Thursday, June 30, 2016

Eli's Surgery Anniversary

2 years post-op, 3.5 years old

Earlier this month was the 2 year anniversary of Eli's cranial surgery.  The date always rings familiar to me and in my social media outlets popped up memories and pictures.  I reflected on the blessing of life and of children and the advances of medicine.  I also revisited thoughts and feelings of faith and hope.  Eli was 3 months old when we found out he would need surgery to fix the plates in his head so his brain and skull could grow properly as he grows.  And he was 5 and a half months old when he underwent that surgery.  I'm so grateful for the gift of faith we had as we waited seemingly endlessly to see him again after the procedure.  We knew he would be alright, and that if something somehow went wrong everything would still be alright, because of Jesus Christ, His resurrection, and the covenants and blessings of His holy temple, which meant we would see him again and be with him forever because we are sealed together for eternity in God's kingdom in heaven.  Knowing those things don't make life experiences go away, but in my experience they make things bearable and even make life good and happy despite unwanted or non ideal events or situations that come up.

Jesus Christ is truly the light and the life of the world.  Because of Him our hope is solid and peace is full, no matter what happens in our lives.  This life on earth is only a temporary state and we can continue in our families for eternity if we progress on God's path and receive ordinances and make covenants with Him to continually choose good.

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Tuesday, June 14, 2016

I Can Do Hard Things

It's my nature that when I go somewhere, I really enjoy going with other people.  It's more fun that way!  The more the merrier.  Also it can be hard to go places with both kids without Adam.  But as I drove home last week after a long morning/afternoon at a free heritage park day with both kids passed out asleep in their car seats I felt good and accomplished and happy.  Even though no one else could come with me.

I really like to take advantage of free events.  I was pretty nervous going to a new place by myself with both kids, but I couldn't pass up the opportunity to go for free.  And guess what?  We survived!  And we actually did have a good time.  It helps to be prepared with food, water, and sunscreen.  The place was big with lots of things to do and see, but I knew Eli wouldn't be too interested in the historical stuff and that trying to help him see things while also trying to keep Kayleigh entertained would be a challenge so we just hit up the most important things.  He rode a pony, we pet animals, stopped by the splash pad, rode a mini train, played on a big boat, ate free popsicles, climbed a spiral staircase, looked at cool geode rocks, and rode the big train!  We were there for 4 hours.  Phew!  But like I said, we not only survived but also had a lot of fun.  I know the kids like to get out of the house and see new things and I'm trying to be good at that for them.  It helps everyone.  :)

As we drove home I thought about how doing this hard thing and being out so long by myself with both kids makes the idea of doing other things closer to home for a less amount of time easier and totally doable!  I love to watch the kids having fun.  And I love not rushing their fun.

I know my ability to do hard things comes directly from Christ.  He strengthens me and lifts me up.  And when I do good things even when they are not easy I allow Heavenly Father to bless me.  I am happy, my family is happy, we are at peace with our place in life and where we are going.  I am so grateful for Jesus Christ and His influence and assistance in every area of my life.
"I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." (Philippians 4:13)

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

There are No Consequences

A couple months ago I sat outside in the backyard with my son while my husband worked in the yard.  He started digging up part of the backyard where we are going to plant a garden and I joined him with the rake.  I briefly thought that I should probably wear some work gloves so I wouldn't get blisters on my hands but decided against it.  I didn't want to take the time to find them and would rather just get some of the work done.  I would probably be fine.  Later when I was done I realized that my hands were sore.  I could have saved myself some pain had I just took a minute to grab some gloves!

Aren't we like that sometimes?  Somewhere in the back of our minds we know that there will be negative consequences to some choices we make but we convince ourselves otherwise and choose to ignore it and make our choice anyway.  We think it doesn't apply to us or that we will be just fine.  Pushing family away and not making them important will result in weakened relationships.  Pushing God away and not making Him important will result in a weakened relationship and will place you further away from the Spirit who gently guides us on the correct path and helps us feel peace.  Etc, etc.  Sometimes in our weakness we choose to ignore the consequences of our choices, but the truth and fact is that those consequences will still come.  No matter what I want to happen (not have blistered hands), I will still have sore or blistered hands after working in the yard without gloves.  I will still suffer spiritually if I choose not to pray regularly or live by the teachings of the prophets.
"And others will he pacify, and lull them away into carnal security, that they will say: All is well in Zion; yea, Zion prospereth, all is well—and thus the devil cheateth their souls, and leadeth them away carefully down to hell." (2 Nephi 28:21)
The adversary slinks into the weak areas of our chain link and whispers lies to us.  Somehow he sometimes gets us to think that the consequences don't apply to us, that we can choose whatever we want and we will be just fine.

There are consequences!  There are consequences to every choice we make.  Sometimes they come quickly, sometimes later.  Consequences can be bad, and they can also be good.  As we align our choices with the right goals, the consequences that will inevitably come will not be disappointing but can have the positive effect in our lives that we are hoping for.  Listen carefully and the Spirit will lead you to what is good.
"Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven" (Matthew 5:12)
"For ye shall have great joy and be exceedingly glad, for great shall be your reward in heaven" (3 Nephi 12:12)
"Wherefore, men are free according to the flesh; and all things are given them which are expedient unto man. And they are free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil; for he seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself.
"And now, my sons, I would that ye should look to the great Mediator, and hearken unto his great commandments; and be faithful unto his words, and choose eternal life, according to the will of his Holy Spirit"
(2 Nephi 2:27-28)

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Cursed or blessed?

Everything in life could be viewed as a curse or a blessing...  It just depends on the way you look at it.  I choose to believe that life is a gift and has purpose in every turn.  The point here is to grow and to learn how to be better on this our journey to becoming like our eternal, resurrected, all knowing, all powerful, all loving, Father in Heaven.

As I think back on my marriage and family so far I can't recall facing any serious, threatening problems.  We certainly haven't been without our trials.  But I think our attitude has played a big part in how things have played out.  Our big decisions have already been made, there is no question -- We have faith in Jesus Christ, we go to church and accept and participate fully in callings, we pay our tithing, we are faithful to our baptismal and temple covenants and to each other and our little family...  We have chosen our Rock a long time ago and we will not be moved.  Our faith was not shaken when we had to get through and pay for school, or when we thought I was pregnant but it didn't work out, or when our first new baby had to have cranial surgery at 5 and a half months old, or when I sprouted ulcers on both my legs that rendered me useless for a while, or when we packed ourselves up right after having our second baby to live 12 hours away from the only home we knew, or as we struggled to adjust to life with a toddler and a baby and in a brand new state, or how lonely it has been...  We could all spend hours talking about how our lives have been challenging.  But I'm certain we have been blessed as we have stayed true to Christ. 

I don't think any of us could say our lives have been easy.  We have our different set of challenges that are uniquely ours.  But those challenges no matter what they are do not define us, it's what we do with them that does.  It's in the way we handle them that our growth occurs.  And the way we view them, as a curse or a blessing, distinguishes between the bitterness and sweetness of life.
"For after much tribulation come the blessings. Wherefore the day cometh that ye shall be crowned with much glory; the hour is not yet, but is nigh at hand." (Doctrine & Covenants 84:4)