Seasons of Life

This stone is in my Grandmother’s beautiful garden.

While on our vacation, we stopped by to visit Grandma for the first time since my Grandpa passed.

Being in their beautiful yard and not getting to hug him too, brought feelings of loss and sadness. I know I’ll see him again, I just miss him.

I was also reminded of the legacy of incredible people I come from. People who grow things, fix things and create things out of nothing.

Working on projects, building things and fixing old things connects me to those people who paved the path. I left her home inspired to do more!

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Now that Grandma’s ‘Season of life’ means living without Grandpa, I’m amazed at how she’s doing the things she loves. She’s never been bored, and always has some kind of project. And I love the beauty she’s created around her.

Our lives have many seasons, and my grandmother is proof that we can choose to enjoy each one.

I hope you find time today to enjoy whatever season of life you may be in!

Love One Another

I keep this little sign in my bathroom because it reminds me that love is a choice.

So often I feel like love is something that I fall into, or that it’s something that I’ll feel, after I feel love from others first.

But I’ve been wrong.

John 13:34 says, “A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another as I have loved you; that ye also love one another.”

I like to think that the Savior gave this to us as a commandment to remind us that because of the gift of agency, we can choose to love others even when they may get on our nerves at times.

Elder Dale G. Renlund said, “In order for us to more effectively serve others we must begin to see people through a parent’s eyes. Through Heavenly Father’s eyes. Only then can we more fully comprehend the true value of the soul. Only then can we begin to understand the love our Heavenly Father has for his children.”

One thing I know is true is that Heavenly Father loves you and me more than we know! I testify of the healing power of the atonement because I’ve felt it working in my life. I’m grateful for the gift of agency so I can choose to show love one to another.

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Benchmark Reality

When I first got this bench, I had dreams about how amazing it would look refinished!

Before:

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After:

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Now that it’s painted, I love it more than ever, but keeping the paint clean and nice has been a challenge. I think I need one more coat of poly to feel comfortable, but until that happens, I cringe every time someone goes near it!

In way, I think that relates to motherhood… you can get it right one second, but the next minute someone comes along with sticky fingers and messes it up again!

When my oldest was 5, my youngest (a set of twins) were born, making me the mom of 5 kids in 5 years. Those first 5 years as a mom were physically exhausting!

Before:

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Now my kid’s ages range from 13-8, and while I’m not changing diapers, or chasing after them in grocery stores, I’m even more exhausted!

Now:

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The challenges are less about helping them survive, and more about helping them mentally navigate this crazy world! And I feel like I know what I’m doing less now, than I ever did! Just when I feel a success, something difficult happens and we’re back to stress and tears again.

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The one thing that seems to help, is strengthening my relationship with God. He’s like that extra coat of poly to protect my paint-chipped heart.

I pray that He will take my weak efforts and magnify them into something good!

I pray that He will support me.

I pray for strength to guide my children through this crazy world.

And I know he will.

Even if I fail… He will be there to refinish and refine each benchmark of motherhood again.

Balance

Balancing family, sick kids, funeral services, race training, church service, hubby’s schedule and kid’s activities leaves very little time for my projects these days!

But that’s just my season of life right now!

And while there are times that I’m tempted to doubt my choice to be a stay at home mom, hate the situation we’re in and give in to fear and sadness; I’m learning that balance is all about choice.

Choosing to let go of the selfish things I want as well as letting go of the emotions and feelings that don’t bring joy, and instead, choosing to focus more on my family and spirituality is what seems to bring the most balance to my life.

What brings balance to you?

A Tiny Flower

This hearty little flower inspired me today. It’s tiny, and easy to miss among the other plants and leaves, all vying for precious soil. It’s also extraordinary that something so small and delicate could survive last night’s freeze! And I’m inspired at how it’s not the biggest or the best, but it shares it’s tiny burst of lavender among all of the competition, clutter and chaos around it.

Sometimes I feel like this flower. There’s so many influences that the world throws at me… from the pressure of being the biggest and best, to the shame of feeling like I’m not doing enough… It’s easy to feel like the world is overtaking my tiny plot of earth, but this flower reminds me to keep trying and that it is possible to endure.

“No matter how serious the trial, how deep the distress, how great the affliction, God will never desert us. He never has, and He never will. He cannot do it. It is not His character to do so … He will always stand by us. We may pass through the fiery furnace; we may pass through deep waters; but we shall not be consumed nor overwhelmed. We shall emerge from all these trials and difficulties the better and purer for them.” -George Q. Cannon

Happy New Year

What a year 2018 has been! Between my husband’s busy work and church schedule, my kid’s endless activities and my health, I’ve never felt more of an emotional strain. Supporting the lives of the 6 other people around me leaves little time for my business, my projects or doing what I want to do. And that realization was a difficult pill to swallow this year.

But that being said, I’ve also never felt more personal growth.

I’m a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and in October, our prophet challenged us to read the Book of Mormon by the end of the year. Completing that challenge brought me so much strength and personal inspiration. At times when my children’s problems were more than I could handle, I felt peace with scripture stories about Helaman’s Stripling Warriors. When I was lonely from my husband’s travel and church schedule, I felt comforted and lifted up when read about the Jesus Christ coming to America. And when my heart ached from feelings of failure and betrayal, I found strength when I turned to the Lord.

It worries me sometimes that I have no idea what tomorrow will bring, but it’s ok, because I know that as I stay close to the Lord and continue to read the scriptures, I’ll be able to handle whatever may come.

May 2019 bring you peace as well!

If you’re interested in how the Book of Mormon can change your life check out https://www.mormon.org/free-book-of-mormon

Or check out http://www.lds.org for more info!

Reality Check Wednesday

Tell me that mine aren’t the only kids who don’t clean their rooms.

Tell me that the hours I spend nagging them will pay off someday.

Tell me that I’m not a total failure since I clearly have not taught them how to clean better.

Then tell me not to throw away everything in here… because there’s a crazy vein telling me that if they didn’t have this stuff, then I wouldn’t have to clean it!

I typically make my kids clean their rooms, but they do a terrible job! (Dirty underwear does NOT belong in the toy box, people!) Once a month I go in and get everything back to ground zero. I shudder to think what it would look like if I didn’t!

How do you get kids to keep things clean?

The Little Lights

The other night, my little girl opened up about her trouble falling asleep. Occasionally she’ll come into my room in tears because she’s awake and no one else is, and it has really concerned her.

She sleeps on the bottom bunk, which is extra dark, and in our family, the bottom bunk is the least desirable bed to sleep in. I imagine that more often than not she’s sitting sad and alone in that dark room with just her thoughts.

My heart broke for her because I know it takes a lot of courage for her to come to me. I prayed for inspiration… and then I started thinking…

I’d been wanting to make a lighted garland for a while, but hadn’t gotten to it because I was unsure where to put it. But after my girl expressed her concerns the little lights in my creative mind turned on!!

So here is what we did!

I made this garland out of an old bed sheet and some lace curtains, and tied the fabric onto a string of little lights. We were lucky to find an outlet next to the bed, and I hung the garland underneath the bed slats of the top bunk. She can turn it on and off whenever she wants, and my sweet friend even recommended a timer so it will turn off after she falls asleep.

She loved it and happily said that when she’s awake she can turn on the lights without bothering the other two girls, so she can read some books! (I also kinda love that she’s turning to books when she’s bored!)

That night she fell asleep right away, happy and cozy under the lights, and it felt like a big win for this momma!

Stay tuned for a tutorial on how to make this super simple garland.

Now the other two girls want something special over their beds too, so I’ll be putting together some big plans for a sweet little girls room.

I wouldn’t have it any other way…

My husband and I celebrated 19 years of marriage last week!

I’ve almost been married longer than I’ve been single! (Yes, I was a baby when we got married!)

During that time we’ve battled through 10 years of infertility, 7 big moves, 5 kids in 5 years, 11 surgeries and hospital stays, deaths, tough jobs, finishing our education while trying to raise a family and loads of other things that I thought would never happen!

I’m so lucky I’ve gotten to go through it all with my best friend.

Marriage is tough, and I can see why people avoid it, but going through all of that has made me stronger. And going through all that with my best friend has made us stronger.

And I wouldn’t have it any other way!

Our Holiday Home Tour

This Christmas season has just flown by and I can’t believe it’s almost over!

Just wanted to share some of the Christmas decor we’ve done in our new home this year!

This garland is from a company called Grandin Road. I wanted some texture in the garland so I added some eucalyptus sprays and sparkly sprays.

I made the Merry Christmas blocks 3 years ago with my sweet sis-in-law! The other side says “Happy Halloween”.

Most of the ornaments on our tree are handmade. But we also have a bunch of fun white pieces we’ve picked up over the years. I built the tree crate last year, and love using it to hide the cables and tree stand.

I also built the star this year!

The high cupboard above the oven is a little difficult to reach so it stays empty. I think it’s only purpose is to hang a wreath.

This tablecloth was an old curtain that I found in the discount section of At Home a few years ago. Confession: I can’t remember why, but one year I cut a square out of it… but if I fold it just right, it works as a table runner and you can’t even tell!

Several years ago I was really into quilting. I had a lot of fun making the Santa Clause wall hanging and this felt like a good spot for it.

We’ve had this nativity for 16 years and I’ve always struggled with finding a good spot for it until now! It finally has a home on the table behind the couch.

My sweet grandmother made that little throw blanket about 11 years ago for my son’s birth. Confession: I haven’t told him that it’s his because I’m afraid he’ll want to keep it on his bed, and I really like it here!

This is one of the views when you walk in our front door. This shot was really tough to get! The wall color pulls a lot of yellow. Im still working on my photography skills.

This Room is designed to be the formal dining room. But my hubby was adamant that it should be the piano room. I’m glad I listened to him because this is a nice spot for music. Confession: I find myself playing the piano in here more and more often when I should be cleaning and wrapping presents.

I gave the front porch some flea market-style Christmas love, but had to bring it all back in when it started raining. A white rug on the front porch was a terrible idea as well, but it was fun for the picture!

The master bedroom has become the wrapping station. Right now it’s filled with boxes and tape and paper!

The girls bedroom is very dark and long. It’s tough to get a good photo. All of the kids have mentioned they don’t like how dark the bedrooms are, so I plan on painting sometime next year. Can you spot the real life in these pics?!

Last night one of my girls said, “So is this our home now?” I laughed so much, but I kind of understand. We’ve moved 5 times in the last 10 years and the idea of staying here long term still hasn’t sunk in! This feels like a nice resting spot that we’ll leave in a few months. I have to keep telling myself that this is real!

Thanks for taking this little tour with me! You’re always welcome to come for some hot chocolate and games!

Wishing you a wonderful, safe Christmas and a Happy New Year!