Daily Priorities

One of the reasons I’m taking a break from social media is to figure out how to fit the things that are of a high priority to me into my daily routines and then try to implement them into becoming healthy habits.

Like scripture reading. I did the Prophets challenge to read the Book of Mormon from cover to cover from October to the end of December. It was difficult even though I’ve read it that quickly before. But then as soon as I had completed the challenge, I wasn’t reading my scriptures as often again.

I just remembered that I bought a prayer journal for myself at Christmas time. It was only about $6 on amazon. I started using it this week and it has been incredibly helpful!

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There’s a spot to write a daily scripture verse on each days entry. So what I’ve been doing is reading my scriptures each morning for any length of time I have. Then I go back through what I read and pick out a verse that I feel stands out. I write that one down. Then it has spots to wrtite what you’re thankful for, what you want to work on, and what prayer requests you have. I use the prayer request portion to think about what I would like to pray about that morning; to focus my thoughts. I feel like this process is creating a more “active participation” in my mind. I’m not just saying the same prayers every day. I’m taking the time to think about what is really going on, what I am truly thankful for each day, and what I honestly need to work on or need help with.

Like I said, I just started using it this week but I already love it!

The kids are slowly recovering from the flu that went through the house. Just 2 kids left feeling sick. I’m hoping it will be gone by the weekend and that it won’t make any other rounds through anyone else!

I did have a funny conversation with Vaiden last night. I went in to check on the boys and Vaiden had just gotten into bed when he asked – “How do you do so much all the time?”

The question surprised me and so I responded with – “What do you mean?”

Vaiden – “Well, you take care of 9 kids every day and then when I was doing homework on your laptop, you have like 10 tabs open but they’re all for work.”

Me – “Oh, well I just try to get things done whenever I have the time.”

Vaiden – “huh…”

I was surprised he noticed. I have tabs open on my computer for ceu requirements for my midwifery certification, my email, some research for something I’m writing, and a tab for a few supplies to have on hand I want to order for the birth of our baby in the next few months. So not all of it work related… but most of it!

By the way, it’s completely blowing my mind that there’s only about 11ish weeks until I could meet my baby. Even sooner if he decides to be born early like Tahlia. Thankfully I don’t think I’d go too far past my due date but now that I’ve written it, it will probably happen. Because luck.

 

How to Keep the Sabbath Day Holy

How do you keep the Sabbath day holy? This is different for everyone and each individual and family will have to choose what will be best for them. For me personally, I’ve struggled with this one. Especially with having 10 kids. I’ve limited the types of movies and tv shows that they can watch on Sundays, cut out activities that they can do any other day of the week but probably shouldn’t do on Sundays… like homework. But I’ve felt like this isn’t enough.

I really love what this article said about the Sabbath day.

“The word Sabbath comes from a Hebrew word that means rest, and the word holy means something that is sacred or dedicated to God. The Sabbath is a holy day, a day that’s supposed to be different from the other days of the week. On this sacred day, you should rest from your normal daily routine and dedicate your thoughts and time to God.”

So how do I do this with 9 kids ages 14-4?!

Well…. here’s some ideas. I read through them all and like a few of them. What I’ve basically decided is that it all is going to come down to being more organized. Which is actually pretty difficult for me. It’s just something I have to really try and focus on.

With this pregnancy, my “nesting” has been to really minimize what comes into the house and to declutter what is here. I’ve gotten rid of big items and lots of little items already and it feels like I’ve barely made a dent. I’ve decided that the only way to feel like I’m not living in clutter is to figure out a way to make this home of 11 (12 when this baby is born and 13 when Jordan gets back) is to organize it and make it a home of minimalism. Which again, is going to take some organizational skills… and maybe not sick kids to actually be able to get stuff done!

I feel like the next thing that needs to be done is to go through all of the clothes in the house which is daunting just by itself!

Anyways, back to the Sabbath day… some things that are going to take organization is going to be getting items that will be only Sunday items, like puzzles that we can work on together and maybe a few small puzzles for the younger kids. But then they get put away until the following Sunday. Printing pages to color and activities to do that are Sunday only. Basically, being on top of things to make Sunday feel more special that doesn’t involve just sitting on the couch vegging out on movies that “aren’t bad”.

I mentioned the minimalism thing because this is something I’ve been thinking about but it involves bringing in a few more items to the house. This feels… icky to me while there’s so much stuff already crammed into drawers and on shelves. The clutter drives me nuts. So I need to get this house under control before I feel like I can implement these other things successfully.

I really loved this article too.

The last thing it says is –

“Be consistent.

It won’t do you or your family much good if you do something one Sunday, then don’t do it the next. Children are quick to sense hypocrisy. If you want your Sabbath day activities to succeed, you must do them every week, or else they will become meaningless.”

THIS. This is what I don’t want. I want to create a home where everyone can work together. Where things don’t feel so crazy. Where the kids can expect certain things to happen… and they do. Where good things become routine.

This seems too hard but I know it isn’t. I know it can be done.

This is my goal before this baby is born. To organize this house and family in order to make our Sabbath days truly holy. Not just lazy, or boring, or alright. But holy and family centered. Without the clutter.

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On the Morrow Come I Into the World.

It’s been a while since I’ve written anything here. One of my daughters dropped my laptop and you can no longer see the screen very well. So that was replaced. But then life got busy and writing got set aside.

I’m 26 weeks pregnant tomorrow. Time is flying by and I’m enjoying feeling this new life move around. We found out it’s a boy. Which still blows my mind. God blessed me with 5 boys and now another. I never thought I’d be a mother to boys.

I’ve been meaning to come back to writing here for a while. I’ve procrastinated about it for some reason. But there’s been a topic on my mind, and I wasn’t sure what would be the best avenue to discuss it/get it off my chest, so to speak.

I’ve been wondering, in a purely spiritual point of view – not political. I’ve been wondering – at what point does a spirit enter the body of a fetus/baby? Is it conception? The first heart beat? Birth?

I used to think it was conception. But now I’m not too sure.

3rd Nephi 1:13 says –

“Lift up your head and be of good cheer; for behold, the time is at hand, and on this night shall the sign be given, and on the morrow come I into the world, to show unto the world that I will fulfill all that which I have caused to be spoken by the mouth of my holy prophets”

Christ was doing whatever work he needed to accomplish before being born into his physical body while Mary was pregnant… with him.

Is this closeness I feel to my son because his spirit is in his little body already – like I used to think? Or is it because he is one of my guardian angels and he is sticking close by during this time because he’s just as excited to be here with us as I am to meet him as my infant son?

Again – this has nothing to do with politics. I didn’t want to post this on Facebook because I felt like it would devolve into something I didn’t mean it to be. I am simply curious. I’ve always just assumed that our spirits are “tied” to our bodies once a heart beat is there and we can move in our mothers womb. But after reading the scriptures and thinking about what that implies… I’m not sure.

That doesn’t mean that I don’t love my baby wiggling in my belly any less. I’m just wondering what he’s doing and experiencing. Or maybe he’s free to come and go as he likes and experience both?

Thoughts?

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Summer Fun

Yesterday was a buuuusy day from the time I got up until the time I fell asleep (almost on the couch!) So tired.

It started with the fact that I completely forgot that most of the kids had a dentist check up at 8am, which John reminded me of at about 1:30am. So I got up at 6:30, got ready, made the kids breakfast, made them all wake up, eat, get dressed, and got them out the door… 15 minutes after their appointment was supposed to begin. Thankfully, it’s really close by!

We did the dentist appointment for 5 of the kids from 8:25ish-10am. Then I went across the street to the store, grabbed some food for a picnic, and rushed back home.

Next, dropped off most of the kids at home and told them to get their swimsuits on as fast as they could. Caitlin and Ethan stayed there and helped with Vaiden, Taevia, Phalin, Tahlia and Paxton. While they did that, I took Jordan to work real quick.

Got back, packed the last few things for the lake and got them all back into the car. Drove over to the Grandparent Pendergrass’s house and we headed out to the lake!

The lake wasn’t busy at all which was really nice! All of the kids had a ton of fun swimming, building sand castles, and rowing in their cousins canoe. That was my favorite part too. At one point I had Theia, Tazden, Paxton, Tahlia, and Phalin in the canoe at one time. I rowed them out to the buoy so they could touch it and rowed them back to shore… at least 10-15 times. Caitlin read a book most of the time, but she came with us which is the most important part!

I’m so glad their grandparents, aunt and uncle and cousins could all go. It’s so nice to get to know their (our) family better and to be able to spend time with them doing something that all of the kids enjoy.

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After the lake, we went home to change then I brought most of the kids over to their grandparent’s house to play with their cousins for a little longer. We finally got home for the night about 10pm. All of the kids went to bed and then so did !!

Long day but a good day. I’m looking forward to many more! The only thing that would have made it better is if John were here with us.

Tears of Joy

Going back and forth between houses is never easy for kids. I’m so glad Taevia, Tahlia, and Theia enjoy the time that they spend at their dads house. I know they miss him and like being over there. This time, when Taevia got back – before bed – she said that she wished she was back at her dads house. I asked her why and she said “because dads house is fun.” She was very upset and crying. I sat there for a second just thinking. She doesn’t always do well with bedtime and her being tired stresses her out even more. We had already been talking about why she was originally upset. 15 minutes before she said it was because the boys are mean to her. (They had been in the past a little bit but we’ve talked to her and them about it and all of them are getting way better with each other. They hadn’t been mean at all that day. I think she’s just holding onto the previous stuff)

I was starting to get frustrated because it was feeling like she was just cycling through things to be upset about to get her to stay out of bed.

So I sat and just thought about it all for a minute.

This is what I told her –

“Sometimes… people are mean in this life. Sometimes, it is our job to be the good example and show them love. You are going to meet people in life who will not be nice to you. You need to be strong. You are strong. It is not my job as your mother to make life fun. We will have lots of fun times together. But my job, as your mom, is to make sure you grow into a woman who is kind, who loves God, and loves her family. Not only are you my daughter, you are a daughter of God. That makes you a goddess. That makes you royalty. You have to stand tall and stand firm and show others the way to kindness. I promise we will have fun together but my job as your mom is to make sure you grow into this strong woman who loves God and loves her family.”

The next thing she said was “I’ve never cried tears of joy before!”

Oh my daughter. You teach me so much. Our kids need to hear these things. They need to hear that sometimes life is hard but we can stand tall and stand firm and our faith will pull us through. I’m so thankful that I paused instead of allowing myself to just get frustrated and make her go to bed.

After that, she went right to bed and slept through the night.

Parenthood isn’t easy but it is oh so worth it. I’m so glad she chose me to be her mother. I can’t wait to find out what else she has to teach me.

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my beautiful Taevia

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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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.