November 26, 2020

give thanks

 "Counting our blessings is far better than recounting our problems. No matter our situation, showing gratitude is a fast-acting and long-lasting spiritual prescription." -Russell M. Nelson

Gratitude: seeing the good, feeling appreciation and love, reframing the negative to notice the positives, swelling hearts, finding peace and joy that no one can take from you

I have so many blessings. So do you. I'm certain many of our blessings are the same. Yet many are quite different. We both know some of these joys. But some of them I have and you yearn for. Some other things you have and I yearn for. 

Filling our hearts with gratitude and counting our blessings--focusing in on the good that surrounds us--can replace the things that weigh us down with deep joy.

I used to feel so guilty to receive help from others. By the end of my cancer treatments, my list was LONG of all the people that had served us and all the ways we had been lifted. I felt guilty that someone would "have" to watch Brinna or "have" to make us a meal or "have" to give one of my kids a ride. You know what though, we needed that help. There was no way around that. So instead of guilt and feeling bad, I've been learning to replace those feelings with deep gratitude for all the people and all the ways. Instead of feeling "I'm sorry you had to help me," I realize what I really feel is "Thank you so much for helping me. I appreciate it with all my heart."

One of my favorite stories that completely shifted my way of thinking was by Corrie Ten Boom. As prisoners in a concentration camp during nazi ruled Germany, Corrie and her sister looked around in dismay and horror at their barracks. Conditions were unimaginable and Corrie wondered how they could live like this--especially with all the fleas. Corrie's sister adopted an attitude of humility and gratitude. She gave thanks for everything around her. She tried to seek the good that could come and offer thanksgiving to her heavenly father, even for those fleas. Oh, I'm sure this was not easy! There is nothing easy about offering thanks to God in your prayers for the fleas that cover your bed. But over time, they learned that because of those fleas they actually ended up getting even greater freedom to talk together and minister to each other and read the Bible because the guards and supervisor refused to come in due to those fleas!

This last year or so, I have been weighed down by so many things. I have felt intense pain. I have felt discouraged and depressed. But what has helped me to keep going was to stop and notice all the good around me, to recognize the good that is coming from all those things that bring me pain, and then to let myself feel gratitude for these experiences and for all the little and big blessings in my life.

Our prophet encouraged us to use social media as a gratitude journal for one week. I have recently given myself more social media boundaries that I feel strongly that I need to stick to. It just wasn't the time for me to be posting daily. However, I have been following his counsel in other ways. I have been trying to be more deliberate about filling my thoughts and heart with thanksgiving. I am taking time in my thoughts to notice blessings all around me. I have been trying to be more specific about those things I am grateful for in my prayers. I am just increasing my gratitude little by little. And you know what, seeing all the things in my life that I can give thanks for does help me feel lighter and more at peace.

I learned a lot by reading other people's instagram posts of thanksgiving. There were many heartfelt posts that opened my eyes and richly blessed me. But it was also really triggering for me to see so many posts of things that I righteously yearn, wish, desire, or just plain feel jealous of. I have to keep myself in check and remind myself that I have blessings, too. They might be different than someone else's but that is ok. We are different. We have different struggles and different blessings. Good in one person's life does not mean my life is bad. There is enough good for all of us to enjoy. We can celebrate how blessings are different and varied! Our Heavenly Father knows us individually and gives us individual experiences. And he loves variety! So it makes sense that we do not all have the same. We all have struggles of some sort. But let's be glad of each other's blessings!!

Things that I give thanks for:

-my pain and my trials because they have helped me develop greater compassion and growth and deeper connection 

-the safety and comfort of our beautiful home and neighborhood

-the sky! the hope of the rising sun, the clouds, the colors of the sunset, the stars, the moon. I feel closest to God when gazing up at the sky

-mountains, rivers, oceans, and lakes because of their beauty and their fun and the ways that I can move and adventure in them

-my Eric who has helped me to heal mentally, emotionally, and physically. His care, compassion, and patience (great patience!). 

-the safety and connection from a marriage you have worked for

-Kyler, Kacin, Perry, Layla, and Brinna! They are my light, my peace, my teachers, my hope, my joy, and my heart 

-texting, marco polo, facetime, instagram, blogging, an awesome camera on my phone because of the ways these things allow me to connect and learn from others

-angels on earth and angels in heaven

-the small, personal ways that God reminds me He is there and He knows me and will always help me

-words! to read and write and express myself and learn from

-movement! moving my body through dance, hiking, walking, swimming, etc helps me express my emotions and work through my worries and anxiety

-a body that teaches me that I have limits AND I am strong. 

-my sense of sight, taste, smell, hearing, and touch because of the ways each sense uniquely allows me to richly experience the world. 

-music that fills my soul and body and expresses all of the fun, love, pain, joy, beauty, etc of life

-modern medicine and good doctors to keep me ALIVE and healthy

-deep breaths in and out

-my gift of discernment that I am learning to recognize and trust

-clothes that are comfortable, clean, and help me express myself or ready myself for the things I do and experience

-professional counseling and emdr to help me process trauma

-vulnerability and honesty. some of the greatest ways I have connected, learned, and grown is because either I or others around me have allowed themselves to be open and true.

-the holy ghost! I need the inspiration, comfort, and truth the spirit brings into my life each day

-my Savior who knows me and has suffered for me and brings me peace

I feel like this list is really just the tip of the iceberg! I have SO much to be thankful for when I stop and think about it. 

I give thanks to God for allowing me to live this rich, purposeful life! There is bad on this earth and in our lives, but there is so much more good!!

November 24, 2020

these days

This is a catch up quick post right here. It's a snapshot of many little things that have been documented on my phone over the last couple months. 

Starting with this little friend of mine.. I'm sure her Layla Belle best friend/sister helped her do this one with the stickers.

Night time cuddles...

Layla and I have been reading the book "Wish" together. We are slowly plugging away chapter by chapter when we get some time in the evenings. Reading with my kids is one of my favorite parts of being a mom. It doesn't happen as often as I'd like right now, but I love when we do get a chance.

Well, let's just say that Kyler made a memorable night the time he let a friend cut his hair into a mullet.

Kyler goes to in person school for four classes and two classes are online. He is taking journalism and writes for the school newspaper. He is thriving! He is such a talented writer. I LOVE reading his articles.

We got in a few good trips to the splash pad.

We were getting a new trailer hitch installed on our van so we had to be in mesa. My heart always skips a beat when I'm home in Mesa. I especially fell nostalgic when I see that diving swimmer Motel sign--a historic landmark that is so close to my childhood home.

I took these three to the zoo on a beautiful day before our membership expired.

We decided to hike hole in the rock after our zoo adventure.

Layla wanted to be photographer, too.

This is one hike that Brinna can hike the whole way. She was so proud of her hiking abilities! And loved hiking hand in hand with her big brother.

Eric and I went on a double date with our friends for Axe throwing.

Guess who walked away with "Lumberlord" stamped on her leg?! hahaha It was pure luck that I won the last game.

I joined my friend at a women's conference at her community christian church. I loved being surrounded by good women and joining them in worship and hearing some comedy and inspiration.

We took these three best friends to the natural history museum in mesa. I was surprised, but Brinna was terrified the first time she saw the dinosaurs. She screamed out of terror and clutched me tight. And we were not even inside the museum yet. I was able to talk her through it and we were brave together as we went through the museum. By the end, she was feeling comfortable and we were able to enjoy the rest of the museum. 

Some good dinosaur faces here! Roar!

It was darling seeing them grab onto each other's hands as we walked around the block.

Perry and Brinna's relationship melts my heart. Their sibling love runs deep.

Layla prepared a fancy dinner for us one night. He favorite part of meal prep is setting the table. 

When my parents came into town, my dad joined these girls and me on a hike.

Beautiful sunset!

The weather is becoming so lovely (though definitely on the warmer side compared to most years. We are setting heat records in arizona this year!). It's nice that we can enjoy our backyard a bit more. We sat outside for a sunday family church meeting one day. I think that we will do that more often!

THis is how most sundays go--arguing, messes, and some wrestling.

As much as I love my boys, I just can't end this post with that picture. haha. So here is another beautiful view from our sunset hike.

I'm so close to being back in real time! whoo hoo!

November 18, 2020

Camelback mountain

To “train” for the Grand Canyon I did a lot of hiking at Santan on the Dynamite and Goldmine loop. But that 4.5 mile loop is nothing compared to the Grand Canyon. I knew that, but it was just the most convenient. But I also knew that I needed to do something somewhat intense before the GC. With limited time, the best we could do was a hike at Camelback.

This is such a fun hike in Phoenix. 

It is a good climb. And it is also crawling with people. Super popular.

Pretty views!

We joked around that after Camelback (an hour or so of hiking) we could tell that we were totally trained for the Grand Canyon. Ha! (The two did not compare.)

November 17, 2020

take me back to the river on the 21st night of September

There is good and there is bad about getting so behind on posting here. 

The bad: how dang daunting it is to go back and try to catch up at the same time that life moves forward. and trying to remember what I have already shared.

The good: getting to revisit happy moments, especially of the summer season

I wonder how many river posts I have written this year? I seriously was there at least once a week for nearly six months so I guess it's warranted.

These were my girls on the second to last river run of the season. 

The sunset was breathtaking!

We knew that the river flow would be shut down at anytime. So we were so excited that on Sept. 21st we made it out for one last sunset run.

hello magical horses!

We knew we needed to end the season with a bang. So we played the whole river through. There was yoga, dancing, paddle board jumping, and swinging from the canyon rope. 

We combined all that fun into a music video entitled "the 21st night of September" to the song "September".

Goodbye, river! Until next season...