Friday, August 19, 2016

Things I Learn During Energy Healing Sessions

During some remarkable energy healing sessions (with Courtney!), I have learned (was reminded of) many truths, some I would like to share with you:

1. You can change your script.
2. Your weaknesses can be your strengths.
3. Comparison is the thief of joy.
4. Our body/spirit connection is essential.

You can change your script.

What does this mean? Briefly, it simply means that you can change your own dynamics, your own family dynamics, etc. to be different from how you were raised. It's okay not to have a home exactly like your tribe --meaning the home you were raised in. It's okay to divert your path from your siblings' paths or your parents. It's okay to be yourself and it's okay to re-write what you want to become and who you want to be.

An example from my life would be this: I was raised by very organized and clean people. My tribe is full of planners, rule-followers, and organizers (in life and in home maintenance). Is this a good thing? For sure! I found, upon adulthood, that although I like a clean house as much as the next person, that I am very inconsistent. I don't like budgets, I don't like scheduled chore days, I don't like chore charts. I don't like unrealistic expectations, and I don't like to be forced to follow rules that don't make sense to me. I will keep a clean and organized home for months and then the next several months may be chaos. I procrastinate paperwork, I spend too much time online, and I would rather visit with people than organize anything.

For years and years, this inconsistency of mine has plagued me to death. I thought I was broken. I kept trying to be what I thought I was supposed to be, and so I made myself miserable (and my family miserable). I put so much focus into trying to be the organized and on-top-of-all-the-cleaning-and-chores because I thought I was supposed to. I have a sister that I adore who is actually like this. She is the most organized and clean person I know, and she likes it. She's good at it! I'm just... not. But I thought I was supposed to be. "This is how I was raised!" And trying to be somebody I'm not was contributing to my depression, big-time.

So, how did/do I change my script? By following the next thing I learned...

Your weaknesses can be your strengths.

An exercise I was asked to do was to look at inconsistency in a different light. How can it be a strength? I had assumed for so long that it was a vile weakness to be shunned and eradicated. Even in church I had learned that to be inconsistent meant I wasn't doing enough. Consistent FHE, scripture study, prayer, etc --are not all those things important? Doesn't the Spirit come because we are consistent? Don't we escape temptation, and thereby sin, when we are consistent? How could my inconsistent behavior be a strength.

So, she told me these words, instead: Flexible. Adaptable. Fun. Spontaneous. Those words don't sound so bad, do they? Maybe instead of constantly seeing myself as inconsistent, I could use the word, "flexible." It's okay that I don't have organization down perfectly, because I have a large family. Every time we add another person to our family, we have to readjust everything! We have all stages of childhood in our home (teen, tween, child, toddler --okay, maybe not infant right now) and that takes a lot of flexibility! We have four schools to juggle. We have a lot of laundry, a lot of dishes, and a lot of paperwork. Little children are demanding and so instead of doing chores, I'm reading books or running kids to the park or library. Some days I choose to clean the house and some days I want to organize. But some days, I just don't. (Like today, ha!). And it's okay. I'm adaptable. I roll with the punches.

Once I saw my weakness as a strength, I realized it was okay being the way I am! My house is mostly clean, and our lives are mostly organized, but it's different from my husband's childhood home, and it's different from mine. It's our own, and it's great!

Comparison is the thief of joy.

I had always been taught that comparing myself to those who had more than me was fruitless. "Keeping up with the Jones's" was the coined phrase, was it not? Don't compare with the rich people because you'll just feel badly about yourself. But Courtney taught me that comparing either way --in any way --does little to help bring joy.

For example, it's easy for me to lament our financial situation because we are not wealthy people. But people assume we are wealthy because of how we choose to spend our money. We have a nice home, we like to travel, and we enjoy eating good food. But because of our true financial state, and because I never want to make people feel badly about themselves, I've always added caveats to everything we have:

"We have this home we love because the seller's asking price was $80K less than she should have asked."

"We have the opportunity to travel because of Brandon's flight miles and hotel points, as well as opportunities because of his work schedule," or "We travel because work pays for it," or "We worked out a way to do it by staying in KOA's and not eating fast food."

"We have a large family, so our food budget is higher," or "Eating healthy costs more because processed food is cheap."

I've always had an excuse for our blessings. I always try to downplay them on the off-chance that somebody might be offended by our good fortune or our financial choices. When I think about it like that, it makes me very sad. I don't need to apologize for blessings, nor do I need to apologize for our choices. Not everyone will have the same priorities and nor can we! We're all different. So, instead of apologizing, I need to be grateful:

"We are so grateful for this beautiful house! "It fits our personality and we have room to spread out."

"We are so grateful for the opportunities we have to travel and see new places! We love to travel."

"We are so grateful we can feed our large family."

Our body/spirit connection is essential. 

We were spirits and we came to earth to receive bodies. Together, they make a soul. Our job on Earth is to learn, grow, experience, make choices, and learn to know the good from the evil. We are to learn how to take care of our bodies. We are to learn how to connect our spirit with our body so they can function together in good ways.

Satan hates our bodies because he will never have one. He and his minions/angels/followers tempt us and try to get us to abuse our bodies, to disconnect our spirits from our bodies, and to ignore either our spirituality or our physicality because they're jealous, they hate us, and they want us to be separated from God like they are.

God loves our bodies because He wants us to succeed! We are His literal spirit children and He wants us to become like Him. The Holy Ghost whispers encouragement and teaches us how to individually take care of our own unique bodies. When we listen to Him and do our best to have Him with us (Sacrament prayer comes to mind), then we can have our body and spirit connected. That leaves open a channel to heaven and also gives respect and kindness to the physical body we have been given.

When my spirit and body are disconnected, there is anger, darkness, frustration, loss, bewilderment, abandonment, loneliness, and depression. Satan loves that.

When my spirit and body are connected, I am happy! Joyful, even! I am at peace. When my spirit loves my body and accepts my body, I take better care of my body. When my physical body accepts and loves my spirit, I am open to receiving promptings from Heaven and can make good choices. The connection brings light and love into our home. God loves that.

There is a reason why we work so hard to keep the Holy Ghost with us. We want that connection to Heaven, we want that reminder of where we came from. 

When I hated my body, I couldn't connect fully with my spirit. As long as I couldn't appreciate the incredible blessing of a body (I can feel! Learn! Grow! Make babies! Connect with others! Climb! Swim! Laugh!), I couldn't work on what was really bothering my spirit. Once I learned to love my body for it's capabilities, I found my ability to connect with my spirit and The Spirit was much greater. Loving our bodies doesn't mean we have to exercise all the time or accept obesity; it doesn't mean we have to necessarily change our bodies. Loving our bodies just means that we appreciate what a beautiful gift we've been given. 


So, there you go! Amazing things I've learned during energy healing sessions. People think energy healing is wonky, but dear reader, they don't know of what they speak. Adding energy healing to my therapy and medication has been amazing! One of the best decisions I've ever made. 

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Nauvoo and School Begins

We went to Nauvoo for three days! Well, more like 1 1/2 days by the time we got there, etc. It was a great experience for all of us. #2 was sick for part of the first night/day, though, so she missed going to Carthage Jail with us. But she was able to join us for the rest of the day. My favorite part was when I got to go with my girls (Brandon came, too) to the Nauvoo Temple --can you believe I've never had the chance to go with them to do Baptisms?? A combination of far-away temples and nursing babies have always prohibited me from going. So after the adults (my parents, Brandon's dad, Brandon, and I) did an endowment session, Brandon and I went and got the girls, leaving the younger kids with the grandparents, and took them back. It was such a wonderful experience. I love the Temple! (See random photos below with the kids' updates.)

Yesterday, the kids started school. Usually, I'm totally chomping at the bit to get them in school, but not this year! It came way too fast! Here's an update on all of them:

#1:
She is a sophomore! 10th grade! Only 3 years left of high school and I'm in denial that she will eventually leave us all for bigger and better things. She's taking chemistry, Advanced Algebra II, drawing/painting (she thinks she might be the youngest in the class), Spanish 3, and driver's ed (next semester, although she's still driving with Brandon whenever she can). She applied for a job at DQ and has an interview tonight! She's amazing through and through. I hate that she's so busy because I really enjoy her company. I try not to take advantage of her help with the little kids, but I will admit it's nice having some extra hands during the day!






#2:
8th grade! Next year she'll be in early morning seminary with #1 and it's weird to think of my little girls as teenagers. She was accepted to the gifted program at the middle school (like anyone was surprised) and is also taking advanced Algebra II --except there are only 3 kids who are taking it, and because they can't bus them to the high school (the high school just started a block schedule and the middle school is still on traditional), they'll be taking the class online with a supervisor. She's not thrilled about her school, but she's open to give it a chance. She's writing her own novel and I'm so proud of her! She's starting piano lessons again, soon, and has recently become obsessed with Hamilton. (So has #1. And Brandon. And me, for that matter! Lin-Manuel Miranda is brilliant, people! Brilliant!)






#3:
7th grade! He was ordained a Deacon two days before school started! How did he grow up so fast? He joined the 7th grade football team and they have practice after school for 2.5 hours every day. He's still mowing our lawn and his friends convinced him to ride his bike with them to the middle school the day before school started --turns out #3's brakes weren't working and he has no gears (I don't know much about bikes, obviously, nor do I pay attention to what's going on with them), so he had to work really hard to get there! It's an hour one way! So, that day, he rode his bike to school, then he mowed our lawn in the hot humidity, and then he had his first football practice for over 2 hours. He was exhausted when he got home, but he was happy. Physical exercise is good for him! His Misophonia is the same as ever, but as he matures, he is getting better at working through it instead of giving into it. He's a great kid! He will also start piano lessons again, soon. I hope he can juggle everything and stay on top of his schooling.








#4:
4th grade! He loves school and is excited to be back. His BFF from church is not in his class, though. He makes friends so easily, so I'm sure he'll have a lot of new buddies, soon. #4 still loves to create and build things (future engineer?), and he's been drawing a lot, too. I'm trying to get him to read a bit more, but he's mostly interested in graphic novels (those comic-like ones?). He used to read chapter books eagerly; maybe school will get him back into the groove. He and I still struggle from time to time with control and emotions, but we both apologize and forgive easily, so we're making it work. I sure love that kid. He got his braces off in July just before our trip and his teeth are great! Round one is complete and round two will begin in a few years. He starts cello lessons in a few weeks and he's really excited to keep playing!





#5:
2nd grade! He's such a silly kid and we're working through some dishonesty. Nothing major --just pushing his limits to see how far he can go. He's reading really well and I'm excited to see how far he can go this year. He had to have some oral surgery (just pulled two baby molars and then put spacers in to make room for the adult molars) and he's pulled through like a champ. He's a great brother and still makes us laugh. He's a strong kid and I may have to put him in gymnastics! He really wants to play the violin, but I told him he has to prove to me that he can do a year of piano lessons faithfully before I rent another instrument. We'll see how it goes! He's eager to learn new things. I love that about him. (Notice baby girl photobombing his picture! Ha!)






#6:
Preschool! I can't believe it! He starts preschool in a few weeks at a Methodist church in our city and he's really excited. He loves to play Memory, "find stuff" (hidden pictures), and put stickers on every surface in the house. He loves to pal around with his big brothers and he is a little sad when they leave for the day. He's a great help with baby girl, though, and I'm glad he'll only be gone three afternoons a week. He's still pretty shy, though, so we'll have to see how he takes to preschool. Crossing fingers he adjusts quickly! I sure love my squishy boy.







#7:
Home! Obviously, she won't be going anywhere, since she's just about 18 months old. She decided she needed co-sleeping/nursing to sleep at night (again), so we're back to square one. Sort of. I say sort of because she doesn't want to sleep in my arms and she'll even get out of our bed and lay down on the cold wood floor and sleep for a while. She doesn't want to be in her crib near our bed, just on the floor...?? How weird is that?! Anyway, she's funny. She's got a mouthful of teeth and is starting to say a lot of words. She's super cute and we all adore her.














Brandon:
Working hard, like always, and he starts teaching a business ethics class at the business school at KState next week! He's still teaching primary with me and is also in cub scouts. On our trip this summer, he was able to join us for almost a week, and we got him for all of Nauvoo! He's been watching the Olympics a lot and he's way more giddy/excited that #3 has started football then he lets on. His homemade pizza and Sunday morning breakfasts are still exceptional and I love his hugs.





Me:
I'm being mom. My parents being here for a few days was amazing because every time they visit, they jump start my cleaning routine again. I've been stressed to the max with school prep and two vacations back-to-back, so the house has suffered greatly. But with their help, I'm back on track and hopefully I can get back into the routine I enjoy! I'm looking forward to this school year. I'm extremely busy and it's hard work taking care of all these crazies and their different needs and schedules, but I feel grateful I have the privilege to work this hard.



P.S. I reactivated my Facebook because 1. the kids started school, and 2. we're going back to Philly next week and I needed to communicate with people about it. Let me tell you something, dear reader, I did not miss it. Not really. I missed two things: the ability to get in touch with people I don't have contact info for and my large family group (didn't I mention that in my last post?). That's it. The deluge of random information that flooded my eyes and brain as soon as I logged on was pure insanity. How can anyone think for themselves when they're trapped in the dousing of videos and articles at a constant rate? I think I'm going to have to limit myself so I won't get sucked back into the addiction of checking FB constantly. I have friends who are really good at scheduling their FB time --I will need to do the same.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Long, Crazy, Whatever Ramblings Upon the Current Thoughts Inhabiting My Mind

We've had a good, good summer. It has reminded me of Pennsylvania --hot, humid, loud insects, fireflies, ticks, chiggers (okay, we didn't have chiggers in Thornton), and the blessed sweetness of air conditioning and large quantities of water. 

We went to UT and ID for 2 1/2 weeks. We had two visitors (both friends of #1) and Brandon's mom/step-dad visit. We're adjusting to two cats (Walter is hilarious). We're going to Nauvoo and Pennsylvania this month. We'll have my parents and Brandon's dad visit for a few days --#3 turned 12, yesterday, so his ordination to the Priesthood is this weekend.

School starts next Tuesday. I've learned that teenagers are infinitely more expensive than babies and children. I've spent time with old friends and have made new ones. I've readjusted over and over to the dynamics of my responsibilities, and I'm constantly amazed at every new revelation. 

I try to put flowers on my table every week or so. I'm still decorating the home to my tastes and we're making plans for changes we want to implement. New bathrooms, maybe another bedroom, paint, fixing ceilings, maybe new track lighting... perhaps another window to bring more light into the kitchen? They are long-term dreams. 

I play the piano as much as I can, even though lately I haven't had much of a chance. Sickness, laundry, in between trips, registering kids in FOUR different schools (1 in high school, 2 in middle school, 2 in elementary school, 1 in preschool), doctor appointments, dental appointments, orthodontist appointments, etc. School will be busy. Three in piano lessons, 1 in cello lessons, and #3 might start football. #1 has applied to work at a fast-food restaurant and is also learning face-painting for some upcoming carnivals and farmers markets. I forget how busy life can be during the school year. I may feel overwhelmed in the summertime, but it really is lazy in comparison. 

For example, for four glorious days, we were in the mountains in Utah at our besties cabin (like last year). I read four novels (Between Shades of Grey (no, that book is not what you think it is --it's an incredible story about WWII), Jane Austen Ruined My Life, Mr. Darcy Broke My Heart, and The Dashwood Sisters Tell All), nursed a cold, and loved how my kids were able to run amok. Trees, wind, animals, no internet, no cell service, just good friends and a lot of simplicity. 

I will mention that I also took a break from Facebook. I just decided one day, after a senseless debate, to deactivate my account. That was several weeks ago. A month? And now I'm seriously debating about going back. The only thing I truly miss about Facebook is my large family group and the ability to stay in touch with people. But I have Instagram, email, and I kept FB messenger. I'm not sure how I feel about it, but I was wasting an incredible amount of time on FB. I thought it would be devastating and I would be so missed, but... I feel lighter with it gone from my life right now. I don't think many people have even noticed, to tell you the truth. And you know what? I'm really okay with that. 

I'm coming to know who I am as a sinner, a woman, a wife, and a mother. I'm more humbly aware of my mistakes. It's painful to heal, but I'm putting more trust in my Savior as we mend my brokenness together. I'm grateful for energy healing, understanding friends, continuous therapy, and my own patience. More than the pain, it takes time to heal. I'm finding that I'm just as prideful and selfish as everyone else. Discovering my own sins, misdeeds, mistakes, temptations, and flaws have been humbling, to say the least. It has helped me be more compassionate for those who truly struggle. It's helped me judge less and love more. I'm still working on judging myself less and loving myself more. Satan works hard on my psyche. I keep thinking I must be pretty awesome for he and his cronies to spend so much time working on me! The best part is that I can feel the Savior and His Angels spending just as much time and effort with me, too. That gives me a lot of hope and gratitude. 

One thing that is never far from my mind is the question about whether or not our family is finished. Brandon and I have both had some special experiences in the temple that don't really give us complete and clear direction, and we're both a bit at odds with each other on the answer. We've never been at odds about our family size, before, so it's new territory for us. Until now, the answer was always, "of course there's another one." That's no longer the case. Truthfully, the real answer is "never say never." Some people I speak to have very clear direction on this in their lives --they know absolutely either way. Some know to just let them come if they come. Some knew right away when their family was complete. I only know a few people like me who feel they're a bit in limbo with no clear answer. 

Part of me is desperate to be finished. When #7 starts Kindergarten, #1 will probably be on her mission (or a sophomore in college). I want to be a grandmother who isn't raising babies while her babies are having babies, you know? Brandon will be 58 when she graduates from high school (#7) --he does turn 40 this year. I will be 38 in February. I'm also very tired. #7 is our worst sleeper and our vacation derailed all of the work we did on getting her to sleep in her own bed all night. We have to start over, but with Nauvoo and PA looming ahead of us, I don't want to start until it's over. I also feel like a really awful mom. People tell me (just today the receptionist at the dental office told me I'm a very patient mom and I inspire her) I'm a great mom, but man alive, I'm just not sure I'm very good at all. How can I have more when I feel I'm barely making it with the ones I have? I also don't want to put my body through it all again --giving life is a true sacrifice. My amazing body has been through the wringer to bring these souls into existence and I have to admit I'm a bit leary at giving birth, again.

But...

Part of me is desperate to have another baby. I feel someone is missing. I feel it every time we gather together or get in the van or eat dinner. I love being pregnant and feeling the baby moving inside of me, and I love having a newborn, a little squishy soul fresh from heaven. Even though it is difficult, my body is good at giving birth and even with complications I've had, good nutrition/exercise has kept them at bay. Kansas also has great homebirth laws! And I want to do the right thing. I've had experiences in the temple where the Spirit has borne witness to me that the choice to have another would be a blessing and not a burden, but that's the thing right there --it will be our choice. We aren't being told to have more. We aren't even being told that to stop now would be the wrong choice. It's simply our choice. 

And that, dear reader, is why this is so very, very hard for me. I've always been so obedient. I want to do what God desires and I want to do the right things because I firmly believe in His perfection at knowing what we need. I know that when I allow God to guide me, I am so blessed. But I also have to be in agreement with my husband on this. The spouse who doesn't want more children always gets their choice. I honestly don't think God will send us another child unless we want it to happen. 

So, when people ask me if we are finished having babies, and I say, "never say never," now you, dear reader, know what I'm really feeling. 

Anyway... 

Confession: I'm learning that I much prefer yard work to housework. Unfortunately, that housework is more demanding and less forgiving. 

I hope you have a great week, dear reader.