Category: happy and healthy mama

Hard times are a gift to us.

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If you’ve noticed at all, many of my post are LDS Young Women lessons. To be honest, I didn’t create this blog to post about YW lessons. I intended it to focus on tricks that I find help me with my motherhood life that could hopefully help others (Oh. Maybe thats why I titled the blog “Tricks of the Motherhood Trade”).

The thing is, my faith is a HUGE component of my life, in fact it is not just a component, it is something that is seamlessly integrated into who I am and why I choose to do and think what I do. It affects everything. The principles I share are part of my bags of ‘tricks’ for motherhood and life.

It has been a huge blessing that I was called into the YW a little after I started this blog. Since I was planning, thinking and creating material for my lesson anyway, this blog became the perfect outlet to share what I was already doing. It also gave me the chance to share the dearest part of my heart and life-my testimony of the reality of Jesus Christ. Teaching YW provided topics and resources and became the perfect ground to talk about, share and fine tune for myself the beliefs I had.

Having said that, I hope these lessons, although initially intended to teach teenaged girls in a church group, can be read and applied to anyone’s life. Mothers, girls, women, boys and men. These are principles of a happy, fulfilling life.

With that said, the things I share are true feelings, beliefs and stories that I share with my YW but I share them to also hopefully help anyone else along too.

The lesson was I teaching on was Why do we have adversity? Which was timely for me.
The last couple weeks I’ve been pretty sick. I had a fever higher than I can ever remember having. It was 103-104 degrees for 4 days. I was weak and exhausted. I somehow still had to take care of my 3 sick kids on top of that. I knew complaining and getting frustrated at my situation would only make things worse so I did what I could to redirect my focus to what I COULD do and think (not to say I didn’t have my weak moments of utter defeat!). I thought of the YW lesson I was preparing to teach and thought, “Oh perfect. There is no better way to learn about why we have adversity than to go through this.” My thinking shifted to “What can I learn from this? and “How can this experience help me grow?”

That mental shift changed everything.

Here some of the things I learned.

Tribulations brings a softening and humbling of spirit and heart.
When I was so physically weak from illness, I was reminded of how I feel when I fast. The physical weakness and lack of energy can be turned to a precious moments of humility and direct one to a different power beyond physical strength-spiritual strength.

I have learned every experience, evening if unpleasant at the moment, can be used to create more room in ones soul to allow greater strength and experience deeper peace and joy later.

Feeling spiritually disconnected and alone
The most difficult moments for me are not the physically weak ones but the moments when I feel alone, left in the dark and disconnect from the source of peace and joy. The most trying challenge comes when I can hardly feel that spiritual strength and power within myself.

Being sick for that length of time combined with the demands of parenthood left me unbalanced in all sorts of ways. Despite my efforts, I wasn’t getting enough rest for what my body needed to recover. I didn’t leave for the gym in the mornings because I felt too sick. Which meant I didn’t get the exercise I usually get which helps keep me emotionally, mentally and physically afloat. This threw me for a mental/spiritual/emotional spin off. It left me feeling really down casted, unmotivated, depressed and easily discouraged by everything. It was that familiar dark place where it feel like something inside me has died. Life feels dismal and meaningless. Everything I was once excited about–my passions, my ideas, my insights– all seem to disappear. Thinking about things like that at the time of gloom seemed like foolish nonsense.

Having gone through this several times before (see “dealing with mommy blues“) I have learned that this is actually part of the test. It is the most difficult testing point for me. It is where I must make good choices when I feel no motivation for them. It is a slippery time when I feel my very faith and sentiment toward God seems dim and waning. It is where the darkness of doubt, fear and insecurities creep in again to confuse everything inside me.

I have learned that however seemingly illogical, I must still continue to seek the God I can no longer feel and the light that seems like is no longer there to guide me. I must make good choices for myself and respect others even when I don’t feel like it. It is the only way to get out the dark.

positive-choices-quote

It is a moment where my FAITH becomes a principle of  deliberate DECISION and ACTION  instead of a genuine sentiment or feeling.

I thought of Joseph Smith and how he must have also felt abandoned when he cried out, “Oh God, where art thou?” in Carthrage Jail. I know my experience is not nearly as dramatic and devastating as that of the prophet but I believe that no matter our outer challenges it is the inner workings and battles of the soul in each of us that are the most challenging and ultimately where our character is built.

greatest-battles-silentchambers-of-your-own-sould

 

Heavenly Father answers Joseph’s plea with, “My son, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment;” (D&C 121:7)
I thought, “This too shall pass and I will enjoy greater happiness once I am able to overcome this yucky time!”

What is happening TO you is happening FOR you.

I used to stay in the dumps for a long time before I was able to climb out. I used to panic and condemn myself for what I was experiencing and it would start a vicious cycle that made it difficult to climb out of. Now I know to not freakout. I am getting quicker and better because of what I have learned. Doom and gloom are lies from the adversary we must learn to not believe. It is not because God has abandoned us. He is ALWAYS there, even in and especially during the times we can’t feel Him. He lets us experience dark moments and soul shaking attacks from the adversary because He knows we grow tremendously every time we can conquer those times with His strength.  It is pressing forward in faith and continuing to make positive choices even when we don’t feel like it. Overcoming the dark cavities within ourselves create greater room for the Spirit to dwell with in us.  It is preparatory for us to enjoy greater joy and peace and connection to God later. He allows these sorts of things FOR OUR OWN GROWTH and GOODNESS. Trust.

I feel like this fits in so well with Linda S. Reeves temple analogy:

Provo Tabernacle before fire (source)

“Almost three years ago a devastating fire gutted the interior of the beloved, historic tabernacle in Provo, Utah. Its loss was deemed a great tragedy by both the community and Church members. Many wondered, “Why did the Lord let this happen? Surely He could have prevented the fire or stopped its destruction.”

Provo Tabernacle fire. (Source)

Ten months later, during the October 2011 general conference, there was an audible gasp when President Thomas S. Monson announced that the nearly destroyed tabernacle was to become a holy temple—a house of the Lord! Suddenly we could see what the Lord had always known! He didn’t cause the fire, but He allowed the fire to strip away the interior. He saw the tabernacle as a magnificent temple—a permanent home for making sacred, eternal covenants.4

Rendering of upcoming Provo temple (end of 2015-beg of 2016). (Source)

My dear sisters, the Lord allows us to be tried and tested, sometimes to our maximum capacity. We have seen the lives of loved ones—and maybe our own—figuratively burned to the ground and have wondered why a loving and caring Heavenly Father would allow such things to happen. But He does not leave us in the ashes; He stands with open arms, eagerly inviting us to come to Him. He is building our lives into magnificent temples where His Spirit can dwell eternally.

Painting saved from the fire. Christ never leaves us alone. He is alway there with His arms extended towards us. (Source)

If you would like to use this analogy to teach your family, or church group, here is the download of the pictures in a PDF. It can be printed on paper (or cardstock) to display as you tell the story.

[Download not found]

 

I’ve had this comes to my mind often:

rebuild-in-a-beautiful-way

I think it is important to write down our thoughts and impressions we receive in moment of clarity and wisdom. Quotes and scriptures that touch us and help us through are essential to write down so we have positive references when life isn’t looking or feeling good. It’s all about REMEMBERING. I created this handout for anyone to use to help them remember the good stuff that will pull us through!

spiritual-strength-adversity-01

[Download not found]

 

For my lesson I showed the video, “Mountains to climb” and had girls fill out above handout as they heard things that impressed them. Through out lesson they wrotte down thoughts that could help them.

YOU CAN DO THIS MY FRIEND!

Other helpful links:

Object lesson video and handout about finding solutions to challenages

6 ways to be happy during tough times

RS presentation video about mentally/emotional/spiritual wellbeing 

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My list of 3 simple ways to experience more Christmas Joy

3ways-to-have-more-christmas-joyIsn’t it sad that Christmas time, intended to celebrate the birth of the Savior of the world, the giver of all peace, has turned into a time of heighten stress, anxiety and chaos??

It is crazy that in the hustle, bustle and anxiety of getting Christmas ‘right’ we can unwittingly loose our personal peace…even our connection with the Being whom we are celebrating.

With this dilemma, I have resolved that if I intend to make Him my celebration, then I must make Him my goal. I must keep my own inner peace to provide the stillness needed for me to listen and feel the Spirit communicating with me, and thereby inviting Christ into my heart.

mary_jesus

I have come to know this as a humble and quiet experience. Not outwardly evident as the sparkle of ornaments or the glamour of fancy Christmas party pictures on my facebook page, but as a totally satisfying and edifying feeling beyond anything this world can offer. That is Christ and Christmas coming alive within me.

 

So how is the done? How can I deliberately focus and feel Christ more during this time and experience Christmas at its fullest?

I believe one of the most beautiful truths about Christ is that He is the optimal source of Joy. Joy truly is the purpose of our existence as human beings! Is that not the greatest news ever??  That means Christ is the key to fulfilling the purpose of our existence.  In fact, when things go beyond the scope of true joy, I have learned that I am likely missing the mark and it is time to realign, reconsider and reconcoliate to Him again.

joy

With that said, here is my simple Christmas list of how I can more fully live in the “Joy Zone” and make Christmas truly magic!

Give willingly- Yes, Christmas is about giving but sometimes that message can be so pounded into my brains that I can begin to distort it and I feel must give or do something to every person I come in contact with!! But in that distress to find and do something for so many, I miss the good feelings behind gift giving because I have certainly stressed and burned myself out doing it! I have essentially  transformed something that could give great joy into something I do unwillingly, with resentment and distress.

Whatever I choose to give, I must make sure I give myself enough space, permission and time that I can give with real intent, willingly and lovingly. This way my joy can be maximized and not dragged down with resentment from the heightened expectations of myself and perceived expectations of others. This also frees me from the anxiety of the receipt not liking or appreciating my gift. If done in love, my gift was enough, regardless of the reaction of others.

In the end, seriously, the greatest gift anyone can ever give is a calm, happy, self. Someone who is willing to listen and to help. This true gift of peace to someone else can be totally sabotaged in the hurry and worry of the season.
So, as counterintuitive as it may sometimes seem, I gotta remember to slow down and stay centered to give my best self to others.

Receive graciously- in our focus of giving, giving, giving, it is so easy to forget how to RECEIVE. In fact, sometimes, receiving can be a source of stress and even a burden! When someone gives me a gift, sometimes I end up feeling guilty or ashamed that I didn’t even think of them, guilty that their gift was way more than I deserved, or even burdened that now I should get them a gift too. But gift giving was never intended to be that! A true gift is given without attachment, done for the sheer joy of doing it. Whether or not this is true from the giver’s end, as a receipt I can alway choose to receive it that way. I can let myself by touched and filled by someone’s gift to me. I can allow for gratitude to fill my heart instead of guilt, shame, disappointment or obligation. I can express gratitude sincerely. It is in these simple attitudes that will naturally help me WANT to pay it forward and spread more joy for myself and others.

baby-santa

Do as much and as little as it takes to experience peace and joy AND LET IT BE ENOUGH.- Happiness has always been a balance. During Christmas,  it is no different. Boycotting Christmas and gifts and exiling myself to a snowy cliff to avoid it all was no more joyous than going crazy like all the other “Whos” who have been sucked into Christmas commercialism.

(Source)

I’m beginning to see that the balancing act of how much is enough can be found in my inner “joy barometer”  Whenever an activity takes me away from my inner peace and turns into turbulence of heightened stress, I have learned to reassess and change my pace, activity or attitude towards it to regain calm again. I’m not always great at it but that as a general aim keeps me sane and happy. Being sane and happy helps to me accept that what I am doing is totally enough. (see feeling enough post)

My hope is that these three points, when lived inside and out, will better help me {and others} keep connected to Christ, the true meaning of the season. And by doing that, experience delicious JOY.

joy-to-the-world-christmas-card

Now go ENJOY your Christmas, my friend!!!

For a simple15 min christmas popcorn to share with free printables!

Other post that might be helpful:
My obsession with getting things done and how it blocked real happiness
Why Christ matters: a mother’s saving grace
Object lesson that helps explain why Christ is so important.

6 ways to be happy during tough times: My determination to be happy while pregnant

6-ways-to-be-happy-while-pregnant

I don’t know about you, but pregnancy has hardly ever had a positive connotation to me. I mean, of course it’s wonderful because the end result is new human life, but the trip to get there is often notorious for being nothing short of an infernal doom of pain, sacrifice, discomfort and misery.
At least that had been my attitude about it my first two pregnancies and talking to other preggo peers, it seemed to be the general consensus. Nausea, vomiting, moodiness, pain, gas, bloating, emotional breakdowns, swelling, breakouts, and constipation hardly seemed to be the formula for a cheery wife and mother.

The thing that really got me the most was the hormonal moodiness so often accompanied with pregnancy. I mean, sure, I can’t control the discomfort of a tiny human limiting my lung capacity or jumping on my bladder. But to feel like I’m robbed of even being able to have any reins on my own feelings because pregnancy hormones have savagely ruled my universe, seemed unfair. As I have understood it, my entire reality as a female is placed on my feelings. To have zero control of the roller coaster of emotions to me seemed like “feeling happy” was simply out of my jurisdiction during pregnancy.

pregnant-and-happy-early

Here I was at twenty-one weeks. Hubby was 271 wks. Both making progress.

I was preparing for this pregnancy and bracing myself for the pregnant monster, while simultaneously coming to that unanimous agreement in the internal counsel of decision makers in my brain that happiness was just not in the cards while pregnant. Suddenly, a little voice out of nowhere in my mind stepped up and meekly but boldly said “Wait, wait just one minute, there is no way happiness can totally be robbed from you. Happiness is something you can own and have no matter what!”
The serious decision-making counsel in my brain rumbled in indiscernible conversation amongst themselves considering what had been spoken and finally the judge pounded her gavel and proclaimed, “There HAS to be a way to be happy during pregnancy and I WILL FIND IT!!!”

must-be-a-way-to-be-happy

Pardon my imagination, but I hope you get the point.

At that moment I began a quest to find joy, peace and happiness in a place I generally thought I had little say or control- PREGNANCY.

It has been an AWESOME experience seeking bliss in bloating (if you will). I’ve honestly learned a lot and I’m excited to share!

pregnant-and-happy

Third little man coming end of August 2014.

I talk specifically about trying this while pregnant but hopefully you and I can remember to apply these same ideas whether or not you are expecting. Note to self: remember this when I am struggling!!

Do everything in your power to clear out your life to the basics.

First thing I did when we were trying to conceive was to weed out my life. Much of my struggle in life has been trying to take on too much. I have constantly fooled myself into thinking I NEEDED to do so many things and then felt like I was drowning in responsibility and obligations…that I had either created in my mind or signed up for myself! (See my obsession with getting things done post)

It is empowering to realize how much say we have over how much we take on. I have the power to say “yes, no, or at a later time.” It is humbling to know when I can wisely say “no” because, seriously, I am ONE HUMAN BEING with limited capacities and more importantly because: my energy, time and attention can be spent more wisely and in more worthwhile ways such as keeping my personal peace and sharing that with those closest to me.

I had learned my lesson during my last pregnancies that my bandwidth is simply limited while growing a human and any extra stress (on top of two demanding little children) makes me totally emotionally unstable. An emotionally unstable pregnant lady does not make a patient or happy wife or mother.

So one of the first things I did was let go of my biggest client and declined several work offers. I cleared my plate of unrealistic expectation…actually I just have learned to take each day as it comes with little or no expectations…it has worked wonders and I find myself gladly doing good things for myself and others with little or no pressure. Oh it’s wonderful.

Give yourself a chance to thrive: Finding true self reliance
I’m starting to understand what true self reliance means and I’m not talking about just financially (though it applies). If I am doing what I can to stay emotionally, physically and spiritually filled, then I can be in the best personal position to GIVE and fill others. Letting myself get deprived in any of those areas actually causes me to act more selfishly in those respects without even realizing it because functioning on depletion motivates me to act resentfully, grudgingly and TAKE instead of GIVE.

I am learning no one can actually give me most of what I REALLY NEED. No one can get enough sleep FOR me, eat right FOR me, seek spiritual things FOR ME, manage my emotions in a healthy way FOR ME. Those are personal choices I must make every moment to stay balanced and happy, and I cannot blame or make anyone responsible to take care of ‘my needs’ (uh, HUGE light bulb discovery on how to be happy in marriage for me.). Then a magical thing happens: when I am constantly filling up (recharging myself, taking time to be filled, rejuvenate and realign) I can give freely to others and then I am more OPEN to receive more from heaven and from others. I heard a yoga instructor say, “It takes as much humility to receive as it does to give.”

And it has stuck with me since because it is so true! If I want to truly ‘receive’ from what others can give me and feel filled, I must be in an open and humble position to accept and receive. Similarly, to truly give of myself takes just as much humility. It essentially creates a flow, a free exchange of receiving and giving between me, heaven and others. I allow myself to fill up spiritually, emotionally and physically so I can give to others.  In turn, heaven and others bless me with renewed spiritual, physical and emotional energy that I can continue to give. It is a perpetuating cycle that expands!!  IT is awesome.

During my last pregnancy, I found myself insanely needy (my poor husband had no clue what to do with me anymore!!). I was constantly emotionally, physically, mentally exhausted because I focused so much on ‘expectations’ of what I needed to be doing (whether false or real). That meant I gave little thought to what I actually needed to thrive. I bull dozed my way through life without sincerely listening to myself and those around me. Being in tune with myself by living a conscious and calm life has guided me in understanding how to nourish myself physically and how to emotionally let go of negative feelings. I have also been able to feel free to give to others instead of feeling so burdened by having to do so much for everyone else (because I was drowning so bad!). It has been a freeing and healing experience.

kind-with-self-quote-02

Less is more

We live in a society where things move at such a fast pace, where we feel the more we hurry and do and spend and get is the more we’ll get out of life. It becomes easy to miss life’s real purposes. It may even seem totally counter-intuitive to do less to get more out of life.

During pregnancy, there were many days spent nauseously staring off into space and I was unable to physically do much. It would have been easy to write myself off as a worthless lump and spin off into an oblivion of frustration or depression. I can honestly say that those still moments of quiet discomfort have been some of the sweetest. Because in that stillness I was totally able to be present in that moment, soaking in my sweet little ones or deep pondering thoughts.

If I had focused on what I ‘should be doing’ or all the ways I was uncomfortable, it would have been difficult to experience this. Even though I did less, I feel like I experienced more deep and connecting moments. Because I allowed my soul to experience serenity and nourishment by doing this, I was eventually filled with more energy and  motivation that I otherwise would not have had. I eventually did ‘get things done’ but in a calm and focused way.

Focus on the timeless things-

Many things in life are mundane, trivial and of little value. The sad part is that we often put a lot of time, stress and attention to those things that are in the end fleeting and ultimately unfulfilling (watch this video).

Focusing on a relationship with God, others and yourself as seemingly intangible as they seem, in the end is the substance of eternity, and goes beyond this mortal realm. Relationships are more valuable than any worldly thing, possession, status or achievement. Focusing on the priceless brings things into real perspective and helps everything fall into its proper place. It brings peace and calm in an otherwise turbulent situation.

As I am better learning this principle during a sensitive time like pregnancy, it has been helpful in dropping unnecessary things to gear up my energies in providing my loved ones with the kindness they deserve.

I found this in a small way. Instead of trying to frantically clean up the house before the hubby came home with the little energy I had, I have often chosen to take a break, rest, relax, meditate and realign. So when my husband got home I wouldn’t just explode at him in utter exhaustion, complaint and frustration over my burnt out day(so that is how I can help myself from being a complaining, nagging wife??? Take care of my needs so I don’t have to dump on him?? Eureka). The magic was that most of the time I still got the house as clean as I wanted later that evening without the tension, and hubby would even help!

Dealing with yucky feelings: Because you will have them and it is normal and ok.
Sometimes I still feel yucky no matter what I’m trying to do ‘right’. There are times I don’t feel good about people, or myself, or my situation or sometimes I can’t even figure out what is really bothering me. Negative feelings fluctuate throughout the day, and with added pregnancy hormones or when you are going through a rough time, they can seem totally consuming or intense.

One of the greatest things I’ve learned is to be really aware and objective with my feelings. Often those feelings can be so potent and feel so REAL, urgent, and legit, but I’ve learned not to let them decide for me. When particularly down, gloomy or negative, my immediate impulse is to do or say something mean, complain, or do things to muffle or distract me from them (er…can you say eat or social media??). But all those things only feel good for a little bit, and later I feel even worse.

Here are some tips for dealing with yucky feelings:

  • Try to become more aware of what is going on inside of me
  • Validate my own feelings
  • Consciously make decisions and not let those feelings choose my ‘behavior’ for me
  • Let go or let them pass

For instance, even though I feel like telling everyone off, I can consciously choose to be polite. Then I can consciously do things to release that negative feeling in a good way to help me be in a better place (i.e. take time to cool off, process emotions, forgiveness, even take a nap etc). I don’t have to let my negative feelings be in charge of me!!! For more info on managing feelings watch this video/read post.

own your feelings, but don't let them own you

Turning the power to something higher

I wish I could say that I figured this out on my own and successfully achieved happiness because of very own ability. It isn’t true. The real reason I have come to any wisdom or understanding or ability to be happier has little to do with me. I have learned that being able to enjoy peace and joy in difficult or even easy times has everything to do with allowing a higher power to aid you to it. It has meant relying heavily on the Spirit, the divinity inside each of us. Through that power available within, I have turned this sensitive time of pregnancy that has typically been a time of heightened pain, annoyance, irritation, frustration and emotional distress, to a time of heightened reflection, gratitude, serenity and peace.

It has been amazing and totally beyond my comprehension. I have been faced with many home situations that would have irritated the crazy out of me while pregnant, but somehow, I had the power to choose not to be. It has been during those times that I become aware that I was not alone, that there was a divine power helping me and guiding me. This has led me to realize the importance of refilling spiritually everyday, every moment, especially when I start feeling worked up or out of whack. Praying, reading truths in scriptures or other sources and meditating has been my lifeline during this pregnancy.

It doesn’t mean I didn’t have my really bad moments, but now I better understand what I need to do to turn and realign myself again. It is so GREAT. It has been a life lesson I hope I continue to take with me. I’ll have to remind myself, “Hey if I can figure out how to be happy while pregnant, I can totally find happiness anywhere.”  Heh. Tell that to me when I deliver at the end of this summer and have a sleepless newborn screaming at me in my insanely sleep deprived state. That will be my next quest…finding joy as a sleepless zombie with a screaming infant, two other demanding kids…and sore boobs. Yes. That will be the ultimate challenge. Stay tuned.

32-wks

32wks. First time I’ve ever tried to workout during my whole pregnancy. I think it’s helped me stay above the blues. I’m slowing down now with workouts but trying to hit the pool a couple times a week. Swimming feels AMAZING with a whale belly 😀

Ok, I know I’m pregnant, but I just watched this video and it totally made me cry.

It is totally what I wanted to express with this post in an even better way!

My obsession with ‘getting things done’ and how it blocked real happiness.

getting-things-done-list

It was the 4th or 5th time that month rewriting my ideal ‘routine’ for the day. I was striving to create the optimal schedule that would make time for everything I needed to get done. I felt like there was so much for me to do all the time that surely the only way to rid myself of all that stress was to get it all done right, by staying on top of it, without missing a step and pushing myself until everything was complete. Otherwise, I frankly felt my life would fall apart even more than it already was (gasp! oh no! I could NOT let that happen)
I was walking on this precarious tightrope of to-dos that any wind could knock my socks and I over into an internal oblivion of despair. See, I was carefully planning and doing all this to run a peaceful household, and be the optimal mother I felt I could be but the element that seemed to throw everything off were be the people I claimed to serve.

messes
It was easy for a 2 year old to break schedules, make way more messes than I could catch up with, not be entertained for the slightest second so I could just get one thing done! I counted on his naps for me to finish client work but his naps were increasing becoming more and more unpredictable or non-existent, and my irritation and stress levels were exponentially increasing.

Even though I planned moments to be with my child—to go out with him, read to him, teach him— I missed out on most of the enjoyment of it all because my mind was fixated on tasks, on the next to do, on everything else that needed to be done.

2yr-old-at-park

I was there physically and even seemingly emotionally as I expressed with an enthusiastic high-pitched mom voice praise and excitement over the things he did but inside there was just a ticking clock impatiently waiting for him to go down for a nap or entertain himself so I could do something else and hopefully knockout some more of the to do’s heavily weighing me down.

It became an obsession. An addiction, even. This poisonous drive to just get things done that was creeping into all the crevices needed to create stress and crack precious relationships.

I become a slave to an agenda, an idea of what my home should look like, what I should be doing do during the day so I could feel complete, accomplished and finally at peace. I evaluated how I felt about myself based on what my house looked like and what I got done that day. I often went to sleep discouraged and woke up totally overwhelmed. (See post about Feeling Enough)

I felt like a slave. You’ve heard misery loves company, right? I’m seeing that EVERY emotion, good or bad, loves it too. If I felt like a slave, certainly everyone around me should be one too!

I found myself impatiently nagging my kid and my husband to do things.
I started to only view that guy I married as an instrument to get more things done so he could just lighten my load.

To my dismay, he simply couldn’t keep up with my demands. I became resentful if he didn’t do as I asked. Even if he did do it, I’d be mad inside because he didn’t do it quite right, or not as I expected or because he didn’t just do it without being asked! I was never happy with anything he did! It was ridiculous.

I couldn’t handle him relaxing and watching TV because, heavens, I NEVER got to do that, why should he??? He should be doing chores, like me!! I was tired all the time but never took a rest like him!! I became even more bitter.

When I did do things to ‘serve’ him, only in retrospect do I realize how grudgingly I did it because inside I felt like he never did the same or enough for me. Or I did it so I could see him ‘finally step it up’ and do more things for ME in return. I felt disconnected from him and assumed it was because he simply didn’t meet my needs better or just do more things for me (you know, be an even better personal slave. Geez.) I felt like I just didn’t get the ‘relief’ of stress I thought he should give me. I felt sorry for myself all. the. time.

I felt like my kid also didn’t respect anything I asked. I found myself arguing with a two year old, which is NEVER pretty.

Bleh. I was exhausted and yet my house was still not ‘clean enough’ my tasks were never completed and my relationships with my family felt so cold and out of whack. Life felt empty even though I knew I had so much, which made me feel even worse. I just felt like if people in my family could just be THIS way or just DO certain things, then things would be so much better. Everyone needed to change but me for it my life to improve! I mean I WAS doing everything in my power to fine tune things, working REALLY hard to make things work, right??

I love how we are taught in the life…well, definitely in retrospect, at least.  I’m often brought to a breaking point before I’m actually humble enough to change and that inner change is what actually brings about the changes in outer circumstances. (see repentance post) I’m usually brought to place where I’m sick of being miserable, tired, confused and frustrated and I finally plea in totally sincere and desperate prayer for a rescue.

I’ve often had this thought come to my head:

” God lets our life fall apart so we can finally let Him help us rebuild it in a more beautiful way.”

rebuild-in-a-beautiful-way

It took a lot of ‘falling apart’ before I actually started to make a turn around and leave behind attitudes that kept me so unhappy. One defining moment for me to better understand what it meant to have real joy was when I had my second baby.

preggo

When I was pregnant with him (so super on edge as it was)I was running the treadmill of life, frantically trying to get everything done before the baby came. I had client projects that needed to be FINISHED and out of the way. The idea of having yet another kid put in a panic as I was convinced that even more lack of sleep and screaming sounds and non-stop demands of a newborn would surely push me over the edge and send me to a mental hospital.

But then I had him. He was 2 1/2 weeks early which stopped me right in my tracks. I didn’t get nearly anything I had hoped to have done but instead of a panic, it was a relief. A huge one. I finally had an excuse to say, “Hey world, leave me alone, I just had a baby! I’m dropping everything!” I held that tiny 7 lb human and stared at him, my whole being was actually and finally THERE with him: physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. I experienced a deep and beautiful connection that left me with so much peace, confidence and sheer joy.

mother-and-child

I got home and dishes piled up, laundry was backed up to high heavens, house was upside down, but I had finally let loose and focused finally on the things that mattered most: my family members.

For the first time in such a while I remembered that peace and happiness don’t come from just checking of to-do’s (even though I still think there is great satisfaction in that) but the ultimate hallmark of joy is being IN LOVE. In love with the people you get to serve and in love with life itself. That love provides the energy, confidence and peace to carry about doing all other minute details but never overshadows your focus over precious family relationships.

to-loves-above-to-dos

I remember thinking that even though my life on the outside seemed upside down, I was not overwhelmed by it. I knew that there would be time later to get caught up with all those mundane details. We would survive. It didn’t mean I was a bad mom. I was enough. I really had it ALL.Life can look messy externally, but you can be in total harmony internally because you know where your true priorities lie. It was my great epiphany. (See post about “How to prioritize your day to create the most joy.“)

From that moment I fumbled and stumbled (I still do) and learned and continued to grow as I kept learning and re-learning this great lesson.

I feel like I’ve come a long way since then. I’ve learn to drop a lot of unnecessary things out of my life, not stress, focus on what counts, and take care of my needs to best serve those around me.  It meant letting go of extra income and clients so I could have a calm life. It meant taking time to take enough breaks and time to just enjoy. It meant embracing and accepting life as it comes. And meant accepting my efforts, accepting the efforts of others, whatever they may be. Of course, I still have my moments, but boy, I’m SO MUCH happier now. I’ve fallen in love with my spouse again, with my kids, with my life with my life giving God again. For this, I’m eternally grateful.

family

Can anyone else relate?? Love to hear your thoughts!

Other post that might be helpful:
How to deal with negative emotions in a positive way
Why Christ Matters, a mother’s saving grace.

How to manage emotions in a healthy way.

Key Point of video and some additional insight

One the of the greatest life skills

One the of the greatest life skill we and our kids can learn in this life is how to deal with our emotions.  Dealing with our feelings in a healthy way is key to achieving a sense of wellbeing and vital in creating healthy relationship with others and ourselves.

How to manage emotions in a healthy way

The Sun

In the video above I illustrated a sun and it represents all our good and happy feelings. Feelings that communicate that we are happy, lovable, competent and important. Basically any feeling that is warm and yummy to us and that help us feel our real worth. It is always available to us.

The Cloud

A build of up negative feelings creates a cloud between us and good feelings we could have.  It essentially ‘blocks’ out the sun. Many times we even believe that the ‘sun’ (or good feelings) don’t exist because of the cloud that is not letting  happy feelings in.

The Inner Battle

It doesn’t matter what is going on around us, what is going on inside us speaks our reality.  (See this post about how I discovered inner peace was my biggest priority of the day) What we think and feel IS our world. If we feel choatic inside, we will see chaos everywhere around us. If we feel unloved, everything around us will only justify that emotion. Take care of what is going on inside first, let the sun in and you will be able to see things clearer! Then you will be are ready to better take on the world around you.

How to deal with the yuck inside. Releasing the rain, letting the clouds part, go.

Learn ways to help you channel out the yucky feelings. I have found journaling what I’m feeling and resolving to feel peace again in writing helps does wonders! Going for a run to clear out my head is a great way too. Speaking an argument outloud in another room just to get it out of me (instead of on a person) has the same effect without hurting me or another person. If there is a lot of tension, CRYING helps me release much of that build up. Whatever you do, your job is to:

1.validate your own feelings: I feel this way and it is ok to feel anything. Feelings, though strong, potent, vivid and real are NOT facts. Negative feelings can lie and distort reality.

2.Release the emotion, get the yuckies out. (cry, run, punch pillow, scream in closet, journal it out.) Take POSITIVE action with negative Feelings.  Your negative feelings will strongly tell you otherwise but you are can be incharge of what you do.

3.Then let it go by not blaming anyone: not yourself, situations or others. FORGIVENESS of others AND YOURSELF is the most freeing thing you can possibly do. It heals and helps you move forward.

4. You will feel more calm and ready to better conquer the outer battles

Remember, own your feelings but don’t let them own you.

own your feelings, but don't let them own you

Many Great methods: Recovery International

My fabulous friend Erin (in the video) teaches the Recovery International (RI) method to mothers and helps us learn how to turn around our negative and insecure thoughts around whenever we feel ourselves getting worked up (raise your hand if you get worked up over stuff!!!).  It has worked wonders in her own life! I have personally have learn SO much from her and Dr. Lows (RI creater) methods and readings. I highly recommend it to anyone. For more info, go to her fb group, here is the official RI website explaining more and here are some ‘spots’ (truths that help turn our thoughts around).

The Rain can help you Grow

Anytime we release that negative emotion in a positive way and turn our feelings around, we GROW!  We receive greater strength and wisdom to deal with negative emotions for the next time we encounter them. Our self control rewards us with self-respect and confidence. Our relationship flourish. We enjoy greater happiness! We can feel the sun again!  we need the rain

Are you feeling inspired to make a change in your life? Here are my 7 tips for success!  I’m all about learning how to be a happier healthier mama! It helps me and everyone around me. Enjoy happiness my friend!.

Health Vision Board

I’m guessing’ you are looking for a printable for your lesson or some inspiration?? Great news, All faith building content has moved to SeekingEternalTruth.com!!

A site created by yours truly (Sariah Tate) jam packed with all the feel good, inspiring, faith building content, printables you are looking for! Yay. Click here for this specific printable for the visions board.

Seeking Eternal Truth Banner from MT-02

 

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Feeling inspired to make a change in your life? My 7 tips for success!

Feeling inspired to make a change in your life?  My 7 TIps for success

After I wrote How to harness your body to do and become what you want” I thought to myself, “What would I say to someone if they really wanted to make a change in their life and wanted direction?”  I started thinking about my own personal journey  of overcoming obstacles and the lessons I have learned along the way. This a list of tips I’m still learning and practicing every day. I believe that it doesn’t matter what you are trying to change or achieve in your life, the unlying principles should continue to hold true.

1. Inspiration and insight will mean nothing tomorrow if you don’t apply something today.

Whatever it is you are after, let it be more than just a nice external thought, let it be part of you by deciding to do something today. The  sooner and more you practice something you have learned, the sooner and more it will become an inherent part of you.

2. Don’t worry about results, focus on creating habits, discipline and momentum, the results will take care of themselves.

In a result driven society it is so easy to get caught up with end results. The problem with it is that if we don’t see quick results we are more likely to give up because we feel our efforts aren’t ‘working’. Whatever it is you are trying to accomplish, it is mostly likely built on creating positive habits and mental attitudes that will get your there. Start with small and manageable changes, improvements, habits that you can build on. As you continue you will create the momentum to keep going and improving. The hardest part is usually just getting started.  You will get your results, it is just a matter of time. 

3. Discouragement is your biggest enemy, don’t let it win.

First of all, it is ok to get discouraged, it is normal to feel that way after a setback but what counts is what you decide to do after you ‘fall’. Decide now that you will not let discouragement have the final say. Decide now that in moments of darkness, confusion and utter discouragement, you will keep going, even when you don’t feel like it. Those dark feelings will leave because you have chosen not to focus on them and are focusing on something greater.

4. Change is a challenge

Your body and human nature will want to do what it has always done. It wants to be in charge and will fight you to keeps its control over you! If you are trying to make a positive change in your life the battle WILL get harder before it gets easier, better or more pleasant. Know this. Know it is normal but remember that you are ultimately in charge of making the choices that will lead you to where you want to be.

5. Every setbacks/failures/weakness can be a gain!

Roadblocks can really be our steps to higher ground! Setbacks can be our greatest teachers if we are humble enough to accept and learn from the lessons they are trying to teach us. I have personally come to find that my greatest struggles have become my greatest strengthens.  I have met people who’s greatest trials in life have become their greatest blessing because they chose to learn and grow from them.

6. Your worth has nothing to do with your performance.

Contrary to what the world has taught us all our lives, your worth has nothing to do with your performance. The world will try very hard to cram us into their skewed ‘worth-o-meter’ to gauge our supposed ‘value’ with some size, number, level or status.  Your actually, true WORTH is infinite, (read my post about ‘feeling enough’) Once you realize this, your performance will most likely improve! Building self esteem by accomplishing is good but finding deeper and true sources of worth is even better! Our feeling of self worth doesn’t need to be tied to our level of performance or how we compare to other’s performance. Separating our performance from our self-worth helps us be less scared to try because we are less scared to fail because failures don’t really define us and because failures aren’t really failures until we stop trying. Discovering and feeling your true and never-ending worth provides  deep rooted security and resilience in times of setback and humility and gratitude in times of success that keeps you centered and going.  It is motivation from the inside out.

7. Give power to the divinity that lives inside you.

True success actually starts within and then is just projected externally. The good news is that divinity already lies within you. You were born to win, succeed, and enjoy an abundance of peace love and happiness in this world.  The key is to find peace, love and happiness within you first instead of trying to find that under every rock or person, place or thing. Having worthy goals is great but we can enjoy happiness with every step of the way instead of depending our entire happiness on the achievement of  our goals. Keeping a balanced and centered life will give you the happiness you desire, make that a focus, and that alone will propel you to achieve whatever else your heart desires..

How to harness your body to do and become what you want!

Our bodies are da BOMB.

Our body is the very vehicle that helps us perform in life! It is what carries us from one place to another, helps us achieve our dreams and greatest desires. It is the vessel through which we experience the greatest pleasures and sensations this world has to offer.  It is a masterpiece in external beauty and internal function. It creates life. It is the greatest gift we will ever receive. Of all the things God created, this body of our is His greatest!

our-body

Why not give it a fighting chance? Feed it, nourish it, strengthen its muscles, love it, let it flourish with you. Why not partner up with the very machine that your spirit is in! Work together to accomplish and experience your divine greatness!

Our body is a BEAST: Keep it happy.

By it’s very nature your body is a beast. It’s beastly nature is best displayed when it is unhappy and deprived. It can be stubborn, lazy, selfish, demeaning, carnal, appetite driven, bossy, quite belittling and simply out of control! The trick then is to tame this beast! Taming it by keeping it happy, well fed and nourished with what it NEEDS not just what it wants. Once happy, it will become more tame and docile and we can work with it to help us experience all the deep desires of our hearts! We can it discipline to do exactly what we need it to do and help us become who we want to become.

tame and discipline the beast within

(Here is a twist on your kid toys… Haha. I know this is silly but maybe it can help some people visualize this concept.)

What does our body or ‘beast’ need to be happy? You know the good stuff you’ve always know it needs: regular and enough sleep, regular exercise, and eating right, lots of water and plenty of breaks!

What should you eat? Think of it this way: Our body was put on this earth and the earth supplies everything our bodies need to thrive and perform at it’s most optimal level. The closer a food is to its most natural state, usually the better for our bodies. The more processed, refined and more it deviates from it’s original form the less beneficial it usually is for us.

I personally don’t diet or eat perfectly healthy because I do love me my  Chocolate Eclair Pancakes and caramel popcorn on occasion and other wonderful fatty and sugary awesomeness but I believe the key is balance and striving to give your body the best as often as you can.

Our body will sabotage our efforts if we let it.

Notice the unhappy beast like to show up when we are stressed, tired and hungry. When it feels deprived it will undoubtedly try to take over. When it does it will throw all your logic, wisdom, common sense out the window because its primal drive is strong and it knows zero reason.

Trying to eat right? Well if you have been starving all day it will try to binge on the closest package of oreos!

Trying to practice patience with your kids? Heh, well watch how successful your efforts are when you are tired or stressed.  The beast will most likely try to take over and give them all sound spankings!

So give yourself a fighting chance!

Don’t let the beast stomp over what you are trying to achieve and become. Train your body to work with you, make it easy for you to win by what feeding it what it needs, taking the breaks it needs and getting regular exercise to help channel out stress!  Your body can facilitate all you want in life it doesn’t have to rob you of it! Give it optimal nourishment for optimal performance. The more you give your body what it needs and less of what it wants, the more your body will start to want what it needs!

feed-your-body

Imagine loving and wanting a juicy apple, crisp carrots, lush salads, hearty whole grains not only because they tastes genuinely delicious and are satisfying but also because of the lasting good feeling they continue to give you. Healthy food is something you can grow to love that also loves back!

Love your bodies.

Don’t worry about what the mirror or scales says, that will take care of itself when you start to take care of you.

LOVE YOUR BODY Don't worry about what the mirror or scale says•••••••  that will take care of itself when you start to take care of you.

Focus on teaming up with your body and empowering that partnership called your soul. That is what is important and what counts.  You are in charge of your body, don’t let it be in charge of you!  Be kind, respectful and gentle. Celebrate your victories and learn from your setbacks.  Focus on creating a sustainable lifestyle, one that keeps you healthy, balanced, motivated and happy. YOU CAN DO IT.  You CAN attain self mastery and overcome self-enslavement, you were born to WIN that battle! You have all the right and power to live up to your divine greatness!!!! Peace love and happiness is yours for the taking, own up to it!

Are you feeling inspired to make a change in your life?? Read my 7 tips for success here!  Put knowledge in action, start a health vision board here!

 

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Feeling good enough.

feelingenough

In a world where Facebook and Pintrest reign, a place where we have constant access to only everyone’s best pictures, successes and where only the icing on the cake is talked about and displayed but the burnt bits are hardly ever mentioned, it is so easy to feel like we never measure up as mothers, as wife and friends.
Um yes. Not the first place you’ve heard this, right? Social media has made us feel more inferior than EVER.  But let me tell you something. I’m pretty sure I felt pretty inferior to most peeps in High School and guess what? I never once logged into facebook or pintrest because it didn’t exist (young’ns, yes I’m that ancient).
Mothers and wives still managed to feel bad about themselves one way or another during that dark and dismal pre-social media era too.  HOW?  Well, it was not without it’s glossy depictions of beautiful lives in parenting magazines, television sitcoms and, well, the hardest competition, that pesky but ever-so-perfect neighbor next door.
So here is the thing, it doesn’t matter what way the world tries to fool us into things we are inferior, it will always be a different thing, but the problem will always be consistent. And you know what the problem is?? It’s you and I! Oh no, not another thing to feel bad about, right?? Can we seriously never be good enough???

Ok, enough with the cynicism. I want to get to good news of this all! The freeing and awesome and sweet truth of it all is that you are ALREADY good enough. No. You are beyond good, you are more spectacular and phenomenally awesome than you could possibly conceive. Whaaaa?? Yes. Mark this as truth.

You may not see it,  know it, or  feel it but I can tell you for certain that there is someone that does see it, knows it and does feel it. Your worth, your potential and your utter phenomenal awesomeness. Every moment, of every day.  If you haven’t guess by now, it is the Being who created your very existence. Your Heavenly Father. Whatever you may wish to refer Him as I can only say this…He is real and has real love for you!
This magnificent love He has for you He has been trying to communicate with you from day 1. He wants so badly for you to feel the love He has for you so you can get even the tiniest glimpse of what He sees in you and how He feels about you. He knows that once you open up your heart to drink in those feelings He’s trying to fill you up with you will get an enormous sense of worth. Enough that you will not have to turn to anything else to get a feeling of worth.  Enough that you don’t have to live a life of doing things just to ‘feel good enough’ but recognizing that you are already more than enough and your actions are merely acts to magnify that love you feel.  This love is not just in your mind as a logical but removed statement but a real feeling of satisfaction and true feeling of being totally enough and more. 

But how can we feel this if as we disheartantly look and see what ever other females are doing only to try to gauge where we stand in comparison? Do you realize that doing so we allow ourselves to believe one of two insecure things: we feel worse about ourselves because they are obviously doing ‘so much better’. Or just as unstable we actually feel better about ourselves because what we’ve done/or doing is obviously so much superior. Both equally rickety ways to judge the way we feel about ourselves, don’t you think? Even if we feel better because someone is seemingly worse of than us, that feeling is immediately robbed from us anytime we witness any successes from that person! Ugh. This prevents us from fully letting ourselves feel good about ourselves or anyone else!

So as we frantically scramble looking here and there, cleaning here and there, shopping here and there, working here and there, posting this and that, wearing this and that to find some kind of worth and value for ourselves we blindly forget that it’s been there the whole time. That the real source to discover our already infinite worth was just waiting for us to slow down, listen and turn to Him.

He is the ultimate source of all love, real undying true love. For yourself, for others, for LIFE! So take TIME to seek it, to feel it, to understand it, be changed by it.  It is why you are here.

His LOVE, the Spirit of God, is so powerful that it has the ability to transforms us, help us become and be and do more than we ever thought possible. He is waiting quietly and patiently for us to turn our to Him. But how is that done??
It is has everything to do with the condition of our HEARTS. Not with the condition of our house, condition of how well we manage our to-do list, condition of how ‘good’ we or our family looks. How often do we let those things define us and how we feel about ourselves?? Those things are good but are constantly changing, fluctuating, throwing our self-esteem in a flurry of hopelessness. We need a constant and it is God.  It is a continual re-aligning ourselves, our focus, our desires to something greater. Taking time to invite the Spirit of God in every aspect of our lives. If we are feeling overwhelmed, frazzled, hopeless, confused, scared, stressed and depressed taking time to reconnect. “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear” (1 John 4:18).  Pray for His Spirit.  Anytime we take time to sincerely LOVE, ourselves, our God and those around us, we are inviting HIS LOVE. We are reconnecting to Him and our purpose and it gives us the motivation to continue with love and happiness!

So next time we view a screen and our eyes start turning green, remember, we have a choice. Let those feelings consume us and define us OR we can reconnect with our true worth, the Father of our spirit.  The more you do it, the more natural it will become. Those beautiful images on screens need not be threats to our self-esteem but inspiration of the great human potential. One of which we are of course welcome to participate in if so inspired!

Remember: God loves you. You are worth it. You are MORE than enough.  You’ve always been. But you don’t have to take my word for it, you can find for yourself! It is the only way you’ll really know.

“Remember the worth of souls is great in the sight of God;” (D&C 18:10–12.)

“Responding to true love is part of our very being. We innately desire to reconnect here with the love we felt there. Only as we feel God’s love and fill our hearts with His love can we be truly happy.

God’s love fills the immensity of space; therefore, there is no shortage of love in the universe, only in our willingness to do what is needed to feel it. To do this, Jesus explained we must “love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, … soul, … strength, and … mind; and thy neighbour as thyself” (Luke 10:27).

~JOHN H. GROBERG, quote from The Power of God’s Love

I love how sister Hinckely knew exactly what is going on with us ladies:

“We women have a lot to learn about simplifying our lives. We have to decide what is important and then move along at a pace that is comfortable for us. We have to develop the maturity to stop trying to prove something. We have to learn to be content with what we are.”

And of course, who doesn’t love this quote by Marianne Williamson??

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be?

You are a child of God.

Your playing small does not serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” —Marianne Williamson

For more information about my beliefs, please visit: mormon.org

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Top 7 things I love and have learned about living on a small student income

love-living-smYes, you read right..things I LOVE about NOT having too much money around.  Sure it can be sometimes frustrating pinching pennies, passing up wishes and outings because the bank account doesn’t measure up but living like this my entire married life has taught me that I can still be extraordinarily happy with the little money we have and make what we have totally sufficient for our needs.   And a human’s needs financially are actually much more minuscule than what most of us think.
Here are my 7 top reasons I love being about “poor” (even though quite honestly I know we really aren’t) .

Living simply: Although there are plenty of things I see that might be nice to have it is almost refreshing to know that I won’t get it simply because we can’t afford it (and because we actually don’t really need it). It almost immediately excludes me from the trend race, you know, the one that makes me feel like I should compete in getting the greatest and latest things all the time. In the end I find that I’m totally content with what I have and what I felt I needed wasn’t even necessary. In fact, I’ve found that diving into that empty trend race really only makes me want MORE. There is ALWAYs something greater, cuter, more convenient, faster, smarter, always making me feel like what I have is never enough. Choosing to be happy with what you have is the ONLY way that you will ever feel satisfied.

Smaller quarters. Being able to only afford a small place to live has also helped us live simpler.  It is easier to clean, keep and maintain a smaller space and smaller amount of things. We don’t have that much room to feel like we need more things, because we honestly don’t have room to put it, not to mention afford it. We live in just about every square inch of our place and try to use it to the fullest. I strive to make it as functional as possible (definitely a work in progress). It is rewarding  when you feel like you are making the most out of what you have. Which brings me to my next point

Making the most out of everything: Since I know that I can’t just run out to the store to buy whatever I want or need when I want it encourages an extra push of creativity, upcycling, repurposing and thorough use of most everything.  Two simple examples: I wanted to tackle the mail and paper mess in our house. My friend had a very cute wire file organizer on her wall from potty barn and I wanted to mimic the same concept. I found a long sturdy box that I cut in half to make two boxes, wrapped them with wrapping paper, added labels, stapel gunned them to our wall, filled them found cute folders I already had in a filing box and now we have any organized way to contain our mail and papers.

shoecorner-and-mailboxes

 

The second example is I wanted a place to organize our shoe explosion by our front door and was thinking of getting a shoe shelf but before I ran out with cash in hand to get one I had to think…”hmmm, what do I have already that might work for what I want here? Something flat like a shelf: piece of wood here. And something that would help it be just slightly above the ground. Nail empty tin cans?? Sure, why not. And in just a few minutes I went from a shoe mountain to sweet little organized ‘shoe corner’, as we say  to our kids, for a home to the tender little shoes of my wee ones. Some might say total ghetto, but I LOVE it. It’s functional, was so simple to make, and it warms my mother heart to see those little shoes all lined up like that.

Budget and careful planning:  As things have gotten progressively tighter with the growth our family and less time for me to work we have learned it essential to budget our all our expenses since frivolous spending is just not an option anymore. We carefully evaluate purchases and really use whatever it is we get. We are still learning how to improve our spending habits, budget and how to allocate our money get the most out of it. It is not just about what stuff you can get with how much money, it is more importantly the discipline learned with budgeting and the reward of being able to control your money and not let it control you.

Career push: To make ends meet I do some freelance on the side. I love what I do but had we not been as tight as we are I would have felt less need to carefully plan out my time and energy to squeeze in a few hours a week. It has not been easy trying to bring a few extra bucks but it has helped me develop my skills, learned use my time wisely, and brought a lot of satisfaction.

Home cooked meals and meal planning: Going out to eat is rarely an option and with the necessity of having to eat and feed a family starting right at me I had to buckle down and get organized (whaaaa??) to get us some meals on the table. Since I really struggled with it I deviced a meal plan that has been working quite fabulously for us. And guess what?  Family meal time is SO valuable. Chatting, giggling, sharing, eating healthy home cooked meals, what could be better for your soul!??

Finding joys in the basics: I’m finding that we don’t really need much to be happy.  The basics that keep us alive can also bring us plenty of happiness. When we don’t have much to spend we can’t really afford to be distracted by things to get and do beyond the basics. It keeps us humble, grounded and growing. It helps us keep love and God near. I’m not saying the lack of money equates goodness nor I’m not saying money it is of its self is bad. Of course it is great and can help us and others do great things but I think if I can learn happiness now and remember how full our lives were with little and all the joys and things are learned from it then I can remember to be happy in the future when money might come more freely. My ultimate hope is that I can learn to live a rich enough life living simply so we can freely give help to enrich the life of others. Now that is happy.

What tricks have you found to help make ends meet and cherish what you DO have?.