Monday, April 30, 2012

How do you define service?

So, I was at the Geneva Heights Family History Library last night. I have been our wards Family History Consultant for 8 years now. (I think I have almost beat the Stake President).
I volunteer there on the 2nd, 4th and 5th Sundays. I love it! I started off with a a couple of hundred names in my family history, now I have 3,000. That is a good chunk of names.
Anyway, the last 2 Sundays I have been working on indexing. Last Sunday, I indexed part of the 1940 census (as an aside, one of the easiest I have ever indexed). Last night, I indexed World War II draft registration cards. That was fun. I registered a whole bunch of Chinese men who were living in the United States. Sorry, I digress.
A young lady came in wanting to get started on her Family History. She was looking for a connection for her great grandmother. She was trying to find out if the record she had was the right lady. Well, we found out it wasn't. Then, we found several records that were and that listed additional siblings (she didn't know about) and her great great grandmother lived next door so, we were able to get a jump start on the next generation for her. All thanks to the Census records.
Now, a person could obviously see that this is service. It made me feel great to help her. She was so excited that this could be the person  they have been looking for.
I started thinking about service. i do service everyday. Not formally but, every meal I make, every diaper I change, every item I pick up is service.
I don't look at my day to day life as doing service. I think of it more like my job. I felt so much joy, as I usually do, when I provided her with some service. I should be feeling that same joy at home if I look at my life as a service mission.Have you ever heard anyone talk about their mission like this,"gosh! i couldn't believe of the laundry i had to do for those people!" "if i have to change one more diaper for this family, I am going to scream."? of course not, i could go clean someone elses house all day long and feel a profound sense of joy and fulfillment but, why don't I feel that way at home all the time?
I think it is because I have been looking at my life in the wrong way.
I look at the repetitiveness and the routine of it and loose sight of the valuable service I am performing each and every day.
It doesn't have to be a grand gesture. It just has to be done with love. I can manage that. Because, there is certainly no one in this world I love more than my family.
So don't look at your responsibilities as a chore or obligation. Look at them as a chance to service those that you love the most.
I know it isn't easy when there is whining, arguing and fighting but if your fmaily begins to see the joy you have in serving them, I believe there attitudes  while chnage. Your home life will become what we all desire, a heaven on earth. Where you can be peaceful and relaxed and enjoy the fleeting time of raising your family.
It will become the refuge from the trials that beset us. So, find joy in your service. Find joy in your life. When we work on these concepts a step at a time, we will feel the Lord's presence even more in our lives. You can do this. One step at a time.

Sunday, April 29, 2012


I have been thinking a lot about compliments.
Why are they so hard to accept? Why do I feel embarrassed when someone does give me a sincere compliment?
Compliment :an expression of esteem, respect, affection, or admiration; especially : an admiring remark b : formal and respectful recognition
Is it because I am a woman that it is hard to feel worthy of the praise or esteem bestowed upon me? At the same time, I secretly, and I mean secretly, (until now!) really want the praise. 
I think it has to do with trying to be humble. But that doesn't mean I have to hide my light under a bushel.
I agonize over compliments and how to receive them. Do i kindly say," Thank you you're right I am pretty amazing! Thanks for noticing!"? How can I be humble and still accept the esteem, respect, affection, or admiration of others?
Well... I think I have figured it out for me. I truly appreciate that people make those sincere comments. The fact is I don't think I do anything wonderful. I am just trying to be the best person I can, just like you. I am just trying to figure out my path the same way you are. We just each go about our day putting one step in front of the other and at first I thought, "there is nothing to admire in that."!
How wrong I am. There is great respect to be had when we see each other working through our trials and struggles. There is something noble in seeing people parent their children and try to raise them in such a way that they can avoid outside influences.
It doesn't mean I am not humble. I know that I am doing the Lord's work for me. Isn't that noble? I am finding joy in my life, that is admirable. 
We need to look at compliments as what they are. You friends saying, "hey, we notice you. You are loved! we draw strength from seeing you do what you do."
I never know what to say to people. How about a simple, " Thank you. I appreciate your kind words" Instead of feeling unworthy and blowing the compliment off.
The fact is the when I am complimented, it comes down to how I feel about me.
Do I feel worthy of love? Do I feel good about me? Do I love me? Am I struggling today and I just can't see what everyone else sees?
This is when a compliment should benefit you the most. when you are stuck in the trenches and can't see what everyone else sees. This is when you friends are saying "keep going, keep moving you are doing great."
Keep reminding yourself that Heavenly Father knows your struggles and He sees you as competent 
lovely person. He only sees you as beautiful and strong enough to lead your family back to him even with the rotten world around you. (hard to soak in, huh?)
Love the compliments. Love yourself. Look at yourself and try to see what we see. Don't belittle that which is most precious. You are worthy of the compliments you receive. You are strength, you are joy, you are love. No one can do exactly what you do. That is a fact.
Compliments. hmmm....

Friday, April 27, 2012

Comparing apples to oranges...

I have been thinking a lot about comparing apples to oranges. There are things that are similar about apples and oranges, for example: they are both a fruit, they are both roundish and they tend to be sweet. That is where the similarities stop.
We often compare ourselves (apples) to others (oranges). While we have some of the same characteristics, for example we are both women, we live in a house, we drive a car etc...
Our similarities stop there. We are unique and there is no one quite like you.
You are a daughter of a Heavenly Father that loves and values you and what you give to this life.  He doesn't compare you to me. For example, a person with 3 kids will relate an experience they have had with their children. Then they say something like, well but, that is nothing for you. Actually, every good and nad time that you have had with your children, I have probably shared too. Three kids are hard, so are four and five and six. I remember having my first and not being able to go anywhere because i had to get so much stuff ready. Now? I can relate to first time parents. It is hard. I just have some more experience.
Heavenly Father doesn't love me any more than you. He doesn't value my contribution to society more than He values yours. YOU are the one He values.
You can't compare your life to someone elses'. It is just not fair. I was watching a cute family with a few children. The parents were so patient, loving and kind. I told John, "I wish I could be more like that." and his reply? "You are in your own way. If they had experienced what you have throughout your life and they had as many children that struggle through various issues, whose to say they would behave like they are now. You can't compare yourself to them. That isn't fair." Comparing apples to oranges again.
I compare your strengths to my weakness and how fair is that? Heavenly Father blessed all of us with individual, spectacular gifts. Do not think for a second that I manage my life perfectly every second of the day and that my house is clean and organized (you should see my shoe pile). and you are not allowed to ask John anything about my habits! But anyway, my gifts are different than yours. Heavenly Father has asked me to care for these children and I have asked Him to do 95% of the work. I do my best and He makes up for my failings. sometimes that is 95% sometimes it is only 3%.
But He doesn't compare me to you. He doesn't say "wow she is really wasting the talent I gave her" that even sounds silly. Instead, He says, what opportunites can I present that will help her to magnify that talent? I sometimes wonder, what I still haven't learned after having 59 children in our home. I must be a tough nut to crack.
I guess all I mean is realize your divine potential. Comparing yourself won't get you anywhere, just miserable because you will think you never match up to the other people. when you feel that way, think of some strengths you have, think about the blessings you enjoy and pray for forgiveness for belittling your talents and blessings. Satan is a crafty guy and he will do his best to make sure that you feel as insignificant as possible. Don't let him win. You hold all of the power here. You can change your life and you can do it this second. Little by little you will realize that you are special and important too. You matter! You are loved! You are appreciated for what you do! You are not insignificant! You are a Beloved daughter of your Heavenly Father and He loves you, as do many others around you. Be the best person you can be and Heavenly Father makes up for the rest.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Be the Calm in the Storm

It has been a long time since I have been on here. There is so much to tell.
First, our oldest daughter is getting married in 2 weeks. That is crazy to me.
Second, our oldest son is in the ARMY and has been gone for several months and won't be home until November *sigh*.
We added 3 little ones to our brood and now have 18 gorgeous children.
I am almost done with school and graduate in December.
Now that you are all caught up on the happenings here...

Sometimes, I am just plain busy. I have often refelcted on talks from LDS General Conference where they tell me to simplify. We are always re-evaluating and thinking about things we can cut out to make our lives run more smoothly. Sometimes, you just can't. Our lives are just busy, sometimes.

Your busy and my busy are completely seperate too. What I do may seem to be boring and slow and what are you complaining about.Yours may be extremely hectic and I can't see how it could possibly work.
So, here are my words of wisdom. Are you the calm in the storm? Our lives can be busy and active and hectic but, how do you feel about it? That is what matters. If you are yelling and barking orders and feel like you don't have any time for yourself then, change needs to happen.
I definately set the pace for my family. If I am hectic and frantic (like last night preparing for my daughter's bridal shower) the kids respond accordingly. Ironically enough, I often expect them to be the calm ones while I am having my "breakdown".  When I am the calm amidst the storms life takes on a new meaning and experience for my children.
I have noticed how stupid I sound when I yell at my children to "calm down!". Seriously, I know better. They need me to model that behavior first. Then, they can see how it is done.
So, be the calm in the storm for your children. If you can manage that during all of your schedule I think you are right on track. I think that is what LDS prophets and apostles are trying to teach us.
Jesus Christ was the calm in the storm as well. He gave us the example of not getting frantic but being calm and dealing with what is happening around us. The result? The apostles were able to start being calm knowing that He was their anchor.
You are your child's anchor. No one else is JUST YOU.
Does that mean we don't all lose it at some point? Nah! It just means we learn to be better. Every minute should be spent on improving ourselves. You are never DONE for the day and start over in the morning. Take a second to start over now. become who you are meant to be.
I want you to know, that I struggle just like you. NO ONE is immune! Don't let anyone tell you they are because they aren't being completely honest. We all just have different struggles and challenges.
So, love yourself despite your weaknesses you will be happier and so will your family.
This sounds like a chinese proverb but here it goes...A ripple of water (change) starts with a small rock(you). The best way to change the world is to start within your own homes.