Friday, October 2, 2015

Prepping for Conference

I wish I had spent the whole month of September prepping for General Conference, but instead I spent it depressed. Instead I had a week to get ready. (By the way, the supplement I'm taking for depression this time around. Mind blowing. I don't have a postive thought in my little head, unless I take it 3 times a day. As long as I do, I'm as happy as a clam. I can't believe its so effective.)

I made a list of four things to get ready.
  1. Print out General Conference packets for my kids (here and here) and other coloring pages.
  2. Get treats for conference bingo
  3. Listen to some of the talks
  4. Clean all four bathrooms in my house.
I figured there is no better way to prepare for conference then cleaning your house while listening to conference talks, because no one wants to spend the entire weekend in a dirty house. How could I fully feel the spirit if I only had dirty toilets?

Yesterday while cleaning I was listening to Elder Holland, and President Utchdorf

Here are some of my favorite quotes from their talks.

Holland: In our increasingly secular society, it is as uncommon as it is unfashionable to speak of Adam and Eve or the Garden of Eden or of a “fortunate fall” into mortality. [...]
I do not know the details of what happened on this planet before that, but I do know these two were created under the divine hand of God, that for a time they lived alone in a paradisiacal setting where there was neither human death nor future family, and that through a sequence of choices they transgressed a commandment of God which required that they leave their garden setting but which allowed them to have children before facing physical death...

Utchdorf: I marvel to think that the Son of God would condescend to save us, as imperfect, impure, mistake-prone, and ungrateful as we often are. I have tried to understand the Savior’s Atonement with my finite mind, and the only explanation I can come up with is this: God loves us deeply, perfectly, and everlastingly. I cannot even begin to estimate “the breadth, and length, and depth, and height … [of] the love of Christ.” [...]
Trying to understand God’s gift of grace with all our heart and mind gives us all the more reasons to love and obey our Heavenly Father with meekness and gratitude. As we walk the path of discipleship, it refines us, it improves us, it helps us to become more like Him, and it leads us back to His presence. [...]
Many people feel discouraged because they constantly fall short. They know firsthand that “the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” They raise their voices with Nephi in proclaiming, “My soul grieveth because of mine iniquities."

I loved that they both admitted that we don't know everything. Elder Holland's talk especially reminded me of Nephi, in chapter 11:17. "And I said unto him: I know that he loveth his children; nevertheless, I do not know the meaning of all things." Don't we all feel that way?

As a post script, I'll also add, I found yet another blessing in depression in section two of President Utchdorf's talk. 
You literally are "completely and hopelessly lost" in spite of sin. When stricken with mental illness you never "replay the greatest hits of [your] own righteousness" All that ever happens is "confess[ing] our faults, plead for God’s mercy" From his talk, here is section two.

Who Can Qualify?
In the Bible we read of Christ’s visit to the home of Simon the Pharisee.
Outwardly, Simon seemed to be a good and upright man. He regularly checked off his to-do list of religious obligations: he kept the law, paid his tithing, observed the Sabbath, prayed daily, and went to the synagogue.
But while Jesus was with Simon, a woman approached, washed the Savior’s feet with her tears, and anointed His feet with fine oil.
Simon was not pleased with this display of worship, for he knew that this woman was a sinner. Simon thought that if Jesus didn’t know this, He must not be a prophet or He would not have let the woman touch him.
Perceiving his thoughts, Jesus turned to Simon and asked a question. “There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: … one owed five hundred pence, … the other fifty.
“And when they [both] had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most?”
Simon answered that it was the one who was forgiven the most.
Then Jesus taught a profound lesson: “Seest thou this woman? … Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little.”
Which of these two people are we most like?
Are we like Simon? Are we confident and comfortable in our good deeds, trusting in our own righteousness? Are we perhaps a little impatient with those who are not living up to our standards? Are we on autopilot, going through the motions, attending our meetings, yawning through Gospel Doctrine class, and perhaps checking our cell phones during sacrament service?
Or are we like this woman, who thought she was completely and hopelessly lost because of sin?
Do we love much?
Do we understand our indebtedness to Heavenly Father and plead with all our souls for the grace of God?
When we kneel to pray, is it to replay the greatest hits of our own righteousness, or is it to confess our faults, plead for God’s mercy, and shed tears of gratitude for the amazing plan of redemption?
Salvation cannot be bought with the currency of obedience; it is purchased by the blood of the Son of God. Thinking that we can trade our good works for salvation is like buying a plane ticket and then supposing we own the airline. Or thinking that after paying rent for our home, we now hold title to the entire planet earth.

Holy Ghost

Since I'm getting my health back and going to bed at a decent hour, and have no children waking me up at night, I have a tendency to wake up before my alarm. As I laid in bed awake I started going through the times I had no doubt the Holy Ghost talked to me. So I decided to write it out.

To start it off, here is Alma 5:26
And now behold, I say unto you, my brethren, if ye have experienced a change of heart, and if ye have felt to sing the song of redeeming love, I would ask, can ye feel so now?
Can ye feel so now? I think its important to remember when the Holy Ghost talks.

  1. As a teenager someone instructed me to pray about the Book of Mormon, about Moroni's promise in the end. I'd already finished reading the Book of Mormon myself, and I had read it most nights as a child with my family. My answer was undeniable,  "You don't need to ask, you've always known. You've always known those are stories of real people who walked on earth."
  2.  When I was about 17 or 18 I read The Family: A Proclamation to the World hanging on the wall above our staircase in my house. I strong feeling said, if you have the opportunity to get married and you turn your back on it you will not stay active in the church.
  3. Holding my BYU acceptance letter, the thing I had prayed for for a year, and asked my parents to pray for, I knew BYU was not for me, and I should apply to Utah State. I begrudgingly did it the next day.
  4. The summer after my freshman year of college at Utah State, I knew I needed to go back home. I knew I should not look into summer jobs anywhere else. I knew I should not look into camp counselor or anything else. Things I really wanted to do. I did not want to go back home.
  5. When I was engaged I was studying and praying to understand why the law of chastity was so important, my answer was either I believe in the priesthood power performed in the temple or I do not. (That was all the answer I needed.)
  6. I knew once Brent and I were married as soon as my schooling would allow I needed to have a baby, because a little brown haired, browned eyed boy was waiting. And that was exactly what came 14 months after we were married. I graduated in four years.
  7. While visiting my parents 1200 miles away I told Brent to sign a lease on an apartment I had never seen that he assured me I would not like. When the Bishop of that ward told me he prayed us into the ward. I simply told him I know. 
  8. While driving home after dropping my husband off at work since we only had one car, I knew without a shadow of doubt, it was like a bolt of lightening that he needed to do an MBA.
  9. Years later while looking at an apartment that I thought was too small and too ugly, While I looked at the bathroom, I glanced in the mirror and had the feeling that it would all be ok, when we moved there.
  10. As long as I kept going to the temple regularly and reminded of my washing covenants, I knew I'd be healed of the postpartum depression and other hormonal health problems I was having 14 months after my 2nd child was born.
  11. When we came out to look at house I knew. I mean KNEW. Another bolt of lightening that we needed to attend church in the Monument building. I felt the spirit so strong, I wondered if our realtor could feel it. (Completely coincidentally she was LDS, which is why she pointed out the building to us.)
  12. July 2014 after taking the sacrament in church I felt very strongly to let my doctor induce me two weeks early. I then gave birth to a 9 lb 2 oz baby who had the cord wrapped around his neck who needed to be resuscitated. When Brent saw how big the baby was he said you made the right choice.
  13. I have an undeniable memory of something other than my own consciousnesses telling me your children are hungry feed them cold cereal. During my postpartum depression things like this happened many times, but I clearly remember the first time it happened. 
  14. Then last October, I believe I've already blogged about knowing I should support our husband in living abroad. In December we went to the temple, it was very clear we needed to pursue this path. In May Brent suggested Colombia instead of Spain. My answer in church, was if it was right in December with Spain why would it be any different in Colombia. It was the right answer at the time, but at this point we aren't 100% sure why we went down that path if the eventual answer was no.
As a family, maybe only a couple we've been wandering directionless since August, I'm excited for some new direction this weekend.

Also we should not forget all the times I've sat in Primary and you realize how much the Lord loves little children.

Also I'll add why I've had so many bolt of lightenings I don't know. Sometimes people say they never have their experiences, but I'm not sure why I do. Although I'm sure there are more, and some I don't feel like sharing.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

My Mexico

When we were camping and I woke up with no anxiety or depression. I thought "this is my mexico"
To understand that quote you have to watch the Fast and Furious Saga way too often.

In Tokyo Drift, which was the third to come out, Han talks about his Mexico. In case you get confused in the order, Tokyo Drift actually takes place after 4-7 in the Fast and the Furious universe.

Shawn Boswell: So, how did you end up over here, anyway? 
Han: Well, you know those old Westerns where the cowboys make a run for the border? This is my Mexico. 

 I never wanted to leave. But we were out of food... ha

In the movie their conversation continues and it ends like this.
Han: Look at all those people down there. They follow the rules, for what? They're letting fear lead them. 
Shawn Boswell: What happens if they don't? 
Han: Life's simple. You make choices and you don't look back. 

I follow a lot of rules in life, but only only only when I want to. I'm a snot like that. My sister in law once said to my brother and I, you two think you are above the rules. We laughed because its true we are above the rules.
But the point I wanted to reiterate, I whole hardly agree, "Life's simple. You make choices and you don't look back."

Monday, September 14, 2015

Cat's out of the Bag

In case you didn't use deductive reasoning, depression reared its ugly head. Again.

I spilled the beans to my friend the other day. A few of my friends planned an crafternoon and eventually it got moved to my house. Then the next thing I know everyone canceled but one person. Which is funny because I didn't even organize this one! Anyway, while me and one friend were talking we covered a whole range of topics. Side effects of mothering infants came up which of course lead to postpartum depression, she said but you feel better this year, right? I said, I'm not sure I do. I've been a mess since the beginning of August. She quietly said oh. She had no idea what to say. I don't blame her. Nothing is ever the right response whether its mental health or a more physical malady. But its the first time I've said anything in person to someone other than Brent. So it slightly surprised me.

After the time my third turned three, I started to feel some anxiety, I wasn't ready for him to be that old. Things just pilled up, and between a half birthday (18 mons), a birthday, potty training, back to school, back to school finances, some unexpected medical bills, extracurriculars, a new scout calling, that takes up an exorbitant amount of my time. I became extremely overwhelmed, and was barely functioning.
One day during naptime I saw on the couch in a comatose state of panic. I thought I need to just lay in my bed, who cares if I ever come out. But I couldn't, I had to get my son to Piano lessons. I thought once I do that I will go to bed for the rest of the day, who cares if I come out later. Then since I was waiting for piano lessons, I figured might as well cook the dinner on the schedule, so I did. Then I was ready to go to bed, but oh before that could happen my daughter had to finish her homework, before I could get in bed. I can't remember what all I had come up on my plate but I was very disappointed to not get in bed before it was time to go to sleep.
I just wanted to quit the world.

I was barely holding on to life when we went to Mount Rushmore on vacation. It probably would have never happened if Brent didn't make it possible. I did plan the sights we saw but he made it happened. Funny thing we were camping, but neither of us packed food.  Other than four boxes of instant oatmeal, I pulled those out of storage and so they thankfully made it some how. We take more food on the car trip to Grammy's house then we did on a four day camping trip. I'm a big believer of don't worry you can just buy it when you get there, except there was no there. The closest real grocery store to Mount Rushmore is 30 minutes away not an easy idea when you are camping with two toddlers. After Cheyenne, WY there was a total of three fast food restaurants, that in a span of 4 hours. There was one fast restaurant 10 minutes of the park. Who would have cared if it wasn't for the fact we forgot to pack food. Ha ha.

When we woke up the first morning, sitting out side the tent I felt calm. I couldn't remember the last time I felt calm. It was amazing. (This is actually the second morning, the third morning we were in Nebraska and covered in mosquito bites.)

I'm now taking a hormonal supplement, I started right before we left on vacation. The second week I took it, I took it 5 times a day, I yelled at my children if I didn't take it that much. I'm now down to 2-3 times a day, and today my husband surprisingly said, you're happy. Hopefully I remember to continue using it for a while, so we don't see anymore depressed Lesli posts. That would be lovely wouldn't it?


When life became unbearable, our kitchen counters became covered in papers. Utility bills, school forms, school flyers, school fundraisers, cub scouts, ropes to practice knots, medical bills, class pictures. No wonder I'm feeling overwhelmed. Anyway, today my goal was to clean it off. It took me 30 minutes but I did it!
It hasn't been clean since August. I'm realizing its a good thing I figured it out, because Brent can't figure out school stuff without my help and so if he would have tried while I was still depressed I probably would have yelled at him very angrily.

December Birthday Party

A week ago told my daughter my usual reply, we won't discuss her birthday until after Halloween. But then on Saturday she was so sad, I decided to give her a bone. We discussed her party.
Actually I have no problem discussing party details because the imagining the party is the only fun part of the process in my opinion. I refuse to come up with a guest list until after Halloween because children's friendships move as fast as the tides.
Me: I thought you'd like a Maleficent Party because you told (next door neighbor) Maleficent was your favorite movie.
Nat: No I want Skylanders
Me: I thought you'd like Maleficent because you told Grammy you wanted another princess castle cake?
Nat: No I want Skylanders.  And you can make a tomato cake and put Food Fight on top because he's my favorite.

Me: ok
Nat: But only R-boy likes Skylanders who else will I invite?
Me: What his name doesn't he like it?
Nat: L-girl? Oh yeah she plays with her brother's too
Me: B-boy he plays doesn't he?
Nat: Oh yeah.
I then added maybe A-girl, S-girl, D-girl would also be good. She said yeah.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Maiden Name

My husband wearing my maiden name once a week is almost as good as a feminist shirt. 
I didn't realized he was closing his eyes until I posted the picture.