Saturday, December 3, 2011
Then I became sick with a mystery sickness no doctor in my area could cure. I was in bed most days and in pain. I won't go into more detail. It could be worse, right? I remember that.
Well, I felt like finding out what was wrong with me, and when we had exhausted our resources of doctors in this area, I had the distinct feeling that it would be good to try to get into The Mayo Clinic in Minnesota. I had my family doctor make an appointment.
I wanted to go to Mayo because I felt there are good doctors who work together in a different way than any other places I had been. They have access to research and specialists who all work together to help me get better. I have had friends go to Mayo and get treatment they did not get anywhere else. Treatment that saved their lives.
Also, it felt right. When I thought about trying to get into Mayo, it was the first time I felt like I was going the right direction. I felt in my core that my Heavenly Father wanted me to go there.
My first appointment was December 1st and we are still here, staying in a hotel, while I complete all of my appointment.s
What I really want to write about is hope, though.
I learned a thing or two about hope going to local doctors around my home. I would go to my first appointment with a specialist, tell them my symptoms, they would tell me the possible diagnosis and schedule tests. I would begin to hope. It was awful. I couldn't stop myself. I would hope that this would be the time we would figure out what was bothering my body, we would treat it, and I would get better. I would have visions of who I used to be and get excited to see her back again.
Then, when the tests came back I would go for a followup appointment. The specialist would look at the results and say they didn't find anything. Then he would look at me and say, "I'm sorry. I don't know what is causing your symptoms." He would send me away. I would sit in my car and cry in disappointment. Then I would try to remember how it could be worse. It wasn't the end of the world. And I would try to heal my heart with these thoughts. I would recall all my blessings, because there are many. I would feel ashamed that I forgot them. After my tears were dry, I would drive home, resolving that I would try to not hope at my next appointment unless there was a reason.
So now here I am at Mayo, and I have seen a general internist who scheduled many tests for me. After the test results are back I will meet with specialists here.
This is not a cheap trip, but I am willing to pay for answers that I haven't been able to find on my own.
I keep feeling guilty because I have the recurring thought, "What if it isn't worth it? What if they don't find anything here either and I go home empty handed? That would be an expensive mistake."
This morning I asked my sweet husband to turn off the TV for half an hour in our hotel room so I could read my scriptures. I needed some quiet. I need it every day, you know? I opened my scriptures and I felt so empty, like I was just reading words on a page.
I have learned that when I am having a hard time feeling the spirit as I read my scriptures that it is good to try to come up with a question I would like answered. Not just any trivial question if I really want to feel closer to my Heavenly Father, but the most burning question I have. The question that has been occurring the most often and has been, deep down, causing me the most anxiety in my alone hours.
I was ashamed of my question so I almost didn't ask it, but I have learned to just ask because the results are always good when I am brave enough to just be honest with my God.
I wrote in my little notebook I like to always keep with me,
"Are we here at Mayo for a reason???"
In my mind I thought about all my other questions, "Is the money spent going to be worth it? Am I wasting our time? Will we get answers?"
Then I opened my scriptures and began to read where I have a marker in the Book of Mormon.
I am reading in 2Nephi lately, I am in chapter 10. As I read I began to quiet my mind. I pushed out all my doubts and worries and just tried to be quiet, another thing I have learned is useful when seeking to feel closer to God.
Then I came to verse 10. At the end of the verse it says this,
"..For he has spoken it, and who can dispute?"
A thought came to my mind,
"Where is your faith?"
I thought about all the times I had felt so good about coming here. I know who gave me those feelings after I had studied it out and decided it was a good thing to do. I am supposed to be here.
That makes this time different. I have faith in those experiences with my God.
So I can hope.
That is why the order is faith then hope.
I can hope this time because I have faith we are here for a reason.
I learned about why it goes in that order this morning.
If I have faith that God told me it would be good to be here, then this time, it is also okay to hope. I just need to have faith.
I hope you followed that. I feel a bit out of practice!
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
Since the women were in the kitchen, we started munching on some of the yummy snacks that were brought over. Since we were munching-- talk started turning towards weight, body type, dieting, losing weight, exactly how much each woman felt she needed to lose...
Okay so this is what has been on my mind ever since.
All of the ladies that were in my home were so lovely. I don't just say these things. They were sincerely lovely and I would stop and stare if I saw them walking down the street. I do that.
Not only that-- but let me say that these women are intelligent. Not only are they book smart, but they are life experience smart. They have some of the most beautiful lives because of challenges they are brave enough to overcome daily. They have that glow about them that only comes to those who have faith. They are lovely. Like I said.
Yet here they were talking about weight. Diet. Perceived imperfections. Yes, I am going to say perceived, because I just don't see it.
I. Just. Don't. See. It.
I am a person who believes in acknowledging weaknesses. I LOVE people who are constantly trying to improve themselves, their lives, and the lives of the people around them. I am happiest when I am improving something, be it my soul, my home, my life, someone else's life, etc.
But there is just something about complaining about a lovely body shape that irks me. Especially when you pair that body shape with a lovely mind. I mean, there is no comparison.
I believe that one of the first steps to overcoming this tendency is to learn to love many different body shapes.
Because it is silly to just believe there is one lovely shape.
Wednesday, October 5, 2011
At critical times, I am cowardly.
Would you like to journey into my thoughts for a moment?
You see, I am a wonderful woman. God loves me, and I love Him. I am someone worth fighting for. I know when things are going wrong and I also know when things are going right. I know when I am disappointed, but I also see all of the amazing and miraculous things that go right.
I know it is very hard to be sick for 8 months with something doctors can't seem to figure out. I know this. I know that everything I do every day comes at a price. I know that sometimes, I don't have enough to pay the price, and I look up to heaven and ask Him to pay it for me, and He does.
Yet instead of congratulating myself and therefore my God at the end of the day for all I was willing to accomplish in spite of the price--- I tell myself it wasn't enough.
Instead of basking in happiness and joy at the woman I am becoming through this trial, I look over at my pile of laundry and let it tell me that I am not a good wife. I let the unclean floors tell me I am not a good mother. I let uncleaned dishes and children who complained about having to go to bed (really? I mean, it happens every night! It shouldn't be a surprise...) say that I am not a good homemaker. That I am not a good mother.
Isn't it easy to acknowledge where we fall short? And isn't taking the easy way out cowardly?
Tonight, I was lying in my bed with a book, feeling so exhausted from my sickness, paying a price I could hardly bear to pay for the efforts I squeezed out of my will today. And all I could think about was the way I didn't fold the laundry today. Not one scrap of it. I also have a few dirty dishes in my sink and my floors are GROSS!!!! I kept telling myself that I was a failure and a burden on my family. That they deserve better than me. It was weighing on my chest so much that I felt it was actually crushing.
My husband came in then and demanded my attention. I didn't want to give it. I was taking the cowardly way out, dwelling on my shortcomings deep down, and also trying to drown it out with a book and it was taking all of my concentration! But he kept asking for my attention and I gave it, though unwillingly.
He asked what was bothering me. I told him I was just feeling so frustrated over the way I am a failure.
He told me I was not a failure. I pointed at the pile of laundry as proof.
He began listing off the things I did do and keeping track of it on his hands. He listed simple things like how my boys were fed, showered, and in pajamas. How I put them to bed. How I made dinner. How I made dessert. How I made breakfast. How I cleaned three toilets, two bathtubs, and two bathroom sinks. How I dusted the whole house and deep cleaned the lights (They were so gross). How I watched children for a friend. How I sent out invitations to a game night at our house this weekend. How I made sure the kids did homework, practiced the piano, and played outside. By the time he got to the forties, he told me I could stop listing things I HAD accomplished because, "Now you are just showing off..."
He lightened my heart with truth. What I had accomplished was all worth it. But what should make me even more proud is that I did these things at a high cost. It is not easy. Yet I do it.
It takes bravery to tell myself that instead of telling myself I am not good enough.
People expect you to be hard on yourself. People expect you to not thing highly of yourself.
And believe me, most of the time I dwell on what I don't do.
But I think my husband taught me something tonight.
He taught me that I am wonderful. That I do many great things. And as I think of it more deeply, I know that I do great things at a great price. That is making me stronger. When I lie in bed paying the price, I can lift my voice up to heaven and ask for patience and endurance through it. I am always helped. God is good that way.
I am going to try harder to be brave. To see myself as a valued daughter of God. A good person who gives what she has, and sometimes a bit more, because the Lord is with me. It is scary because it is not the norm.
But I don't want to be a coward. I want to be brave and see myself as God sees me every day.
Saturday, August 13, 2011
Saturday, August 6, 2011
I want to write, but my thoughts feel like they are stumbling on 'shoulds' and stuff - what I should say, how I should say it, what other people want, how I can get across my message so it is perceived the way I intend... What should matter to me... What should be important enough to write about... What is even worthy of being glanced over by some other reader...
What could I - a simple, stay-at-home mom, with no large resume to show - have to offer any one else? Nothing. Nothing I could possibly offer is worthy, or is going to end world hunger or anything. I think that is why it has taken so long for me to post my first post here. There are so many women and men out there who are more interesting, more witty, with deeper experience, with greater passion and drive for what they do, education up the wahzoo, and I have so much to learn from them. So why should I put my two cents anywhere?
And my answer is, cuz I want to, that's all. And I need to. Yes, need. It just can't sit inside me forever, I'm sorry, or something would explode. There is this urge for me to just write, whether anyone reads it or not, ya know? Putting my thoughts out onto a public space is risky - it is taking that risk of being rejected, defeated, argued against, belittled or shamed because of thoughts, feelings, or perceptions I may have. But it is liberating, too. It is liberating because it is like saying, 'I face this possible rejection head on, fearlessly'! And you lay it all out on the table to be either savored and gobbled up, or butchered and thrown to the dogs.
But in the end it doesn't matter if someone likes it and someone doesn't. What matters is that it gets outside of me. So here is my beginning on Utter It. Get ready for some quirky stuff, guys. You're getting the whole gamut of: me.
Friday, August 5, 2011
First the good moments--
In moments of good pondering and remembering God, and also talking with stellar friends I felt like life is good.
I am always trying to say this, but it hasn't come out this way.
Life isn't perfect, but it is oh so good. I am really, truly happy. I have my reasons, all of which may or may not be boring to you. I am going to list the things that make my soul sing.
My. Husband. Rocks. He is there for me. He is righteous. His heart is HUGE. He listens. He laughs. He watches all my favorite shows with me. He loves me. I love him.
I have amazing friends, and between all of them-- I can bare my soul in chat, I can inflict my kids on them with hardly any notice if I am not feeling well, I can make them let me borrow their kids so my children can have some fun times at our house, I can laugh and have girl nights or shop shop shop. I haven't always had that and I know what it does for me.
I have soft, cuddly children who smile and have eyes that light up in special ways only for me. That makes my heart full to bursting!
I have a body that can still cook up some rockin food, and I sure do love rockin food. Oh yes.
I have a Heavenly Father who loves me.
I have a charmed life. It is absolutely wonderful.
Not perfect-- and I deal with some of the not perfect things on this blog. But wonderful. Truly wonderful.
So this week I found myself expressing some of these good things to myself and others and that was fun!
Now-- For the bad.
I am not very good at obeying a schedule. Nope. But I did my best. I brought my children each afternoon to a friends house, and most days I came home and took a nice nap. But two of the days I had unavoidable doctor appointments during "nap time". Also, I found myself feeling like a failure if I had sick mornings that sucked away the precious hours of awake time with time spent... I will spare you the gory details, but I was sick every morning this week except yesterday. We missed a dentist appointment for all three boys. Bummer. I would watch the clock inching towards "nap time" and I would feel like a failure for not doing the things on my list which really needed to be done.
So, I need to remember flexibility and forgiveness for myself. I am not who I want to be. I do not accomplish all I want to accomplish. My house is currently not clean. My floors are a mess. (I hate mess on my floors).
But-- We had a really good dinner last night. We also had a really tasty dessert that my boys have been eating and loving the past few days. I had a girls night this past week. My boys enjoyed one of the last weeks of summer because of playing and swimming with friends every afternoon this week. I laughed and talked with my husband after the kids were in bed many nights this week because I was rested from the breaks I had from the kids every day. Life is so good. Why should I complain about my imperfections when life is so good? Why should I ever be hard on myself for things out of my control when I am doing my absolute best? Another good thing that came out of this week is I can look back and know I gave my absolute best. I was watching the clock. I worked when I was well enough. I tried to rest during resting times. I gave life my all this week.
What more can I ask of myself?
The mission this week-- forgive and forget.
I have a few other thoughts too. Another post for another day.
Monday, August 1, 2011
Today I picked up my actual scriptures-- which is new. I have been using my phone and my scripture app for some time.
My scriptures have been with me through every major event in my life. I think of them like a journal. I love them and would be so sad to lose them.
I was staring at my closed scriptures and thought to myself, "Why am I doing this today? What is it that I should be asking that I'm not?"
No answer came, so I just opened them. I opened them to 1Nephi 8:21
"And I saw numberless concourses of people, many of whom were pressing forward, that they might obtain the path which led unto the tree by which I stood."
That is what I am trying to do too. This is a passage about Lehi's dream of the Tree of Life. The path leads to that tree. That is me lately, don't you think? I talk of finding balance and purpose in my life and how much of a struggle it is. Maybe I should think of this process a bit differently.
I am just one of many who are struggling to find the tree of life, "whose fruit was desirable to make one happy."
The fruit is the love of God. My focus has been on me and all that I need to do to feel content, happy. Also it has been on how to make others happy through service. How to balance family, friends, myself.
If God has really given me this trial (He has) then maybe my focus could be more on why I am doing this every day. Why am I trying to balance and live life to the fullest of my capabilities?
I just want to be happy. I know that takes balance. But mostly, I know it takes staying on the path. And staying on the path leads me to what?
The love of God.
Maybe my focus should be feeling the love of God everyday.
That is why I do this. Why I begin each day with reading and studying the word of God. Why I fall to my knees and pray. Even when it feels routine, I know the promise connected to this commandment is feeling the love of God and hearing His voice guide me in times of need. Reading the scriptures helps me recognize the voice of the spirit. That is why I do it. I know there are other requirements and I strive to live up to them, this is just something I can do perfectly. There aren't many commandments I can do perfectly;).
I feel happy when I feel the love of God for me and for others. It would be nice to just simplify my life down to that. Pleasing Heavenly Father. So in all of my sticking to a schedule and living my life fully for myself and family and all my other goals this week--- I think I will stop and pray more. I will ask, "How wouldst though have me feel right now?" And I will feel more peace and love and happiness if I remember to do that. He is so loving. Even with all of my mistakes, I have never asked that question and felt horrible. Have you? When I am not doing something quite right, he redirects me gently, but always I am filled with overwhelming peace and love. I feel like my life just became simple as I thought of remembering why I do this. Good. Simple is very good lately.
Sunday, July 31, 2011
So walk with me, even if you are not physically sick.
Here is the story of my last week;
I didn't feel well. I slept a bunch. I had friends who want to support me come and pick up my children while I took long rests each afternoon.
That sucks. But I learned a great lesson I will tell you about in another post some day soon.
Friday rolled around and I decided it was time to try getting out of bed. We went visiting teaching. That felt good. We went to the splash park and that felt good as well. We picked up all the toys in the playroom and I detailed the kitchen. That felt FaNtAsTiC! SOOOOOOO fantastic! I took a nap instead of making dinner. We picked up pizza then went to a ward activity at the park where we watched Tangled until 10:30 as a family. That felt even better than cleaning! It was so nice to have fun with my precious family! Friday was tiring, but I had kept SoMe balance in that nap.
Saturday is when it all went wrong. Friday felt so wonderful getting back into the swing of things, so I thought that Saturday would be even better! No nap! No sleeping in! Just energetic happenings all the day! It would be FaNtAsTiC!!! It was, until I began with the dry heaves.
The day had a lot to do with the Farmers Market in my city, processing 10-ish pounds of tomatoes and roasting them into a sauce (and there are ten more glorious pounds!;), taking the family to a water park for 3 hours, finishing processing said tomatoes and sauce, getting ready for a date with the husband, picking up a babysitter, and going on a date until 10:30 at night. It was all great until about halfway through the movie and my head began to hurt "a bit". As the pain in my head slowly increased, so did the pain in the rest of my body until I was sure I was going to lose my dinner (not dinner! I finally tried 5 Guys! Not 5 Guys! Don't lose that!) We made it home but I only made it to the garbage can in the garage.
I didn't take the babysitter home. Wonderful Husband did. I spent the next hour making friends with the commode (doesn't commode sound less offensive than other words? No? Well shoot...)
I woke up this morning not much better.
Resting gives me time to reflect though.
Yesterday I was trying to ressurrect the girl I used to be. But like my dad says, there is no going back and that should be a good thing-- so lets all try to learn something shall we?
It would appear that sleeping in a nap are a must for the latest version of my body. But what about working out? Mowing the lawn? Cleaning? Water parks? Cooking? Service? Dates (late night ones appear to be out of the question)? Weeding and watering the garden? Playing with the boys? Going out with friends? Crafts? The list goes on and you may insert whatever activities make you smile.
The question that gets to me lately is, "How much and how tired am I allowed to make myself doing them?" Doing too much I guess is bad. But it is my firm belief that doing too little is worse. Much worse. My very self worth is derived from my daily accomplishments-- not compared to anyone else's daily accomplishments-- but compared with what I had energy and ability for. If I do less than what I am capable of, I cannot look myself in the eye. I cannot look you in the eye. I certainly cannot look my beautiful children in the eye.
I walk a line every day of physical and mental wellness between doing too much and doing too little. I don't think it is just me walking this line. I think it is a line everyone walks. I think it is a line I walked before it was made obvious by health issues-- I just often ignored the fact that I was often falling off of it into the "doing too much" category, resulting in an exhausted mind and body which was unable to cope with what was important because of it.
So now that my physical limitations are closely mirroring my mental limitations, I am forced to examine how to do better.
Here is how I have begun to do that.
I sat down (I have sat all morning-- resting!) I grabbed my journal and a pen, and I marked down when I need to rest for sure to keep my health up to par. Well, the latest par. My par is low.
I need to sleep in, so I marked down the time I wake up.
I need to take a nap (gah! Nap! Who has TIME for that?), so I marked down the exact hours I usually do that.
Do you know what I saw??
MANY hours in between all of that! Many! My life isn't over after all! Yesssss.... I assumed a daily nap was a DEATH SENTENCE!!!! But not true at all!
This week, I am going to try to fill those hours which are left to the capacity with things I want to do. I am going to give those hours my all. I am going to live my life.
My rule is this-- I may do what I desire, but I may not let my desires interfere with sleeping in and nap time (Ha-- I am like a baby!) and that is it.
I am going to try this for a week and see how it goes. Then, I will adjust my intensity if it proves to be too much on my health.
I am so excited to live this week! Aren't you?
If you were to take good care of your mental and physical health this week-- what would you do differently? What if you penned in your physical and emotional needs first and planned your other wants and needs around it? Would the world fall apart? I'll let you know how it goes for me. I hope you try it too.
If I were to look you in the eye right now, I would encourage you to sleep if you need sleep. I would encourage you to rest and read a book if you need to rest and read a book. I would encourage you to have a date with your husband. I would encourage you to take a few hours for your favorite hobby. I would encourage you to have a night with your friends. If I were your doctor I would order you to do it. I would say, "Do these things first, and mold your other many responsibilities around this."
Why is it so easy to care for others and so impossibly difficult to do it for myself?
I plan on going full throttle during the many free hours I saw. I made a list I titled, "My All" and I listed under the things I will give my all during the many hours I have in between taking care of my body by resting. I listed things like;
Playing with the boys
shopping for groceries
mowing the lawn
weeding and watering the lawn and garden
I won't have time for every single one of these things every day. But if I live my hours that I do have, I will have time to do many of them well and happily. I repeat
I will have time to do many of them well and happily.
Life isn't over. It is just changed. It can still be good. I just can't do every good thing all in one day.
Tuesday, July 19, 2011
The rest of the afternoon was typical, then I had a friend over for dinner-- both of us have our husband out of town so we thought it would be fun to get our kids together to play. We had such a good time, but we ended up staying up later than we usually do.
I found myself taking lots of deep breaths as I put the kids in bed.
Do you ever feel this way? Like there are times when you just want your children to work as a group? Bed time really is one of those times for me. I need them to all be one big piece of clay, molding to my every desire. I need to say, "Everyone kneel for prayers" only once, and then have it happen. I need to say, "Now everyone hop in bed to get tucked in," and then have it happen. Kiss on the cheek, hugs, tucks, then I just want to turn on the primary music, turn out the lights, and walk out. Done for the day!
But nope. These are three very strong personalities I am dealing with here. And if they don't feel they have expressed exactly how different they are during the day, they feel a deep need to get it expressed before I turn out that light. I race to turn out that light. The faster the better. But they usually beat me to it with tears, tantrums, requests for drinks AfTeR I have already tucked them in, requests to each pick out their own book for a story time, each one wants cuddle time, and it had better be the exact same amount for each child, and they each want to be tucked in one million times.
During all this madness, I noticed my middle sweet son seemed to have something bugging his little heart. He is my sensitive one. He has fairer skin and lighter eyes, and he has a very sweet heart that is easily injured. I wondered about him. Then I forgot about him as I finally finished the race and got that blessed light turned off.
I came to my room and finally got into comfy pajamas, and guess who I see peeking through my doorway? Middle, sweet, fair eyed one.
I was so sad to have my alone comfy pajama time interrupted that I instantly asked him (in not so sweet tones) to go back to bed for REALS.
I snuggled up in bed with junk food, turned on HGTV (husband out of town;), and slowly felt my knots releasing in my back. (YOGA)
And lo-- guess who showed back up, this time with tears on his little fair face, streaming right from those light green eyes? The middle boy.
"You hurt my feelings..." He said with trembling lip.
"I don't know how to read and I need help finishing my book.." tear...
He's lucky he came after I had taken a breath and ate some junk food. I am not a very good nighttime mommy. Even on my best days the most I manage is an even toned voice. But a miracle happened here. I suddenly felt my heart opening to my fair child. All I wanted to do was tell him to get a book and cuddle up with me on my beds while I read it to him.
I did. He did. It was the sweetest moment of my day seeing his face light up my room with smiles. It was so worth it.
I thought about it after he left.
I mean-- it was obviously a miracle. My heart completely melted when I saw him. I felt calmed and so wonderful as I loved on him. I gave him exactly what he wanted and it actually turned out to be what we both needed. I felt love and strength just pouring in to me so I could be there for my boy.
As I thought this moment in my life through, I felt like I could see that I had sacrificed some personal time and given it to my family. It was a very small act, but it was very important to my five year old.
I feel like if I can do this every so often, perhaps I will continued to be inspired and strengthened to give what my children need in times of crisis.
I keep feeling that everything will work out just fine during our trials, but I felt like I caught a glimpse of exactly how it will work out tonight.
I just need to keep making a special effort for my family. Nothing huge. I need to keep doing the little things that bring us closer together. God will bless me with inspiration and patience as I do so. And perhaps we will make it through with strengthened relationships and happy hearts at the end of each day. And maybe my children will think back someday on how they grew up and the mother they had and they will have some special memories in their hearts of their mother loving them.
Monday, July 18, 2011
There was this lovely article in July called "Start Moving"
I saw the title of this article and I didn't think it would apply to my challenges lately, but I love that Topic so I was intrigues anyways. And what do you know? It was just what I needed to hear. I love the way that works. God blesses me when I just try to study every day.
There is this little article on the same page called, "By Small Means"
It is written about someone who is in college. Not yet married. No big responsibilities. Finding extra time in their life to do some of their favorite things, like reading, even.
Now, I am NOT a college student ( I would love that though!) and I have MaNy responsibilities. I am married. But I felt I could still relate with this person because I too have some free time on my hands lately. My children are getting older and more independent. I have to rest because of my health problems. I love reading. I felt some stirrings in my soul as I read this and felt I would really be able to relate to this article if I kept the spirit with me as I read.
This person wrote, "... I was not progressing. I was not exercising my faith or being diligent in anything in my life. I had stopped working toward a goal. I was simply waiting for something to happen."
Now, I could relate to this in a way. I had had so many impressions to slow down. To allow my body to heal when it needed it. To not have such high expectations of myself. To relax.
This is so against my nature that I pretty much felt I had to numb my brain and personality to achieve it. I was relaxing. I was reading. But everyday I was going to bed wishing I had played with the children more.
One day, I played for about five minutes with the kids. It was a goofy little game I made up involving blocks and knocking them down with superhero action figures. I really think it lasted five minutes before I felt I needed to lay down again. That night, as I asked my boys what their favorite part of their day was, each of them said playing with me was it.
I went to bed with a few tears. Wishing I could do more but just not knowing how to begin. I didn't want to overdo it. But mostly, I didn't want to underdo it. Know what I mean? I have felt lost in the mommy area.
I kept reading the Ensign article. He said many things that worked on my heart about just trying to improve in very small ways. Moving forward, even it it was slow. Just moving forward. Then he said this,
"I made a special effort to be more involved in my ward, even if it meant sacrificing some personal time."
This is when I am most grateful for the spirit and the way God takes our efforts to study and makes sure we hear what WE need to hear to become more at peace and in harmony with His ways.
This is what I read to myself,
"I made a special effort to be more involved in my family-- even if it meant sacrificing some personal time."
That was it! That was what I needed to do! Not anything huge. Not anything unmanageable. Not anything that would sacrifice my precarious balance with my health. Just sacrificing personal time. So, say I am feeling well for a minute. Say I have a book calling my name, or some laundry that needs to be a done. A phone call I would love to make to a friend. What if during those times I made, "A SPECIAL effort to be more involved in my family."?
And that is what I will do.
I promised an update on letting others help me.
Yesterday I was released from a very beloved calling. My favorite calling I have ever had. It was really hard. The bishop called me into his office, and desired to give me comforting counsel. I let him. I even tried to listen to his advice. I was given many hugs. I allowed a tear filled goodbye from a woman I worked with in my calling. Instead of blocking these things out and dealing with the pain privately, I looked these lovely people in the eye. I shared tears with them. I thanked them for their kind words. I hugged them. I shook hands with them (if they were guys). Really, I opened my heart and allowed them in. I let them comfort me and tell me it would be okay.
I have to say. I have never felt more loved by my Heavenly Father. I felt a deep contentment way down to the souls of my feet. The feeling still lingers today.
Saturday, July 16, 2011
She has a chapter on Pride in this book-- DUH DUH DUH.....
In this chapter she placed one of my very favorite, personally most pondered quote,
"Most of us think of pride as self-centeredness, conceit, boastfullness, arrogance, or haughtiness. All of these are elements of the sin, but the heart, or core, is still missing. The central feature of pride is enmity-- enmity toward God and enmity toward our fellowmen. Enmity means 'hatred toward, hostility to, or a state of opposition.' It is the power by which Satan wishes to reign over us... The proud wish God would agree with them. They aren't interested in changing their opinions to agree with God's"
I began working backwards.
It would seem (from my recurring dreams and good advice from my WH and earthly father) that God's opinion for me is that I am a control freak. Also, that I need to accept help during my tough trial I am going through. I need to also be careful to never judge others, because I know how much it hurts me when I am judged wrongly.
I have really been interested in changing God's opinion! I have really been fighting to NOT EVER change my opinion that accepting help is the Devil. (It's my honest opinion so I can say it)
Satan is trying to rule over me with these prideful feelings. (Shoot)
If pride is being in a "state of opposition" to my fellow men as well-- well darn. Many of my friends have been telling me to let them help me. Asking if they can help me.
Ummm... To put it lightly, I am in a state of opposition to that.
God has been sending me crazy dreams (I am vulnerable asleep. I am relaxed and a bit less pig-headed. So I get crazy dreams. I am crazy dream lady. I'm sure you are jealous) to let me know He would like me to let go a bit. Just a bit. Okay maybe a bunch. And in my discussions with my WH and earthly father, I have seen that God would like it if I would just accept help already.
In my desire to sound clever and hilarious-- I am not getting to the meat of my experience this morning. So I guess it is time to get serious.
What worries me the most about all of these epiphanies, is this,
"It is the power by which Satan wishes to rule over us..."
I have had dreams. I have had good advice. I have had friends support.
And I have been in a state of opposition to all of these things. Major opposition.
It wasn't until I read that quote a minute ago that I thought about those feelings and the actions I have been taking are P.R.I.D.E.
That got me thinking-- what if I stopped fighting what I have felt God telling me? What if I stopped being in opposition to him and my wonderful friends and family?
What is the worst that could happen?
Nothing bad would happen. I just would be free. Free from Satan's enslavement.
Those are some freaky thoughts.
I am going to continue pondering that today. Maybe I will try it out. Maybe my panic attack over this new thought (letting others take MY burden on THEM???? Not FAIR!) will go away after a few YEARS.
I need to do some breathing. And Yoga.
God is good and correct, always, but that knowlege isn't helping my current panick. I will work on it and try it His way and get back to you though.
I am going to try letting others help me. Man that sounds hard.
Wish me luck. Or pray for me. Prayer usually works better.
Monday, July 11, 2011
I am just going to jump into it.
It was of course very weird.
For one, I was playing softball. Yeah. That's never going to happen in real life.
For two, I only knew two people I was playing with. My dad was there. My wonderful husband was there. And then there were all these random young kids.
Yep. Me against the kids. You know.
Anyways, I was watching other players on my team come up to bat and get on base. The bases were loaded. Our team hadn't scored any runs. Then, someone gets up to bat and hits a homer. But not one person remembers to run. They are all looking elsewhere and just generally not paying attention. So we lose our opportunity to score. In the dream, I was so disappointed. I found myself yelling out- "Run!" in a very impatient and frustrated manner. I was extremely irritated with all the slackers. ;).
Eventually the dream cuts to me getting on base myself with the bases loaded.
And guess what happened? (I am sensing a THEME) I was suddenly overcome with exhaustion. I laid my head right down on that base and couldn't get up because I just so tired. Then, lo and behold, someone hits a homer, and all I do is lay there. I couldn't get up. (Just like so many mornings in my pitiful real life)
And then-- you'll never guess.
The rest of my tiny team mates started yelling at me to run. But I just couldn't.
A few days after this dream I was thinking. It was Sunday. I arrived at church late. But I was there. My wonderful husband and I have discussed how it seems I am well for more hours of the day when I sleep in. I slept in, and my family drove on without me to be on time and I came late in a separate car. (Next time I will wake up half an hour earlier...) So anyways. I got to church and saw another church member arriving at the same time.
My thought when I saw him was, "Why is he late? I mean, what's so hard about arriving on time??"
I remembered my dream suddenly and felt so dumb.
Okay-- after thinking of my dream for a few days, I saw that it would be good for me to think about the way I react to decisions other people make. Yes, the kids were not thinking about the game, so we didn't score any runs. Yes, I was too tired and worn down to get up and run.
But I really didn't want people to judge me. They didn't really know my situation just like I didn't know theirs.
It made me think about how I should never judge another person harshly. I don't know what they are going through just like they don't know what I am going through.
I need to remember how I would just want someone to treat me with kindness. To not make me feel badly. To not make me feel stupid or worthless because of they way my actions affected others.
So on Sunday, I saw how the way I react and judge others can affect their feelings. And I don't ever want to make someone feel worthless or sad or judged ever again. It doesn't matter why that guy was late. I was late too. Can't we all just get along? Can't we all just love each other?
What I am really saying is---
Can't I just love others? Can't I just treat others the way I want to be treated?
This sickness is teaching me a lot.
Friday, July 1, 2011
"I just don't want to start over! I want the peace I felt before."
He said he had some thoughts about that.
"You need to stop being such a control freak." (Ha, only my dad would dare say that to me. And I loved his honesty. It was relieving. I don't really think of myself as a control freak. So I needed to hear it.)
"The times you do feel in control are just an illusion anyways. It can all change in a second. You are never the one in control. God is."
Then I was reading a talk from the last General Conference. On Sunday, it was the topic for our Relief Society lesson and I have been trying to ponder it since.
The talk is titled, "More Than Conquerors Through Him that Loved Us" and I was thinking about a certain paragraph very seriously.
"At times it may seem that our trials are focused on areas of our lives and parts of our souls with which we seem least able to cope. Since personal growth is an intended outcome of these challenges, it should come as no surprise that the trials can be very personal-- almost laser guided to our particular needs or weaknesses."
I didn't like this paragraph. Not because it was too painful to read because I could relate, but because I didn't know what it was talking about.
I turned to another person who might tell me what I needed to hear.
I read the paragraph to my WH (wonderful husband) and I asked,
"What weakness is it lasering in on?" I knew that my trial felt painful. Very painful. But it was like pushing through a layer of gauze when I was trying to figure out exactly why.
WH looked at me like maybe it was a trick. Or maybe I had an ulterior motive for asking. Ha. Poor man. He needed some convincing. I tried honest humility. In as sincere of a tone as I could muster in my embarrassment I said,
"I know I look stupid and blind. But I am. You are on the outside looking in and it is always easy to say-- Duh I know EXACTLY why you are going through this- when you are on the outside looking in. I really have no idea which of my many weaknesses this trial is zeroing in on. Tell me what you think."
I was so relieved when he looked like he was thinking seriously about my question. (What? I can do humble...;)
What he said came as a complete surprise. Only to me. But still. I had to process it for the whole morning, pretty much, before it made any sense at all.
He said I had a hard time excepting help. Like I had a, "I can do it ALL BY MYSELF THANKYOUVERYMUCH complex." (Excuse me?) "That may be what your dad is talking about when he calls you a control freak."
I felt plenty of defensiveness after he said this so I knew he must be spot on. I held very still and closed my eyes as I tried to see what he was saying.
Well, I do like to do things on my own.
"I do HATE getting served. It is the worst feeling." I said with honesty.
He looked at me like..... Hello? Can't you see the obvious??? Even though he didn't say it cause he's too much of a gentleman.
I took a deep breath and said, "Will you tell me why that is a bad thing please."
And he did. Sweet man. He was very kind. He asked me about a recent night when some friends came over to help me finish painting my living room. ( It was taking forever because of a long stretch of feeling sick)
"Ugh I HATED that night! I was so embarrassed that that many women showed up without even discussing it with one another. How pathetic am I that is was that obvious I had bitten off more than I could chew."
WH said, "Tell me who was there."
I named them.
WH then went through, one by one, telling me of how I have quietly served each one of those women. He said, "This is their turn. All the warm fuzzies you felt in serving them, they get to feel them now serving you."
I said I didn't even know how to act when others served me.
WH jokingly said, "Have an attitude of gratitude. Get a check up from the neck up."
Ha, I thought that was awesome. And inspired. I immediately took notes in my journal.
Attitude of gratitude. I thought back on times I have tried to help another person in need. The best times for me was when that person seemed to really need what I had given. That is always my only hope in serving. That I get it right and give them what they felt they needed most in their time of suffering.
The times I felt for sure I had it right was when they said to me, "Thank you so much. That was exactly what I needed." (I have a thick skull)
It wouldn't hurt to say that when others served me. To swallow my pride and admit--
I can't do it all myself right now. Thank you for helping me.
Hmmm... a lot to ponder. At least now I know what to say when others help me.
Do you feel so embarrassed when others help you that you wish you could just melt into the floor? Is it just me?
Thanks for sticking around for that novel.
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
In the dream, there were many different tasks that I really needed to accomplish. The setting morphed and changed often, as did the task.
And it was awful. The setting would change, then I would proceed to help someone clean or talk or whatever normal life thing it was. Then, something awful would happen. Usually to someone else. And I was the only person around to help. You could say I was the one responsible to help them.
But suddenly, I couldn't properly move. It was a horrible feeling. It happened many times last night.
I woke up completely freaked by the dream and at first I couldn't remember much except that feeling of not being able to move. I tried to explain it to my very non-dramatic husband while my three year old climbed and jumped on my head (don't ask, he is so weird), which seriously impaired my ability to adequately explain the feelings involved in the dream.
"It was like every time I needed to do a critical task, I was being.... held down. Like.... water holding me down..." But I knew that wasn't really it. I struggled to pinpoint what had been wrong with me in the dream
It was a familiar feeling in the dream. It seemed to be something I recognized somewhere in my brain. What was it holding me down and keeping me from helping those who needed me?
What was it....
And suddenly I recognized what it was. I looked at my husband, who probably didn't feel my horror because of a well timed jump on my head by aforementioned three year old.
What had kept me back from moving as I ought was just plain exhaustion. I was too tired. Too sick.
It was a nightmare. Yes. But a nightmare sprung from memories.
The past few months I have been sick. Something that has to do with my intestines or digestion, and the symptoms leave me feeling completely wiped out for days. I sleep a lot as my body heals. I have a few days here and there where the pain is tolerable and I get various neglected tasks done around the house. I may just barely get my head "above water", and then the pain and exaustion pull me under again. My husband suffers, taking on his demanding day job, then coming home and doing most of mine. Nothing is below his notice. Dishes, done. Children put in pajamas and tucked into bed?- no problem. Vacuuming, sure. Laundry?- already folded. I could be mistaken but I am really believing I married Superman.
But that kind of single parenting would even get old to Superman. I hate seeing my husband suffer. I hate seeing my three children suffer. Right now-- for example-- it is 12:25 pm and it is a beautiful park type of day and guess what my kids are up to while I rest on my bed with my laptop in my lap? Well, they are playing on my treadmill in the office. I can hear them. Exciting. Summer appropriate.
The darn dream put fissures in my glass bubble I have around me protecting me from negative thoughts.
The bubble constructed from prayer, mostly. Scripture study, probably equally. But also many hours pondering what it means to trust God's will. All the precious confirmations about WHY we go through trials. WHAT I am supposed to learn. That God loves me and knows why I need to go through this. When I am properly surrounded by my bubble, I have peace.
Okay, there weren't just fissures put in my glass bubble. I went to my bedroom, closed the door. Then I went to my bathroom, and closed that door to. Then I fell to the floor and pretty much exploded it from the inside.
What is nice about the Savior though, is the way he is willing to reconstruct my bubble whenever I am ready to put in the work with Him again.
Right now, isn't that time. But I have all the memories of the how the bubble was made. They are hovering at the edge of my insanity today. You could call it hope. Yes, I have hope for my peace bubble. It will come again.
I am just sad for the day.
Thursday, February 10, 2011
How much should I explain?
How much detail do I need?
But seriously, I think I should just write as I have always written, and hope people understand.
I'm sure this will be easier once I just start, and then maybe explanations will come with less difficulty later.
So here I go--- my first post.
Lets hope it isn't lame.
I am going to go through the entire 12 steps of the LDS Addiction Recovery Program-- again. (click on that line to be taken there)
I have done it once before, for my body image issues.
And I must say-- it helped immensely. I am a different girl because of it.
But this time, I want to do it for anger. I don't know if you know what it is like to have a horrible temper. To be a person who is generally fun and easy to get along with. That is, until something doesn't go your way. My dad says that ever since I was about 11, I would have this switch. And once my switch flipped, I was a different person. He didn't tell me this until a few weeks ago.
I recently read "Little Women." I can't believe I hadn't read it yet! It was an awesome book. Because the women in it are sweet, and quaint, and lovely, but not because they were born that way. It is because they strove to be that way in their youth, resulting in lovely women as adults. It was fascinating for me.
Jo, one of the little women, has anger issues. Imagine that? The way she describes her anger issues is the same way I would describe mine! How wonderful, how relieving! I am not the only one! Here is an excerpt from the lovely novel. My favorite part. Life changing, it is.
"You don't know, you can't guess how bad it is! It seems as if I could do anything when I'm in a passion. I get so savage, I could hurt anyone and enjoy it. I'm afraid I shall do something dreadful some day, and spoil my life, and make everybody hate me. Oh, Mother, Help me, do help me!"
Then her mother does help her,
"I will my child, I will. Don't cry so bitterly, but remember this day, and resolve with all your soul that you will never know another like it. Jo, dear, we all have our temptations, some far greater than yours, and it often takes us all our lives to conquer them. You think you temper is the worst in the world, but mine used to be just like it."
"Yours Mother? Why, you are never angry!" And for the moment Jo forgot remorse in surprise.
"I've been trying to cure it for forty years, and have only succeeded in controlling it. I am angry nearly every day of my life, Jo, but I have learned not to show it, and I still hope to learn not to feel it, though it may take me another forty years to do so."
The patience and humility of the face she love so well was a better lesson to Jo than the wisest lecture, the sharpest reproof...
"Mother, are you angry when you fold your lips tight together and go out of the room sometimes, when Aunt March scolds or people worry you?"
"Yes, I've learned to check the hasty words that rise to my lips, and when I feel they they mean to break out against my will, I just go away for a minute, and give myself a little shake for being so weak and wicked," answered Mrs. March with a sigh and a smile...
"How did you learn to keep still? That is what troubles me, for the sharp words fly out before I know what I'm about, and the more I say the worse I get, till it's a pleasure to hurt people's feelings and say dreadful things. Tell me how you do it, Marmee dear."
"My good mother used to help me..."
"But I lost her when I was a little older than you are, and for years had to struggle on alone, for I was too proud to confess my weakness to anyone else. I had a hard time, Jo, and shed a good many bitter tears over my failures, for in spite of my efforts I never seemed to get on. Then your father came, and I was so happy that I found it easy to be good. But by and by, when I had four little daughters round me and we were poor, then old trouble began again, for I am not patient by nature, and it tried me very much to see my children wanting anything."
"Poor Mother! What helped you then?"
"Your father, Jo. He never loses patience, never doubts or complains, but always hopes, and works and waits so cheerfully that one is ashamed to do otherwise before him. He helped and comforted me, and showed me that I must try to practice all the virtues I would have my girls possess, for I was their example. It was easier to try for your sakes than for my own. .."
"... you must keep watch over your 'bosom enemy', as father calls it, or it may sadden, if not spoil your life. You have had a warning. Remember it, and try with heart and soul to master this quick temper, before it brings you greater sorrow and regret than you have known today."
"I will try, Mother, I truly will. But you must help me, remind me, and keep me from flying out. I used to see Father sometimes put his finger on his lips, and look at you with a very kind but sober face, and you always folded your lips tight and went away. Was he reminding you then?" asked Jo softly.
"Yes, I asked him to help me so, and he never forgot it, but saved me from many a sharp word by that little gesture and kind look."
"... My child... if you learn to feel the strength and tenderness of your Heavenly Father as you do that of your earthly one. The more you love and trust Him, the nearer you will feel to Him, and the less you will depend on human power and wisdom. His love and care never tire or change, can never be taken from you, but may become the source of lifelong peace, happiness, and strength. Believe this heartily, and go to God with all your little cares, and hopes, and sins, and sorrows, as freely and confidingly as you come to your mother."
... in that sad yet happy hour, she had learned not only the bitterness of remorse and despair, but the sweetness of self-denial and self-control, and led by her mother's hand, she had drawn nearer to the Friend who always welcomes every child with a love stronger than that of any father, tenderer than that of any mother."
I have never been so touched as I read a novel. It spoke straight to my heart. For one, Jo describes her anger in the same way I would describe mine. Then her mother, who is described as sunshine to her daughters throughout the beginning of the book, admits to the same weakness.
In Jo's mother's description of her struggle to master herself it wasn't one prayer, one struggle and then she was done. It was a lifetime, forty years of struggle. Every day. This just feels so realistic to me!
And it makes me feel grateful. I can struggle, too.
So in an effort to involve my Heavenly Father in the process, I am going through the Addiction Recovery Program again.
In the meantime, I have been trying to "fold my lips". I actually succeeded one time yesterday and I can't tell you how sweet that felt that evening as I relived it. If I can just remember that sweet feeling, maybe I can remember to fold lips again today.
If only I were perfect right away! How wonderful it would feel to go to bed with no regrets every day!