Saturday, May 7, 2011

Celebrating Mother

I love this print by j. kirk richards

I decided a couple of years ago, that Mother's day would be a day that I would celebrate no matter who else chooses to honor me on that day!  

I remember being young, making a card, or purchasing a cheaply made gift for my beautiful mother.  My attempts to show my appreciation always seemed inadequate.....and they were.  The sad thing is, my mother always hated Mother's Day.  I don't know all of the reasons, but I think it had something to do with feeling like her children and husband were forced to thank her and finally acknowledge all she does for our family.  I am sure it felt so contrived and somewhat insincere to her. 

I remember a period of time where every year, when asked what she would like for Mother's Day (which we shouldn't need to ask anyway), her answer was always "I'd love just one day with none of my children fighting".  Then she would walk away with a deep sigh.

Motherhood is a tough job.  There is no denying that, but what breaks my heart is when we start to feel so under appreciated, and/or inadequate, that we would rather altogether avoid any mention or celebration of our role as mother.

The first couple years Tyler and I were married I would awake on Mother's Day morning with a buzz of womanly excitement.  I knew I wasn't technically a mother yet, but I was a wife, which put me on the right path.  

I would secretly hope for breakfast in bed.  A heartfelt note......even just a "Happy Mother's Day" would do.......but nothing.  I finally confronted my disappointment and asked my sweet husband, who is always so thoughtful, why he hadn't even wished me a happy Mother's Day.  "Well, you're not my're not even a mother at all!"  GASP!  Did my ears really hears such an unromantic response?  Wow!  I was shocked!  Could it be that we don't fully grasp the depth of meaning behind Mother's Day?  I could already feel a small part of the frustration my poor mother must have felt for all those years!  It was then and there that I decided  Mother's day would be a day of self celebration!  I would treat MYSELF like a queen that day!  I would take pause and honor the gift God has given me to create life, beauty, and well-being.  I would  look myself in the eyes and tell myself how valued and appreciated I am!  And I would spend some time alone, on my knees, seeking the validation that only the Lord can give.

I know that over the years, my family will celebrate Mother's Day.  There will be breakfast in bed.  I will come home from church with a pretty pink geranium, and read hand made cards from my babies, and my hope is my children will give me at least one day with no one fighting!  What I'm really hoping for the most though, is that I will always honor my role as mother and give myself the gift of recognizing how truly blessed I am.

I feel so fortunate to have been asked to share some thoughts on motherhood over at Empowering LDS Women, please go check it out!

Happy Mother's Day!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Being a Latter-Day Saint (Mormon)

A few weeks ago, Joni Martin, asked me to write a post on her blog, Hope's Journey!  I was thrilled and honored.  The assignment was to answer a few questions about my religion and how my belief in God has influenced my life.

I love what Joni is doing!  She is highlighting several religions, as she looks into their beliefs and gains a better understanding of women around the world and how their beliefs guide them from day to day.  I have read some of her blog and have found it to be very very fascinating!

If you'd like to read my post visit Joni's blog, Hope's Journey!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

You are Not what you eat

This past Saturday I spent all day in an auditorium side by side with some of the greatest women I know at a conference called BREAKTHROUGH: Peace with Food, Peace with your Body!

My friend Cherie Burton, hosted the event and invited several other women to share their insight on our relationship with food and the stewardship we have over our bodies!  I loved it!  There was so much good information shared and even more than that, TRUTH was being taught!

I had many ah-ha moments, but the greatest message I walked away with was how much my Father in Heaven loves me!  He wants my to use my body to it's fullest potential, to love it, cherish it and treat it kindly.

I have been going over my notes, trying to soak it all in and process everything I learned.  I love being taught, but I have a bad habit of loving information and then not applying it in my life.  I have made several small changes during the past few months and little by little I am starting to see a new me emerging.  It's not so much of a physical change yet, but inner changes for sure!

If you are interested in what was taught at this conference, go check out Cherie's website Sacred Stations, she will have it available to listen to soon!  She is offering a free download of her newest book right now as well!

*Photo of Cherie Burton taken from Sacred Stations

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Search

Never mind searching for who you are. Search for the person you aspire to be.

*Robert Brault*

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

What Happiness Is

When I was 15 years old I received a priesthood blessing. A very special, sacred and personal blessing. I was told that two of my main purposes on this earth are; to be a mother, and to teach others what happiness is.

I realized while in my 20's that in order for me to teach anyone else about happiness, I'd need to figure out what it is for myself. When I was 15 I thought happiness was shopping for shoes. I thought it was discussing things with my friends, like how so and so is SO cute and how he must be in love with me too, because he kinda smiled at me in the know, that kind of stuff. Back then it was all about being with friends and giggling about anything and everything. And don't get me wrong, all of those things ARE happiness, but just a part of it.

I believe that happiness builds upon itself as we head down the path of good choices. It is impossible to give it a simple definition, but for me happiness.....and I mean the real basically three things: 1. Living in obedience and integrity 2. Family 3. A decision

I had a dream one night while on my mission. The whole dream was me all alone in a classroom looking at an equation written on the black board. The equation was SIN=DYSFUNCTION. I woke up knowing that I had been taught something true. When we look at all of the dysfunction we face in our workplaces, families and the world in general, it all generates from someone's (or many peoples) poor choices, and more importantly their unwillingness to repent.

When I talk about living in obedience I'm talking about the commandments of God. When I talk about integrity I mean seeking out truth and then living by it. When I include family, I'm referring to the love and bond that should, and will exist between family members when the first two points are observed. And lastly the decision to be happy! A positive attitude. Choosing happiness, even when we feel we have reason not to be.

As you can see my short list encompasses a lot of other things that we could go into, but the way to happiness is really quite simple. I've spent a lot of time thinking, pondering and learning about what makes me truly happy, and I've found in the discovery of happiness, you can't help but discover yourself, and in that discovery of who you really are, you come to better know God, and when it comes down to it.....knowing yourself and knowing God is REALLY what happiness is!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Remember Who You Are

Be Loyal to the Royal within You
~Harold B. Lee

*artwork from here

Be true to you, and Jesus too!

I am a Mormon, a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints! I was born into this faith and taught from birth the reality of Jesus Christ. I was taught of his love and his sacrifice, his death and resurrection. I was told stories and read scriptures. This is how I was introduced to my Savior.

An introduction is an important part of getting to know someone. Those who introduce you give you the chance to become well acquainted, however; it is up to us individually to build and maintain a relationship. My childhood introduction to Jesus had an impact, the seeds of testimony were planted and I knew even then, that He lived and loved me. As my life has continued I have sought out opportunity to know him and serve him. As a result my testimony of Him has grown and matured. His love and influence have motivated me to become more like him.

As Primary President in our small branch, I have the opportunity to introduce other young children to Jesus. They receive plenty of teaching at home, which is evident in our discussions, but this chance to share what I know with these children has been so rewarding. It has caused me to reevaluate my own beliefs and my own abilities to love.

Not long ago, while preparing a lesson, a short saying came to my mind, and I knew it needed to be shared with the children. The saying was....Be true to you, and Jesus too! I thought about this over and over and pondered on how it applies to our lives.

When we are baptized into the church we make promises with God to take upon us the name of Jesus Christ. We promise to always remember him and follow his commandments. We keep this covenant by striving to live as Jesus taught. There are millions on earth who have made this covenant with God, and yet we are still human and still struggle with real weakness. I think sometimes we forget what we have promised. It gets put on a back burner as we tend to the other tasks of life. Over time we worry more about pleasing those around us, rather than pleasing the Lord......or even pleasing ourselves.

Why is it that we participate in things we do not feel comfortable with? Is it because we are worried about what others will think? Are we trying to avoid awkwardness? Do we not want to hurt someones feeling? These are reasonable excuses, but not good ones. Betraying ourselves in order to make someone else feel better is silly. In order to discover our true identity and purpose we must begin by being true to ourselves. We must live in a way that that will allow us to love, respect and trust ourselves. Being true to ourselves and the covenants we make is an essential part in becoming our best selves. It takes courage and at times it may even be lonely, but if we remain true the Lord will be able to mold us and use us to love and encourage others.

President Gordon B. Hinkley said, ....."Reformation of the world begins with reformation of self. It is a fundamental article of our faith that “we believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, [and] virtuous” (A of F 1:13).

We cannot hope to influence others in the direction of virtue unless we live lives of virtue. The example of our living will carry a greater influence than will all the preaching in which we might indulge. We cannot expect to lift others unless we stand on higher ground ourselves.

Respect for self is the beginning of virtue in men. That man who knows that he is a child of God, created in the image of a divine Father and gifted with a potential for the exercise of great and godlike virtues, will discipline himself against the sordid, lascivious elements to which all are exposed. Said Alma to his son Helaman, “Look to God and live” (Alma 37:47).

It is a matter of more than passing interest that the Lord, as He spoke to the multitude on the mount, included this marvelous declaration: “Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God” (Matt. 5:8).

A wise man once said, “Make of yourself an honest man, and there will be one rascal fewer in the world.”

And it was Shakespeare who put into the mouth of one of his characters this persuasive injunction: “To thine own self be true, And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man.” 1

I should like to give to all men and women who may read these words a challenge to lift their thoughts above the filth, to discipline their acts into examples of virtue, to control their words so that they speak only that which is uplifting and leads to growth" (First Presidency Message: In Opposition to Evil)

Becoming great takes great self control. Being disciplined creates true disciples, and ultimately being true to you, and Jesus too, will bring REAL peace, purpose and happiness!

*artwork taken from here