Thursday, January 30, 2014

Seven Day Challenge: Writing our Prayers

Sorry! It has taken me way more than seven days to report on my last seven day challenge. If you missed what my seven day challenge was, read here

Things I have learned:
The Lord is my right hand man, and is readily watching out for me. Each night I wrote what happened in my day to the Lord. This helped me to realize that He is there watching out for me even more than I realize. This challenge came at one of the most stressful weeks that I have had in a long time. When I would write, I would reflect on how much He had helped me that day, and I could not help but be grateful for that stressful day that had passed. 
I am selfish.
Because I sat down and wrote my prayers, I was able to ponder more on what really needed to be addressed to the Lord. A lot of times, I would end up writing about other people and asking what I could do to help them. When I don't write my prayers, my ponder and reflection time diminishes as I just go through the motions of what I usually say. This has helped me realize that I need to take the time to reflect about others and what I can do for them. 
I can be happy.
Writing down my prayers helped me to understand that I can be happy despite my challenges. By practicing this simple act, I have felt the spirit more abundantly in my life. I have felt the Lord's influence. I have felt the change in the way that I act. I have felt a change in perspective. I have felt happy. I have felt the desire to reach my fullest potential. 
I have felt the desire to slow down. . . 

Have you taken on this challenge? I encourage you to do so. 

Thursday, January 16, 2014

"it was the best of times, it was the worst of times"

Jake and I waited for months and months until we finally got the news that our little Marshall was on the way. See blog post here about our journey. Since then, this continued journey has definitely had it's ups and downs. The phrase, "it was the best of times, it was the worst of times" comes to mind.

The past few days have definitely been "the worst of times". Everything is starting to become more real, especially now that I am feeling little Marshall regularly. There are so many things that we need to do before his arrival, and the stress/anxiety of it all is really bringing me low. Money is my biggest concern - can I really afford to have a baby? There are medical and insurance costs, baby accessory costs, continued baby care costs, and did I forget to mention that I am quitting my job?

Looking at all of the costs involved, it may seem kind of weird that I would be quitting my job. My church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, encourages mothers to stay at home with their children if circumstances allow. Obviously, that is not the case for all families because each situation is different. I give such high respect for mothers who do work, my mother included. If all goes according to plan, I will be helping one of my sisters with a day care come August. I will be making a significant decrease in money, but at least I will get to be with baby Marshall.

I cannot help but look back and see that the Lord does have a plan for me. He guided Jake and I to the decision to have Marshall, and I know that He has a future plan for us as well. He knows and trusts that we can take on this additional responsibility. He knows that it is going to be hard for us because of our decrease income. The question is, do we know and have faith to trust him?

Everyone has their trials, and trials much harder than the trials that I am going through. I find comfort in knowing that the Lord will always be there for me when I follow his plan and will for me - despite how hard it may be.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Writing our Prayers

There are some that are really good at writing in their journals about day to day life. I really love writing in my journal, though I cannot say that I have been very good at it the past two years or so. It's one of those places that is a safe haven where one can vent and write down personal feelings they have about anything. Some people write in their journals to organize their thoughts, which in effect helps them to feel less stressed.

Letters to God is a movie about a young boy who has cancer. This young boy has a tremendous amount of faith as a Christian and writes "letters to God" about his day, his trials, or blessings. I saw this movie a couple years ago, and while it is pretty cheesy, it really affected me. I watched it with one of my guy friends at the time, and I ended up watching it a couple times alone close afterwards as well (to not be embarrassed by my tears). I loved the close relationship this little boy had with God, you could see it in the letters that he wrote. 

Soon afterwards I started to write my own "letters to God" as part of my journal, though I only did it for about a month. I would address them as:

Dear Heavenly Father,

I would then tell Him about my day and the things that I have been struggling with, and just what is on my mind at that time. Even though I was not physically praying during this time, I knew that He was hearing me and listening to me. I was just reading back on these "letters" or "prayers" and I realize how strong of a relationship I started to have with our Father in Heaven just by writing down my thoughts addressed to Him. I would always end my letter as:

Your Daughter, Michelle

Looking back, I can see the personal relationship that I had with my Heavenly Father during that stage of my life. Though a lot of times I wrote about the stress and drama of friends, which now does not seem like a very big deal. It was a big deal at the time, and I know that He was listening.

I know that there are people out there who struggle with prayer, and feel like their thoughts get jumbled, and that they seem repetitive. I feel like this is an alternate way that may benefit those who struggle with prayer like me. I encourage my readers to take on this challenge with me, and also give me feedback as to how it went. I am going to make this my seven day challenge - and I will report and give feedback once the challenge is complete. 

Seven Day Challenges

I have decided to take on something new to my blog. I know a lot of times I write about stuff that inspired me and say that I am going to do better at a certain aspect of my life. Taking things to action is a lot easier said than done. I feel like I am not going to grow and benefit, and others who read, unless I actually hold myself accountable to the things that I say I am going to do better.

This is how it works:
1. I challenge myself to do something specific for seven days.
2. I challenge my readers to do that specific task as well. My readers do not have to take on the challenge, obviously, and they do not have to do it at the same time that I do, though I would love the support of others along the way.
3. At the end of the seven days, I give a report of how things went, and then ask for a report from my readers as well if they are willing to share.

You will see my first seven day challenge post shortly. Wish me luck!

24 Weeks

110 days to go! Time is flying by! I hope no one is getting annoyed with my belly photos and updates on my pregnancy, but I am just excited! I was just talking with Jake and he was saying how he gets kind of annoyed at people who post photos of their children everyday via Facebook. This topic came up because I was saying how I could not wait to post pictures of Marshall. I cannot make any promises to Jake that I will not be the same way, I just love this little fellow so much already!

I am also stealing the following from someone via Facebook, but I thought it was a cute way to give updates on pregnancy. . .

Cravings: Popcorn, especially the really buttered kind.
Size of Baby: Just over a pound
Hardest part of the Month: Maternity clothes and back pains
Most exciting part of the month: Marshall is getting so strong! He now pushes on my hand or any pressure on my belly. Feeling him is my absolute love!