Blog Archive

Friday, April 13, 2018

Summer ideas with your children

    These ideas are from an e-mail I sent out to some of my friends who were part of a "Learning Circles" group together through Power of Moms. Learning circles is a group I organized that brought other moms together where we'd learn new topics each month from each other as we each took turns hosting and teaching a principle in motherhood.  The idea is from a website www.powerofmoms.com. And since summer is so close  I thought I'd share it again on my blog.  Although, some of the exact examples are from last year,  the same general thoughts I share here have helped me year after year!

     "Since summer is around the corner, I have been making summer plans, as I'm sure each of you have as well.  It's tough to know what to plan, how much, and when so kiddos won't get bored, but also so mom won't get stressed out.  But as I have gone through this planning year after year and made some mistakes and had some successes I wanted to share something that has blessed me greatly in this area.

     After a few summers where I just felt like it could have been better- I wanted to truly enjoy the full time with my children- I prayed again to know how I could go about things differently. 

     *One idea I had was to plan for things I WANT to do with my children, myself, husband or friends.  This helped me prioritize things that are most important.  Sometimes I got too caught up in trying to help my children be involved in sports or other activities- even feeling guilty like I needed to have an out of school party or even a last special event before they went back to school.  This would leave me feeling burnt out and needing vital alone time much more often than I wanted to feel. But now I realize more to include ME in that picture so I can enjoy each precious moment with my children.   So here's a quickly list of what has helped me:

     *It's helped to make goals with myself and each of the children of things they want to learn and do each summer.  With those goals we create ideas and ways to help them accomplish it.  But making these with them has brought us both on board- instead of mommy just says I have to.  For example this year Dallin is learning swimming, Andrew is working on his eagle project, Ben wants a job somehow, and Nathan is working hard to finish a program he is in, and for me I am trying out a nutrition program I was interested in.  These are just some of our goals.  I don't make many goals- just a few realistic ones that are natural goals anyway. 

     *It's helped to only pick out activities that will benefit not only the specific child but the whole family.  If there are too many sports or activities, I've learned the whole family suffers. We just pick out as many as we feel is best for our family needs that year. This year Trek, gymnastics, soccer, scout camp and swim are taking our priority. 

     *Since one thing I WANT and love to do with my children is learn with them and play with them we have one day a week for one hour or so that is our "learn something new" day.  In those days we've been able to draw closer together as we ask questions, research, do hands on projects, and read books or material.  With those precious hours we've learned more about painting, sewing, and cooking; we've read important documents such as the Declaration of Independence, we've studied astronomy, history and things like how to lead music.  It has been a very special time with them.

     *One day a week we play- from our list of activities we made together we pick out one to do together each week.  Whether it's walk to Top It (a frozen yogurt place), go on a hike, or play tennis together- we just have a wonderful time being together.  This has helped me also realize I don't need to do these fun activities every day!  I use to think that!  I felt I had to come up with something fun every day- no wonder I was burnt out.  Then all the other days I can go grocery shopping, let them play with friends- have it be the relaxing, enjoyable summer I think it should be. 

     *Another extra idea was I have homework sheets of things they maybe can improve on- like if one is struggling with math he will get a math sheet.  But, they never have to do them- but if they do they have a chart where they get stars for prizes.  So that way it's up to them to learn as they want and then they get small prizes if they do. 

    *My children also have a "help wanted" sheet where they can earn money for extra jobs around the home.  (Thank you Brandi for the idea!) They have to do regular jobs anyway, it's part of being a family I feel, but these extra jobs are just that- extra.  And since this is the only way my kids earn money they really appreciate this list (and so do I).  This and the above idea also helps when they feel bored.

Anyway, love you sweet ladies and hope all the summer plans go well.  Again, you can take this or leave it- I just had the thought to send this.😊❤"
(I thought I'd still leave in the last few sentences still since I do want these ideas to be just that: helpful ideas!! I hope it helps all you busy moms out there! )

Thursday, March 8, 2018

We are All the Same

                                 

     About 3 years ago, a son of mine was unofficially diagnosed with sensory processing disorder.  Sounds, touch and places where many people were was very hard for him.  I prayed for many years to find answers to help him feel less anxious in many environments, and little by little answers would come.  I won't share his full story now, but what I will share is how he isn't like that anymore.  It has been nothing short of a miracle to me.  But it also took a lot of hard work on his part- exercises each day, change in diet and a wonderful program called Brain Balance that helped him overcome his sensory sensitivities.  

     A little bit ago, I was helping him do his daily exercises (he still does to help maintain his progress) and he was not wanting to do them.  He usually is so obedient in doing them, so having a few times where he has a hard time I consider very lucky!  And I would expect nothing less! In fact I remember going through my own physical therapy exercises for a few years and just wanting to throw in the towel many times.  It is hard and he has been so patient.  So when I noticed he didn't want to do them I knew he needed a break, especially when I noticed he started to cry.  I felt then it was one of those times where I needed to just pull my sweet son aside and hold him and let him cry.  So I did.  And as he was with me he and I began to talk.  He wanted to know why he still had to do his exercises- it's already been so long.  So with a silent prayer, I told him again about how I prayed for him and how we found answers and that this program with these exercises was one big answer.  I also told him how he was  "diagnosed" with sensory processing (I hate labels and didn't want him to feel he was stuck with this) but how these exercises are helping him to still be better.  He then asked me what sensory processing was and I explained. But I also felt to explain how he doesn't do those things anymore.  Then I felt to tell him how every one in our own family has needed help at some time with different things.  I told him again about my depression and how I needed to reach out for help and strive to get better. I told him about things my husband, and older boys have had to do.  

      After I was finished, he said something to me I will never forget.  He looked up at me with tears still streaming down his face and said, "so no one in our family is normal?"  That innocent and honest question touched me, and with it I looked deep into those beautiful brown eyes and said, "Nathan, everyone is normal.  We are all the same, just some of us don't realize our own weaknesses yet or don't want to."

     As I said that I felt the spirit confirm to  me the truth of that- that each of us do have our own struggles and weaknesses. That's why each of us are the same.  And while yes, it isn't fair that in our world some weaknesses are accepted more than others and sometimes even sins are more widely accepted than weaknesses. And weaknesses and sins are not the same.  (That's another blog post.) What is fair is that each of us have the same chance to overcome them.

      The Savior even said, "They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick".  (Mark 2:17)  We all have need of our Savior- we all have weaknesses we have been given.  And once we realize what ours may be, that's when the true power can start to come.  For when we "(are) weak then (we) are strong"  (2 Cor. 2:10) for that's where true humility lies.  It is those that feel they do have it all together that really in fact have it together the least- for then you are not relying on Him. 

I love and adore you my Nathan.  You have had to learn hard lessons the last few years and have overcome so much. 

Monday, February 26, 2018

Postpartum and Peripartum Depression Help

      I have wanted to write about this for a while since some of my sweet friends have just gone through this.  oh it is so hard, especially when you want to just enjoy your baby.  
I have gone through postpartum depression almost every time I have had my sweet boys as well as peripartum depression during my pregnancies, but not all the same degree.

     I didn't know what they were, in fact I only knew of postpartum because of my sweet mom 16 years ago who talked to me about it.  But peripartum- nope.  I just knew I also experiences great depression during my pregnancies.  My pregnancies have always been very difficult, but I'd take the IV treatments, being sick all 9 months, and other complications I have had to endure over the difficulty of the depression.  That is to me the harder than any physical ailment I have had.  And it is so misunderstood and stigmatized.  

     So please know, if you struggle with one or both of these things- you are NOT alone.  And it is very difficult and very real.  And there is help.  

     I just read about a sweet mother named Emily who also experiences this.  My own postpartum experience is in my own story on this blog.  Emily's is found below:

Emily's story

My prayers are with you my friends.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

It's hard- will you pray?

     I actually don't know what exactly I am writing, but I do think I need to do this today.  It's been a while, since I have a wonderful new job for my church it has kept me busy in a different way and I have needed to focus on my family.  I got released as primary president to now be stake primary president.  How inadequate I feel!  In both cases! I have no idea what I am doing to say the least, but I know He does.  In fact when I got called in to accept the calling from my wonderful stake president I just came from playing basketball and not in anything dressy at all.  I thought  the call was for my husband- since in our church we don't know before hand who it is for. So shocked when it was for me! But every calling for my church has been a wonderful opportunity.  And getting to be with all the children still?  Heaven!!!  I adore those children and teachers, leaders and friends.

    For whatever reason, February and March are so hard on me.  So my thoughts right now are very real and very raw.  And because of the great blessing of my calling or job for my church I have gotten to know so many new and wonderful people I wouldn't have known in this way before.  And I know the trail of depression is very common.  So because of my love for my friends and those I get to serve, I wanted to write sort of a few different thoughts this coming month.  I'm not sure again what, but I'll keep writing.  Because I know service and love are one of the best helps when it gets too hard.

    But I also know, I need help right now.  I've had to learn to be much more honest with how I feel when I feel it is too hard. I know there are times to serve and times to be served.  So with that and others I have felt to share this with, I wanted to ask if you could pray for me.  Ever since I first became a leader I realized one very important truth- leaders are far from perfect- because I was now one.    They are human, they have trials like anyone else, yet they still have to try and serve and lead.  And I just need prayers- prayers and love.  Depression is hard.  It is lonely.  It is debilitating.  And I don't need someone to tell me right now a new idea to try, or another lecture.  I just need a friend when it gets hard.  That's it. And I am forever grateful for my best friend- even the Savior Jesus Christ.  For when it does get too hard, I spend even more time with Him and his light and life lift me even if I am not meant to be healed yet.
 

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Few lessons learned

     15 years ago during my first realization I had  depression , I was relieved and shocked.  I was so grateful for an answer finally- that I wasn't going crazy, or that I just couldn't pull my act together.  I felt I had to try harder than normal to do simple things- like quieting my mind enough during grocery shopping (I had so much anxiety), or finding enough energy to do the day to day demands like laundry or dishes.  So when I finally had an answer I felt I could also find answers on how to help it get better.  It was a huge relief! 
     But I was also shocked.  Shocked in the way depression was treated with such a stigma.  I remember trying to reach out to all around me, but instead I got turned down for a blessing, left alone when I asked for help, and even when I called the hot line for suicide I was turned away saying " you need to leave this hot line open for people who really need help".  Perhaps because I am usually happy and chipper, I didn't seem like the sort who would struggle with this- but I did.  I was still learning how to be assertive and stand up for myself in situations where people just misunderstood- so back then I didn't say anything- I let them judge and let them turn me down.  But inside it made an already desperate feeling much worse and I felt even more alone.  In this I learned a few things;

     One- to pray.  During my times I felt so abandoned and alone, I prayed hard.  I was very hurt by the judgments I received from neighbors, church goers, even family and friends.  After all, I wouldn't do that to them.  But after being told "no" to a blessing from a home teacher and a discouraging phone call from a friend, I felt very abandoned.  I felt deep down the words I felt from Him in the hospital that this condition wasn't "my fault".  Instead it was a combination of hormones, genetics and circumstances.  But I felt wherever I turned I was being in fact turned down.  But I knew deep down I wouldn't be from Him.  
     So I prayed- differently than I had learned.  I talked to my Father and began telling Him how I felt.  It was hard at first, but I in turn learned to talk to Him like that and now I pray not morning and night but each waking hour of the day I am constantly talking to my Father in Heaven.

     The other- I made a decision.  Either I could be sad about how people were treating me  and get even more discouraged or I could choose to live with my trial in Him- in other words in joy.  So I came up with a saying:  "Don't be depressed about being depressed".  I can't control what happens to me, but I can control how I react to it.  When I started to feel weighed down by my trial or others judgments I would remind myself this and instead look for ways to help solve the problem.  Coupled with prayer each day, that is how I found many of the answers I share on my blog.  It was a hard day to day trial and error- prayer and even fasting at times to see what helped and what didn't.  I kept an avid journal of progress, I researched till I felt I couldn't look at another book or screen...but the knowledge provided me with the power to withstand my own personal trial.  

     And I still do all those things.  Even now I hired a coach to help me with my own personal nutrition and exercise needs.  And I hope I will always strive to progress in all I do.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Small Acts



      I have grown to appreciate more people who are truly kind.  Good people who give without any thought of reward.
     I don't usually watch t.v., but when I do one of my favorite shows is "Kindness Diaries".  In that show the host believes that even with all the bad that is in our world, there is enough good to make the world go around.  He literally travels around the world relying on the kindness of others and along his amazing journey he proves just that.  That there is enough kindness is our world.  I too believe that.
      I was reminded of that as I heard stories of others helping each other in the midst of the hurricanes recently.  I was reminded of that when a neighbor and friend, who was recently diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's Disease, bore a powerful witness of God and all things good.  I was reminded that as my friends pitched in extra to help me put together a children's program for our church.  And I was reminded of that as I watched my 4-year- old give everyone hugs during family prayer.

    I pray I may always be kind.  That is my hope each day I have the chance to live here on Earth.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Jennifer Lynn's Story




     Jenny and I met in a kind of unusual way- through an article she wrote for the BYU magazine.  I was so touched by her article and experience and her thoughts on being a mother, I reached out to her through her blog.  Now she is one of my dear friends.
This is a little of her amazing story from the summer 2017 BYU magazine and her article titled "Finding Her Voice"  and some answers to questions I asked her.


     In 2004 Jenny suffered a massive brain stem stroke, where doctor's predicted she wouldn't live through the next day.  When Jenny defied the odds and survived the trauma, her doctors informed her family she would be unable to move or talk for the rest of her life.  At the time of Jenny's stroke her children were ages 2, 4, and 6.  She said, "After the stroke I feared that I would not be a good mother, but in many ways I became a better mom.  Before my stroke I was busy trying to be the perfect mom and was sometimes so busy that I was not available fro my kids when they really needed.  After my stroke, I was always available and gave my full attention because that is all I could give.  They had hours of my undivided attention and plenty of snuggle time...what I could do was more important than the superficial things I could no longer do."




How do you live with your trial each day with such optimism and hope? 

I have my rough days, too, where I cry & have “pity parties”, but I focus on all the good things.  I am grateful for Jesus Christ’s example during trials.  It provides guidance, strength, faith, & courage  for the things I must face each day, & it fills me with hope, courage & faith in myself to know that I am a daughter of god, & that god loves me, knows my heart, & will help, if I just ask.  But I will never improve if I don't see a  need to improve, & things are much easier when u include  God!

My knowledge of the gospel,  through The Church Of Jesus Christ Of Latter-Day Saints (also known as LDS or  Mormonism). Faith is also integral: I truly believe that my time on Earth is "just a moment" on the timeline for eternity, that I know I was prepared in a Pre-Earth life for this trial, & as I go along, I can see God's "tender mercies", showing that He is right there with me!  


What keeps you going each day?  
1 Corinthians 10: 13 (from the King James Bible) ... God ...will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.
 
This scripture gives me strength to know that God will not give me more than I can bear. The scriptures also teach that Christ will lighten your burden. I take it seriously & tell god when I feel like I can handle no more.  My favorite poem, Footprints In The Sand, reminds me that God is there, but carrying me & I take comfort knowing that he carries me when it is rough.  But I know he is there waiting to help me if I just ask. & when I ask, it surprises me how much I can handle (I don’t think Christ thought he could handle his earthly mission either, & I bet he was surprised by what he could bear!)  Once I ask for God’s help, I need to trust in Him & His ways (but I don’t lay it in his lap, I keep going, knowing he will help strengthen me).  When faced with adversity, we can either choose to move away or come closer to God, having faith that He can see the entire picture & can help mold us into who we need to become.

How do you not get discouraged?  
I keep a gratitude list.  I haven't written anything for a while, but I kept it for so long that now it's become  a "part of me", & that is how I see things.  Gratitude helps me see my blessings & change my attitude, as my hope, faith, & testimony in God grow. 

What's one thing you  have learned in your trial?
Never say “I can’t.”If something doesn't work out as  u hoped, just try 15 minutes later, or do it the next day—u may not feel well, need rest/food, or just need more time, in general.

You can read more about Jenny and her experiences on her blog  www.jenannlynn.org