Monday, January 28, 2013

Just checking in with some thoughts...

I had a dear friend send me an article today via email that I needed!  I'll get to that, but THANK YOU to my sweet friend--she always knows just what I need. :)

I was just called yesterday to be the Compassionate Service Coordinator in my ward and I feel very overwhelmed and very inadequate.  For those of you not familiar with LDS jargon, the Compassionate Service Coordinator works with our local leaders to meet needs of members--such as meals when a baby is born or there is an illness, housecleaning when there is a long term issue, or child care when LIFE happens.  I see that the Lord has been preparing me for this calling, but I couldn't sleep last night because I felt very upset.

You see, I had a dinner party planned for tonight to celebrate the 200th anniversary of "Pride & Prejudice" being published or whatever.  I LOVE Jane Austen.  I have some very good friends who also do, so I invited a few people over to celebrate.  Yes, I know it's supposed to be Family Home Evening, but I just really felt I needed to do this.

Okay, so I was feeling guilty about this because there are some needs I am taking care of for families in the ward and I felt that I needed to drop my personal life and dive into my calling and go visit some sisters that I think need some love and support.  I almost cancelled the dinner.  I'm glad I didn't.

One of the friends who came is not a member of the Church and I wanted to introduce her to other members.  She is amazing and I know that the gospel can help her and her family be together forever.  Plus, she brought her adorable daughter! Yet I still felt guilty even after everyone had gone home. And then the email came.

The article in this email was about how we as women sometimes feel that we don't deserve "me" time because we have families and responsibilities that we need to attend to.  The author says we should cut ourselves some slack--we should feel good when we do the everyday things because some people don't even do that!  When we need to spend time on one thing instead of another and we truly feel it's the right thing to do, we shouldn't beat ourselves up!  We second guess ourselves far too often...

Why would I feel that my original prompting to have a gathering of friends and fellowship with them was any less important than visiting the other sisters?  Isn't tomorrow another day?  I can do the things I was prompted to do tomorrow and it will still mean something.  I know that what I prepared tonight was something that has the potential to make lives better.  That is a worthy goal!

We need to trust ourselves more.  If we are living the kind of life that God would have us live, He will guide us to do HIS will and then we won't need to worry!  I have time tomorrow after work to make a visit.  I will do it--and it will be okay that it didn't happen right the very second I felt I had to.  When you trust God, you can truly trust yourself because your desires are in the right place.

I think this calling will definitely help me trust in the Lord AND myself more.  I am scared to death.  I would've chosen something quite different if it was up to me.  It wasn't.  I'm glad--I'm sure I'll be even more glad at the end of this calling.  Happiness is so wonderful! :)

Please feel free to use my printable for PERSONAL USE ONLY.  For more information on my disclaimers and printing policies, please visit the tab up top! :)  Happy printing, friends!

Linking to:
Tell Me a Story

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Temple Worthy: A Definition?

I don't know about you, but this talk by Elder Scott D. Whitig really struck me and made me re-examine my life.  Just like I'm doing again now.  I made goals for myself at the beginning of the year and I am now reviewing them to make sure that they really are do-able.  I think they are. I am happier and I feel that I am learning the things that Heavenly Father wants me to, so they were all reasonable and worthy goals.  It all started with this talk, though...

Elder Whitig recounts an experience where he toured a temple that was being built with "...the Executive Director of the Temple Department, Elder William R. Walker, and his Temple Department associates."  While they went through this holy building, every now and then something small would be found out and it was noted to fix it.  In one area there was grit on the walls.  In another place, the window wasn't quite right.  Each time, the remark was made that these things were not temple standard or worthy.

Elder Whitig went back for the temple dedication some weeks after.  He noted that the walls that were noted as too gritty were covered with wallpaper and that the window was behind a large plant.  He chuckled to himself that the contractor had been tricky in how he took care of these problems.  When he brought them up later, he was told that, no, these were the plans.  The grit needed to be gone whether or not there was wallpaper.  The window was to be perfect even though the plant would obscure it.

WOW.  Did that hit you at all?  What grit is underneath my personal wallpaper?  What crooked window pane in my soul am I trying to just hide behind a plant?  This talk has made me re-examine things that I thought I was either justified in or else I thought I hid well.  Even if I hide these things to the world, I will never hide them from my Father in Heaven.  He knows all.  The quote I chose to prettify is my basic goal for 2013.

Here's the print that I made for that quote~

Please feel free to use it for PERSONAL USE ONLY.  More information about disclaimers and printing policies can be found up top under the tab.  Happy printing! :)

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Journey Ramblings

Do you like the title?  It's a kind of warning to you all--I am writing this for personal reasons and it is going to get rambly and has the potential to offend.  It's me, after all!  Know that if you are reading this that I harbor no ill will towards anyone at this time and that all this genuine.  Also, this post is not going to show up on my Facebook page because I don't want people to think I'm writing to show people how "good" I think I am.  Because the only goodness I have is from God.  To HIM be all the glory.  I'm also not writing to blame or to point fingers.  No names will be mentioned in this post.  If you think you resemble these situations, perhaps it is coincidental and you shouldn't feel offended.  I'm writing this for ME.  I'm writing to remind myself NEVER to go back to where I was but to keep going forward to stay happy like I am now.

So, what did I want to write?  I want to write about how I have become happier than I have ever felt in the face of adversity and about things staying the same that I want to change while things that I wanted to stay the same changing.  Maybe that makes sense, maybe not, but that's the best way I could say it...

Anyway, there's part of the rambling, lol!  I am recovering from my first ever bout of "inactivity" that included not attending all my church meetings.  That is NOT me.  I'm serious.  Even if I've been inactive in the sense that I have plateaued and need to do better or fall back, I have NEVER purposefully not gone to church.  I did this for about seven months from August 2011 to February 2012.  I only attended sacrament meeting.  Sometimes I stayed for Sunday School, but only about two times that whole time period.  And nobody really noticed. Except my dearest friend and husband.  This is not me, as I stated before.  I have always enjoyed serving at church and especially as a visiting teacher.  I never stopped my visiting teaching--I am so glad it never got that bad.

I thought it was GREAT at first because I could study my lessons and learn by myself without those strange comments that people make that made me go "WHAT?!" in my head, and I'm sure on my face.  It happens to the best of us.  Sometimes we just make those comments, you know?  It was so much easier than sitting in class with a bunch of people who didn't even notice when I wasn't there, too.  Then I could be justified in my feelings of hatred.  Anyway, I did study my lessons and things for the first bit but then I just stopped.  I never stopped reading my scriptures and praying, just doing the other things that I knew I needed to do.

Why did I come back?  Well, I will tell you that it was for sure NOT because someone reached out and tried to help me come back.  Seriously.  Not one person really ever asked where I was or called to check up on me.  Or if they did, I am not aware of it or I was so selfish that I willed not to remember it because I wanted to be justified.  I had asked to not have visiting teachers because I have only had one sister come regularly the entire 5 years we had been in this ward and I was sick of feeling like I was not important.  I would rather know that someone wasn't coming because I personally asked them not to than to know it was because I was not important enough to pick up a phone to call.  Ever felt that way?  I bet you have. 

I bet you've also felt like I did when I cried out to God and asked Him if it could all just end because I was SO weary.  Not just tired.  Not just sad.  WEARY.  Soul crushing, head splitting, tear falling weariness that was only increased because of the sad choice that I had made to withdraw myself.  That's who really was to blame--me.

It's easy to say, "Well she should have called me" or "They should have noticed" or "He is the problem."  It's easy to think that nobody will miss you when it's been supported by the actions of those around you.  She probably "should have" called me.  But she didn't.  Doesn't excuse you.  They probably "should have" noticed.  But they didn't  Doesn't excuse you.  He might be PART of the "problem."  So what?  Doesn't excuse you.

I'm glad that nobody reached out (that I remember or am aware of--certain people did when I came back and that's usually how it goes).  Heavenly Father knew I needed to do this ALONE.  Because I'm a very strong-willed prideful daughter and He needed me to be humbled.  I thank Him for this.  It is a great blessing to me now.  Also, I realize now that people gave me space because that's what my actions had told them I wanted.  So who's to blame now?  Yep.  ME.

I also just want to put in a disclaimer really quickly--YOU SHOULD NEVER try to tell someone that they are the problem or that they need to change.  Unless you are a family member or a leader that can lovingly express the concern, you should NEVER try to convince someone that they are the problem.  Because you might be part of the problem and your trying to convince someone that they are the problem makes the problem bigger.  Speaking from an experience of a dear sister and friend of mine.  This situation really isn't me, it's someone else.  Why am I trying to convince you?!  It doesn't matter if you believe me or not, lol!  Anyway, my sweet sister and friend is sick of "being the problem."  WAKE UP you guys!  Fix your own self!  Look at me being all hypocritical in a sense.  But seriously, we need to take care of ourselves first.  Please.  Don't tell someone that they are a "problem." Each of us is needed and should feel only LOVE from us, not that we are a "problem."  Myself included, let's stop pointing fingers and fix our own selves.  We all know that we have so much to work on.  That's enough to take upon ourselves to "fix."  Fix you.  That's my goal.

I bet you're wondering why I'm telling you this.  It's because I realize now that the problem was ME.  It DOES NOT MATTER who didn't notice that I wasn't there because even though my husband did, there were others who also noticed but could not tell me because I had distanced myself from them purposefully.  God noticed.  My Savior noticed.  My family and friends who have passed on noticed.  It was because of them that I went back.  Seriously--you're thinking I'm incredibly crazy.  I kind of am...

The choice to go back was extremely hard.  I put it off month after month until one night I was laying in bed listening to my husband sleep.  I realized that if I didn't come back to church that our relationship would end when we left this life.  God only keeps covenants with us when we keep our end of the bargain.  I wasn't.  I also realized that if I didn't go back, I would NEVER see my friends and family that had passed on.  I wouldn't see my parents EVER again.  I would be alone.  I had thought that this was what I wanted.  I was stupid to believe that this choice only effected me.  It effected millions of people--some I don't even know right now.

And what about the children that we have tearfully prayed for and been anxious for?  What would have happened if we had them and I didn't feel the need to take them to church?  Our family was doomed.  Literally.  Everything rested on my one decision to go back to church.  And since I don't like to be called a wimp, I did.  With a bad attitude.

I started to help my husband teach his Primary class one week when his teaching partner hadn't shown up.  I was on medication that made it really hard for me to be restricted when I ate, drank, and went to the bathroom.  When I was asked to team teach Primary with my husband, I didn't want to do it.  I used the medication as an excuse to have to "think about it."  After a month, I grudgingly accepted.

I had a blast with the kids in our class.  But only during class time.  I found myself completely overwhelmed when we were in sharing/singing time because things were chaotic.  I am an educator by trade, and the way the children were allowed to act seriously shocked, scared, and saddened me.  I let it eat at me.  I tried to help in my way, but nothing changed.  I asked to be released shortly after school was back in session because I felt that I just could NOT handle that stress and the stress that accompanies the beginning of the school year when working with children who have severe mental disabilities.  Now I realize that this sad choice has actually become a positive turning point.  I love how God can do that for us when we finally want to sincerely repent.

The week after I was released, I seriously thought that I would start just going home after Sacrament Meeting again.  And then I remembered that sweet night when the sound of my amazing husband's breathing led me to realize the true desperation of my situation.  What did I value?  I had asked to be released of my own free will and choice.  It was MY decision.  That decision meant that I now had to attend Sunday School (that's fine) and Relief Society (UGH).  Yes, I used to hate going to Relief Society.  Not any more.

I went to Sunday School.  I almost left afterwards to go home.  I FORCED myself to stay put and sit all alone and feel miserable.  It was MY fault.  I didn't even say hi to anyone even though a few sisters did come and approach me.  I was cold, distant, and slightly rude.  I had more miles to go before happiness could show its face in my life again.

So, when did it?  When I decided that I needed to serve again.  Not in a calling, but just because that is part of the covenant I made with my Father when I was baptized.  I promised to serve those around me and to love those around me.  There were no exclusions clauses in this covenant.  It wasn't to serve and love those around me IF they loved me and served me the way I thought they should.  It wasn't to serve and love those around me IF I liked them and they were "my type of people."  It wasn't to serve and love those around me IF they didn't "use" me for my talents and then ignore me everywhere else.  It wasn't to serve and love those around me IF they were nice to me.  The covenant I made was to serve and love those around me.  PERIOD.  By the way, I do not have a calling right now (aside from being a visiting teacher) and I think that I am okay with this.  Which is also not me.  I like to be in charge...I'm working on this.

I am so glad for a few things that happened while all of this was going on.  Firstly, I got a new visiting teaching companion.  I was unhappy about it at the time because I felt that it was done to spite me and to tear me away from some very good friends.  I see now that God can be in everything that is done even if it is done for the wrong reason, or rather, what I consider to be the wrong reason.  We eventually got an route that included two sisters who are new to our ward.  Very great blessing in deed.

That is another thing I am happy for is that many new sisters and their families moved into the ward.  I reached out to them in hopes that they would have heard nothing about me and would not judge me.  Isn't that selfish?  But you know what, it lead to service for the right reason--because I love them and I want them to gain eternal happiness.  This then lead me to want to reach out to all the other sisters and their families in our ward (that I felt had wronged me, perhaps they "have" but that is no good excuse for MY behavior) because when you serve, you are filled with the love of Christ and it GROWS.  It is so wonderful!

A third thing that I am happy for is a pregnancy "scare" that turned out to be just that--a "scare."  Every October around General Conference time, I get seriously depressed because I am not pregnant and that means that I am not good enough to have children, right?  And then I don't watch General Conference because I am angry at God.  But this past October, I missed my period.  I was so excited to think we would FINALLY have a pregnancy and I just KNEW that this one would not end in miscarriage.  I was never pregnant, but I watched all of General Conference because I wasn't depressed and didn't know any differently.  And when my period came in November, I was okay with it because Heavenly Father had allowed me to feel of His love through situations that could be considered "sad."  As I type this, I am realizing that "sad" experiences can make us very happy.  Because happiness is a choice.  Having no children is bearable knowing that if I strive to keep my covenants they will come in another life.  This satisfies my hunger for motherhood in the traditional sense.

The last thing I am grateful for is all the babies being born to my friends and sisters right now.  Isn't that a crazy thing for me to be grateful for after what I just told you?  I'm grateful for it because for the FIRST TIME IN MY LIFE, I not only attended my first baby shower--I THREW IT.  I threw a baby shower because I am no longer bitter that I may never be a mother in the traditional sense this life.  I am not even "resigned" to it.  I am embracing it!

I can do SO many things that mothers of small children cannot.  I can serve them.  At a moment's notice.  I can stop what I'm doing and GO when I need to.  When that prompting comes, I can act on it without having to find a babysitter.  My husband and I can babysit for a couple with young children so that they can go a date night when they can't afford a babysitter because, in reality, any night can be date night for us.  We can help families out by watching their children for them so they can attend to other obligations.  In that we are fulfilling our role of parenthood.  We still love and seek out the Primary children even though we both no longer serve as Primary workers.  They can in a sense be our children because we taught them and can show them kindness each week we see them and listen to them and laugh and be happy because of their sweet spirits.  We can have them in our home and feel of their perfection as we play and have fun with them.

God is SO good and SO great.  He is a perfect Father with a perfect love for His imperfect daughter.  He knew how to humble her so that she could find peace and happiness.

I now can truly say with certainty and integrity that I do love all those around me.  That doesn't mean I don't get annoyed by peoples' actions or even make judgements at a split second when I hear, read, see, or am told about things.  I am working on this.  I am working on forgiving not only things people have done to me, but forgiving people of things they might do.  It also doesn't mean that everyone will believe me or think me genuine.  I might seem fake to some.  I get it.  Because I've felt the same way before.  Because we are ALL human.  That means I must try harder and smarter--I need to get on my knees and pray to know what I need to do to make this situation better.

We are all a family.  And we ALL have issues.  And we can make allowances for others.  We should make allowances for others.  Then God can make allowances for us.  And we can be happy.  We should and can choose to be happy.

Happy NOW.

Happy in the face of adversity--whether self inflicted or placed upon us because we must learn something.

Happy our whole lives.

Happy for ETERNITY.

Through the Atonement of our Savior and the mercy of a kind and loving Father in Heaven, we can be families for eternity.  We can live in love and unity.  But it takes each of us being willing to do this.  One person can't do it alone.  A few people can't start a group to "make" it happen.  We each must use our agency to create it.  And it starts in our homes.

I am SO thankful for my husband who will never stop loving and supporting me, for my parents who taught me from a young age the truth of the restored gospel, for my righteous and enduring family and friends on the other side of the veil.  Without them, I wouldn't be where I am.  I would be in my own realm of misery that I had started creating for myself or else dead.  I am not kidding about that.  I am especially thankful for the Atonement of our Savior that I have been able to utilize and KNOW I will be utilizing for the rest of my life and for a loving Father in Heaven who perfectly knows and loves me and allows me to fail so that I can learn.

I will not be allowing comments on this post.  Please feel free to email me if you wish to.  I will do my best to get back to you. :) 

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Special Occasions Calendar

I've got a few projects to share with you the next few days, or really, as I get to them. :)  This first one is a project that I made in less than 30 minutes yesterday--that's the computer work AND putting it together!

My mother and I were talking about how we always forget my sisters' husbands' birthdays and that we needed a calendar to keep track of them and other family members' special days as well.  We went online and found a bunch that we could buy, but we wanted them last night and we weren't willing to pay $7 and up.  We're FRUGAL, not cheap. ;)

So, what did I do?  I got onto the computer and made a quick and easy Special Occasions Calendar for us!!!  It was totally simple!

Here's the finished project~

Hanging near my craft area.

So, do you want to make one?  Good!  All you have to do is print THIS FILE and then cut the papers in half (at 4.25").  Here's some more info about the file, though...I created different colored fronts, so don't just print the file.  Choose which front you want.  I printed the month pages on regular copy paper and the fronts onto cardstock.  I also used a plain white sheet of cardstock for the back.

Some more info.  Did you see the ribbon keeping it together?  That is the cheapest most frugal way to do this!  Just punch two holes into each page, stick the ribbon in BACKWARDS, then fold the ribbon over and push it back through the opposite hole.  I also added a magnet to the back of mine so I could hang it near my craft station for easy access!

Okay, so please feel free to use this for PERSONAL USE ONLY!  More info about disclaimers and printing policies can be found under the tab up top!  Happy printing!