Pains fade

For the last couple weeks I’ve been very reflective. All the sights, smells, and colors of fall have taken me back to the sights, smells, memories, and colors of last fall and all we were experiencing. This is what I wrote on my blog in my post Moving. It’s a roller coaster.

Today my soul is not soaring through the clouds. Instead, it is somewhere between my knees and the ground. Our little family is currently in the midst of moving. We just recently found out we need to be out of our current house in one month and we have yet to find another place to live.

Then, in November while we were still in the middle of our moving adventure I wrote this from my post When life looks bleak:

Many of you know that mid-September and October were difficult for our family. We were told we needed to move in one month, but we were having a difficult time finding another place to live. Things kept falling through, while my anxiety started to rise through the roof.

Moving was a serious roller coaster. I remember readers commenting about how everything would work out; how there was beauty and happiness in store. But honestly, at the time I wasn’t seeing the glimmer; I wasn’t seeing the break in my stormy skies. All I saw was bleak and grey.

This really was a trying time for me. I think many can relate when I say that not knowing where you are going to live is hard. And when there is kids involved and a short time frame, it seems even more stressful. Uncertainty is not something I’m keen on or great with dealing with, and all of last fall was marked by uncertainties.

But this last month or so, I’ve been awestruck by how life has moved on and how the pain of that time period has faded so dramatically. While in the trenches of last year I hit some of my all time lows emotionally, and now I feel like my life is hitting some of it’s all-time highs. It is a testament to me of how there are truly good things to come in life. No matter how deep in the trenches we feel and how certain we are that there really is no light at the end of the tunnel–just more deep darkness–there most certainly IS. There is undoubtedly hope, happiness, and most likely, some of the best times ahead down the tunnels that appear pitch black.

Last year I felt like my holidays were all over the place. Our life was marked by packing and unpacking, only to pack and unpack again. I was lonely for friends and feeling completely unsure. This year, I’m decorating my house, preparing for our sweet girl who has lived in my heart for years, and enjoying the peace and stability of life.

Fall Collage

This year

I know many may not be in those times of certainty today. Perhaps your road is leading now to a tunnel that seems unbearable, lonely, and pitch black. But, I’m hear to tell ya, that hard times do pass. The pain of yesteryear’s do fade. To my past self, the clouds did break. There really was happiness ahead. I’m living proof to myself that the happiness is here and times do get better.

Each day I choose: flaws or fabulous?

Over the years, I think I believed a marriage was made better due to both individuals changing and becoming better over time–a slow refiners fire. Although I still believe this would make for a better marriage over time, I’m beginning to realize that the biggest change for my marriage will take place within… me.

Of course there are exceptions. Some marriages are genuinely harmful in nature and degrading to a spouse. But overall, many spouses in a marriage have a daily choice, I know I do in mine. My marriage could be joyous, fulfilling, satisfying, and meaningful, because of who I am and my attitude. Or, my marriage could be full of frustration, annoyance, disappointment, and contention, because of who I am and what I choose to see.

The choice is mine to make. Every single day.

Each day I chooseEach day I choose the quality and happiness I will find in my marriage. I can choose to see the flaws of my spouse and hone in on them. I can choose to not get past them and begin to think of ways that he needs to improve or the characteristics he needs to alter. I could even make a plan for his change and try to make the change occur through “subtle” hints, encouragement, or reminding. But, most likely, I would be the one making the marriage worse.

In H. Wallace Goddard’s book, Drawing Heaven into Your Marriage, he says:

Satan knows that healing human souls is something we humans always do poorly. That is why the devil wants us to be mate-fixing do-it-yourselfers.

This is a keen irony in our dilemma. We cannot fix our partners. We cannot even fix ourselves! But we can make ourselves humble. We can recognize our dependence on God for all that we have and are.

So when we presume to set our partners and our marriage right, we are intruding on the Heavenly prerogative. We are seizing the reins from God. It doesn’t work. We mortals make poor gods.”

I was not made to fix my spouse and tell him how he needs to change and the steps he needs to take. I’m not even the one who needs to tell him what to work on. That is simply not my job, and whenever I assume it, I’ll inevitably do it wrong. Why? I cannot even change myself very effectively without the help of God and His endless and all encompassing atonement.

So, what is my job in the marriage? To simply find joy in what I love about my partner. Celebrate his triumphs, celebrate his good, celebrate what I fell in love with in the beginning and leave the rest to him and God. My job is simply to love, accentuate the positive, and have charity for his weakness, as I hope he’ll have charity for mine.

In the end, my marriage is only as good as my ability to love my spouse. In the end, my marriage is only as good as my ability to see the good. And in the end, the only lasting change I can make takes place in me.

I am the master of my fate*If you would like to read more thoughts on marriage, feel free to jump on over to my blog about marriage and relationships: Working for my Marriage. It is still in the early stages of being created & designed, but the content is all there! 🙂

The best choices I made for myself

There seems to be a notion among ladies that getting married is practically selling your soul to a life of boredom and having children is waving goodbye to your health, good looks, and happiness. Before embarking on my journey with both, I didn’t have much to say–I spoke on faith alone that marriage and motherhood would bring happiness. But now? Now I speak from experience; from evidence in my own life. best choices marriage motherhoodYes, if we’re speaking in terms of doing what is best for yourself–marriage and motherhood are simply a good choice. It isn’t choosing a life of giving up all you love, it is gaining a life of meaning.

If you marry well–marriage will be no where close to living a life of boredom, it’s the opposite. It’s getting so comfortable with one person, you feel you can be your absolute crazy self, your whole self–no feeling of trying to impress or be something you’re not. You have a best friend who will be there to wipe away your tears, vent your frustrations to, and be a crazy nut with, all without a second thought of them judging you. No, marriage has been my happiest years, my craziest years, and my most fulfilling all in one.

Not only that, it has been best for my self-worth, too. There is someone who knows all about me, seen all of me, and never leaves. No one-night stands here. There is someone who inspires me in my goals, keeps me accountable for what I’m working on, and reminds me day-in and day-out that I’m beautiful and worthwhile–even when I feel ugly and insignificant. Never have I been more self-assured than since I’ve been married.

And now about the kids.

When I was pregnant, I heard two girls behind me talking about their friend who was pregnant. One of them expressed her disdain for pregnancy and said:

“Pregnancy completely ruins your body.”

While pregnancy can be taxing, strenuous, and dangerous, most of all–it is beautiful. It doesn’t completely ruin your body. That is a hoax. In reality, it fulfills its purpose. I’ve never felt so whole or complete, than after I had my baby. Pregnancy and motherhood have brought me happiness, not stolen it away.

Since having my first, I’m healthier than before. I have way more reason to hit the gym, than simply wanting a slim bod. I workout and eat right because there are little ones I want to play with, memories I want to have, and a life I want to live. Yes, motherhood has fueled my desire to live and growing a baby inside me has never gotten in the way.

“Being a mother is not what you gave up to have a child, but what you gained from having one.”–Unknown

Don’t believe the lie that marriage and motherhood will strip the fun out of life; that marriage will confine you to a dull relationship and motherhood will make your body damaged goods, because it simply is not that way. If you do believe the lie, you may be robbing yourself of the greatest happiness you’ll ever know.

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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?

When life looks bleak

Many of you know that mid-September and October were difficult for our family. We were told we needed to move in one month, but we were having a difficult time finding another place to live. Things kept falling through, while my anxiety started to rise through the roof.

Moving was a serious roller coaster. I remember readers commenting about how everything would work out; how there was beauty and happiness in store. But honestly, at the time I wasn’t seeing the glimmer; I wasn’t seeing the break in my stormy skies. All I saw was bleak and grey.

When life looks

But, now I sit here and am writing from the other side–the break in the clouds. I’m writing as we are one week away from moving into the house we originally wanted–the house we were hoping all along to get into. I’m awestruck.

It all worked out. The clouds broke. The sun glimmers now.

Sometimes it really doesn’t seem like things will work out or there is happiness ahead. When people say it will work out their words almost seem cliché, detached, or fake. At least that is how I felt. Do they really understand? Do they see the storm clouds in my sky and how ominous they look?

But, if this experience has taught me something, it is that the clouds really do break and the sun really does shine again. There are greater things in store for us than we can imagine being possible. Maybe the sun doesn’t shine in the exact way we imagined, but it does shine. It shines bright. All because there is a loving Heavenly Father who is aware of us–who is guiding our path through this sometimes bleak, grey life.

Two months ago, I didn’t think I would be where I am today, painting our house and preparing to move in. But, here it is and my skies are bright.

“God is in your corner. Everything will work for our good.”

Jeffrey R. Holland

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