Friday, September 18, 2015

Bleeding Hearts to Buoyant Hearts

The infant is crying. He needs to nurse.
The one year old is screaming. He is dealing with separation anxiety and desperately needs my love.
~ ~
The two and four year olds are hungry for lunch and are responding to the chaos by adding their chorus of mimicking cries, right in the ear of the baby, then hysterically laughing.
~ ~ ~

Unless I yell, my voice won't be heard. I'm putting lunch together, hurriedly trying to get the older ones fed in order to help the younger two.  Trying to avoid the anger reflex.

My heart feels tight, suffocating me. My anxiety levels are creeping ever higher. Someone told me once that the body's response to a baby's cry is the same hormone that pumps through you when having a heart attack. I feel like that's about right.
Logic goes out the window, emotional fuses are short, there is too much noise and too many needs to address. I know I'm about to yell, really a pleading for it all to stop, but with all the wrong energy.

Thinking is fuzzy. I know there is a better way, but it is too fuzzy...
Like searching through a dark room so full of cobwebs you can't see, and are attacked on all fronts by loathsome sensations. I can't get away, there is no escape. I have to go through. I can yell, subduing though breaking the older children's spirits and making the younger ones cry harder.


Where are the principles I've learned to POSITIVELY deal with this situation?

Every time I search through that cobweby room, there are less cobwebs. As long as I don't give in to the anger reflex, it keeps getting easier to find:
  • Ask good quality questions (especially in my head!)
  • Validate Feelings
  • Helpful or Hurtful?
  • SMILE instead of mad-face.  Oh yeah, smile. Smile? Yeah, SMILE!
  • Listen for meaning, not words. "The details don't matter compared to the heart."-- Brandon Broadwater
  • Yes, when... (Instead of no, no, no)
  • Get on their eye-level
  • Focus on Solutions
  • Teach/Educate instead of blame/punish

It is SO hard to stop treading in the turbulent river of emotions, and instead swim to the shore, climb out, and fix the source of the emotion. But if I KEEP treading in that poisonous water, I WILL drown. Negativity will win. My brain shuts off when the anxiety flares. I know if I can just remember to pause and find a Positive Principle, a higher law, I`ll weather the storm sucessfully instead of drowning myself and hurting the people I love.

So I`m doing everything I can think of to REMEMBER in the heat of the moment.
What have I done? What can I do?
  • I put a canvas on my wall of all the good and beautiful emotions that I want in my home. 
  • I have flashcards of Positive Discipline tools that I review. 
  • I print off parenting articles that I re-read one of each morning. One of my favorites is 10 Amazingly Enjoyable Things About Having Kids.
  • I put a paper up by my front door of 64 Positive Things To Say To a Child
  • Put the phone down. 
  • Be present. 
  • Wake up early and have a daily devotional where I can be grateful, and fill up my tank.
  • Go to courses that teach parenting and positive communication skills

I'm passionate about 
learning to parent 

One part of this journey that has helped me immensely is Brandon Broadwater's 3-day courses. There is a power for good within each of us, and Brandon's first course is all about Mastering Your Power Within.

I believe my relationships can prosper. When I was 17 I had an incredible mentor who always left me feeling amazing. I eventually realized this pattern, and marveled at his power. I wondered how he did it, and at the same time set a goal for myself to be that person one day.

Every person has a perfect soul, has worth, and goodness in them. I want them to feel that, and I think I'm on the path to mastering how to be that person who spreads the feel-goods. Who keeps a child's heart, instead of breaking it. Who responds calmly, on a level that the tantrumee can understand.

That excites me.

"Growth is how you show love to your future." -Brandon Broadwater

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Bearing Burdans

Alma 13:28
"But that ye would humble yourselves before the Lord, and call on his holy name, and watch and pray continually, that ye may not be tempted above that which ye can bear, and thus being led by the Spirit..."

I have heard many times in church that we will not be tempted above that which we can bear. But this scripture seems to clearly say that we have to be very proactive about not being tempted 'above that which we can bear.' It counsels us to "watch and pray continually" for this blessing. That means the blessing is not automatic. We need to pray for our temptations to be bearable, endurable, and that we'll have the power to conquer them. And we need to always be on guard- "watch... continually." To me that implies that I need to be looking out for and staying clear of things I know might be hard for me to turn down. It implies that I have responsibility to keep the temptations in my life low. Or at least to not escalate them.  This interpretation makes a lot more sense to me, and seems to mesh with principles of agency and consequences more than saying "we'll never be tempted above that which we can bear." I also find it empowering to the repentant person, because it gives clear action steps of how to gain the blessings of not being tempted above what we can handle. That is so much more empowering than just saying, "you won't be tempted more than you can handle, so just deal with it and make the right choice!"

Action steps to receive this wonderful blessing:

  • Pray for my temptations to be bearable, endurable, and that I'll have the power to conquer them. 
  • Actively analyze my mental/emotional/spiritual armor and environment, and look out for things I know might be hard for me to turn down. Like Joseph of Egypt, FLEE from them.

Monday, April 7, 2014

General Conference Highlights

April 2014 General Conference 
of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
~  ~  ~  ~  ~

"Forge unshakable faith." -Elder Holland

"Happiness is not the absence of a load." -Elder Bednar
We need the load for spiritual traction, like a truck with a heavy load can get unstuck.

When we are baptized, we are given the opportunity to be yoked with Christ. If we do so, this gives him the opportunity to share in pulling and lifting our burdens with us. I never thought about the yoke in quite that way before.

"Those we meet in parking lots, elevators, and grocery stores are those God have put in our way to love." - President Monson (requoting Kimball)  
I really appreciated this perspective, and it makes a lot of sense to me! This morning on my run I waved to an older man who was getting the paper off his porch. He waved back with a big smile and a hearty "good morning." That made me pretty happy. :)
Kindness spreads happiness!
"Each person has within them the ability to increase the sum total of the world's happiness." - Monson

Spiritual Whirlwinds
"The world will not glide calmly towards the 2nd Coming. All things will be in commotion." - Elder Anderson
Parable of the Tree in a windy place:
  • A tree in a windy place, in order to stand up to the winds, does two things: 
    • 1. Increases the rate at which its roots grow, spreading them wider and deeper to increase their strength. 
    • 2. Increases trunk strength and flexibility.
  • Likewise, we are the trees, growing among turbulant whirlwinds of the devil's making. Our spiritual strength can and must increase the pace at which it is growing and strengthening. This will keep us from being "tossed to and fro, and carried about by every wind of doctrine." (Ephesians 4:14)

"We have greater access to temples than past generations." This is on purpose! We need the strength of the temple to face the whirlwinds. The feeling of peace in the temple each time we go is a reminder of the feeling we're striving for in life. That feeling of peace is also a contrast to the turbulence of the whirlwinds and what they produce, should we be swept up among them.

Treasures in Heaven
I've never really thought much about how to "lay up treasures in heaven," or what exactly those treasures are. Elder Teh explained the treasures as gospel habits and their results, he also stated that my time spent on spiritual things in this life will directly impact the life I have in my next estate.  *WA-BAM* A spiritual puzzle piece just fell firmly into place for me. :D

What kind of a life do I want in my next estate?
Not one full of grumbles, complaints, shopping, endless entertainment or being lonely and unhappy in my head...

I want spiritual frontiers! Creations that bring giddy joy and overwhelming peace. I want the great calming stillness of the universe, as well as the buzzing activity of family. I want kind and courteous relationships that bring delight.

Through Elder Teh's talk I realized that my actions now are creating my "mansion in heaven." They are painting on the canvas of eternity. I don't want the ugly dashes of unpleasant backbiting and hurtful words on that canvas. I want it to be beautiful. And I didn't realize until just now that I am the painter. It is fully in my capacity to keep that canvas beautiful, or not. This is very exciting. I feel like bouncing up and down in my chair and singing "I'm a painter of eternities!"

"Families are the Jewel of heaven." -Sister Reeves That family life and gospel living in the home factor into this is no question. I don't have a home without my honeys to fill it. Creating mansions in heaven would be pointless without my fellow architect to draw the plans with. Thus, another major point I gained from this conference is this renewed understanding of why I want to do all the little things at home-- scriptures with Amy and Will, prayers, FHE's, singing hymns and teaching my littles that we love Jesus-- and the determination to LIVE THE GOSPEL. I want to live the gospel as much as I can live it, and love doing it. This quote sort of wraps up this whole idea for me: "The ultimate end of activity in the church is that  a man, a woman, and their children may be happy at home." - Elder Packer  So it's ok that sometimes Amy won't go play on her own, I have but few choice years to play alongside her in the world of childhood. It's ok that sometimes the dishes pile up and the floor gets days-worth of grimy, as long as the reason is that I'm valuing my family and the gospel first.

Paint on.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Saint George, Utah

What a great place!
Saint George is where the Higher Laws event took place. Although we were in class from 8am-9pm Monday to Friday, we had Saturday to sight see in Saint George:
Saint George Tabernacle.
I just had to climb the post with the other girl.
Inside the tabernacle.

In the basement art gallery, I found this treasure. This depiction of the Resurrection really resonated me.
Looks like Chinese checkers on the bottom of the balcony seats.
Ahhh, Cafe Rio.
Lunch at Pioneer Park turned into the best part of our sightseeing day for me!
(That's me up on top - big grin face.)

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Higher Laws - University 101

Saint George
University 101 - Higher Laws
Relationship Mastery, Mastering Influence

Mr. M and I attended what I can only term a 'self-help' course. Maybe a better name would be 'finishing school.' It was all about successful relationships and communicating with people in ways that would be uplifting and motivating rather than demeaning and unkind, as communications often tend to go...

I wanted to attend this course because I saw it as a great parenting course. I made a commitment to myself when I was a teenager that I would take parenting courses. Being a better person, spouse, and parent every day means a lot to me.
Um, I just like feet pictures. Funny story though, I discovered the hard way
that golf courses dye the grass green. Yup, all that lushness? Fake! It's dyed!
And my feet ended up pretty green for a couple days. :D
Brandon on the right. Brandon Broadwater is the creator of Higher Laws Education.
Some of my favorite lessons from the course are: The forgiveness program. I feel like I have a way to teach my children to say sorry that they can feel good about. (I have been working for several years to overcome my fear of saying sorry).  Also the lesson about Human Needs, and that our actions are the vehicles of those needs. If we have an action that is not good, we can switch up the vehicle and still meet the need. Other highlights are having a family code word, 10 second speed limit (for people who talk too much), managing our state, the hierarchy of relationships, and the Unity triad. Using the word "I" instead of something else when speaking is also an important lesson that was reinforced here. It makes my own my story, and take ownership of my emotions. 

A major Ah-ha moment for me was when we were talking about the Hierarchy of relationships: 
1. God/Universe
2. Self - State
3. Spouse
4. Children
5. Family
6. Others
Brandon put State next to Self, and I realized that if I'm in a bad place emotionally, physically, or mentally, I need to pull in and address me before the others down the chain. Ultimately, doing so will be beneficial to everyone. (Less snapping, anger, and general misery). I've learned this principle before, to take time for myself so I can help other people better, but it just made way more practical sense the way he presented it. And now anger/frustration/snapping will be a trigger for me to take a time out and remember this principle.

It was a great conference!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Reflections on Babies

As my baby has grown and become a little person the last few months, I've been having flashbacks to when my younger siblings were this age. I don't specifically remember the age, but the actions - her expressions, what she does with her hands, and her vocalizations. 

As her mother, she still seems like an infant.

But in my memories of siblings at this age, I remember feeling like I was communicating with them and understanding their communication quite clearly, on a more equal level intellectually. I'm not sure if it was because I was not as far removed from childhood myself, or what. I'll have some experience with my baby and it'll trigger a memory of a similar experience with my youngest siblings, and it is so interesting to remember how my interactions with my siblings put them on an older level than what I associate with my baby. So I'm making a mental effort to see her as a person who has just as cohesive thoughts and reactions to her experiences in mortality as I do, she just doesn't have the words for them yet. 

A couple years ago I experienced watching this kind of relationship with a good friend who lived in the basement, and her daughter. This friend treated her child the same as she would treat me, in situations where her daughter was unhappy, hurt, or having a ball. That was so refreshing! 

I think sometimes the baby culture goes a bit too far. I don't know where a good balance is, but I'm striving to find it. 

On a similar note, I often still chant to myself, "I will be patient, I will be gentle, I will be kind." Babies are people too, and should be treated as such! I have made a goal to tame my temper. I have no desire to allow myself to 'fly off the handle', or blow up. There are healthier ways of dealing with frustration, and just because I know "other moms yell", is absolutely no excuse for me. (I'm sure I'll need to re-read this in a few years :D).

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Scriptural Insights

For the eternal purposes of the Lord shall roll on, until all his promises shall be fulfilled.
(Book of Mormon | Mormon 8:22‎)

What a great, eternal perspective! God has a plan, and it is unrolling, always moving forward. Sit back and observe an Omnipotent Being at work. :)