June is over.
That was a whirlwind. And now I am excessively happy to be home FOR TWO WHOLE WEEKS! That is the blessing and curse of summer.
Wouldn't trade it, would we?
I really can't wait to tell you all about the Double B and I and our anniversary extraveganza in the Happiest Place on Earth. But I really want to do it with pictures. And the Double B is going to help me do that. So we have to wait until tomorrow, I guess. It will be worth the wait. I mean, we have a picture of the two of us with Mickey Mouse AND Minnie Mouse!!! We obviously can't move forward until you have seen that. Obviously. Being a person who likes to be celebrated with, I wore a Disneyland "Happy Anniversary" pin (the Double B did not -- he felt I represented). Mickey and Minnie saw the pin, clapped, jumped, and blew us kisses. I mean, I could feel they were REALLY happy for us.
And I'm not joking about that.
I can tell you it was a truly awesome experience.
So, hold on to your shorts.
The whole tale will be shared in the near future. And don't be afraid. It is G-Rated. I'm not demented, or anything.
We went camping with the Double B's family last week. It was fun. I'll share that experience, too. With pictures. Because I am TOTALLY AWESOME like that.
I had no idea when I started this post that I WOULD BE USING SO MANY CAPITAL LETTERS. But I'm feeling it today.
I am feeling it.
Just Carpe Diem-ing it over here.
So here's the part where I tell you exactly how I feel, and you get to hear more then anyone ever should.
Yesterday I pondered. For the most part, I am a person who chooses happiness and have been able to feel great joy in my life -- I have always loved life and I almost always feel like life is happier then it has been in the past. I think that deep down, without knowing it, I have been developing an optimism that I find so desirable and admirable in others. So I'm glad about that. Really, truly glad about that, because I have never felt it was my native temperment.
But one thing I've noticed when I'm struggling is that I beat myself rather mercilessly about things -- I think most of us do that to some extent. I wonder if I'm just a big sissy-poo-nanny and why I can't handle things. But I realized something yesterday -- and that is that I CAN handle things. And I have been through very hard things (like all people), that show me I can handle things. And IT IS OKAY if I struggle. I have dealt with the fear of a body that was not functioning properly, I have faced the terrible, prolonged experience of fearing for my own mortality because of those malfunctions. I have lost someone I loved more then I could say, someone very close to me, to death. I have wrestled before God for my own testimony, for my own soul. I have experienced suffocating depression. I have had a broken heart. I have been rejected. I have been unable to understand. I have struggled. Just like all of us -- none are exempt. So it is time for me to give myself some credit for having survived things that have strengthened me. If I am struggling, IT IS OKAY. I won't always be stuck. I won't always feel this way. I won't always be wounded. I won't stay here forever. I will learn from this. But either way, the time has come to stop hating myself for struggling.
There have been times in my life -- not too far distant -- where I have truly felt I have been a friend to myself. It is time to extend that friendship again. To be the friend I need and want to be. To me. I'm a pretty nice person. I would pick myself as a friend. So it's time to pick me. To be kind. To be patient. To be encouraging. To be appreciative. To be loving and long-suffering. With myself.
I remember in the late fall, breaking down, truly breaking down, at Time Out For Women. I sobbed like I have very rarely sobbed -- from the depths of my soul. And there was additional and new difficulty and struggle in my life, but really the crux of the matter was this: I want to be more like my Savior. More, Savior, like Thee. And I feared I was failing. Big Time, never get there, can't get there, Failing. Luckily, the Spirit spread balm of Gilead on my soul and I had lots of family support, and I was able to put my feet back under me, feel cleansed, and press forward. The struggle hasn't stopped. It's shifted, shifted, reshaped. Then more was added. A pillar was taken from me. One that gave me great joy and purpose was ripped away, in most unfortunate circumstances. My heart was completely broken. The pouring, painful sobs from the very, very center were back. But there was little to relieve me. I've felt hurt, hurt, which turned into anger, anger. The original struggle tested my patience and endurance and ability to love freely more then ever before. The new struggle tested my understanding, my humility, my kindness, my mercy, my ability to forgive freely and love openly. It has swirled, and swirled, and I've felt so little relief. Being one who expects a lot from myself, this has become crippling. My disgust that I would hold negative feelings, that I would allow them to hold me back, that I couldn't let them go no matter how hard I tried, that I wouldn't choose differently -- has become a stumbling block for me. I keep trying to put my feet back under me, but it's unsteady, and I keep tripping and falling. I have begged the Lord to remove the burden. I asked for help, tried to hold back the truth of my feelings because I knew I should be better, and finally have reached the point of honest truth. So I begged for help. To please help me, because I know I need the cleansing power of the Atonement, and my own pride and negative feeling is standing in the way of accessing what is freely offered.
Last week, being too tired to fight the negative feelings anymore -- I usually am more able to push them away when well-rested -- I called my Mom. I didn't know what to do anymore. She has heard me over and over again try to process this, and has been so kind about it. She agreed that it has honestly been holding me back and I had to find a way to let it go. She suggested that I write all my negative feelings about the situation -- all of them -- and burn it. There it couldn't hurt anyone. Then, when it came back, I could say "I have burned this. I have let it go." And start to move on. I followed her advice. I told the Double B we were having a barbeque. I burned the paper. And honestly felt instant relief from that aspect of things.
As we were camping, we were given the opportunity to "bury our weapons" -- anything that was holding us back -- just like the Anti-Nephi-Lehi's in The Book of Mormon. I buried my anger. I wrote it, folded it carefully, clenched it hard, and threw it in the pit. One of my nephews asked "How come you scrunched yours up?" And I answered "Because I want to remember I have done this." I am ready to move on. I am ready to remember, when it tries to come back, that is is buried. It is gone.
On the way off the mountain, my mind was open and I was thinking about what I was learning and how I could more fully apply the healing power of the Atonement in my life. How I could give the pain to my Savior and let Him heal me. I was thinking about that thing that was lost to me. And the thought came into my head that like a rag, I had been wrung dry -- they had rightly taken all I had to give -- but now it was wrung dry and it was time for me to rebuild. The image was clear in my head. The invitation was clear -- to take this opportunity to rebuild. Let go. Rebuild my strength, so I would have more to give when it was needed.
Finally, yesterday was testimony meeting. Quite honestly, not my favorite meeting. Especially lately, usually it seems to involve what I can only describe as someone pouring battery acid all over me. But not yesterday. I thought about what I needed the sacrament for that morning. I thought about the things I could have cleansed from me as I renewned my covenant to always remember Him. And then, just what I needed to hear was spoken and I felt the spirit confirm truth to my heart.
That the feelings of discouragement that I wasn't perfect and wasn't enough was exactly what the Adversary would want me to feel, and that I could embrace the Savior's power. That feeling is simply me being deceived, and it is time to refuse to be deceived anymore.
That my contribution is valuable. That it is enough. That is was time for me to believe that it is enough.
And finally, that there are Angels watching over me. My heart rejoiced when I was reminded of that. They are helping me. They are making sure I am not doing this alone. I know that my Grandma has helped me in the past. I have felt my Grandpa help me in the past. They are my friends. I need to remember they are there for me now, along with others that love me, helping me, supporting me, cheering for me. And sure that I can do this.
That I can become More, Savior, like Thee.
So that's my story.
And I'm st-st-sticking to it.
For three and a half years, this blog has been free therapy for me. I am an airer of dirty laundry here. All are welcome. You can share yours, too.
Because we must end with the people that matter most, this morning K.J. came in to me and said "Mom! Olivia told me I'm the king for the day! She even made me a throne!" Which sounded exactly like K.J.'s cup of tea. I congratulated him, but then Livi came in very excited and told me "Mom! I decided K.J. is king for the day! I'm going to be his servant, so he won't have to do any work! I made his throne on the rocking chair with lots of blankets!!" She was very excited. She even had his cereal poured.
Poor little misled soul.
But since her whole purpose in life is to make him happy, she is thrilled that she has succeeded so brilliantly.
Ah, my children. Such kind little people.
While the kids were sitting at the table eating breakfast, I was blending my morning carnation instant breakfast -- carnation, one cup of skim milk, and eight pieces of ice -- truly delicious, if you are wondering. Try it today. And only 5 weight watchers points. Win-Win. Anyhow, as I was blending, I heard Kate yelling at the table. I thought it was in protest, but when I looked back, Kaje and Liv were plugging their ears because they didn't like the noisy blender, but Katelyn was standing on her chair, her arms thrown out and a huge smile on her face, screaming along. She. loves. noise. Who is this child? I'd stop, she'd stop. I'd blend, she'd harmonize. To say I love Kate would be a gross understatement. She is her own little person and she makes me laugh like crazy, all while stratching my head. I knew she'd be unique. She is the third child after all, and we third children must stick together.
Still laughing around these parts.
Thanks for listening.