Sunday, April 15, 2018

to blog or not to blog- that is the question

almost on a daily basis i think about writing on this blog. 
i ponder on something and then automatically think, "thats a good topic to write about on the blog." and then i figure i will remember to write it down later. but it fades by the time i have a moment to sit and write. i think that happens mostly because its based on thoughts i have, but my thoughts are fleeting.

i blog mostly on my other personal blog. and by mostly, i mean daily. it began way back when i was first married in 2007 and then magnified when i moved to Utah in 2008. it was an open blog- anyone could read it. and i shared everything freely. by the time i had my first child, my following was in the hundreds and multiplied as fast as i popped out kids... which was basically yearly. i was sharing my whole life with facebook, too, where i posted reminders to my thousands of friends and associates- that they too, should read my blog. i was obsessed with documenting my life and sharing it. it was really all i ever knew for ten whole years- and i couldn't imagine life without my blog. it was everything to me.

but something happened. in November of 2016, right before the birth of my seventh child, and after a traumatic move to the middle of no-where, i had a big fight with my sister in law. it was big enough of a fight that i no longer wanted people to see into my life. i no longer wanted to share myself with people. so i shut it down. it was like a death, as dramatic as it sounds. everything i had built in ten years was just gone. just like that- completely vanished. i mean, yes, i still journaled on the blog MYSELF, but as far as anyone else knew, the blog was extinct. this emotional breakdown was pivotal. it took longer for me to shut down facebook, but almost exactly a year later, i realized i was too unstable to be a part of facebook, and i shut that down completely as well.

i haven't recovered from this experience.  i finally broke down 6 months ago and got a therapist to try and work things out in my brain, but my progress is barely recognizable.

the day at church that Stephanie suggested we start a blog together, a new hope came to me: maybe this could heal me. maybe it was the perfect healing bridge to a healthy relationship with blogging. maybe sharing the blog with her would help me not over-share, and it was a fresh start to keeping my children's privacy and not using anyone's names.

it does feel good to put myself out into the world again.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

nothing to say.

i almost never have nothing to say.

for one, i could talk about myself in great detail for hours. and second of all, i can TALK. a lot.
though i am not really sure when i became aware of this attribute, i am now VERY aware of it, and consider it to be a huge flaw, so i make great attempts to not let it escape if at all possible.

today, however, i talked to the one person who somehow always makes it escape.
my sister Amy.

i don't know what it is, but when i am talking to her, no matter how hard i try NOT to talk all about me... i do. i mean, i seriously try! but most of the time, when i get off the phone with her, someone will say, "how's amy?" or "what did she call about?" or "how's she doing?" and i will be like... "um... i have no idea because i just talked about myself for two hours straight." its the worst. and each time, without fail, i vow to never let it happen again. then it does.

today i started out well. i had two good questions to ask and she had two good answers. for awhile i almost thought i would be successful in my attempt to steer the conversation toward HER entirely. but then... she asked ME a question. and... i answered. with LOTS of words. more than necessary. and she picked up right when i ended with ANOTHER great question about my favorite subject: moi. so i didn't leave her to imagine any of my thoughts... i let her have it. all of it. why on earth i felt it was necessary to give such great purpose and detail to my answer is beyond me. WHY can't i just say, YES or NO, or something like that? it must be exhausting to be my listener.

so... no matter how far i have come over the years in shifting my self-centered nature, Amy seems to bring out my raw talent for egocentricity. which, i guess, is her talent, if you will.

it reminds me of a song i had stuck in my head yesterday. and you know who introduced me to this song? ironically, my beloved Amy. back in her college days, her Guster cd was blaring in our car, and this song, of course, really stood out to me and stuck with me throughout the years:



its basically... all about ME! :)
which reminds me of another song.... (here)... but i digress.
lets not let this turn into another Amy conversation, shall we?

~holly

Monday, March 12, 2018

The unexpected.

Lately it seems like life is full of the unexpected. Things just pop out of thin air and you have to deal. There is no other option it seems, although I have definitely attempted not to deal (it never runs out well).

So far this year we have had car troubles, 2 hospital visits, and a lot of emotional instability that has created a lot of discord in our home.

In contrast we are also trying so hard to create stability and improve ourselves and our home environment.  Why is there so much upheaval in life and what are we to gain from it?

I know each experience is different and each specific experience will bring individual gifts and spiritual gains. I also know that even though it is hard to get through we can benefit from the peace that the Holy Ghost will bring into our lives.

I can’t imagine what it would be like to not have that peace. To watch my husband go through his personal trials and not feel the peace of what the outcome will be? To have the car break down and not have the peace that it will all work itself out for our good?

All i know is in the midst of my attempts to create some sort of stability in the midst of my chaotic life I can turn to the Spirit and know that he will always be a source of stability for me as long as I am willing to listen.

Self-Reliance: Finances

I am the absolute best at learning a lot of good principals and not putting them into practice. I guess this is the year of putting them into practice. It’s hard to change your habits...

Among my bad habits is poor financial management. Because of this Justin and I are determined to learn and turn things around. It’s all sounding more productive than it feels though...

Currently we are taking a class at church in the self reliance series. It’s a 12 week course on financial self reliance. We’re learning budgeting, working together, involving the lord, seeking faith and promptings from the Holy Ghost, etc. I know a lot of the temporal aspects of finances (though, again, I don’t really practice them), but learnings spiritual aspect has been somewhat rewarding so far. It definitely adds a new perspective and makes financial management more appealing...

I’d like to say we’re budgeting and tracking our expenses currently, but we aren’t. I’ve got the hubs stuck at my hip for a week though (spring break!), so we’ll get ‘er done ASAP and start tracking and saving. I’m excited to be a little more financial stability in my life.

Stable is one of my favorite things to be, so here’s to acting in faith on the knowledge that I gain in finances, in relationships, in parenting, in spirituality, in everything, and creating a higher level of stability in my soul.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

dear self

*today's writing prompt is taken from THIS page of the friend magazine. 

Dear Holly,

Ooooh, look at that! I just started capitalizing things! AMAZING.

I have been given the rare opportunity to write to you, myself, in the past. I want to see if I can spare you some heartache and help you.

Hm.... think think think.....

You know what? Honestly, even with allllll the hurt, tears, tumult and heartache that I have experienced over the past years... I am realizing that I don't want to lose what I have gained from it all. Oh man, I have made some horrible mistakes. But I have grown from them in ways that I could not have grown otherwise.

I wonder if that is why God is allowing all this. He wants me to learn. He allows it. He doesn't force any of it upon me, but He is standing ever ready for me to come to Him and be healed. He stands there waiting for me to repent and then He teaches me in that moment.

Yes. You know what? I am serious. I am not going to tell you anything. Just know that you absolutely MUST keep going. Do not give up. Turn to God. Lean on Him.

And with that, I think I shall follow my own advice to my past self- for my FUTURE self.

Because that makes a lot of sense.

Love,
Me. You. Us.
(whatever!)

Monday, February 19, 2018

Saying sorry.

This is a post I started on Valentine’s Day...

Today is Valentine’s Day.

Today I screamed at my children and scared them and made them feel the opposite of love.

I have no excuse. It was for a stupid reason. I had purchased cookies for their class parties and in an attempt to show love and kindness and make sure all of their friends got a cookie (because there were fewer cookies than people) they opened up the boxes and started cutting the cookies in half. This isn’t allowed in most schools anymore, everything needs to be store bought and sealed, so I lost it.

I was mad about a wasted $20, specifically because I had upped the budget just for this special purchase/surprise for them.

I was made because my surprise had been destroyed.

I was mad because they never ASK ME before doing things.

My husband was appalled by my behavior, my kids were in tears and scared of me.

I said I was sorry to the child that was left home. I cried on the way taking her to school for not loving them all enough. I went to the store, bought more cookies and vowed to do better, to reach out with calmness and love before shrieking.

I haven’t been perfect at it AT ALL! I require a lot of work. I shrieked at my daughter to get away from the side of the road Saturday and our family walk was ruined for a good 15 minutes. I could’ve stopped, quickly walked to her, held her hand. And st her eye level said “it’s not safe to be on the side of this busy road and I really want you to be safe, can you please move to the other side?”

To some people this all comes naturally, but not to me. My immediate reaction is to FREAK. THE. HECK. OUT.

I apologized to the kids at school (although my heart broke again when one of my girls friends said that she had told them I call her the devil... I could tell my her eyes that she was guilty, but I also knew that she felt that emotionally that very morning) and when they got home from school.

I am trying to release the guilt and just do better and focus actively on doing better.

President Eyring once said that as he picked up one of his kids by the shoulders to reprimand them for doing something wrong the spirit whispered to him “you are holding a good person.” I try to tell myself the same thing over and over “you are yelling at a good person.”

Grandma Griffith’s (one of my favorite humans on earth, whom I have never met) stopped abruptly in the middle of her instructions on how she cleans her kitchen floors, because she had seen a dent in the floor that always reminded her of a day 20-some years earlier. It was probably 1-2 inches long and seemed like a normal dent you’d find in nice wood floors, but she spoke of how t got there. How after newly purchasing the house her son had dropped a large pot and put that dent there. She had screamed and hollared and carried on and even though he already felt guilty, she had made him feel worse. It wasn’t necessary. She has apologized numerous times, but she remembers and he kindly claimed he didn’t. “It’s just a floor... they’re just things” she said. The people and the memories are more important.

“Never let a problem to be solved become more important than a person to be loved.” -Thomas S. Monson

Saturday, February 17, 2018

spiritual routine

i subscribe to a lot of things.

parenting help.
marriage help.
family help.
life help.
homemaking/cleaning help.
crafting ideas
monetary/financial help.
weight/diet/exercise/health help.
spiritual help.
comedy relief.

and i get these emails plentifully in my inbox each day.
"experts" blabbing on about their best advice.

well, today i got one such email in which an 'expert' shared her spiritual routine.
the way she wrote it out looked so cute, and now i just HAVE to delight myself with a list of my own:


DAILY:

  • family devotional (scripture study and discussion and prayer) this means inching our way through the book of mormon for the second time in ten years. we use the 'family version' which has suggested quotes for each verse. hubs and i take turns reading it, and sometimes kids will read it... about ten verses... and then we try to have a deep chat about what we read.


ALMOST DAILY... more like...WEEKLY

  • scripture study with my three eldest kids. on school nights we read a chapter or less from the bible, or other standard works. for the girls we use the picture books, but my eldest reads from his own set. right now we are in the isaiah chapters and its interested to see what he understands. i honestly get a lot out of these studies because i am not often reading anything BUT the book of mormon.
  • general conference reminders. on sundays we listen to a general conference talk and discuss it. this is always so good for my soul.
  • my personal study. this will mean reading one of three things: the ensign magazine, the relief society lesson/ sunday school lesson for that week, or brushing up on some topic that is on my mind that week... like chastity (when i had the sex talk with my son) or loneliness (making and keeping friends is hard for me these days). 
  • personal prayer. i could do SO SO SO much better at talking to God. i have a lack of faith.
  • FAMILY NIGHT. the prophet has counseled us to do this and no matter how pointless it feels i seriously try. we do have a lesson, an activity and a treat almost every time. lately it seems really lame, but maybe we will settle into a better routine with time?
  • couple prayer. every now and then hubs and i kneel and pray with thanks, or PLEAD for some strength to keep going. life is so so hard.
  • church attendance. we generally all go together, and this lasts a good three hours. i find that these days i am working VERY hard to get something out of church. it is HARD for me to feel the spirit at church and connected to my church family. but i am determined to not give up.
  • journaling. i blog a lot and not always here. i try to reflect and process my days. this counts as spiritual, right?

MONTHLY, or less
  • temple attendance. everything in the world works against me to get there. but when i make it... i am always glad i went. even the other week when i felt mad at the world, i came out happy. its a miracle worker, i tell ya.

this silly little list makes me feel like i am not completely failing at life. maybe i am doing more than i realize. i have a HUGE need for improvement, don't get me wrong, but i guess i see now that i am not as far away from God as i feel. and the answer is simpler than i thought it was. He is right here waiting for me to talk to Him and seek Him out. 

~holly