Monday, January 20, 2014

Day 81: New Do's

What did we do for fun while the kids had the day off?

New hair cuts.  This time from a friend.  Rather than cheap-o-cuts.  I'm so happy!!!  Look how cute they are!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Day 80: Leaving, But Not Really

Came across this this morning:

I can't tell you how much I love moments like this.

I think I mentioned that they realigned the boundaries for the congregations in our area.  Today was our last Sunday with our former ward members.  It was kind of bittersweet.  It's nice to attend church with people you know and love.  But fortunately, we're not actually going anywhere and I see my friends more at the gym than at church.

But, people still treated it like a 'good bye'.  Which was sad and it was kind of nice having everyone tell me how much they care.

And I had the opportunity to reciprocate and express appreciation for so many who have buoyed me up and served me in so many ways.  It was a really nice thing.

And apparently, exhausting.  Because I went to bed at 7:45.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Day 79: Tag Teamin' It

That's how HH and I handled today.

Not my favorite way to spend a Saturday.  Because I really like to spend them with him and the kids all together.

But, we got some good stuff accomplished.  And HH and I made paninis for dinner tonight.

And then we had a nice relaxed evening in together once the kids were in bed.  It's nice to just have things kind of normal again.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Day 78: Pinnochis

That's what Baby B calls the gnocchi I put in my Chicken Gnocchi Soup.  It's pretty cute.

We had that tonight.  With my friend and the same missionaries we had last week.  So, tonight's post is pretty similar to last Friday's.  It was a fun evening and also a great experience being able to share more of what I believe with a friend who is very interested in learning about it.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Day 77: Therapy Thursday!

That exclamation point is what I call "punctuation sarcasm".

Because I had two (as in 2) therapy appointments today.

Because I've sort of really been struggling lately.

And my therapist was kind of concerned.

HH came with me the second time around.  So, I had to ask a friend for a last minute baby sitting favor.  After briefly explaining what and why I needed it, she reached out and gave me a big hug.  I was so stressed out, the hug initially caught me off guard.  But then, it meant so much.  Just that extra gesture of caring.

HH's presence at my appointment was really helpful.  Like the hug, I didn't realize just how helpful right away.  As the night wore on, I just felt more and more like an enormous weight was lifting off my shoulders.  And tonight, I felt happier than I have in a few weeks.

So nice.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Day 76: Don't Mention It

A crazy and miraculous thing is happening at my house--Little M and Baby B are starting to occasionally sometimes play together nicely for a little brief while.

It's amazing.  Moments of peace.  It makes me so happy for so many reasons!

But, if I commend them for their kind and cooperative behavior, within about 5 seconds they're at each other's throats again.

So much for the whole "praise good behavior, ignore bad" philosophy.  Nope.  I'll have to appreciate in silence.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Day 75: Chin Tuck

So, have you ever heard of "face yoga"?  If not, google it.  Or, better yet, look it up on YouTube.  Pretty funny stuff.

As in, you look really funny doing it.

Which is a big part of why I was hesitant to ever practice it.  That, and I was pretty sure that the purported benefits were all a load of bunk.

But, then I started to notice some wrinkle on my face.  Which is weird because I'm pretty sure I'm still 23.

So, I decided I'd give it a try.  I mean (besides my pride), what could it hurt?

I've been doing it for several months now.  But now that I'm doing general yoga a lot more often, the frequency of my facial yoga has picked up as well.

Tonight I mentioned to HH that I've been doing these exercises to try and combat that unfortunate bit of sag that has just always existed under my chin.  Mostly unnoticeable, except when I'm looking at photos of myself and scrutinizing everything about me.  And, apparently, HH has noticed it as well.

Because as soon as I shared that I'd been doing these silly exercises, he told me he recently noticed that that sag seemed to have diminished.  The fact that he noticed this without me ever saying anything let me know that I probably have made legitimate progress.

Maybe this is really silly.  And perhaps, reveals that sometimes I indulge in personal vanity.

But, it kind of made me happy to know that my efforts have begun paying off.

Baby Birds and Fish Face are similar to what I mostly practice.

And I'll have one less thing to be critical about while starting at photos of myself.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Day 74: Reaching

HH always gets pretty gung ho about setting new goals every January.  Tonight he made that happened.  It's always refreshing to set goals and have something to work toward.

Like being more active as a family.  Especially when that involves wrestling with Daddy.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Day 73: Borders

Our church is international, so sometimes we have multiple congregations in one area.  So things can be orderly and consistent, each area is defined and we are each attend as is designated by these boundaries.  Sometimes the membership within an area grows and these boundaries must be altered to accommodate.

That happened here tonight.  Of course, it's sad because we won't be meeting with many of our friends.  But, it's not like anyone has physically moved away, so we will still see each other and get together regularly, I'm sure.

But, I'm kind of looking forward to branching out and meeting new people and having different opportunities to serve.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Day 72: Man Time

HH bears quite a bit of the weight of my struggles.  Today he was able to play in a church basketball game (and apparently, he played awesomely).  And then he went ice fishing with a bunch of buddies.

The kids and I definitely missed him, but I was so happy that he could spend some time just having fun on his own.

Sometimes I get kind of caught up in my own stuff and I forget that he has needs to.  Today I'm really grateful he got a break and took care of some of those.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Day 71: High Praise

Today was a busy day.

And I did more than I'm supposed to while trying to recover from adrenal fatigue.  But, some days are that way.  I know that's life.

We were having guests for dinner, so when Darling A woke up and wouldn't let me set her down, I got pretty stressed out.  After carrying her around for a while, trying to do everything one-handed, you'll never guess what finally made her happy.

It took quite a bit of effort on her part to finally communicate to me that this is what she wanted.  Just to help me clean.  And don't worry--in addition to being closed, that bottle merely holds water, vinegar, and essential oils.  And that rag looks frayed, but it's clean.  And this made her happy for some time.  And then she decided to go downstairs and play with her siblings.

Which made me happy.

And allowed me to finish making dinner without feeling guilty.

The missionaries and a really good friend of mine came to dinner.  And the compliments with dinner got a little crazy at times.  But my favorite was when a new missionary declared, "This is the best homemade bread I've ever had."

He has no idea just how much that will make me happy, probably for forever.

And then they asked my friend if he wanted to know more about what we believe.  He's already expressed interest, which is why we had them all over for dinner in the first place.  And the evening went really well.  I know that the gospel of Jesus Christ can bring him what he is looking for in his life right now.  And it makes me happy to be able to be a part of sharing it with him.  And that it appears to already be helping him.

So, it was a really good night all around.  I am blessed beyond what I deserve.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Day 70: College of Eternal Progression

I had a bit of an epiphany last night while talking to friends.  Well, maybe "epiphany" overkill.  But, I'm tired and that was the only word I came up with.

We were talking about wanting to get by with doing less.  But, when you do that, you worry about where the line is.  We were talking about this in relation to spiritual matters, so it involved qualifying for eternal life with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.

I shared some of the thoughts I've recently had on this subject.  I've been thinking about things in terms of "eternal progression".  We've learned from modern day scripture that whatever we learn and accomplish in this life (not including materialistic accumulation) we will carry with us to the next.  And the more we learn and grow, the further along the path we'll be.

Our ultimate goal is to return to our Father in heaven and, in time, "inherit all that (our) Father hath"--meaning that we can grow to be like Him.  Not to supersede Him, He will always be our God and our Father.  But, to become like Him, as a child watching a parent may some day grow up to emulate that parent.

So, this life is learning and practice.  Which will continue in the hear after.

And that's where my analogy comes in.

I wasn't the best student my first couple of years of college.  I figured out what I needed to do in order to get at least a B and I did it.  Studying and memorizing in such a way that the knowledge would soon be forgotten once the assignment or test was over.  Eventually, maybe part way through my Junior year, I really gained an appreciation for my courses, my education, and all that I was learning.  I think it was my exercise physiology professor who really helped with this.  I loved that class and wanted to soak up all of the knowledge I could.  So, I really studied and internalized it.

Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for most of the courses I took before that.  And so, I regret.  A lot.  Sure, I can take courses and check out books from the library and study those subjects I glossed over.  And I can learn all that I missed.

But, it will be much harder now.  A lot has changed.  I have less time and my mind is full of so many other things, it might be difficult to learn and process.

And I think that's how things will be in the world to come.

I think we can do less and still receive exaltation.  But, we'll be far behind others who worked harder to come to know God and Jesus Christ in this life.  They will have practiced becoming like Them and be that much closer to that goal.  Not to mention the fact that since they will know Them better, they will be far more comfortable in Their presence.

So, it's back to that simple concept of Choice.  You reap what you sow.  There is work to be done.  The more we get done in the here and now, the further along the path we will be.

That's pretty much it.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Day 69: Boys Will Be Boys

I've said it many a time and I'm sure I'll say it many more--my boys are ALL boy.  Trucks, balls, guns.

But, they're well-rounded too.  And I love that.

So, when Baby B came upstairs dressed like this, it just made me laugh.  And it reminded me of this:

I still remember the dance he did.  It was quite a show.

I love my boys.  So much.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Day 68: Another Go

I've decided to get back on track with my regular posting.  I need to put more focus on the joy in my life again.

So, here goes.

This little guy doesn't get a fair amount time here on my blog.

He's a sweet kid.  And then he's throwing a wild and angry tantrum.  And it can get so exhausting.  But then, he'll turn around and just be so sweet and cute and funny.  And a hug from his mama is almost never refused, regardless of his mood.

We don't know exactly what or why, but he has some unique struggles.  We are both learning things that help, both to prevent and lessen the duration of his struggles.  And my heart really goes out to my sweet Baby B.

So, finding him sleeping so peacefully this afternoon just made my heart happy.  He needs times like this.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Day 67: A Mama For 9-Years

I can't believe it.  My Sweet P might be a tweener.  I don't know.  What age does that happen?

The whole time I was pregnant with her I had this "premonition" that she would be, among other things, quite silly.  And love to make people laugh.

I love this cute, sweet, silly girl so so so much.

She's the best oldest child I could ever imagine or hope for.  She is such a great big sister.  My reliable helper.  And my friend.

Celebrating her today was a fantastic Joyful Moment for us all.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Day 66: Theme For 2014

Happy New Year!

So, those who have followed my blog for at least a year know that I have a theme for each year  instead of New Year's Resolutions.  

Last year's was kindness.

And, if I'm being completely honest, I think I did really well.  To the point that HH and my therapist have told me I need to scale back with my kindness.

But, I was also the recipient of more kindness than I can ever measure.

Being honest again--I forgot about coming up for a theme for 2014.  I mean, usually I know what it should be (always a prompting from the Holy Ghost, as I'm pondering) weeks, sometimes months, in advance.

Fortunately, I was reading this article titled "The Healing Balm Of Hope", by Vaughn E. Worthen a couple of days ago and it hit me like a brick that this was clearly meant to be the theme of 2014.  I mean, can you think of anything more appropriate?

In the article are listed these "ingredients" for cultivating hope:
  • Faith in God
  • Righteous living
  • Positive expectations
  • Living with Purpose
  • Setting and working toward goals
  • Initiating and sustaining personal effort
  • Bridling thoughts, emotions, and behaviors
  • A willingness to tackle challenges
  • Competence in creating healthy relationships
As I look over that list, I see that I can improve in everyone of those areas.  Some more than others, but all definitely need work.

However, most of those are a little vague in that they are difficult to measure.  So, I need something more specific to work on.

Fortunately, that was also provided by this article:
  • Physical health
  • Emotional resilience
  • Mental alertness
  • Involvement in supportive relationships
Engaging in interesting work and hobbies
  • Spiritually nourishing and developing ourselves.
All of these are aspects I'm currently working on improving, but I'm going to give each one two months of special focus.  I'm not sure yet if it will be two consecutive months, or if I'll cycle through the list twice.  I'm thinking the latter, since I have a habit of needing to re-learn lessons.

But, given the circumstances, I'm going to make physical health the focus of this January.  I've already made drastic changes in my diet, but there is still room for improvement.  And I really need to shape up my sleep habits.  And, hopefully, I can get this whole "exercise addiction" balanced out, now that I've had to really scale back in that regard.

And hopefully, I can be done with this Adrenal Fatigue sooner than later.

And hopefully, by 2015 (hopefully, sooner!), my eyes will be bright with hope like this little Darling's are.