#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!

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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

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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?

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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

General Conference

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Last weekend was General Conference and I am currently still riding the indescribable high that it gave me. I am 1000% motivated to be a better more Christlike person. And honesty time, one of the questions I took to General Conference with me was how can I be a force for good on my blog? I was inspired a billion times with things to write about, with messages I can share and with stories I can tell. I’ve mentioned recently that I have had writers block lately and thanks to General Conference and the Spirit, I am FULL of inspiration for the blog now. See? The Church of Jesus Christ of Later-Day Saints is good for your soul, your life and your blog.

We typically go to a beautiful place called Eden to watch General Conference. My family has a condo there up in the mountains and it is my happy place. Its secluded, the mountain air is refreshing and its a perfect getaway. Then you add on top of that, we were there to watch General Conference! Perfect. Weekend.

I will say, watching General Conference attentively is a lot more difficult when you have a mobile baby. Last Conference (april 2016) H was tiny and only rolling, so I could still actively take notes and pay attention. This time around was a different story. I love taking notes during Conference but I learned pretty quickly that I couldn’t and just had to rely on my brain remembering things and the quick tweets I could send off or retweet as I chased H through the condo and saved him from sticking his fingers in all the outlets. Such is life with kids, eh?

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My overall take away from October 2016’s General Conference is this: Be patient, understanding, recognize that people have their agency and put extra emphasis on striving to be Christlike. I was reminded how important it is to continue writing in my journal. I was so excited to hear a talk about not comparing – because heaven knows how bad I am at doing that! There were also a lot of personal revelations I had and am so grateful for the answers that basically jumped out of the tv screen and smacked me in the face. God is good and General Conference is incredible.

I was also greatly reminded of how wonderful family is. I was born and raised into the best family. I married a wonderful man and we have created a beautiful, happy family. I am so blessed.

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It was a perfect weekend. My heart is full and I am so excited to start working on these new goals I have set for myself after listening to the inspired words from our church leaders.

xoxo

ceeceesparkles

In Progress

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I’ve decided to really focus on my own spirituality and growing my testimony this month. I have re-dedicated myself to becoming a better wife and mother and am trying to actively be a better person. Its a process, there is a lot of learning and patience involved, but I’m in progress. I have talked about @havejoy_therapy Instagram account before and still, its one of my very favorite accounts. I love the positivity it gives, the motivation and the happiness it brings me. A couple days ago I found this quote on their page and it got me. This has become my new motto and I plan to keep it my motto for a long, long time.

“She talked to God daily and thats what made her lovely”

I am so moved by this and am so excited I found it. Outer beauty is awesome and something I always want, but I know inner beauty is the more important form of beauty and I know its much easier to achieve if I have a strong, healthy relationship with my Heavenly Father. You know how there are those people who you meet and you can just feel how in tune with the spirit they are? One of my goals has always been to be a person like this. I hope as I focus on my testimony and growing and progressing spiritually I can become this kind of person.

xoxo

ceeceesparkles

Spiritual Sunday: My Favorite Primary Song

Its been too long since I have done a Spiritual Sunday post. Sometimes I feel like these posts are kind of annoying, but recently I’ve reminded myself that I can be a force for good and I can spread a little joy on my tiny corner of the internet that maybe, even for a second can make someone feel happiness – and I feel like a good way I can do this is through my Sunday posts.

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Because I am a Pinterest-addict and also pin a lot of LDS stuff, I come across a lot of neat LDS quotes. The other night I found this one and I literally felt my heart burst with warmth. It was a quote from my favorite primary song – my all time favorite church song. The song is called, A Childs Prayer and the lyrics are:

“Heavenly Father, are you really there? And do you hear and answer every childs prayer? Some say that heaven is far away, but I feel it close around me as I pray. Heavenly Father, I remember now, something that Jesus told disciples long ago – ‘suffer the children to come to me’, Father, in prayer I’m coming now to thee.

Pray, he is there. Speak, he is listening. You are His child, His love now surrounds you. He hears your prayers. He loves the children. Of such is the kingdom, the kingdom of Heaven.”

I know that Heavenly Father hears and answers my prayers. But for whatever reason as I read this quote I was reminded of just how incredible that is. I have a Father in heaven who loves me, cares for me, wants the best for me, has an incredible plan of happiness for me and who genuinely listens to my prayers – no matter how repetitive, obnoxious, anxiety-filled, depressing or worldly they are — and He answers them (in his own time and way of course)! I am so blessed. The Gospel is so good and I am so, so very thankful for my Heavenly Father who does hear everyones prayers, who is close to me especially as I pray and who loves me.

xoxo

ceeceesparkles

A Force for Good

I am just one person, but I can make people happy. I can put a smile on someones face. I can serve someone in need. I can offer a kind compliment. I can listen to someone who needs to talk. I can be a helping hand. I can love and pray for others.

I can be a force for good.

The other day I was laying in bed and my mind turned to all the tragedy, heartache and evil happening around the world. I had said to my husband I hate that it feels like you can’t get on Social Media or the internet without seeing/hearing news of another horrible tragedy. Then my mind started turning towards myself – what can I do to help? Ok, realistically I can’t do anything that will help, but I can put positivity out there instead of negativity. As a blogger and avid Twitter and Instagram poster, I can make sure my content is happy. I can try to post things that put a smile on peoples faces and a little joy into their hearts rather than the gut-wrenching news thats so easy to find, lately. I obviously cannot guarantee you won’t still see the bad, sad stuff, but I can at least be something positive.

I can be a force for good!

I can’t save the world. I can’t change the world. But I can be a little light in the world. My tiny corner of the internet, my home, my friendship, my family, my example, my attitude, my advice, my interactions with others – all can be a light in a darkening world.

I can be a force for good!

A couple weeks ago my cousin left on his LDS Mission and in his farewell talk he said something that really stuck out to me. He said, “Wherever we stand, we can choose to turns towards God.” This really calmed my ever-stressed, anxiety filled heart and mind. I can choose to be terrified every day and let fear consume me, or I can wake up each morning and decide to be turned towards God throughout the day. I can choose to trust in His word, trust in His plan and trust that He will keep me and my family safe and protected. I can trust that He will direct me for good. I can exercise my faith in His will and  know I will have made the right choice. My Heavenly Father can help me be a light. He can help me be a force for good.

I hope my posts and pictures can bring a little joy to your day. If we know each other personally, I hope our friendship or acquaintanceship is a happy one and that I am kind to you and leave you feeling better about yourself. If we only talk through comments, etc, I hope I am positive and cheery. I want to be something good in this world and I’m going to try harder every day to do this.

Because I can be a force for GOOD!

xoxo

ceeceesparkles

 

Slump

I’ve been a little bummed lately. Its just a slump that will pass eventually, but I’m currently in the wait-it-out part and I hate that I’m starting to feel a little defeated by this. I’m letting everything everyone says get to me. I’m being extra hard on myself. I’m feeling like people have expectations of me and I’m not meeting them. I am feeling like some people are being disrespectful of the rules/boundaries I have for my son. I feel like because I only have one baby, my first baby, not all people are giving me credit for trying hard to be a good mom. A lot of times I’m hearing that I’ll be different and less worried, anxious and cautious as I have more children and H is the ‘unfortunate child’ because he’s our guinea pig baby, but I’m not brave enough to stand up for myself and say that I actually very well could be the same because I know who I am – I’m the biggest worrier and a full fledged anxiety queen – and I’m ok with it! Why can’t everyone else be? And even if I am a ‘different’ mom with my next kids, does that really make it ok to make fun of the way I mom, currently? Why is it so simple for some people to bash on the new moms? I feel like I’m letting myself be walked all over because I’m being too shy to confront anyone, even if its a small matter. I go to bed every night with a pit in my stomach because I feel like I failed during the day.

I hate it

I hate it

I hate it

Whenever I am in a crappy mood like this I am weird and I channel my inner teenage girl and turn to Pinterest to find some quotes that hopefully uplift and inspire me. I really like to search ‘LDS Quotes’ and they can put a little bit of brightness back into my day. I couldn’t think of anything to post today so I decided (after spilling my whiney, complain emotions) to post a few of the quotes I found that put a smile on my face.

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I feel like before you think I’m totally a hopeless, sad mess I need to remind everyone how lucky I am that I have my sweet, happy baby boy and my kind, caring husband. Thank goodness for them – I am #blessed

Before I go, just a reminder: Be nice. Don’t say mean, judgmental things to people because you don’t know how it could effect their happiness. Say nice things, keep negative opinions to yourself. Smile, be happy, lets uplift instead of bring down.

xoxo

ceeceesparkles

Spiritual/Whiny Monday?

Yesterday I made the goal to go to all three hours of church, finally. I haven’t successfully attended all three meetings since H was born. He was born in the cold months so I don’t feel guilty about it because I was keeping him home and safe from germs, but now that its April and he is almost 5 months old, I figured I really couldn’t use that as an excuse anymore and needed to make a stronger effort to go to all three meetings.

Our ward starts at 11 so it shouldn’t be that hard to get ready and get out the door in time. But the night before (saturday to sunday) H slept a grand total of 2 hours. So we were dragging and exhausted. We got to church at 11:15 or so. Several minutes after being there H pooped and it seemed like a lot so I went to quickly change him before it became a blowout. Ok, I hate changing babies on those changing tables. They’re tiny and likely so germ infested! My diaper bag has a section that folds out into a changing pad, so I laid that on top of the table, but it still was gross. I feel like my anxiety was just boiling over the entire time I was changing him, trying not to get anything messy, keeping his hands off of the changing table and hoping no one would walk in to the bathroom while I was taking care of this mess. Got it all taken care of cleanly. Avoided a blowout. Back to Sacrament Meeting.

Only a few minutes later after sitting next to Wild Man again, H poops again, but this time there was definitely more and it was coming in frequent waves. Somehow I just knew this one was a blowout. I grabbed the diaper bag and again headed to the women’s bathroom and pulled out the nasty changing table.

Epic blowout.

All up his back and into his hair and down his legs (but miraculously nothing on his pants?) Changing blowouts on a wiggly baby who’s main goal at the moment was to attempt to roll off the dirty changing table is exhausting and at some point almost makes you cry. It was a mess. I stripped him down, wiped him down then put a clean diaper on him. At this point I thought to myself, I’ll shoot for three hours of church next week – I’m going home. I dug through my diaper bag to see if I’d put a new outfit in there to change H into on the chance of a blowout. All I had was a little pajama one-piece that is too small and quite tight on my little guy. I squished him into it and left the bathroom.

I’d apparently been in there a while because Sacrament Meeting was out and Wild Man was standing outside the door. He laughed when he saw H in his new outfit and I quickly complained to him about how messy the diaper was and how gross the changing table was. As I was about to ask him if I should head home, Wild Man said, “well lets head to Sunday School then.” I was about to fight it. But it was like this was my second chance at reaching my three hour goal.

He was good in Sunday School. He got a little fussy for a while but then fell asleep. No complaints there.

The third hour was Relief Society and he was still asleep at the beginning so I was feeling like I was going to finish strong. But ultimately I didn’t finish as strongly as I would have liked to. Apparently those too small pajamas I changed H into look girly (tan and blue) because two women asked what my daughters name was.. Then after 10-15 minutes of Relief Society H woke up with crazy energy. He was either screaming/yelling/talking out of pure excitement or it would quickly change and he’d scream/cry out of pure anger. He woke up three sleeping babies, even. It was embarrassing but I had to keep reminding myself this is what babies do and the women in the room knew that. (plus he was being better than the little boy behind me so at least we weren’t the worst in the room)

I was pretty relieved when 2 o’clock slowly rolled around. We went home, I ate a quick snack then H and I headed to take a nap. We’d survived.

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Since General Conference a couple weeks ago I have been trying to focus on what I can do to make myself a better person. I think so often I figure that if I am praying morning and night and several times in between and reading my scriptures daily then I am moving forward spiritually and am on a steady incline. But over the last couple days I’ve made the discovery that its not enough. Yes its good, and progress is progress, but I can and need to do so much more. I am still worthy and being a good LDS woman if I’m at least putting effort forth, but I remember hearing somewhere that if you’re standing still in the gospel then you’re actually moving backwards – you always need to be working to actively move forward.

That is exactly what I want to do. I want to actively move forward. I’m doing a good job currently, but I want to do better. I want to be better about enforcing Family Home Evening in my home, I want to give more service to my husband, my son, our families and our neighbors, I want to be more Christlike and really study the gospel and be one of those people who just shine with the light of the church. (wow, getting cheesy there? yeah probably..)

But you get what I’m saying, right? I’m excited to move forward and to strive to be better.

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xoxo

ceeceesparkles