Perspective

I get really, really caught up in things that I know better than to get wrapped up in. I start thinking the way I dress, the make up I buy and wear, the way I do my hair, the way I present myself and the state of my house is super important. I allow myself to believe that some of the most vital things are if the laundry is done, the floors are swept and mopped and if my home somehow doesn’t look like I have a hyper one year-old living in it when I actually do. Oh and don’t forget how important it is to be emotionally stable at all times and ensure that everything in your life is happy, bright and shiny. Of course its completely impossible to attain this kind of lifestyle, but somehow I still find myself in ruts when I strive to be that ‘perfect’ person with a ‘perfect’ life and so on.

Thank goodness Heavenly Father has His ways of reminding you very quickly that there are things SO MUCH MORE IMPORTANT. Sometimes He reminds you in gentle, soft ways and other times He reminds you in loud, scary, earth shaking ways. But He always gets His point across and the reminder is blatantly there.

Not very long ago I got my reminder. It wasn’t the first and it won’t be the last, but it was a reminder unlike one I have every had in my life. It brought with it a lot of fear, worry and uncertainty, but it also brought an insane amount of miracles, blessings and life lessons like you wouldn’t believe. Its always weird to say you’re thankful for a trial (especially when you’re in the midst of it) but when you finally are able to even start getting the smallest glimpses of the bigger picture its amazing what you’re able to see and realize how much you have grown and how much growing you still have ahead of you. I think thats the stage I am in right now. There is a long road of understanding and comprehending ahead, but I have seen glimpses and I have already seen blessings and lessons surface and even though its easy to get swept up in ‘why me?’ and ‘this is terrible’ its kind of awesome to see what the Lord has in store for me and my family and our friends because of the trials He gives.

In short, if your house is messy and your dishes aren’t done and theres a pile of dirty laundry in your room – there is a lot more things of much greater importance that are in your life. If you didn’t do your hair or make up and you’re wearing dirty clothes, its not the end of the world. There are much more important things. If your home was left messy because you were spending time with your family or offering service to someone in need – in my opinion you’ve chosen the right task. Family, service, love and being there for one another is so much greater than vacuuming and making your bed every morning. I’m not saying your home can now turn into a disaster though. I just can’t stop thinking about how much more people are than what your house looks like. Priorities get mixed up I think. And also, its ok to cry! Its ok to be miserable and be confused. Its ok to tell people you aren’t happy and your heart is heavy. Its ok to show people that your life isn’t perfect. Its ok to fall apart sometimes and be raw and real and ask people for help and prayers. You don’t have to be perfect! Ever! Because no one is or every will be. I think its better if we embrace how messy and weird life is.

…can you tell I have a lot on my mind and have no idea how to properly voice it?

This is probably so jumbled and may not make any sense at all. But I have been feeling a lot of things lately and I just really felt like I wanted to share this and remind you guys we aren’t given challenges we can’t handle and we are given trials to learn from and grow from. I also want to remind you to be kind and respect people. Keep in mind you never know what they’re going through and what their strengths and weaknesses are. Say I love you, give support, lend a helping hand and don’t shy away from service. Let people vent to you, be a shoulder to cry on and never let people forget you are there for them. We are here to help each other, to love each other and to travel together on this journey. I’m grateful for those people in my life, for you reading this and especially for my wonderful family.

xoxo

ceeceesparkles

We Love to See the Temple

img_3591

On Tuesday The Captain and I took lunch to Wild Man and work and visited with him for a little while. On our way home something kind of special happened and I wanted to share the experience.

Before we had our son Wild Man and I were awesome at going to the temple. For more than a year after we were first married we went once a week and once that became a little more difficult we still were able to be there once a month, if not twice. When I got pregnant is when things started to slow down – way down. I was always terrified to be in the temple for fear of throwing up and not being able to make it to a garbage can, or passing out or who knows what else could happen to a sick pregnant lady. I know it was wrong, but that became my excuse as to why we couldn’t go very often. Then we had our baby and the temple has embarrassingly basically become a distant memory.

I know that when you become a parent getting to the temple is harder, but its certainly not impossible. People do it all the time, yet I was still making that my excuse. I couldn’t make weekly or even monthly time for the temple because I had a child. (shaking my head at myself)

As I was driving home with H chatting in the backseat I was thinking about this. I made a mental note that we needed to get there and soon. Almost immediately after I thought that another thought popped into my head – and I don’t think it was a thought of my own – that said, “then go.” I kind of shook it off and thought again that we need to go soon. Then the other voice in my head said, “then go.” I will, I thought to myself, but again I heard, “then go!” a little louder.

Um. I couldn’t go. Not right now! I had my one year-old in the back seat and you can’t enter in the temple until you are eight, everyone knows that. But again and louder I heard it, “then go!” More excuses popped into my head. Am I just supposed to stand outside? I can’t go in with H. It’d be silly to just stand outside, its freezing! I thought of every excuse I could, but then I also thought about how both H and I had our big winter coats in the car. We could wear those? But wouldn’t people think we were weird or think I’m a bad parent for taking my young child out in twenty degree weather to stand on the temple grounds for a while? And as you could probably guess, I heard it again. “Then go!

So I changed my course and we drove to the Provo Temple.

I’m embarrassed it took me so long and that I came up with so many excuses to not go. Because the second my car pulled into the temple parking lot my eyes immediately filled with tears and my heart and stomach felt like a fire was burning inside them. All the sudden I realized just how badly I needed to be there. I didn’t need to be physically inside the temple, I just needed to be in the presence of the temple and be able to feel the peace that radiates from it on its grounds.

H and I bundled up in our coats and hats and I carried him to the front of the temple and sat him down. Immediately he began running around and headed straight towards the fountains. We spent the next half hour pacing around the beautiful temple grounds as that same spirit kept raging inside me. I would look at my son and feel overwhelmed with love as I thought of our eternal family and how blessed we are. I felt so peaceful and joyful and like everything was right in my world for those thirty minutes. I was so happy I’d finally listened to the prompting and gone to the temple with my son.

I had no idea that I was in need of a spiritual boost and just a boost of heart. I had no idea how badly I needed to be on the temple grounds and to feel the spirit so strongly. It reset my heart and mind and gave me renewed perspective and positivity. It charged my battery exactly how I needed it to – even though I didn’t know I needed it. The Lord works in such amazing ways.

It was the highlight of my year so far. Being on the temple grounds chasing my sweet son and talking to him a little bit about the gospel and saying a quiet prayer in my heart. A sculpture of Joseph, Mary and Baby Jesus were up in front of the temple and that made the experience all the sweeter. It was incredible.

I want to also remind all the parents that even when you think you don’t have time for the temple because you’re a busy mother or father – you do! Heavenly Father loves you and He understands your situation and sometimes just being on the temple grounds is enough. I truly believe this now. (though I definitely still recommend planning a date to go inside the temple)

img_3601

#LightTheWorld

MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE!

December 19: Jesus Calmed the Storm and So Can You: I took this one as lightening someones burden. A family in our ward recently experienced a death and I was able to help them prepare for the funeral and was able to cater to some of their needs.

December 20: Jesus Saw Potential in Others and So Can You: I was so excited for this one because this is something I feel like I’m always trying to work on. Its so good to see people for what they can become, rather than view them and judge them negatively. I made a list of the people in my life who I see/talk to/think about regularly and listed several things about them I loved. I also was able to focus on a certain situation in my life where I realized I need to forgive someone. It was an eye opening day.

December 21: Jesus Forgave Others and So Can You: Going along with the way I ended December 20th, I continued to work on forgiving people who I realized I’ve held grudges against. Is it bad that sometimes I forget how freeing forgiveness is?

December 22: Jesus Showed Gratitude and So Can You: Thank you cards for everyone! Its odd to me how often we (myself definitely included) forget to thank people for what they do and how they act. Its easy, its uplifting and its so, so important!

December 23: Jesus Was a Peacemaker and You Can Be One Too: I took this one very seriously. It was also a personal day with this prompt for me. But I will say it left me very inspired to pull out the inner peacemaker in me.

December 24: Jesus Cared for His Loved Ones and So Can You: What a perfect prompt to fall on Christmas Eve! We spent time together as our family of three and with each of our families. I tried to be mindful of our family members, let them know I cared for them and loved them, listened to them and had an enjoyable time with them. I was also reminded just how important it is to make sure as a mother I am caring for my husband and son and making them my first and most important priority.

December 25: Jesus’s Disciples Followed Him and So Can We: Cue the tears. Why this prompt strikes my heart so much, I don’t know. But I love it. I am a disciple of Jesus Christ, I love Him and I will follow Him. We have church today and as easy as it would be to skip out, we are going because thats where Jesus would be and would want us to be. The New Year is fast approaching and as I’m working on my list of resolutions I want to make sure Christ is at the top of it. I want to live life like He would. I want to make Him proud and do as He would do.

xoxo

ceeceesparkles

#LightTheWorld

December 5: Jesus Healed the Sick and So Can You: Quite honestly I didn’t do great on this day. Boo. I wanted to take the challenge and learn CPR, etc. I’ve been meaning to update my skills since H is now one and I know life saving skills are a little different with a one-year old as opposed to a newborn but somehow it slipped my mind. Its on my to-do list though. I’d also love to serve some people in my ward who I know are suffering from illness.

December 6: Jesus Read the Scriptures and So Can You: This was my favorite day so far. We were encouraged to post our favorite scripture on social media or send our favorite scripture to someone. I loved scrolling through Instagram, Twitter and Facebook and being able to read so, so many amazing scriptures. It was so uplifting and an amazing break from the garbage and negativity you can easily find on social media. I will include the picture I added on social media of my favorite scripture!

img_2817

December 7: Jesus Fed the Hungry and So Can You: Without going into too much detail, a family in my ward is struggling this year. A couple other women from our ward and myself put together a plan to make sure they at least have the necessities this Christmas season – our focus was on meal plans, but I understand there are others who are helping them with money and gifts. I love when people come together to help those in need.

December 8: Jesus Prayed for Others and So Can You: I am good at praying every day morning and night and then some. I am good at praying for myself, for my husband, for my son and for our families – but I am not very good at praying for others. I’m pretty embarrassed about that. I don’t know why I always forget to, considering I know so, so many people have prayed for me before – so why can’t I return the favor? I was really happy to be challenged to actively pray for others and look and listen for people who need prayers. We were challenged to pray aloud – something I’ve only recently got good at since praying with H. The thing I focused the most on was thinking of people we know who are going through something and could use prayers. Lately a lot of people that I know or that I just follow on Social Media or who I’ve even just heard of, have been experiencing big hardships. It was really special to pray for them and I felt a new kind of spirit as I prayed. Its really inspired me to up my game and be much, much better at praying for others! I’ll also get better at praying for help in finding those who need my prayers.

December 9: Jesus Visited the Lonely and So Can You: I wasn’t very active on this days prompt. A suggestion the prompt gave was to send friendly texts to people who could use it. So I rounded up a list of names and just checked in with people and we caught up and chatted.

December 10: Jesus Helped People Walk and So Can You: I was lousy at this one, too. But I plan on helping my elderly neighbors as I see they need assistance this season. As I’ve stated before we have several elderly people living very close to us and I know they would happily accept service I can give.

December 11: Jesus Ministered to Children and So Can You: This one was exciting since I have a child of my own. I love that it suggests giving a picture of Christ to your child and I fully intend on making sure there is a picture of Christ hanging in H’s room before the New Year. Basically what I’ve done on this day is focus on my child. I am showing him love, spending time with him and reminding him he is loved and special, as well as working on new tricks he’s been learning.

xoxo

ceeceesparkles

#LightTheWorld

Every Sunday in December I am going to be posting about our families #LighttheWorld experience. If you haven’t already heard about this, I highly suggest you visit the link here and challenge yourself to do it! This is kind of like an advent calendar but instead of opening up a door and revealing a prize or piece of candy each day, you read a prompt, watch a short video and are encouraged to get out and do the thing the video talked about. If that explanation didn’t make sense, I promise you’ll catch on as the month goes on and I post more about it. If you want to see other peoples takes on this, look up the #LighttheWorld hashtag on social media platforms and you’ll see some really amazing, inspiring stuff.

The prompt for December 1st was, “Jesus Lifted Others’ Burdens and So Can You” We took this as an opportunity to serve. We had to divide and conquer because Wild Man was really busy at work that day so actually never saw him. At home, H and I decided to take the idea and help out a couple neighbors. We have two elderly women that both live very close to us that we adore and it was really fun to catch them off guard while they were outside and be able to make their day a little easier. 

On December 2nd, “Jesus Honored His Parents and So Can You” I loved this day. My parents are the best of the best and I know I don’t give them the credit they deserve. It was really cool to be able to focus on them and think of what they mean to me. I also looked on my family history chart online and read a few of the stories from my ancestors. I’m grateful for all my ancestors.

December 3rd, “Jesus Helped Others to See and So Can You” This day was a personal task – but I just tried to remind someone how incredible they are. I also loved the idea the website gave to donate glasses, etc. I have a few laying around that I plan to donate (as soon as I find them ugh).

December 4th (today), “Jesus Worshiped His Father and So Can You” We went to church today. This seemed like the most straightforward way to worship Heavenly Father to me. I tried to be mindful of the words I heard and tried to figure out ways I could apply what I was learning about to my life. In Relief Society we had a really amazing lesson on being a light and being able to find the light that was very uplifting and inspiring. The website also suggests you give a kneeling prayer every day in December. This was an answer to prayers because I have been thinking of ways to make my prayers more meaningful and then I read this! I know that this will add more meaning to my prayers and show more respect to my Father in heaven.

I will check back in next week with more #LightTheWorld goodness. These may not be the most exciting posts but it’s helping me make sure I don’t neglect a single day of this. In the meantime I encourage you to print the advent calendar out and do the same! I know it has the power to change our lives, our attitudes and our spirit this holiday season.

xoxo

ceeceesparkles

Spiritual Sunday: Love at Home

img_1720

Being a mother and a wife is such a special, sacred calling. I feel like I have this incredible responsibility to make sure my husband and children are happy, loved and nurtured. A reoccurring job wives and mothers often hear they need to implement in their home is assuring that it is a place where love is felt and the spirit is strong, making it a sanctuary and a place of refuge. This thought is quite daunting, but I also feel so honored to have this task placed upon me. I want my husband to come home from work and my children to come home from school or play and feel the spirit in our home and I want them to know how loved and cherished they are. As I have been thinking about this lately I have been setting some goals for myself on ways to make sure our home is full of love and full of the spirit.

  • Say morning prayers, evening prayers and lots of prayers in between – blessing the food, prayer for others, family prayer, etc
  • Make sure the scriptures are read daily by everyone in the home
  • Keep the house clean, organized, bright and happy
  • I love the quote, “there should be no yelling in the home unless there is a fire” – I want to be a wife and mother who doesn’t yell and who is still able to keep order without raising my voice
  • We will hold weekly Family Home Evening
  • We will treat all our family members as equals
  • I can pray as a mother and ask that our home be blessed with the spirit and with love

These are just a few simple things, but I truly believe that as we really make sure to hold ourselves to these goals that our home will be a place of love, happiness and most importantly, a place where the spirit dwells.

xoxo

ceeceesparkles

Love One Another 14-Day Challenge

As I was browsing through Pinterest a few weeks ago I came across this challenge. At the time I was trying to find ways to prepare myself for LDS General Conference and this seemed like one way I could prepare that would be very beneficial. And ironically on the day I found this, it was exactly 14 days until Conference. I think thats what people call fate?

672cd6696c919a730dcc635f8cfe1634

I was so excited to immediately take this challenge and focus on loving others. Each morning before I got out of bed I would check the prompt for the day and tried to be mindful of it the whole day. I was proud of myself for those two weeks because I did a really good job. The fourteen days are done now and its been about a week since doing it and I’m already planning on taking this challenge again. At the end of these fourteen days I actually noticed my heart felt a little lighter, I was so much less judgmental, I felt kinder and I found it easier to love or look at people positively. I highly recommend this challenge guys. If you’re serious about it, it can change you.

Day One was showing patience with someone. I learned pretty quickly on that day that ‘someone’ would be my son. He was having a rough day and it turns out so was I. I felt my patience get slimmer and slimmer as the day went on. He’s just a baby so its not like I’d lose my cool with him or anything, but I realized I definitely could be much more patient with him – especially on tough days.

Day Two was overlooking someones shortcomings. I actually chose to overlook my own shortcomings. When it comes to motherhood I am really hard on myself and often feel inadequate. I looked past those feelings of doubt and failure and my day was actually significantly better.

Day Three I was challenged to look beyond looks. This is something I try hard to do on a daily basis because my parents taught me from a young age that looks do not define a person. It was nice to think about how important that is and it also served as a reminder to me about how I want my kids to treat everyone with the same respect and kindness no matter how they look, etc.

Day Four was kind of hard. Resist the impulse to categorize others. Maybe its just me, but I found out I do this so easily and so often. Thats horrible. I had to be actively mindful about this and I forgot a lot.. But it opened my eyes to how much I need to focus on this.

Day Five was seeing a situation through someone else’s eyes. The situation I focused on is one I’m choosing not to share. But it was moving. Its always wise to consider all sides of the story. It’ll do you a world of good.

Day Six was to forgive someone who wronged you. I had a client on this day and we got to talking and during our conversation I realized I was holding a grudge against someone for something they did a YEAR ago. I knew I needed to get over it and forgive them so I could love them 100% again without always holding on to that one thing.

Day Seven was don’t criticize actions. This was very similar to Day Four except I feel like I’m not as critical of others actions. I feel like I’m pretty good at realizing everyone has their own agency and makes their own choices and that should be just fine with me. I feel like especially in motherhood, people are quick to judge a mom for the way she parents her child. I’ve been victim of this and know how awful it feels so I try to stay far away from judging others – especially parents.

Day Eight challenged me to show mercy to someone. Another personal topic – another beautiful moment thanks to this challenge (and prayers for bravery).

Day Nine was my favorite. Give ten minutes to really listen to someone. Wild Man and I had one of the best conversations this day. We both went deep into conversation, we listened to each other and it was bonding and special. That same day one of my sisters opened up to me about something and I just let her talk and vent and it was really neat to just hear her and see how her mind works and better understand her. Listening – really listening – to people is really incredible.

Day Ten focused on speaking kindly to others. I am so non confrontational and I don’t want to sound braggy, but I’m not mean nor do I speak unkindly to others. So I just focused on making sure I was extra kind, gave extra service, etc. I absolutely could have done better though..

Day Eleven – say ‘thank you’. I realized this day that I am lousy at being as grateful as I should be. I neglect saying those two simple words far too often. I’ve made it a daily goal now and it helps me feel better about myself and I genuinely think it makes the people you thank feel good too.

Day Twelve was focusing on things you have in common with people you meet. This one was fun and helped me feel close to those around me, even the strangers. It also made me want to be more friendly with everyone and get to know them or go the extra mile to leave them with a  good impression of the person I am.

Day Thirteen encouraged you to offer a genuine compliment. This turned into a game. My husband, sisters and several family members through texts got messages from me all day. Complimenting others is a drug and is so much fun!

Day Fourteen was the most special day as we were challenged to see people as God sees them. Wow. God sees everyone with loving eyes. I know I do not even when I try, and it was really special to actively work on just loving everyone I saw that day. It warmed my heart and made me really want to be more Christlike than I’ve ever been. It also made me so much more grateful and aware of the love that Heavenly Father has for me. This one was the greatest testimony builder and the day I learned the most from.

I really do hope you’ll take this challenge. I’m starting again this week. Its so important to love one another and live with love.

xoxo

ceeceesparkles