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.
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.
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.
I keep writing and the words are difficult to express. Life is so much bigger than I ever imagined. It is filled with so much more joy, sorrow, questions, answers, doubt, and faith. It is so much more complicated sometimes, and yet in other moments it seems so incredibly simple.
When I moved to our new home, I knew it would be difficult. But I did it anyway. And it has been difficult. But there have also been such good moments: working on this house and cleaning it out and making new things like doors and curtains; playing games or reading books with my children in the evening, exhausted but knowing that it’s important to give them those moments; the kind words and the prayers from my friends and my family; looking outside at the beautiful fall farm landscape that surrounds me.
I miss my husband quite a lot. We’ve had deep disappointments, doubts, and discouragement, but at the end of it, I know things will work out for our good. That doesn’t mean we will have an easy life and get everything we think we want–it means that we will be able to learn and to be made into better people. It means that we will have experiences that will make us a little more kind and a little more humble. It means that we will look back and be so glad that everything happened the way it did.
I am at a place where I can’t accomplish my to-do list anymore. It’s simply too big and I don’t have the time of day to accomplish all of it and properly take care of myself and my children. So I try to take care of the things that matter most. Then the laundry doesn’t get folded and the house never gets dusted and the microwave is still dirty. It is a strange feeling to leave so much undone, since for the most part throughout my life, I have been able to accomplish whatever I set my mind to.
But now I have to prioritize things. And I get quite a peaceful feeling in knowing that the things that don’t really matter will wait for later.
I’m not perfect. My computer sucks me in. The kids watch too many movies sometimes. I forget to put pellets in the fireplace and the fire goes out.
But I’m going to keep trying. That’s hope right there: I’m an incredibly flawed person and life is hard and I’m going to keep at it anyway.
I am home. It will never really be my home–it belongs to more than me. My Grandpa built this house, and it is a house that has to be loved in order for it to continue to exist. I do love it: when I wake up and look across to the golden hillside in the fall, or I see the kids playing and having fun. I love this house because I have come to it as long as I can remember, and my kids now play with the same toys that I did. This is house is unique: thick cement walls, vast storage areas, and trellis on the ceiling. Right now, it is a rectangle that we live in, no doors separating us. But we don’t mind, really. The kids run outside or hide under beds. I discover stuff in closets and pull out bags to sort it. I think of plans to change it and yet I am sort of happy with how it is right now. Completely imperfect, and yet we can exist here.
I can throw away my moving boxes now. I can tear things apart and put them back together again. No one else will live here. No one else will fix the problems. I have lived temporarily for so long I am not sure how to adjust to permanency. It is new and weird to me, and maybe it will never really feel totally permanent at all. It will just be my life, day after day. And maybe when I have combined what was with what I have created, it will become so much a part of me that I won’t even consider it anymore–home as an afterthought, because home feels so right.
reality is never quite what you expect
more full of joy than you imagined
yet pulling back at you is the struggle
everything is bigger than you imagined
what do you want to be when you grow up
becomes a fairy tale because
your dreams are merely fantasy
and you are instead left with that fact
that dreams never really come true
because life is different from your thoughts
failure is an unexpected detour, turning onto
the unending route of reality
the destination forgotten because it never existed
and yet this is not a roller coaster of ups and downs
it’s a journey in a landscape
failure is not a trench, but a valley of everything