fractured · inspiration · meditations

One-liners to think about

Children are not problems to solve, but people with problems.

Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content (Phillipians 4:11). 

You can live with your emotions no matter how intense; what you can’t do is live without them.

When you want to treat yourself, try water, vegetables, hard work, exercise, and getting your house clean.

essay

Decisions

Sometimes the things you value will conflict, so you have to choose between them. And it’s hard sometimes.

I’ve been super indecisive lately, a lot because I really am not sure where I am heading in life. It’s also because I really value taking care of my children. But I also value my own personal development and growth. And I value doing what Heavenly Father wants me to do. And I value happiness and enjoyment.

Sometimes I’m not always sure where those intersect. And so I rethink my decisions: is it really worth it to spend time away from my kids in order to work on my own projects?

I’m not always sure. But I do know one thing: I am going to end this blog post right here in order to go spend time with my family.

essay

What Life Is

We all have our idea of what life should look like. We’re never quite sure where this ideal comes from, but maybe a combination of a lot of things: our childhood, our values, television, social media, the lives of others, etc.

Life should be happy. We should be able to live in a clean, single-family house that is affordable. We should have enough money for food to eat. We should have a well-paying, prestigious career. We should be healthy. We should have good kids who potty-train easily.

We rarely challenge that idea of what life should look like. Even when life turns out to be so much different, filled with chaos, deep questions, discontent, failed dreams, and interrupted plans.

But life doesn’t really actually care what it should look like. Life just is what it is.

There are hard lessons we have to learn:

  • We can’t have it all and instead we constantly face trade-offs.
  • Hard work does not always pay off and sometimes we just fail.
  • There is no perfect job or career.
  • There is no perfect home or neighborhood.
  • Our kids will continually be challenging and have difficult problems throughout their lives.
  • Our health will eventually fail us.

And so much more.

We have to give up our ideal of what life should look like it to better understand what it actually is.

Life is not a happily-ever-after. Life is not continual happiness. Life is learning and growing through making mistakes. Life is continually trying. Life is relearning the same thing over and over again. Life is being able to find joy, but only with imperfect circumstances.

I can’t do it all. No one can. We only have a certain amount of energy. I have occasional days that are really productive and lovely, but I’m not going sustain that long term. There are hard moments, unexpected problems, and it keeps coming and coming.

I have actually been really happy lately, but my happiness has increased as I’ve better accepted where I’m at in life, with all its flaws. I don’t really want to homeschool my children, but I can find joy in it anyway. I struggled with being a stay-at-home mom, but I can love it anyway.

And I know that I can’t do everything I want to. I started a transcription course and I don’t know if I will ever finish it. I would like to start a tiny business, but right now there isn’t time.

Sometimes I have to take a step back, slow down, prioritize taking care of myself, and then move forward again the best I can. I’m not going to get it all done.

And some days I have to strongly resist the temptation to play numb and clock out of life. Because I can’t get away from who I am and what life is, no matter how many YouTube videos I watch.

I have been trying to be more mindful about the decisions I make–I would rather read a book than watch a movie. I would rather spend time with my husband than check off things on my to-do list. I would rather connect with my kids than connect with my email.

And I really just want to accept where I am right now. I am still striving to achieve certain goals to build a different future (we are saving up to buy a house, I am going to school in economics, and my husband will seek out promotions in his work when they come available). But my life right now is where it is. I’m there today, and that’s what matters.

fractured · my life

Six thoughts

I’ve had quite a bit of technology problems lately: I locked myself out of my phone and ended up resetting it; my computer blew up with electrical problems; and a whole bunch of files on my website randomly disappeared. Conclusions: keep good backups of all your stuff. In multiple ways. I like to have things backed up at least three times and sometimes I do more. I was being quite relaxed on my backups, and that’s when everything died.

***

It’s better to love what you do than to do what you love. A lot of people don’t really chose their career paths and life goes in very unexpected directions. Often, people end up choosing a career by what internship they happen to get. Or sometimes life completely changes and we find ourselves in an unexpected place. And it’s just good to love where you’re at because we can’t always control as much as we would like to. I never expected to be a homeschooling mom of four children living in the middle of nowhere, but I can love being here.

***

I have been telling myself that if I wake up and read my scriptures, say my prayers, and exercise, I’m going to have a great day. Those things help, but I think it’s also really effective that I’m telling myself I’m going to have a good day. It’s a bit of a placebo effect.

***

The world is so much bigger and more complex than we can ever understand. It’s like we can’t understand big numbers–a million and a billion and a trillion all seem similar, even though they aren’t at all. Sometimes it feels heavy that we’ll never understand enough, but it’s also freeing too, because there is always more to learn.

***

We only influence a small handful of people in our life. My sphere of influence is mostly my four little children and my husband right now. You might have family, co-workers, neighbors, and more. But it’s not like those that influence millions are that much more important than those that influence a few. What matters is that you are loved and that you love. The size of the sphere doesn’t matter.

***

You can feel both optimistic and pessimistic about one thing. Because our feelings are temporary and come and go. I may feel excited one moment and then nervous and afraid a few moments later. Our feelings don’t create who we are.

inspiration

Levels of conversion: scripture study and going in the right direction

  1. A seven-year-old girl is beginning to read scriptures for the first time. She believes they are true. She knows some stories and she doesn’t understand all the words, but she keeps trying.
  2. A man has read the scriptures before, but struggles to do it on a daily basis. He believes they are true and is trying to read the more in his life.
  3. A woman reads them daily, but often doesn’t take the time to study them. She is trying to do better and on occasion has really good insights, even though she doesn’t have the time to read long.
  4. Another woman reads scriptures for about an hour a day. After working for over thirty years on improving her scripture study, she finds herself excited to read them every day and feels a great amount of joy from doing it.

So which one is better? No one is better. They are all trying, and that’s what matters.

Conversion is a lifelong process as we continue getting better and better. It’s not a singular destination in our lifetimes, but a continual journey in the right direction.

Wherever we are, what matters most is that we are trying to be a little better than we were before. We don’t need to feel guilty if we haven’t achieved a certain level that someone else has; what’s important is we keep trying.

fractured

Accepting the unfinished

It’s okay to let things be, even though they are unfinished and incomplete.

I have written books that will only exist in computer files, rough and unread. I have made plans for houses that I will never live in again. I have started learning, only to forget.

Incomplete. Unfinished. Wanting. Imperfect. Partial. Lacking. Fragments. Inadequate. Deficient. Garbled. Half-done. Meager. Rudimentary. Undeveloped. Unpolished. Rough. Sloppy. Failed. Broken.

But I am not looking for perfection. In everything I try, I grow. In everything I attempt, I learn.

And that is enough. It is enough to learn and grow and to move on and leave the fractions behind.

Sometimes the attempt teaches us so much that it does not need completion.

My life is a whole, not because it a collection of what I have completed, but because it is a collection of unrealized ideas that slowly became who I am.

And there is no use in finishing something without potential. Realizing problems and moving away from them is not failure, but wisdom. 

Sometimes, I keep trying. Today . . .

I move forward.

essay

Life is hard and it sucks and I’m really happy about that

I have no idea where I got it into my head that life could be almost perfect. Maybe it was because of social media and advertising and the fake, perfect lives that I saw represented there. Maybe it was because I grew up with a whole lot of stability and without any major challenges (but even then, life wasn’t perfect.)

I guess I thought that I would get that same stability when I grew up. And then it didn’t happen. We have moved a whole lot, usually to places where I didn’t really want to be at first. While I’ve been able to be a stay-at-home mom and we have so many awesome things going for us, we’ve had a few other challenges that have been hard.

That’s everyone’s life, isn’t it? Usually there are things that are really big blessings, and then some things that just don’t turn out right.

But lately, I’ve really been trying to remove that expectation that life is going to be easy and stable and I’ll settle in sometime and never have any problems. Because that’s not how life works out. Even though we have seasons of happiness and blessings, we also all have seasons of difficulties. And sometimes both of those things come at you at once.

It’s such a happy thing to just accept the challenges of life instead of always trying to fight against them. Acceptance of how life really is feels like removing a heavy weight. Yes, my life doesn’t look like I thought it would be. Sometimes, there are moments that just suck. And since I’ve been trying to accept that, I’m feeling so much happier.

I’m not missing out on something. I’m not somehow messing things up just because I have difficulties. I don’t have to feel guilty if there are days that I want to cry. I don’t have to expect so much out of myself.

Life is hard for everyone. It’s the nature of life. It’s the nature of how we grow and learn. We all deal with disappointments and discouragement. We’re not alone. We’re not missing out on a perfect life–we have our own messy, chaotic lives, and so does everyone.

Isn’t it great?

my life

enjoying where I live

A few days ago, I was sitting at home with my kids. We were bored. There isn’t a lot to do where I live, or very many places to go–and I have usually blamed my circumstances on any discontent I’ve felt, and wanted to be somewhere else.

But I moved away from this and then I came back (I sort of recommend doing this, because usually you don’t appreciate what you have until you don’t have it anymore). I know now that I get bored at home no matter where I live. It’s just part of life with small children.

So I wasn’t in a bad situation after all, and I didn’t have to change anything about my life to find additional happiness. I just needed to change myself.

For a little bit, I felt bored and I felt a bit discontented (and that was okay), but then those feeling passed. And we had a really good time because we were bored. We played with Legos and created a game called haunted, which consisted of pretending you are a ghost in a sleeping bag. The kids slid down my legs over and over again for a while–so I became a playground, which was sort of hilarious.

For a few months, I lived in a dream location, but it turned out that I wasn’t any happier there than I was living out in the middle of nowhere.

So lately, I’ve been working on myself. Not trying to get rid of emotions, but trying to accept them. I know that my life isn’t necessarily easy, but it’s not that bad either.

I don’t hate where I live anymore. In fact, there are a lot of really good things about where I live. It’s one of the most beautiful places in the world, for example. I have a comfortable house that is free. We get to spend so much time together as a family without ever having to feel super busy.

All of a sudden, instead of always looking for something better, I feel like I’ve woken up and I’ve looked around and I’ve discovered that my life, as it is, is pretty amazing after all.

my life

A little adjustment can make a large change

Do you ever feel like you need some change in your life? And not just a little change, but a big change, like throwing out all of your stuff, moving, never looking at the internet again, and changing your appearance completely.

Sometimes we can make small adjustments in order to have the large change that we want.

Small adjustments can be radical. Here are some of the small things that have helped me:

  • Reading my scriptures first thing in the morning
  • Spending time on my mental health every day (usually by reading workbooks)
  • Special time with my children
  • Exercising for five minutes in the morning
  • Trying to go outside more often
  • Organizing my closets
  • Rearranging furniture
  • Switching up my planning routines
  • Writing a gratitude journal
  • Eliminating a color I don’t like from my wardrobe
  • Reading a book from a different genre than I’m used to
  • Blocking a website

Some of the changes can be subtle, like switching up or a routine or doing something for five minutes every day. But those small things have a profound influence on changing our entire lives.

 

meditations

rich and poor

Have you ever noticed how much you really have?

Someone always has more, but someone also has less. Thoughts often crowd your mind–new clothes, more space, better car, bigger bank account, more, bigger, better–you forget what’s already there.

There are so many different ways to travel: barefoot, sandals, bike, used car, airplane.

There are so many different things to eat: rice, beans, fish, fruit, bread, cookies, hamburger, steak.

There are so many different ways to live: tent, shack, trailer, rambler, mansion.

And you can accept and love what you have.

You can love where you live. It’s not small; it’s huge. You can love what you wear. It’s not out-of-style; it’s fancy and comfortable. You can love the contents of your cupboards and your closets (and the fact that you have cupboards and closets).

And then you forget that you want more.

You rarely recognize what you have unless you remember that you could have so much less. So many have so much less–and yet, many of them live happily.

Imagine for a moment living a different sort of life–maybe in a mansion or maybe in a shack. And in that different life, are you different? Does life still continue?

There is gratitude at every step if we choose to recognize it.