Could be good, Could be bad

A couple years ago I went to a meeting for my church and I heard this story and it left an impact on me about my outlook on daily life. I looked up the story to share here and apparently it’s a Chinese proverb/parable. The story is as follows:

There was an old farmer in a remote village in China. He was the envy of his village because he owned the only horse in the village.

“This is good,” said his neighbors.

“Could be good, could be bad,” said the old farmer, “I don’t know. It just is.”

One day the horse ran away.

“Oh, this is bad,” said the neighbors.

“Could be good, could be bad,” said the old farmer, “I don’t know. It just is.”

The next day, the horse came back, bringing another horse with him.

“Oh, this is good,” said the neighbors.

“Could be good, could be bad,” said the old farmer, “I don’t know. It just is.”

The next day, the old farmer’s son tried to ride the new horse, but it threw him and the son’s leg was broken.

“Oh, this is bad,” said the neighbors.

“Could be good, could be bad,” said the old farmer, “I don’t know. It just is.”

The next day, the Chinese military marched into town and rounded up all the young men for military service. Because of his broken leg, the old farmer’s son was the only one spared.

“Oh, this is good,” said the neighbors.

“Could be good, could be bad,” said the old farmer, “I don’t know. It just is.”

And so on…

This wasn’t the ending I expected at the time. I was surprised it ended abruptly and wanted the typical ending with a full explanation; complete with the words “The End.”

That wasn’t the point of the story, it was to show how events in our lives can go up or down, the way we respond to them is what matters. It is up to me how I view my life.

I want to share this story of an incident that happened to me about 2 years ago now and maybe you can decide if it ‘could be good, could be bad’.

We used to own this small maroon car and it definitely had its problems. We didn’t have a problem with the motor, it was mostly cosmetic issues amounting close to $500 which we didn’t want to take the time to fix. It was May of 2015 and we had decided that it was time we started looking at getting a new car, but we were going to take it slow and browse, decide our budget and take the time to sell our car and get what we could out of it which honestly wasn’t going to be much; optimistically maybe $2k. We also decided that May to take a quick trip to CA, just a couple days to check out Sea World, have a day at the ocean; a nice family vacation. For us it is a 5 hour drive, at the time we had a 2 year old and a 6 month old so we assumed it would be a fairly easy trip to take with them. It wasn’t.

We kept stopping for them which was frustrating, lots of crying for everyone. Then as we were about 40 minutes away we were driving up some windy hills and our bummer got ripped right off our car! We stopped and quickly came to the decision that we had to leave it there. We had no place to put it and we were just beginning our trip. The poor car looked terrible. The actual trip in CA went well and we were happy overall to take the time to be together. On the way home was a different story. We had decided that since the trip during the day was so rough then we would travel home close to the evening to get the kids to sleep on the way home. That most definitely did not happen! My youngest cried for the longest time until he finally had a blow out around 9p. After that things did seem to settle down a little bit. We were suppose to take a main highway back to the city but accidentally passed it, so our GPS rerouted us to a back road. Unknown to us the valley had received a lot of rain the past couple of days while we were gone. It was close to 11p at night and I was exhausted. I quickly perked up when I started noticing we were driving through some low laying water as the car dipped with the road. I had let my husband know that I had a feeling that we should mostly definitely turn around. He responded letting me know that he had seen cars coming from our opposite direction and thought we would make it just fine. My final reply was that I was worried with how low our car was though that we would hit some water that we would not be able to get out of, a couple minutes later that’s when we hit a HUGE wave of water. It startled my husband who let off on the gas and caused the car to stall right in the middle of the dip of the road. I honestly started hyperventilating, which is unexpected for me but what was happening was one of my fears! Being stuck in a small car surrounded by water! Plus my tiny children were asleep in my back seat! My husband climbed out of the window to get help from a vehicle behind us, I climb to the back to soothe my youngest who was whimpering a little. As I place my feet down on the floor of the car I quickly discovered that it was filling with water! As I push down the urge to panic I climbed up front with the baby and managed to calmly tell my husband that the car was filling with water. He ran over hurriedly, I put the car in neutral and he pushed us to the other side.  We tried to start the car, when the engine didn’t even turn over we were 99% sure it was dead.

To quickly wrap this up we ended up making several calls to tow trucks who couldn’t reach us and then to friends to see who could come and get us and we could reach no one. We slept in the cold car the rest of the night by holding the children close to keep them  warm. My then 2 year old slept through the whole incident which was a miracle. At 7a we finally found a friend who was able to drive my husband’s truck to come to get us.

Now you’re wondering what happened to our car aren’t you? Well, we were able to get money from our insurance for it which was a lot more than what we would have gotten if we privately sold it and bought our van! One of the most miserable nights of my life ended up being a very big blessing for my family.

Was the trip good or bad? True I received some great blessings but I also endured some hard trials. I felt it was overall similar to the ebb and flow of life. There will be some hard things and there will be many good things, my overall outlook on the situation depends on me. I get that choice, which is amazing! What a wonderful gift it is to determine my own perspective and ultimately my life.

I challenge you to reflect; ponder the bad and look for the good in every situation. Share an experience in the comments below or take the time to email me at happywithimperfect@gmail.com. Can’t wait to hear from you!

 

Family Culture and Traditions 

In my home growing up we had typical traditions for Thanksgiving and Christmas, a few not holiday traditions like getting a few new things at the beginning of the school year and dinner prayers, but we never celebrated much else. Since I’ve been married I’ve loved the idea to celebrate each holiday, I’m not very good at it though! It takes extra effort to decorate and celebrate when it’s not something I’m used to doing. 

A friend this past Halloween was sharing how her family does this Halloween dinner every year and her mom dresses as a witch, how much fun does that sound?? My children would think it was hilarious! I had never heard of such an idea but I loved it and it has stayed with me. 

Just recently I listened to a webinar from the Power Of Moms blog that I follow (they also do podcasts for anyone who loves them like I do), one part stuck out to me about family culture and traditions. They asked what makes being in your family so special? Why should your child enjoy being in your family? They then went on to share how family traditions bond a family and having something special just for our family creates a uniqueness for us. *light bulb!* 

This is something I’ve wanted for my family, I’ve been working towards creating a bond between my children this past year. I feel as if my own siblings and I don’t have a strong bond, we love each other but we rarely talk and it’s usually through our parents. Because of this I want to create moments for our family to have a bond, I don’t feel as if it just happens. I feel the need to be intentional about it. 

The traditions I’ve been brainstorming about center around our daily, weekly and monthly life. We say daily prayers together, daily scripture reading, weekly family fun activities and something I want to do soon is individual parent-child dates. Monthly traditions include holidays. For this month I’m wanting to do something special for my family. I found this neat idea spreading around on Facebook where for the first 14 days of February makes little hearts with a reason why you love your child and hang it up where they can find it, so I started that this morning, even for my husband! I also want to give them a small card and candy on the actual holiday, I rarely got one outside of school as a kid and I think my children would love it (especially since we’re out of Christmas candy). Last thing I think I want to do, but worried it’s too much for me to remember and do is make a pink breakfast on Valentine’s Day. There is a recipe I’ve saved on Pinterest for pink cinnamon rolls, which I think would be fun! We’ll see if I get there haha 

In my world of imperfection I think the brightest spots in my life is my family so I’m making sure I do what I can to strengthen us; at the end of the day they are my everything. 

Please share your family traditions of what you do to bond and I challenge you to think of new things to add to do with your family. Share in the comments below ❤ 

Self Love Journey

This week I was pondering what to share when I found this new podcast to listen to, it’s called Bold New Mom. Jody Moore started a blog then moved to podcasts, which I love. I typically love to listen to something as I fold laundry, dishes, etc. I don’t sit down a lot and if I do I crochet, I always have a project. The first podcast is entitled Being Bold is Being Confident. Something I took from it is, do I know myself? If I am self-aware then how much do I love myself? Or at least accept who I am? She gives a few tools to help you discover yourself so I highly suggest listening to the podcast to discover what those are and start the  journey to learn about you.

**SIDENOTE: I listen to podcasts on my android through an app called Stitcher. I know if you have apple you can get it through iTunes or just listen to it on your computer.

As I was listening to her words I thought to myself, ” Well, how would I describe who I am?” The first thing that came to my mind was that I crochet, which then made me laugh because that’s something I can do well but not part of my personality. What qualities do I have? I then made a short list in my mind that I’m resourceful, patient, responsible and I realized I should take the time to really know myself better. I can say I love my life and that I like who I am but I’m not sure if I’m ‘best friends’ with myself, that I know myself well. Which lead me to thinking, ” how can I know myself better?”

Can anyone guess where I ended up looking for resources? I feel like Pinterest is my google. I found this awesome list of “26 questions to help you know yourself better“, follow the link and I’d suggest taking a few moments in the morning or before bedtime (whenever your quiet time is) to write out the answers.

I also came about this blog post, “Must Haves for a Year of Self-Love”.  This article made me ponder what a great goal this would be for this year! It’s still January for those who haven’t yet made a goal this would be perfect, just spending the year learning to love yourself. In this blog post Sarah, also gives a printable which will be handy to use when you’re not sure of where to begin your self-love journey.

Something that I read on several blogs about self-care is that it should be intentional, making it happen daily. I don’t do this. As I was reading all of them I realized I only seem to do self-care when I’m exceptionally upset or stressed. I then questioned myself, “Would I get stressed less or upset less if I took the time to take care of myself more daily?” I do the basics, I eat well, make sure I get enough sleep, but what about journaling more often? Being intentional with a walk to myself? I think it could make a difference. I’ll be honest to you though and say that I probably won’t put a plan in action right away.

I am going to commit to answering those 26 questions when I journal this week. For me this is a good first step, I may even split up the questions and over the course of a month answer them all. I share this because I feel as if most people reading would say to themselves, “That seems like so much work, I don’t have time for that!” The point is to take baby steps and do something, if we’re not stepping forward then we are only going backwards.

If you want to follow my board on Pinterest called ‘Taking Care of Me’, I do pin a lot of things there to try and do for myself that I’d love to share. I’m a huge fan of using others’ genius ideas because why should I reinvent the wheel? I’ll share a few more links at the bottom here of resources that may help with your self love journey.

What are some things you do to show yourself that you love yourself daily? Share in the comments below, I would love some new ideas!

 

 

60 deep questions to ask yourself (for the ambitious people out there)

100 things to do for Improved Self Care (idea list here!)

50 songs about Self Love (For those who work better with music, this blog has a ton of info on self love, don’t forget to sign up for her freebies)

A self love reading list (maybe someone should start a book club for this, I would totally join!)

Presence

This concept is difficult for me; especially with my children. Perfect example from the other day. My oldest had left for preschool and my youngest wanted me to play. I figured 10 minutes of playtime with him wouldn’t be an issue, he isn’t used to being alone to play. During that 10 minutes he wanted to play with cars and trains (I’m still learning to play how boys play there is a lot of crashing involved) and the whole time I couldn’t help but think of what else I wanted to do immediately after, how I could be folding their clothes and putting them away while I was in that room playing, basically everything else but the game we were playing. I realized that what I was doing took away the connection I was trying to build with my son because I wasn’t present. I decided to play longer than the 10 minutes and after I finally gave him my full attention when I did go to mop, he was happy to let me go didn’t beg for me to stay and keep playing. I was happy to have taken the time to make that happen.

This made me ponder my cell phone goal for this year. I have decided to keep my cell phone in the kitchen with a simple charging station instead of by my bedside. I did this for several reasons, first being my husband and I had discussed when our children get older we wanted a family charging station there would be no phones in their bedroom and I realized why wait 10 years for that habit, why not start now? I don’t use my phone as an alarm, although if I went to the bathroom at 4a and if I had the slightest issue with falling asleep again I instantly would get on my phone. Second, at night the last thing my husband and I did before going to bed was checking our phones and for nothing that was especially important. It kept us from being present with one another.

Since sharing this I had several people ask about if I recieved an emergency call how wouldn’t I hear my phone? My answer? I keep the volume up on my phone at night and my kitchen is maybe 15 feet away from my room, if I can hear my kids crying on the other side of the house without a monitor I’m confident that I can  hear my phone at night. The point is for me that to keep my phone next to my bed for the simple possibility of the rare call then I felt I was holding myself back from being in the moment where it counted.

Last year I wanted to instill in myself to put my phone down I didn’t need it in my hand constantly, it was difficult! I kept checking my phone where it was just for the possibility of some notification, now it’s easier. My kids would bring me my phone a lot when I didn’t  have it then and it made me realize how much I did have it on me! It’s made me laugh and just try to stay committed. Could I have drowned myself in mom guilt (aka mommy shame really) about that? YES. I didn’t let myself go there because even though I made some mistakes, I was trying to change and that is what was important.

My conclusion lately from constantly thinking of what to do next and realizing I’m not as ‘in the moment’ as I would like has strengthened my resolve to get rid of my need for my phone and to practice just being where I am. I do think that I can get caught up in the need for instant everything (that’s the generation I’ve grown up in with technology) which is probably why I’m terrible at gardening. Something I’d like to learn sometime this year (not a current goal I have enough now) is to meditate for 10 minutes. I have thoughts moving through my mind constantly! It would amaze me to learn to have the control to empty my mind for just 10 minutes; this small task seems like a mountain right now and I have enough on my plate but I will get there.

My challenge to you is to be self aware of when you plug into something, what are you thinking about? How often do you have face time in person? How close do you have your phone next to you throughout the day? Do you have any boundaries for your phone?

I’d love to hear your answers!

Post a comment or email me at happywithimperfect@gmail.com

 

Goals and Growth

Good morning and Happy New Year! Something about the beginning of the new year is refreshing to me. It’s another chapter that I can’t wait to write and each year seems to get much better. I want to first apologize for not writing more! I let my current pregnancy and life keep me busy but this was one habit I wanted to get back to doing frequently. I’ve set some other goals for the beginning of this new year but I’m also trying to keep going with the habits I started a couple months ago. My purpose with making new goals at the beginning of the year is to instill within me some purpose and direction for myself and my family for this next year. I do think that not everyone feels that way about goal setting; it can often be seen as things that never get accomplished or changed, people give up frequently. My husband always makes the comment about how gyms earn most of their money at the first of the year and then people stop going.

I bring this up because I believe we tend to torture ourselves often over failure; making goals right now and not meeting them in a few months can bring about some negative feelings. The cycle is usually we fail, we feel sucky about it we then stop and decide to just forget about it, at least until the next year. I wanted to shed a little insight into those negative feelings and how it can stop you from potential growth.

Let’s be honest that those ‘negative feelings’ that bring you down about failing is shame talking. Shame is that awful little voice within you that makes you question yourself and what you want. I’ve been thinking about this topic for a couple weeks (because of my own goals) and this week as I was reading I thought it was just me(but it isn’t) by Brene Brown and I read a small section on goals that I wanted to share and after I do this you should really go out and get the book. I’m probably going to make my husband read it next, I think everyone could benefit from learning about shame and how to learn to have shame resilience. She spoke about how people who have more shame resilience worry less about the perfection of a habit (getting it done every day in just the right way) and focus more on the growth (what they are learning or trying to do) of their goal. She mentions that they seem to share a common language and I want to quote this so that you can understand what she means by language and how they speak about themselves,

“I want to work on getting better at…

I’d like to improve the way I…

I’d like to do a little less of this and a little more of…

These are my goals…

I want to be perceived as doing my best at…

I want to be perceived at trying…”

 

Then she says this which I highlighted, “Improvement is far more realistic goal than perfection. Merely letting go of unattainable goals makes us less susceptible to shame. When we believe “we must be this” we ignore who or what we actually are, our capacity and our limitations.”

I loved hearing this! Most of my life I was told the definitions of the roles I should have, a daughter, friend, wife, mother, etc. was expected to be a certain way and when I didn’t meet those expectations set for me I felt terrible about myself. I felt I couldn’t do anything right and questioning why I was even trying. This thinking kept me from learning from mistakes and trying again. Growing up I loved the idea of New Year’s resolutions because of the new things I wanted to do or try but I was afraid of the commitment and ultimate failure because I knew at some point I would stop doing it. At one point I just stopped making goals altogether, in my mind why start something I felt I couldn’t finish or knew I would just beat myself up about getting it wrong?

After going through this process of learning about shame and about myself more I started making goals again a couple years ago and I can happily say that last year as I reviewed my goals I was okay at not getting perfect at the goals. When I reflected back I realized part of not completing them was because half way through the year my focus and goals changed and that was okay with me.

I want to make a challenge to you that as you go about making goals for now or any other time of the year be careful of how you treat yourself and speak to yourself about your goal, self-hate doesn’t motivate anyone to make changes.

Now I want to share some last resources and ideas with you. When I make a goal I like to focus on starting with just one goal in a physical, mental and spiritual area for my personal growth, any other goals are bonus. If you are aware of usually going overboard with goals that they can overwhelm and cause anxiety then focus on something small. Achieving one small goal is better than none. One day I was having such a hard time I had a goal to just survive the day; when we were still alive at the end of the day it felt awesome.

To find a good outline for goals ( a pretty graphic) to hang up I just go to Pinterest and search for goal sheets for 2017.  There a several bloggers who make some for FREE. It’s that easy. Then hang it up somewhere that you can look at daily.

I’ve also recently decided to make a habit tracker just to visually see my own progress. My husband has an app he tracks himself on but I prefer something physical. Once again my go to resource is Pinterest, just look up habit trackers, there are FREE printables or examples of how to make your own. This keeps me focus on progress not perfection.

Lastly, share your goals with someone. It may seem scary and vulnerable but sharing your goals and having someone to just check in with will make doing the goal and continuing more likely. I’ve shared with my husband and other goals with a few friends. We also started small family goals to work on together.

 

I’d love to hear about your own experiences failures or successes!

My role as a mother 

​“Many voices in the world today marginalize the importance of having children or suggest delaying or limiting children in a family,” said Elder Andersen. “My daughters recently referred me to a blog written by a Christian mother (not of our faith) with five children. She commented: ‘[Growing] up in this culture, it is very hard to get a biblical perspective on motherhood. … Children rank way below college. Below world travel for sure. Below the ability to go out at night at your leisure. Below honing your body at the gym. Below any job you may have or hope to get.’ She then adds: ‘Motherhood is not a hobby, it is a calling. You do not collect children because you find them cuter than stamps. It is not something to do if you can squeeze the time in. It is what God gave you time for.’”(Neil L. Anderson,”Children,”Ensign, Nov.2011,28
As I was reading this article I felt such an agreement with this notion that parenthood is the last item on the adult to do list. I felt inspired to share my view and perspective on my journey in motherhood. 

In my faith/religion motherhood is a divine calling, women are created to be a nurturer to children. I see men and women as partners although created with different abilities to be able to do different responsibilities, much like your left and right hands. To have children (whether biologically or by adoption), is the greatest thing a woman could do in this life. 

That to have the ability to create human life, to have the gift to generate a new soul is incredible. It is such a miracle. Learning the science behind pregnancy and breastfeeding has strengthened my testimony of what awe my body can do and what intention I was created for. This power is abused in every day life and I think this is part of why some have lost sight of what a miracle a child can be. Even Christians who are in awe of God creating the Earth,  its inhabitants, fail to remember the gift women have to also create life. 

Growing up I heard a lot of adults quoting that ‘children should be seen and not heard’. I feel like most of the world feels this way too. Failing to recognize the significance of children. First and foremost they are the future, how does that affect me? Everything we find wrong in this life gives us the opportunity to teach children and change the future. Guide, direct and love them and they will be a force for good.

Second, my children have taught me more than I ever thought possible. Unconditional love, I never had a truer understanding until I became a parent. Before I had my kids I read a book called,’True Love in Marriage’ by Greg Baer, (which I highly recommend) and it spoke of love in marriage that I had never understood before and I started trying to become that woman for my husband, but it never felt right. As if I wasn’t grasping the concept and therefore my applications were falling short. Becoming a mother has given me a glimmer of what that love can be like. Imagine if the whole world understood and applied unconditional love, there would be so many possibilities for this life. It has helped me begin to become a better friend, sister, daughter, and wife. Btw Greg Baer also has a book called,’Real Love’ for those not married or ‘Real Love in Dating’ for those who are searching so there really isn’t a reason you shouldn’t be picking up this book.

All of my life’s experiences has lead me to this view and knowing this I want to be the best mother I can be. I want to learn from the best books so I’m reading, looking and applying. I’m taking care of myself mentally, physically, spiritually and emotionally because I cannot give of myself if I have nothing to draw from.  Some days my best is a dirty house, with the TV playing for more than 2 hours a day and lots of chicken nuggets and macaroni. Other days it’s me doing a personal study before they wake up, having meals prepped, house cleaned and us playing games together. Imperfection doesn’t diminish who I am as a mother. 

I challenge you to ponder these words and reevaluate what parenthood looks like to you. 
I’d love to hear from you, share in a comment below or email me at happywithimperfect@gmail.com.  

Find a Model 

In my life there are things that I did that I wished I could have done differently but I didn’t know how to change to make a different choice. I acted the way I did because it was the only way I knew to be. I treated people friends/family the exact way I was shown how to be. I used to have a family member yell at me,”Why don’t you respect me??” The answer is my models growing up taught me exactly how to act. I didn’t realize until I was an adult that I didn’t know what unconditional love looked like or how not to shame people into doing what I wanted. I still have difficulties as a spouse showing physical affection because the models I had didn’t show physical affection. I feel like I know several people like this; those who were raised a certain way and didn’t like things that were done and yet as an adult they exhibit the same behavior they despised seeing from their model! An obvious example is parenting. Many children say I don’t want to do what my parents did but yet as a parent they do the exact same thing, why? Is it biological? Parent instinct? No. I have a tendency to act as certain way because I was taught no other way. It doesn’t matter what anyone said to me, I watched and saw what really happened, how I should act in certain situations. It didn’t matter how many times I was told, ‘Be patient!’ If someone was always short with me then how would I know what patience looked like? 

This is particularly hard for me when I encounter situations I’ve never dealt with before, it can cause me anxiety deciding on how I want to be or how I want to act. I get so caught up deciding on what to do that my actions or words can be misinterpreted which causes more anxiety. Hello vicious circle! 

I bet you’re asking, well what did you do about this? I simply found a different model that I liked. I didn’t find my models in real life people, I found them in personal development and parenting books. You don’t know what you don’t know so learn to find out more! 

We spend a good portion of our lives getting an education for a career then why wouldn’t we want to give ourselves an education on being a better spouse? Becoming a better parent or being a better friend? I feel no shame in saying I have felt so stuck and helpless in the past not knowing what to do or how to change. I know now though, there are books on that, I can change. If you follow me on Instagram I’ve shared some books and podcasts I listen to that help me learn and grow, I’ve made a commitment to myself to listen to something like that once a day. 

I challenge you to find something you want to work on in your life and go learn how to change it. 

I’m apologize for not being as diligent as I would like with this blog but I guarantee that I’m doing my best for now. That’s something I’m working on (there are articles on how to regularly post on blogs, there is knowledge out there for anything!) And I appreciate your patience.

As always I would love to hear your thoughts/stories! Share in the comments or email me at happywithimperfect@gmail.com