You are needed. You are important. You are loved. You matter.Read More
Yesterday we got the news that we’ve been hoping and praying for.
Instantly I felt relief and peace. I hit my knees and prayed to God saying “thank you thank you thank you” over and over again until Von came over to me concerned and I got up to play with her.
And then a little later, after the initial rush of peace and excitement started to settle, I started to feel overwhelmed and stressed.
There are still quite a few unknowns in our future. There are so many things that we need to do this week to prepare for the coming weeks. I looked around at our apartment where the dishes have been piling up because I’ve been too stressed to think about them let alone do them. I felt overwhelmed by the clutter I started clearing this weekend but haven’t been able to drop off at the thrift store yet.
And just like that my mind started to race and my heart rate rose and I felt like an anxiety attack was coming.
I started to pray.
This time, instead of thanking God for this beautiful miracle that’s happening, I prayed for calm, for a quiet mind, for clarity to know what to focus on and what to do this week so we could get it all done.
Immediately I felt relief. I was reminded of the story of Christ, when he’s fast asleep on the boat while the storm is raging around them. The disciples were afraid. “Carest thou not that we perish?” They asked him when he finally woke up.
But the waters knew His voice. The sea was calmed. All because of Christ.
Christ can also be the calm spot in our personal storms. If I’ve learned anything this past month it’s that I need to have a foundation in Him. I need to keep myself centered in Him so that I can feel that peace when the waves of life keep coming at full force.
He is the calm in the storm. Always.
The power of hope when things are hard.Read More
Do you ever have those days where you wake up motivated and ready to chase your dreams and accomplish your goals?
I had that kind of morning today.
Even though I got to sleep in a bit today, Von was still sleeping when I woke up and I was able to write for almost an hour and a half! I was feeling pumped and excited about my novel and about my future as a writer.
Von woke up and we had breakfast and played until it was her nap time.
In the middle of her nap I was hit with so many feelings.
that I wasn’t good enough (so why try to be a writer)
that I wasn’t writing the “right” story (because I have so many ideas)
and on and on.
My thoughts started to spiral.
When Von woke up we had to head up to the leasing office to pick up a package that was delivered there. We were out for maybe 10 minutes but it gave me fresh perspective.
On our way back to our apartment, Von wanted to take every path we passed. I held her hand and gently guided her to stay on the path that was the easiest and would get us hope the fastest.
Some of the paths she wanted to go down would have gotten us home just fine. And sometimes she wanted to walk through flowers.
As we were walking I wondered “I wonder if this is how God feels about us sometimes. He knows the best way for us to get home. There are other ways we can go, different things we can do (that are also good) and there are some paths we shouldn’t take. But He’s always there, holding our hands, ready to lead us.”
It was a simple yet profound thought.
I want to be better at listening to God’s voice. We talked about Hearing God’s Voice yesterday at church and how sometimes we just need to keep walking and doing good and trust that direction will come (when it doesn’t come right away.)
Today I was reminded of that. That I don’t need to worry or freak out because I know that He is up there listening to my prayers, and ready to take me by the hand and lead me along.
How is your family scripture study going? Ours isn't going as great as I'd like honestly. Since we got married in 2015, we've always struggled to get in the habit of reading scriptures as a couple. And we still struggle with it now as a family of three. At first, it was something that really bothered me, but then I just got used to it. Now that I've been making my own personal study a daily priority (as much as I can, I'm definitely not perfect,) I do want to try again with our family scripture study. I sometimes read the scriptures out loud to Von, but I know that we can be better at studying as a family.I was super excited when the new Come, Follow Me curriculum was announced because even though it meant more responsibility for us at home, it also meant that there was a little more structure for family scripture study. This is something that we're still working on, but I today I'm sharing 5 things that we're doing and that you can do too to improve your families scripture study.
Put it on the calendar
Maybe this idea seems obvious to you, but scheduling time for scripture study helps so much! We're still figuring out what day works best for us, either Sunday afternoon, Monday night, or maybe even another time. But having a set time helps because we know that that is when we're going to study together.
Make it fun
I want to be better at loving the Bible, but I have really struggled in the past. Thankfully, I do understand the New Testament a lot more than the Old Testament. But it can still be hard to want to sit down and read them as a family. One thing that I've been loving is the Primary manual. Because we teach primary on Sunday it means we're also reading those lessons. It's the same scriptures that we're already reading, but with activities and other ideas to help make learning about the scriptures fun. I definitely will be using the Primary manual as a resource when Von gets older.Make scripture study fun by:
Acting out the scriptures
Coloring a scene from the scriptures
Watching a short bible video
Read the scriptures in a different accent
Make it Meaningful
I think we've struggled with scripture study together in the past because it can get a little boring when we just read some verses and call it good. But we've also had times where we read a verse or two and then have a really great discussion, and end up talking for a long time about what we think, feel, and know. Obviously, I know that it's not realistic for me to think that every time we sit down to study the scriptures it will be deep and profound. But I do think that if we stop to ask questions or share our thoughts after we study (or use the tools in the Come, Follow Me study guide) that we can make our study time more meaningful. And I know that when we've had meaningful studies, we've wanted to study more.
Have a treat
Food always makes everything better. Do I need more of an explanation? Haha, but really. I do think that having a treat or something fun makes scripture study more fun, especially when kids are involved. Obviously, Von is still pretty little and doesn't really know everything that's happening. But I remember having treats as a family when we had family home evening. But having treats makes everything a little better.
Keep Christ at the Center
Remember that we're all trying our best and that we should show ourselves grace in all our efforts. Christ is there to make up for it when we fall short. When we try our best to study as a family, we will be blessed.Plus, making Christ our center focus will help everyone remember why we're studying the scriptures in the first place. It really is to learn of Him and strengthen our faith in Him. Taking time to think about and talk about the Savior daily as a family has been a goal of mine this year, it's still a work in progress. But life is so much better when it's centered on Christ.What are some things that you've been doing to improve your family scripture study? I would love to hear more ideas of how we can make this a regular habit and part of our home!
It's officially November which means the holiday season is upon us (does anyone else get giddy around this time of year? I love it!) It also means that Thanksgiving is a few weeks away and I'd say that most of us are feeling grateful. I know that I always feel more grateful in November as Thanksgiving approaches. Earlier I had the thought, what if I was able to cultivate gratitude that lasted all year long, instead of just for a few weeks in November? I know that grateful people are less likely to complain and more likely to enjoy life and find joy in the hard times. I want to be like that.
But how can I cultivate gratitude?
First, I had to remind myself what the word 'cultivate' means. The first definition says prepare and use (land) for crops or gardening. and the second says to try to acquire or develop (a quality, sentiment, or skill). I know that I want to acquire the skill of gratitude because I really think it is a skill as well as a quality. Plus, I'll be preparing my mind and my heart future gratitude. So it sort of fits in both definitions.Great, now I know what it means to cultivate something, but how do I do I cultivate gratitude? I decided that this was something that I couldn't think of on my own so I asked you on Instagram (and Facebook and Twitter), how you cultivate gratitude, or how you practice gratefulness in your life. This is what you said:
"Everyday I write down at least one thing I am grateful for." - Nathan
"This month I'm making a point to actually write down "Today I'm grateful for.... I'm grateful for.." instead of just making a list. This goes in my journal each night. I'm also doing Courtney Casper's Find Gratitude study!" - Racquel
"Good question. Feeling thankful isn't difficult. I just have to look at what I have and I'm thankful. Expressing gratitude is another story. I can pray and thank my Heavenly Father for everything I've been blessed with, both big and small. But that hardly feels adequate. He knows my feelings and, therefore, knows how grateful I am, but that's still not enough. So I try to give and help others when and where I can. "Because I have been given much, I too must give." - Adam
"Before bed, [my husband] and I say three things we were grateful for that day. Some days our list consists of “being in bed, this pillow, and going to sleep” 😂 but it’s nice to reflect and hear your spouse’s reflection too." - Kalie
Other ways to cultivate gratitude:
One way I've been more grateful this past year is by sending a daily text each night to my sister with something I'm grateful for. We started this sometime in 2017 and are still going strong. Even on days when it's hard to find something to be grateful for, we always send a text with something from the day that we're thankful for. This has helped me so much, especially on those hard days when I think "there is nothing I'm grateful for today" but that isn't true. There has always been something. Von's smile, a yummy dinner, a good show on tv. These texts remind me every day that there is always something to be grateful for, big and small.Once upon a time on my old blog, I shared Thankful Thursday posts where I'd talk about the things I was thankful for during the past week. This was a great way for me to think about it, but it was also pretty public.If you prefer a more private practice of gratitude you can always grab a notebook and start by writing one (JUST ONE!) thing that you're grateful for each day. Simply begin, that's what matters. If you struggle with writing it down every day simply reflect at the end of each day and think about the things or thing you're grateful for that day! It will make a huge impact on your life.
Our gratitude will grow as we practice being grateful.
Over the past year as I've thought about how I can practice and cultivate gratitude I've realized that the more grateful I am, the better I feel. It really is something that is so so simple that can make the biggest difference in your life. I haven't stopped complaining (that's still a work in progress) but I definitely notice the little things more.When I was on my mission I wrote in my journal every single night (maybe someday I'll be that good again.) But every night as I reflected on my day I would try to see the tender mercies that had happened in our day. I wrote about how I saw God's hand or simply about the little things I was grateful for. Doing this always helped me feel better, especially after those long hard days, and that's something I want to feel more now.