Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Anxiety

Anxiety is the worst because it sneaks up on you.
For no reason I woke up on Sunday morning all tied up in knots and while minding my own business almost had a full panic attack in the shower, so there I am, doing weird leg stretches and hand flexes and humming noises, all trying to hold myself together while there is shampoo in my hair.
It hung around for awhile then eased up, and has just cycled like that the last few days. It's awful sitting there while your mind is on hyperdrive, waiting for the trigger to jump off the ledge. I hate anxiety and panic attacks because they are so very miserable, and I think that is part of why I was given it as part of my journey, so that I can lean into something really hard and come out better and stronger and more compassionate.
My anxiety always focuses on things out of my control. When it started at 12, it was nuclear bombs, which is funny but true. Then airplanes, then my health and any need to see a doctor. Right now I am fixated on my health, and am sure every little thing is a fatal disease, that every spot on my skin is some kind of mutant skin cancer waiting to steal me from my children. In a few months it will be something different. And in the ultimate form of avoidance, I am so afraid of doctors I panic at the very idea of making an appointment, because what if something is actually wrong? It's sad, actually, it is totally sad but that's my mind, and is just something that I need to overcome. I have faith that the Lord can make my weak thing strong.  He's already helped me so much. It might take my whole life, but that is okay. It helps me be humble before Him and recognize how powerless I am without Him and my absolute dependence on Him.
On Sunday I needed the sacrament so much, and was so very thankful for the opportunity to partake of it. As I sat there afterwards I thought of how many times I have asked Him to take this from me (and He has helped me), but really, what I realized is -- this is just my thorn in the flesh. And I will learn to become like Paul.

"The gospel of Jesus Christ has the divine power to lift you to great heights from what appears at times to be an unbearable burden or weakness. The Lord knows your circumstances and your challenges. He said to Paul and to all of us, 'My grace is sufficient for thee.' And like Paul we can answer: 'My strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.'"-- Dieter F. Uchtdorf 
2 Corinthians 12:9

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Spring Break '17

For spring break we headed up to Utah. The kids and I arrived on Tuesday and the Double B came Thursday. It was a rocking good week that went way too fast!
Benson loved playing catch with Grandma (he just thinks she's sooo funny), and Katee got some good tickles in from Grandpa.
When we pulled up to see Grandma B Benson explained "It's my grandma! IT'S MY SUGAR!" He and Grandma Sugar are buds.
Sil, Trina and I helped my Mom organize and rearrange her home office into the new toy room for the grandkids. It was so fun. It really is way more fun to do something like that for someone else then yourself, plus I got to spend time with my adored sisters, plus I found treasures like these!
I've had such a good life with so many awesome times, and I am SO THANKFUL for it! The Lord has given me so many blessings and continues to love and watch out for me, and I can never thank Him enough for it. 
Here is the finished product! Cute and roomy, organized and stored! It was a fun project. The grandkids love their new space.
Easter weekend we got to spend quality time with the family B. Every Easter celebration we end up on Grandma's lawn, laughing and talking, and I love that. They heard for the first time about the time the Double B kissed me and I heard the national anthem and saw fireworks, and they thought it was hilarious! We also learned other cute dating stories from all the grown ups and it was great fun. We always have such a good time together!
The kids loved the Easter egg hunt and I took second place in the grown up race (foiled by Nick)! My winnings are fancy new drinking cups which were desperately needed -- and everyone was jealous because they all need them, too! The Easter Bunny found us, church was beautiful -- it was basically the best spring break ever.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Aged Love

Yesterday sitting in front of me at church was an older couple visiting our ward. He was 94 and she was 89! They were there to watch their son speak on the dry council. I was so impressed with their dexterity, hearing, and kindness (as she kept turning around to admire Benson and flirt with him, even though he was pretty crazy yesterday and kept kicking their seat). What impressed me the most, though, was something I noticed half way through the meeting. They sat very close together, and his hand rested gently on her leg. She put her hand on his and very softly rubbed his hand and arm. I enjoyed seeing the age on their hands as they held onto each other. It was very clear that theirs is an old love, a fervent love, a devoted love and a ministering love. And I thought "Self, this is worth fighting for." It was a beautiful thing. A small thing for them but a beautiful example for me.

This is the girls hair yesterday, my little Blondie and my little Brownie.
I will be honest, I am so pleased that I can do pretty hairdos on my pretty girls now. This is really just the last year and a half or so, watching many YouTube videos, that I have been able to do anything but a basic braid or ponytail. I always tried to make them look nice, but there is something about learning to do the really feminine styles that has made me feel pretty mom-awesome. Because it's a small service, but one I learned out of love for them. And it's silly, but I love seeing them sitting there with their cute hair. I just really love being able to actually do it! 

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

April Updates

Liv finished Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. It is SO FUN to watch her experience those books. But the tears they produce for her -- the tears are sad. She cries at all the places I cry at, so her big elephant tears as she reads just make me tear up, too! It's just so great to see her get so caught up. Reading can be so magical.
 Benson and Greyson --  these two are quite the duo. They play and squabble just like siblings, but every morning Benson is so excited for the knock on the door that means Grey has arrived. It's a blessing to have him be our buddy, just like it was with Andrew and Kate.
 Olivia recently got her first stick of deodorant. She is very excited to be a growing up lady! She told me she needed deodorant by sniffing her armpit and saying "seriously, Mom, my pits stink. I think it's time I had my own deodorant." Ha ha! Benson has graciously agreed on several occasions to try it out for her, whether she wants him to or not!
KJ had an outdoor concert and got to perform both a solo and a duet! And the duet was HIS OWN COMPOSITION. I thought my buttons would pop right off my chest, I was so proud of that kid.
This is the text I sent his Dad (who had to stay home with the two youngest):
 "His teacher introduced him and said "We're watching this guy become a composer before our very eyes and its pretty cool. This is the world premier of 'Zion's Hymn.'" He did amazing and I can't wait for you to hear it. There were so many positive comments in the audience. My momma heart!!!"
 Benson loves taking his picture more then just about anything! So I have lots of selfies of the two of us on my phone that look just like this:
 He pulls really funny faces.
We took a family date to celebrate the beginning of spring break to Firehouse Subs. So fun! The older kids loved sitting at their own table and Benson absolutely, crazy-loved his fireman hat. So nice to know we have our own tiny fireman to protect us!
 Tragically, Olivia fell sick with the flu that afternoon and that week it cycled through all of us but the Double B. Barf or the diabolical dip-dads. Man. The flu sucks this year and it's sure gotten us a lot. It was so sad to see her suffer so much, she definitely had it the worst.
KJ had the opportunity to teach his Sunday School class while his teacher was in Europe. She asked me to go support and he did great. He was so cute, I had to sneak a few pictures of my little (okay, not so little at all) guy...
Our experience with allergies this year:
Oh, man! Worst ever! I have had more sore throat, itchy eyes and absolutely hack my guts out then ever before. They say it's the worst in ten years and I believe it. My poor kids are the same. Sorry, children.

Best Weekend Of The Year

General Conference weekend is always the best. I love the family time, the rest time, the snack time, and most of all I love the amazing messages that I hear. This conference was so good. My spirit just drank it in.
We went to the neighborhood park between Saturday sessions and had a great time together.
 Katelyn sang me an amazing song, Benson tried his hardest to walk around in the shoes he stole from his sisters, and both girls did amazing fetes with their upper arm strength.
We love to hear the prophet's voice. I am filled with admiration for President Monson as he gives his all to be there for us and deliver his message.
KJ sits and listens so attentively, and builds amazing creations while enjoying the messages. This time he built "the burrow" from Harry Potter -- the Weasley's house. He seriously should become a Lego designer. And Lego should seriously give the Double B and I a major share of their stock for all the investment we have in their company!
 My sweetie and I had the same favorite talks this time, from Elder Sabin and Elder Costa.
Look at these little chickens. Love them and love this time in our lives. Love General Conference.
I am thankful for parents that taught me that God still speaks to His children. Because of that basic knowledge, it has never been a stretch for me to believe He can communicate with us as individuals and that He can personally lead his church. What a blessing to give me.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Benson Glamour Shots

Finally, finally got this boy's picture taken!
 He is so perfect. There just aren't enough words for the joy and adventure he brings to our family. Clock wise: showing her his teeth, playing peek-a-boo, one of the bigger smiles we got, and his very important school buses.
 He was nervous but did great and was so proud of his new shirt! (Every time he wears it he still says "oooh, I like this shirt!")
This is what I wrote on Instagram of the shot of our hands:
"I took Benson to get his picture taken today. He was so very nervous at first to stand in his spot and he didn't like the loud click and the flash, so I got to sit at his feet and hold his hands to reassure him. I didn't know the photographer took this picture until after, but when I saw it my heart squeezed tight. It is maybe my favorite picture ever. Because here is my sweet little boy, at this precious time in our lives when he has chubby little hands that need mine so much, and here am I, holding tight. I love being a Mom. It is such a hard job and I know it will always be a hard job. But I love it more then I could ever love anything else."

We're pretty lucky.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Maybe Today

A few weeks ago our stake had the most amazing Relief Society retreat that they called "Maybe Today." It was a feast for my soul.
It was on Friday night and Saturday, and it was all just SO good, and all things that I really needed to hear. But I had a wonderful experience with the Spirit on Friday night that I would love to share because it taught me something so important about my anxiety, which I have talked with you about in the past, including my frustration with the situation.
On Friday night the topic was "Tilt Your Soul: Battling Depression, Anxiety, and Perfectionism." The first speaker was a therapist that had us rate emotions as either good or bad -- and then explained that when we are designed to feel and experience all of these emotions, and when we categorize any as bad we push it away, numb ourselves, and become stuck. I need to embrace the full spectrum and what I can learn as I experience. He talked about how shame is Satan's tool to entrap us and keep us trapped in a vicious cycle, then he handed out a paper with 4 questions and asked us to think of a situation we're struggling with and first answer them like Satan was right there with us, using shame to guide us.
This was how my paper looked:

The situation: My anxiety about my health and situations outside of my control.
1: Is this important, 1-10.
7
2: Why is this happening?
Because I am not a good person, strong or faith filled.
3: What can I do?
Nothing. There is nothing that I can do to change it.
4: What does it mean for my life?
That I'm stuck with this. That it will never go away or get better. This is my life sentence.

Not very encouraging or hopeful, right? But the devil has had me fooled for awhile.
Next he had us answer those same questions as if the Savior, with all of His love, was at our shoulder answering for us. I was utterly amazed at how quickly and crystal clear the answers came into my head.
This is how my paper changed:

1: Is this important, 1-10?
7
2: Why is this happening?
To help you become who you need to be.
3: What can I do?
"Trust me."
(These words came so strong to my mind that I knew that was the Savior's exact message for me.)
4: What does it mean for my life?
That I can become strong.
That I can learn to truly love other people.

Pretty amazing difference, right? I know that anxiety and its companions are a part of my journey here on earth, and sometimes it will seem small and sometimes it will loom large. But to have those answers so clear and hopeful be given to me was an amazing gift. I felt so thankful and my heart was so filled. The Holy Ghost is an amazing gift. It cleared out the haze and made everything so clear.
The next speaker was a delightful lady that has struggles with anxiety disorder and very graciously shared some tough life experiences so that she could share the lessons she learned, all while making me laugh. I loved her delivery but it was just a little different, a little quirky, and I kept thinking "who does she remind me of?" And then I realized: ME. She reminded me of me and that was a great comfort, because I know I am just left of center and sometimes that really worries me that I am so different. But dangit, I liked the girl! 
She said that when we make check boxes in our lives we set ourselves up for failure. We need to open up our boxes and live our lives!
She also asked us to remember the three Learns:
Learn to share your burden.
Learn to share your bounty.
Learn to share your truth.

I loved that.
It was an amazing weekend. Saturday these two versus were shared about learning to love the scriptures and I wanted to keep them.
Verse 8:
Verse 105
I am truly thankful to have the Lord be a lamp unto my feet. I love Him and thank Him for never leaving me alone.