Checklist for Clarity

It’s been a rough morning. Want to see the list? Of course you do.

  • I have a headache.
  • The pile of laundry I need to fold covers a space on my living room floor approximately the size of a Volkswagen.
  • In a moment of profound weakness, I gave in and let my children adopt a kitten that our neighbor found. I actually like her a lot more than I thought I would, but I took her in for initial shots and exam yesterday, and let’s just say I was not prepared for that kind of investment. This morning I got the notice-of-overdraft email from my bank.
  • We had our family picture taken last night, and my children were suddenly possessed by demons. Keep in mind that I do not have any more toddlers or even preschoolers, and yet… YET… I found myself asking them to stop flopping around on the floor and ignoring every bit of instruction offered by the photographer. Here is a photo I snapped with my camera phone during the studio process.
  • We are headed out of town (which is a great thing), but the process of getting everything ready is stressing me out.
  • I keep remembering last-minute tasks that I should have finished before we go.  (When?? will I get them done?)

So while all this stuff was swirling around in my head, I had to stop myself and change the list. I had to look for and recognize the reality that’s happening alongside my stress list.

  • Natalie is putting up Halloween decorations and singing Christmas songs. ?? Whatever, she’s festive.
  • Clark is curled up on the couch reading a book.
  • I still have some leftover caramel sauce that I made for a Relief Society activity.
  • Grant has been helping me switch over the laundry loads.
  • Some parts of the house are mostly clean.
  • We all kind of like each other, and everyone is pretty much content (if you ignore my own personal bad attitude).
  • Our home is warm and cozy, and we’re all enjoying decent health.
  • In less than 48 hours, I will be taking that cruise I WON over the summer. [You do not need to tell me to shut up already; I am at this very moment in a process of self-correction.]

Anyway, that was my clarity checklist. My stress (and probably my headache) is the result of looking at my life in an unbalanced way.  President Uchtdorf JUST said last weekend (I’m a slow learner):

Brothers and sisters, no matter our circumstances, no matter our challenges or trials, there is something in each day to embrace and cherish. There is something in each day that can bring gratitude and joy if only we will see and appreciate it.

So as I hung the picture on the wall today, it struck me as funny how we always look at family pictures and make all these assumptions about how lovely and put-together that family is. We can’t see the behind the scenes meltdown at the photo studio, nor can we see the laundry piles and headaches at home.  But despite all that, I look at it on the wall today and think, “You know what? It really IS a beautiful family.” Because even though I know every single detail of the back-story, I can still see it for what it truly is– the whole package, the gory and the glory all wrapped up in one.  My day will still be busy, and I’m bound to handle things more stressed-out than I’d like to, but I feel my eyes just a little more open to things as they really are … and there’s plenty there that’s better than fine.

I’m thinking of changing my blog name to “Temples and Vomit”

It has a nice ring to it, don’t you think?  And it seems like a natural progression from “Diapers and Divinity” because it more accurately reflects where my life is today.  Or yesterday, if I’m going to be really specific.

Yesterday, my family went to the Brigham City temple open house. I love temples because they are peaceful and lovely and the only building I know of where the whole entire thing is an emergency exit. When life feels a little frightening or overwhelming, it’s a safe place for my soul. That’s why I wanted to take my children. Don’t tell anybody official, but we went through the open house twice in a row. Grant wanted to go again because “I like the way it feels.”  Me, too, buddy. Me too.

After we left, we stopped for dinner at a Mexican restaurant, trying to turn the whole event into a special Family Home Evening. In retrospect, when Grant said he didn’t feel very well, I shouldn’t have told him to eat his dinner anyway. I found this little journal entry he wrote on the couch this morning. I’ll let him tell you our tale of woe in his own words:

And you know? Such is life. One minute things are glorious and celestial, and another minute you’re spending an hour in a gas station parking lot trying to figure out how to get the smell of horchata and bean burritos out of your brand new car’s upholstery without vomiting yourself. If we’re honest with ourselves, it seems some days are more vomit than temple, or more diapers than divinity, but today I’m trying to look at it like it’s a penny jar. Every time we see a glimpse of heaven in our children or our blessings or ourselves, it’s like dropping a coin in a jar that we’re saving up for something special. I guess what we end up purchasing with it is a “vacation” if you want to look ahead as far as heaven, but I think we’re earning our wings with each penny. We’re investing in who we know we can be. And like a temple under construction, despite the garbage in the world (or day) around us, we can somehow find and be a safe place for the people we love most.

Countdown to Family Proclamation Celebration: 6 days

If a blog die, shall it live again?

Hi.

Um, remember me?

Of course a dead blog can live again!  It totally can. Right? I checked Google Reader, and some people are actually still subscribed here. It might be an accident, but still…. (Does anyone even use Google Reader anymore?) Plus, whether they actually mean to be or not, there’s still a handful of people that subscribe by email, so hello there long-lost inboxes.

Wow. So where do I start?  I have so much to tell you. Really. Let’s transition carefully back into blogging, shall we? I think I’ll start with a bunch of mini blog posts just so we can all get used to each other again.

Mini-post #1:  Guess What?

Remember how I only occasionally popped in during the summer to beg you to vote for me in that video contest?  Well, I don’t know how to tell you this without a formal plan to compensate you for your goodness, but I won!!!  I’m not even kidding– I won a cruise. Matt and I are going in October and I’m very excited about that. It took a little bit of manipulative creative negotiating to convince Clark that even though it was his story that won the trip, it would still be better for Matt and I to take the trip together.  I’m sure that with the passage of time and maybe a small amount of therapy, he will find it in his heart to not feel completely ripped off. And I will find it in my heart to sit on a ship deck and read books and drink virgin daiquiris.

Mini-post #2: No, Really, Guess What?!?

This part is almost too exciting to say. I’m truly afraid that by embracing it, I may somehow curse it. The reason I took a blog sabbatical in the first place is because I, honest to goodness, felt down in my soul that I needed to write a book. I had never before in my life imagined myself authoring a book, but I felt (select the word that you’re most comfortable with here–>) prompted/compelled/pushed/inspired/obligated to write a book about my testimony concerning motherhood. I have spent a good part of the last decade of my life studying motherhood in a gospel context, and I felt the pieces coming together little by little in ways that gave me new insight and purpose. Motherhood was still hard–it’s always been kind of hard–but I felt like I was starting to get it.  And then I felt like I should write it all down. So I did. And (here’s the exciting part) I recently got word that it’s going to be published. As in, printed by someone else in an actual book that will appear in LDS bookstores next Spring. I’m not the type of person that writes things like *squeeee!* or “yippee! yippee!,” but if I were, I would write that here right now. Other than the fact that I feel a tiny bit terrified, plus an equally tiny bit inadequate, I love the thought and hope that maybe, just maybe, my book might help some mom out there (especially a mom of young children) “get it.” And by “get it,” I really mean get herself–see herself and what she’s doing as she really is and how much it really counts. So, yes, yay for that.

Mini-post #3: In Which a Mom and Her Kids All Grow Up a Little.

Something unbelievably amazing has happened. Perhaps even more amazing than a cruise or a book deal. (I realize that this would be the easy place for anyone who’s having a bad day to hit the delete button real quick before my life gets any luckier, but please don’t. I promise I’m not bragging. And I think this next piece of news just might be some kind of balm for your weary soul. Maybe.) When I started this blog, all three of my children were in some stage of diapers. It is with no small amount of shock that I announce to you that last week, they all started school. All of them. From morning until early afternoon.  Look!  Look at this picture and tell me that they are not the cutest people you’ve ever seen. Just try.

Anyway, I’ve blogged a lot over the years about the stages of motherhood, and how sometimes times and seasons must be endured-slash-appreciated for what they really are. When my oldest went to kindergarten, I felt like I had entered Stage 2 parenting. There were glimpses of my children’s growing independence, and I found random bursts, no matter how brief, of “down” time, where I could choose to read a book, or nap, or hang up my clothes, or nap. Now, my friends, I think I have entered Stage 3. Yes, they are older, and make bigger messes, and more noise, and have developed some snarky habits, but trust me when I say: It is glorious. Do you know what I did yesterday? I did a workout video in my family room and then I cleaned my bathroom. I cleaned it for three and a half hours, and it is a masterpiece. I have not cleaned an entire room from start-to-finish in years. After that, I went to the library by myself and picked out books in peace. Then I went to 3 stores in a row and quickly returned some items, stopped at one more store, and picked up a few groceries. I came home and made chocolate chip cookies. When I got home, my house was just as clean as it was when I left in the morning. It stayed clean; do you get what I’m saying? When my kids got home, I hugged them and gave them cookies and helped them with their homework. I still got annoyed sometimes, but I felt ready to be there for them. I. am. loving. it. I am not trying to rub any of this in your face if you still have small children at home and you feel entirely drained. Nor am I trying to knock anyone who feels terribly sad when their children go to school. Not at all.  All I’m saying is that toddler and preschool mothering were quite challenging for me, and now I feel like I’m hitting my stride. I’m not foolish; bigger kids will mean bigger challenges, but if you are wondering if there’s any light at the end of the diaper tunnel, I’m here to tell you:  Good gravy, there is!  I can hardly believe it myself. Stage 3 just feels like it fits so nicely right now. Carry on, good moms everywhere, the stage that fits you best will come in good time.

Mini-post #4: More to Come.

I’ve got fun summer stuff to tell you. I’ve got some giveaways of things I’ve been saving up for you. The September celebration of The Family: A Proclamation to the World is coming up, and that will be epic. Basically, I’m excited to be back. This party ain’t over yet. Please say hi. I missed you.

General Conference Guessing Game and a few more ideas

I usually do a post-conference trivia contest, but I thought it might be fun to shake things up a little bit and do a pre-conference guessing contest.  This might be fun to duplicate in your own family and play with each other.

For the sake of the blog, go ahead and make your guesses in the comment box below.  Since it’s all random guessing, I don’t think there’s any advantage or disadvantage by seeing each others’ picks.  I will pick the winner for each question (by drawing if there’s a tie), and then those 10 winners will go in a drawing for the “Grand Prize,” which will be a copy of the book I was proud to be a part of:

Tell Me Who I Am: Stories of Faith, Family, and Identity

So here goes:

General Conference Guessing Game

1.  How many new temples do you think will be announced?

2.  What’s your guess for any auxiliaries to be reorganized? (RS, YW, YM, SS, none)

3.  Take a guess at one location of a new temple.  Name a state in the US or a country outside of the US.

4.  Barring any absence, 11 of the 12 apostles speak in the four Saturday and Sunday sessions. Who’s your guess for the one apostle that only speaks in Priesthood session?

5.  Who will conduct the first session of conference (Sat. AM)?

6.  How many members of the church will be announced in the statistical report?

7.  What color dresses will the women of the Tabernacle Choir wear on Sunday morning?

8.  Who will be the first woman to speak in this session of conference?

9.  What color tie will President Monson wear on Sunday?

10.  Make a guess for a congregational hymn that might be sung at any of the four sessions.

I acknowledge that this is just for fun and has no true spiritual benefit other than to maybe make us pay a little more attention while we watch.  All entries recieved by 9:30 a.m. MST on Saturday morning will be in the running for the prize.  🙂

Other ideas:

I’ve shared tons and tons and tons of conference preparation in the past, especially for the kids.  This year, I decided to do a little variation on the tradition “packet” idea.  Sometimes my kids just flip through the packet and pick a few things to do and then don’t seem to pay as much attention to it as I would like.  So I’m trying a new approach, based loosely on this idea I saw on Pinterest:

I printed out a list of the names of the First Presidency and 12 Apostles and then cut them out.  One copy for each child. (You could also use pictures instead of names.)

I skimmed through all the different packet versions I’ve seen over the years (there’s a good collection here) and printed out pages of specific activities I knew would engage my kids based on their interests, reading level, etc.  Then I stapled each apostle’s name to one activity (a crossword puzzle, a cut-and-paste of apostles in the red chairs, a Friend magazine to cut up and make a collage, etc.).  Not all of them are conference related.  There are one or two that are just stickers or stencils and crayons to keep their hands busy.  Some of them are just stapled to a piece of paper that says:  “Get 3 popsicle stick puzzles and play with them” or “Play the Apostles Memory Game

The idea is this: Whenever an apostles or First Presidency member speaks, the child finds the speaker’s name and can do that activity during his talk.  There will still be ongoing bingo and traditional packet items with notetaking, etc. (see below) for them to do during all the other speakers, but it helps them to pace out different activities and change focus often.

So other than making food and gathering up snacks, I’m ready to roll!  I hope it’s helpful to someone.  Let me know if you have any questions.

Bring on Conference!

Overwhelmed?

 

This morning I looked through some old files and came across this post that I wrote in November 2008.  It was a weird feeling getting an answer to my current prayers from my old self.  I decided to share it in case it’s helpful to anyone else:

One thing that motherhood has in common with any kind of challenging career is that it’s often overwhelming.  We feel pulled beyond our capacity to accomplish.  If you’ve had children, it’s guaranteed you’ve felt overwhelmed.  I’ve had several experiences that I think fall in the overwhelming category– sometimes I’m just overwhelmed by the tasks at hand and sometimes by my life in general:

Take Halloween night, for instance.  The dusk hour was approaching.  I picked up my brother from the airport.  I tried to throw the kids’ costumes together, but it proved more difficult than I’d expected because they were too excited to actually follow any directions.  At the same time I was trying to be a good hostess to my brother and get something going for dinner.  I still needed to get some towels and things into the guest bath.  Then my mother- and sister-in-law showed up with my niece who was as excited about trick-or-treating as my kids.  Mine were still half-dressed, but chomping at the bit to get out the door.  Plus I still had to get candy ready for a hand-out bowl.  And Matt was on his way home from school to go with all the kids.  For some reason, even though that moment was really insignificant in the grand scheme of things, I suddenly felt incapable of meeting everyone’s needs and I felt totally confused by all the chaos around me.  I didn’t know what to do next, and stuff just kept happening.  Doorbell rang.  Get candy.  Find socks.  Blow nose. Thank Grandma for presents.  Take candy away.  Find baby wipes. Answer questions. Try again.  Sound familiar?  Well, everyone finally made it out the door and the rest of the evening went on in relative peace, but that’s just one example of those frequent overwhelming moments that happen in the daily course of motherhood.

And then there are those overwhelming stages of life, like right after you have a baby and all the family who came to help out goes home.  I remember after I had Grant, I was sitting at the kitchen table eating food for the first time that day because someone had prepared it for me.  I knew my mother-in-law was going home the next morning and I thought WHAT am I going to do?  I was scared by the new reality and my lack of sleep/energy to deal with it.  But I lived.  Then about two and half years later, now with two kids, Grant had a bout with some seizures.  There was CPR and 911 and confused doctors at the ER.  I walked into the hospital room to see Grant convulsing and the doctors trying to hold him down.  I could tell they didn’t understand why it was happening and I was horrified.  I remember running out to the lobby and seeing my friend and my bishop and just shaking my head and saying “I can’t stand it.  I can’t watch!”  The next several days were spent in the Pediatric ICU with brain scans and spinal taps and all kinds of scary things.  In the end, everything seemed to be okay, and we hesitantly and hopefully took our little boy back home, crossing our fingers it wouldn’t ever happen again.  It didn’t.  But I’ll never forget that totally overwhelmed feeling I had about everything being so much bigger than me and out of my control.

Sometimes it seems like every time you turn around, something else is asked of you.  I recently read a talk by Henry B. Eyring called “O Ye That Embark.”  The subtitle quote says:  “Our power to carry burdens can be increased more than enough to compensate for the increased service we will be asked to give.”  This is a talk he gave to an audience of men, but anyone with half a brain can recognize that women deal with these same issues, so I was able to gain a lot from reading his lessons.  He says:

“It is not surprising that we feel from time to time nearly overwhelmed. Your thought that ‘I’m not sure I can do this’ is evidence that you are understanding what it means to hold the priesthood of God [or to fulfill your role as a mother–don’t you think that fits?]. The fact is that you can’t do it by yourself. The responsibility is too difficult and too important for your mortal powers and for mine. . . .When those feelings of inadequacy strike us, it is the time to remember the Savior. He assures us that we don’t do this work alone.”

I think if I reflect accurately on those overwhelming moments in my life– the big ones and the small ones– usually someone helped me through it.  Often it was the Savior who listened carefully to all the mumbled prayers under my breath and strengthened me, but other times a family member or friend stepped in and gave a hand.  Elder Eyring points out that this is just how it’s meant to be:

    “ . . . there are more with you than those you can see opposed to you. Some who are with you will be invisible to your mortal eyes. The Lord will bear you up and will at times do it by calling others to stand with you. . . . That suggests at least two things. One is to recognize and welcome those whom the Lord sends to help us. The other is to see in every assignment the opportunity to strengthen another. . . . Time and again over your life, the Lord has been giving you the experiences to build strength, courage, and determination. He knew how much you would need that to serve Him. . . . I bear you my witness that when we give our all in [His] service, the Lord will give us all the courage we need and the assurance that He goes with us and that angels will bear us up.”

He certainly has faith in us and equips us to succeed, even when our circumstances seem overwhelming.  And what about our own expectations for ourselves?  I think we are our own worst enemy in that area.  I’m the only one who treats my to-do list like a divine decree and then considers myself a failure if it doesn’t all get done.  Unless those lists start appearing on my pillow right after I say my prayers, maybe I need to remember it’s all about what I expect of myself and not what God expects of me.  This scripture quoted by King Benjamin comes to mind:

  “And see that all these things are done in wisdom and order; for it is not requisite that a man should run faster than he has strength. And again, it is expedient that he should be diligent, that thereby he might win the prize; therefore, all things must be done in order.” Mosiah 4:27

When I read that today, I realized something new.  I always thought that “in order” meant “organized,” like when you put your home in order, but maybe it just means one-at-a-time, like when you follow the steps of a recipe in order.  Just one thing at a time.  We don’t have to do it all or do it all at once.  That seems so much more manageable to me– just do one thing, try to do it well (not perfect), and then move on to something else.  I’m just going to assume that God understands that when you throw children in the mix, even getting one thing done can be interrupted 54 times, and I guess that’s where the “diligence” part comes in . . . just going back to the task and not giving up or losing faith (in God or in yourself).

Mom Shame: Whom the Lord loveth, He maketh cry like a baby.

I paraphrased that scripture in the title a little bit.  It really says “For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth,” but I was just trying to make it more accurate as it relates to me.

(Deep breath.)

I’ve been drafting this post in my head for five days, and it’s still going to sting a little.  In fact, as soon as “the incident” happened, I knew I was going to have to blog about it, but that I would have to wait until I had recovered my dignity.  I don’t know why I feel so compelled to tell this story, but my best guess is that it has something to do with confessing and moving on.

I’ve been busy. There’s the regular busy:  the meals, laundry, carpool, church responsibilities, volunteering at kids’ schools, homework and chore supervision, etc.  On top of that, I have several writing projects going on, many of them with deadlines (even if they’re self-imposed). I’ve also had some lesson and teaching preparations happening on the side. I’ve been doing some behind-the-scenes research and really-small-scale activism about some social issues that have captured my attention and that I feel strongly about. It seems like I’ve had a really long ever-growing list of emails to reply to and appointments to make and stuff that just keeps taking a few minutes here and a few minutes there.  Other tasks and details added to my juggling efforts, and I started to feel a little out of balance.  You know, the nagging feeling that maybe I needed to pause and refocus, but I was too busy to do that, so I just left the thought hanging and kept on going.

Fast forward to Friday.  I was hosting a girls’ night party at my house that night, so I was engaged in must-get-the-house-clean-and-do-party-prep mode.  I got sucked into some emails and other online “business” in the morning that I kept going back to and checking on in between chores.  The boys were at school and Natalie was working on her own chore chart and then I turned on a show for her.  The phone rang and I talked to my good friend for a while.  Toward the end of our conversation, I told her I would email her a link about something we were discussing, and I headed toward the computer to log in and pull it up on the screen.  When I walked over to my desk, I saw this note taped to my keyboard.  It knocked the air out of me.

It felt like a kick in the stomach. I stumbled through a quick goodbye to my friend, hung up the phone, and carried the paper into the family room.  Natalie was sitting on the couch.  She saw the paper, and her eyes were wide waiting for my reaction.

I started to cry.

“I’m sorry, Natalie.  Do you feel like I think the computer is more important than you are?”  She nodded yes.

“Have I been a bad mom?”  Yes again.

I cried more and said I was sorry more.  She looked a little worried, but she hugged me, and she mostly seemed relieved for having voiced her grievance and been understood.  I, on the other hand, was mortified.  Here I was writing a book about motherhood, blogging about motherhood, trying to find ways to fight pornography and protect my children, and frankly, forgetting to be a good mother.  I felt it deep.  You can talk it away and rationalize, but I know it was a necessary, personal wake-up call.  It was a guilty flame that burned out a little hole inside of me, and God was giving me a chance to fill it back up again with the right stuff.

I talked to a friend.  I talked to my mom.  And when I thought I could tell the story without crying, I told Matt.  I was wrong.  We all came to the same conclusion.  I was doing good things.  I really was, but I neglected the most important things.  It was a classic case of good, better, best, and I failed.  It’s not like I had abandoned my children and all household responsibilities, but I could have done better.  I should have done better.  I like to think that God heard my silent heart-prayers about feeling out of balance and not quite knowing where to fix it, and then He sent me a lightening bolt answer.  It wasn’t a fun answer.  It was humiliating.  But it was the right answer.  It was just hard.

Natalie and I have talked about it more, and we’ve come up with a system that allows me to work on some projects, but still gives her the time and attention she needs from me.  It will take a little time for me to change some habits, remind myself often what matters most, and get things balanced again.  It’s totally worth it.  Maybe even the shame part.

“For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” –Luke 12:34

—-

A few post-scripts:

1.  The girls’ night was fun!  Natalie joined in and loved it.
2.  Next weekend is the Story @ Home conference in Salt Lake, where my friend Jana is teaching this workshop: “Striking a Balance with Real life and Online: It’s unacceptable to put our families in crisis or fail and give up on our dreams, both can work.  Come learn five essential principles for following your dreams and striking a balance while keeping God and family first.”  Coincidence?  I think not.  Come join us.
3.  The book I contributed to is still at its special pre-sale price.  Here’s a link to know more and buy a copy or two.  🙂

A joy report.

After all those serious posts the last few days about how January bites and the world is falling apart, I realized that those of you who just started visiting recently probably think I’m kind of a downer.  I’m lucky enough to know that most of the rest of you who have been around for a while know me a little better and can just roll your eyes and think:  She’ll be over it in a couple days.

So here’s a report about some things that are making me happy lately.

Last weekend, we went to St. George.  Matt took the kids and hung out with his dad, and I stayed by myself all day to write.  I’ve been working on a book for a while, but I really needed some alone time to catch up.  It was wonderful.  I learned so much and wrote a lot, and honestly felt the Spirit a lot.  It was a great dose of invigoration.

I’m sure a small part of my writing success was due to having these on hand:

Next: I like to give parties.  I am not a really good party giver because I never take the time to scan Pinterest or Google for ideas to make my parties all they could be.  I don’t really decorate or craft or do much of anything for parties because I kind of feel like great company is what makes a good party (plus I’m lazy).  I just like to create an excuse for people to get together and then I like to enjoy those people.  So for the last two years, I’ve planned some kind of girls’ night out for February (probably to recover from January).  These February girls’ nights seem to have a recurring theme.  Last year, a group of us went to see the play Persuasion at BYU. And eat of course.  The year before, I did something I loved in Minnesota called a J.A.M. party:  A Jane Austen Marathon.  It was so fun, and since I obviously don’t get sick of Jane Austen, I’m going to do it again this year.  So if you live near Happy Valley in Utah, or are willing to drive that direction, you’re officially invited to J.A.M. Party 2012.  Here is a geographical hint.  (I’m so cryptic.)

The party is not actually in this building, because, well, that would just be silly, but it gives you an approximate location.  It will be February 24th.  We will watch Persuasion, Sense & Sensibility, and Pride & Prejudice, all in a glorious row.  And eat of course.  Email me if you want more details (address is on the sidebar in the “Nice to meet you” paragraph).  Once I have used my superpowers to determine you are not a creep, I’ll give them to you (the details, not my actual superpowers).  So anyway, yay! I’m excited about that.

Moving on.  I have been loving the Ensign and general conference, but duh.  You already knew that about me.

You may have noticed that in the aforementioned overly-serious posts, I used the word “hard” a lot.  Today I  drove Natalie to gymnastics.  She was recently invited to be in a higher-level class which is, obviously, more difficult.  She’s only been a few times, and she has a little anxiety about it.  It’s not as easy and carefree as her little preschool gymnastics were, so she tried to convince me that she doesn’t like it.  The thing is, I know she does like it.  She does cartwheels, roundoffs, handsprings, etc. around my house endlessly.  She loves it when people watch her and tell her how great she is.  She’s just nervous about the new class.  So I started reassuring her in all the ways I knew how, trying to build her confidence.  I said, “Here’s one thing I know about you:  You can do hard things, and you are smart and strong.”  She held back a grin and stared out the window.  When we arrived at the gym, her nerves returned and she didn’t want to go in.  I helped her change into her leotard.  “No peeking,” I said, and then I grabbed a pen and took her hands.

While we walked into the gym, she kept looking at her hands and giggling.  I told her to look at her hands every time she felt nervous in her class.

Then I started thinking some more on the way home about the stuff I already wrote about.  And I started giving myself my own lecture.  “I can do hard things, too.”  I remembered that Sister Dalton talked about that once, so I looked it up and found it.

Last general conference, I was called by President Monson to be the new Young Women general president. As I stood in the presence of a prophet of God and was given this sacred trust, I pledged that I would serve with all my heart, might, mind, and strength. Prior to this calling, I had a small plate inscribed with a motto that read, “I can do hard things.” That little plate bearing that simple motto gave me courage. But now if I could change that motto, it would read: “In the strength of the Lord, I can do all things.” 

And then I did something that will amaze you.  I made a printable. Or quote, or whatever.  I don’t know the real terms.  I only have the skill to make things out of Microsoft Word and Google Images, so if any of you have some old version of Photoshop you want to give away for Valentines Day, you know who to call.  Anyway, here it is:

(I was thinking about that one quote about not crashing your heart on the rocks of grief.)  So now that quote is making me happy, too.

Last item on the joy report:  I’m going to the temple tonight.  All those people I’m worried about are going right on the prayer roll, and Heavenly Father is going to take care of them.

How about you?  What’s making you happy these days?