Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Blog Challenge: Day Fourteen - The Little Things

The little things can make or break a relationship. It all depends on the approach of each partner and what little things are being put under the microscope.

Do we criticize and berate our spouses for their little imperfections?
Do we find ourselves slowly getting more annoyed with and less tolerant of their faults?
Do we ever feel as though our spouse isn't "pulling their weight"?


Do we find things to love about them every day, even on our bad days?
Do we support an encourage their pursuits and growth?
Do we find ways to show them we love, want, and appreciate them every day?

I have heard it before: Treat each day with your spouse as if it is your last.

That becomes increasingly harder to do when you are with the same person for so many years, but the little things really do make a huge difference.

I find that sending sweet emails, calling randomly to say "hello" and "I love you", corresponding on Facebook, and leaving lipstick messages on the mirror are little things I can do every day to remind my husband that I care about him and love him. Those are just daily little things. Things I do on a long-term basis are:

make sure to wash and hang his clothes with care (although I am a little embarrassed to admit that I have yet to learn how to iron properly)

keep food he enjoys stocked in the house

prepare the meals he likes to eat

support his decisions involving church, his career, and hobbies

give him a clean home to welcome him when he returns from work

make myself available to listen to him when he needs to talk

pray for him always

scratch his back and play with his hair once each day

smile, hug him, kiss him, flirt with him, have fun with him, laugh with him, snuggle with him, and tell him I love him many times each day

He has faults, so do I. We could tear each other down and tear our love apart by picking at the little things.

Sometimes I get caught up in other activities and do not fold clothes right away, causing them to wrinkle and have to be ironed or placed back in the dryer. Sometimes I do not have dinner made when he arrives at home. Sometimes, like today, I am exhausted and I do not even make dinner, we order out. Sometimes I am cranky and I get short with him and have to apologize later. I have gas, every morning, and will for the rest of my life. Yes, I just shared that.

Does he become upset about those things? Thankfully, no. He is a wonderful man. He sees my faults and he embraces them. He loves them.

Sometimes he leaves his socks and belt on the floor in the bedroom. Sometimes he leaves his dirty clothes on the floor, 5 feet away from the laundry basket. Sometimes he offers to clean the dishes and never gets around to doing it. Sometimes he forgets to take out the trash. He rarely ever puts his shoes in the hanging shoe rack in the coat closet. He tends to be abnormally forgetful.

Do I become upset with him and hold his faults against him? Once upon a time I found myself starting to do that. But a huge change of heart and spirit a couple of years into our marriage swiftly turned me in the other direction. I love his character, his drive, his strength, his humor, his smile, his arms, his kisses, the way he sings and plays guitar, and I adore how much he can love. Even his tendency to analyze and code everything makes me smile (even though it can drive me crazy).

Do we argue? Absolutely. Does it become heated? Not nearly as often as it did early in our marriage. Do we quickly calm down and forgive each other every time? You bet!

Over the past 8.5 years I have slowly made my days more about the nice little things over the bad little things, and it has paid off greatly. Instead of bitter words, we have thousands of kisses. Instead of blaming each other, we have self-reflection and growth. Instead of silent treatment and cold nights, we have deeper communication and sleeping in each other's arms.

Sometimes we may feel as though we are doing more little things than our spouse. But one of the things that was discussed during our third hour meeting in church this past Sunday was the quality of a celestial marriage. Our marriages are not 50/50. We do not consider what is "fair". We are selfless, patient, understanding, supportive, and long-suffering. I love how long-suffering was described. The man speaking called it "putting up with...". Hehehe. Sometimes it might be 50/50, but that is rare. Often times one spouse carries the other for a while, and then something happens and the roles are reversed. But dwelling on "fairness" in marriage will cause you to miss out on many wonderful opportunities to serve your spouse with love and kindness. Use soft words, make your touch gentle, make your heart light and full of love, and embrace the person you want to be with for eternity and show them that they are truly worthy of that role. I am thankful for my husband in a way that I cannot describe. He is a truly wonderful man and I am beyond blessed to have claims on his heart.

So..... what little things will you do tomorrow? :-)

Monday, August 30, 2010

Blog Challenge: Day Thirteen - A Replay of Today's Events

It is really hard not to beat myself up on days such as today. I keep thinking of different scenarios and the "what ifs" that are countless and agonizing.

I took Andrew with me to get Grace from school. When she came out I allowed them a few minutes to play on the playground while I chatted with another mom. Grace was climbing on the outside of the playground equipment. Yes, I realize that is not what that part of the equipment is meant for. She has done it a thousand times over the course of the past year and a half, so I didn't think much of it. I was standing about 7-10 feet away from her, talking with this other mom, when she slipped and fell. She landed wrong on her foot and then banged her head on the ground. Thankfully the blow to her head was softened by all of the mulch for the playground, but she still has scratches from the impact. But her foot worried me the most. Right after the fall she started screaming and grabbing at her ankle, and I ran over to her to check her over and see if she had broken anything. Nothing appeared broken, but she kept yelling that it felt like her foot was broken.

I picked her up and told Andrew it was time to go. He ran away from me yelling "Nooooo! I have three minutes!", so I followed after him, telling him "Andrew Allen, it is time to go, NOW. Your sister is hurt, we need to leave. You need to listen to me and stop running away.". He gave me the same reply and ran further away. I started raising my voice while walking after him faster. I told him "Andrew, your sister is hurt, you need to listen to me right now, please, and stop running". He kept running, so I counted to three to give him a warning that he would be in big trouble. He kept running anyway, so I started running after him with Grace in my arms. I caught up to him and gave him one quick pop on the bottom. He stopped and started crying, so I took his hand and told him "I'm sorry I popped your bottom, but you were not listening at all. I gave you warnings and you still ran away. Your broke a big rule. Now we need to leave right away because your sister is hurt. I am not letting go of your hand, because you are not following instructions right now".

All of this played out in front of at least 7 other moms, including the PTA president. It was FUN.

I keep telling myself that I should have just told her to stop climbing and get down. I also keep telling myself that I should have been keeping a closer eye on her so I could have seen her slipping and ran to catch her. I also keep telling myself that I should not have popped Andrew on the bottom. But then I am trying to remind myself that Grace's fall was an accident that was completely unexpected, and that I gave Andrew fair warning before I took more serious action. I also keep telling myself that getting hurt and being disciplined are things all children go through.

Then I have that voice of opposition telling me that I was careless, lazy, I lost my cool, and all the other moms that saw what happened are probably thinking the same thing. But Proverbs 13:24 keeps running through my head as a reminder that I am called to discipline my children when the time calls for it. Also, just so it is noted, I do believe that spanking should only be used as a last resort, and should never be done excessively, or to cause fear, or in moments of uncontrolled anger. Andrew is a runner, and that has caused him to receive a pop on the bottom a few times after multiple warnings and redirection attempts, such as the time he ran away from me and into a street when we were on vacation.

I was a very overprotective mother with Grace when she was an infant, toddler, and preschooler. I stressed myself out constantly over every little thing I could imagine might go wrong for her. When Andrew came along I relaxed quite a bit with him. I still keep a close eye on him and her and guide them through life's obstacles. I have yet to lose either of them or have them be seriously injured (save Andrew's fall last year when he tore his lip open while trying to climb in the bed to snuggle with his daddy). So in many ways I am doing well with the most basic of parenting skills and requirements. I just can't help but feel like I somehow let the ball drop today, and it really stinks to feel that way.

I know tomorrow I will wake up and feel better about it. I love both of my children very much, and I can only hope that I did the best I could in that situation.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Blog Challenge: Day Twelve - A Day of Worth

I think sometimes stay-at-home mothers forget just how useful they are to their husbands, their children, their homes, and even their communities. I was speaking with a good acquaintance at church today about how some people think SAHMs have all the time in the world to volunteer once the majority (or all) of their children are in school. I wanted to share a little about my really busy days to give an idea of just how much "free time" I have as a SAHM (and the majority of other SAHMs can relate to what I am going to explain).


6:45am - get up, get ready, eat breakfast, prepare breakfast for kids

7:00am - get the kids up, feed them breakfast, help Grace get ready for school, get Andrew ready, help the kids with morning chores

8:00am - take Grace to school and then come back home with Andrew. Vacuum, dust, sweep, mop, wipe counters, start doing laundry, and straighten up clutter around the house

10:00am - pay bills, go grocery shopping

11:15am - get a quick lunch made and take it to the school with Andrew so we can eat lunch with Grace

12:00pm - come back home, fold laundry, start more laundry, do some preschool lessons with Andrew

1:00pm - quiet time for Andrew. This is when I workout, plan menus, make to-do lists, take care of other to-do lists, and fold more laundry. Sometimes I might have some spare time to read a little of a book or work on a hobby

3:00pm - wake Andrew if he was asleep for quiet time. If not, help him straighten up his toys. Read a book with him.

3:20pm - leave with Andrew to get Grace from school. Let her play for a short while outside if the weather is nice, since she only has PE once every 4 days (ridiculous), to make sure she is getting enough physical activity in to each day.

4:00pm - come home, get snacks for the kids. Finally finish folding laundry. Help Grace with homework, and start preparing dinner.

5:30pm - sit down with the family to eat dinner, then clean up dinner and straighten up the kitchen.

6:30pm - hopefully I will allow myself the chance to sit with my husband and relax with him for a short while, or we spend time doing an activity with the kids at home or outside.

7:30pm - get the kids bathed and ready for bed, read scriptures with them, tuck them in to bed for the night after bedtime drinks and using the potty one more time

8:30pm - write the next day's agenda and schedule on the whiteboard on the fridge. Discuss any potential plans for the next day or week that need to be prepared with my husband. Perhaps read a little more or take in part of a movie with my husband, but I also end up responding to emails and doing something ridiculous like blogging to give myself a chance to do something different.

10:00pm - fall asleep in bed, drooling on myself and pushing my husband to his side of the bed with my bottom.

Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

But add in ballet for Grace on Tuesdays, playgroup for Andrew on Wednesdays, visit teaching once or twice each month, car maintenance every other month, and the random trips out to replace stained or ripped clothes, pick up birthday presents for one of the million birthday parties we go to, replenish craft supplies, pick up odds and ends for my husband because he is too busy to do it during or after the work day, and then the times where I actually get out just to do things for myself or for the sake of getting out and doing something different.

Wow...... it sounds like I have so much free time on my hands!


So, for all of the SAHMs who feel like they are not contributing, or fulfilling duties, or meeting their potential as human beings..... you are amazing. A job for which we receive no monetary return can be even more rewarding than those that do. We make homes and help build the foundation upon which our families will be built up. Never stop! Your work is more important than words can say.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Blog Challenge: Day Eleven - Friends of the Opposite Sex

When you are single, having friends of the opposite sex is not a problem. When you are casually dating, this problem is still non-existent. But when you start to date exclusively, become engaged, and eventually get married, how are those friendships with members of the opposite sex handled?

Some people carry on their friendships, some people diminish contact with those friends, and others stop carrying on friendships with them completely and they become mere acquaintances. I have diminished my friendships, not because I feel they are dangerous, but because my priorities in life have shifted in such a way that those male friends do not have a strong place in my life. My husband is the man I confide in the most aside from the Lord, and I like it that way.

In most (if not all) cases, however, it is wise to avoid deeper friendships with members of the opposite sex once you have entered in to the covenant of marriage. This is my opinion of course, and I am blessed that my husband shares this opinion. We have been counseled in church before never to be alone with a member of the opposite sex. Not for business lunches, work projects, in your car, at home, or anywhere that can create an environment of privacy, intimacy, and seclusion. This would be done so as to avoid any temptation that might be thrown our way. We may try as hard as we can to be righteous and true, but we are still weak because of our very nature. I see following these rules as a way of showing respect for yourself, your spouse, and your God. We admit that we are weak, that we need help and guidance, and that these suggestions can help us to avoid temptations that we may one day not be able to resist in our weakness.

I am certainly not saying that we should avoid any form of civility, communication, or acquaintance, as some opponents of this idea would say. Rather, we condition ourselves to be aware and on guard of the things the Adversary would want us to do. I think it all comes down to listening to the Spirit and using common sense.

Tonight I went to the store alone to get something for Bryan's Sunday school class. As I was leaving I ran in to the father of one of the girls from Grace's school. We stopped and chatted about how the kids were doing, what on Earth we were doing at the store at 9pm on a Saturday, and more about the kids. This conversation lasted about 15 minutes, and then we said good-bye and carried on our separate ways. Had this happened in a less public place I would have made the conversation shorter, because I tend to become uneasy around men in conversation when there are a lack of "witnesses", if you will. It seemed rather harmless to me, but I know that prying eyes and suspicious minds would allow themselves to think otherwise.

This leads to another thought:

What do you do to get out of an uncomfortable situation with a member of the opposite sex?

The few times it has happened to me over the last 8 years of being with Bryan, I always started talking about my husband and my children. It works like a charm every time. I have used the gospel a few times as a backup to stop an awkward conversation, and that has worked very well. I also take it upon myself to tell my husband about anything I encounter that would seem inappropriate, awkward, or uncomfortable. It helps me to let him know that I trust him with everything in my life, and that I am making choices that would honor our marriage and my integrity.

But I want to know...... what do YOU do? How do YOU do it?

Friday, August 27, 2010

Blog Challenge: Day Ten - Self Esteem and Service

I have been re-learning that self esteem and service go hand in hand. The questions I have asked myself after reading a church talk sent to me by the bishop are:

Do I pray enough for my confidence in myself to increase?
Do I love myself enough to do good for myself?
Do I love others enough to share the goodness of myself with them, even if they are strangers?
Do I love the Lord enough to trust that I truly have a purpose in His plan?

When I am not caught up in my own self-destructive thought patterns, I rejoice in acts of service. I find peace and resourcefulness in making meals for others, watching other people's children or pets, sending words of encouragement to those people who are conflicted, and nursing those who are wounded or sick. One thing I learned today is that self esteem can be seen as inner-peace, humility, and strength all tied together. I also learned that faith, hope, and charity are the cement of a confident foundation (which I have heard through instruction many times over the years, but have too often tossed aside in the turmoil of daily life).

Today really was a beautiful day. Aside from pleasing weather, happy company, and cheerful business at home, I felt uplifted and inspired by the words James E. Faust spoke to encourage a soul search for higher self esteem and a deeper understanding of self worth.

So the concept of strong self esteem ties in to our love for God, ourselves, and others. If one is weak, the others weaken with it. My weak love for myself has made my progress in those other areas slow over the years. But a lesson once learned can help any reasonable person to overcome the next hurdle. I feel stronger and more confident than I did yesterday. If tomorrow I feel stronger and more confident than today, I have made double the accomplishment. I sincerely hope that each of you can do the same in any way, large or small.

God bless you, and have a good night!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Blog Challenge: Day Nine - Creativity at Work

One of the things I blogged about was attempting to pick up new hobbies or refresh old ones. I did that today with a few things, and I wanted to share my experience on them.

I decided to start making wreaths again. I did this when Grace was a baby, but then I dropped it for work, then school, then home school. Something as simple as snapping the wire in a silk flower with wire cutters can feel liberating! I had to plan the layout for a Fall wreath and a Holiday wreath. They were simple wicker wreaths, so I covered them with different flowers and leaves to create a loose sort of pattern that would coordinate colors and draw attention. The finished product turned out well, and I felt satisfied afterwards.

My next endeavor was to start pastel sketching again. I had not done this since high school, but it was something I used to do quite often to capture moments in time and to get my thoughts out. Don't start believing that I am a "good" artist. I am by no means professional, and I think my stick figures look better than my shadings. But I love using pastels nonetheless, so I sat down with a drawing pad and my old art kit. I sketched a vase full of flowers that sits on my dining table, and then filled it in with the pastels. I was enjoying myself so much that I lost track of time and I had to sprint with Andrew to the school to get Grace on time. Is this a bad thing???? I will post a picture of it if it turns out to be in demand. :-)

I tried working on sewing some elastic into some of Grace's dresses today, but the bobbin is being stubborn and making bird's nests, so I am going to tinker with it a bit in the morning, and then take it in for repair if I cannot fix the problem myself. Bryan told me to fix the problem with a hammer..... I would, just to satisfy my annoyance with "modern" things that break constantly, but then I would have to spend money on a new machine. So the alternative is that I will have to channel my annoyance through other healthy means (such as blogging) and then patiently troubleshoot my hunk of junk.

I am coming to the chapter in Pride and Prejudice where Mr. Collins proposes to Elizabeth. Those of you who have read the book or seen either the BBC series or the less worthy new movie, please help me out. He. Is. CREEPY. I can't wait to read her refusal and read about him LEAVING.

With all of the attempts at increasing talents, I have been noticing that I am hearing the voice of the Holy Spirit more. It is a great comfort to me to know that the Holy Spirit will be a strong companion if I continue to build up my talents and my gifts. The things I am trying to build up are good things that provoke thought, creativity, patience, and consistency. I am thankful for the opportunity to build these things up, and I am even more thankful for the stronger presence of the Holy Spirit in my life as of late.

I want to close tonight's blog with a scripture reference:

Moroni 10:5 - And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.

Thank you for following my blog and encouraging me on my journey. Have a good evening!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Blog Challenge: Day Eight - When Days Are Good...

I do not struggle so much with my confidence and positivity when days are good, such as today. It is when days are hard or bad that my strength is tested and often fails. One thing that I can always be remembered is that I would handle the hard days better if I kept the same high spirits and positivity that I have on good days.

I took the big step yesterday and had a meeting with the bishop. It went very well, and I took his counsel seriously. I have faith that I will eventually overcome these struggles of mine. But I also know that they will never go away completely. Instead, I will learn to lighten my load by exercising my ability to strengthen myself. This journey of self-reflection and improvement is helping me to see ways that I can strengthen myself, and I am utilizing those tools now. Attaching myself more personally to scripture stories, seeking more guidance for myself in prayer, continue to increase my talents and my knowledge, acquire more hobbies, and surround myself with positive people.

Even something as simple as reading more of the books I like is helping me to boost my awareness and find a more solid foundation. I am reading Jane Austen again, and the wit and propriety always entertains me and removes me from my daily life for a little while.

So today is just another reflection on what I have been doing and what I can do to help myself become a more confident, grounded person. I am looking forward to Andrew's preschool days, where I can take some meditation and yoga classes, teach myself a musical instrument, learn something new, and increase my skill so I can be a better example. I will miss him just as I miss Grace while she is in school. But I know after praying and considering my situation, it will be a big step forward for me to fill some of my time with enriching myself so I can be a better example and be of better service to myself and my family.

I am excited about what is to come, and I might call on some of you to join me in some of my new (or long-forgotten) endeavors!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Blog Challenge: Day Seven - When should the past become the past?

The question of the day:

When should the past become the past, never to be brought up again, only a vague and distant memory? Is one day sufficient? How about a week, or a month? A year? Are there certain things about a person's past that will be brought up throughout life?

The deeper question:

If the past is brought up after a person is forgiven, was that person truly forgiven?

Today's blog is not going to be very long or detailed. We are all imperfect, we will all make mistakes at numerous points in our lives. We will all be in need of forgiveness. The Atonement makes that forgiveness possible. I am very thankful for it, and I try each day to understand it more and be an example.

There will be more to come tomorrow. Today was a busy day, and I am struggling to stay coherent as I type this.

Have a good night!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Blog Challenge: Day Six - Good Advice

Someone reminded me today that any negative thoughts I am having about myself or situations in which I find myself are the whispers of the adversary. The advice I received was simple - remind myself that negative thoughts are the adversary's way of pulling me away from those things that are good so that I will focus only on shortcomings, weaknesses, and setbacks (whether they be real or created for the purpose of having me feel unworthy). If I can remind myself that those thoughts are not the thoughts God would intend for me to have, then I can put them from my head, realizing that a force outside of myself would take pleasure in knowing that I believed I was a failure and that I was unworthy.

Several things happened today that I had a hard time overcoming. I read some comments about a picture of mine on another blog where posters quite bluntly said I was unattractive, ugly, or both. It hurt me to know that other people felt so meanly about me, and I could feel myself swimming in negativity towards myself afterwards. Then my daughter had a meltdown after school in front of all of the parents and teachers outside and screamed, cried, and tried to argue with me. That was an embarrassing situation, and I was concerned about my daughter's happiness and if I was really seeing the underlying problem afterwards. Then I found out that I was denied for a reduction in my student loan payments. My husband could see that I was becoming overwhelmed, so he pulled me aside and we had a good talk about seeing the adversary's attempts and trying harder to listen for the voice of the holy spirit. He mentioned prayer..... gee, why didn't I think about that??? Really. I prayed with Grace for her to have a good day this morning before school started, we prayed to bless all of our meals, and we prayed before FHE. Why didn't I stop and pray for strength and guidance for myself? Come on, Jacque. Sometimes the best answer is so simple that you easily overlook it.

So it can really be that simple. Pray often, and seek for the voice of the holy spirit over the voice of the adversary. I pray with my children and husband multiple times each day, and I pray alone for the happiness and benefit of others. I need to remember to pray for myself!!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Blog Challenge: Day Five - Should others know?

My husband just stopped me mid-brainstorm to ask me how open I am with others in regard to our struggles in our relationship. So I had to push my first idea for tonight's blog out of my head and bring this up.

Should other people know when you are struggling?

Should other people be given the chance to understand and be aware of your hard situations?

Is it fair to disclose information about your partner to others to paint the full picture of explanation?

If yes, then who do you talk to? Close friends? Family? A spiritual advisor? A therapist of counselor?

Do you want to surround yourself with support, or do you want to disconnect from your network and work it out alone?

I suppose the answer to each question would change depending on timing, place, and the severity of the struggle. I realize that I am taking a risk in blogging about something so sensitive and personal, but I know that there are many other people out there who struggle with the same issues I am struggling with. If that is the case, why not make it known that I am willing to admit my struggles and work on them along with others who are ready to make the change? I have felt a lot of positivity about this blog challenge, and I know that as long as I keep my goal in sight, I will obtain it someday. If I happen to help others in the process, then my joy in my journey will be magnified.

However, I also should respect my husband's need for privacy. My journey should not harm the ones I love (whether intended or not), so fair compromise can easily be made. I am working on myself, and I will blog about my struggles and my achievements. No specific information about my husband's involvement will be disclosed in any of my blog posts. I love him and I care about showing him that I recognize he feelings and I respect them wholly.

Back to the topic at hand: I tend to reach out to others from church when I am struggling. I realize that there is the potential to be judged in these cases, because all church members are imperfect people. I usually do not realize that information I disclose could cause others involved to be wrongfully judged. Perhaps it is a matter of trusting others who are removed from my situation more than I trust myself and my own judgment. Either way, I know that I sometimes yearn to be more personal with other good, welcoming church members. But in trusting too much I unfairly burden those who may not be ready or able to share my burdens. I think that it falls back on the fact that I never felt comfortable fully disclosing my struggles to any of my family members growing up. I regard the members of my ward to be spiritual family members, and I think I try to compensate for an awkward past by reaching out for support within my ward network and among my close friends.

So since I feel that this behavior to reach out too much in very personal matters ties in to my issues with trust, I am going to include within my trust challenge a sub-challenge:

Do not share very personal (and perhaps potentially damaging) information with anyone I feel is kind and caring!

I will keep the personal lives of me and my husband between he and I. But that does not mean I think it is wrong to share my progress and my pitfalls on my blog and with my friends. I have been enjoying using this blog as an outlet to share in my attempts to better myself, and I hope that you have been enjoying following along with me.

Many thanks, and many blessings to you all!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Blog Challenge: Day Four - New Beginnings

Bryan was so sweet today. He bought me some new pots and pans, and then he wanted to accompany me to go buy some new clothes. That was our date night tonight, he came with me to go clothes shopping. I found out that he and I have very similar tastes in women's clothing. Cute and flattering, yet modest, is what we both like. Thank goodness! I have been telling myself for a while that I needed to bite the bullet and spend more on high-quality clothes. I did that tonight. I found some figure-flattering clothes that were within my style-realm, that will stay in nice condition for a while. I am even going to get some pieces tailored to my shape, for the first time ever. It felt nice to think of myself as someone who deserves to have nice things and is worth the money spent on them. I have always felt guilt about spending more than the absolute minimum, wholesale, clearance price on myself.

But my bigger accomplishment was in my conversations and my willingness to trust others today. I confessed some things to my husband from my child-hood that I would have never told another soul, ever. He took it so well and he was very understanding and compassionate. Then it opened the door to him being more open with me, which is something I have been wanting for years! So in trusting him with my secrets, I was able to accomplish two things I have been working towards. I was able to allow myself to trust him more, and I was able to get him to open up a little more as well. Not only that, but I trusted myself enough to tell him these things. They are all connected to how I react and feel now anyway, so it is amazingly therapeutic to just speak the words to someone I love and feel safe around.

I took another really big step today by having a conversation with my bishop about my need to heal and move forward. I am excited and nervous about our next meeting, where I will give him details about how I have been feeling and what I want to achieve. I have taken some recent advice to heart where my bishop is concerned. I did not have a strong father-figure growing up, and my father is still not the kind of person I would want to open up to and seek guidance from. So I am looking to the spiritual father of my ward (church) for help. I can either seek counsel from him, or I can go see a counselor from church services later on. If both are needed, then I will do both.

This is such a big step for me, and I am looking forward to what will happen next. I was very honest with my husband today about the reasons I have a hard time trusting him, and my struggles with my confidence. I have never felt pretty enough, smart enough, or talented enough for one man to devote all of his attention to me and only me. I have always felt that my worth was so little, that another more attractive and magnetic woman in the room could easily steal the attention of my partner away from me. There were some things that happened early in my marriage that made me think my negative image of myself had been justified. I did not confront those feelings properly. Instead, I hid them away and buried myself in daily family life. But I have been taking little steps forward to address those issues, and I am anxiously awaiting what this next week will bring my way.

All in all, I do not think there were any setbacks in my progress today, and I am happy with the way the day has gone. I feel a little closer to my husband after our conversations today, and that is making a bigger difference than I thought it would.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Blog Challenge: Day Three

I am sorry to say I don't have much to report today. I did EFT once, and I worked out for an hour.

Grace starts school again on Monday, so it will just be me and Andrew at home during the day. I am going to take the opportunity to keep working on my confidence and my hobbies.

Thanks to all of my wonderful friends who have been so supportive of me recently. You are the best!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Blog Challenge: Day Two

Am I worthy? Well, I wrote a little about that yesterday.

I am proud to say that I said "I am worthy" to myself every time I felt negativity coming on today. Perhaps I said it too many times, but I knew it was a good start. That is a small triumph!

I went to see a woman from church today who practices alternative medicine more than I do, and I love it. I opened up to her a little, and she told me about this form of therapeutic repetition called EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique). Look it up, it is food for thought. :-) I mention this so you do not come to the conclusion that I am a lunatic when you read my next paragraph.

...... I had a setback with my trust today. I knew it would happen early in my attempts to strengthen myself, so I am not completely ashamed to admit it happened. I had an unfortunate argument with my husband about it, too. It even ruined my workout, and it takes a lot to ruin my workouts. I cut my workout short and decided to take a long shower, where I found it reasonable to hide in the tub and pray for a long while. Have you ever just laid in the tub and let the water fall on you from the shower head? That's what I did, and it felt nice, very calming. Then I tried EFT. I tried it a few times with different conflicts. It's surprisingly relaxing! I cried, a lot. But unlike other times where I cried hard and eventually stopped, I actually felt much better afterwards. I like to look at that as progress.

I have some glad news to share before I move on. My husband and I reached another positive agreement today. We have made large leaps in progress through our talks and having more open, honest communication. He wants to focus more on me and our family, and I want to act in a more rational, understanding manner. We want to do this together. TOGETHER! This is a very big deal for both of us. I can feel we are both a few steps close to reaching the top of this mountain we have been climbing, and we are doing it hand in hand.

After my long and peaceful shower I decided to start researching ways to control and calm my emotions. There is a vast reservoir of information out there on this topic. I think channeling my emotions in to constructive activities is a good start for me. So exercise, positive conversations, uplifting hobbies, prayer and meditation, reading inspiring literature, and of course writing, are where I can easily start. Have you ever yelled at someone who wasn't there when you were running on the treadmill? How about yelling at someone who is not present while on the treadmill, listening to classical music and attempting to read a book between your shouts? Can I consider that multitasking? Don't be fooled by the sound of it, it is easier than it seems. There is, of course, the benefit that I know I look like a total fool while I am doing it. So I can get it all out and then laugh at myself afterwards. It may not work for you. Trust me. I understand. Not everyone wants to look like a lunatic.

All I know is this. I love my husband. I love my children. I love the Lord, and I appreciate all they have done for me. I don't want to lose them or lose the progress I have tried to make in my adult years. It's my turn to shine and show each of them how good I can be. I know that in strengthening myself, I will give them what they need. But I am also realizing that the most important thing I can do is show myself how good, worthy, and strong I can be. Let me repeat that. The most important thing for me to do is focus on building up myself, FOR MYSELF.

Tomorrow is a brand new day, and I am looking forward to facing it with my chin up and my eyes bright.

That pesky voice will be there trying to tell me not to trust that the sun will shine. It will try to convince me that those thick, threatening clouds are always nearby, attempting to choke out the light of the sun. That voice will certainly try to tell me that people in my life are endeavoring to do me wrong. It will play on my weaknesses and my past experiences to try to get me to find reason and evidence in those doubts. But I will have more strength (even if it is only a little more than yesterday and today) to hear the voice of comfort over the voice of doubt.

I want to end today's post with the words of a hymn that have helped me through the years, and echo in my ears now:

Where can I turn for peace? Where is my solace,
When other sources cease to make me whole?
When with a wounded heart, anger, or malice,
I draw myself apart, searching my soul?

Where, when my aching grows, where, when I languish,
Where, in my need to know, where can I run?
Where is the quiet hand to calm my anguish?
Who, who can understand? He, only One.

He answers privately, reaches my reaching,
In my Gethsemane, Savior and Friend.
Gentle the peace he finds for my beseeching.
Constant he is and kind, love without end.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Blog Challenge Winner!!

Thank you to everyone who made suggestions to me for my blog challenge. I am sad to say that I did not pick any of the suggestions! However, I did pull from those, and from my current state in life, a challenge that lives up to the title.

I have decided to blog about my challenges in overcoming my trust issues. I have been sheltered and guarded and frightened by the unknown in my marriage to my wonderful husband for many years. I am taking this opportunity to use my blog as a space for learning, healing, and progress so I can be the woman I know I can be and the partner I know he deserves. I will be reaching out to people I know to write one guest blog each week about their experiences and give advice to myself and my blog readers about how to overcome those weaknesses and find security.

In the left corner is Jacque Halda. A woman who loves her mate but is held back by fear and uncertainty. Don't let her weakness fool you, she is guided by a force much greater than herself!

In the right corner is Mistrust. She is sneaky, dirty, and she will probably hit below the belt.


The bell has rung for round one, let the fight begin!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Blog challenge time!

Hello to my 7 or 8 luke-warmly interested followers!

The end of Summer is upon us, and my kids will be going back to school/pre-school soon. In light of this schedule change, I have decided to find myself verbally (or internet-ally/blog-ally) by giving myself a blogging challenge. In order to get some more people involved on my blog, I would like to extend the opportunity for each of you to make suggestions. The one I think is the best fit will be my very first blog challenge! By best fit, I mean the idea that will hold my attention the longest.

So, please, come out of internet hibernation and give me a challenge!!

Monday, August 2, 2010

For laughs :-)

I saw this picture and it made me laugh. It also made me think of my teen-aged rebellion. The words in the picture (plus some ill behavior) sum up my teenage years perfectly. Looking back, I knew NOTHING and I was such a punk/snot/brat/jerk to my parents. For every time my mother said I would get what I gave three-fold, I say a prayer that I won't!