I just finished reading an advance copy of an amazing book - The Power of Starting Something Stupid by Richie Norton. I'll have more to say about it next week when the book launches, but I wanted to share this thought:
Richie talks about how we don't start things or try things because we are afraid. He profiles different individuals in the book who feel that fear and go accomplish their dreams anyway. His advice when you are afraid of trying something or doing something is to examine why.
"What is your personal why? Defining the reasons you're working toward your high aspirations is the first and greatest way to work toward overcoming debilitating fears. You may be able to squeak by for a short time on will alone, but when the going gets tough...and fear begins to rear its ugly head, you're in for a rude awakening if you don't have an equally powerful why to which you're solidly connected."
- Richie Norton, The Power of Starting Something Stupid p. 125-126
I've been thinking about this a lot lately. I have so many ideas and things I want to try, and there are times when I'm afraid to go for something I really care about. I'm planning to do some journaling in the next few days and figure out some whys. *grin*
How about you? How do you overcome fears when embarking on a new adventure?
And if you're looking for a great read, I really can't recommend this more. I anticipated the book would be more business focused, but it's all about how to live a life that you love. It's fantastic. Richie and his wife Natalie are the real deal. (And I can't wait for Richie to come speak at Time Out for Women in Austin this fall!)
You can pre-order The Power of Starting Something Stupid by clicking the image below.
I don't know about you, but there are several songs and artists that really make the holiday season for me. Johnny Mathis' "Sleigh Ride"
Barbra Streisand's "Jingle Bells"
The Carpenters' "Merry Christmas Darling"
Harry Connick, Jr.'s "(Must Have Been Ol') Santa Claus"
But lately, the song that instantly gets me in the Christmas spirit is this one from my favorite band from the Great White North...
I listened to it today in the car several times and sang along at the top of my lungs. Let the holiday season begin!
My final post as the featured blogger at TOFW.com went live earlier today. It's about a piece of the best the best marriage (and life) advice I've received - watch out for the weeds. Watch Out for Weeds!
As I was writing the post, I realized that I've been a bit too focused on the weeds in my life right now and not as focused on the flowers and nurturing the things that are good. Ironic, since I've been writing a lot about seeking the good over at TOFW.com. As we're heading full steam ahead into the holiday season, writing this post was a good reminder of all that I have to be happy about and thankful for.
Especially this guy.
If you missed any of my other TOFW.com posts, here are the links to each article:
And here are the rest of my TOFW blog posts (you know, just so all the links are in one place!)
I'm taking 2013 off from TOFW to work on a new presentation (though I'll still be performing "Children Will Listen" and my YW presentation, "Your Happily Ever After" for groups as I can fit them in), but you better believe I'll be in the audience for as many TOFW weekends as I can manage. If you still need a great idea for a Christmas present for yourself or someone else, the early bird special ends today at TOFW.com. Get over there and order some tickets!
And if you've never been to TOFW and have always wondered what it is all about, check out this fantastic video (featuring some of my photographs!)
I'm blogging over at TOFW.com on Tuesdays for the next little while, and I've been spending a lot of time thinking about how my life right now relates to the 2012 theme, "Seek the Good." Don't get me wrong - my life is wonderful. I'm very blessed. But I also know, there are so many ways I can improve. And I've been a little bit consumed thinking of all the ways I can improve. Especially when it comes to the day-to-day things I want (and should be) doing every day.
Not long ago, I came across an awesome productivity secret from Jerry Seinfeld. Yes, that Jerry Seinfeld.
The details are in this blog post, but his advice was to come up with task or a goal you are trying to accomplish, get a big calendar, and then...
"He said for each day that I do my task of writing, I get to put a big red X over that day. "After a few days you'll have a chain. Just keep at it and the chain will grow longer every day. You'll like seeing that chain, especially when you get a few weeks under your belt. Your only job next is to not break the chain."
Don't break the chain. Seems simple, right?
My new chain is a goal I have to only drink water every day. No soda. I knew this would be difficult, but I was committed.
I made it through the entire day yesterday, and was feeling super proud of myself.
Big mistake, deciding to go ahead and feel proud of myself after one day.
You know the saying, "Make plans, and the Universe laughs"? That's kind of how I felt today. For a variety of reasons, I already broke the chain.
Normally, I would beat myself up about failing at something so quickly, but I'm trying to seek the good in myself and be a bit kinder to myself. And the great thing is, I can start the chain again tomorrow. I'll keep you posted on how the chain is going.
So, how do you establish new habits or accomplish goals? I'd love to hear more ideas from you in the comments below.
P.S. Here's another great blog post by someone else who used the Jerry Seinfeld "Don't Break the Chain" idea.
One of the most amazing things about the past two years I've had the opportunity to spend as a presenter for Time Out for Women has been the chance to attend the events and listen to all the other presenters. I come home from each weekend recharged and ready to do better and be better and accomplish more. It's a real blessing. This fall season has been a busy one for me - I've had three back-to-back weekend events. As I looked at the calendar, I joked with my husband that with three TOFW events in a row, the Relief Society session of General Conference, and then General Conference the weekend after that if I don't come out the other side of this a better person, I seriously need to re-evaluate myself. *grin*
I've been so blessed this year to present several times with Brad Wilcox. I love Brad. He's just as funny and thoughtful and kind as you imagine he is, and his talks are so much fun to listen to. You're laughing one minute, and learning profound gospel truths the next. He's a master teacher.
Brad's TOFW talk this year has been about the different names of the Savior. He talks about how in Third Nephi Jesus said that His people will know His name. Brad teaches about the different names of Jesus and how when we learn what they mean, we can begin to see more clearly all that He has to offer us. It's a great talk. I've heard it several times this year, but I really needed to hear it in Boise.
You see, I've been pretty discouraged with myself lately. With my ability to accomplish the day-to-day things that add up to make us better. It's discouraging. I look around and I compare myself as we all do, and I just get so discouraged.
Brad has so many great quotes in this talk, but I have two favorite moments in the talk that really hit me in Boise.
Brad tells of a friend of his who isn't living the teachings of the church any longer because, as he says, "God loves me just the way I am." Brad answered him, saying:
God loves us just the way we are, but he also loves us enough to not leave us like this.
I love my grandchildren just the way they are, but it doesn't mean that I don't want them to learn to walk, it doesn't mean I don't want them to learn to talk, it doesn't mean I don't want them to learn to read. I love them enough to want more for them.
God loves us enough not just to want more, but to make a way for that to become a reality. As we make covenants with Christ, he literally gives us the power to be transformed.
Then, at the close of Brad's talk, he says this:
Oh, thank goodness He's not finished making me yet. I've been striving to keep that in mind over the past couple weeks.
Thank you, Brad.
P.S. Remember to go check out this week's post at TOFW.com!
P.P.S. You should also go enter the giveaways this week on my Facebook page! New giveaways every day, and all the drawings happen on Saturday.
So, we went to the Olympics. The actual Olympics in London. And it was awesome. As awesome as you imagine it will be.
I have so many memories and stories and pictures that are whirling around in my brain, and I promise to share as many as I have time to share and you have patience to read. But as I've been thinking back over our trip, the themes that keep popping up are the things I learned from watching these athletes up close.
The first event we attended was an evening session of Athletics (track and field). We had really great seats, and it was inspiring to see the athletes competing in the various events and fascinating to be close enough that I could see the expressions on their faces through my camera.
We saw a lot of events that night. We cheered the wins. We groaned the losses. But my heart really broke when I took this picture.
This is Jason Richardson right after winning the silver medal in the 110m hurdles.
Why did it break my heart? Because I could tell he felt like he didn't do his best.
We were able to see the semi-final meets earlier in the night. Jason Richardson won his heat easily. His body language was relaxed and confident. He was running to win.
But the final was different.
It's so hard to describe, but I can best sum it up by saying this - He wasn't running to win. He was running not to lose.
It may not seem like much of a difference, but it's huge. You can see the athletes who are playing to win. They're relaxed. They're confident. They trust the training time they have put in and they let those training habits take over and carry them through the situation. Athletes that are playing not to lose are tense. They make silly mistakes. They choke in big situations because they let the enormity of the moment take over and they don't trust their training. And they don't do their best. And after all of that training, that is heartbreaking to watch.
But, there's opposition in all things right?
As heartbreaking as it was to watch Jason Richardson, it was a joy to watch Aries Merritt run the same race. He was calm and relaxed all night and just seemed really happy to be where he was.
And he won the 110m hurdles gold medal. With a personal best time. It was amazing to watch. Talk about visible joy on someone's face!
After the race, Merritt said this: "You just want to focus on executing your race to the best of your ability because you can only control what you do. You can't control what anyone else does."
And for me, that is when the sweetest successes always come - gold medal or not. By preparing the best you can and then when the time comes to prove yourself, you can face the day with confidence instead of fear. Because, as the scripture says, "if ye are prepared ye shall not fear." And no matter the outcome, you'll know that you did your best.
In my mind, that is what running to win is all about - in life or in sports.
G-Man has been teaching me a great lesson this summer, even while I've been trying to teach him. Though G-Man really loves swimming in our pool, as of the beginning of the summer, we couldn't get G-Man to get his face wet, jump off the side, or even think of swimming without his "floatie."
It's been making me a little crazy. He's been taking classes at The Little Gym, and his favorite thing to do is to climb things and jump off of them. I have been telling him all summer (in truth, I've been telling him this since he was 2) that jumping off a balance beam is the same as jumping off the side of a pool and that he would love it.
No dice. He wasn't interested.
And that can be so frustrating as a parent. I just want him to LISTEN TO ME, trust that I KNOW WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT, and DO WHAT I SAY.
But sometimes, you just have to experience things to know.*
So, instead of forcing G-Man to try the different aspects of swimming (full disclosure - I actually tried to make him jump off the side of the pool and teach him to swim. Not so successful...), I decided I'd better find a way to shape his swimming experience differently. That, or I was going to end up with a 12 year old who still had to swim with a floatie while his little sister swam circles around him. (L has no fear in the pool. That's a different challenge for another day.)
We were lucky enough to hear about an amazing swimming teacher from my friend Natalie. This teacher lives around the corner from us and teaches in her backyard pool. And then we were lucky enough to get a few lessons scheduled with her. (Which took a while to get scheduled. Because she's that awesome.) There were some major tears during the first lesson, but after his teacher promised him several times that she would NEVER push his head under and would NEVER force him to do anything that he couldn't do, his trust in her and his confidence slowly started to grow.
The first few lessons were still filled with tears, but then all of a sudden...
He was still hesitant in our pool, but after swimming with some friends one afternoon at the end of June, he realized jumping off the side of the pool was fun. After our friends left, he kept jumping and quickly progressed from jumping off the small wall into the shallow end to this:
We just returned from a vacation to Utah and had another swimming lesson with his teacher. Monday afternoon, for the first time ever, he wanted to take his floatie off and swim without it.
I'm amazed by it. Watching kids figure things out was the greatest joy I had as a teacher, but it's on a whole new level watching my child figure something out. He earned that confidence. He earned the joy he feels when he jumps in the pool or tries a new trick. No one can take that away from him.
And as I'm facing down some challenges that I need to just push through, I'm watching and learning from my little swimming buddy.
Sure proud of you, G-Man.
* I swear, this is the most frustrating part of parenting. I understand that agency and choice are something I signed up for on this adventure here on the planet, and I understand that means other people have free will and the right to exercise it, but it's different watching someone you gave birth to exercise their free will. It's actually kind of awful to watch. I'm trying to get better about calmly guiding my little people instead of seizing control of their lives, but it's so hard...
Little L and I flew to Utah today so I can sing for the awesome ladies who are gathering in Park City for a Mother's Day weekend retreat put on by the fabulous ladies of The Power of Moms. I'm rearranging the order of some of my songs from Children Will Listen, and talking a little more specifically about the day-to-day adventures that come as I'm raising these two little children I was lucky enough to give birth to. I've been wanting to attend a Power of Moms retreat for a couple of years now, so I'm feeling blessed to have the chance to not only attend, but to sing as well.
See you next week!
He is risen! He is risen!Tell it out with joyful voice! He has burst his three days prison, Let the whole wide earth rejoice. Death is conquered; man is free. Christ has won the victory.
Come with high and holy hymning; Chant our Lord's triumphant lay. Not one darksome cloud is dimming Yonder, glorious morning ray, Breaking o'er the purple East Symbol of our Easter feast.
He is risen! He is risen! He hath opened Heaven's gate. We are free from sin's dark prison, Risen to a holier state. And a brighter Easter beam On our longing eyes shall stream.
On this Easter morning, may the peace of our Savior be with you.
Several years ago, I went to an open casting call for Les Miserables. The touring cast was performing in Salt Lake City, and the producers held an open audition to find new talent. I wasn’t planning to go audition. I had been married for a couple of years (to Rusty Armor), and though my heart ached every time I heard of another classmate who was cast in a Broadway touring cast or show, those dreams had long since been buried for me.
But my dad called to tell me about the audition and asked if I would go do it.
Pretty obvious how that conversation ended, right?
As I walked into the lobby of the hotel where the auditions were being held, the number of people there immediately overwhelmed me. I knew the auditions would be crowded, but there were hundreds of people waiting to be seen by the casting directors. Just then, the stage manager came into the waiting area to announce that because of the number of people that were there, they were now going to have a type-out audition.
A type-out audition is one where you walk into a room with 10-15 other people, and stand in a straight line while the casting directors look you up and down, glance at your resume, and then dismiss you if you don’t fit the physical “type” they are going for. If you’re too short, tall, have the wrong coloring – if you don’t fit, you are dismissed from the audition immediately without any opportunity to perform.
I’m 5’8” with red hair and freckles – type-out auditions are not my thing, unless it’s a production of Annie Get Your Gun. This being a Les Mis audition, I knew there was nothing I could do to make myself look more waifish and French. I almost left right then because I knew I would immediately be typed out. Why submit willingly to the rejection? Why wait to be told “no” before I got the chance to really show them what I could do?
Ironically, I made it through the type-out because of a couple of roles on my resume. I had the opportunity to sing, and I was called back to come the next day and sing again. It was a huge confidence-building experience, and I was so glad I listened to my dad.
I never heard back from the Les Mis casting directors, and as the years went by, I was haunted by that experience. What if I could have made my Broadway dreams come true? The one time I tried, I had done pretty well, and friends I had been on stage with in college were performing in New York and all over the world. I was thrilled for them and loved going to see them perform. But on days when my life was difficult, there was always a little pang of regret that I may have missed my chance. I hated feeling it, but it was there.
When my marriage to Rusty Armor ended and I suddenly had a million options before me for starting my life over again, I knew that I needed to try for Broadway. Wherever I went in my life from that point forward, I wanted to be done with any regrets. So, I tried. Not a full-blown-move-to-NYC try, but an extended-visit-to-the-city try. I went to open auditions in New York, and I auditioned for a staged workshop and made final callbacks for the ensemble. I felt confident from the experiences that I was having that if I was supposed to move to New York and make it on Broadway, that I could do it. And I wanted to do it.
But I also wanted to follow the path that the Lord had in mind for me. And with so many options before me, I knew that I had to give some serious thought and prayer to my next step. I took my options to my Heavenly Father and pled my case for moving to New York to perform.
And Heavenly Father said no.
So, I asked again. After all, this was something I REALLY wanted! A dream! A dream to use talents I felt Heavenly Father had blessed me with and I had been given stewardship over and would have the opportunity to use every day!
And He said no again.
That was hard to take at first. I felt like I’d been typed-out. Like I didn’t really have a chance to show what I could do. Instead, I was being asked to do something different - to go in a completely different direction than the one I was dreaming about. And though I was sad to stop chasing my Broadway dreams, I knew I needed to do it.
Sometimes dreams don’t turn out the way we want. Sometimes it’s just bad timing. Sometimes it’s because of someone else’s free agency. Sometimes the dream we want to chase is just not the dream for us.
Whatever the reason, it’s heartbreaking.
But the heartbreak heals. And perspective returns. Just because I wasn’t going to Broadway, that didn’t mean I should stop singing and developing my talents. All it meant was that particular performing avenue was not the one for me. Was I sad about it? Absolutely. Am I still sad about it?
But then, I look at my life and the choices I’ve made and the path I’m on. I look at my husband. I look at my children. I look at the things I have the opportunity to do because of the life I’ve had and the choices I’ve made, and I’m not sad anymore. I’m just grateful.
Grateful that my Heavenly Father knew the perfect role for me to play.
Grateful that I was willing to take the part.
--------------------------** Image from A Chorus Line found here.
I come seeking your parenting advice. How does one get a talkative child to stop talking and actually eat?
And assuming you can get them to eat, how do you get them to try and love different foods? (though that's probably a question I need answered another day)
Mealtime is becoming the absolute bain of my existence, and I'm finding that I'm letting G-Man get away with eating the same rotation of foods just to ensure that he will EAT SOMETHING.
Tonight nearly did me in.
The kids and I went on a walk to see the bluebonnets in a park near our house and collect some rocks. When we got finished, we went to Target to replace toothbrushes now that everyone is on antibiotics and on the mend. Since we were at Target, and it's a mutual night, we met Diggity for dinner at Potbelly. Diggity and I love their salads, but G-Man is not a fan of their sandwiches. But he asked for a sandwich and then once he had it, proceeded not to eat it.
In the past, I've let him eat a couple bites and fill up on other things, but the child is almost 5 and needs to learn to eat, so tonight, I dug my heels in. And he dug right back. I don't think I've ever seen a child that needs to chew his food so thoroughly. Threats, ignoring, cajoling...pretty much everything but straight up bribery (which I've also done in the past). Diggity finally had to leave for mutual, and we stayed another 40 minutes until that child finished half of his sandwich, bringing our total time in the restaurant to 70 minutes or so. For one half of a sandwich.
Here's how L felt about it:
I concur, sister.
Though I've been assured many times that this situation will change, and I know that when he's a teenager and I can't keep food in the house I may look back with fondness at this time, I can't help but wonder...what can I do? What have you done?
I sure appreciated all the comments on the Giveaway Friday post from last week. I loved the answers you gave for the TableTopics questions I asked Shawni, and as I was dealing with two sick kids and being sick myself this weekend, I found a lot of your suggestions so very helpful. • When I’m feeling low I try to do something for someone else. OR I bake myself happy • My mom taught me to have an eternal perspective. There are some things that really matter and some things that don’t. Spend your time worrying about the things that matter. • When I feel down I try to work out, or put on movie or something that makes me laugh hard, also a good work out! • Service. Give, give and give. The more you give, the better you feel. It could be to your own family members or to those not in your family. A clean house never makes me feel as good as service makes me feel. • I love to run to get my mind off of things. It gets rid of everything! • When I’m feeling low, I bake- and then eat- usually chocolate chip cookies is the best- or i get down and play with my girls (2 and 8 months). • I talk to my husband or if he’s not right there, my sisters or my good friends. I always feel better after sharing what’s going on in my head/heart. Nothing lifts me up like connecting with those I love.
Next time I'm not feeling great, I'm going to bake cookies, eat some, and then run them over to someone who needs some service! That should work, right? *grin*
I wasn't able to bake or run this weekend, and hubby could tell we were getting a little stir crazy this morning. G-Man was feeling so much better, but still a bit too sick to go to preschool. And after being cooped up all weekend, the kids were done watching TV, so we decided to get ourselves outside and get the kids in the fresh air. We headed for the Wildflower Center near our house. It's been a pretty glorious spring for wildflowers so far.
Nothing like a blue sky and some gorgeous flowers to perk you up...
Luckily, this one only has a cold and in spite of the coughing she's still doing, she's in much better spirits today.
And we thought this one was on the mend - he had a lot of fun being outdoors today - and then I found him curled up on the couch asleep this afternoon. Hope he's better tomorrow.
Love this. If looking at this picture doesn't make my day better, not much can.
* The winner of Shawni's book is posted on my Facebook page. And if you are willing to make a donation to Shawni's Vision Walk team, you can enter to win a free registration to an upcoming Power of Moms retreat. Details here.
I'm a photographer. I feel blessed to have the opportunity to capture photographs that mark a moment in time for a family. Those moments are important. Those big moments. But little moments are important too. Everyday moments. I've really gotten in the habit of using my phone to capture everyday stuff, because I don't like getting my camera out, and I don't love hauling it around. But whenever I do get my camera out to take pictures of everyday moments, I'm always so glad I did.
I'm thinking about this because scrapbook goddess Becky Higgins wrote a great blog post with a list of suggestions to get started on documenting those everyday moments in life. She wrote the list to encourage teens and young adults to keep a record of their lives, but I think the list is great for anyone.
So, I'm going to do a better job of documenting. I'm going to use the list to document what happens in our daily lives. Instead of copping out and using my iPhone, I'm going to take the camera with me and take more photos. And then bring them here to tell more stories.
How do you like to document your life? Photos? Blogging? Scrapbooking?
P.S. Remembering the camera is just a good thing to do. I really learned that after our trip to SF this past weekend. Because I was willing to drag the camera around, we got this picture with our friends the Hancocks who we love and don't get to see nearly enough:
And this picture of Diggity and the little kids at the Oakland Temple at sunset. I'm going to treasure this photo.
I found this poster on Pinterest tonight, and started thinking about one of my very favorite talks - "Timing" by Dallin H. Oaks. I read it over and over and over again after my divorce. One of my favorite parts was this quote in the talk from Elder Maxwell:
“The issue for us is trusting God enough to trust also His timing. If we can truly believe He has our welfare at heart, may we not let His plans unfold as He thinks best? The same is true with...all those matters wherein our faith needs to include faith in the Lord’s timing for us personally, not just in His overall plans and purposes.”
I've been thinking a lot lately about what it means to wait on the Lord. After my divorce, I really felt like I knew what it meant to wait on the Lord. I found myself single again and didn't know what I was supposed to do with the course of my life since it had so dramatically changed. But as I look around my life now, I see all sorts of examples of people who are waiting on the Lord. We all wait for different things.
These words from Elder Oaks about waiting really hit me as I read them again tonight:
Because of things over which we have no control, we cannot plan and bring to pass everything we desire in our lives. Many important things will occur in our lives that we have not planned, and not all of them will be welcome. Even our most righteous desires may elude us or come in different ways or at different times than we have sought to plan...
So what should be done in the meantime? Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ prepares us for whatever life brings. This kind of faith prepares us to deal with life’s opportunities—to take advantage of those that are received and to persist through the disappointments of those that are lost. In the exercise of that faith, we should commit ourselves to the priorities and standards we will follow on matters we do not control and persist faithfully in those commitments, whatever happens to us because of the agency of others or the timing of the Lord. When we do this, we will have a constancy in our lives that will give us direction and peace. Whatever the circumstances beyond our control, our commitments and standards can be constant.
If we have faith in God and if we are committed to the fundamentals of keeping His commandments and putting Him first in our lives, we do not need to plan every single event—even every important event—and we should not feel rejected or depressed if some things—even some very important things—do not happen at the time we had planned or hoped or prayed.
Commit yourself to put the Lord first in your life, keep His commandments, and do what the Lord’s servants ask you to do. Then your feet are on the pathway to eternal life. Then it does not matter whether you are called to be a bishop or a Relief Society president, whether you are married or single, or whether you die tomorrow. You do not know what will happen. Do your best on what is fundamental and personal and then trust in the Lord and His timing.
Isn't that so great? I hope that if you find yourself waiting that this talk might be as helpful for you as it was for me.
We started swimming lessons yesterday. I've got a 14 month old that is fearless around the water and an almost 5 year old that cries in terror when his face gets wet in the bathtub. Both of them need the lessons for different reasons.
I've been mentally preparing G-Man for swimming lessons for a couple weeks. He talks a lot about how he's scared to go in the water. I talk a lot about how he needs to do it anyway (Feel the fear and do it anyway! Robisons can do hard things!). But the other day, I felt I needed to say something different. We talked about how when he was feeling afraid, he needed to remember that I wouldn't put him in a situation where he was in danger of getting hurt. And that when he felt afraid, he needed to listen to his swimming teacher and do exactly what she says. That he really needed to believe in her - because like me, she wasn't going to put him in a situation where he was in danger of getting hurt. I told him that if he could count on her and trust her, that he didn't need to feel afraid.
And as he neared the end of the swimming lesson where everyone jumps in the pool to the teacher and swims across the pool, the tears started coming. (I was trying really hard not to watch too closely so he would pay attention to his teacher.) He looked terrified. But he figured out a way to jump in that made him feel comfortable, and he swam with his teacher's help - crying all the way.
As we walked to the locker room, I told him I was proud of him. That I was so grateful to his teacher for helping him learn how to take care of himself and be safe in the pool. He grinned and said, "I know! I believed that she would help me, and she did! And I was only a little bit afraid at first."
Tonight, I was upset about something that happened earlier in the day. Something I have no control over. Something that as I watch it develop makes me afraid for the success of some of the projects I've been working on. And frustrated because there is nothing I can do about it.
Thank goodness for smart husbands who call you on the phone just when you need them to. He understood and listened to my frustration. He made me feel better about the projects I've been working on, since they are things I really feel like I'm supposed to be working on. And as I listened to him calm my fears, I was overwhelmed with gratitude for him and the partner he is and the role he plays in my life and in our family.
And with that, the fear was gone.
Gratitude and fear can't co-exist. And I'm so grateful for that reminder and that I have a new tool for moving through fear in my toolbox of life. When the unknown and the out of control start to press down on me, I'm going to find something to be grateful for and move through the fear to the place that I can walk forward in faith.
How about you? What tools do you use to move through moments of fear?
I've been thinking a lot this week about investment. Mainly about the investments I'm willing to make in myself. Investments are hard for me to make in myself. I'm quick to make investments of time and energy in others, and like all moms, I make sacrifices for the people in my family. And I want to do that. I want to be selfless. But in that quest to be selfless, I often find myself making sacrifices of my own health and the time that I need to take care of things that matter.
I've been focused on making a different type of investment this week. My good friend Lori is a fashion consultant, and has been here this week helping me find new clothes to wear for my Time Out for Women performances. And since I've lost weight since having L., I needed some more everyday clothes to wear as well. Even though I knew in my head I needed to update my wardrobe, even though I knew that doing so would help my confidence and would be a boost for everything in my everyday life, when it came down to actually making the investment and spending the money, it was really hard. It felt selfish.
Now, if my husband had needed new clothing for something, no problem! Or my kids? Definitely! But me? Ummm....
I still have to work on the balance between feeling selfless and selfish, but I think being willing to periodically make investments in myself is a great way to achieve that balance. I really feel like I'm taking more steps toward, as Julie says in the video, losing my carnal (or natural man) self and finding my authentic self.
And oddly, I'm finding that the new clothes that I feel great wearing (thanks, Lori!) has really been helping me in that journey. There's something about feeling good about the way I'm presenting myself to the world that makes it easier to balance taking care of my family and taking time to do the essential things that I need to take care of every day.
G-Man: "Mom? Can I have the iPod?"
Me: "Not right now. Sorry, buddy."
G-Man: "Why? I really want the iPod!"
Me: "I know you do. I'm sorry. But you are on your way to school, and we don't have a long way to drive, and it's not a good time for the iPod."
Silence from the backseat.
G-Man: "Mom - I'm mad at you."
Me: "Sorry to hear that."
G-Man: "I'm mad at you because you should give me what I want when I want it. It's not nice. I should get to do what I want."
Now, at this point in the conversation, I usually change the subject, but for some reason, I started down a different conversational path...
Me: "Really? You think you should always get to do what you want?"
Me: "Okay. So, if you wanted to eat candy all day long, I should let you do that? Even though it makes your tummy hurt? Or, last year when we were working on going potty in the toilet - you really wanted to keep wearing diapers and didn't want to learn to go to the bathroom and wear big boy underwear. Should I have let you keep going potty in your diapers? Just because that's what you wanted to do?"
G-Man: "No, mom! That's silly!"
Me: "That's right. And it's my job as your mommy to help you learn that there things that you may not want to do at first, but that are better for you when you do them. Just because we always want to do something, doesn't mean it's good for us."
And as I kept talking and giving him examples, it was like I was talking to myself. Just because I want to do something, doesn't mean I should just be able to do it. As I've lamented my spotty self-discipline in certain areas, I don't think I've ever thought about this as an analogy before.
Just because I want to sleep late every morning, is that a good choice for me?
Just because I really like donuts and I want to eat them every single day, should I?
Nope, and nope.
As I said to G-Man, a parent is someone who helps you learn things that help you become a better person. Things that may not be fun or that take time to learn or that you don't want to do at first. That's what the commandments are for. That's why we have these bodies to take care of and to train - to teach us how to discipline ourselves and overcome our natural tendencies. So many examples from my own life of things I need to do to improve kept flashing through my brain as I was talking to my four year old.
And as I finished up after talking through all these realizations, I looked in the rear view mirror and said, "Does that makes sense, buddy?"
"Mom, I stopped listening."
That's okay, buddy. I think I was having the conversation for my own benefit anyway.
(The famous Texas Bluebonnets!) Or so we hear. We had such a dry spring last year, we didn't see many of them. We're hoping with the rain we've had, we'll see some this spring. We were lucky enough to be visiting Austin the last time they really bloomed, but you can see by this picture how long ago that was...
(I tell him every day that he needs to stop growing up, but he's not listening.)
(And I agree, it's crazy to be mentioning spring on February 27, but we had a couple days that were in the 80s last week. What a crazy "winter!")
Do any of you locals know of any great bluebonnet spots that might be safe for photos? I'm not so interested in pulling off the shoulder on a highway with my crazy, laughs-in-the-face-of-danger, walking 14 month old...
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I'm feeling a bit bogged down as I am making decisions this week. They aren't huge, life-altering decisions - just small business-related decisions that I don't want to have to deal with again, so I want to make sure I do things right the first time.
And sitting and thinking and deciding and looking at the internets for more inspiration is just sucking up my time. And my brain.
My strategy of working on things for 15 minutes at a time is helping me on some days, but on other days, I get so wrapped up in thinking that I don't get anything done. And then, before I know it, the baby wakes up.
Am I the only person this happens to?
I'd rather be watching Downton Abbey right now. *sigh*
(Are you watching Downton Abbey? I've been ignoring my friends that have been raving about it for weeks, thinking that I did not have time to add another thing to my life. I. WAS. SO. WRONG. Season 1 on Netflix, Season 2 on PBS.) _____________________________________