When Music isn’t Enough

My go-to when I’m feeling overwhelmed or stressed is to listen to uplifting music. I have a Lauren Daigle station on Pandora that I’ve spent a year tailoring and it has some really great music! All of it is uplifting and helps to point my heart and mind to Christ when I’m feeling overwhelmed.

But lately, music is not enough. In fact, sometimes lately it’s downright distracting. My mind can’t focus on it. It just becomes noise. More noise than I already have in a house with 9 kids! (Yes, we have 10 but Jordan is on his mission).

The fix? Audio books. Or conference talks. I know that probably doesn’t make a lot of sense. It’s still noise. Still information that my mind has to process. But it gives me something to focus on. Something to learn. Something that’s not background noise. I feel like my mind and heart – while still pointed to Christ because of my audiobook choices – are able to progress instead of stay stagnant.

I think that’s what it comes down to. I’ve felt stuck. Spiritually stuck.

As soon as we got back from vacation, all of the kids got strep. Then a week or two later, we now have the flu going through the house. I have thievsed and even clorox’d the house several times. I’m now limiting sugar intake for the whole family now that Valentines Day is over. I don’t know what the deal is, but this winter has been rough! Thankfully I skipped the strep and haven’t gotten the flu…. yet.

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She NEVER naps anymore. You can always tell when she’s either growing or sick by if she naps.

So far 4 of the kids have gotten the flu and now the tiniest one is down for the count. I am thankful that they all seem to be taking turns rather than all being sick at the same time. But I’m also exhausted! Getting about 5-6 hours of sleep at night, broken up, because of sick kids is not very easy at nearly 28 weeks pregnant!

But like I said – it could be worse.

Because of all the sickness, we haven’t had family prayer as often as we should, haven’t read scriptures as a family as often as we should, haven’t done as much of the Come Follow Me as we should.

I feel like I’m failing at this motherhood thing lately. I feel spiritually stuck. And I feel guilty for not teaching my children the gospel as much as I should.

So music doesn’t work. I was feeling down about it all and decided to do some cleaning and decluttering and spent nearly a whole day doing that while I finished the Christ in Every Hour book by Anthony Sweat.

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It was amazing! I highly recommend it. It helped me to shift my perspective and to remember that this is something I have to work through. And that the kids will not be sick forever. That routines can be re-established and it’s okay to just do our best for now, even if our best just means keeping kids alive and getting 5 hours of sleep.

I’m now starting Angels: Agents of Light, Love, and Power by Donald W. Parry.

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I just started it so I can’t say anything yet but I feel like it’s one I should listen to, so it’s up next!

Things might not get easier, per se. But I’ll get better at handling them… and kids can’t be sick forever.

Happy Fathers Day

I’m lucky to have some really great fathers in my life. First, my dad. Who taught me to be strong and fearless by his example. Who never gave up on me. Who always hoped and prayed and believed that I would come around to the gospel again someday. Who is an example of leadership, entrepreneurship, and being bold in the face of adversity. Who taught me and continues to teach me that making mistakes is human but coming to Christ heals all. My dad who has loved me since day one. Honestly, I firmly believe we loved each other before we came to this earth. I’ve always loved and admired this man with all my heart and know of a surety that we were meant to walk this life together. I couldn’t do it without him and wouldn’t want to.

Thank you dad, for all that you are.

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my dad

My step dad. Who taught me that forgiveness is Christlike. That we all make mistakes but that family is forever. This man taught me that people change, even me. That even if we don’t understand our parents that someday, we just might. This man who loves my mother, who took on 3 kids in his early 20’s with no parent manual on how to be a step-parent but tried his best regardless. His example has taught me perseverance. sacrifice, and humility.

Thank you and Happy Fathers Day.

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My step dad with my mom

I have to give a little shoutout to my father in law as well. I actually met him a few weeks before I met my husband in person. He came over to my house to meet me and loan me a book John and I had talked about over the phone. When I met him, I automatically liked him. He is kind, smart and easy to talk to. Since getting to know him better, he constantly impresses me. He loves God, Christ and his family intensely. He pushes me to be a better person. I’m thankful for his example, strength, and love that he adds into our family and into my life already and our journey together has only begun.

Happy Fathers Day!

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my father in law

I also want to say Happy Fathers Day to my husband. The man who already had 7 kids yet opened his heart to 3 more. Who tries so hard to connect with them and love them when he’s home from work. He is an amazing father. A father who loves and listens to his kids. Who stays hours after he should have left for work to make sure they’re all okay. This man who is a powerful priesthood holder. Who has given me blessings whenever I ask for them, who prays for and with our family every day that he’s home, who teaches and talks about the gospel with excitement and love. This man loves God and our Savior Jesus Christ with all of his soul. He is the strength and center of our home and family, even though he has to work away from home for weeks at a time. Who makes me laugh. Who I can talk to endlessly about anything at all. Who already knows me so well and can crack my stubbornness with his persistent love. I couldn’t have asked and prayed for a better father for all of our kids. I’m lucky to walk this journey with him by my side, leading our children through this life.

Happy Fathers Day my love, my soul mate, my husband.

 

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Calm in the Chaos

This week was the Young Living Convention in Salt Lake City. My favorite part about it was being able to see all of my people, my friends, and my friends who I had never met in person before! It was amazing.

It went from Wednesday to Saturday. There were classes on business and networking, emotions, essential oils, science, you name it and we got to visit the farm.

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Sniffing freshly cut Juniper

This year, they put all of the classes online as well. This meant that… I didn’t worry about missing the classes. I’m sure that’s not why they did it, but it was really nice!

Last week I was able to go to the temple for the very first time. I had never even been as a teenager before I went inactive. I loved it. So, because I wasn’t worried about missing classes and I had babysitting already – I walked the few blocks over to the SLC Temple instead. I was able to go 3 of the days this week. It was so calming amid all of the hustle and bustle. I’ve learned so much in such a short amount of time and I want to go every day! I don’t think I’ll actually be able to go every day or even 3 times a week most of the time but I’m so glad that I was able to this week.

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Such a beautiful building!

Mostly I’m exhausted from lack of sleep and being on the go all week. I’m looking forward to settling back into the routine with the kids (I’ve missed them!) and planning fun things we can do together as a family this summer.

Growing Weeds

I was weeding outside this morning and the weeds reminded me of a comment on Instagram yesterday.

As I was scrolling Instagram, LDSLiving posted a photo that said “Why is Modesty Important?” Out of curiosity, I scrolled through reading the comments. I love hearing what other people have to say and just see people’s personal reasons behind their decisions or beliefs. I’m just curious like that.

So I was reading comments and came across one that shocked me just a little bit. This person commented that “no one wants to see those butt and boob cracks and those other things” I was like… seems a little passionate but okay… and then she continued “I think it’s bad enough that they tattooed them self why would you want to show your temple like that”. There was a few other things said as well but these were the main comments that caught my attention.

At first I just scrolled by thinking, wow – that was a little judgmental.

And then I went back. I’m pretty good at letting things go and ignoring people but I really wanted to comment on it so I said –

“I have tattoos. We all make mistakes in life, some of our mistakes are just more visible than others. I choose to dress modestly because if Christ walked in my door, I would want to be wearing something I would not feel ashamed in. I’m not ashamed of my tattoos, my past, or my mistakes for they are what brought me to this gospel. I would however, feel ashamed to be dressed in a way that was not temple worthy or would make my grandmother cringe. 😉 ”

Her response was “so true, I have made some mistakes but repented and same here.”

So why did weeding the garden remind me of this interaction?

Because weeds can be incredibly amazing. They bloom and flower. Many have medicinal power. They grow in locations and conditions that can be incredibly challenging. And yet, they are judged because a lot of people deem them to be pests, useless, or just not what they want.

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such a cute little flower! growing in the rocks.

My friends, it is not our place to judge others. Many of the most spiritually courageous people have and will come from backgrounds that might be deemed less than. Please, do not squash someones confidence or willingness to learn because they are or look different than you.

It is only our place to love.

Matthew 7:1 Judge not, that ye be not judged.

John 15:12 This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.

Let Go and Let God

Wherefore, the Lord God gave unto man that he should act for himself. Wherefore, man could not act for himself save it should be that he was enticed by the one or the other.

—2 Nephi 2:16

Lately I’ve been getting some really strong feelings that I need to completely change my focus on a few things in my life. They seem like big things. I decided to talk to my dad about it on Sunday and his reply was basically – well you needed those things in the past. They allowed you to get to where you are today. You don’t need them anymore, not really.

Mind blown. It hadn’t really occurred to me that I really didn’t need all of the things that I work on all the time. Yes, I know I’m being vague. I’m gonna be for now. It has nothing to do with marriage or family. Those are really good!

The specifics aren’t really the point anyways. The point is learning to let go and let God. Sometimes this is really really easy. Sometimes it’s not so much. Why do we – and by we I totally mean me – get so caught up in these patterns, habits, lifestyles, goals, visions of what we perceived our future to be. I’m over here thinking that I need to be doing specific things for my future when in reality, I’m sure my Heavenly Father is there trying to say “Tarrin – com’mon, I have something so much better planned for you!”

But oh my WORD is it completely terrifying sometimes! My mortal mind just can’t let go of some of these ideas even though I know I should and I completely trust my God sooo… why do I wait?! Procrastinate?! Dip our toes?! lol it’s pretty silly when you really look at it like that.

2nd Nephi 10: 23 and 24 says –

23 Therefore, cheer up your hearts, and remember that ye are free to act for yourselves—to choose the way of everlasting death or the way of eternal life.
24 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, reconcile yourselves to the will of God, and not to the will of the devil and the flesh; and remember, after ye are reconciled unto God, that it is only in and through the grace of God that ye are saved.

These scriptures remind us that we have free will. We have our agency to choose. When we get these promptings of the Spirit – we still get to choose.

But then these scriptures are pretty intense, aren’t they? I mean, it basically all comes down to an ultimatum. Did you choose God’s way, or not?

But then verse 24. Verse 24 tells us to reconcile ourselves to the will of God. When the scriptures use the word reconcile, they are usually referring to the Atonement. When we are reconciled unto God – we have chosen the Atonement. We have chosen repentance, love, and submitting our will to God’s. That word holds a lot of meaning and a lot of power. This also means that God knows that we will make mistakes. He knows we will need to reconcile ourselves to Him over and over again throughout our lives.

Isn’t God so good?

So even though these choices might be big. I know they will be good because God always has plans better than mine.

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Testimony Sunday

When I knew that I wanted to come back to church, I worried that I would be judged because I have tattoos. There are LDS people that have tattoos, especially nowadays. But I still worried because I have noticeable ones. Ones that I can’t hide unless I wear long sleeves all the time and shoes that cover the top of my feet. I worried, until I found the Tattooed Mormon’s blog. Her name is Al Carraway. When I found her blog, my thought was – “If she is this popular with mormons, I can walk into one church.” My point in telling you this is that she has also posted that everyone should bear their testimony every fast Sunday – even if it’s just to yourself. Ever since I read that, I’ve thought it’s a great idea. Because our testimonies should be growing and changing and evolving all the time.

So here’s my first one –

I know without a doubt that this Gospel is true. When talking to my mom last week, one of the things she said was “exciting things started happening the moment you committed your life to the Lord”. Boy, was she ever right. I was thinking about my life since I made the decision to come back to church. I knew I wanted to before I made the real commitment but that commitment has seemed to open a door to the Devine that I really had never thought possible. There is no doubt in my mind that God is real, Christ is real and risen, and the adversary is very real.

I have had numerous experiences in the last year that has proven this to me time and time again. One of those was when I had the flu, I was stuck in the bathroom (tmi, I know) for hours in the middle of the night. I felt awful and I was so tired. I finally said a prayer telling my Heavenly Father just that. That I was tired and I just wanted to go to bed and sleep. I immediately felt this real physical calm wash over me from head to toe and my whole body calmed down. I felt fine. I stopped and paused and thought “maybe I should just sit here for a while and make sure” and then my next thought was “nope, I’m going to go lay down while I feel this good and if I have to get up again, I have to get up again” but I didn’t. I slept the rest of the night and felt just fine by morning.

God’s grace is real. God’s grace is amazing. And a lot of times, most times, it’s not a big flashy thing. It’s as simple as – now I feel well enough to leave the bathroom and finally sleep.

We all have this grace in our lives. I see it in mine all the time. It’s when we get too busy, too distracted, too caught up in the world that we don’t see it for what it is. Because most of the time, it is these small things. People tell me all the time how overwhelmed I must be with 10 kids. And I do get overwhelmed. I get stressed. I feel really busy most of the time. But it is only by God’s grace that I really don’t feel overwhelmed most of the time. I know I’m right where I’m supposed to be. I know that I can find joy in the busyness that comes with having 10 kids. I know that I can teach my kids to find that joy in their lives no matter what – because of God’s grace.

I love this Gospel. I love my God and my Savior. I love what this Gospel has brought into my life. I know that my life has been guided by God since the moment I was born and I am (maybe slowly) learning to let God have the reigns completely. My job in this life is to be still. To listen. And then to act upon what I know and feel to be true and to let God decide and lead me where He wants me to be.

I say these things with all the love in my heart, in the name of Jesus Christ – amen.

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Can’t hide the tattoos. And that’s okay!

CTR and Summer

 

I used to think that CTR rings, necklaces, WWJD bracelets, etc were silly. I don’t particularly like crosses as jewelry… but that’s a whole ‘nother post for another day. I used to think these types of jewelry were silly. Why? Because why would someone need that except to be flashy? To be trendy? I didn’t get why anyone would need jewelry to show they loved Christ. Wouldn’t that just be something you needed to feel and not flash around to everyone else?

CTR stands for Choose The Right. It’s something that was designed for kids to help them to remember to choose the right, make good choices, and follow Christ. Except ever since I’ve come back to church I’ve felt like I needed a CTR ring. It’s taken me nearly a year to buy one. Part of that reason was I still felt like it was silly.

Until I went to dairy queen for ice cream with the little ones the other day. The older kids were having parties at school and the tiny ones were feeling left out – ice cream fixes everything, right?! Our cashier was a woman a little older than me. She looked like she might have had a rough past (absolutely no judgement here, just a simple observation), she had a tattoo on the back of her hand (again… never gonna get judgement for tattoos from me!) and she had a CTR ring on. I almost said and I wanted to say “Wow! I’m so proud of you!” This was literally the first thought that came to my mind. And I was a little taken aback by my own thoughts. I also wanted to ask her to be Facebook friends with me but I’m still trying to figure out how weird I can be about religion with people. lol No seriously, I am definitely that weird in general with people and make friends pretty easily wherever I go but I still feel a little awkward talking about religion with people I don’t know, don’t know well, or even people from my past that knew me when I wasn’t active in the church. There’s a part of me that doesn’t want to offend people or make people feel awkward about it. I’m slowly getting over this but it really has been a struggle. Silly, I know.

Anyways, my next thought illuminated as to why that was my first thought and reaction to seeing her CTR ring. These rings aren’t just to remind us. They are a statement of our values. An outward statement of our beliefs. My next thought was “you need one”.

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So I got one today. It’s these little things that show others (and ourselves) who we really are. It shows the world who we are striving to be. It shows our Father that we are willing to stand and say, Yes, Christ is my Savior and Redeemer.

And that’s why I’ll probably be treating this ring just like my wedding rings and it won’t be coming off.

Step by step just like line by line, we learn and grow.

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Today was the last day of school for these kids! Summer is officially here!

We went to the park to play after school although I didn’t get very many pictures since everyone was running around in opposite directions!

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After the park, we decided to go celebrate National Donut Day.

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I’m sorry if you ever get stuck waiting in line around us…
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love these kids!

Then we had pizza and movie night to celebrate the beginning of summer. I’m actually looking forward to not having to worry about school for a few months. I think this will give us all a chance to learn to work together, to get along a little better (a mama can hope!) and create some good family habits before the next school year begins.

A Mother’s Faith

I texted my mom today and told her a few things that have been stressing me out. Some things that felt big. At least, they felt big until I heard her response.

After being inactive in the church for about 16 years, my mom and I didn’t talk about the gospel, church, Christ, anything related to religion, really. Being able to now almost shocks me sometimes. Her faith is amazing. She is a rock and she truly listens to the Spirit.

She didn’t give me any easy answers. But she gave me the best answers. I could tell that she really thought about what to say before she said it and then what she did say was perfect. She told me to have faith. She told me that God will and always does provide. She gave me hope and specific things to look forward to. She suggested a few activities, like reading the scriptures with the kids every night, even if it’s only for 5 minutes, that I haven’t been doing every day. Yes, we say our family prayers every day – multiple times a day – but I’ve been struggling trying to get everything done.

And you know what – she’s so right. I need a priority shift. Because that is definitely something we should be doing together every day.

My mom and I have have always had a great relationship. Even through our trials and disagreements, I’ve always known she always loved me regardless. Being able to talk about our faith just makes that even better.

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Our two 3 year olds blowing bubbles together today

I found this article tonight too that I LOVED. Give it a read (or a listen! love that you can do that with all of the conference talks), for sure! It’s called Joy and Spiritual Survival by President Russell M. Nelson from 2 years ago. I am constantly shocked by how inspired this man is. Everything he says and talks about just hits me to the core. I really love our prophet. He is definitely meant to be our prophet of these times.

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This tiny one cracks me up!

Read this one too. It’s called Drawing the Power of Jesus Christ into Our Lives by Russell M. Nelson as well. It’s from the April 2017 conference. Just a few months before I came back to church. Yes, I do read and listen to conference talks a lot. I have a lot to catch up on! 😉

One last thought – I’m really loving being able to write here. All of the little things that seem irritating or annoying during the day.. as I reflect here on what to write about – they just don’t seem important. It’s almost cathartic to sit and review my day. Those little things, even the kids fighting (because they do do that) just doesn’t seem that big anymore. This is good. God is good. I’m glad I listened to that still small voice that kept telling me to put this up… more than once. (Remember the whole stubborn thing? yeah… I’m working on it.)

Laundry, Steam, and Social Media

If there was one chore that I could pay someone else to do all the time… it’d be the laundry. I’ve never really enjoyed doing laundry. I mean, I don’t mind putting it into the washer and flipping it over to the dryer. But putting it all away… never been my favorite activity. I think it’s just because it’s so monotonous and takes so much time. And now there’s 12 people in the house. I mean, John is gone a good chunk of time and Jordan does his own so I guess it’s really more like 10. But 10 people worth of clothes is a lot of laundry.

I’m not really telling you this for any other reason than to complain and say I dislike doing laundry. lol so there’s that.

I went to the gym today for the first time in way too long. I have to say, I feel so much better emotionally when I can get work-outs in. I usually go to the gym for 2 hours. I walk at an incline (totally don’t like running so I just increase the incline to make it more difficult 😉 ) for at least 30 minutes. Then I do various weights for arms, legs and core. I do squats and pull-ups and then I leave the last 20 minutes or so for the sauna. I’ve always loved the sauna. It’s just sitting in a hot room sweating a lot but it’s so relaxing to me!

The gym closest to my house now only has a steam sauna. I’ve only ever been in a dry sauna but I gave it a go today anyways because… sauna.

When I went into the sauna, I was the only one in there. I decided to sit and pray while the room filled with steam. There’s been a lot on mind lately – which I’ll write about sometime soon, I’m sure, but praying felt like a good idea. So I prayed for a few minutes. Maybe 5, maybe 10. I couldn’t really tell. When I opened my eyes the room was full of steam. I could barely see a few feet from where I was sitting. It was a room of white haze. It was so beautiful. So peaceful. I don’t know why but I immediately felt more at peace and just sat and watched the steam for another 10 minutes.

Another random thought for ya – I have a love/hate relationship with social media. I love staying in contact with friends and family, I love my oily community, I love following gospel related people and organizations to get uplifting content in my feeds throughout the day. One of the things that I’ve noticed within the last year is that when I’m having a stressful time, there will always be a story or quote or picture or whatever that pops up that is exactly what I need, exactly what I’ve been contemplating. It really blows my mind that this keeps happening. The fact that God uses social media to help us – #mindblown but I’ll take it!

One of those quotes that popped up today was from Gordon B. Hinkley saying, “If we complain about life… we are thinking only of ourselves.”33992804_10103364497482068_6425437225625845760_n

This one was a little bit of a gut shot. I mean, not all messages we are meant to receive are going to be easy pills to swallow. Right? And I’ve been cranky this week (and last week, if you recall! Man…) So apparently I needed this. I needed a reminder that complaining is not only being selfish but doesn’t help anyone be in a positive mood. And no, I’m not saying that you can never complain (go re-read the first paragraph up above lol) or that you’re a bad person if you do. We all complain sometimes. But if that is interfering with your life. Then it’s time to reassess. I needed the reminder.

And then here was another one –

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I needed someone to tell me that it isn’t easy trying to… not stay because I feel like that isn’t the right word but maybe ‘seek to accelerate’? on the path of righteousness. But it is oh so good and oh so worth it!

Oh and kids are good! Last day of school for everyone is on Friday. Summer is only 2 days away…

Lots of random thoughts today. I promise I’ll try to organize my mind a bit better in the future. No promises though.