Joy in Each Day

One of my favorite videos to watch this time of year is this one:
I shared it with my night class earlier this week on a day that I needed some extra encouragement to look for the good around me. This was me as I was leaving the doctor who told me to not move my shoulder for two weeks. (Yeah, no big deal I just have 3 small kids and one sleeps in a crib.)

I sent this picture (sorry this was real life) to the Smart One and told him the diagnosis of waking up with shoulder pain and not being able to lift my arm. The doctor called it Bursitis, to me it just feels like I'm old and not even 35!
I went home overwhelmed at the thought of my to do list. I had school stuff to get done and my house was a wreck (it was the day after Halloween after all). Of course the Smart One immediately calmed me down and helped me prioritize, he's good like that. He and the kids cleaned up while I taught my class. 
As I showed the video to my class I was reminded of some great blessings I had at that moment.
1. How great of a blessing our bodies really are, I still have my health and can function ok.
2. Freezer meals are perfect at times like this, so glad I did a bunch with one of my besties last month!
 3. I have a pretty amazing husband and pretty great kids! Truly, I'm not just saying that. 
4. A season in which to strive to focus on those things I'm grateful for.

Yesterday I started looking for some quotes for Thanksgiving and came across this talk that Pres. Uchtdorf gave 4 years ago in general conference, Of Regrets and Resolutions
My favorite part was this:
"Brothers and sisters, no matter our circumstances, no matter our challenges or trials, there is something in each day that can bring gratitude and joy if only we will see and appreciate it. 
"Perhaps we should be looking less with our eyes and more with our hearts."

I look forward to being able to stand up straight to do my hair and put on makeup in the (hopeful) near future. Until then my goal is to try harder to find gratitude and joy in each day. 


Mother Heart

Yesterday afternoon was beautiful, the perfect weather for playing outside. So that is what we did. The baby was taking a nap so The Silly One went to the park at the end of the street to play with some friends. The Small One stayed and played in front of the house. The Silly One ended up slipping on the playground and split his chin open, again. This happened about two and half years ago but riding bikes. It was a long evening from there as we went to the doctor (thank goodness for night clinics!) and got it stitched up. I guess once it happens it is easier to happen again in the future. He opened it right next to the first scar. 
When we finally got everyone home I had to go to the store to get the Silly One something for school today. When that was finished I was ready for bed myself. Trying to unwind, I kept thinking about how I accomplished all I did. Blood and gross stuff is not my strength. I'm very grateful for doctors and nurses who can take care of those things for my children. But as I was thinking about it I realized that it really is amazing what you can do for your child, especially when they are sick or hurt. Like that Mother Bear instinct that just kicks in and takes over. I then remembered a talk that Julie B. Beck gave about a "Mother Heart." I read it last night and came across a quote that fit exactly how I felt perfectly.

"There is no limit to what a woman with a mother heart can accomplish."

I am not trying to say look at what a great mother I am, not that at all because I see so many short comings and things I could do better on a constant basis. (I didn't even give him Tylenol to dull the pain before going to the doctor.) Simply that I love my children and there is power in that. Amazing things happen when that is the case and that is really what our children need. I saw it in my own mother last night as I called her to ask her to watch the youngest two and 
without hesitation she did. 

This was us last night as they cleaned it all out. It isn't a glamorous picture by any means. I actually thought my husband was taking the picture of just The Silly One. But as they numbed it we had to wait for it to kick in and I got to sit next to him on the table as he played on the ipad and showed me replays of EVERY race. I held his hand and looked away as they stuck things in his chin and stitched it up. (Taking deep breaths to not pass out, I said I was no good with this stuff.) He was fine and maybe didn't even need me, but I was glad I could be there with him. 

Being a mother isn't easy by any means but, 
"I know who I am, and I know what I am supposed to do. The rest just follows."


Kindness Above All

I'm trying to grade right now as my baby takes a nap and my middle child plays Minion Rush. Usually this is semi-effective but the assignments I'm grading right now are hard ones. They are time consuming and get a bit tedious at times. 
I should be redlining assignments . . . .
The hard part for me this morning is trying to focus as I keep thinking about an email a student sent me this morning. I am finishing up my 7th year teaching at LDS Business College in a few short weeks and the email I received today is unlike any other I have received. This ending of the year brings a lot of stress to the students in my department as they prepare for their big portfolio event and graduation. They often talk about the stress they feel and times of overwhelming to do lists. I have had students in the past who have done very well, that have failed, just made it through and been average. 

This current semester I have one particular student who is struggling, in danger of failing and not graduating. This is nothing new or out of the ordinary. It has sadly happened before to others. She sat next to another student in class this week who at times has struggled but has also spent a lot of extra time to understand and is much more confident than in the past. The student who is more confident sent me an email this morning asking for help. Not for her own assignment but how she might help the struggling student, what she might be able to do. I was initially shocked, knowing how busy each student is right now. But then I thought of this student and what a Christlike example she is to care for another when she has so much on her own plate. 

As I look to celebrating Easter this Sunday I was reminded of the Savior's example of kindness and the scripture Matthew 25:40, which reads, 
"And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me."

What an eye opening reminder for me as I look to celebrating the life, death and Resurrection of my Savior this Sunday. Hallelujah for kindness!


New Year, Fresh Start

10 years ago New Year's Day was life changing for me. I didn't think so at the time but a decision I made that day was pivotal in creating the life I now have. As I think back to that day and the turmoil I felt I was in, I think it almost ironic all that happened on the day it did. As people are making resolutions to do so many things and people are so full of hope and change with a fresh start at the beginning of a new year. Because of the things that happened on that day 10 years ago I remember the next couple of days being literally ill; like fever, chills, throw up, etc. kind of ill. I believe it was a release of a lot of emotional stress that I had been under. 

One might ask why I look back on that day as life changing, it sounds pretty crappy. It was. But there is also no coincidence that my husband and I will be celebrating our 10th anniversary this year. I didn't decide on that New Year's Day that I would marry him or anything even close to that. Without all the details, I decided that day that I wanted to move forward in the direction to date him and see where things went. This might sound silly, but because of that I've always looked forward to the new year as a fresh start and a chance to change direction. Do I make great resolutions and live up to them even close to perfectly? No. But in the words of Anne Shirley:

Credit to Jill, check out her great talent here.
So this year for my resolve I am focusing on a poem. This last year my Grandma died and at her funeral my uncle read a poem that was written by my Grandpa. And then my aunt actually gave us a copy of it in his handwriting for Christmas. 

Do you wish the world were better?
Let me tell you what to do
Set a watch upon your actions
Keep them always straight and true
Rid your mind of selfish motives
Let your thoughts be clean and high
You can make a little Eden
Of the sphere you occupy. 

There are several more specific goals to go along with this but this if my focus. I am going to memorize it and have children memorize it also. 2016 is full of so many possibilities, I look forward to what it brings. 


Christmas Lessons 2015

Each year at the beginning of the Christmas season I think about what will make this Christmas memorable or different or whatever else. This last year has been an adjustment to three kids and I feel that this Christmas was busier and crazier than normal trying to accomplish the never ending to-do list. But as Christmas has now come and gone I have thought about a couple of things I’ve learned from this Christmas season that I wanted to write down, even if I’m the only one who reads it.

I often think of this quote from A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, “For it is good to be children sometimes, and never better than at Christmas, when its mighty Founder was a child Himself.” Two experiences made this particularly poignant to me this year.

#1 Earlier this fall when doing some testing for my oldest he was asked what he would wish for if he was given three wishes. The doctor told my husband and me that he had asked our son this and asked us to guess what the answers were. Now I start asking my kids early what they want for Christmas and they are quite creative making up toys that don’t exist so I figured it was something like that. I was shocked when the doctor told us that our son had wished for his own house and family of his own (when he is older) and to be kind.

#2 I got the chance to take my boys shopping to buy a present for each other. We decided last year this would be a good chance/lesson for them to use their own money to buy something for each other. I first shopped with the oldest and we counted his money while at Target so he knew how much he had. He was ready to spend ALL his money on something awesome for his little brother. It was quite sweet. I then shopped with my youngest son and went through the same thing of counting his money at the store. And just like his brother, he was ready to spend ALL his money on a cool present for his brother. It was wonderful to see this moment twice separate from each other how both of my boys wanted to give all they had to their brother. That same brother that they fight with most of the day long and leg tackle and yell at and punch, etc.

These two made me realize I need to focus my priorities and see things more simply. My boys are such wonderful examples to me. I hope all had a wonderful Christmas and wish you a Happy New Year!


Babies Don't Keep

I have been thinking about my children and what I can do to teach them and help them a lot the last few days. I was even thinking about writing a blog post about it also. I went to church today and was able to attend Relief Society. The lesson just happened to be on families and parenthood. It was just what I needed. I recently (probably the last month or two) read an article about a mother struggling to care for her newborn. I could really relate, it can be so straining to care for a newborn and then add other children and responsibilities. Some things don't get done each day but the baby has needs that HAVE to be taken care of. There is no saying, "I'll get to it later" or "When I have more time . . " What I gained from the article was that this woman changed her perspective to that of caring for her baby was her job, that was her primary goal to accomplish day in and day out. She found that she got more joy out of her "job" when she thought of it that way.

My thoughts started this week when I was frustrated at the condition of my home. It was a disaster, you know tornado type disaster. The things I had accomplished that day were take my kids to swimming lessons, vacuum the family room, clean the toilets, make dinner, and watched my two nieces. We had a great time with them playing, my kids love their cousins. It sounds like a lot and actually is I guess but I was frustrated when I looked around and my house was still a mess. What did I expect when the whole house wasn't vacuumed, just one room. The bathrooms weren't clean, just the toilets. I then remembered a little poem my mom had hanging up when I was a child.
"The cleaning and scrubbing will wait till tomorrow, 
For children grow up, as I've learned to my sorrow.
So quiet down, cobwebs. Dust go to sleep.
I'm rocking my baby and babies don't keep."
Baby #1 about 4 months old
Baby #2 about 5 months old
Baby #3 - 5 months old
My 3 babies a month ago
It is true that babies don't keep, look at them! I was about in tears when I thought of that little poem. Am I missing the point? My job is to be a mother! I need to wake up. So that night I went into their rooms and looked at them and kissed them goodnight (again). They were so sweet and peaceful just sleeping.

I often use #IAmAMother when I post things because it explains so much. Kids are crazy and our days hardly go as I plan in my mind and that is ok. I started thinking how I want my kids to remember their mother. It is a big job but I hope each day will be better and we learn from each other. I'm not perfect, far from it! I just hope to keep trying and being able to learn and play with my little ones.

One quote I loved from today's lesson was, "Do you know why righteous mothers love their children so much? Because they sacrifice so much for them. We love what we sacrifice for and we sacrifice for what we love." My own mother told me this same thing several years ago and more and more I understand not only what she was saying but what she did for her family.


Easter Thoughts

I know Easter was over a week ago but is it ever too late to post a message about Jesus? I think not. I just wanted to write down a couple of thoughts I had leading up to Easter that were started with a short and frustrating story. About two weeks before Easter we were cleaning up the kitchen after dinner and asked the boys to clean up the living room to get ready for Family Home Evening (FHE). The usual whining and complaining ensued. However; the Silly One, for whatever reason, decided to throw a plastic dinosaur at the Small One and hit him right in the face. Now this wasn't done from across the room, he was a couple of feet from him. This also wasn't done with one of those little plastic dinosaurs, it was of those those about 6" or so. I was immediately so frustrated and could not comprehend the logic that caused this action.

The FHE lesson I planned was no longer going to happen as consequences were such that the Silly One was going to bed ASAP. They both got ready for bed and I remembered the Bible story picture books we have so I pulled out the Easter Story one.

We read it quickly and at the end I was struck by something so simple. After the Savior has been resurrected he appears to his disciples and in the book he said, "Go and tell the world what God has taught us: if we do bad things, we should be sorry. If other people do bad things, we should forgive them." We finished the book and had family prayer, the Silly One said sorry and the Small One forgave him. It was amazing to me what a profound lesson came from such a mess. None of our lives are perfect and not one of us is perfect, but because Jesus dies and rose on the third day we have hope for tomorrow. Hope to be better and become better. Peace through forgiveness because of His atonement. I know He lives!