Saturday, March 23, 2013

Can you take a compliment?

I used to take compliments very good and graciously, until I got people that were somewhat close to me giving me criticism. When we are criticized, and we don't defend ourselves, in fact, we choose to just be offended instead, and criticize in return (whether it's to their face or otherwise), it begins a vicious cyclone that destroys. When we turn to the Lord, however, and pray for the one who has criticized and let the Lord be our protector and defender, it plants a beautiful seed of love that will grow and bloom over time. Once the criticism has taken place, if you let it plant in your heart, it will grow a weed of self punishment.

Over the years after the criticism, because I let it plant inside of me, it seemed like I was continually fighting an inward battle with the bad others could see in me (even if they did not voice it or really see it), instead of seeing and focusing on the good that God saw and sees in me.

My husband wisely recently wrote, "Our security doesn't come from how others treat us; it comes from the relationship we have with the Father through the Savior, Jesus Christ."

Let's not put ourselves in hell because of what others say to us or think about us. Instead, focus on gaining a close relationship with God and Jesus Christ. Then we can be given strength to do what HE expects of us (which I think we'll find is VERY different than what society, or even our close loved ones expect out of us), and to pull and toss the weeds of criticism to give way for the seeds of love.

We have homeschooled our children off and on over the years. I am also into natural birth and eating mostly healthy foods from scratch. When people hear this or get to know this, many of them immediately either think I'm supermom, or a totally irresponsible mom. Most people who speak what they think about it will say, "Wow! You're brave!" and some add an "I could never do that!" From this, I could either say to me, "Someone thinks I am brave! That's cool!" Or I could think, "Wow! I can do something that someone else can't do.!" OR I could say to me, "They are really thinking that I'm crazy." Or, "That's sad that they think they can't do it. I mean, if I can do it, anybody can." Or, "If only they knew that I really don’t do it the way they might do it."

Let's look at it in a different light.

"Inasmuch as ye have done it unto the least of these my bretheren, ye have done it unto me." (Matthew 25:40) If the way we think of ourselves and others and the things we do and say to them are the same as doing, thinking and saying them to Christ, then you can see why we might feel like we need to put ourselves in hell when we are criticized, because we feel that we have offended and displeased our Savior. We can also see how if we want to treat the Savior with respect, then we need to treat others AND ourselves with respect. But this also means that when we view others as if they were the Savior and they say something great or nice about us, we can say thank you! We don't need to tell ourselves the story that they really are not saying what they mean. And we don't have to push the good away because of a critical remark that someone else told us about ourselves, even if it was from way back when we were children. Since "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto the least of these my bretheren, ye have done it unto me." is a true and real concept, let's ask ourselves, if the Savior complimented us, would we turn it away and say it isn't true?

The truth is, that truths and lies are always being spoken in our heads or out loud. Which ones are you listening to? YOU need to familiarize yourself with truth so that you can recognize and reject the lies when you hear them. If you can't back it up with scripture, it's most likely a LIE! Just like Satan, if he can't get through to US, will tell someone else lies about us, and hope that they will tell us, God, when HE can't through to us with his truths, will tell someone else and hope that they will tell us the truth!!!!

I figured out that the Lord has been trying to tell me for years that I am brave, but I put more weight on the criticism that I got instead of believing the real truth!!

What has the Lord been trying to tell you? Have you been believing lies because they are easier to believe? They won't be easier to believe in the long run, trust me! Trust God! He loves you infinitely and infinite is your worth and potential!! Believe it! This isn't just me complimenting you!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Have you given up?

I want to start this post off with a link to one of my favorite songs. Josh Groban's "Don't give up". This song has come on miraculously at several different times just when I have needed it.

I love this video! At about the 2:55 mark in the video, it shows the Savior lifting Peter out of the water. I think all of we mom's try so hard to walk on water, but what would we do without the Savior there to pull us up out of the water when/if we fall short in our faith.

My original idea for this post was to address when we think it is too hard to do it all so we just don't do any of it. Perhaps we have resolved not to harm anybody, but have also resolved not to try anymore, because we think we'll never get it all done anyway. Or even if we do get it all done, we'll probably be on our sick beds because of it, or it won't satisfy the one we think it should, etc...

I would like to tell you from experience that this tactic does not work well. Don't even "give it some time" to see if it does. It just makes more work for later, or for someone else to do. The answer is in baby steps and gratitude.

Take the kitchen for instance. This is a room in the house, that no matter how much work you do in it in a day, it will continuously need more. This can get discouraging to, well, anybody! I remember sitting in our kitchen looking for something to be grateful for. It was hard to find any part of it that was not dirty. I found two squares of tile that looked relatively clean and thought to myself, "If I were Thumbelina, I would love to have a dance solo right there in those two tile squares. I am so grateful for those two clean tiles." After seeing something good in our kitchen, I felt encouraged that perhaps I could improve upon it and make something else good. After I made the something else well and good (another two squares, table wiped, dishes put away, or shining the sink), I could be grateful for the new clean or orderly spots I had just made. If you are thinking, "And then comes the cup of spilled juice, or the next meal, or the tossed oatmeal..." just stop there and remember that you just had a good experience creating something beautiful. Just because someone just messed it up, doesn't mean you have to let that memory and moment out of your heart. You can keep it there and use it to testify to you, the next time you want to create order, that it will be a good experience to treasure up in your heart. You can also choose to treasure up the memory of your little one creating what he or she created in place of your order. Their creations are no less valuable than yours. They are not as advanced of course, but the little one may have no idea what you just did or how you did it. They are practicing what they can do. Does this mean that you sit and have fun watching it? For a second, sure. But don't wait too long before gently teaching them what to do instead of what they did, or disciplining them, if they already knew that they shouldn't have done what they did. Treasuring up the memory of the little one creating, as well, is good because, as you have probably heard many a time from the parents of much older children, "They grow up fast! Enjoy 'em while they are young." They really will be leaving the house before you know it!

Maybe you are one that has no problem whatsoever with keeping a clean house, but you may be giving up on your relationships. Relationships are the most important of all! You can't take your house, things, food, or clothing with you and you certainly won't be able to clean the house after you die, but relationships last beyond the grave. They are worth every ounce of energy you put into them. Make sure you are not wasting your energy, though. Sometimes people try so hard to please someone just doing what makes them feel loved. This isn't all bad, but take time to find out what makes the other person feel loved by you and then spend some time each day or week (however little or much) doing that thing.

In the scriptures there are many references to enduring to the end. There are so many things in life that we could spend our time doing, but if we give up on the things that really matter most, it will only make things harder in the long run. We don't have to think of it as enduring to the end of life, right now. We can think of it as enduring to the end of this trial. There WILL come a point where you do see a light at the end of the tunnel. Hold on. The light will come.
Here's a link to THAT song, by Michael Mclean ("Hold On"). I couldn't choose which link to post. They both have great images to go with them, but the 2nd one has more images from the twin towers incident. I liked the second half of the images on that one better, and the performer, but the 1st one was beautiful, too.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

You have a special job!

Never doubt your unique and powerful role as a woman! Our men need us to help them. You are a gift to your husband (if you have one). If he does not appreciate you, he will feel sorry for that one day (and you will, hopefully, graciously forgive him). I was just reading the story in John chapter 2 where Jesus turns the water into wine at the marriage. His mother came up to him to let him know that and it sounded to me like she maybe expected him to do something about it, because she knew he could. He then asks her, "Woman, what have I to do with thee? Mine hour is not yet come." Then she tells the servants to do whatever He tells them to do. This event was instigated and coordinated by a woman. Women have special gifts to give. We have divine guidance in dong the Lord's work. We can also, like in Mary's case, help men give the gifts they can offer.
I'd like to point out that nowadays, men are feeling undermined and underappreciated. For a long time women in general felt like that, but since the feminist movement and so much feminine control of the media, I think men are feeling weaker, like we don't need them. We NEED our men! We need them to defend us. Does your man defend you? If not, defend yourself. Stand up for yourself! But don't stop there, tell him that you need him to defend you too!!! Do not allow your husband's (or anyone else's) lack of support or defense for you seep into your self esteem. They may not say it but they are eternally grateful for your stand for good. They need YOU to defend the good you are doing. There are so many confusing messages being sent out today about genders and we can feel that energy in our world. Your gender is powerful! Women are extremely powerful! Men are too, but in a different way and they need us to help them show forth their power.
Embrace your power as a woman. Be a defender of good. Cuddle with your children, enjoy yourself in the kitchen. Sing a song, even if you think you can't sing. Dare to be cheesy and enthusiastic! What other womanly powers should you embrace?

Monday, March 11, 2013


With PPD life can get overwhelming pretty fast. I remember feeling pretty overwhelmed with where the Lord was leading me one spring and making a list of all the things I needed to accomplish within the next year. I then worked out a plan to get them all accomplished, little by little, with a daily schedule. I had been thinking that more children may have been in the picture at some point in the future, but not now. I was praying that the Lord would send me another one when he thought I was ready. The next month I found out I was pregnant with twins. Whoa! Now what? I thought I had quite enough on my plate already! I may not have thought I was ready, but God did. I decided to try my best to do as much of the stuff that was on my list, but a lot of my own interests got put aside. I now had new interests, anyway, like making sure I got enough calories and water to grow two babies, getting enough rest, and making plans for how to work things after the babies got here. But it wasn't just that. I needlessly worried about what other people might think of our situation and, with twins, there are always emotional issues to work through. There were also those that worried for us, wondering if we'd be able to handle all that we were undertaking. If I thought things seemed overwhelming to me before, now they were doubly so.

Fast forward almost two years. Recently I have wanted to work at preparing for the future. Getting things ready in case of an emergency, preparing my children's minds for "the real world", putting my house in better order so that we can find things quickly and easily, and so on. I was so interested in this, because I found myself fearing what the future may bring. Then the scripture "If ye are prepared, ye shall not fear." (Doctrine and Covenants 38:30) came to mind. And then the scripture where it says to "prepare every needful thing" (Doctrine and Covenants 88:119) came to mind. I liked these scriptures, but if your day seems as chaotic as mine does with floors to sweep and mop, children to feed and comfort, dishes to be done, laundry to fold, messes to clean up after, etc..., then a phrase like "prepare every needful thing" can seem daunting and overwhelming, to say the least.
Well, that is, unless you know what is needful. Remember the story of Mary and Martha? (Luke 10:38-42) After reading this story, we see that there is one thing that is needful. Hearing the word of the Lord. I love verse 42. It says, "But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her." How many times do we feel like the things that we want so badly in our lives no matter how good, seem to get taken from us or seem to stay just out of reach, or really don't satisfy us the way we imagined they would once we do get them (or fit them into our day)? Well, choosing that one needful thing shall not be taken from us!
Yes, the dishes and the laundry most certainly will not stay done, the family will be hungry again within a few hours (or shorter). There will definitely be work you do that gets undone today, thus needing to do it again tomorrow. But, if we choose that one needful thing - that good part - it will make all the difference in our day.
Here is a link to my online source for scriptures. The icon is right above the home page picture. It has the Holy Bible as well as The Book of Mormon, The Doctrine and Covenants and The Pearl of Great Price.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Being Not Deceived and Praising the Lord

Last night I was able to sing in a beautiful concert. One of the pieces we sang was Beethoven's "Hallelujah" from 'Christ on the Mount of Olives'.  I learned that he composed this song shortly after he wrote "The Heiligenstadt  Testament". ( Knowing that he had been contemplating suicide shortly before he wrote this, and then after reading this, I felt so much more connected with this song and sang it with all sincerity of heart! I love that he knew God enough to know that God knew his heart and knew that love for man and benevolence abode there in his heart!
This last PPD experience, I had a rare and sad opportunity to see just what misconceptions, skewed perceptions and advanced stages of sleep deprivation, on the part of 3 different parties, can do. Postpartum got to its lowest point. A point that I felt like the whole world was against me (except for my sweet little baby boys). After a meeting with the bishop, I asked my husband to give me a blessing. In the blessing, the Lord told me that when I am feeling like the world would be better without me, pray. And don't stop praying until I feel His comfort. (Jeremiah 29:13 And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.) Even though I knew who I was, and had a testimony, I was in great need of love and comfort. Refuge. That night I took that first step. Even though it was about midnight and I really wanted to be sleeping, I prayed. I begged for his presence, comfort and help. It took a while, but finally it came. I heard a (literal) still, small voice. It said, "It's a lie. The belief that if you killed yourself, it would make things easier, is a LIE! It will not make things easier. It will only make things harder. As hard as the way seems to go on living right now, it is nothing compared to the hardness of the path of killing yourself ."  Wow! This was big for me. Now, someone without PPD might think, "Duh! That's a no-brainer!" But we who have had it and have "been there" know this is BIG! The next day, I started thinking, "What other lies have I been listening to?" This began my journey of recovery.  I decided I was going to catch all the lies I could and expose them for what they were! Something you may not have known is that if Satan can't get through to your brain - you choose not to believe the lies he speaks to you - he tells those same lies to family members and tries to get the message across to you that way. Don't believe the negative things others say about you. They are lies too.
Last conference President Monson said that much of the joy that we are to have (2 Nephi 2:25) "comes as we recognize that we can communicate with our Heavenly Father through prayer and that those prayers will be heard and answered—perhaps not how and when we expected they would be answered, but they will be answered and by a Heavenly Father who knows and loves us perfectly and who desires our happiness. Hasn’t He promised us, “Be thou humble; and the Lord thy God shall lead thee by the hand, and give thee answer to thy prayers”?" (Doctrine and Covenants 112:10)
Have you been tricked into believing lies about you or someone else in your family? How do we avoid being tricked and deceived in the first place? "Pray always, that you may come off conqueror." (Doctrine and covenants 10:5) Watch ye and pray, lest ye enter into temptation. The spirit truly is ready, but the flesh is weak. (Mark 14:38)

Think of what is true. List all of the good and true things you know about you and the gospel and speak them out loud every day! "For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he." (Proverbs 23:7)
Here is a link to a performance of the song we sang. It is awesome!  I love it!

Thursday, March 07, 2013

Noticing a pattern

Frequently, over the years that I have had PPD, I'll have a good day and then a really bad day. A day that I feel the spirit and learn a great lesson from the scriptures, followed by a day where I feel weighed down beyond my own abilities. On the good day, I seem to have gotten enough sleep the night before and the morning is somewhat smooth. I take time to say a grateful prayer and really think about what help I need and would like from Heavenly Father and ask for it. My children are patient while I say prayers, make my bed, and get shower/get dressed. Even if things don't run perfectly smooth, I seem to have enough patience to handle them all. I fit scriptures in right after breakfast is done, feeling the spirit and getting a good moral out of it. The day usually goes pretty good, until evening, come 7:30, when I really just want to go to bed and wish everyone else would too.
On the bad day, it seems as though from the minute that I wake up, things just don't feel right. I don't feel like I can pray a real good prayer, I allow the children's needs to come before my own, before I know it, it is 10:00 (or later) and only half of us are dressed and the breakfast mess is still hangin' out in the kitchen. I feel like crawling back into bed, just as the phone rings. It's my favorite friend to talk to, but taking that time tells the children it's time to do whatever they want in their rooms, which makes for a difficult rest of the day, because we spend the rest of it either cleaning up after the messes they made while I was on the phone, catching up from previous days, disciplining, trying to lunch, worrying that someone in this house is going to end up in prison some day, and hopefully catching some educational time in the afternoon amid the napping and other toddler distractions.
The bad day may sound familiar to you. Or you may be saying, "Well, I got news for you, hunny! That's nothin' compared to my bad days!" If you were just thinking that, I hope you're laughing now. Honestly, I was being a little modest on the bad day description, because, hey, who wants to really go back and relive the REALLY bad ones, ya know?
I have a few different theories as to why this happens - ya know, the thing where we have a really good day and then a really bad day. (1) Perhaps it is a test to see if we will apply the really good stuff we learned from the good day before, or even from the bad day before in a new day and new time. (2) Perhaps it is us falling into a complacency trap. On the bad days, I usually don't put the big things first. I figure that I can handle anything today dishes out, after all, I handled yesterday just great didn't I? Well I must have forgotten that I DID put 1st things 1st the day before, and that I really did ask for the Lord's help and he REALLY did give it to me. I really did search the scriptures diligently and they really did speak to me. So it wasn't just me handling yesterday, now, was it? Yes, I think that when we don't put 1st things first, the consequences last all day long and they aren't pleasant. (3) Could it be that we ate something the day before that tricked our bodies into thinking that they were nourished, but they really weren't and then we wake up and all of the sudden, we feel it! Our bodies are now screaming at us saying, "Where are my vitamins and minerals? Where is the energy you were supposed to give me? Not only do we not have the energy we need to think clearly, you put junk into us that we now have to figure out what to do with - and that's not going so well!" (4) Lack of gratitude. That's it. A simple lack of gratitude.
So, now what? What kinds of patterns do you notice in your lives? What theories do you have? Does this same thing happen to you?
I want to delve a LITTLE deeper into the second theory. If we are not looking to God, we're not going to get any closer to Him. We might try walking backwards to him while we are looking at a million other things, but the million other things are going to stop us in our tracks. We may end up just wandering around going, "Where was I headed again?" And guess what happens when we wander aimlessly? Nothing good. Satan isn't alone you know. He has plenty of helpers and they will whisper all kinds of garbage into your head, especially when you're not looking at God.
This is why reading scriptures is sooooo important! This is why we are so blessed with the ability to speak to God in prayer! When we are armed with prayer we can withstand the blows of the toddler throwing a tantrum, or the extremely messy floor, or the rude comment at the grocery store, or from your in-law. When we welcome the heroes from the scriptures into our day, we are armed with faith and courage to do those piled up dishes, or to keep a close eye on the kids, or to face your husband when he comes home and the kids are fussy, the house is not clean, and no dinner is started. But, I hope you realize that it's likely that your day will go better than that, because the Lord magnifies your efforts when you have put Him first and tried your best throughout the day.

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

The power of The Word

Today I read in Mosiah chapter 2 (The Book of Mormon) and was thinking of how many times I had turned to the scriptures for strength, wisdom, and comfort and gotten it. I thought back on all the years past when I was going through postpartum depression and had been needing that spiritual drink, or that bread of life and looked in the scriptures for it. It filled my jug each time (if my lid wasn't on - and if it was I learned the hard way that the jug has to be open).
I remember reading this same passage when I was pregnant with my first child, experiencing some depression then as well, and thinking that vs. 20-25 were telling us that we should think we are ugly dust that is unprofitable. I did not agree that God would really give us that advice, so I struggled with accepting that scripture for a while. Over the years I have come to a realization of what it meant in my language, which was "God created your body out of the dust of the Earth, which He also created and owns. Your spirit is His literal offspring, and His son has paid the price for your sins. This means that we pretty much owe all we have to God and His son Jesus Christ. Does he ask us to give all we have to Him? Yes. Do we have to give it to Him? No. But, I personally have tried that road at different times in my life, even if just briefly, and I have figured out that for me to live and live happily and wholly, I need to give it all to Him. When the scriptures tell us to trust in him and not in the arm of the flesh, that wasn't just some old geezer telling us some ancient words of wisdom that were just for people who lived back then. This was God telling someone to write these words because they ARE true and WILL ring true forever! "Trust in the Lord with ALL thine heart and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him and he shall direct thy paths!" (Proverbs 3:5-6)
You may think, "If I give all to Him, what will I have left for me?" Well, let's address this question. First of all, if God so loved the world that he gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever would believe in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life, then we can know that he doesn't want us to die. And then if we look at scriptures like Deuteronomy 31:6 that says "Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the Lord thy God, he it is that doth go with thee, he will not fail thee nor forsake thee." we can know that He is the answer when we have battles we feel we cannot fight - alone. When we look to God, we live. When we turn to him He cannot and will not desert us to our foes.
So we've talked about the "If I give all to Him" part of the question, now for the "what will I have left for me" part. This is a very important concern and relates to the second great commandment "Love thy neighbor as thyself." Well if you don't love yourself, your neighbors aren't going to be very happy with the way you are obeying that commandment. What does it mean to love yourself? I will tell you my thoughts, but YOU think about it and pray about it and come up with your own answers. My thoughts: If you don't fill your own jug, it's going to be a lot more difficult for you to fill your children's, or your family's or your neighbor's? Let's be clear here that I am not talking about being selfish. I am talking about taking good care of yourself. To me and in my life, the things that fill my jug are praying, reading scriptures, journaling, getting adequate sleep, drinking enough water, eating nutritious foods, getting exercise, avoiding things that add more stress to my life (like processed foods, suspenseful movies, negative critical thoughts, etc...), serving someone, scheduling in at least 15 minutes relaxation time that is quiet, and music. I wrote those in order, by the way. Your order may be different and that's completely fine, but keep in mind that when you fit the most important things in first, the not-as-important things will settle in the way they need to.
So what fills your jug?