My happy place

For the last couple weeks since being tagged by Rachael at Three Boys and a Mom, I’ve been pondering on what my happy place is. Is my happy place simply being with those I love? Do I have a place, an actual spot on the map, that brings me happiness, or where I go for refuge and peace? Or is my happy place a time of day when I can simply think and ponder, away from the high-pitched voice of my son yelling “Mommm!!!” ?

Here is my happy place in no particular order and just as they came to me.

My happy place is snuggling with my son anywhere and anytime he’ll let me. Couldn’t we just snuggle and read books all day??

my happy placeMy happy place is taking a shower by myself when Parker is asleep. The peace and warmth of a shower longer than 1 minute and without Parker calling my name or anything else crazy, is just utter peace.

My happy place is when I’m driving a car. This does not happen often! I love listening to the radio, singing along, and the sheer feeling of going some place. A change of scenery is happiness to my soul.

My happy place is listening to this Kenny G. Christmas album during nap time and just relaxing. Ahh…

Kenny G ChristmasMy happy place is working out with friends in the morning and coming home feeling like I can conquer the world. T25 anyone??

Focus-T25-logoMy happy place is making a nutritious and delicious dinner for my family and watching them eat it up. Sometimes I just stop eating and watch them enjoy. That scene in my mind warms my wife and mommy heart like none other.

My happy place is reading the scriptures or listening to a conference talk while folding a load of laundry and feeling the peace of God’s word settle on my heart and mind. Sometimes letting God speak to me is just the happiest, most peaceful place to be.

My happy place is watching a movie with my husband, Sam, after Parker’s in bed. We collapse on the couch and debate which movie on Amazon is worth the time, and then cuddle up and share laughs. Then, of course, we have to debate the movie after it’s done. It’s all great fun.

My happy place is when Sam walks through the door at the end of the day. The next couple minutes are full of excitement–seeing him smile, watching him run up to Parker to give him a hug, seeing Parker’s face light up, us all getting hugs and kisses, then spouting off how our day went.

After writing this, I realized my happy places are scattered throughout my life like knick knacks; special, everyday moments I collect in my memory and then carry through life. Most of these moments I also have no picture of. They are moments I simply enjoy. So, sorry for the lack of visuals, but some things you just can’t catch on camera.

Now, I would like to tag Kim at Invited by Grace, Chelsi at Catching Crawfish, and Natalie at Brenner Bunch to write about their happy place and what brings them joy in life. And if you have not already, go check out Rachael at Three Boys and a Mom, and see what brings her joy!

There is so much to be thankful for in life. I’m so curious, what brings you happiness?

Stopping the comparisons: Just more experienced

The other day my boy, Parker, helped me bake in the kitchen for the first time. I’ve tried to get him involved before, but until yesterday he just didn’t understand. Having him help yesterday was fulfilling; one of those mommy moments I have quietly day dreamed about for quite a while. Son helping make cookies, stirring, tasting the dough

As I watched his small, chubby hands latch onto the spoon and start to slowly mix, my mind was flooded with memories of baking with my own mom. I would frequently step up onto a stool, put on my flowery apron, and be her right hand girl.

However just as frequently as I tried to help, I undoubtedly became discouraged. I remember looking at my finished product, then to hers, and back to mine. The disappointment was poignant. Why was Mom always so much better than me? As soon as I expressed my frustration, she would reply without missing a beat:

“I’m not better than you; I’m just more experienced.”

Me as a little girl learning to bake.

Me as a little girl learning to bake.

It made sense; it made me feel better. She had been baking for years and I was just a girl. It was silly for me to believe I could be perfect at something I’d practiced very little at. Her comment gave me hope.

Now as I’m a bigger girl, how often do I look at others, especially moms, and think–“She has it all together; she is so much better at being a mom.” A LOT. I do that a lot. But, is that accurate? Instead, I should think to myself, “She has three kids, she’s changed hundreds more diapers, she’s balanced housework with utter exhaustion way more than me. She may not be better; just more experienced.

Simple as that. No comparisons, no guilt, no discouragement.

In the end, we shouldn’t be so hard on ourselves. All those people we may be comparing ourselves to each day may just have more experience.

“Don’t compare your beginning to someone else’s middle.” – Jon Acuff

How have you learned to stop yourself from comparing yourself to others? What is a saying that has helped you throughout your life?

Blog Award: Sisterhood is a beautiful thing!

Today I am so excited to share one of my favorite bloggers with you! I was nominated for the Sisterhood of the World Bloggers award by Emily at Light the Lie, and could not have been more honored or flattered. Emily is a gem. She shines, radiates, and practically glitters from the light she has within her. On top of that, the way she can shed light on a subject, in order to see things as they really are, is fabulous. Her blog really is a win-win. I continually go back to her blog, not just for her contemplative writing, but simply for her.

sisterhoodoftheworldbloggersaward

So, let’s talk about sisterhood. In the urban dictionary it defines sisterhood as: “A bond between two or more girls, not always related by blood. They always tell the truth, honor each other, and love each other like sisters.”

So for me, this award is for those bloggers that leave me feeling understood, close, respected, and cared for. I’ve realized as I have entered this world of blogging that to me the most important aspect is the sisterhoods. The times when I’m really getting to know someone, how they think, and seeing into their soul; the comments of encouragement, kindness, humor, and warmth. To me, this is the “rewarding” aspect of blogging.

The Rules: *I slightly changed the rules
1. Thank the blogger who nominated you, linking back to their site.
2. Put the award logo on your blog.
3. Answer the ten questions they have given you.
4. Nominate ten people. *[I honestly am new to blogging and am still creating sisterhoods. I didn’t want to feel the need to nominate a certain number of people, but simply share those I love.]
5. Make up ten new questions for them to answer.

Ten Questions from Emily @ Light the Lie:

My questions for you!

  1. What is it about your best friend that makes them so wonderful? My best friend is my husband. What makes him wonderful is his ability to see me for who I am, with all my faults, and yet love me and gently encourage me. I couldn’t as for a better teammate.
  2. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be? I would love to travel all over. But in terms of living day-in and day-out, honestly I am so content with where I am living. So it would have to be in the Utah Valley. 🙂
  3. What helps you get through a long day? Dance parties, chocolate chips, and talking to my sisters. Random, but true!
  4. What is a topic on teens you would like to see written about? Finding a source of true confidence that withstands any bad day.
  5. When you think about High School you feel _____? Some good memories, but so happy to be done. 🙂
  6. If you could get rid of one day of the week, which would it be and why? Probably Tuesday. It’s a long day for Sam and long days for Sam, mean long days for me. What can I say? I like my husband!
  7. What do you dream about for your future? Traveling around the world with Sam and my little kiddos. Watching my kids grow up to do wonderful things and have kids themselves.
  8. What are you most passionate about? I am really passionate about family and marriage. Before my schooling was put on hold for my sweet boy, Parker, I was studying Marriage and Family in college. If someone starts bringing up issues regarding parenting, marriage, and family, it is a bit hard for me to keep my mouth shut. 🙂
  9. What is the best present you ever received? My mind actually went to a time about 8 years ago. My brother was leaving to go to college. Our relationship had always been touch and go. I was much younger, not very cool, and oh so annoying. To me, I thought he was amazing and wished we could be closer. But a 6 year gap was hard to span growing up. He had left home, but sent me home something. It was a stick that he had carefully carved my name into. When I got it, I was so touched and couldn’t hold back the tears. I was amazed that he had thought about me enough to spend hours carefully carving my name. It showed me he really did care, and that gift still means more to me than I can express.
  10. Who knows you better than anyone else? Definitely my husband. No contest on that one!

I am so excited to nominate and share with you some of the people who I feel a sisterhood with. A kind of warmth and caring that rises above the posts they publish:

Here are 10 Questions for You:

  1. What is it about your best friend that makes them so wonderful?
  2. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
  3. What helps you get through a long day?
  4. What is your favorite way to spend your weekends?
  5. When you think about High School you feel _____?
  6. If you could get rid of one day of the week, which would it be and why?
  7. What do you dream about for your future?
  8. What are you most passionate about?
  9. What is the best present you ever received?
  10. What is your favorite book and why?

I understand some may not want participate, so please feel in no way that you are obligated to participate! Mostly take this nomination as a “Thank You. I think you are awesome.” from me! Thank you for being such sweet, down-to-earth people; for sharing your real selves with the world; for your sisterhood. Your involvement in my life has made blogging exceptionally more meaningful. 🙂

Chances are, your married friend still likes you

It’s true. Chances are, despite the delayed response to texts, less girl’s nights, or time on the phone, your married friend still likes you.

Recently, I read a popular article, Why It Doesn’t Matter How You Feel About Your Friends. I highly encourage taking the time to read it. The main idea is that real friends show they care. They do friendly things such as send texts, get together, and talk. While I completely agree and identify with this, I feel there is something missing. Mainly, understanding and compassion. I also feel like viewing relationships in this way can induce a lot of guilt in people who are already having a hard time — not good. Life is not so cut and dry.

Middle fingers with happy faces drawn on, to appear as friendsThink back to junior high

For me, this was my first big dip into making friends. Before this I would have friends over to my house from my class, club, or team, but it was very low key. Junior high was the big leagues. It was then that I really started understanding what it meant to be a friend. I made lots of slip ups. I gossiped, shared secrets that should have been kept to myself, and gave people the silent treatment. I made my fair share of mistakes. But somehow we all look back on junior high as a time when we were still “figuring it out.” We forgive each other. We understand.

For me, shortly after getting married was my second “junior high” experience. I was stressed and emotionally drained. I was putting my whole self into my marriage trying to make it work. Again, after having my son, I was adjusting to a little person relying on me for everything, along with being the most tired I’ve ever been in my life. I craved good friendships, but didn’t understand how friends fit in. Call me a deer in the headlights, because that is exactly what I was.

I never knew how to balance my relationships and commitments. Do I put a lot of effort into keeping old friends? Do I throw myself into making new friends? How much time do I reserve for my spouse? What if friends are only available during the short time my spouse and I are both free? What should I do about that? These were all brand new situations to me.

I know I didn’t handle my friendships well as a newly wed or a new momma. In fact, I’ll be the first to say I cared for my friends, but didn’t show it. Does that mean my feelings of care were wasted? Does being a friend only matter if you are showing or doing something?

It is not that black and white. I really feel there must be a balance.

I wish the same forgiveness and understanding we extend to others for mess ups in junior high would be true for people going through big life changes. Moving away to college, getting married, becoming a parent, or getting a new job are all examples. These are periods when our time and priorities shift. We tend to underestimate how confusing it can be to balance our friendships.

At times, being a friend means extending forgiveness when a friend is trying to figure things out. It’s understanding when they are less responsive. It’s assuming the best of your friend. Because assuming the best of a person is needed in every relationship.

So be kind.

Be kind and understanding to those newly weds who seem so caught up in themselves. Be kind to that new momma with bags under her eyes and spit up on her shirt.  Believe that they like you. Be understanding if they aren’t getting back to you. Because, chances are, they care about you more than you know, they’re more confused than you’ll ever know, and your forgiveness would mean more to them than you’ll ever know.