whatever it was.  My therapist commented one day that she really didn't like the word "force" and wondered if I could come up with a kinder way of getting myself to do things, like cheering myself on to do it or something like that.  I've thought about it for years actually and had never really come up with anything better until recently.  I realized that the things I wanted to "force" myself to do are things that I do have a desire to do, just struggle in doing them and what better way than to "create a habit" in doing them.  So that has become my new wording, I won't force myself, I will create a habit.  It definitely sounds kinder to myself this way.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Deepen Your Humility, Not your Humiliation

I came across this quote recently:

When you feel inclined to berate yourself for . . . mistakes, try to deepen your humility instead of your humiliation.  [M]istakes are not the end, . . . forgiving ourselves brings peace.  By Wendy Ulrich, Ten Tips for Parents of Young Adults, July 2014 Ensign.

How often I have come down so hard on myself for making mistakes, but the difference between humble and humiliate is so vastly different.  Here are the definitions:

Humiliate:  To cause to feel a loss of pride, dignity, or self-respect
Humble:  Marked by meekness or modesty in behavior, attitude, or spirit

Berating and humiliating oneself for making mistakes does not help us move forward, we actually move backward because it causes us to think less of ourselves.  Instead it is better to acknowledge our mistake, then move forward in humility and forgiveness for ourselves so that we can do better and still love who we are.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Quantifying Family Events in 2014

I was talking to my daughter-in-law this morning about how many bedroom moves we had in 2014 and it was crazy what the number was, which got me to thinking about quantifying the family events in my year last year, so here is what I came up with (this does include some of the dogs too):

     Emergency Room Visits - 8
     Surgeries - 3
     Bedroom Shuffles - 14
     Weddings - 2
     Receptions/Open Houses - 4
     Painting Bedrooms - 2
     Missionary sent off - 1

There was so much more going on, but that is the most eventful.  That is a lot of changes in one year, we are ready for a calmer 2015!