Sunday, January 7, 2018

The stories that aren't mine to tell

A while ago, 
my friend Emily wrote about how,
 as her kids have grown,
she's decided that sharing some of their lives 
was no longer a good thing.
They were stories that weren't hers to tell. 

As I'm writing this post, 
I need you to know that I will be vague, 
that I won't name names, places or circumstances. 

I've debated long and hard about even writing this. 
As writing is and has been 
a good way for me to express my feelings, 
think through things 
find peace; 
I've decided that it could be attempted. 

There are few joys that equal the joys that being a parent brings. 

Watching your little humans develop and grow 
is something that is both incredibly scary and amazing. 
There are the big moments of joys and accomplishments, 
but mostly they are the little everyday things 
that reminds you that this is both 
a sacred responsibility 
an incredible honor. 

In contrast, 
because parenting is such a heart and soul involving responsibility, 
there are few things that will cause deeper, 
more soul wrenching pain 
than the one that can be inflicted 
by one of those little humans. 
Be it voluntary or not. 
It is the state of things. 
I often feel this is our Father in Heaven's way 
to help us understand a tiny smudge 
of what He feels towards us. 

I can't say I expected sleepless nights to make a come back. 
I did know I would continue to find myself pleading with God, 
but maybe I didn't expect that it would be this desperately.

I didn't expect that I would have a hard time smiling to strangers and friends.
I didn't expect that the worry would overcome me.
I didn't expect shedding this many tears.
I didn't expect that through my own pain and agony,
I would find it impossible to be mad.

I didn't expect that through some of the most heart wrenching moments,
all I would think of was my child
and his pain.

I didn't expect I would be the middle man.

I didn't expect that I would question every thing I ever did as a mother.

I know we all do our best.
I know I do my best. 

I've long understood that all of us just try to take the good from our childhoods
and try to make the bad something we don't repeat.

We try to be better than our parents were. 
We pray and hope our children will be better than we are.

So today, 
as I'm reflecting on the events that have been taking place,
I feel broken and at a loss.
But I'm also hopeful.
Because I have knees.
Because I can talk to Him.
Because I can go to His house and be comforted. 
Because my child is also His child.
Because He loves us all the same.

Because no matter what,
I will love him.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Closing a chapter

Today, our family closed a chapter.

For the past 5 year, Joseph has been a counselor in the Bishopric (leadership) of our ward (church congregation). 

Today, he, along with the 2 Brethren he had the opportunity to serve with, were released of their responsibilities and the "baton" was passed to 3 new Brethren. 

Three great men who also are great servants of the Lord.

To say that the last few days haven't been a roller coaster of emotion would be a lie. 

I have always thought that I would be happy at the news of the release. 
I have always thought that the idea of more time with my husband and having him actually eat dinner with us more than a couple of days a week without having to rush away would be a relief.
I have always thought that having him sit in the pew with us would be an even greater relief. 
Don't get me wrong, I am excited about all the latter points. 
They put a smile on my face.

What I did not expect, however, was how hard this would be to "let go" if you will. 

Someone told me that it will be nice to have things get back to normal. 
The problem is that THIS has been our normal for 5 years. 

We've lived it, dealt with it at times endured it.
We've arranged our schedules around it. 
We've split up to cover the bases and strategized on how to meet all the demands. 

There have been hard times and good times. 

But mostly, there have been blessings. More than I can count. 

There has been spiritual growth.

There has been more love and compassion for those around us. 

Elder Dallin H. Oaks said: "At this conference we have seen the release of some faithful brothers, and we have sustained the callings of others. In this rotation—so familiar in the Church—we do not “step down” when we are released, and we do not “step up” when we are called. There is no “up or down” in the service of the Lord. There is only “forward or backward,” and that difference depends on how we accept and act upon our releases and our callings" (LDS general conference April 2014)

As I have contemplated these words over the past week, I know them to be true. 
I do not feel this was a "demotion" in any way.

I guess what I am trying to say is that we gave it our all 
and that I want to keep giving the Lord my all. 
Even though it will now be in a different capacity. 

So as we go forward and adjust to our "new" normal,
we go forward with Faith.

We recommit to go and do.

To become who He wants us to be.

Today, we closed a chapter, 
but the story isn't over.

A new chapter is beginning.

Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015 is come and almost gone

It seems the only time I blog anymore is on New Year's eve! A written review of the past year is never a bad thing. If anything, it helps see the progress we've made, the struggles we've overcome and the many blessings we've received.

The year has come and already it is almost gone. It seems everything just goes at lightning speed these days. Time sure flies. I would add when you're having fun, but it flies whether you're having fun or not...

Hopes and aspirations always come with the approach of a new year. There are things we all hope to do better and resolve ourselves to try. So it is with me. I've been reflecting about this past year since a little before Thanksgiving. It's been quite the year. With its good measures of challenges and its equal amounts of blessings. As Nephi says: "there must needs be opposition in all things". I've rediscovered this truth over and over this past year. I've also learned to understand better what it means to be "an Agent unto ourselves, to be free to act and not be acted upon"...

There were hard things this year. Hard, Hard, HARD adaptations. Like going Gluten Free. That was quite the challenge.

There were good things this year. Really good things. Work success and opportunities, girl's camp, 50 milers,...

I've become more familiar with the concept that sometimes you have to walk  all the way down to the doors of hell to receive ( or maybe appreciate) a blessing.

I feel blessed. Really blessed.

Joseph and I were able to attend the Temple on a very regular basis this year. In fact, I think we attended the temple more this year than we had in the last 14 previous combined. For all things there is a time and a season. This is a season where we are able to leave our kids home once a week and do the Lord's work in the Lord's house. It has been a lifesaver, an anchor to my soul.

I have felt broken this year. The kind of broken I had never felt before. Broken in a way that you know what you are feeling is untrue and illogical, but can't help feeling that way nonetheless.

I have been blessed with understanding family, friends and doctor. I have been blessed by a Doctor who could see what was wrong before I had even contemplated the subject, who wasn't afraid to open the door and who did it in a way that wasn't going to be rejected.

"Take a deep breath and smile". That was what I kept telling myself before going into a room full of people. I didn't want anyone to know. I didn't want pity. I didn't want people to "fix" me. But mostly it was pride. Humility is a hard thing to learn. Sometimes, though, humility is your only way out.

It was sitting in the Temple on a "bad day" that the reassurance came to me that I wasn't okay, but that I was going to be. Because I am in good hands. The best hands. I have a Father in Heaven who loves and cares about me. I have a husband who loves me and would do anything for me. I have a good Doctor who cares about his patients. I have friends and family. I have good kids, REALLY GOOD KIDS.

I am a blessed woman. I am blessed because even in the depth of what seemed like Hell, there was light shining through the darkness. Because even through the hard times and despite having his own personal struggles, the man I married picked up my slack. He did what I was unable to do. And not one minute could I ever doubt his love for me.

I debated a LOT about how much of my soul I should expose in such a public setting.

The truth is I have Depression.

No one wants to talk about Depression.

Those who have never had it or have a close loved one with it usually don't understand it.
Those who have it don't want others to know they have it.

I am not sure why I have to go through this experience, but what I know is that I am.

God is the potter. Through his hands He will make me the best piece of pottery that I can be. I don't know if He needs me to be a bowl, a vase, or something else. But He does. He knows. He knows all that I can be.

And he blesses me. Always.

2015 is come and almost gone.
2016 is knocking at the door.

It will be a great year too.
And God willing, another blessed one.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014: the year I would like to leave behind, but can't.

2014 was a sucky year. I feel like I didn't reach any of my goals. Little went the way I wanted and the things I worked really hard at didn't produce much fruit...

There were some great times! Matthew received the priesthood! We spent Easter with Great Grandma B! Samuel got baptized! We had lots of family visit! Samantha and her family visited us for Thanksgiving! Those were some fun times!

It also ended with a series of vertigo days, existential questioning and topped off with the full fledged flu right before Christmas.

But amid all the hard, something happened.
I was comforted.
I was lifted up.
I was made to see the good.
The miracles of everyday.

This is why I can't leave 2014 behind.

I didn't lose the weight I wanted to lose, but I did get in the best physical shape of my life. Then all came crumbling with injuries and illness. But I learned that I needed to not only think of my physical well-being but also my emotional and spiritual one. I learned to realign priorities and decided what was the most important to me. When my body failed, I felt like I was a failure. Not being able to get off your couch, or stand up without your world swirling can bring some dark times. I never thought I would question life again the way I did when I was a teenager, but I did this year. It was a dark couple of weeks filled with "what ifs". What if this is how I have to live for the rest of my life? What if I can never take care of my family the way I am used to. What if  I can't be the wife I used to be? What if I can't be the mom I used to be? What if, what if, what if... But then I watched a video of Stephanie Nielson (Nie Nie). "I am not my body" she said. That is when I realized that for too long I had neglected the other sides of me. Then came the "What is MY purpose?", "Why am I here?"...  I can't say that I have full answers to any of these questions, but I do know where to start: from the beginning. Praying with more intent and more regularity, studying God's words the same way. Being there for my kids and husband, not just in body but also in spirit. Physically, I decided I can live with Gray hair, but I can't live with illness and being fat. So the end of 2014 is bringing with it about 3 inches of natural hair regrowth (about 1/2 of which is gray) and a new nutrition challenge for the first 6 full weeks of the year. I am going nutritarian for 6 weeks. Then I will adjust or continue. That will be 6 weeks of G-Bombs (Greens, Beans, Onions, mushrooms, berries and seeds), no dairy, NO CHEESE (the hardest for me!), no meat, no sugar. What I realized this year is that counting calories and macros didn't work for me. I did lean out, but I also became obsessive about the numbers. That is bad. I am starting my fitness goals from scratch too. Vertigo doesn't go well with exercising and neither does the flu. Every time I started exercising again these past few months, something would happen within a week to sideline me. Another reminder to find the right balance...

I didn't reach my financial goals. In fact, last summer, I had some harsh words for God. Why couldn't he just bless me (and my family) with those few simple things. I was angry for a few days, then I cried for a few more. Once I was humble enough, I heard His words. He fulfills all of His promises in His time. Something did come from that. I started to see the little everyday blessings as miracles. All of them became reminders of His love and that He does fulfill His promises. A friend moving cross country and not wanting to take her freezer meat, a credit on the water bill for having paid on time the first year in our house, winning this expensive video game to go towards Christmas, and the list goes on... I learned that not getting the blessing I wanted didn't mean I wasn't blessed. I realized that my Heavenly Father blesses me everyday in numerous ways. I just need to open my eyes and see.

I lost friends. Well not really, but some of my friendships changed and some became long distance. Some days, most days, I think of my friend Bradi in Pennsylvania. I do miss having her close by. I miss her no nonsense approach to life. I miss seeing her. But she is still my friend. If there is one thing I have learned from moving to far places a few times, it is that friendships can also be eternal. What would heaven be without family and friends!?! Some friends I was close to became not so close. Sometimes, most times, that's hard. But then you realize that it's not that you aren't friends anymore, it's just that life is so busy that it distances you. As long as you work on the friendship and keep it in your heart, you are still friends.

To sum it up: I learned that it's the little things that matter.

May 2015 bring balance to my life.

Wishing you and yours the best for the new year!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Of blessings and trials

It's been a long long while since I have taken to the blog...

Much has happened; it's called life.

Over the last few days I have found myself needing to express what I have been feeling and going through.

It's been an awesome summer. And a difficult one.

It's been trying and refining and it's been filled with blessings from on high, with random acts of kindness and love.

Joseph and I took the family on a looooooooooong road trip to Montreal. We had a grand time visiting with family and visiting the place of my youth. Joseph stayed with us for a week and flew home. The kids and I did some more visiting (an extra 10 days or so).

A day in Quebec City!
Then we took the road again accompanied by my mom.

We had a grand time visiting Palmyra, NY! We were able to walk through the sacred grove and feel the Holy Spirit testify unto us that it is a Sacred place and that God speaks to his children again through modern revelation.

The Sacred Grove

We also had the opportunity of watching the pageant! WOW! We loved it!

The boys with Laman, Lemuel, Nephi and Sam!

Then we had a wonderful time in Kirtland, Ohio! We visited the church's visitor center and the little village around it. We felt the spirit of the lord. We sat in the room where the school of the prophets took place on the second story of the Whitney store. we visited the Kirtland temple. We sang "The spirit of God" with others of our faith we had never met. It was both touching and humbling.

Kirtland Temple

We then made our way to Nauvoo,Illinois where we didn't even scratch the surface of all we could have visited...
Nauvoo Temple: Eli's Favorite part of the WHOLE trip home!

 But we had a wonderful time and we were able to attend the fair before the pageant started.

Potato sack races @ the Nauvoo fair!

The boys learned a traditional dance!

More dancing! My boys aren't the dancing kind but they had so much fun!
Matt and Zack also got asked to dance by girls... (read very red cheeks!)

 What a magnificent pageant it was! (I even met NieNie in the parking lot!).

The next day we went to Winter Quarters, Nebraska. We visited the visitor center and learned more about the trials of the early Saints. We walked through the cemetery. What a holy and sobering place. We also walked around the Temple.

Winter Quarters,Nebraska Temple with my mom.

We drove to Cheyenne, Wyoming that night. We pushed it hard so we could make it home more quickly on Saturday. We had a wonderful time but we were also ready to be home.

All week I had been reflecting on the life of the early Saints, on all they endured, on their gigantic faith. I had been counting my blessings. My soul was so stirred.

Saturday morning I woke up to a spinning hotel room. It was so bad I couldn't walk or stand without throwing up. I made it to the bathroom and cried. I called Joseph and told him I wasn't well. And I thanked the Lord for having my mom there with me.

I knew there was no way to make it on my own. I knew God would have to make up the difference. So HE did. A kind local bishop came with his son and gave me a priesthood blessing. He blessed me that I would get home. He blessed me to do the best I could and told me that is all the Lord required of me. Do the best that I could. I knew from this blessing the Lord wasn't going to heal me, but he was going to see me home safely. And I was grateful for the power of the priesthood. I was grateful for a loving and caring Heavenly Father. I was grateful for my Savior who could understand my pain and helplessness.

My vertigo lasted 3 weeks. The words of that blessing stayed in my mind. DO the best that you can. That is all the Lord requires. Some of those days doing the best that I could was laying on the couch taking my medications and be grateful for my sweet children.

I was blessed by the kindness of friends delivering dinners and checking on me.

Throughout this experince, I started having the feeling that something is about to change and require more from our family. I prayed and told the Lord I would do whatever He required of me, multiple times, multiple prayers.

I interpreted these feelings and associated them with a coming event: Stake conference.
We got a New Stake presidency yesterday. President Swanson, President Gross and President Carlson.
I felt the divinity of their call but no change happened for our family.

The feeling is still lingering. Though I now know better than to interpret it.

I feel like clay in His Hands.I feel that He is molding me, preparing me for things to come.I feel like I am being put through the refiner's fire. I feel like this summer was one of sanctifying and of learning.
It continues.

Once again, as it has happened before, I know the Lord is preparing me.
I am grateful for such a wonderful blessing. I am grateful for the forewarning of the spirit.
I know He qualifies those whom he chooses.
I know that whatever comes my way,
"awill go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no bcommandments unto the children of men, save he shall cprepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them." (1 Nephi 3:7)