Tuesday, July 7, 2015

A GIANT Nod To Self-Respect

Sometimes, say every few months, I have a dream or a series of dreams that I just can't shake. The theme is always the same and I ALways feel completely broken for about a day or two afterwards. Usually, I bounce back from things quickly because i'm a pretty optimistic person. But these babies really put me through the ringer. It's terrible! But at the same time, I see it as a kind of gauge I can use in my life. I believe whole-heartedly that I am given these dreams as a way for Heavenly Father to teach me something. And as a way for me to see how much i've grown by how long it takes me to get myself back on track. Because if I know one thing about my Heavenly Father, it's that he does NOT intend to condemn me or have me wallow in misery. He wants me to progress and be happy!

Anyways...i've had this dream two nights in a row, and now I am battling against the fears that I have as a result. Fear. The word makes me shudder. Not because i'm afraid of heights or spiders, but because I know how much damage fear can cause. Fear is a tool used by the adversary...and it's a disfunction that we learn from the world and from our own parents. I am in no way belittling my parents...they did the best they could raising me and their best was pretty darn good! But they were not perfect parents and neither am I. My wonderful parents had a lot of fears! (they will admit to all of this and happily teach what they know) I got to inherit those fears through example...so now I need to battle the fears that I have ingrained within me as well as the fears that the devil sends my way. (this is true for everybody) Most of these fears are based around my husband, my relationship with my husband and my performance as a wife. First of all...these fears are ridiculous. My husband and I have a beautiful relationship with normal hardships that we have decided will never threaten our marriage. We struggle, but we are both committed to being married 100%. So why do I let these dreams elicit such fear and insecurity in me? Well, the answer is in the sentence. "Insecurity in me" There are a few talks and articles that I am starting to live my life by and right now...they all seem to center around my own self-esteem (or self-respect) and being kind to myself...so that way I have more to give to those around me and more ammunition to use to fight against fear. When I am neglecting myself, I have very limited resources. Let me just share a quick quote by a prophet in the LDS church.

"A lovely mother in a nearby community wrote this to me, “I love America, I love my husband, I love my children, I love my God, and why is this possible? Because I truly love myself.”

Such are the fruits of self-respect. Conversely, when one does not have that love for himself of which this sister speaks, other consequences can be expected to follow. He ceases to love life. Or if he marries, he has lost his love for his wife and children—no love of home or respect for the country in which he lives, and eventually he has lost his love of God. Rebellion in the land, disorder and the lack of love in the family, children disobedient to parents, loss of contact with God, all because that person has lost all respect for himself."        -Harold B. Lee; Understanding Who We Are Brings Self-Respect

This was the last message Harold B. Lee shared before his death 2 months later. And I don't think that was coincidental. I believe that our loving, and merciful Heavenly Father...knowing that Pres. Lee's time was soon to come...inspired his servant to teach us one of the most important things we can learn. Love for one's self. This isn't conceit or arrogance, it's simply a respect and regard for ourselves that the majority of individuals seems to be lacking. 

So how does all this self-respect talk tie into the personally brutal dreams I have? Well...the thing is, these dreams aren't even bad dreams. They just queue into my fears and insecurities in such a brilliant way that it's very difficult for me to recover. Now...i've done an experiment in the past...I took care of myself! Wow...can you imagine? I was kind to myself, patient when I made mistakes, had individual enjoyment each day for no reason other than to enjoy, did positive affirmations each night in front of the mirror, etc. And guess what happened to me when I had these dreams amidst all that goodness? I PREVAILED! I was able to bounce back quickly, analyze the dreams with a detached eye (meaning I didn't let fear overrun my reason) and I could take action and act on the things I had learned! This is the power that self-respect can give us! I won't even mention how much more effective I was as a wife, mother and person...because that could be construed as bragging. And I would never brag....ahem.

So it comes down to this...please, world...and especially the members of the LDS church, who seem to be extraordinarily hard on themselves...please, for pete's sake, stop being so dang hard on yourselves and get a healthy dose of Self-Respect! Christ didn't beat himself down...he didn't neglect himself for the sake of others (that's a whole other topic we can talk about later)...if we are to truly follow his example, then we need to get back to the work of loving ourselves! And enjoying our own righteous desires. Because i've got news for you...no matter how bad you think you are, you aren't trying to be that way. You are a spiritual being having a human experience! So go take care of yourself...it may take a lifetime to figure out how to do it effectively and consistently, but i'm pretty sure that's one of the reasons we're here.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Happy Birthday, Wyatt

This sweet boy's birthday was on April 6th and I just have to brag a bit. He isn't only the most hilarious little monster i've ever met...with a sense of humor that rivals his uncle Jon's...but he's also one of the sweetest and friendliest 3-year-olds to walk the earth. 

I'm a pretty friendly person...I enjoy talking to people in the checkout line at the grocery store, and I love moving and meeting new people in the neighborhood and ward, but Wyatt makes me move out of my comfort zone all the time! He loves people so much! We were stopped at a light and had the windows down in the car. I was zoned out, thinking about the morning and what needed to be done when we got home. After a few seconds of being stopped I hear Wyatt say "Hi!" from the back seat. A gravelly, high-pitched voice answered "Hi...How ya doing?" I looked back to see an old, leathery man who had (by the sound of his voice) been a smoker most of his life in the car next to Wyatt's window. He was talking to my almost 3-year-old. Wyatt proceeded the conversation while I smiled from the front seat:
"I'm doing good. What's yours name?" 
"My name's Wilfred." 
"Oh, that's a good name. Yours car is blue."
And then the light turned and I reluctantly moved forward in the line of traffic. 

 Do our children need to be wary of strangers in the alarming world we live in? Yes...but I hope that I can do more than teach my children to watch out for "bad people". I hope I can help them understand that while they need to take care of themselves and stand up for their values and beliefs...part of those beliefs we hold so dear is to love those around us. To be non-judgmental and understanding of others and their problems. To always give others the benefit of the doubt and be kind without being a push-over. I want strong kids...but caring and feeling kids.  I may have been a little taken aback by the sound of a smoke-worn voice speaking to my child, but my wonderful little boy was not. Who knows what Wilfred was doing that day or where he was coming from, but I know Wyatt helped him smile and made his day a little bit brighter. As he did mine.

 I love you, Crash. Thank you for teaching me to better love those around me. And thank heaven's Granny got you a spiderman helmet for your birthday to protect your cranium.

"Verily, I say unto you except ye be converted and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of Heaven."  -Matthew 18:3

Monday, April 28, 2014

Ode to Barbara...and Keaton

Those of you who know my family know that we LOVE music! I can't count the number of times my family sang for different church/community functions growing up. And we (at least my dad, sister and I) LOVE Barbara Streisand. That voice!!! Nobody sings like that anymore and she is fabulous.

So my nephew's birthday was March 27th and he was in the cast of "Hello, Dolly!" at his school. So for his birthday, my sister asked me to make a special cake. An "Ode to Barbara and Keaton" cake.

Here she is!:

Remember those feathers and the gold sequined dress Barbara wears at the end of the movie?? INCREDIBLE! and that gave us the top tier.

I overheard one of the girls say: "It looks just like one of Buddy's cakes on that show (cake boss)." Her eyes widened, "...Is it one of his cakes!?" I'm sure Buddy would cringe at having my amateur cake compared to his, but I was flattered beyond words! Anyways, hope they loved the cake! It was an incredible learning experience for me. Those glitter letters were a PAIN and I had to rethink them about 3 times as they dried due to breakage, but I really like how it turned out! 

Thanks for being born, baby nephew...I can't believe how old you are!

So Long, Dearie! ;)