Friday, September 27, 2013

Best News Ticker Ever

One of my favorite quotes ever is from Thomas S. Monson:

 "The Lord is in the details of our life." 

I love this quote simply because I know it is true.  He is aware of us -- each of us. He know us personally and helps us individually. I'm constantly amazed and humbled by the way He answers my prayers and the fact that He does.

Without getting too personal, I also wanted to share a simple concept I'm learning more and more lately:

Return good for evil.

When people are inconsiderate or even outright cruel, I find great peace in showing them kindness instead of revenge or anger. I wish I could tell you the AWESOME experience I had last week. Basically, the Spirit told me to do something nice for someone I was very upset with. I didn't like the way she was treating me and the things she had been saying. When confronted by her, the Spirit literally spoke to me to do something nice. I did and the results were nothing short of MIRACULOUS! She smiled, I smiled, AND... those feelings of hurt completely and instantly went away.

I am determined not to let all the mean and grumpy people bring me down!

I'm learning more and more that forgiveness is an action on MY part. Not just saying sorry (and definitely not waiting for the other person to apoligize -- that may never happen), but actually DOING something to make amends. Ahhhh. My heart feels good. :)

I was in the temple yesterday and I had to wait awhile before they could take me in to do the ordinance. It was no coincidence to me when a very special person just happened to be there yesterday and we got to visit while we waited together. I just met her recently and she is becoming a great friend. What an amazing lady!! I'll have to write a blog post about her. 

Anyway, about half way through the ordinances, I suddenly became very antsy and felt the need to check the clock. I carpool with another good friend for our little Kindergartners and I knew I had at least another 20 minutes before I had to leave. However, this feeling wouldn't go away and I kept feeling like I need to leave sooner. After about 5 more minutes, I couldn't ignore the feeling any longer, so I told the temple workers I had to leave early. I got to my locker and the Spirt prompted me immediately, "Check your phone!" 

Now, when I tell you the Spirit "spoke to me" or "prompted me" -- it's like a sound recording in my head of my voice, but it's playing in the back of my mind. You know when you watch the news on TV and there's a news ticker running along the bottom of the screen with the latest updates and developing stories and such? I've finally learned that's what the promptings of the Holy Ghost are like to me. I have this special "news ticker" flash across the back of my mind whenever the Spirit is trying to tell me something. I just have to focus on the voice I hear and I can literally "see" that ticker through my mind. 

So back to the story -- I check my phone (in the locker room/dressing room of the temple -- weird I know, but the Spirit told me to). There was a text from my carpool friend sent much earlier saying she wouldn't be able to pick up Beck today and hoped I could. WOW!! Of course I could because the Spirit told me to leave the temple early. It was amazing! Such a simple thing, but I'm so grateful. I was able to pick up Beck right on time and another little girl that I pick up also. It worked out perfectly. 

Now, I know nothing terrible would have happened if I didn't listen to this prompting. I probably would have been about 10-15 minutes late picking up Beck. The teachers probably would have taken him to the office to wait for me and then try to call me, but I'm just so grateful he didn't have to worry or be afraid. I'm SO thankful I didn't have to feel stressed about being late and getting there in a hurry. It was just so comforting to me to KNOW Heavenly Father is aware of me and my family and our life.

How could we ever go wrong if we ALWAYS listened to the promptings of the Holy Ghost?

How can we ALWAYS make sure we are listening?

I want to make sure my life isn't too busy to hear these promptings. I need to slow down and be aware of what's going on and what the Spirit is trying to tell me. I need to make time in my life to act on those promptings. The Lord IS in the details of our life. We need to listen to what He wants us to do.

Another good friend in our new ward made me this beautiful necklace last week! I KNOW she was listening to the Spirit. She had no idea the week I'd had or all of things on my mind that day. I was really feeling down. She somehow knew I needed a friend and stopped by to cheer me up and see how I was doing. There wasn't anything terribly wrong, but I just needed the reassurance there are people out there who care about me. Thank you!
The little stones surrounding the eternity symbol are all of our birthstones (my children, Zeke, and me). I LOVE it! By the way, can you see the little cat scratch just above the edge of my shirt on the right? That's how you know it's ME. I love those crazy fur-balls. 

I know there are people out there who need our help and our friendship. We need to pray for guidance to know who they are and what they need. We can be instruments in God's hands in answering the prayers of another.

Another favorite quote,  
"A coincidence is a small miracle in which God chooses to remain anonymous."

The world is still full of so much good. We need to look for it and ADD to it. 

Thursday, September 19, 2013

The good, the bad and the "buggy"

How can someone be SO happy and SO sad all at the same time? Living in my head is exhausting, I tell you! One moment, I'm high as a kite and I love my life, the next, I'm rolling my eyes and muttering under my breath, "Heaven help me be a better person, PLEASE!"

Not sure what I'm blogging about today, but my brain feels overloaded. (Seems to be a common theme, eh?) My blog is turning into my brain dump. Who knows? All of these crumbs might get cooked up into a great book someday... 

So many people in our world today need serious help or even just a friendly face. There are people right in our neighborhood and I'm sure they are right in your neighborhood too! I feel so blessed to be able to serve others and be aware of their needs. I love these people and I hope I can always be in tune with the Spirit and keep my mind and my day open enough to make time for helping others. Dropping everything to run to the aid of another person and feeling the Spirit carry you as you go... there's no other feeling like that.

Such a wonderful day yesterday in so many ways. Beck and I played Uno. Just the two of us. It was really fun. He's getting so big. He lost his first tooth last night. To me, that makes him seem much bigger now than when he started Kindergarten a few weeks ago. Can my baby really be old enough to lose a tooth?! Where has the time gone? Really. 
It's hard to see his missing tooth in this picture, but I love his face. The new gap on the bottom in the front, of course.

Kaia is going on a field trip today to Logan Canyon and to say she is excited is a HUGE understatement. Her teacher this year is just absolutely perfect for her. They are kindred spirits. She truly loves and encourages Kaia's reading obsession and she's been doing a lot of Science with her class. Kaia is her biggest fan! It's so fun to hear about all of the cool things her teacher is doing. My Ms. Frizzle wish is growing and growing every year!
Beck and Kaia headed out the door to school. 

It's homecoming week at Gabe's high school and he went to the parade and powderpuff game last night. I picked him up afterwards and we had a great time laughing together as he told me about all the funny things that happened. I stopped at the gas station to fill up the van and he offered to buy me a treat. It was so sweet. I love talking and laughing with him. I'll give him a ride home any time just for that reason. I love that he is happy.  (Mostly happy, after all, he is 15!)

Zoe has a new friend she met at school and it turns out she only lives a couple blocks away! How cool is that? I met her friend and her Mom last night. They seem really nice. I like this friend for Zoe because she's still enjoying being 12. Not into boys yet, still wanting to play outside and well, just PLAY! Zoe is so much like that and I hope she can enjoy every last second of being "little". I loved hearing about their nature walk and all of their "big plans" for having different fashion themes each week and wearing matching colors at school. It made me smile. The 12 year old inside of me is still very much alive and kicking and I wonder if she'll ever realize she's almost 39... in some ways, I hope not.

Speaking of being 12 though.... in some ways, I guess I really need to grow up. But I'm really not sure how -- that is why I still must be 12 inside, because sometimes my heart hurts SO much about silly little things. Sometimes I get SO mad about things. Sometimes I just want to be little again and not have all of the silly grown-up problems. 

I was talking to my girls the other day about some girls that weren't being so nice to them at school. Nothing major, just mean girls giving them dirty looks. You know the "eye to toes and back up to your eyes -- Oh, you're no threat to me" kind of look? Yeah. I hate that. I told them just to smile at those girls and don't ever give them a second thought. Ever. I told them to brush it off and be strong, because Guess What? There are STILL "girls" like that who are my age. Yuck.

Anyway, I'm just always feeling like I don't fit it anywhere and maybe I don't, but the question is: WHY do I care? I just don't know. My season in life is here with family right now.  My kids and husband are where I invest most of my time and I know that is most important, but I always end up feeling left out. I always feel like I just walked in AFTER the punch line of everything. There seems to be a secret world out there that I've never been part of... (thank heavens for preschool -- they LOVE me! :)
Have you ever read Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince? You know where Professor Slughorn alters his memories before he lets Professor Dumbledore see them? Well, I just altered my blog before EVERYONE reads it. I erased about 4 paragraphs of YUCK right here. It was just me complaining and being contentious. I need to go talk with the person I have an issue with directly, not vaguely hint around it on my blog. Sorry if you read it -- I don't want to be that kind of person! Anyway, good luck finding the horcruxes and all that...

I know it's just Satan trying to bring me down, but I also know having good and bad experiences so EXTREME in one day is a reminder to me there are areas in my life I really need to do better in. I need to LOVE people, to see them as God sees them, and not to let them bother me so much. There is good in everyone. I truly believe that. I think the good gets clouded by assumptions and jealousy and their own feelings of insecurity or even just stress and fatigue. 

I have so many awesome people in my life and I'm going to focus on them. People that seem to like me for the moment and I'll take it! I want be humble and kind to everyone around me, regardless of how they treat me. It's easy to love someone that loves you, right? But I want to love the ones who don't. That's going to be my focus. I worry about realizing this goal and saying it "out loud". I've prayed about it and now I know the tests will come! I hope I'm ready...

I just think I get along better with my own family (wow, that is an awesome realization, isn't it!!!) and of course, my cats. This is our new addition, Churro. His favorite hiding spot is inside the shoe bench. He is just absolutely adorable. Really. I cannot help it. I love this guy! He has THE cutest little meow.
"Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened." ~ Anatole France

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

"Grace for Mother Duck and Me" -- my wake-up call

I should be vacuuming and cleaning the litter boxes right now... really. It's on my list today, but for *some* reason it just doesn't sound very enjoyable. Hold on, readers, this is a LONG one!

Sometimes we all have to take a minute (or 12) and do something good for ourselves. Breathe. Think. Type. Relax. I've been running on empty the last week or so. What a blur! School is in full force. Late nights, early mornings, schedules and deadlines, school lunch and homework. You know it's crazy, but I really do like most of it. I think. Today I do.

I've had a LOT of experiences these last couple weeks to help me learn patience, compassion, humility, forgiveness, charity, and love. I wonder if I'll every really figure things out.

This was a rough draft post I started last week, but never finished:

"Why is life so hard? Yeah, I know that sounds really dramatic. I know most people would look at my life and say, "What's your problem, whiner?!?!?!!" (And they might be true -- sort of.) The fact is, most people don't share what their life is REALLY like. Their inner struggles and day to day problems. Weaknesses that I can never seem to get over. Problems I always seem to find myself in. When will I ever learn?"

Life really isn't that bad -- I was just having "one of those days" -- I always seem to think every little upset in my universe will be irreversible and permanent. I don't like that about myself. It's rather exhausting.

I'm so thankful for second chances and prayer and being able to talk to people. We had some serious issues with some of Gabe's friends a couple weeks ago and I'm so glad things are calming down. I'm thankful for time. Time to think and time to heal. What I thought would be devastating with long-lasting consequences, ended up being something rather trivial, but something that brought Gabe and I closer together. He was more mature and patient about the whole thing than I was. I wish I could say more, but he has asked me not to.

I had another very "silly" incident with a friend and some unspoken rules and well, after some awkward moments of disagreement, we both ended up laughing when we realized where the other person was coming from.

And then again with some more of my children's friends and their parents....

One thing's for sure: this world is full of all sorts of people. No two people act or think exactly alike. Yet, why do we always look at someone and think they are just like "so and so". Do you know what I mean?

I read this great little story last week in the throes of the constant "Is it ME or THEM?" doubts in my mind:

Let me just preface this by saying (because I'm so ridiculously childish and prideful, I guess) that I don't agree with the author judging the mother duck -- she doesn't know any better. That part, I just didn't get. Poor Mother Duck -- where is she SUPPOSED to walk her ducklings amidst all the subdivisions and humans taking over all of the undeveloped land?? That's another blog post entirely.

However, I TOTALLY understood what she was saying, because I have wrongly judged SO many women SO many times. I was truly ashamed when I read this. I have been there. I know how she feels. She's better than I am, really, only to judge a duck's misguided actions, rather than a person. Sometimes, they don't know any better either. I should have as much natural compassion for other people as I do for some random duck! But alas, I am a strange girl.

Have you ever looked at someone and thought, even for a moment, 
"She doesn't deserve to be a mother." 
Well, read on:
From the August 2013 Ensign:

Grace for Mother Duck and Me by Rosie Kaufman

One spring afternoon I was packing my car to begin shuttling my five young children to and from lessons and practices. As I loaded soccer cleats and dance bags, I noticed a mother duck and her ducklings waddling down the sidewalk of our suburban neighborhood.
As I watched, she began to cross the road. Unfortunately, she chose a gutter grate for her crosswalk, and as she passed over it, her babies followed. Four of her ducklings slipped helplessly between the bars of the grate.
When the mother reached the other side, she realized she was missing some of her little ones and could hear their muffled peeps. Totally oblivious of her mistake, she crossed back across the drainage grate, looking for her missing ducklings and losing two more. With horror and some disgust at her poor judgment, I went to the grate to see if I could lift it. Although I used all my strength, the grate barely budged, and I was late to pick up one of my kids.
Figuring I would have to fix the situation later when I wasn’t so rushed, I hopped in the car while muttering self-righteously, “She doesn’t deserve to be a mother.”
During the next hour and a half, I made many of my recurring parenting mistakes. These are mistakes I have begged forgiveness for many times from both my children and my Father in Heaven. Each time I resolve to do better and not to fall prey to these weaknesses again. When I snapped at one of my kids for teasing another, my words echoed loudly in my ears, “She doesn’t deserve to be a mother.”
Suddenly I felt overwhelming compassion for that mother duck. She was trying to navigate the world with the instincts she was given, just as I was. But sometimes those instincts simply weren’t enough, and it was our children who suffered.
I resolved to get the grate off somehow and lift the ducklings out. As I rounded the corner to our street, I saw a small group gathered. My neighbor had lifted the grate, climbed inside the drainage tunnel, and was gently lifting the ducklings out to safety. The frightened little birds scrambled to find their mother, who was pacing nervously in a nearby bush. She hadn’t asked for help, but my neighbor had stepped in when her protection was simply not enough. I was overcome with emotion as I thought of the Savior doing the same for my children and me.
Sometimes we come up short, even when we have the best intentions and try our hardest. However, the Savior’s “grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before [Him]” (Ether 12:27). It comforts me to know that my shortcomings will not ruin my children and that they will be the recipients of love, peace, understanding, and grace from our Savior. He “reaches my reaching”1 and wants my family and me to succeed. Our shortcomings will not prevail when we humble ourselves and stand with the Lord by our side.
I really love this story. I mean, I'm a HUGE animal lover, if you didn't know, so I was crying tears of joy when all the ducklings were returned safely to their worried mommy. But it really helped me feel more compassion and understanding for others. Actually, I feel like it was a great big (loving!) slap in the face from my Heavenly Father saying, "Lacy, stop being so MEAN! Stop thinking everyone is so wrong and take a look in the mirror. I love you and I know your struggles, but others are struggling too. Help them, don't judge them."
We do NOT know what others are going through. We cannot judge anyone because we don't have all of the information. We can never truly understand why someone does something. Sometimes my greatest struggles are on the inside and I always wonder what other people are truly going through when they act a certain way or say something I think they shouldn't have or whatever. 
I don't know who said it, but I love the quote that says something like: 
"Be kinder than necessary, for everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle."
We're all in this together (yes, I did get that from High School Musical, if you must know)! But we really are and I want to try harder to help and lift others -- even when they might not return the favor. 
I feel like I am being tested to the limit lately in terms of my capacity to love and to serve and to have patience for others. I often wonder what the future holds...

I'm so thankful for a loving Father in Heaven who judges me perfectly and is always there to help me be better and make up for my many shortcomings.
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