March 30, 2015

Brilliant Basics

As a mother, I often feel my loudest and most oft repeated cheer to other mothers is-- YOU ARE NORMAL, YOU ARE GOOD, DON'T GIVE UP!!

My eight year old was so excited to plan and conduct our family night tonight.
I smiled at her carefully compiled agenda and genuine enthusiasm.

I loved the song "A Family is of God" from Women's Conference (you can watch it here, the song starts at minute 9).  My favorite part was the toddler boy who walked around while the family sang.  (I laughed when Anna asked why there is never any "normal" families in these videos, only families from Utah, Iowa or another country.  Haha.  She said, "We never sit in our church clothes with our hair done while we sing.  I told her a video of two kids arguing about where they are sitting while they sing, might not be good to publish at conference.)

Now that I am a mother of eight I sometimes think that I should be past the stage of trying to figure out chores or scripture time or family home evening or piano practicing or eliminating contention.  But, I'm not.

Having a new baby, illness, moving, new jobs or callings, extended family drama, etc., these things really influence the balance of the home.  It takes time to figure things out again.  Actually, it takes years.

I love this quote from a talk "Teaching the Doctrine of the Family" by Julie Beck.  She says, "Live in your home so that you're brilliant in the basics, so that you’re intentional about your roles and responsibilities in the family. Think in terms of precision not perfection. If you have your goals and you are precise in how you go about them in your homes, youth will learn from you. They will learn that you pray, study the scriptures together, have family home evening, make a priority of mealtimes, and speak respectfully of your marriage partner. Then from your example the rising generation will gain great hope."

I really want to be BRILLIANT IN THE BASICS.  I really AM brilliant in the basics, but brilliant LOOKS less brilliant than I imagine it should.  

I posted a video clip on Facebook (Jenifer Moss) and Instagram (moss moments) of 15 seconds of our FHE.  It was fun and good, but not perfectly calm or orderly.  This is my life.  It is a really good life.

As I sat through a temple recommend interview yesterday a kind leader in my church asked, "Is there anything in your relationships with your family that is not in  harmony with the teachings of the church?"  I answered with a smile and a confidant "Yes!  Many things."  Perhaps I need to study more the words "in harmony with the teachings of the Church"?  My friend and church leader looked into my eyes with a smile and asked, "Are you really good at repenting?"  I responded with an equally enthusiastic, "Yes I am!"  He smiled again and moved on.  

The last question he asked me was if I considered myself worthy to enter the Lord's house?  Fire burned in my soul as I answered humbly, "Yes, I do."  I know that worthy does not mean perfect or even precise.

I am brilliant in the desire.  
Brilliant in my intention.  
Brilliant in my testimony that this work that I am doing daily in my home, this is a great work.

I do not believe that you can eliminate contention in a home any more than you can eliminate dirty laundry or disorder.  The law of entropy is, in my opinion, an eternal principle.  Systems tend towards disorder and it takes ENERGY to maintain order in a system.

No matter how precise you are, I'm not sure you will ever be able to design a system that just naturally functions without A LOT of positive effort and energy.  Until we reach our resurrected and perfected state, REPENTANCE is programmed in!! We will NEVER be good enough without God.  Ever.

Practically, this means it is more useful to create positive family experiences than it is to focus on responding to, blaming yourself for, or focusing on negative experiences.  Stop blaming yourself for dirty laundry and start washing your clothes.  Kids will fight unless they are busy doing something positive together!!  You can't teach away CHILDHOOD, immaturity, tests, trials or natural tendency. 

Today, I'm going to spend my ENERGY doing good, creating order, teaching precision in the brilliant basics.  I'm going to look at my family from the distance, like our moments are captured on a video at Women's Conference, and I'm going to SEE the beauty in the ordinary.

Loved this post here-- "Then the still small voice whispered in my ear, as thy day so thy strength shall be."

LIFE IS SO GOOD!!!
Be brilliant today friends.
We are doing a great work.

March 29, 2015

Bloom!

I love this quote-- "A flower does not think of competing with the flower next to it.  It just blooms."

I went with Anna and some of our friends to a Tech Savvy conference where they encouraged women in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathemetics.  It was inspiring!

A nagging part of me still feels that excluding boys from this event and titles like "It's not your boyfriend's computer" actually promote instead of discourage gender inequality, or at least gender competition, where it is not needed. 
But, overall I was so impressed by the strong, intelligent women that spoke!  I am raising 8 smart humans and I'm excited to see what they can become.

Ending a day of conferencing with a church women's conference was perfect.

I loved what Sister Bonnie Oscarson said, "We eagerly teach our children to aim high in this life. We want our daughters to know that they have the potential to be anything that they can imagine.  We hope that they will love learning, be educated and talented, and maybe even become the next Marie Curie or Eliza R. Snow.  Do we also teach our sons and daughters there is no greater honor, no more elevated titles, and no more important roles in this life than that of mother and father?"

Amen!

Today my soul is yearning to BLOOM!  
Spring is officially here, despite Upstate NY's frigid temperatures, and I am still sowing.

My name is Jenifer Moss.
My job title is Mother, Wife, Homemaker, Life Coach, Zookeeper, and Child Horticulturist.  (My degree in Human Development actually is a BS- bachelors in science degree!)  I hope I have better luck sprouting functional, productive adults than I do keeping houseplants alive.  

Bloom!!
Life is good!

March 26, 2015

Go to Work!

As a long winter comes to an end (or SHOULD be coming to an end) we start feeling a little under the weather.  Literally.  I absolutely feel that being patient, kind, and happy is taking great effort.  I laughed at Storytime yesterday because all the kids were crabby and the moms looked a bit frazzled.  You could feel the static tension of the air-- we are all craving sunshine!

What do you do when you feel the crankies pulling you down?

I exercise.
I eat healthy.
I choose to be grateful.
I listen to good music.
I serve others.
I ponder, pray, and study good things.
I apologize quickly for my mistakes.
I seek healing.
I keep trying.

I went for a walk this morning, bringing my dog who is no longer safe in our backyard and is as stir crazy as the rest of us.  Rocco has learned that he is an Olympic leaping dog who jumps fences with finesse and ease.  Outside the fence is more fun than inside the fence.  Thank you, 4 foot snow piles, for teaching our pup this skill.

Rocco listens very well to me, I thought.  But his "heal" only lasted until we got near the road and he ran right in front of a car going 50mph.  I still don't know how he wasn't killed.  (I screamed and closed my eyes.)

We are moving into the electric shock stage of dog parenting.  My moral opposition to shocking animals has been replaced by my moral opposition to watching animals get hit by cars.  

Our walk was definitely good exercise, but I'm not sure it was relaxing to my nervous system.  Ha!

I have laundry that would circle the globe, and I still haven't put away my own laundry from last week.

I have had an extra 18 month old over night because his brother has a heart scan early this morning and his mom needed a sitter.  

I have friends coming for dinner tonight, then I'm watching their kids till late.  After inviting them, Todd found out he had to work late and then go straight to the training meeting.  

I have a play-date tomorrow and a mall scavenger hunt birthday party tomorrow after school. 

Busy, busy.  
I love when I'm busy doing good things.
This is going to be a great day.

“While young Gordon B. Hinckley was on his mission in England, he received some counsel that has served him well throughout his years of challenging responsibilities. Being somewhat discouraged, he wrote a letter to his father, saying, ‘I am wasting my time and your money. I don’t any point in my staying here.’ After some time, he received a short letter from his father that said: ‘Dear Gordon. I have your letter. … I have only one suggestion. Forget yourself and go to work. With love, Your Father.’

“President Hinckley said of that moment: ‘I pondered that, and the next morning in our scripture class we read that great statement of the Lord: “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it” (Mark 8:35). It touched me. That statement, that promise, in conjunction with my father’s letter, prompted me to go upstairs, … get on my knees, and make a covenant with the Lord that I would try to forget myself and go to work. I count that as the day of decision in my life. Everything good that has happened to me since then I can trace back to the decision I made at that time’ [Gordon B. Hinckley: Man of Integrity, 15th President of the Church,videocassette (1994)].

I have been a homemaker for 16 years and I still haven't surrendered to my life completely.  I want to trust God with my life but there is one chunk of rebellion that I just hold onto.  

“Every one of you was endowed by your Father in Heaven with a tremendous capacity to do good in the world. Train your minds and your hands that you may be equipped to serve well in the society of which you are a part. Cultivate the art of being kind, of being thoughtful, of being helpful. Refine within you the quality of mercy which comes as a part of the divine attributes you have inherited. …

 “You need never feel inferior. You need never feel that you were born without talents or without opportunities to give them expression. Cultivate whatever talents you have, and they will grow and refine and become an expression of your true self appreciated by others” (“The Light within You,”Ensign,May 1995, 99; an address during a General Young Women Meeting).

“I am suggesting that the time has come to get our houses in order.

“So many of our people are living on the very edge of their incomes. In fact, some are living on borrowings. …

 “We are carrying a message of self-reliance throughout the Church. Self-reliance cannot [be obtained] when there is serious debt hanging over a household. One has neither independence nor freedom from bondage when he is obligated to others” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1998, 70–71; orEnsign,Nov. 1998, 53).

Oh, I love President Hinckley!

Elder Eyring told this story as part of Pres Hinckley's funeral.  "President Hinckley’s best may be so much more than we can offer the Master. But all God asks of us is that we give our best. President Hinckley would understand our feelings of weakness. He once looked at the pictures of the prophets who preceded him in this dispensation. He said quietly, “When I look at those pictures and think of where I am, I feel so inadequate.” President Hinckley rarely showed emotion. But in that moment he began to weep, I think not out of fear but out of gratitude. He had consecrated all he had and was to the Savior’s service. Because of his trust in the Savior, he knew that would be enough. Faith in his heart left no room for doubt or fear."

I made a decision last night.  I'm sick of feeling Bleh.  I decided that I would CHOOSE to wake up and DO what happy people do.  

I'm still choosing that!  I'm not sure how much power I have over how I feel but I do know two eternal truths...

1- I have the power to choose how I act and what I do

2- Joy comes from doing good

I was surprised in the hospital how clearly I understood that faith is a choice not just a feeling.  When good or bad things happened to me, I had to choose to focus on the positive.  I had to choose to believe that God loved me and that He was blessing me.

I'm still surprised in the power of choice.  I may not get to choose if I feel like doing laundry, but I do get to choose whether or not I guide my body through the actions of doing what I know needs to be done.  

Life is good!

I'm pro choice!  Happy Thursday!


March 25, 2015

Healing Breaths

sat in a physical therapist chair on Monday, he softly rubbed my face and touched my shoulders and tears dripped down my cheeks.  My physical reflexes wanted to push him away even as my soul reached toward him for help.  Weird!

I was shocked at the depth of emotion his gentle touch illicited from me.  I can handle physical healing so much better than I can handle the idea that my nervous system needs to heal.  

Often on our road to peace and happiness we feel potholes or encounter road construction in ourselves.  I feel grateful to recognize these spaces in myself-- it's like I finally see an infected splinter and can just squeeze out that infection.  My nervous system is still in protective mode and I'm ready to tell myself- I'm safe now.

Can I tell you how healing it was for me to have someone assure me that he could help me with this very normal transition?  The hyena has left, I am safe, time to enjoy the afternoon sunshine.

My PT asked me to slowly breathe in through my nose and completely expand my stomach.  Imagine a hot air balloon filling up, he explained.  Don't be afraid if your breath hits a bumpy patch, keep breathing in past that part until you reach the very fullest point.

What a beautiful analogy for life.
Sometimes our healing breaths are a bit bumpy, but we keep breathing in, past the bumpy spots, and our souls expand.
We are designed to heal, we are designed to feel joy!   

I was asked to read a list of traumatic experiences and count how many I have had.  They were things like car accidents and near-death experiences.  I counted 27.  Wow.  Is it odd that today I feel so lucky?  I feel full of gratitude and hope and healing.

When I was younger I felt proud that I couldn't think of one thing I needed to repent of.  As I matured I learned that the closer I got to God, the more He showed me sins and blessed me with the ability to repent, change, and be strengthened.

I think healing is like repentance.  The more I recognize healing in my life, the more I see great healers who have been sent into my path to teach me.  My scars are symbols of my strength NOT my tragedy.  

Yes, I'm STILL dealing with emotions buried from Ben's birth.  But, aren't we all dealing with something all the time?  Maybe healing is like repenting.  Maybe it is more of a holy refining process than a symbol of weakness.

One thing we can do, I was taught, is fill our senses with new positive experiences so that our trauma finds a place in our past not present emotions.  I smiled to myself.  Ahh yes!  Family vacations ARE what my soul is craving.  See how wise we are?  

I'm off to fill my day with safety, beauty, family, and love!  Being a happy mother is just what the doctor ordered!


March 23, 2015

The post I should have written...

As our yoga teacher often reminds us, when we're straining to hold our downward-dog pose, "There are two kinds of pain.  The pain of doing yoga.  And the pain of not doing yoga."
(From A Wedding in Haiti by Julia Alvarez,  p 159)

Life is going fast.  I can't believe it is almost the end of March.  I think I'm feeling both the pain of not doing yoga AND the pain of doing yoga.  Haha.

It is Spring and it is still snowing!

As I look out across my winter wonderland, Simon and Garfunkel serenade my life...

A winter's day
In a deep and dark December;
(March is worse)
I am alone,
Gazing from my window to the streets below
On a freshly fallen silent shroud of snow.
I am a rock,
I am an island.
(Does my front yard look like a shroud?)

I've built walls,
A fortress deep and mighty,
That none may penetrate.
I have no need of friendship; friendship causes pain.
It's laughter and it's loving I disdain.
I am a rock,
I am an island.

Haha...  I'm not sure this is the most inspirational song to sing as I try to ignore my freshly fallen silent shroud of snow.

shroud

n.noun

  1. A cloth used to wrap a body for burial; a winding sheet.
  2. Something that conceals, protects, or screens.
Turning on a new serenade...
  1. (It still looks dark, but the sun IS shining!!)

    1. Today, while the sun shines, work with a will;
    Today all your duties with patience fulfill.
    Today, while the birds sing, harbor no care;
    Call life a good gift; call the world fair.
  2. (Chorus)
    Today, today, work with a will;
    Today, today, your duties fulfill.
    Today, today, work while you may;
    Prepare for tomorrow by working today.
  3. 2. Today seek the treasure better than gold,
    The peace and the joy that are found in the fold.
    Today seek the gems that shine in the heart;
    While here we labor, choose the better part.
  4. 3. Today seek for goodness, virtue, and truth,
    As crown of your life and the grace of your youth.
    Today, while the heart beats, live to be true,
    Constant and faithful all the way through.
  5. Text: L. Clark, ca. 1880, alt.
    Music: Evan Stephens, 1854-1930


    I am a rock.
    I am an island.
    I have no need of friendship, friendship causes pain,
    It's laughter and it's loving I disdain.
    Today! Today!  Work with a will!
    Today! Today!  Your duties fulfill.
    And a rock feels no pain.
    And an island never cries.
    Today seek the treasure better than gold,
    The peace and the joy that are found in the fold.
    Today seek the gems that shine in the heart;
    While here we labor, choose the better part.

    Yes- this is my brain.
    This is my brain on winter.
    (I can't believe I actually publish posts like this.)

    Oh my!  Spring!!!!  I need you!!!
    Sunshine!!!  My soul needs you!
    Let's all go to China!
    Happy Monday.

A freshly fallen silent shroud of Spring

As our yoga teacher often reminds us, when we're straining to hold our downward-dog pose, "There are two kinds of pain.  The pain of doing yoga.  And the pain of not doing yoga."
(From A Wedding in Haiti by Julia Alvarez,  p 159)

Life is going fast.  I can't believe it is almost the end of March.  I think I'm feeling both the pain of not doing yoga AND the pain of doing yoga.  Haha.

We're still driving through blizzards and having to snowplow our driveway.  It is getting old.

Tully HS had a trivia night.  Drew was on a team with some friends and came in third.  Jakob was on a team with one other boy in his grade and they won!!  There were questions like "What ship did Darwin ride on?"  And, "How long is a bowling lane?"  Jakob attributes much of his win to his partner, but was pretty thrilled to win $75.

I took the girls to see Cinderella on Friday.  Loved it.  Love them.

We are having a war over screen-time here at our house.  Shall I say, another battle in the on-going war.  I actually think it is more the fact that we are all going stir-crazy as winter drags on and we're all a bit edgy.  

Todd was gone Saturday morning while I was trying to assign and inspire chores... There was so much contention that I dropped to my knees mid-discussion and silently prayed for strength.  Haha!  My kids got all quiet and just sat there until I stood again and resumed our conversation.  

Todd might be taking two kids with him to China for 6 weeks this summer.  We're deep in negotiations and planning for this summer and next.  (I want to bring the whole family to China next year and he'd rather never go anywhere with 8 kids ever.  I'm simplifying our discussion a bit. Todd, if you're reading this, I may have accidentally agreed to adopt two baby rabbits in time for Easter.  I'm certain that two little bunnies would be no problem for someone who is already willing to care for our dog, chickens, and pregnant cows while we're in China.  I stuck with you for more years of schooling than any pregnant wife should ever have to endure and all I want in return is an opportunity for us to experience the world as a family, and two bunnies.  You may call me crazy, I prefer the term BRAVE, optimistic, and fun.)

Monday morning is always tough for me, but this is a great day, a great week!

My house needs my love and attention and so do my toddlers.  I believe I can kill both those birds with one productive morning.

A dear friend of mine is a physical therapist and she is helping me strengthen my core AND is coming to watch my littles for me while I go to another physical therapist who is going to help me reset my sympathetic nervous system.  After trauma, many people get stuck in a flight or fight mentality.  So interesting!

My friend also showed me some cool massage techniques (soft massage, vibrating taps, and then deep massage) that I've been using on Ben to help us develop an attachment that might have been difficult during my surgery recovery months.  Cool stuff.  So grateful for wise people in my life.

Another friend who is knowledgable about emotional healing said my lingering digestive issues maybe related to an extreme obsession for creating order.  Ha!  You think?!  Not me... I WOULD NOT HAVE ISSUES WITH ORDER IF I COULD JUST GET MY HOUSE, MY LIFE, AND MY TIME IN ORDER.  Ahem.  I believe those digestive issues might be sticking around for a few more months.  Thank goodness she didn't mention a compulsion to get pets when my husband leaves the country.

We just placed an order for a flock of heritage turkeys and meat chickens.  Yes, the little kids and I will be processing meat chickens while Todd is in China.  Brave, optimistic, and fun...

I'm also going to the most wonderful Women Transcending Boundaries book group tonight to discuss Haiti.  Oh, let's all take a trip to Haiti next week, shall we?!

I bought fabric on Friday with Anna and Ellie for some new duvet covers and pillows for their bedrooms.  SO FUN!!  I am dying to immerse myself in creating with tweenage girls.

Anna and Eve both have birthdays and parties this week... Another fun thing!  We have an upcoming spring break trip and EASTER, one of my favorite holidays.  I have green luck in a pile on my counter and pastel grace in a Tupperware waiting to deck the halls.

[One thing that still makes me smile-- after those pesky leprechauns came to visit, Eve told everyone that leprechauns peed in our toilet, our milk, and on our breakfast eggs.  "It was disgusting!" she insisted.  So much for the festive green milk.  Gross!]

Can't you just feel the goodness seeping through my days?  It is there-- right next to the very real effort that is required to endure.

I alternate between emotional gratitude and fatigue.  Today I'm tired trying to get my body into gear, and hopeful.  

As I look out across my winter wonderland, Simon and Garfunkl serenade my life...

A winter's day
In a deep and dark December;
(March is worse)
I am alone,
Gazing from my window to the streets below
On a freshly fallen silent shroud of snow.
I am a rock,
I am an island.
(Does my front yard look like a shroud?)

I've built walls,
A fortress deep and mighty,
That none may penetrate.
I have no need of friendship; friendship causes pain.
It's laughter and it's loving I disdain.
I am a rock,
I am an island.

Haha...  I'm not sure this is the most inspirational song to sing as I try to ignore my freshly fallen silent shroud of snow.

shroud

n.noun

  1. A cloth used to wrap a body for burial; a winding sheet.
  2. Something that conceals, protects, or screens.
Turning on a new serenade...
  1. (It still looks dark, but the sun IS shining!!)

    1. Today, while the sun shines, work with a will;
    Today all your duties with patience fulfill.
    Today, while the birds sing, harbor no care;
    Call life a good gift; call the world fair.
  2. (Chorus)
    Today, today, work with a will;
    Today, today, your duties fulfill.
    Today, today, work while you may;
    Prepare for tomorrow by working today.
  3. 2. Today seek the treasure better than gold,
    The peace and the joy that are found in the fold.
    Today seek the gems that shine in the heart;
    While here we labor, choose the better part.
  4. 3. Today seek for goodness, virtue, and truth,
    As crown of your life and the grace of your youth.
    Today, while the heart beats, live to be true,
    Constant and faithful all the way through.
  5. Text: L. Clark, ca. 1880, alt.
    Music: Evan Stephens, 1854-1930


    I am a rock.
    I am an island.
    I have no need of friendship, friendship causes pain,
    It's laughter and it's loving I disdain.
    Today! Today!  Work with a will!
    Today! Today!  Your duties fulfill.
    And a rock feels no pain.
    And an island never cries.
    Today seek the treasure better than gold,
    The peace and the joy that are found in the fold.
    Today seek the gems that shine in the heart;
    While here we labor, choose the better part.

    Yes- this is my brain.
    This is my brain on winter.
    (I can't believe I actually publish posts like this.)

    Oh my!  Spring!!!!  I need you!!!
    Sunshine!!!  My soul needs you!
    Let's all go to China!
    Happy Monday.

March 17, 2015

Happy St Patty's Day!

Pesky leprechauns climbed up our fridge and turned our milk green.
They are silly, but not original.

Thankfully, our leprechauns don't create big messes or buy expensive gifts.
They do leave hidden chocolate coins, footprints, and this year some Target dollar spot necklaces.

I am reminded once again that it really takes little more than 10 minutes of effort and perhaps $4 to bring a little fun into an everyday Tuesday morning.  

Breakfast?  I'm still deciding between green German Pancakes, green muffins, or green eggs, with a green smoothie, obviously.

Happy Day friends!  I hope your day is lucky!
Life is good.

March 16, 2015

Agency- the power to choose!

(A walk through the Sugar Maples at tapping time.)

This week I'm chewing on the idea of agency.  I honestly could write for hours on this topic, but I have only 5 minutes before my morning routine is thrown out of whack.
(Fun Friday Hair)
This quote from pg 217 of the biography, Boyd K. Packer: A Watchman on the Tower, has been mulling around in my mind.

"If the doctrines of the Church could be put in boxes of various sizes and shapes to fit them . . . I would find the box labeled "agency" and set that in place first. . . . As we examine this foundational doctrine, we find such words as "choice", "freedom", "liberty", and we quickly learn that our God intends that we should be free to choose good on one hand and evil on the other."
(Silly with Ellie's glasses at dinner.)

I, personally, have a love/hate relationship with agency.  I believe that agency IS that power within us... We can choose our actions even when we don't feel like doing something.  That is more powerful than we know.

27 Verily I say, men should be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness; 
28 For the power is in them, wherein they are agents unto themselves. And inasmuch as men do good they shall in nowise lose their reward. (Doctrine and Covenants, Doctrine and Covenants, D&C 58)

These thoughts are echoing in my mind as I try to make sense of evil and good.  This is a talk by Elder Hales, May 2006.

"I once had an opportunity to accompany President Spencer W. Kimball to a distant land. We were given a tour of the various sites in the area, including underground catacombs—burial grounds for people who had been persecuted by Christian zealots. As we came up the dark, narrow stairs of that place, President Kimball taught me an unforgettable lesson. He pulled my coattail and said, “It has always troubled me what the adversary does using the name of our Savior.” He then said, “Robert, the adversary can never have joy unless you and I sin.”

"As I contemplated this comment and studied the scriptures, I began to understand what President Kimball may have meant. I recalled the word of the Lord to all the inhabitants of the earth as recorded in the Book of Mormon: “Wo, wo, wo unto this people; wo unto the inhabitants of the whole earth except they shall repent; for the devil laugheth, and his angels rejoice, because of the slain of the fair sons and daughters of my people.” 19 It is our sins that make the devil laugh, our sorrow that brings him counterfeit joy.

"Although the devil laughs, his power is limited. Some may remember the old adage: “The devil made me do it.” Today I want to convey, in absolutely certain terms, that the adversary cannot make us do anything. He does lie at our door, as the scriptures say, and he follows us each day. 20 Every time we go out, every decision we make, we are either choosing to move in his direction or in the direction of our Savior. But the adversary must depart if we tell him to depart. He cannot influence us unless we allow him to do so, and he knows that! The only time he can affect our minds and bodies—our very spirits—is when we allow him to do so. In other words, we do not have to succumb to his enticements!

"We have been given agency, we have been given the blessings of the priesthood, and we have been given the Light of Christ and theHoly Ghost for a reason. That reason is our growth and happiness in this world and eternal life in the world to come. Today I ask, have we received that Spirit? Are we following on the strait and narrow path that leads to God and eternal life? Are we holding onto the iron rod, or are we going another way? I testify that how we choose to feel and think and act every day is the way we get on the path, and stay on it, until we reach our eternal destination."

How we CHOOSE to feel, think, and act!!! Wow.  The power of choice!  This is SO different from what the world teaches.

(Oh, Eve!)

I'll come back later and place the link to this talk.  Elder Hales, To Act for Ourselves the Gift and Blessing of Agency, May 2006.  It is SO good.

Every time we go out, every decision we make, we are either choosing to move in his direction or in the direction of our Savior.

Wow!  I love this.

Today, I'm going to "March" in the direction of goodness.  The power is in me to act or to be acted upon.  I love this idea.

I just know Satan is real.  There is darkness in this world and there is light!  I want to be a light.  I want my home to be light!  As I understand our God-given power to choose, I am excited to choose better.

This is what I'm thinking about today as I fold laundry.  

Choose goodness friends!

There is much joy in a good life.


March 14, 2015

Face of Accreta

My friend, Gina Walker, asked for some pictures to include on an Accreta awareness video she is making.

I may have gotten a little carried away.
Eve is ALWAYS happy.  This little girl adds so much sunshine to our home.

Ben has the new nickname "Stitch."
I call this group of pictures-- eat lunch with Accreta... Or, Ben won't sit still unless he's eating!
Cheese!

Stay tuned for the final video...
I have been hearing many more cases of Accreta being suspected at early ultrasounds!!  It makes my heart SO happy to know that this condition is becoming more and more talked about so that we are more focused on uterine health and are more prepared during risky deliveries!  

If you suspect Accreta or want to know more about it, visit hopeforaccreta.org!

Have a great day!

March 10, 2015

A Mother's Scripture Moment

I really put a priority on my morning scripture study.  I'm never consistent in my plan, what I'm reading, or how I study, but I am consistent in the fact that I do it.

I try to spend some time each day with real scriptures in my hand.  I have a journal where I jot scripture references or quotes I love.  I can't tell you how often I refer back to that as I'm talking to people throughout the day.  I'm always talking my life sermon and I love to reference quickly the scriptures that I'm chewing on.

I'm currently loving Doctrine and Covenants 58:26-28

26 For behold, it is not meet that I should command in all things; for he that is compelled in all things, the same is a slothful and not a wise servant; wherefore he receiveth no reward. 
27 Verily I say, men should be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness; 
28 For the power is in them, wherein they are agents unto themselves. And inasmuch as men do good they shall in nowise lose their reward. (Doctrine and Covenants, Doctrine and Covenants, D&C 58)

I love the idea of the power within me, being an agent unto myself, and doing good!  

This morning I read a bunch of scriptures about how we are JEWELS.

and in the day when I shall make up my jewels, all men shall know what it is that bespeaketh the power of God. (Doctrine and Covenants, Doctrine and Covenants, D&C 60)

I love that!  The cross-references to that verse are so cool.  I love the imagery that we are jewels in His crown while He is promising us that in time we will be crowned.  Beautiful.

Eve was playing sweetly in her room while I read and Ben was not.  He climbed quickly on the table, grabbed the salt shaker, and started shaking it into the flower arrangement.  I brought some toys out for him, but I was more fun.  

He also grabbed a marker from the desk drawer and started drawing on the wall.  I caught him just as a tiny hot pink line went next to another black sharpie line.  I sat him on my lap with paper and a pen.  He preferred marking my scriptures to coloring on his paper.
Todd snapped a few pictures of our antics as he was bringing my phone downstairs for me.
Ha!
I love this kid more than scripture study.
I had to scoop him up because he started climbing again.  Surprisingly, he was pretty cuddley.  
You can see his little chin scab in this picture.  
While he laid in my lap, I kept reading.  
I just laughed when The Lord commanded me to start CRAFTING again!!
"Let there be a craft made, or bought, as seemeth you good!!!" Doctrine and Covenants 60:5

Oh, how I love the word of God.  :)
Honestly, this was a silly little verse of scripture where He spoke directly to me.  I know I have a Father in Heaven who knows ME.  He smiles and laughs with me AND HE KNOWS THAT ST PATRICK'S DAY DECORATIONS ARE GOOD FOR MY SOUL.
I sat there smiling as I communed with my God and I heard deep breathing.  I used my phone to confirm that Ben had actually fallen asleep.  No way!

This moment, so typical of my stage of life, was just beautiful to me.  I loved my stinky, active boy, my haphazard scripture study, my Heavenly command to get my craft on, and the voice of sweet Eve singing high-soprano to her dolls in her bedroom.

I snapped one more picture and started mentally writing this blog.
Life is SO good!
Take a moment each morning to meditate, ponder, pray, find that power within you.  Let Him tell you that you are His jewel. Find direction for your life (and perhaps divine permission for a trip to Hobby Lobby).  Oh!  Heaven is near.

Just as my soul was basking, my little guy started squirming.  He sat up, burped a bit, and gave me a face that I knew.  I sat in slow motion as diarrhea poured out of his diaper all over my lap, and he began throwing up all over my chest, hand, and kitchen rug.

I screamed for  the Professor (who is working from home during his Spring Break this week) and I started laughing.  Of course!!!  This is SO my life.
Don't worry, Rocco is great on the clean-up committee.
Ha!  I'm kidding!  We screamed at him as soon as we noticed his help.

Oh, a mother's life is rarely glamorous but it IS beautiful.

Ben wrote his blog while I wrote this blog.
I'm off to do some laundry, love a sick-y little guy, and to be anxiously engaged in a good cause doing many things of my own free will, bringing to pass much righteousness!

I love my job.
Life is good, even with a lap full!!


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