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. :)

Friday, December 6, 2013

Piety

Mr. M recently read the entire Harry Potter series in a matter of two weeks. :D That gave me the opportunity to go to the library, and you know those display shelves of featured books? I always look at them but rarely see books that peak my interest. This time I struck gold- twice! Two books that have been a better read than I've had in a long time. The first is titled "Queen Hereafter," and is a historical fiction about Queen Margaret of Scotland, contemporary of William the Conqueror.

Queen Margaret wanted to be a nun. She was an incredibly pious woman. The author did a beautiful job of depicting her sincerity and honest devotion to God. She not only prayed every morning, she took all her ladies of the court with her to the chapel to pray every morning. She fasted often - to the point of being unhealthy - but I admire her belief in and adherence to this principle. She thought often of repentance and forgiveness, and though her 'repentance prayers' were memorized recitations, I admire how she kept the bettering of herself at the top of her list of important things to do.  She kept an eternal perspective in a way that is not socially acceptable today, talking to the Scottish clergy about their differences from Rome and how their people wouldn't make it to heaven if they didn't change their ways, and pray in Latin, etc. Her heart was in the right place. And she built her life around her piety. The book was about much more than her religious life, but this is the part that spoke to my soul. "Saint Margaret" has inspired me, has given me a vision of what such piety might look like. And she gave me a precious gift --

Every Sunday when I partake of the bread and water in remembrance of the Atonement of my Savior, I make a commitment for the week and review the one from the past week. Something to work on, to do better at, or to focus on. I have several times made "kneeling prayers" my commitment. "Remember to pray!" We are taught this from infancy. "Pray with sincerity!" we are often reminded. Despite my logical desires to do so, I am guilty of repetitious, absent-minded prayers.  A tiny twinge of guilt before gratefully burying my head in the pillow. As I read "Queen Hereafter," (what a fitting title), I was inspired. I can't say just what changed, in my heart, but Margaret was a beautiful example to me, and I learn by example - when I have something I can copy or recreate in my own life.

Margaret prayed for an hour each morning. I don't think an hour is reasonable or necessary or attainable, lol, but I do know that my prayers could be a bit longer. I have heard before that one should praise God, thank God, and supplicate God, in that order. Well I began trying out the "Praise God" part of my prayers. It was a bit awkward at first, I felt embarrassed for some reason. But what a neat experience!! To praise God and name some of his many glorious names, describing him and his deeds and relationship to man, the earth, the universe. It feels good, and important, somehow. It elevates my thought plane.

Thank you Queen Margaret. I hope to keep this new-found sincerity for a long time.

Psalm 40
I waited patiently for the Lord; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry.
He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings.
And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and respect, and shall trust in the Lord.
Blessed is that man that maketh the Lord his trust, and respecteth not the proud, nor such as turn aside to lies.
Many, O Lord my God, are thy wonderful works which thou hast done, and thy thoughts which are to us-ward: they cannot be reckoned up in order unto thee: if I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered.
Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me,
I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Higher Laws

I recently attended a 3-day conference.

I went into it expecting it to be about communication for success and Real Estate.

I came out of it realizing it was much more about personal development, communication for Relationship success (with a spouse, child, parent, friend, boss... anyone!), and and keeping myself motivated to become a better person and do great things.  It was a pretty neat experience!

Going into it I had decided I wouldn't up-buy, for several reasons, mostly business reasons. But when I realized it wasn't as much about business, rather, about building successful relationships, I made a different choice. I remember promising myself that when I was married I would invest in parenting classes, and classes to promote a successful relationship with my spouse. Well, this is my first opportunity, and a pretty good one!  I remember watching a friend interact with her 3 year old daughter while at my house for dinner. I remember being very impressed with the way she was able to communicate with her daughter, correct her behavior, and how everyone came out of it happy. This friend had attended the Higher Laws conferences, and was putting into practice what they taught. After attending that first conference, I realized this is what that friend had that I do not. Now I know where to find it though, and I'm excited for the training I'll receive!

Higher Laws and the Life of Abundance teaches about principles that create lasting success in relationships. I'll blog more about it in upcoming posts, so stay tuned!

How to Win Friends and Influence People, part III

How to be a good friend, a good conversationalist, and get people to like you:

"People who talk only of themselves think only of themselves. And 'those people who think only of themselves,' Dr. Nicholas Murray Butler, president of Columbia University, said, 'are hopelessly uneducated. They are not educated, no matter how instructed they may be." (p. 88).

"So if you are aspiring to be a good conversationalist,

  • be an attentive listener. 
  • To be interesting, be interested. 
  • Ask questions that other persons will enjoy answering. 
  • Encourage them to talk about themselves and their accomplishments." (p.88).

"You must have a good time meeting people if you expect them to have a good time meeting you." (p. 65).

-Remember people's names, and use them.

-Be excited to see people! Take a lesson from dogs. They are delighted to see their loved ones. Anyone will be pleased with that kind of a reaction when you see them or get a phone call from them.






Sunday, February 3, 2013

My baby body

I'm quite enjoying this last little bit of pregnancy. Yes, it is harder to get out of couches and bed and I certainly walk slower, but there are some pretty neat things about being really pregnant.

I feel like a mama kangaroo with my little Joey in the front pouch. Baby moves all the time, and it has become quite a natural sensation that I enjoy.
The big belly is actually quite handy, and I realized the other day that I'm probably going to miss it. It's handy for things like propping a book on, my phone on speaker, and resting my hands on or my tea cup/water glass on it. Trying to enjoy the perks while it lasts!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

How to Win Friends and Influence People, part II

The power of a smile. 
Fake it 'till you make it. 
Act like you're happy.

I've heard all these phrases before, but found an interesting explanation of them in this book. I really believe in the power of a smile:
"You don't feel like smiling? Then what? Two things. First, force yourself to smile. If you are alone, force yourself to whistle or hum a tune or sing. Act as if you were already happy, and that will tend to make you happy. Here is the way the psychologist and philosopher William James put it:

  • 'Action seems to follow feeling, but really action and feeling go together; and by regulating the action, which is under the more direct control of the will, we can indirectly regulate the feeling, which is not. Thus the sovereign voluntary path to cheerfulness, if our cheerfulness be lost, is to sit up cheerfully and to act and speak as if cheerfulness were already there...". (p67).

Other quotes on the power of the mind:

"Picture in your mind the able, earnest, useful person you desire to be, and the thought you hold is hourly transforming you into that particular individual... Thought is supreme. Preserve a right mental attitude--the attitude of courage, frankness, and good cheer. To think rightly is to create. All things come through desire and every sincere prayer is answered. We become like that on which our hearts are fixed. Carry your chin in and the crown of your head high. We are gods in the chrysalis." (p69).

"People who smile...tend to manage, teach and sell more effectively, and to raise happier children. There's far more information in a smile than a frown. That's why encouragement is a much more effective teaching device than punishment." --Professor James V. McConnell, psychologist at the University of Michigan (p64).

Personal Story on smiling:

I was in the Missionary Training Center. I was learning Mandarin Chinese and preparing to leave for Taiwan. I was very excited about the whole thing. Then I began to develop a pilonidal cyst, which is a cyst on your tailbone. This was a big problem because in Taiwan, all missionaries ride bikes. You can imagine how painful it would be to ride a bike sitting on an inflamed cyst. I hoped the cyst would go away (it had done so in the past), or be removed and that everything would be fine. I still planned on going to Taiwan.  
I went to the doctor's office at the MTC to get a decision on what should be done. He said he would refer me to a specialist who could remove the cyst. Then he told me that I would not be going to Taiwan. My mission call would have to be changed. He said he'd give me some time and be back in a few minutes.

I was crushed. 

I felt the weight of heavy dark storm clouds gather all above and around me trying to smother me. I welcomed them (misery keeps similar company), and I cried. Good thing the doctor actually gave me 45 minutes to an hour. I was a mess for a little while. I tried to pull myself together, after all, the doctor was supposed to be coming back. I told myself things would be OK. I told myself it wasn't a big deal. It still felt awful.  So then I prayed. I looked up into those storm clouds wanting to shake my fist at God and ask 'Why?', but instead I asked "What should I do?"
I had the distinct impression to smile. 

...Smile?!?? 
I was about as far from a smile as a person could get. "That's ridiculous," I thought, "This is not the time to smile."
There it was again, that thought to smile.
"C'mon, God, are you serious?"
Just smile...

So I tried smiling. 
I felt like a doufus. I felt ridiculous. I was still crying a bit, and at first it was an angry smile. A forced, clenched-teeth smile. Even so, I felt the storm clouds begin to part. My jaw relaxed and I looked up, smiling, and confused but in awe. With tears on my cheeks and a smile on my lips I felt the storm clouds dissipate, light come into the room, and I really felt comforted. A huge weight was removed. I KNEW everything would be OK. 
------------------------------
Ever since then, I have known the power of smiling. I have reminded myself of it's strength on many occasions  and smiling has never let me down. If you really make an effort to smile when the world is falling apart around you, things will get better almost immediately. I don't really understand how it works, but I sure know that it does work. So next time you're feeling down, remember to SMILE!

Friday, February 1, 2013

8 months pregnant

Week 36 was a bear. I was tired, achy, hungry, too full, sore, uncomfortable when sitting/standing/walking/lying down, and generally felt like an elephant.

I decided something must be done. I wasn't about to spend the next 4 weeks feeling that miserable. And now I feel great! 39 weeks is no problem! So, what changed? Here are some of the things I began:

-I set up chiropractor and massage appointments once a week. The chiropractor was awesome for my hips. I wasn't super sore, but my leg often fell asleep at night and I'd wake up with cranky hips. After getting my hips readjusted, it was all better :).

-I got a pool pass and began swimming laps twice a week. THIS WAS FABULOUS. I think that being in the water is my natural state of being. I didn't feel pregnant anymore, I could still swim all the strokes just like normal, even butterfly! I'm sure there is a bit more drag from my big tummy, but I never noticed it, except when doing backstroke and I looked down and saw my tummy sticking up out of the water, lol.

-I started actually taking all my vitamins. I was doing this a couple months ago, but felt that it contributed to a bladder infection, so I stopped altogether. However, this time around it has seemed to really help with energy levels.
All my vitamins...
This is my daily dose. For someone who has never taken vitamins regularly, I feel like a pill popper.

-I began drinking nettle tea. (This made a big difference!) I was pretty skeptical when my midwives recommended nettle tea. I'm not a big tea drinker. But something in this mix of herbs is magical. I feel so much better and have more energy when I drink a few cups of nettle tea each day.

-I also tried to be a lot more healthy in what I eat: greens and fresh fruit smoothies everyday.

-I stretch out daily. Sometimes it is no more than just stretching my calfs, but often I go through a full-blown stretching routine. I can still mostly do the splits, and I can still rest my hands on the floor when bent over in a standing position. Stretching out is healthy. :)

-What else? hmmm. I guess I just try to live mostly normally still, rather than making excuses for myself. I still shovel the walks and take out the trash and remind myself to 'suck it in' when walking. I do, however, take advantage of the pregnant-woman parking at Superstore!

I have been enjoying doing a bit of what is called "nesting". Preparing the nest for baby. Someone asked me early on what I was doing for "nesting", and I probably looked at them like they were crazy. But lately I have been making sure we have a spot for baby.

Thanks to Aunt Shar for these adorable outfits!! Valentine's Day is my favorite holiday. :)
Baby dresses are just so cute.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Deals!

Ya for Deals on baby gear!
Kijiji is awesome for this. We aren't huge on all the 'stuff', but there were some things we wanted, and found them all on kijiji:

Nursing cover        $10
Baby Swing           $10
Moby Wrap           $35
Jolly Jumper          $10
Changing table       $20
Diaper Genie         -they threw it in for free!

Total: $85
Store-bought value: ~$300

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Healing from our Past

I was given a book for Christmas: "The 7 Wonders That Will Change Your Life," by Glenn Beck and Keith Ablow.

I began reading it to my husband during a roadtrip, and realized it was some type of self-help book. I wasn't really that interested, but kept reading as it was the only book we brought along for the trip. There are some pretty funny parts, and some boring parts, and some really interesting parts; but the part that really rang true to me was about re-visiting your past in order to heal and become a better person now. I have found this to be a very true principle. (Of course, if you don't have any harrowing memories from your childhood/adolescence, then this post isn't for you. And congratulations if that be the case!)

Example of why you need to revisit your past in order to have a healthier future:

"A person is asked to read pages 125-225 of a 500 page novel, and then write an ending. In order to write something credible and convincing, you'd want to know what happened to the main character in the first 124 pages. You'd want to know the character's back story -his or her earlier life history. Without this information, you would likely feel that you could not move forward with confidence; that the next chapter you would write would ring untrue to readers.
When we try to move forward with our lives without a true understanding of its earlier chapters, we ask ourselves to do something that is no less fraught with difficulty. Stop moving blindly ahead and start moving closer to your truth."
p. 106

It can be difficult to really face, think about, and re-discover painful memories from our past. Why is it so painful? "The answer is that the memories and feelings we buried were from times when we were especially sensitive and easily hurt--during childhood and adolescence-- and when we suffered such jarring losses as adults that we felt completely disempowered. Because we registered and "recorded" these memories and feelings with the hearts of children, we still feel exquisitely vulnerable to them." p117.

Again, why revisit the past?:

"In every arena of life, knowing the underlying cause of a malfunction is critical to correcting it or at least to preventing it from doing even more damage. In order to treat physical illnesses or safeguard the community from transmissible ones, doctors need to know their pathophysiology-- how the disease causes its chaos in the human body. It certainly wouldn't do to simply hate the illness or flee it. Only understanding it leads to the ability to eventually triumph over it." p167

There were several experiences from my childhood that I didn't realize I didn't understand what had actually happened until I began to retell them as an adult, with my adult world understanding.

"...These studies prove that someone listening in a compassionate way to another human being's life story can actually alter that person's brain chemistry in a healing way. Compassion can change the brain's metabolism so that energy flow has been restored." p 168 see this page for the full details of the scientific studies.

For some reason that I do not understand, just talking about bad experiences with someone who cared and was interested has helped me to move on and not be bothered by those memories any more. Like I said, I don't understand why, but I know that it has worked for me. Some experiences I needed to understand better, not JUST recount, but often it seemed that by recounting the experiences, I understood them better as well.

Food for thought!




Sunday, January 6, 2013

Letter to baby, #3. 30-36 weeks

5 November, 2012
Dear baby,
You are two months away from entering the world! Though I haven't really met you yet, I imagine you with quite the personality. First of all you are an amazing gymnast, and your twirls inside of me can be rather startling at times. Sometimes when you are stretching and pushing out against my stomach, daddy or I will put our hand up to yours and push back, and somehow, from the inside out, that tickles me!

30 December 2012
Dear baby,
These last two weeks or so have been the most comfortable since you began kicking enough for me to feel it. Lately it hasn't been nearly as startling, rather, it has been enjoyable! We are 35 weeks along now.

6 January 2013
36 weeks.
Dear baby,
I had my first dream about you, and held you in my arms. You seem so much more real, now. I am excited to meet you, little one, to hold you in my arms and cuddle you. I am excited to be your 'maman'. You're a real little person, and I simply stand all amazed at the wonder and miracle of life.

Though I worried that road tripping for 17 hours would be problematic being this pregnant, it was no problem! Our Christmas vacation was wonderful. Your aunts and uncle that were there all enjoyed feeling you move around in my tummy; they can't wait to meet you!

I have no complaints thus far, I still sleep great, feel great, I haven't had any issues with bladder incontinence, bloating, or swelling feet, and for the most part I still walk normally, if a bit more slowly.  I have noticed a rise in body temperature and using less blankets at night, as well as a recent love of ice chips (I never thought I'd do the ice thing, lol). I am pretty lucky to have such a great pregnancy!