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My heart pains 💔💔 to see videos of China, families separated from each other, superhighways completely deserted, streets empty and factories closed. Beautiful Italy under lockdown, Schools closed, Cathedrals closed, Universities closed, Stores closed, Tourists trapped, Locals without food or toilet paper. Cruise ships stranded unable to dock because there is disease aboard the ship. Dreams dashed to nightmares.
Thoughts of our brothers and sisters around the world are with millions, every moment as we hear hour-by-hour updates of devastations and losses.
🙋♀️YOU MIGHT CALL ME CRAZY… but I can’t stop believing that even with all this suffering, there is still something MAGNIFICENT in the world happening right now!
Isn’t it in the very threat of loss, that we have a chance to consider our most sacred priorities? Our highest missions, our most important relationships? Our deepest desires? Our loftiest goals?
Shared adversity somehow has this incredible way of entwining our lives with those we walk this path with, binding us irreversibly together.
I look at the news, I scroll my social media accounts and all I see everywhere is strangers praying together, sharing together, giving to each other, crying together, thinking about each other, sending aid to each other. Religions, languages, beliefs, and borders are no barriers for the 💗love💗 that is being poured out upon the affected countries of the 🌏 earth right now.
😷 A physical, global, disaster can be blessing for so many of us! For those who are not prepared physically, it can remind us that it is wise to have a small storage of food, water, and money for a situation such as this one.
👣 For those who are prepared physically, it can be an opportunity to give, to be generous to and serve. It can provide a chance to withhold judgement of people that aren’t prepared, and to exercise compassion for those that can’t afford to be prepared.
👴👵🏽 This can be our chance to review spiritual and emotional well being. And focus on being ready should they or someone they love die tomorrow.
👩⚕️This gives our governments and communities and hospitals a chance to get ready for times ahead that could bring greater sickness.
👩👧👦This gives families time to stay home with each other and opportunities reach out to those around us.
🙏This gives us all a chance to mourn together, to pray for each other, to celebrate together.
🌄Today I can see a lot of silver linings in this storm, and although there is uncertainty and despair in the future, I am in awe of the beauty all around me right now.
This year started out with a bang. Like an emotional bomb kind of bang. It seemed like only moments after I had envisioned the incredible relationships that I was going to build and the amazing achievements that I was going to reach, a critical personal relationship took a nose dive, like a scuba diver to a shipwreck. While trying to finish the lessons on vision board and goal setting with my kids, my insides were screaming ‘it’s too hard, give up, let it go’.
I marched forward, wiping away my tears, and determined to find a way through this surprising road block in my day. As days & weeks passed and I had more time to analyse the frustrations of the unexpected turn of events, I was reminded of a story that happened in my own family a few years ago. Many of you may even remember me talking about it.
First let me remind you that we live in a rural town in a cold Canadian province. My husband Eric and our daughter Lizzie were on an adventure together visiting some important people in Mesa Arizona. They had been gone for almost a week, and things didn’t seem to be going their way. Each time I called them to see how they were, or what they were doing they were flustered, frustrated, or late.
There were numerous appointments to keep, meetings to attend, and planes to catch, but It seemed like no matter where they need to go there was no quick route to getting there.
Remember, we live in a tiny town in rural Alberta. They were in a real city. Although they had a GPS, they were constantly getting lost or being misguided. Thinking he was just out of practice with big city driving, Eric found his way to one appointment after another going this way and that way, turning around dozens of times and never seeming to get where he wanted in a direct path. He was constantly battling tiny backroads and unexpected turns. One of the roads he was on actually ended in a dirt path and another one went right until could go no further, due to a barbed wire fence locked across it.
Confused and frustrated they bumbled their way through the week, apologising as they showed up late again. On the last day of their trip, as they were driving to the airport, they discovered something fascinating. When they had only minutes left before they would miss their plane, and with the highway within site running alongside them, they were instructed to take a different road that was much smaller and ran parallel to the highway rather than go on the highway itself. In exasperation and confusion, over the strange directions, Eric finally pulled over and took a look at his GPS. That is moment that he saw that one of the kids had changed the GPS settings to ‘avoid all major highways’.
When my husband told me this story I almost died laughing. He was crying. His ridiculous journey suddenly made sense.
As I reflected on it this year, It made me wonder about my own life. Am I allowing Jesus Christ to REALLY be the centre of my life? Am I allowing Him to REALLY direct my life? Or do I have some personal GPS setting that says ‘must do this alone’, ‘never ask for help’, or ‘your guess is as good as mine’.
What are my personal GPS settings set to? Are there ways in which I am avoiding ‘all major highways’?
2020 is a new year, it’s a time to start fresh! I want to make sure that I am headed in the right direction 🙂 I plan on resetting my GPS, and I’m going to start by asking myself honestly:
Despite it’s rough beginning, I have every anticipation that the year 2020 will be my happiest, healthiest, most exciting year yet, and I wish you the same!
May you put Jesus in the centre of your life, may you get exactly where you want to go, and may you never have to ‘avoid all major highways’ 🙂
I’m so excited to learn about My Amazing Brain, and what God expects me to do with it! I thought today would also be a great time to teach the kids about how taking care of their brains properly can bless their lives forever!
I started our class today with this song for the kids to get them used to the parts of the brain before we started all our other activities and studies!
Many times it may seem obvious what God wants you to do. Other times, it might not seem obvious. When it isn’t, you may find yourself immobilized by indecision because you don’t want to make a mistake. God expects you to make decisions!
God could tell you what to do moment-by-moment throughout the day. But that’s not the type of relationship he wants with you.
Although sometimes it’s clear what God would want you to do, many times he wants you to make good decisions “on your own,” guided by wisdom. Wisdom is supreme; therefore get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding. Esteem her, and she will exalt you; embrace her, and she will honor you. She will set a garland of grace on your head and present you with a crown of splendor. (Proverbs 4:7-9) Don’t be like a horse or mule
God didn’t create us to be puppets or robots. Instead, he gives each of us the capability to make decisions. As Psalm 32:9 says, he doesn’t want us to be like a horse or mule that needs to be controlled by bit and bridle. Do not be like the horse or the mule, which have no understanding but must be controlled by bit and bridle or they will not come to you. (Psalm 32:9)
The horse and mule described in Psalm 32:9 are controlled by bit and bridle. The bit and bridle create pressure on the horse’s or mule’s head that makes it difficult—and painful—for the animal to go anywhere except where the rider wants to go.
Notice that the horse and mule “have no understanding.” God doesn’t want us to be like that. He wants us to be guided by “understanding.”
Ask wise, mature believers for advice Sometimes we need to ask others for advice if we want to make good decisions. Be careful to choose the right people. Many of your friends might simply tell you what they think you want to hear, not what is wisest. Look for mature people who will give you honest, godly advice.
When people give you advice, ask yourself if their advice is supported by: God’s Word Your circumstances Godly wisdom Other people’s advice Your own sense of peace and direction
After learning all about the brain we discussed different ways that we can actually take care of our brains. This includes eating healthy, getting exercise, drinking lots of water and being careful what you put into your body. It also includes being careful what you listen to, watch and look at and how much time you actually spend looking at screens and devices.
Depending on the age of your kids you may want to watch one of the TED talks below.
Well today was a great success with the kids. We learned so about making decisions, our amazing brains and what God expects us to do with them, and how to take care of them! Join us next time for a fun Christian based homeschool lesson!
The glass windows were frosted over and icicles were starting to form from the roof, scattering light across the room. It wasn’t even December yet and I had no intention of decorating the small trees that sat in front of the fireplace in our living room. In fact I had just woken up from a long nap to see that the entire world was covered with a thick covering of white sparkly snow for the 8th time that season, making it feel like a winter wonderland yet again.
That must have been what they were thinking when they found the box I had tucked away.
When I got up, and saw how sweetly they were working together and how tenderly they were carrying each ornament, I didn’t have the heart to tell them to stop or put them away. Instead I sat close by, and watched quietly, as they carefully placed each ornament on the tree; My 6 year old son, my 4 year old son and the 6 year old neighbour boy. These boys had my heart and they knew it!
After a few minutes, just decorating must have got boring, because my oldest son got excited and squealed, ‘look this one’s plastic’, and then attempted to bounce the pretty, thin, glass ball on the ground.
It shattered on impact before I could even squeal a warning, and the three boys stood silently, their mouths forming o’s as they surveyed the scattered pieces of fragmented glass. Isaiah, the one who had bounced the ornament, bent down and slowly began to pick up the pieces. He brought them to me, reverently presenting them in outstretched hands and trembling lips.
At first I wanted to scold him, getting angry that he had taken the balls out without permission in the first place. Then I was mad at myself for allowing them to do it while I just sat and watched. But something quiet whispered to my heart, and instead of scolding, I asked a question. The three pairs of eyes moved from the sharp, tiny pieces, up to my face as they considered the answer. ‘Can any of us mend this broken ball?’
It was obvious that the hundreds of tiny slivers couldn’t possibly be put back together, Isaiah shook his head sadly, apologising for his mistake, still trying not to cry. But it wasn’t regret that I wanted him to understand just now, it was hope.
I reflected on my own life. My hopes and expectations for what I thought it would be like to be a mother and a wife. I clearly remembered how many times I had fallen short despite my best efforts. The times when I had shattered the beautiful gifts that I was sent with, times when I wanted to give up much more desperately than any human but myself knew. Times when I felt cracked.
The marriage I’d experienced for more than 20 years was always rewarding, but never easy. We definitely were not the couple that never fought, or whose passionate love made daily life a constant bliss. Between significant shared mental, & physical challenges, it seemed like few things had turned out the way I had expected in my family.
And then there was parenting… I had always dreamed of being an awesome mom, reading stories to the younger kids around a fireplace, chatting late into the night with the older ones, as they poured out their secret dreams and fears, exposing their hearts with me. All of this in preparation of course, for taking them on grand adventures around the world where we’d feed starving children and sleep on dirt floors and eat nothing but mud cakes and tea for dinner.
As each new child was born, they were welcomed with enthusiastic delight into our growing family. And the plan was working flawlessly. The sleepless nights and poopy diapers had never overwhelmed me much, but when those chubby cheeked angels grew up a little, and the toddler days were behind me, I was surrounded by complications that I never imagine I’d be facing.
Never-ending access to technology, friends, and the distracting messages of the world took its toll on my happy world. Kids became teenagers and it seemed like nothing was the same anymore. Suddenly our united, fun home, seemed to turn upside down as children ventured off on their own long before my mother heart felt ready to let them go. Private struggles with my oldest 2 girls, fought Goliath battles inside my heart, persuading me that I was a monumental failure, and the relationships around became strained and distressing.
I guess no mom likes it when their children leave home, and I was no exception, the only difference was, mine left when they were only 16 & 17. Still far too early to be on their own, in my opinion.
Ridiculous questions plagued my days and especially my nights:
Had I been too strict, or maybe too lenient? Maybe I never should have given them cell phones, or allowed them access to social media at all. Had I chosen the wrong diet for my kids, maybe it was GMO’s. Was it because my devotionals weren’t interesting enough, or was it because of all those mornings that I missed even teaching devotionals? The vitamins that I bought were probably the wrong kind, or when we visited Drs. They were most likely the wrong Dr’s or they must have prescribed the wrong medicine. It was the underwear, definitely the thong underwear I found secreted away in their drawers that had started it all!
Endless dark thoughts crept in whispering convincing lies and foolishly I believed.
Days past in darkness and despair, spending hours locked in my room weeping into my pillows, and begging God to take away this pain. When my daughters were doing great in the world, going to school, making friends and working, I was proud, and felt glad they were having this grand adventure without me. But when I heard word that they were alone, or afraid, or cold, or hungry, or hurt, or abandoned, or abused or sick or in bondage, I thought my heart would surely collapse. In fact one day, my heart did give way and I fell in heap onto the floor where I couldn’t breathe. I felt the beats of my heart slowing down and I wondered if this was the moment where I would leave this earth life. In all honesty, I was glad at the possibility of escaping all this pain and finally going home.
But then it came; The vision of all my other kids and my husband, my parents and my sisters and brothers. I knew I wasn’t supposed to leave just yet, and If I did, I would regret it for eternity.
I begged my heart to breathe again, I desperately wheezed in one breath and then another. It felt like my heart was being crushed and my lungs were screaming for air. I knew that I was meant to win this battle. I was going to get up and fight. I suddenly became determined to never allow this darkness to consume me again.
I was going to shine a light on the lies and the whisperings that were holding ME captive. I was going to believe that regardless of all the things I did and didn’t do, that God had chosen me to be this wife, this mother, this sister, this daughter, and somehow with His Grace, I WAS GOING TO BE ENOUGH!
My husband found me a half later on the floor shaking, covered in sweat, my breath finally having returned normally and the crushing pain subsided. He picked me up gently and carried me into the bedroom where we discussed our options. We made a plan together of how we could get through this experience, and how we could be the parents and companions that we both wanted to be.
We had a support network of amazing friends and family members that helped inspire us, and we discovered powerful mentors in the professional world that taught us things in our personal lives that were game changing.
I learned the power of meditation, affirmations, deep breathing, exercise, water, sleep, emotional stress management, and prayer.
Above all else, I learned how to share my burdens with our Savior Jesus Christ.
If you are in this situation, overwhelmed or paralyzed with fear or despair I encourage you to check out THIS POST about Emotional Stress Management and get help from friends, family or medical doctors.
As the days turned into months and the months into a couple of years, the fears and doubts that had previously seemed to rob me of my happiness at the most inconvenient times, slowly began to transform. My heartaches got tumbled inside and the jagged edges were smoothed into something that didn’t feel quite so painful.
I began to see the transformation of my own children at home and away from home, as they made mistakes, picked themselves up, and tried again. I got visits and small messages from my girls who were away from home, reminding me of how magnificent and strong they were, and how the beautiful gifts that they had possessed since birth had blessed other people.
It seemed like I could feel the muscles of my heart being torn apart and then fiber by fiber stitched painfully, slowly, back together. I was learning to turn my life over to God, to have faith in His great plan of happiness for my family. My feelings of despair, and discouragement gave way to something unexpected. I was growing a heart that was stronger, happier, and full of the expectation of joy for family and future.
Here I was two years later, staring down at my son’s outstretched hands, looking at the shattered pieces reflecting the light from outside in a million different directions. There was no way to put all my thoughts into words that this little boy would understand, but I hoped with a simple explanation he could at least grasp a little of this message.
Even with our hardest work and most focused attention WE WILL MESS UP! We will be surrounded at some point in our lives by shattered pieces of something that was once beautiful and that we cannot possibly repair alone.
But the splendid & wonderful news of the gospel of Jesus Christ is that if we let Him, the Great Healer CAN repair our lives and makes us whole again!!
I am glad that my sons reminded me of this heart saving lesson. I am glad my daughters continue to test me and try me, and even though 5 more glass balls broke before the afternoon was over, I am glad that today I learned about Christmas.
Being a mom can be overwhelming at best! I have 7 adorable children who I have spent some days loving and some moments hating!
Frustrated this huge swing of emotions, sometimes, several times a day, I have spent the last several years learning techniques that have help me get a lot more control in my own mind & heart.
Here are my BEST tips at learning to love being a mom & wife everyday:
TAKE A VITAMIN SUPPLEMENT that REALLY works everyday ( I use Q-96- it’s super high in vitamin B which fights depression or SAMe which you can find at most health food stores, or Doterra Vitamins). It is my belief that EVERY mom need extra mental support! And by taking a vitamin that actually works for you, it gives you the extra emotional support that you need to stay calm when you really feel like freaking out!
MAKE DECLARATIONS for yourself that you repeat to yourself out-loud EVERY DAY. (eg. I am awesome, These kids are going to grow up beautiful and sweet, I am beautiful, I am the best mom in the world for these kids)
There is just TONS of science behind the power of positive thinking. I love these books especially: As a Man Thinketh Acres of Diamonds Drawing on the Powers of Heaven
TAKE SOME TIME OUT FOR YOURSELF! (any smart husband will support this!) go out with some girls that you can talk to.
Let’s face it, it’s hard being at home and only talking to babies all day, while covered in poop and laundry and dishes!
I have a couple sisters and couple close friends that I can call anytime and have a girl hangout session with in the evening. We all bring chocolate and then we just laugh and talk and cry and feel so much better afterwards.
My husband is always happy when I come home from my girls nights out because I got to dump and it wasn’t on him! Plus it’s so nice hearing that other people also struggle with their marriages and children and money and health 🙂
4. DATE NIGHTS
HAVE A DATE NIGHT EVERY WEEK with your husband. Being connected to him is going to make you feel awesome. Sometimes we just go in our bedroom and lock the door. We watch a movie, or talk or play games, but the kids know it’s date night and we aren’t opening that door for anything!
If your husband travels away from home and it’s not feasible to have a date night once a week, don’t give up! Use this chance to have a date via social media. Text him, ask him questions, have good discussions or send him some spicy pictures (he won’t mind).
There are so many ways to connect with our spouses today, and our teenagers know how to use them so why shouldn’t we?!
5. A SWAY A DAY KEEPS ANGER AWAY! SWAY WITH YOUR HUSBAND
Everyday. Not everyone can dance, but EVERYONE can sway. Swaying is standing up and moving from side to side without moving your feet. Make a promise to sway with your husband every night, just for the length of one song. If you guys are crazy angry at each other just hold each others pinkies and sway them to the music. It has worked MIRACLES in my marriage! (I learned swaying from the Royalty And Romance seminar that I took with Kirk Duncan which was soooo awesome)
6. LET GO OF NEGATIVE EMOTIONS QUICKLY
PRACTICE LET-GO TECHNIQUES and use them anytime you are feeling angry, stressed out or mad. A let go technique is any technique that you use to dissolve or let go of negative emotions. We all have negative emotions, and if they are not managed properly than we get sick, physically as well as mentally. Everyone has different let go techniques. Here are a few:
Write things out that are bothering you and Burn them
Use essential oils
All of these things are great things to do, but when you purposefully use them to help you manage your negative emotions they can literally work miracles in your life! So take walking for example. Rather than just going for a walk, go for a walk with the intention of letting go of your ‘yuck’. Go out somewhere that nobody can hear and yell your gross stuff out, then on the way back from your walk, allow yourself to say everything that you are grateful for. You will be AMAZED at the results!
There are countless letting go techniques that can be used to manage your negative emotions, don’t be shy, USE THEM, AND LET GO OF YOUR JUNK! Your kids and husband will be grateful and your own body will be grateful. I’d love it if you wanted to share YOUR favorite let-go techniques with us 🙂
7. READ SCRIPTURES
Everyday, even if it’s just a few verses. I went so many years without reading my scriptures consistently and since the I’ve started again I’ve been blown away by how much peace we have at home. I spend way less time on social media and way MORE time with God. I love it!
I’d love to know what you thought of my 7 tips for Being a Calm Mom & Rock-Star Wife!
What is hardest for you about being a mom or wife? Give me your best tips and hang in there, it gets easier 🙂
Eating a Sea Urchin is more exciting than you might think! This was certainly a day I’ll never forget, check out the video as we test the South Pacific delicacy of Sea Urchins!
I can honestly say that this camping trip has proved to be more incredible than I could have ever hoped for! I mean, seriously how amazing is it that we would run into some gentle hearted village boys and that they would spend all morning with us collecting sea urchins and then spend all afternoon cooking with us.
They collected and started the fire themselves, ran to the village and brought some yam and taro to cook on the fire as well and by the late afternoon we had an amazing meal with our new found friends!
Although it was by democratic vote that all of us decided we will never really ever have to eat Sea Urchins again, roasted or raw!
They tasted that gross, slimy fishy salty meat. In the end we sent most the urchins home with the village boys so that they could enjoy them with their families. We had collected so many that it was impossible to eat them all while we were together!
What do you think? What is the grossest thing that you’ve ever eaten? Would you eat sea urchins?
It started out as what we thought was going to be a lovely little date together. We snuck off and thought we’d grab some lunch from one of the little roadside markets. That was our mistake…in the end we didn’t eat anything.
You know the entire experience was really fascinating. The way that the fur smelled as it burnt off in the pan which was over top of the simmering fire.
What was so interesting to both of us is how anyone could actually ENJOY eating cat. I mean there was hardly anything to recommend it. I certainly will never be able to see an alive cat without thinking of those poor kitty cat souls that got eaten up on the islands.
The enthusiasm for eating horse, dogs and cats can not been matched. I just think if I lived here for 100 years I still could not possible come to love any of those tastes! I did try bat once though, and that wasn’t TOO bad. But once was still enough!
What do you think? Would have you tried the cat? What has yours most shocking lunch discovery been?
Well there are so many things here that are different than at home and food is definitely one of them! I don’t have much to say- the video sums it up 🙂
It all started when I went to the grocery store and picked up a bag of pasta. I saw hundreds of black bugs crawling around inside the bags. It was soo gross!!! I couldn’t believe it, and I put it back onto the shelf. But then I realized that if I wanted pasta I was going to have to buy something. I went through dozens of bags and settled on a few that only had 10 bugs in them. They looked so much more appealing than the bags with dozens or hundreds of beetles.
When I went to buy the rice it was the same way. It didn’t matter what I wanted to buy, there were BUGS in EVERYTHING! It was sooo gross, but we quickly learned that if we didn’t want to starve we would have to just ignore the bugs and just go ahead with our meal.
That is why the rule was, when I was cooking in the kitchen NOBODY was allowed to come and look at the meal. That way I could pick out as many bugs as I could without them noticing and it was much easier to enjoy the meal.
Today the meal was rice pudding, and the bugs were so prolific that I had to add pepper to the meal to cover up the tiny black critters.
Everyone, mostly enjoyed the meal. And those that didn’t, well they spoke up at the end!
What about you? Have you ever had to eat something you didn’t want to?
It’s official. I have always hated animals and now my house has turned into a living zoo! It started out with the lizard, and then the baby chick that Mamma Mary gave my daughter when she was at the top of the mountain visiting last week. After that the snails, the crabs and the cat just all sort of joined our family.
But the weirdest thing about the whole situation is that the Lizard and the baby chick live INSIDE our house! Yes you heard me correctly. They live inside, because the dog lives outside and we don’t want the the dog to eat the family pets. So our house is turning into a menagerie!
But I do have one small confession to make, our kids love it. They love having all the animals and the little boys love chasing them around the house and the girls love hearing their loud little chirps throughout the house.
I do feel blessed to live here, despite the zoo it’s been so rewarding for all my kids physically, mentally and spiritually. I hope it lasts forever!
What about you? What’s the strangest pet YOU’VE had living INSIDE your house?!
The oldest girls took a hike through the jungle with a group of their cousins and local friends. All the locals knew that the plant was to be avoided but they forgot to tell my girls. Two of the girls ended up falling down and getting covered in a tropical stinging plant #should’vewornlongershorts. The sting lasts from a week to a month and the only remedy is to find the plant that stung you and crack open it’s stem, spreading the sap on the sting. Here’s the report!
Well Poor Laea, she has been such a good sport about this whole adventure and somehow she’s been the one who keeps getting boiled, bit and attacked.
This time those rashes lasted for weeks before finally easing up. They hiked for hours with Amjed to find a remedy for the stings but they couldn’t find any anywhere. So she came home and tried another island medicine remedy, but it wasn’t very effective at treating the affected areas.
We all laugh and cry with Laea and we are proud of her resilience and determination and good attitude. It’s a refreshing attitude to have around here!