A spark of eternal fire

Last Saturday as our little family was coming home from our favorite place to eat (Cafe Rio, all the way) my husband looked up at one of the mountains our apartment is nestled against. He said half jokingly, but hopefully “We should go home, change our clothes real quick, and then hike up the mountain!”

I think he expected me to say no; it was windy, getting chilly, and the sun was close to setting. But, I felt like being spontaneous. A little bit of nature never hurt. So we got home, rushed around, and were out the door again.

On our way there we wondered if we were crazy–the sun was setting and we had our little boy with us. But once we started hiking, we realized we were not crazy at all.

The view.

IMG_20141101_184638981

The view struck my soul–the sun setting with its powerful rays of light; the clouds reflecting the light in amazing ways, the city lights spanning across the valley. It took my breath away and enlarged my soul reminding me I am part of something magnificent; something awe-inspiring.

Our little family enjoying the view on the mountain.

Sometimes I just need to get away–get away either physically, spiritually, or mentally from the hussle and bussle of life. Even if the time of solitude is short, it is a breath of fresh air for my soul to step out and look at my life from a better angle–from above. To see myself how God may see me–a unique individual filled with meaning and loved completely by Him.

“This is a paradox of man: compared to God, man is nothing; yet we are everything to God. While against the backdrop of infinite creation we may appear to be nothing, we have a spark of eternal fire burning within our breast.”- Dieter Uchtdorf

For me, hiking up that mountain gave me a better view; a clearer perspective on who I am in the grand scheme of things. Being amid God’s vast creations reminded me that I am part of something eternal; something majestic.

Yes, I am small. But I am everything to God. So are you.

How do you step away from life and find inner peace and a clearer perspective? How do you remember to see yourself as God sees you?

Say YES to happiness

Say yes to happinessWhen I was in high school I got hooked on a song called “Say Yes.” It was a song written by our church to uplift and encourage teenagers.

“We say yes, yes, yes to happiness
we say yes to freedom and yes to hope
yes to everything good that we know”

At the time it was a song I listened to on my way to school, where undoubtedly there seemed to be drama, discouragement or feelings of loneliness. At school, it was hard not to get lost in the drama and simultaneously wave goodbye to my happiness. In fact, many days happiness was something I wanted to cling to desperately.

So as I listened to this song I was trying to commit myself to happiness, no matter what happened at school during the day. Rain or shine, friends or no friends, good grades or bad grades I wanted to wake up in the morning and “say yes” to happiness–whatever happiness I could grasp.

In this way, I’m very similar to my high school self.  This morning I woke up on I don’t know what side of the bed. I’m feeling drained with all the decisions in my life right now. I want to be happy during the good times, but just as much during the hard, stressful, at-my-wits-end times. I really want to say yes to happiness.

IMG_20141023_161835331

Parker’s sad grumpy face. Sometimes do we choose to be grumpy?

But, sometimes I’m just downright grumpy and in essence, I say “no” to happiness. I slam the door in its face determined to be grumpy and spread rain clouds throughout my home. I have no idea why I am continually tempted to hang out in my grumpiness! It’s a mystery to me.

However, I’ve realized all over again that living in my own rain cloud does no good; no good for me, no good for my husband, and no good for my boy.

The choice really is mine.

I can choose whether I walk in sunshine or rain clouds. My inner weather is decided by ME. So, whatever the circumstances, whatever today may have in the cards, I’m going to try to say yes to happiness. Will you try it to?

How do you “say yes” to happiness in your life? How do you stay happy despite hard things happening? I would love your advice and insights!

A sweet voice

Lately my son, Parker, has been learning a lot more words. It has been adorable and insightful to see more into his little mind. These precious kids have so much they are thinking about!

me with parker on my back on a hike.Yesterday Parker and I went on a killer hike, especially for me because I was carrying this 25-30 lb. talking ball of sweetness on my back. It was a 2 1/2 hour hike and his weight was really almost too much for me. I was nervous he was going to get really bored, but on the way up to the falls, behind my ear I heard his sweet voice saying:

“Hap-py, hap-py, hap-py, hap-py, hap-py…”

Wow! My heart practically burst hearing him repeat one of the few words he knows–happy. To me, he embodies the living definition of love, purity, and innocence.

Yesterday, in his sweet voice Parker reminded me happiness should be one of the main things we shoot for. Not the fleeting, circumstantial happiness. But the happiness that resonates from deep within our core; the happiness that transcends the sometimes menial things we do day-to-day.

“The greater part of our happiness or misery depends upon our dispositions, and not upon our circumstances.”
― Martha Washington

What words or phrases do you little ones say that make your heart melt? How have they helped change your perspective or brighten your day?

Fight against gravity

A couple days ago I read a post by Three Boys and a Mom called “Fit Mom Friday“. In it she shared her journey of fitness and completely inspired me to refocus my goal on health, not just a great body. It seems I continually need to be reminded of this.

Since reading her post, I have started exercising more, because I’ve realized I don’t have to be an all-star athlete to do something beneficial for my body. I may look crazy and pathetic as I exercise, but it’s a whole lot better than quitting before I even start.

Yesterday, I tried PiYo for the second time. It is a workout series by Beach Body slightly similar to pilates and yoga. We (me and the four insanely fit people on my TV–are they even real??) did “Hardcore on the Floor.” As we were nearing the end of the workout in yet another precarious position, the fitness instructor said something that made me think.

If you feel like you’re always about to fall over,
You’re doing it right.
You are in the sweet spot of working the hardest,
because you are working against gravity–
Fight against the gravity!

A flexed arm muscle Isn’t that true for life? Just as a muscle can’t get stronger until it has resistance; just as our muscles have to tear before they can be stronger–so it is with us. Many times the good things we crave to do or the person we know we have the potential to become are preceded by doing downright, hard things–we sweat, we try again, we fall over, we give up momentarily, we try again. We give it our best and in the end, we’re stronger than when we started.

It is in the hard times that our soul gains strength.

So today I’m going to fight against gravity. I’m going to recommit to the good habits I want in my life, because I want the results of a better me.

“When the going gets tough, the tough get going.”- English Proverb

How do you stay motivated to reach your goals? What are some of the goals that you are working toward in life right now? OR do you have an exercise program that you love? I would love to hear your thoughts!

Created to progress

This morning I woke up feeling lethargic. This whole moving ordeal seems to be eating up my energy. But, P and I have a routine and every morning we wake up, eat breakfast, and then pack up into our jogging stroller with multiple sippy cups, water bottles, and snacks, (just in case we find a park and want to play for a while).

So, despite feeling like a slug, we packed up and left. I decided I wanted a good view and a challenge, so we walked up the biggest hill nearby. Oh my. I haven’t got my heart pumping so hard in a while. I had to stop for breaks to breathe, while the 30 pound weight I brought along with me, happily chatted about the scenery.

little boy peaking through a stroller

My sweet 30 lb. weight, making me laugh as we walked.

As I was trudging up that hill, feeling the incline in my heart and quads, I started pondering about progression. I began thinking about challenging myself. How is it that the hardness of the exercise was actually fueling my spirit, instead of depleting me? How was I feeling re-charged and on top of the world, when in reality I was just a mom wearing an old exercise get-up, trudging up a hill?

I decided it is because we are eternal beings who were created for progress. Our souls thrive on becoming better each day. It is part of our genetic make up as children of God. Our souls love to conquer an obstacle that before was out of reach. We came to earth with the potential to become more like God and that takes progress. It takes climbing higher, stretching beyond our limits, and going out of our comfort zone.

mountain road with view of mountains in the distance

View on top, of the beautiful mountain range our home is nestled against.

The view on top! Lakes, mountains, and the cities below.

The view on top! Lakes, mountains, and the cities below.

That mountain was hard to climb up today, but the climb was just what I needed. The view–impeccable. The slug that I resembled earlier had disappeared and I came down after doing my best, feeling more alive.

How do you feel after challenging yourself either physically or spiritually? What is your favorite way to enjoy nature?