Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Don't Give Up - Give Thanks!

Do you ever feel like you are headed in a million directions and you wish you were super woman? Well, that’s been me this week. Ever since we moved, for some reason I can’t seem to manage my priorities very well – but I’m getting there.

My to-do list is getting so long and dusty that’s it’s starting to look like one of the Dead Sea scrolls. I don’t know where you keep yours, but mine hangs smack dead in the center of our fridge (next to the accumulating mass amount of Jesus and temple pocket sized pictures). Every time I look at it I think of something to add to it and so it grows.

This week, I finally decided to tackle it. I want to make a slide show DVD of my children through the years from birth until 2011 as a Christmas gift for the grandparents. My in-laws are German and live in Germany and so I felt they would really appreciate something like this. I started it a couple of days ago and then remembered why I have avoided scrap booking for the last several months (another item on my to do list). My pictures are very unorganized and hard to find. Since my 5 year old was born we have gone through 4 computers. I have pictures on old hard drives, back up hard drives, slide show websites that don’t exist anymore, old phones and in addition to floating out in cyber space, I wouldn’t be surprised if some were actually floating out in outer space.

It’s been quite the adventure trying to get this finished before our family trip this weekend along with so many other things that must be done this week. At times I feel like I’m chasing my life and I just can’t keep up. Sometimes all you can do is say a prayer and just keep going.

Before going to bed last night, I pondered on the many different ways I could get a good grip on the reigns again. The first thought that came to mind was to ask my husband for a blessing (which I plan to do this evening). Isn’t it funny how we often forget the amazing power of the priesthood especially when it is right at our fingertips? I’m glad that the Lord is patient with me and helps me find direction.

Next, I thought about my family. They need to feel that they are at the top of my list always. I realized that the moments when I felt stressed, overwhelmed or frustrated were only happening when I put my family aside to take care of something less important. That needed to change.

Then I realized “HELLO” Thanksgiving is a day away. I needed to really be thinking about all of the things that I am thankful for rather than all the things I feel frustrated about or need to check off my list. Changing my attitude and priorities was the best solution to help get a grip on my life and slow things down a bit.

That night, I had a dream about my crazy, busy life. It started out happy and pleasant. I was enjoying friendships and service. Then I was on an airplane with my family headed to Sweden (airplane symbolizing my life's journey). I remember marveling that we were headed to Sweden because I have Swedish heritage (symbolizing my genealogy that I've been wanting to do). When we got there, because of the stress and chaos, we lost the baby (my feeling that I was losing time with my kids because of my busyness). She had wandered off at the airport and had disappeared. I was so sad and sick about it. When I woke up I knew what I needed to do.

So, this morning after taking my daughter to preschool I came home and surprised my other two kids. Without taking the time to look cute, put makeup on or check my email – I decided to take them on a walk. I realized that the baby and I hadn’t enjoyed sunlight in quite a while. The kids were so excited. As we ventured along through a neighborhood we never visit it felt so good to be walking in the warmth of the sun. It reminded me of the Savior and his love and light. It’s always there for us - we just need to take the time to feel it.

After I had that thought, we stumbled across a cute little playground we had never been to before. My kids were so excited and we stayed there for a while to play. Yes, I needed to get back to ship something to UPS, pick up some much needed groceries, bake pies for Thanksgiving, clean the house and…..(the list goes on), but for that moment in time all I thought about was playing with my kids.

Taking a time out and reflecting on what I am most thankful for has helped me remember that there will always be a “to-do list” and life will always seem busy, so if we are always waiting to “catch up” before we take a break then we will never get that break and we’ll miss out on the things that matter most.

When I got back to the house there were so many things awaiting me but I had a rejuvenated spirit. I decided that “time outs” were now going to be a part of my daily to do list. Sometimes we need to just breathe and enjoy life. If we take the time to do this each day – we will get so much more out of our lives, our relationships and most importantly – be able to feel the Spirit.

I wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving and I hope that you too will take the time to slow down and find the little joys. Reflect on what you are thankful for and what you have been blessed with. All the other less important stuff really doesn’t matter. By doing this you will feel the Lord’s love for you and everything will work out. I say this in the name of Jesus Christ amen.

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