Update

How have u been prepared?

This last week has been crazy!  Since I had a lot of time with no power, I did a lot of reading on my ipad.  I’ve been reading a book about the Children’s Songbook for primary (https://kobo.com/en-US/ebook/stories-of-the-children-s-songbook?utm_campaign=TextQuotesIOS&utm_medium=Social&utm_source=App_Acq) & read this this week:

“She (Adele Howell, who was recently widowed, & needed a “distraction” from her husband’s recent passing) was called to serve as a counselor to her friend, May Hinckley. “What a Godsend work is!” she wrote. “I’m so busy I have not time to think about myself and how lonesome I am.”

Being primary president is Godsend work for me as well…I’m so busy that I, too, don’t have a chance to think about my own issues, either.  I think of others instead of me & my quiet house.  I had planned on serving a couples mission with my husband (for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints) when my kids were grown, but since that is not a possibility now, I see this as one way I can bring the gospel to others.  But what is so amazing to me  are the multiple ways I’ve been prepared to be a primary president!

Lately, I have been thinking about how the Lord prepares me for the challenges of life & the trials I must face, either through resources, knowledge, or experiences. Sometimes I’m prepared in small ways, like just charging all my electronics & my wheelchair before a power outage, or by filling my 32 ounce waterbottle w/water prior to my pipes freezing.  Other times He prepares me in bigger ways (like marrying a man who’d stay by my side, & help me pull through some of the darkest times in my life), & there have also been things I have learned throughout my entire life whether from a variety of experiences (from school, college, dance/singing classes) or just from being raised in my family & in the gospel..  These experiences have prepared me for things I’ve faced as an adult, as a parent, & even now. I’m just so grateful to be watched over, protected, & to feel so loved.

When my 1st child was born, I felt such an overwhelming responsibility, because God was entrusting me w/1 of His children. Now that all my kids are away, I’ve struggled to know my new definition for “mom.”  Knowing that I, too, am a child of God, to see how He has continued to help me (even when I’m “away from home”) is pretty eye opening! I know that just because my kids aren’t in my home, it doesn’t mean “I’m done” or anything (once a parent, always a parent!). But looking at how He “parents” from a distance, helps me to see how I should be.

Where have I been?

It has been too long since I posted.  I think I’ve over-extended myself. When I do, the 1st thing to go is taking care of myself, so I’m re-gaining all the weight I lost the last 3 months, I’m doing less therapy, etc.  The 2nd thing I do is put my church calling (a volunteer job) before my friends & family … hence, I rarely text or call my kids, I isolate myself a lot, & as u have noticed, I haven’t been posting. Sometimes I realize it & spend time w/Mark, or text one of my kids.

In my last post, I mentioned how I liked being an empty nester, & over Christmas, my youngest, Sophia, mentioned how when she hears how we like being empty nesters, & she feels like we are saying that we are glad she is gone — but that simply is not true!  With the birth of EACH child, my marriage has changed—not in a bad way, but Mark had to share the spotlight. & I had to give up parts of me…& when I had my stroke, I lost a LOT of me—all but the “mom part”.  So, I’m getting to know “the new me”, & that spotlight is back to Mark.   I like having the chance to get to know me, & re-acquaint w/Mark (prior to my stroke, I prided myself on my multi-tasking abilities, & it made me so proud to know that when I was in the hospital, it took 5 women to do what I did alone…but now, I can only focus on one thing at a time, & finally that one thing is Mark!)   

So that’s what I’ve been doing.  There’s no feeling of “oh, good…he/she/the kids are gone”.  I will always love & miss my kids, but it’s a nice change to have more time for myself & Mark!

Through the years I’ve re-gained parts (like having a church calling), so the time I spend for myself has been devoted a lot to my church calling.  Our church has a program called “primary”.  The church handbook describes it as: “a home-centered, Church-supported (children’s) organization. It is for children ages 18 months to 11 years. At home, parents teach children the gospel. At church, Primary leaders and teachers support parents through lessons, music, and activities.”  The last few years I have voluntarily served as the primary secretary.  Recently, I was asked to be the Primary President…yes, me!  It was exciting & simultaneously scary in so many ways! 

So, lately I spend a lot of time being a primary president. I love doing it & having more time to be with Mark!  I just need to find a better balance!

Happy Halloween!

I have this document where I paste “clips” from other things I have typed, for ideas of future posts on my blog/website.  It saves me tons of time, so I’m not slowly re-typing something I told to someone already, & I don’t have to decide what to talk about–a BIG deal for me (I never liked having to choose what to eat or wear, so I always made Mark cook, & now he chooses what I wear, too!  Haha)

Anyway, while I haven’t posted in FOREVER, I have been keeping these “clips,” & now I’m so overwhelmed by them, I never post!  I will try to remedy that now…

The last time I posted, I shared a link that has scrapbook pages I’ve done (which I still add to, btw, so check it out—I add about 4 or more pages a month).  Since  I post my scrapbook pages, I’ve had several people ask why I scrapbook.  Often I answer that I scrapbook because I find it therapeutic by reframing my thoughts, but I have other reasons as well:

—it is a way to express myself artistically

—it is a way to “hold on” to my past self

—it is a way to re-live former experiences

—it is a way to share my life w/posterity, & show that life can still be enjoyed admits trial

—it can be empowering to see my accomplishments

—it helps me find & feel gratitude (which I need daily!)

—it can help me to see God’s hand in my life

So to update everyone, this COVID-lifestyle has been good to me (of course I can find negatives, but u know I don’t like to think about those, so here are the positives):

–I always can potty now

-people have more free time to help me

-restaurants now have tables spaced so I can get around—& stores have more room too

–while masks are annoying, they can also keep me warm (when I’m cold in bed, I essentially do the same thing, by pulling the sheets over my nose, so my own breath keeps me warm)

–being a “homebody” is what I like to do anyway

–I can get food delivered from ANYWHERE now…

I am now an empty nester (& under 50 years old!)  It had a rough start for me—since poor Mark only has me now, I got all depressed thinking about how his life was so different with only me here, & I had to reface issues from 16 years ago, as this was not how I’d envisioned life after my kids grew up!  I always planned to go back to elementary school once all my kids left.

So, I started thinking about how I wished I was different…for me, for Mark…But in talking to a friend, I realized that I had to change my focus–I realized that I know better than to dwell on what we can’t do–I get so depressed when I think that way about myself, so why would this be different???

So, I started thinking different.  & while I didn’t miss disciplining whiny, moody kids, I did miss the fun (as any mom does–each child– even my new daughter-in-law, who spent the summer here–brings something unique…in fact, the 1st time I heard a recording of Sophie singing, I bawled!)  So with all of the kids gone, the house became eerily quiet

But now I LOVE being an empty nester, & I LOVE all the time I have with Mark again!  It is so nice to see Mark more the way I saw him 26 years ago, & for me to t feel as anxious all the time (part of that is oddly a thanks to COVID)!  Plus, I think I was someone’s mom for long enough to forget who I am—or maybe I never took the time after my stroke to figure out who the “new me” was.

I had a plan all laid out, & while I thought 23 years ago that I’d be a teacher now, God had another plan…& because He has a sense of humor, he brought school to me: for a while, my helpers’ kids came here w/them, so one day there was a kindergarten class in my craft room, & the next day there was a 2nd grade class in my craft room… haha

With all my new “free time”, I signed up for a nutrition/weight-loss class that focused more on my mind & changing my habits & thoughts.  It’s a 10-week course that focuses on these 6 “pillars.” In “Target 100,” I like how she does more with re-wiring the brain, & has a focus on emotional eating (which I do).  Since I’m learning how to change some thoughts & habits, I’m hoping that some of the stuff I learn will seep into my OCD-personality, as my recent focus has been on managing that & my anxiety better (it wouldn’t hurt if I lost weight, too)!

But I was having a hard time managing my new phase of life, & I realized that a lot of my thoughts get in my way, so I got a “time coach” (a life coach, who specializes in time management).  Seemed a bit crazy to start this (of all things!) when I was already busy, but our course doesn’t even start until my other class has 1 week left, & I sorta’ get “bonus help” in the meantime.  Already he’s challenged some thoughts & helped me to take ownership or something with things I already knew from Mark. 

I have more things I could talk about, but this post is long enough…Oh!  No costume this year.  So sad!  I love to dress up, (it’s a whole new ballgame now, in a wheelchair!) but we celebrate our Halloween by going to our ward’s trunk or treat (which was different this year), but since I had no kids wanting to go, I stayed warm at home!

Slowing down

Before coronavirus, I actually had a good routine set up…I bet u felt like u did, too. Oddly, while the world has slowed for everyone else, & made their lives less busy, my world has started spinning, as I can get more help now, & w/that help, I have the option to do so much more. Crazy, huh?!? (Interestingly, my world has only changed in ways where I try to become more like “everyone else”: music & yoga therapy are online, & horse therapy temporarily stopped—speaking of…I am REALLY concerned about them, so if like to help them out by gathering donations. If u’d like to help, go to http://www.redarena.org/ … Once here, go to “donate options” under “support” on their toolbar.)

I thought I wanted a busier life, but after a brief reminder, I realized that I don’t want that! I don’t feel as happy—even when I’m getting done what I want done—if I have to fight for my time alone to have time for my personal scripture study & meditate. Seriously…I’m happier on the days I fit those in! In trying to find a new balance, it occurred to me: I’VE DONE THIS BEFORE…meaning, I’ve had my life turned upside-down on me, very suddenly, before & gone from being a crazy, busy mom to being well…uh…me! Someone far less busy. Someone who looks back & can see how beneficial it can be to be less busy.

I’ve had a few weeks to “busy myself up” again, so let me share how I’m trying to figure out my new schedule, & maybe something will stick out for u as u figure things out for u.

1st, try to avoid any depression & be grateful for what is still a “can do.” Then, I use the spirit to help me figure out my “good, better, best” activities: ie, I’ve always wanted to do therapy daily, but w/the business of other people’s lives, that wasn’t a possibility before. But now it is! So now, part of me would like someone to come at least a few hours daily around lunch for help with lunch, potty, & therapy…but that seriously messes with my routine (meditation & personal scripture study, amongst other things…& now that my family can be there, I’m not!) So, I need to figure out if there is there something better or best I can do? Cuz while daily therapy is good, is it “best”? Tuesday’s used to always be my “date day” with my husband: going out to horse therapy, going out for lunch, & maybe going to the movies or to run errands with Mark—so maybe finding a way to still spend time w/Mark is better or best? & now that my family is around more, shouldn’t I find a way to interact w/them more?

Months ago my daughter (who was on her mission & has since been sent home) was facing a tough decision. I told her, “U’re faith is being tested by not knowing. God is forcing your faith to grow & making u take a “step into the darkness.”

& when she was physically hurting & felt like she was slowing down others, I told her, “I totally feel for U about your frustration with slowing down the work…I get it. But God probably appreciates u for doing your best….even if your best is just rolling out of bed one day. Reframe. Accept what u are capable of doing. God does.
Would U tell a friend what u are telling yourself? Be nice to yourself.”

Ever notice how much easier it is to dish out (rather than to take) advice? Maybe I need to take my own advice & be nicer to myself, acknowledge that I’m doing the best I know how, & grow, by taking a “step forward into the darkness.” I encourage u to do that, too!

Make the best of whatever life hands u!

I posted this on FaceBook & Instagram,but in case u still missed it, I thought I’d share it here:

At first, this virus thing wasn’t affecting my life too much…I’ve had to face some cancelations, but now I’ve had to start canceling therapies, so it’s getting personal. Not fun. Yoga & music therapy I’m doing via Skype/Zoom, still not my favorite! 🙄

However, one of the reasons I married Mark is because, if he wants to, he can make the best of any situation. (I had no idea how useful that’d be!). Today, we were using the paintball guns to shoot stuff. Quite therapeutic. 😂

I have a video & more pictures on FaceBook & on Instagram