Wednesday, October 12, 2016

A small house

If my husband and I had an unofficial motto it would be this,
President Faust would not tell you this himself. Perhaps I can tell it, and he can take it out on me afterward. He had a mortgage on his home drawing 4 percent interest. Many people would have told him he was foolish to pay off that mortgage when it carried so low a rate of interest. But the first opportunity he had to acquire some means, he and his wife determined they would pay off their mortgage. He has been free of debt since that day. That’s why he wears a smile on his face, and that’s why he whistles while he works.
President Hinckley said it in October 1998, his talk To the Boys and to the Men. To say President Hinckley and President Faust had an influence on my life, would be an understand statement. They were probably the most influential people not related to me when I was a teenager.
President Monson has also been influential but he did not die near the same time as them so he has continued to influence my life as I've grown up.

Back to the quote, vernacular quote is, buy a small house pay it off quick and always have a smile on your face. That has always been my husband and mine unofficial plan. This summer we had to realize that sometimes the Lord has bigger thing in store. Literally. My husband had an experience to look for more home then we were looking for, but those are not mine to share. Me on the other hand I had many as you know if you read. What I finally came to know is the Lord expects me to invest my retirement not just put it in a savings account. In the case what if the Parable of the Talents is actually about money and just not just talents. Our house are investments. I know not everyone's are, but ours are. Mortgage speaking even though our house is much bigger we are paying about the same as we were when we first bought our last home. 

Its been far for me to take President's Faust story as a parable and not a literal direction in my life. I really wanted a small home. I am learning to enjoy my large house but I wanted a small house. And I've learned the Lord is teaching me far more humility this way.

Lastly, I will say this is only personal advice for me and my husband. If anyone were to ask me financial advice it would always be President Hinckley's. But people don't ask me financial advice. I buy most of my furniture second hand and always hope and maybe I should pray that someone will give me handme downs for my kids to wear. So I don't look like someone that people want to ask advice from. 

Religious Public Speaking

In case you just happened to stubble across my blog through google, I will explain something. In our church we have a lay ministry, meaning no one is paid to serve. We call our pastor a Bishop and he holds a regular job. He does not write a sermon every week, instead we take turn giving a sermon or a talk. Usually 2-3 teenagers or adults speak any given sunday. Teenagers are usually asked to speak for 5 minutes, while adults are asked to speak somewhere between 15-20 minutes. I'm not sure what other people's lives are like but my husband and I normally are asked to give a talk about every two years, if you move its more likely. For example you may be asked to speak before you move and in your new ward or congregation after you move..

The other night I complained to my husband its not fair. You jot down some bullet points and get up there and give the fun talk. You always pull out some story that I've never even heard even though we've been married for more than a decade, and everyone thinks you are fun. I write 2-4 rough drafts, lose sleep. Then while you are sleeping I type up a 7 page talk. You share the fun story, and I talk about how I better came to know God as I struggled with depression or something equally as lame. You get to look like the fun one and I get weepy.

My husband started laughing and said,"the jokes on them, I'm not the fun one".

For the sake of posterity I thought it would be fun to tell my process.
I am given a topic and I start researching it usually that day if not the next day or so. I let it mull around in my head for a while. Then I hammer out a talk in the next day or two. I like to get my to do list done, unless its cleaning then I like to stare at my phone. I get a rough draft typed and I think good, now I don't have to worry about it for the next week. A day or so later I then can't sleep and write an emotional mess of my deepest convictions. The next morning I think that would not be what should be shared in a public form, that must be for my journal. (No I do not have these things organized in a journal if I did do you think I would be blogging?) I am not embarrassed at all by my second draft and would be willing to share it with people in a smaller setting its just not really proper for a large group. I continue to jot down notes during this time, and then a night or two before I speak I sit down and write a combination of the two talks into something nice and flowing. Something far too long to give in 20 minutes.

Then, when I get up there I don't even know what I've said. I try to listen to the Holy Spirit and give the talk the Lord wants me to give. I mostly go off my notes, but I differently. I share more then is written and also less than is written at the same time. I don't even know what I've said half the time. Although I look out over the congregation while I speak I try not really to make eye contact. Once I sit down I look out at the congregation again except this time they aren't looking back at me, and I wonder what in the world did I tell those people because I can't remember, and I know its not the talk I prepared.

Two talks ago, I decided wrote a talk. First Draft. I knew it wasn't the talk the Lord wanted me to give, but it was the talk I wanted to give. It was filled with mostly quotes from church leaders, and absolutely NO personal stories. It was wonderfully vague and full of doctrine. As the day of my speaking assignment got closer I wasn't sleeping well. The night before I said, ok, fine, I'll write the talk you have been telling me to write. It was chalked FULL of personal antidotes and fewer doctrinal quotes (still plenty). I was not thrilled and I had known plenty of my fellow saints for about 4 years so I told them that this was not the talk I wanted to give but it was the talk I felt like the Holy Ghost told me to give, so here it goes...

Of coursed everyone liked it, I don't mean that pridefully. Even though it sounds like that. For whatever reason as a teenager I was usually asked to speak twice a year, and by the time I was 17, I had the opportunity to give a 25 minute talk. I come from a long line of eloquent speakers. Saying public speaking is one of my talents is like saying the starter of the high school basketball team is good at sports. Not only was it something I was born with and have worked on over the years. I really don't say this pridefully.

Anyway, so the last time I talked I sat down looked out over the congregation and there a few people visibly crying, like Kleenexes wiping eyes and such. And I thought oh golly gee! What did I just tell these people? The last time I talked I knew the Lord would inspire me to share a personal trial so I thought ok, I'm ready. I prepared it a mix of the way my husband does and I do. Then the day before my talk I was kind of having a melt down. My husband said what is wrong, I said its bath night, we have no food, and I still haven't prepared my talk. Before I said that I thought I did. So he bathed the kids while I went grocery shopping. Then he went to bed while I hammered out my 7 page talk. Yes, the Lord and I have a pattern. I wish we could skip to the third draft, but he is apparently more concerned about me learning than my ease. I should just accept this method as our relationship and stop being jealous of my husband's. For one, he works better on the fly than I do, he likes working under pressure, I like being prepared. He doesn't ever take notes when he is in school. When I was in school I took notes over everything the professor said then reread them and my textbook before a test. Clearly my husband and I have a different learning pattern.

The most awkward part is, Later a friend said, your talk was so good. Thank you. You are a really good public speaker. Thank you. Your husband is too. A follow with what I thought was a sheepish smile while I tried to come up with a response. All of a sudden she excitedly says, you already know that don't you?! How do you response to that?

Funny thing is I can't actually remember being nervous to give a talk. I'm sure in my past I was, as a child in Primary I know I was. Last time I was speaking, I lifted my hand up, I often talk with my hands. When all of sudden I realized it was shaking uncontrollably. So I gently put it back down on the podium and hoped no one noticed. As long as it was on the podium the shaking was contained. I later mentioned it to my husband, he totally noticed. I don't mind scripted public speaking even if I go off topic, but I do hate saying prayers in public. I'd rather always prepare a lesson or talk. A year ago I had to realize no one, I mean no one ever remembers a prayer, unless they are too long. So I'm good. Its helped me not hate saying them, but I don't volunteer, that and reading aloud. As a dyslexic I never volunteer to read out loud.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

One last thing

I forgot the hardest part about accepting the primary calling.
Remember how my husband spoke on putting your spouse first?
I hate that my husband's and my callings never line up.  When he is teaching primary I am in Sunday school without him and vise versa. I never get to sit in 5th Sunday 3rd hour meetings with him because he's normally with young men's. Before the callings were issued Brent asked, are we going to be primary team teachers?
The answer of course was no.
We just want to hang out together during church. But apparently the a Lord wants us to be busy not on date night. 
Also I know this is unusual but we have really amazing gospel doctrine teachers.

Heavy and Humble

I've been walking around with a very heavy heart this week.
After today its humbled.
A week ago I sneaked into primary to watch my sunbeam be the spotlight. It was overflowing with cuteness. His favorite temple.... D----- the one closest to us
Favorite scripture story... the Nephites (rolling on the floor emoji, I love his answer)
Favorite thing to do... a pile of matchbox cars and a toy screwdriver, no explanation needed.

As I stood in the back I thought I got to stop showing up to support my kids in primary, they are going to recruit me. Then I thought nah, not me.

Later in the day we met with the Bishopric member, he was going to give my husband a calling. For some reason I didn't really expect to get one the same day. He asked me to serve in Primary, as a CTR 5 teacher. (You probably don't know this but I have spent more time with CTR 5s then any other age in the church.) I hesitantly said yes, then mumbled something about it being a while since I was in Primary because of anxiety and depression. More mumbling. He then said, I think you should know, both of these callings came from the Lord while we were kneeling as a bishopric and praying.

*facepalm, glass shattered, etc*

You see four years ago I was a primary teacher and I had been a primary teacher in various wards for about 5 years. They released me because I was big pregnant and grumpy. And they needed a Relief Society Meetings Coordinator. I spent the next few years in Relief Society with babies, sickness, RSV, depression, anxiety and my various RS callings. 15 months ago or so I was released from my Relief Society calling. It took a few weeks to get a new calling. I told many of friends, I will try to accept any calling they give me, but if they call me to Primary I will say, I'm not saying no, I'm just saying you and I will both go home this week and pray about it on our kneels and meet back together next week to see what the Lord wants. There is no way Brother Key could have known I said that 15 months ago, when he told me we prayed about this on our knees.

I then spent the next 6 days searching the Lord for peace on this calling. There were a lot of desperate pleas uttered as prayer. Things I realized
Not quite the same message, but what I was referring to in my earlier post, the Lord prepares a way for those he calls.
2. My husband helped me see the primary is probably most in need of a master teacher. (a reference I'm sure you won't know.)
3. I don't know, its hard to relate spiritual prompting to English. so count this one for the next 15

Today my husband spoke in Sacrament meeting. We got there and apparently I was panicked, because my daughter got chastised for complaining she never sits by me. (She spent 40 minutes sitting on my lap last week.) Then we realized we forgot her talk, so I jumped up and said, I'll go get it. I really enjoyed my next 10 minutes in the car. I also put on anti-anxiety essential oils when I grabbed the talk. I didn't really enjoy my time, I more sat that wanting to bang my head against the steering wheel. I silently screamed I can't do it, I can't do, I can't do! Alternated with stop thinking about it, obsessing won't make it better. So I get back during the opening Hymn and my husband whispers, "I need to sit on the stand." "Ok" "Will you be ok?" "Nope" and I smile while he stands up to get on the stand. 

I intermittently offered silent prayers of I can't do it! While my husband smiled at me for the stand. Did I tell you what his talk was about? Putting your spouse first, and eternal marriage. The talks on eternal marriage were more about helping your spouse with children. My youngest either threw fits in the aisle, or he asked to go potty. I took him to go potty 3 times during sacrament meeting, he went potty all three times. (We potty trained him this week.) He wanted to go a fourth, but I really doubted he was on the verge of an accident where he already had emptied SO much. I'm sure my constant parade was quite entertaining for the ward since my husband was speaking on eternal families. 

After church I realized it was good my husband couldn't sit with us. If he was there to help I probably would have had a panic attack. I was so close to leaving all my children on the pew by themselves and going to sit in the hall on the couch. 
The bishopric guy who called me, was released today, he was asked to bare his testimony he talked about callings being given by the Lord while they were on their knees and praying. Just in case I forgot, the Lord told me again.
The Sunday school teacher said, in the sight of the Lord a sunbeam teacher is just as important as the prophet because those sunbeams are so important to the Lord. (I had one last week in Gospel Doctrine and Relief Society.) 

I talked with the Primary president a few times today, I think she is seeing some hesitancy from me, I keep telling her its fine. I wonder should I mention, its nothing against primary, its just been a lot of years of depression and anxiety. In the past when I taught primary I wouldn't let my children touch me or sit on my lap during sacrament meeting, or for a couple of hours of church. Its been less then a year I've actually been able to help my husband in sacrament meeting with my children. I'm just not sure I'm ready to go down all these paths again. 

Over and over, I thought "the Lord is more concerned with our progress than our comfort." (Which is a heck of a lot better than I can't do this.) Being a lazy millenia makes me think, I wish he was more concerned with my comfort, because he never lets me get comfortable, with every milestone I gain he sends a curve ball. I'm pretty sure he does in fact want me in Primary, but I'm not actually sure why. If you are Mormon and reading this you, probably can see the writing on the wall, but I am missing it. Please DO NOT contact me, I don't need you to tell me what I'm missing. I'll see it one day, or at least in eternity. 

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Understanding why

I've thought it was weird that we prepared to move internationally twice and didn't go though twice. (We've actually tried more) Brent's said well it helped get us ready for this move.  True but I'm sure I could have gotten ready other ways.
The only thing that's really rung true to me is when Colombia fell through. We found out while on vacation at my parents house and my brother was there at the same time.  He said to me maybe Brent just needed to know you'd follow him.
Today I read a blog post from a marriage therapist that rang true:
"That’s what dialogue is. It’s a conversation with one another – rather than at one another – that is designed to reveal the deeper meaning of a particular conflict. Dr. Gottman refers to this as the “dream within conflict.” Whenever the dream or hope or aspiration for the relationship is ignored, problems arise. But when those dreams are revealed and understood and respected, it creates space for the relationship to become more meaningful than the problem."
At the time the time I did not know how to respect his dream without buying into it. I knew it was destroying our relationship. As I've mentioned I went into general conference with one question.  Who has got to give because our relationship can't sustain this disagreement.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Chocolate Cupcakes

This story has been in and out of my head for 6 months now, as I reflect and wonder what I was suppose to learn.
(I hope its not a repeat if it is, now you know what my mind is like.)
Back in February my second busiest time of the year, when I have 3 birthdays in 2 and half weeks and a holiday, I knew my visiting teaching sister also had a birthday. I couldn't exactly remember when it was in the month but I had been her visiting teacher for three years so I knew it was sometime.
We went and visited our other sister in the morning, and it was a heavy conversation, she mentioned some not pleasant parts of her childhood. And since the point of visiting teaching is to bare one another's burdens I was glad she was sharing with us. But I went home exhausted. I had about an hour and half before the next visit.
The spirit plainly told me take out the chocolate cupcakes from the freezer and frost them. For the last day or two the spirit had been gently nudging me to defrost them and to have supplies for frosting. But let us recall I had already made 3 birthday deserts in the last three weeks (my baby's birthday is 2 weeks before my husband). I had addressed a good 45 valentines for school. Each dessert and holiday prep was a monumental accomplishment of love will beat the anxiety. (And let us not forget I mean mental illness anxiety, not I'm negatively excited, I mean I can barely leave my house, crippling anxiety.)
So all these promptings fell on exhausted ears. I wanted to listen and act I really did, but I just didn't quite get there. My heart was heavy like a sandbag and my feet felt like stones. When I drove home from my first visit I thought go buy chocolate frosting, I drove right past the store, I two tired and hungry toddlers in my car, and I could barely walk through a parking lot with them on a good day because my anxiety had flared up so much.
Six months later I honestly can't remember if I had frosting stuff at home, I think I did but I can't remember now. I think I at least had cool whip, we like chocolate cake and cool whip in our house.
I remember a few times hearing take out the chocolate cupcakes.
I never listened, I got distracted with caring for my babies, with feeding them, and myself. I was so exhausted surely the Lord must know that. Of course he did.
Well it was time to get to our next visit, my two toddlers and I were late, and it was during naptime. But it was the only time that fit for my partner and my sister we were visiting. While we were there, our sister said today was her husband's birthday.

And he always complains that she never has time to make him a chocolate cake. And this year was no different, she was so busy all morning. She had an afternoon of getting her high schoolers to various needs.
*Head held in shame* Except it wasn't, I played cool. I didn't want those other two ladies to know the spirit told me multiple times to bring chocolate cupcakes.
I felt awful though.
and embarrassed
After a few days of shame I finally told my husband about it. He was very sympathetic to my regret.

I spent weeks wondering how did the Lord expect me to run faster than I had strength?

He knew of all people how tired I was. How overwhelmed.

Then the answer came, I don't remember the reference but it said when the Lord prompts you he will always give you strength to accomplish what he asks.

Looking back I wish I had the faith to complete a miracle.
But I didn't and sometimes we don't.
We can't beat ourselves up.
We can only move forward with faith.

Saying next time I will be better. Next time I will be able to morn with one sister and lighten the burdens on another all in one day, and care of my family. But if I had the strength for all that, my family would probably have had cold cereal for dinner, and I would have had take out. And we would all be happy and tired.

Other days I think how is her procrastination my fault? Its not. Plain and simple, if she truly cared about making a chocolate cake she would have made it happen. But she didn't and that isn't my fault, but we all would have felt the love of the Lord that day if I would have shown up with chocolate cupcakes. The spirit would have been strong and we all would have been blessed. It wasn't my fault, but I missed the opportunity to bless.

Instead I learned a hard lesson.

As I keep reflecting on this experience I think I've learned far more since I missed my opportunity then if I would have listened.

Part of me says, doesn't all the other treats I dropped off at her house over the years count for something? All the times she said oh thank you so much, I was so busy that day, so my kids ate those for dinner.
Apparently I should have been dropping off dinner all those years.

They did count. And the righteous desires of our hearts also count. But it was a hard lesson to learn, one I will probably think about for years, but not out of shame, instead out of hope. I will always wish I listened to the spirit, and taken out those frozen cupcakes. I will always wished I didn't miss the opportunity to bless a family but at least I've learned a lesson from it.

Now when I'm in the store instead of thinking I'm too tired to be friendly I can be a listening ear. I can have the faith that the Lord gives strength to those who listen.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Madrid Spain

A few weeks ago on the 5th Sunday of July before our last lesson started the teacher had a slide show of LDS temples playing. I honestly wasn't paying attention to it, I was slightly paying attention to my husband's conversation with the guy next to him. When I looked up to the screen and saw the Madrid Spain LDS temple. Immediately it was a confirmation that we where we suppose to be. Even if it wasn't foreign. Even if I don't see an opportunity for my 3rd child to become a polygot.