Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Prayer is a Scary Thing

A couple days ago when I was feeling pretty low, I felt impressed to pray to my Heavenly Father. I don't know if it is  like this for other people, but sometimes praying is a scary thing for me. I know that it should not be scary, but I guess sometimes I fear what my Heavenly Father thinks of me. Almost like I always want to be "perfect" in his eyes. I don't want to show him that I am not perfect and that I need his help. I don't want to show him that I am vulnerable. . .

As I started to pray, I felt an immediate peace and comfort. I wondered why I was so scared in the first place. I soon realized that I have been setting unrealistic expectations of what He thinks of me. My Heavenly Father does not expect me to be perfect, and he actually expects me to need help from him. I truly believe that this is what he wants.

Now that I am a mom, I understand how much Heavenly Father wants to help me. I understand that he knows that I am not capable of being perfect, and that that is okay. He is ready and he is willing to help.

President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, second counselor in the first presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints gave a talk titled, "The Love of God".
In his talk he says:
"Think of the purest, most all-consuming love you can imagine. Now multiply that love by an infinite amount - that is the measure of God's love for you.
"God does not look on the outward appearance. I believe that He doesn't care one bit if we live in a castle or a cottage, if we are handsome or homely, if we are famous or forgotten. Though we are incomplete, God loves us completely. Though we are imperfect, He loves us perfectly. Though we may feel lost and without compass, God's love encompasses us completely.
"He loves us because he is filled with an infinite measure of holy, pure, and indescribable love. We are important to God not because of our resume but because we are His children. He loves every one of us, even those who are flawed, rejected, awkward, sorrowful, or broken. God's love is so great that he loves even the proud, the selfish, the arrogant, and the wicked.
"What this means is that, regardless of our current state, there is hope for us. No matter our distress, no matter our sorrow, no matter our mistakes, our infinitely compassionate Heavenly Father desires that we draw near to Him so that He can draw near to us."

President Uchtdorf says it perfectly. Let me quote him again:

"... Heavenly Father desires that we draw near to Him so that He can draw near to us."

We do not need to be perfect. He does not expect us to be perfect. He wants us to come to him no matter what our state is. He wants a relationship with us. The more that we pray to him, the more our relationship will grow with him. He is the one person that we can turn to who will love us unconditionally. But, we can only develop this relationship if we first come to him. 

Monday, September 15, 2014

Summer Update

So I decided to give you all an update of the things that we have been doing for the past couple of months, especially now that summer pretty much has gone to an end. . .

MAY

Below are some of Marshall's newborn pictures. The whole experience taking them was pretty fun and also funny at times too. Tiffanie, our sister in law, took them at my in-laws house. (Thanks again!) She had tons of props and backdrops! He had the hiccups a couple of times which made it hard for Marshall to fall asleep. Both times that he had the hiccups he ended up pooping all over the blanket or whatever he was on. . . But the pictures turned out so cute!






Having a newborn in the home was definitely a new experience. There were times where Marshall would cry and cry until his face got tomato red. It was definitely hard to console him, but it was such a good learning experience. He has never been a baby before, and I have never been a mommy before. So we were just trying to figure things out together.




Jake was able to be home for the first week that Marshall was home. I felt like the timing could not be more perfect being his break in between semesters. He took a few classes over the summer semester and also got a job at UVU being a delivery man around campus. Whenever he was frustrated with school, he said he would not mind just being a "mailman" for the rest of his life instead of going to optometry school for another four years.

We also celebrated Jake's 26th birthday at the end of May. We dropped Marshall off at my parents house and saw "The Amazing Spiderman 2". Before the movie we went to our special look out spot and were able to just talk about life. It was nice getting a break from the little boy, but I sure did miss him by the time the night was over.

JUNE

Marshall turned 1 month old!



We bought a bouncer for Marshall. Whenever I tried to put him down in his crib, he would end up waking himself up. The bouncer has been nice to put him in when I am doing things around the house and also for naps!


We celebrated Jake's first father's day! I am so grateful for Jake and also for my own dad.



Just some more pictures of my cute growing boy!







JULY

My birthday was the 3rd and coincidentally I pulled out Marshall's 3 month size clothes. Just a day of 3's I guess you could say!



My sister, Natalie, also sent me some butter gloss for my birthday. I have loved using them since I got them! It was such a good surprise.


Jake surprised me with this necklace for my birthday. It is a present for me and also Marshall because it is a teething necklace. The beads are soft and squishy for Marshall to chew on and it is also dishwasher safe. Not to mention it is pretty cute!


My sister, Nicole, took me out to lunch and then I just hung out with Marshall until Jake got home. Jake and I went to go see a movie and then my parents took me out for dinner. I always love this time of year because I feel like I get two holidays in a row. For the 4th we visited with Jake's family. We had a parade in the back yard with all of the grandchildren which was pretty fun too. Definitely my kind of parade. Marshall also turned 2 months old that day.



Later, we went to see the Pleasant Grove fireworks. I was kind of worried about Marshall with how loud it was going to be with the smoke and loud booms. He did great though! I just had him sit in his car seat with a blanket covering him and held his binki in his mouth. He wiggled a lot, but never cried!

A couple days later, July 6th, was Marshall's blessing day. It's kind of funny the things that you worry about before an event happens, but then while it happens your nerves just wash away. Jake and Marshall did so good! The spirit was definitely in the meeting and an overwhelming feeling of love from our Heavenly Father washed over me. I knew that he loved Marshall, and that he loved our family. Below are some pictures of that special day.


Marshall wore Jake's blessing outfit. It was a little big, because Jake was even a chunkier baby, but it still worked great and was super cute!


Four generations picture. I am so grateful for my grandparents for making the trip down here!






Marshall grew a lot during July! Below are some pictures of his new adventures!


It's moments like this that I live for.



One of Marshall's favorite toys - Mr. Caterpillar. 


Oldest cousin and youngest cousin bonding. So cute!


Sporting the shoes, just like his dad.


I love his tired face!



Waking up daddy.



AUGUST

Jake and I went to the demolition derby in Nephi. It was so much fun! I had only been one other time before. I don't know what is so cool about cars running into each other, but it is very entertaining. I especially love watching Jake get all excited about it. The same way how I love watching guys watch sports. How much they get into it is just super funny!



I also realized that I have slowed down when it comes to taking pictures of Marshall. Don't get me wrong, he is super adorable and I still take plenty, but I guess we are just getting used to each other now. Below are some pictures of his August!







At the end of the month, Jake started his last year at UVU. Only two more semesters to go until he graduates! Because he is majoring in biology, he is taking classes that are way over my head. They seem pretty hard for him too, but I have been so impressed with him this semester so far and how hard he has been working. He is also the president of UVU's Pre-Optometry club which also takes a bit of time. And speaking of optometry schools, we have narrowed it down to five schools that Jake is going to apply to - Phoenix, San Antonio, Memphis, Indiana, and Oklahoma. It's crazy to think in just a year we will be off on a new adventure!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Negative to Positive Thoughts: Reflections

So I challenged myself, and anyone else who wanted to participate, to turn at least one negative thought that we have each day into a positive one. I have also blogged my experiences each day if you want to check those out. If you missed or want to read my original challenge, you can read it here!

I have LOVED doing this challenge. Even though the challenge was just for changing one of my negative thoughts, I have found myself thinking more positive throughout each day. Some days it was even hard to think negative, or pick out a negative thought that I may have had.

In a April 1978 conference, Elder Sterling W. Sill said this about our thoughts:
"William James, the great Harvard Psychologist, once asked this question, how would you like to create your own mind? But isn't that about what usually happens? Professor James explains that the mind is made up by what it feeds upon. He said that the mind, like the dyer's hand, is colored by what it holds. If I hold in my hand a sponge full of purple dye, my hand becomes purple. And if I hold in my mind and heart great ideas of faith and enthusiasm, my whole personality is changed accordingly.
"If we think negative thoughts, we develop negative minds. If we think depraved thoughts, we develop depraved minds. On the other hand, if we think celestial thoughts, which are the kind of thoughts that God thinks, then we develop celestial minds..."
(Read the full talk.)

Although there are a lot of disputes in psychology theories, I believe this to be true. While I do believe that each of us were born with different personalities, I believe our personalities are influenced by our outside influences. Nature and nurture both influence who we are! So when we are surrounded by positive thinking, we will become positive people. Again, I have felt this way throughout the past seven days and it has made such a difference, especially during the more challenging days.

Even though this challenge is over, I wish to continue to try to think more positively and be grateful for all of the circumstances that I find myself in, good or bad. I encourage you to give it a try - you will not be disappointed!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Negative to Positive Thought: Day 6 and 7

This past Monday it was pretty stormy. Now normally, this would not be a problem because I love summer storms. My calling in my ward is a member of the additional relief society meeting committee. My job this month was to go around to houses in the ward and put flyers on peoples doors as a reminder for our upcoming activity.  Now this is MUCH harder to do with a baby and while it is storming. I got a few houses done in the morning before the storm started, but had to stop earlier than I wanted to because Marshall started crying in his stroller. When I got him home I put him down for his nap. I thought that I would continue to do more flyers once he woke up, but that is when the storm started. I did not want to bring Marshall out in the rain.

Something you may not know about me is that when I have some sort of responsibility I like to get it done quickly. I love the feeling of getting something done so I do not have to stress about it anymore. I really do stress about everything! There are a lot of nights where I cannot seem to fall asleep because I am thinking and stressing about things - most of those things which are out of my control. 

So, once the storm started, I knew that I would not be able to finish my flyers that day. I thought, "Out of all days, why does this have to be the day that it stormed?". I realized quickly that I was thinking about the storm negatively. I put my flyers out of sight, and opened the window so I could smell and listen to the storm. As soon as I did this, the stress melted away and I felt very grateful to the Lord for giving me that quiet and peaceful moment. Maybe the storm was exactly what I needed.

The next day, it continued to storm. I started to stress again because I still needed to get the flyers on the doors with the activity being the next day. When Jake got home from school later that afternoon it was still raining. I told him that I needed to get the flyers delivered to peoples doors. I wanted him to stay home with Marshall so I could go around in the rain and get them delivered. He insisted that he help me deliver them by driving me around the ward. As soon as we left the house it stopped raining. It was almost like the Lord wanted me to wait so Jake could help me. So instead of thinking negatively about the storm, and also the fact that I had to deliver the flyers, I decided to be grateful for the time I was able to spend with Jake. I am also grateful that I have a husband who is willing to help me and supports me. 

Day 6 and 7, complete! Read my 7 day challenge here.

Negative to Positive Thought: Day 5

About two weeks ago Jake and I realized that Marshall no longer will take a bottle. Because he eats every 2-3 hours, that means that we really cannot go anywhere without Marshall for an extended period of time. On Sunday we were discussing if we would  be able to go to the temple this weekend and leave Marshall with someone. Obviously, we do not want him to starve. Marshall usually eats every 2.5 to 3 hours, and depending on the wait at the temple, we decided we probably would not want to risk it.

Marshall definitely takes a lot of our time and energy. Now, if we want to go out on a date, we will have to bring Marshall along, unless we are gone for less than a couple hours. It seems like we cannot get through a movie or a card game in one sitting because Marshall is needing our attention. There are also other activities that are harder to do with Marshall involved. I definitely miss the alone time that Jake and I used to have.

I now see why people say that our lives will never be the same. I feel like I took for granted the time that Jake and I used to have before Marshall was in our lives. Now when we do get some alone time, I always feel very grateful for it, and cherish it. I almost feel like Marshall has brought us closer together, not only for the cherished alone time that we have without him, but also for the time we have with him. I live for the simple moments when all three of us are sitting on the couch, enjoying our time with one another.


Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Negative to Positive Thought: Day 4

Last Saturday I felt like the only productive thing that I got done was make dinner. The night before, Jake and his brothers camped out in the backyard, and Jake said he felt like he did not get any sleep. He did not even bring a pillow with him, but that is a different story. Because Jake did not sleep very well, he spent the morning sleeping for a couple more hours in our bed.

Of course, with having baby, I never get a full nights sleep anymore. Because Jake was sleeping, I took it upon me to sleep as well - once Marshall was down for his nap of course. This is pretty much how the whole rest of our day went. I fell asleep a couple more times even though the last few times were not intentional. It's hard not to think negatively sometimes when I have to get up in the middle of the night to tend to Marshall. Of course, I am grateful for Marshall, even with the challenges that he brings to me.

I feel very blessed that I was able to get the rest that I needed, despite my lack of productivity. I know there are women who have to get up early to work in the morning, and also have kids that they need to tend to in the middle of the night. Most mornings, I usually sleep along with Marshall during his first morning nap. If I could not have that nap, I don't know what I would do. I am very grateful to have the opportunity to rest when I need to. 

Monday, September 8, 2014

Negative to Positive Thought: Day 3

Jake's family decided to have a girls/guys night last Friday. The girls were to meet at my sister-in-law's house in Lehi at 6:00. I had to feed Marshall right before I was supposed to leave and so I was already a little bit behind. The freeway was stop and go traffic due to a car accident and not to mention rush hour. I find it very hard to be positive while stuck in traffic. Even if I am not rushed, but being rushed makes it that much worse.

While stopped I thought, 'There is no need to think negatively right now, I feel very blessed that I was not in the car accident'. I am very amazed at how many car accidents DON'T take place every day. I am sure we all have been in, or witnessed close calls. I find it amazing, especially on the freeway, how we are not playing bumper cars constantly. It seems so dangerous! I know Heavenly Father watches over us constantly, and I am sure he protects and prevents many possible accidents on the road. For that, I am very grateful. 

Friday, September 5, 2014

Negative to Positive Thought: Day 2

Don't you always hate it when you run out of milk? Well yesterday I ran out of milk and just wished that I had an endless supply, kind of like Marshall does. Haha. I thought it would be so much easier if our food never ran out and that we never had to go get some more. Spoiled much?

I am so blessed to have a store to go to, where food never seems to run out. I also have a car that can take me there and back. I also have enough money to get the food that I need.

There are many people who are starving because they do not have the access or the means. Instead of thinking about what they should make for dinner, they are thinking about how much they should eat so they do not run out.

Negative to positive thought, check! Read my challenge here.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Seven Day Challenge: Negative to Positive Thoughts

I woke up this morning with a very stiff neck. In fact, I can't really turn my head to my right. I remember waking up moaning as soon as I felt the stiffness. Marshall usually ends up in bed with me and Jake sometime during the early morning hours. I have his neck on my arm in a cuddling position, which means that I usually am not in a very comfortable position myself. I can usually sleep despite this because of how tired I am. Well this night around, it definitely effected my neck. Right now I have a heat pad around my neck and the pain does not feel like it is going to go away any time soon.

I read a quote this morning that got me to thinking, maybe this stiff neck is not so bad. . .

"We can choose 
to be gratefulno matter what.
This type of gratitude transcends 
whatever is happening round us.
It surpasses disappointment, 
discouragement, and despair
It blooms just as beautifully 
in the icy landscape of winter
as it does in the 
pleasant warmth of the summer."
- President Dieter F. Utchdorf

I love this quote because it encourages us to be grateful in any type of circumstance. It helps us to see the light at the end of the storm. It encourages us to be happy. This kind of gratitude can always be in our reach if we let it.

Yes, I do have a stiff neck, but the reason that it is stiff is actually beautiful. I have been blessed with an amazing son. Heavenly Father trusted me enough to bless me with Marshall and take care of him. I know there are many people throughout the world who would give anything just to have a child of their own, but they cannot. So even though Marshall ends up hogging the bed and gives me little room to get comfortable, I am grateful that I have a little boy to snuggle with. For this stiff neck, I am very grateful.

So my challenge to you, and also to myself is to recognize at least one negative thought that we have each day, and turn it into a positive thought. I also challenge us to write these thoughts down so we can remember and reflect upon these thoughts easier. By the end of the seven days, I will share with you my thoughts, and what I have learned from this experience. I encourage you to do the same.