Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Mostly Photos

We're leaving for our annual trip to the Midwest so it'll be awhile till I post again.
Also, I'll be changing the url of my blog to live-meaningful.blogspot.com when I get back (probably on July 8th I will change it). I'll post again before I do it, but here is a heads up!


My sister Haley came for a visit on Memorial Day

Our dear friends and neighbors the Kents moved. We are so sad

Our other neighbors that we love, the Strains



Hey Ben, did you want some edemame with your salad?

Or how about a playdough pizza?

Wouldn't YOU like to take a nap with a cape put on by your sisters?


Late night Support Runners prep

At the expo

Some great posters made by supporters!





Joel's family came for a visit






"He's too heavy, Mom"




Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Children are a Blessing


Talking about the blessings of children can be hurtful to many. There are some who desperately want them, or want more than they have. I don't know why everyone isn't given as many children as they want. But I want it recorded my ideas and feelings about children, because I know there are lots of different types of people out there, and how I live does not make sense to most of them. And as children become less and less valued in our culture, I want my children to know I feel about them.

Friday, June 20, 2014

What is Your Love Language?



You need to know what you want. You need to know how you feel love.

Sure, this is worth recognizing. But more important, I think is learning how other people in your life show love.

We are told to focus on ourselves. Tell other people what you want, so you can get it.

I think this is backwards.

Instead, I think you should teach yourself to receive love from all kinds of different people.

When you are so focused on your own love language, you can subconsciously decide that the other love languages are "wrong." You can spend so much time deciding people are loving you the "wrong" way and so much time waiting, always waiting, for them to get it right. In the meantime you will be frustrated, annoyed, and judgmental.

I know because I've spent plenty of my life this way. Offended that people don't change. Mad that somebody can't get it through their thick skull. And sometimes, apathetic or avoiding. I don't feel loved around them, I say. I'll avoid calling them or talking to them, I say. They certainly don't make an attempt to understand ME so why would I open up to them?

We are in this life to ACT.

Get to know someone well enough to know how they speak love. Ben speaks through actions. My sister through thoughtful advice. My neighbor through gushy compliments. My friend through a listening ear.

There is nothing inherently wrong with different love languages. One is not more "right" than the other.

I guess, if you were looking for the perfect love language, it would be somebody who speaks all of those, at the right time.

I guess, if if somebody was doing it "wrong" it would be that they didn't love you. But I think you would find more often that not that you just can't understand how they show concern and love. It would be a travesty to sever a relationship over miscommunication.

But rather than change people we can work on changing ourselves. How can I educate my "love receptors" to accept love in the form of work? Advice? A Hug? Silence?

It's not easy, let me tell you. I have been working on this for quite some time and still have not trained my desires. I have plenty of nights where I feel unloved, annoyed, or lonely. However I first realized it was possible to speak love differently, and now I am trying to recognize it when I see it. And I am willing to work towards eventually accepting all forms of love.

Because I know on the other side of it I will be happy. I will be peaceful. I will spend less energy trying to fix people and more on loving them. That's where I want to be.


Monday, June 16, 2014

Celebrating Real Men on Father's Day



My community is full of good men. We are honored to have them among us. Men who shoulder responsibility faithfully. Men who love their wives. Men who provide and protect. I know these kinds of men are becoming rarer and rarer in our society.

I think it is our duty to honor them. To make them role models. These kind of men don't make the headlines. They aren't lying, cheating, or breaking someone's heart, they are just plodding along. "Boringly" doing what is right. Making others' lives safer and more comfortable. How we love them.

I think it's important to remember that these kind of men are made. They are shaped and molded by those who love them. All men (and all people) falter. We all make mistakes. Sometimes big ones. Because men have a role to provide and protect, their mistakes can leave others hurting and broken. But even men (and women) who make big mistakes are of great worth in the sight of God. How to be a good man is something that has to be taught.

They learn their duty not by nagging, prodding, and shaming, but by love and respect. A vote of confidence, a good role model can do loads to help someone along their path. When he can see the way, see the honor in the way, he can get closer and closer to his true character.

So let us hold up and honor what makes a real man. Loving the mother of his children. Sacrificing earthly pleasures for the ones they love. And let us do this by respecting men in our daily conversation and in our relationships. Putting in their path real role models, and not superficial ones, that can make all the difference. Real men are worth cultivating and striving for. I feel incredibly blessed to have so many "real men" in my life, and to have one as the father of my children.

Love their mother



D. Todd Christopherson Let Us Be Men



Wednesday, June 11, 2014

I'm So Postive and Real Motherhood

I don't talk about it much but I've gotten a few nice comments back about this blog. It's nice to be noticed, but truth be told I would write this stuff whether people read it or not. I learn so much from writing.

The comment I get the most is "you're so positive" so I want to make sure I keep it real on here.
No matter how real I try to be on here (posts like this), there's nothing quite like seeing it in person. I don't live in short, beautifully composed blog posts with a lesson at the end. Not everything can be captured through a computer screen, no matter how hard you try. Our test is in our human life, and not a virtual one.

I do try and be positive, but I want it to be said that I don't live positive. I am positive in retrospect. I am trying, ever trying, to live positive.

Progression. Growth. Change.

I'm in a stage of motherhood that is physically challenging. I'm in charge of three little people's every single need, I alone am responsible for all of their clean up and messes, and also all of my own needs. Overwhelming is a good word for it because it is literally impossible to do. Day in, day out. Wake up and do it again. It would start to wear on any human being who would be asked to do this.













The days are sometimes long. Sometimes I sit on the porch alone just to hear something that isn't screaming. It's a never ending battle as to what messes I can attend to during the day. I'm quick to anger in my comfortable environment. This is what it's like everyday, if not most days, or certainly moments throughout each day, behind our front door.

Progression. Growth. Change.

I know how to be and even how get to where I want to be. I know how I'm supposed to respond. I even know how to make myself respond that way. I've written it and read it, and reread it, over and over again. But I don't choose it most of the time.

I'm growing. I am going through an intense purification process. I am being refined.

It does not come naturally to human beings to carry a cross and a smile. If we are positive through our trials it's because we were first un-positive.

But hope is an incredibly real idea to me. I'm not hoping for a change in my situation, although I know that will come with time. I have hope in what the other side of purification looks like.

You may see my frown under the weight of it. Stressed, harried. I bend under it. Behind closed doors the darkness sometimes consumes me. Mary wore a look of concern, too. Pain is a part of the human experience.

Certainly this is not an excuse for poor behavior. On the contrary, it only motivates me to work harder to respond better. I have learned that the sooner I fix my behavior, the quicker my hope will become reality.

We women like to think we are alone. That we are the only one who struggles. You are not alone. Even my strongest friends let the weight show when they are alone. You are not somehow "broken" because you feel this way. We all feel this way. Weighed down, yoked to hard things. Hope for a brighter day. Choose light. You, and I, we will get there.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Your True Character

In our world, we are taught that we don't already know who we are.


































We are taught that we will feel the best, be the happiest, when we have cut off some intangible shackles placed on us by society.



































That we are happiest when we define ourselves by adjectives, character traits. And that that is the extent of "being you." Loving your faults. Accepting them. This is who you are, says the world.




































Who are you?

Is it something to be found?

Do you need to search on the mountaintops?

Do you need to try on every different adjective, every character to decide which one feels natural?

I'll let you in on a little secret that the world is confused about.

You already know who you are. You already know your true character.

You are innately something bigger than yourself.



As a teenager I did not live this truth. I was "the funny one" and I embraced it. This is who I am, I told myself. Even now, when I get into an uncomfortable or awkward situation, I slip back into this role.

Satan (and in turn, the wisdom of the world) feeds a steady diet of half-truths so we will ingest the lie. It is true that it is important to be authentic. God wants us to be consistent, to live with integrity. It is true that differences are inherent in God's children. Truly, I enjoy cracking jokes more than most.

But I am not a sum of my parts. God knows this. He does not define me as "his funny daughter." And truly, we ourselves recognize this too. Everybody in my family likes to crack jokes. In a room full of comedians, I don't compare.

We are also not defined by our faults. My Heavenly Father does not see me as the "quick to anger" one. So there's no reason for me to go around blasting, "I get angry. This is who I am. DEAL WITH IT."

What is your true character, then? Baptized members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints can learn it through reading their patriarchal blessing. But everyone, regardless of their faith, can also learn their true character by studying more about Christ. He is our brother, his father, our father.

You are loving. You are kind. You are friendly. You are grateful. You love others more than yourself.

By praying, tapping into the source of where we truly came from, we can feel the soft embers burn within our hearts of what is true. And as we grow closer to Him that true-ness will seep out of us, and other people will be more able to see our true character. Although we already are divine, we will also live divine, therefore "being you" in the completest sense of the word.




Friday, June 6, 2014

The love of my life

I spend a lot of time talking about kids and babies on this blog. It would be easy to believe, if one were to paint a picture of me using only this record, that they are my world. I don't want the record to be misguided. I don't only think of Ben on holidays and anniversaries.



Putting in a sprinkler last night





And just for fun, his two favorite songs lately. (As a side note, Ben is a country guy through and through. I always find it amusing when he latches on to something more mainstream. Pop culture is not his forte, so I think it's kind of cute)





He is my world. I miss his presence every second he is gone. I wait in loving anticipation for him to walk through the door. I smile when I see his face. I don't want to miss a single word that he says. There is no one I would rather talk to, be with, sit by.

I have a busy husband. I married someone who taught me that work is a way of life. Frankly, before we got married, I looked down on these people, the kind that never slow down. I thought they somehow loved their family less. But I can see the godliness in it now. This busy person has become someone I love deeply. A friend once told me, "I think I need my husband more. I just can't stand it when he is away."

I can't stand it. Just because I see him less doesn't mean I love him less. He occupies my thoughts. He is my rock and my partner. It may seem to be a one-man show during the day, but "sustaining" has become less of a separation of duties in our relationship and more like an emotional force that moves me throughout the day.

I love this man deeply, earnestly. I don't ever want to let ingratitude slip into my heart. Good men are hard to come by these days. Men who put family and responsibility ahead of their own wants, addictions, or selfish desires. I see so many women left unloved,  pained because their man chose something else over them. And I see good men pained because their wives do not recognize what they are. We do not have a perfect relationship. I forget what I have sometimes, too.

Ben chooses us. He is the love of my life.


Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Body Image & Our Home as a Haven

This was a guest post I wrote on my friend Danielle's blog today

I want to tell you about the huge gift my parents gave to me.  They gave me a home where I wasn’t subjected to anyone but my mother telling me how to look. Growing up, we didn’t have magazines in our house. I never went to the mall with my friends. We didn’t have cable. In my parent’s minds these were all ways to save money. This wasn’t an intentional positive body image exercise (and we are not free from body image issues), but it has done me a great service.


I grew up and the only place I compared the size of my thighs to someone else’s was at school. The only time I saw a commercial for clear skin was outside of my home. In the rare occasions of being bombarded by what I “should” look like in the shopping malls, as an impressionable teen I was accompanied by the anchor of my mother, a constant reminder of our home life.


HOME WAS A HAVEN.


It has really impacted my life. To realize home can be a place where you can keep damaging influences out. It’s something I think about often with new avenues that open up to get this kind of stuff into my home. Am I keeping my home a safe place? Safe from ridicule? Safe from hurtful words? Safe from distorted thoughts about who we really are, as children of God?

I don’t believe body image issues are something that is going to go away any time soon. Even if I felt relatively safe growing up in my own home, I still have plenty of insecurities. Do I still delete pictures of myself? Absolutely. Am I self-conscious about the 20 lbs. of baby weight I still have to lose? For sure. They may make me feel uncomfortable, but I am learning to separate these things from how I view my worth, as a child of God.


And that is something I can take with me until I am old and grey. Through all those wrinkles and eyes that can’t quite see anymore. Through saggy skin and droopy eyelids. You can’t take knowledge of true worth away.