Thursday, November 17, 2011

Pleasure Write- God's Will

Have you ever gone on a pleasure drive? Where you have no specific destination, but you simply drive for the enjoyment of it.

Well, that's me today.

I love to write, and want to write, but really have nothing profound or inspirational in mind.

So, I thought I'd just write and see what comes out.

Maybe I should be like this in life more: It's ok if I don't always know where I'm going- sometimes I should live just for the enjoyment of it.

That's not always easy to remember.

I like to plan things.  Everything has a purpose and a place (although you wouldn't know it looking at my closet right now!)

So, when my plan changes, sometimes I feel like my purpose does.

This happened to me recently.

As long as I could remember I've loved working with people.  Since I was a newlywed I have wanted to be a family and marriage counselor.

I wasn't smart with my education before marriage, so I had a loooong way to go.

Then the kids came.  Boom- fifteen months, then -Boom.

All of the sudden I had two little kids and my plan changed.  Luckily, so did my purpose.  I was a full-time  mom and loved it.  Although the dream of going to college was still in my heart and mind.  But, I was young, and thought there would always be time later.

Over the years I have taken a few courses here and there as scheduling allowed- but I have yet to get a degree.

Then, the reality hit my like a ton of bricks the other day.  Someone asked me what my plans are with my college/counselor goal.

I realized then that the plan is outdated.  I am 40 now.  My youngest is 8, which doesn't allow for full-time schooling.  Going to school part-time consistently will give me a Masters degree in 12 years.  That means I will be a young 52 when I enter the competitive world of psychology.

Then, when I get a job- IF I get hired above the 20-something prodigies- I would be able to work for 13  years until I retire, with all the money going to pay off all the student loans I took to get my degree.

I realized sitting there that that ship had sailed. All those years I put it off because "I can always do it later." And now it was later.

And now it was too late.

I'll admit, a small part of me died.

But, here's the miracle.

The larger part of me was really OK with it.  In fact, I was at peace- because I knew that my life was just what it should be.   I knew that, despite my personal plans, I had made every major decision with my husband and my Father in Heaven.

I knew that I was right where He wanted me to be.

My plans had changed, but my purpose was never more clear.

What an amazing and unexpected gift that was.

As I sit and think about it, I am grateful for the path I took.  I am grateful for class I traded to hold my kids.  (I could have passed on the toilet-cleaning parts.  I never got warm-fuzzies scrubbing a toilet.)

I always wanted to be a counselor because I enjoyed it, I thought I had some talent, and I wanted to do good in the world.

As I went through this experience (all in the matter if seconds, unbeknownst to the kind woman who asked me the question) I realized and felt a peace knowing that God knows my talents, and He will use me for whatever purpose He has, if I follow Him.

That made me feel good.

At the end of this rambling pleasure write (which I have very much enjoyed writing) I actually arrived at a destination I hadn't intended but am grateful for.

I feel a peace with the direction my life is headed- even though it looks different now than the picture I've had in my head for 16 years.

I understand that His ways, purposes and plans are above mine- and I am happy for it.

Things didn't go my way, my plan won't work.  But I don't care.  I am happy, and it's because I've lived the plan that He set for me.

There is a sense of unexpected freedom and anticipation about my life now.  That makes me smile :)

So, we'll see what happens next, where He would have me be.

Honestly, maybe His plan isn't that I wasn't a counselor, but just that I lived a life with Him as my partner in all things.  I don't think God wants to run our lives like a puppet master.  He simply knows us better than we know ourselves (given our temporary state of ignorance, amnesia and humanity.)

His will isn't to run- or ruin- our lives; but to guide, enhance and complete them.

Even if we aren't what we though we would be, if we listen to Him, we can be even more.

Hm.  Good write.  I should do this pleasure writing thing more often. Lol.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Keep Calm

My youngest daughter is very energetic.  Most times it's endearing :)

But, like all good things, moderation is the key. (Dancing and singing when you're happy=good.  Dancing and singing in the middle of the night=bad.)

I have a favorite word that I started sharing with her: Calm. 

I love that word.  


I even feel calmer just saying, "Calm."

So does she. 

And it makes a difference in her. 

And it makes a difference in me.

As I get older (40 now- what?) I am convinced that the energy I used to spend on singing and dancing like my daughter does has been unwittingly transferred internally.  

Now, rather than having the energy of a child, I have the stress of an adult.  I spend entirely too much energy worrying, second-guessing, doubting and stressing.  

So, when my mind starts racing about the things I need to do, the things I haven't done, the Christmas list that's growing, the chores that are being neglected, the children I am raising, and so on, I've decided to use my favorite word on myself: Calm.

And guess what.  It works.

It takes some deep breaths and reminders (just like my daughter), but it works.

I love calm.

It's when I am calm that I can hear the promptings of the Holy Ghost whisper what is best.

It's when I am calm that I can talk TO my children, not at them.

It's when I am calm that I be grateful for event the difficult things in my life.

It's when I am calm that I can remember to stop, pray and play.

Calm doesn't mean to neglect responsibilities and duties.  Calm just means that I am able to see them in a clearer light. 

Calm means that I can take a moment to prioritize my day.

Calm means that I don't get made over spilled milk (literally- that happens weekly in our home.)

I have found that my trials and circumstances haven't changed tremendously since my attitude has.  

But, my life has changed.

I am happier.

I am more in control.

The spirit in my home is better.

I am more grateful.

I enjoy life more.

I am calm.

I love it!

So, during this upcoming holiday season, I extend the invitation to you to 'Keep Calm'

When you feel your blood rising, your doubts growing, your fears scaring, your stress taking over, your frustration yelling or your tears flowing- remember calm.

Take a deep breath

Then let me know what happens :)


PS- Here are some fun wall-printable I found and/or made.  I've got them around my house.  Love them!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

When Pain Trumps the Pain

I've got a friend who recently had shoulder surgery and wrist surgery on the same day. I was able to visit with her just yesterday and inquired about her recovery.

She shared how the shoulder has mobility, but still is quite painful.  Lifting is difficult, but a necessary part of mothering a young child.  

When I asked her about her wrist she said something that was interesting.  She said that before the procedure the surgeons explained that, even though wrist surgery is painful, the pain is trumped by the shoulder pain and she most likely would not notice it as much.  

She happily told me it was true.  As bad as the pain from her shoulder was, it had drawn nearly all the attention away from her wrist.  It was a blessing in disguise.

I thought about that concept in a spiritual sense. Afflictions aren't a lone breed.  They usually come in pairs, or even packs.  When when ball drops, so does the next.  When a domino falls, it knocks down the others. 

Sometimes we are so bombarded by trials that we just feel pain.

But, maybe that is wisdom in God's plan.  Part of the purpose of life is be tested and tried.  Salvation has a cost, and it isn't cheap.  If we experienced each affliction, each trial, each pain or discomfort in a string of individual experiences, our lives would probably be filled with a never-ending stream of troubles, problems, adversity and pain. Each individual trial would receive our full attention, and we would experience all the pain and frustration associated with it.

But, God in His infinite wisdom, has taken that string of trials and combined and spaced them into clusters of manageable afflictions. (When I say manageable, I mean that we will never be given more than we can handle.)

As we experience multiple difficulties, the harder, more painful ones, trump the lesser ones.  We can experience them and endure them without the full affect of their pain, and yet still be beneficiaries of the blessings that come from enduring them in faith.

Not that I'm a big fan of pile-up trials   - or any trials for that matter.  But the trials in this life are what allow us the opportunity to learn and grow, to stretch and choose who we will be.

I've had a few in my life- but as I look back at those times, I can see that this principle rings true- at least in my life.  As I am going through something big, smaller trials pop up the seem unimportant, even trivial in comparison. But, if I would have experienced them alone, they might have caused me a great deal of discomfort, even pain.

One of the greatest blessings of these cluster trials is the sweet relief when the healing begins and the trials and pain lessons, and the lessons and blessings of peace and growth take their place.  We have more spiritual strength and mobility, and we are better for the wear.

It just goes to show that, truly, we can see God and His wisdom in nearly every aspect of our lives.  Even a shoulder/wrist surgery.  I'm grateful to my friend for inviting me into her home, sharing a fun afternoon and giving me such great food for thought.