Thursday, February 25, 2016

Finding Joy in this Stage of my Life.

I was asked to do a little "talk" at my Relief Society activity a few weeks ago.. I have had a few people ask if I would post it here so.. here is it.

Finding Joy in this Stage of my Life
Most of the time I am very happy, optimistic person, I live with the philosophy of no regrets and I have a bucket list that I am constantly adding things and crossing things off of.  So, if you know anywhere I can get in some crowd surfing let me know. But the past couple years have been some of the hardest. Things just weren’t going the way that I had planned and I kept waiting. There were a lot of “ I will be happy when..” It was a lot of ups and downs and when I got the call to talk about this subject it was just a week after I had published a blog post about how I was done being sad and I was done waiting and that the time was now to make a change.
I think the biggest difference between what I was expecting at this stage in my life and what it is actually like is reality. And that is why I think sometimes we have a hard time enjoying the stage of life we are in, we have these expectations and when it doesn’t actually happen we become upset.  For instance, I thought that having small children was going to always be fun and games, we were going to play all day and there would be no fighting, the house would stay clean, there would be no financial stress,  and that I would have endless energy to everything I needed to. But it isn’t like that, and because of that some days are really hard. We hear often that there is a “time and a season for everything” and when you really think about this I think that it changes perspectives I know that it has changed mine.  I have been thinking a lot about how every day I live is the only time I will ever have that day. Tomorrow we will all be one day older and even though I am doing a lot of the same things I did the day before, because being a mother is a little repetitious, I will never have today again and so I start to look for all the little things that make that day great. The fact that I didn’t have to rush my kid to get ready for school because he was up on time or when he picks up a book and can read it to me. I look for things like the smile my daughter gives me when she shows me what she learned at dance or when she makes up her own songs and sings them at the top of her lungs.  I realize these moments are precious and that helps me to find joy in this stage in my life. Having this mind set also reminds me to do fun things and to put in a little extra effort. 
In the Ensign this month there is an article written about Happiness and I was so excited when I read this because it applies to this talk and a lot of the things that they talk about that bring happiness in life are things that I have recently started doing. I just want to share a few of them.
#1: Surround yourself with uplifting friends I have started going out of my comfort zone to meet people and we have started invited friends to do things. It is nice to have friends who I can call and talk to or get together with when I am at the end of the rope or even when we just want to have fun. And having fun makes you enjoy things more.  
#2: Set out to do hard things and accomplish them. I find that for myself if I have something to look forward to or if I am planning something or working really hard on my goal it helps me to feel accomplished and that helps me. Not to mention when I complete that goal it gives me a boost of self confidence.
#3: Attend the temple: This will give you an eternal perspective and it helps me realize that my Heavenly Father has a hand in my life and on the days where I am struggling he hasn’t left me but he wants me to grow and learn and to become better. It reminds me that this life is short and we need to enjoy it now and seek out and find the blessing which he gives us. It also helps remind me that I have someone on my side, which is sometimes all I need.
#4: Be present in your family: At dinner we have a strict no technology or toy policy because it allows us to connect with one another without distractions it allows me to see that I have been blessed by having these wonderful people in my life and it reminds me that I love them and I want to be my best for them and I know that in order to do that I need to be happy. I make it a priority to call grandparents, parents, and siblings just to catch up to see if I can help in any way. It helps me feel like I am giving and even if its not something huge I am l reminding them that they are remembered and that they are loved and that is a good feeling. The family is after all a huge part of The Plan of Happiness
#5: Be a peacemaker: You’ve probably heard that contention is of the devil and I believe that. I have 4 older siblings and each one has chosen a slightly different path in life and that makes us full of different ideas and opinions and sometimes it can get very heated. But I find that when I can calm it down and bring things into perspective and help everyone see that we will have to agree to disagree it brings happiness because we are able to enjoy each other more and we have a lot of fun together.
These all sound pretty easy but do they happen all the time? No. Am I always happy in this stage of my life? Absolutely Not. Do I find myself saying things like, “When this happens then I will be happy..” Of Course But I am trying to live in today and do the things I can today and work on doing the things I need to do now so that I can enjoy this stage of my life.
When I sang with the Jenny Phillips Choir we sang a song called “Joy in the Journey” There is a part of it that says “Joy is in the Journey, Joy is when I’m learning to become like him. So even when I’m hurting and the clouds are grey and swirling I can see the beauty in their hue. Happiness is a choice within me. Joy is in the journey.”I believe that it is a choice to find happiness in whatever stage of life you are in.  I will choose to be happy.
 It is easy to look back on your life and think of all the great things you did because most of the time we forget all the hard things. Our perspectives change and one day I will look back on the stage I am in now and I want to be able to remember it will positive memories and be proud that I lived it to the fullest because as everyone says, “ One day I will miss this”
I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Chinese New Year with the Kids

My kids look forward to Chinese New Year and its not like we do anything crazy but I guess they enjoy it so much because it is something new. We get a bunch of Chinese New Year Books from the Library and watch a Ni-Hao Kai-Lan (I like to compare this to Chinese Dora). We dress up in our Chinese clothes and take some pictures.
Then we go on a hunt for Chocolate Chinese Coins....They love this
Then as tradition states they get their red envelopes... However, they aren't filled with actual money.
They are filled with Things we will be using during our celebration.
Such as a fortune teller fish
and temporary tattoos
and Stickers with the Year of the Monkey on them so they can make their pictures
 And this year we made Monkey hats... Which turned out so cute.
I am glad that my kids will do these things with me it break up the monotony of life right? don't forget that my husband is a good sport too....

Happy Chinese New Year!!

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Chinese New Year Party

Something that helps get me out of my sad moods is having something to look forward too. So, we have a lot of traditions that we do here at the house. (Just want to thank my husband for going along with it all.) Most of the traditions are little things we do and a small family but there are quite a few that take some planning time and involve other people. That is the case with this tradition.

This tradition started about 8 years ago, give or take a year. My husband served a mission in Taiwan and because of that we have a lot of really cool Asian stuff and so I decided we should host a Chinese New Year Party. So we did. It consisted of us and some friends and their kids. We made some curry dinner and a few other Chinese dishes and I handed out some red envelopes with a dollar in it.... Suffice it to say the party has changed quite a bit.
Our party is now basically a dinner for adults and we have a few games and trivia. It has been a lot of fun. The best part about traditions is that the longer you have them the more time you have to figure out what works what doesn't and make it better. So let me give you a quick run down of what happens.
First you get the Invitations out. It is important that people RSVP on this one because they are helping provide the dinner, and its nice to know how many to plan for. I find that if people help provide the food things are way less stressful on the host.
Next, is set up. Last year it was so squishy and we had a bunch of small tables this year I literally put my couches and my chair and love sac in the front room spilling out so we could have room. I loved this set-up it was much more social and less squishy. 

I did this all the night before and trust me it was way less stressful.
I put together a Chinese Trivia that everyone does until everyone shows up and then we eat... Lots and Lots of delicious Chinese Food.
We have Hi-Chews, Pocky, and Fortune Cookies for the sweet tooths.
After everyone has had their fill we correct the trivia and talk a little about the traditions of Chinese New Year and the characteristics of those born in the year we are celebrating.
Then I pull out the chopsticks and the cotton balls and as couples we do a timed race. For 30 seconds one member of the partnership try and get as many cotton balls into the bowl, one at a time using chopsticks, then they switch and the other partner has 30 seconds to do the same. It is actually pretty fun. 
Then we do pictures we do a group picture and couple pictures.... For those that know me know that pictures are mandatory at my parties, because I love them. We have props for people to use for their couple pictures too.
Then of course because their aren't kids we sit around and chat and relax... (Don't fill bad for the kids I will celebrate with them on Monday and then post about what we do.)
At the end of the party you can't leave without a party favor. For the party favors I put a few things into the red envelope. A fortune telling fish, 2 chocolate coins, A Chinese temporary tattoo, and some Chinese New Year Monkey Stickers.
 So that is the gist of it. It a lot of fun for me and I look forward to it every year.
How many of you throw a Chinese New Year Party?

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Working on Me

A New Year…. And a New Perspective
I have now been on fertility medications for over 3 months…. Still not pregnant.
All of our tests have come back saying that everything is fine and seeing as how our first 2 came without problems the next shouldn’t either.
Ha Ha….
The last 2 years I have been using my wanting to get pregnant as an excuse, an excuse not to get healthy. I would think to myself, well if I work out too hard it might throw my body out of whack and then I won’t be able to get pregnant.  (Plot Twist: Apparently your body is out of whack already) Or even worse I would think, I will probably get pregnant next month and just put all the weight back on so why try… Well after doing this for 2 years I find myself extremely out of shape and a tad overweight.
So, I have decided that this year I am living in the now. I am working out with a trainer 2 times a week, I am watching what I eat and I am making a conscious effort to move more throughout the day.  I have decided that I might get pregnant next month…. But seeing how things are going I probably won’t and I don’t want to be stagnant anymore. I want to be healthy and feel better about me. I want to try and fix the things that I know I can fix, even if they aren’t easy.  I want to be continuously working on being a better me.
This obviously encompasses more than just health and I am working on that too. One thing that I have thought about a lot when it comes to infertility, is how it is so hard but, it becomes easier with the knowledge that my Heavenly Father has a plan for me and while it isn’t the plan I had for myself I have to trust and have faith that his plan is ultimately better for me. Does this mean it doesn’t hurt when the pregnancy test is negative again? Of course not but it makes the pain a little easier to deal with when I think that my Heavenly Father has something in store for me and while I can only see small glimpses he sees the whole picture.  Who knows it could be Epic… ya know? 
The other thing I have been trying to work out is this depression that I have been dealing with the last couple months. I keep trying to place blame on the medications but it is more and I am done using it as an excuse to wallow and pity myself and waste away my life. While I have been doing this I have been missing out on all the beauty and blessings I have in my life. I am going to start looking for the things I have instead of focusing on the things that I don’t have.  I am going to see what I can do to try and fix it. Even if it doesn’t go away at least I will know I tried my best.
So, while I am working on bettering me I am finding that I am working on trusting in my Heavenly Father and my Savior and trusting that their grace, an enabling power, that I will be able to find happiness and health, to find me again.
My hope is that for you out there struggling with infertility that you will be able to find that grace that is promised you. That grace that will help you to focus on the things we can work on and fix. That you will find a peace in knowing that the Lord cares and as hard as it is for us trust in him Take it one step at a time and know that you are not alone.
I just want to leave you will this quote   “Just do the very best you can each day!” – Elder Ballard

Monday, September 21, 2015

Infertility has taught me a few things....

When I was younger I would hear a story here or there about infertility. I was na├»ve and figured it was a rare occurrence that people had a hard time getting pregnant. Now that I am older I realize it is so common. In fact the more I understand the process I realize that getting pregnant and having children is simply a miracle, and a blessing, one that our Heavenly Father has given to us. The trial of infertility is not fun and for pretty much all of it, it is terrible. I happen to be an optimist and I always try and look at the bright side of things. So as I am going through this I am trying to find the positives and there aren’t a whole lot but I will tell you a few of the things I have learned or things that have helped me get through this.
#1: My Heavenly Father and Savior, Jesus Christ LOVE ME. There are many times where I have just prayed to get through a day where I don’t feel the ache or pain. And there are days when my prayers are answered and his grace allows me a day without worry or aching. “Grace refers primarily to the divine help and strength we receive through the Atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ.”   He literally gives us power and strength to get through our trials when we no longer think we can. But we must do all that we can do, when we give it our all and it just isn’t enough he will complete us and make our trials lighter through the atonement .  I know that he answers my prayers, and while he may not answer it in the obvious way of helping us have children he answers them in small ways that allow me to continue to live my life. He will send me simple things to remind me that he is there and that he knows me and I just need to be patient until the timing is right.
#2:  At the end of this trial I will be a BETTER ME.  He allows us to go through trials because he knows we will come out of it stronger, better and closer to the person he needs us to become.  He also knows that we can get through it. He doesn't just let it come (shove us through the door and say good luck) he has given us prayer, others to answer those Prayers, the Holy Ghost, the comforter and last but not least the atonement of Jesus Christ, the knowledge that we aren't alone.  That he has been there and that at the end of it all we will be better and one day we might be able to be an answer to a prayer for someone else. I have many friends and family members who have been through this and have been there to offer me hugs or a shoulder to cry on. I am not alone and at some point I hope that I will be able to comfort those who are struggling and help them see some of the things that I have learned through this process.
#3: A simple SMILE carries great Power. I can’t tell you how many times I feel like I am not going to make it and a stranger or an acquaintance smiles at me and I remember that there is always hope, that there is always something to be happy for. That life is beautiful and while I may not have exactly what I want, I have exactly what I need. It also helps me realize that people see me, that I have not been forgotten.  It doesn’t seem like a smile would help a lot, but trust me when I say smiles have saved me.
So there you have it 3 things that I have learned as I have struggled with infertility. If you want to read an article that has helped me when it comes to patience, because believe me it doesn’t come easily, here is the link. This article was printed in the August 2015 LDS Ensign.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

On this side: a post about Infertility

This post is a few weeks in the making.....

Kirk and I were married in December 2005. In 2009 we decided to make our family bigger and we had a healthy boy in November of that same year. Then in 2012 we had a beautiful baby girl. These children came to us so effortlessly that at the end 2013 when we decided we would like to have another child we thought it would happen the same way: quick, effortlessly, and basically perfect. Yet here we are mid 2015 without a new little one.  I have had a lot of thoughts about it lately as we have started with the doctor visits and the tests…

Now that I'm on this side
I've realized it's so much harder than you could ever guess
It causes pain of all kinds
You start to blame yourself, and ask what is wrong with me?
It is an emotional and mental battle one that you lose almost every month.
When I was on the other side
I use to say things like “Don't worry your time will come” or “Just be patient.”

Have you said this?

You might even think you are helping by saying “kids are a lot of work” or “you can do anything you guys want, any time you want to.”

I hope you never have to understand the hope we feel every month or the devastation when the test is negative.
Or that you will never understand the longing or the feeling that something is missing, and that you are trying everything you can and still…nothing
I had no idea back on that side.
 But now that I'm on this side I know and I would do things differently.
 Say things like you are praying for them or that our Savior understands, and that the Atonement is there for them.
Listen and keep listening even when you've heard enough.
Don’t judge us when we hear that someone is pregnant and we probably cry, and need some time to ourselves.
It hurts.
But, don’t assume that we aren’t happy for them, we are extremely excited and happy for them Just sad that we can’t be pregnant too.
Never assume that if you get pregnant we will be mad, or won’t be happy for you.
Don’t skirt around the topic, just think about what you say before you do.
Don't say “at least you have kids already.”
Sometimes that makes it harder, because we know what we are missing.
 Be patient with us as we question.
Now that I'm on this side I am different
I understand the Heartache, the unspoken words, every morning waking up hoping that today something will be different.
It is an emotional Roller Coaster this thing called infertility.
I hope and pray that you never have to be on this side.

But if you are on this side….

Remember you are not alone.

**Disclaimer: Please don’t take offense these are just my thoughts and my opinions**