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.

 

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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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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.

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

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.

Christ Heals All Things

You hear the phrase ‘Christ heals’ all the time, right? Do we really know what that means? Usually, when we think about healing we think of big miracles. Healing the sick, making the blind see, etc. Am I right? I could be wrong. But that used to be how I viewed this idea. The only way I saw this.

I was wrong. I think I’m a little closer into understanding now though, Christ heals all things.

I don’t really know why I’m writing about this – other than I feel like I should. Maybe it will help someone else understand too.

If you’re not LDS, bare with me. I think there’s still some good stuff here.

Anyways – I was inactive from the church for nearly 16 years. During that time I started drinking coffee. I liked coffee. I liked the taste, the ritual of drinking it every morning. It became a comfortable habit to have. But I was addicted. No question about it.

When I decided to come back to church, I gave up coffee. It was my choice and it was one I wanted to make. I believe the Word of Wisdom is there to help us, make us healthy, make us strong, and develop other healthy habits. It was not an easy habit to break.

I would drive by a coffee shop and a thought would enter my mind such as “one coffee wouldn’t hurt anything”. But you know what, it would. Because if I wanted to be able to go to the temple, then even one would hurt.

You see – those thoughts – those are thoughts of addict. The adversary will and does use anything he can against us. Even little things. Especially “little” things. Because those little things are small concessions. Each small concession gets you one step further and further away from where you really want to be. Those little things end up being a really big thing later.

Now let me tell you something simply miraculous. As soon as I had that temple recommend in my hand. Those thoughts vanished. The idea of wanting coffee – gone. The thought of drinking coffee actually kinda grosses me out now. I don’t want it.

CHRIST HEALS ALL THINGS

Ether 12:27 And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.

I never thought that I would live out a scripture passage. But weak things definitely can be made strong. I fully believe that I will never again have the adversary use coffee against me. That addiction is gone.

I never would have ever called myself an addict either. I mean, it’s not like drugs or alcohol…. right? Wrong. There are so many possible addictions in this life. Thankfully, Christ can heal them all. Even the little things.

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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!