This 1 thing will change your life: Hour of Power

Have you been feeling like something in life is missing and you just aren’t sure what? I know I have! Last year for my New Years’ resolution—and for the first time in my life—I only had 1 thing on my list—to have a real relationship with God! No more unrealistic expectations and no more guilt or shame for not having reached those goals!

Bright Sun Coming over the mountains near the lake

Let Spiritual Struggles Bring You Closer to God

But let’s back up a little…you might be wondering why it was so important to me to just do one simple resolution…and why I chose what I chose. Let’s just say, 2013 and 2014 were the most spiritually challenging years of my life! Mostly because of stupid choices I made, but also because I was feeling lost in my heart and even though I went through the motions of praying, reading the Word, and going to church—I was mostly checking the boxes and not truly soaking in the love and life that He offers. I was physically spent trying to be there for our then 6 kids, emotionally exhausted supporting my stressed out husband, and honestly—I was just plain unhappy with life. I went to a lot of counselling—I even dragged my hubby along! HA! I read lots of books! I learned some helpful things during that time, but after pondering, doing some real praying, and knowing everything I’d already tried still left me wanting, I realized there had been times when I felt so complete and satisfied with my life. During those times, I was leaning upon the Lord for everything. I had been consistently close to God in the past and knew getting back there would do the trick.

 3 simple ways to Draw Nearer unto God; Hour of Power

Fast Forward to 2015: Once I was super clear on what I wanted, it all came together beautifully! I got up early at the same time every day (that I got up—which was fairly consistent) and I practiced doing the same 3 things:

  1. Sincerely Pray
  2. Read Scriptures with purpose
  3. Journal about It

The Most Important Hour of Your Day

I call it my hour of power! I have to admit, for the first few months I struggled! I would fall asleep while praying, get distracted, have to refocus my thoughts, reread passages, and I felt like it wasn’t working. I really, really wanted to do this though and I stuck with it. I began to see that when I took the time to spiritually create my day, I could handle the physical part of it so much easier. My heart began to heal and I began to start my mornings with a feeling of peaceful ambition. On the days I slept in, I missed having that great start and the lack of sticking to my goal showed in the quality of my day. It was good motivation for me to get back to it. After about 4 months of doing this, something finally clicked! I began to feel a deep connection with God. I had a greater desire to feel His love every day. I started to see my life as one that needed to become spiritually self-reliant by becoming completely reliant upon God. David O. McKay once said, “Spirituality is the highest acquisition of the soul, the divine in man; the supreme, crowning gift that makes him King of all created things. It is the consciousness of victory over self and of communion with the infinite. It is spirituality alone which gives one the best in life.” Doesn’t he just put it so well? I truly feel this way! My life is exponentially better since starting my mornings with God and they just keep getting better!

Bring more power to your day by taking the 30 Day Challenge!
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7 principles that can restore your marriage

20My husband and I recently went through a trying season in our marriage. I’m willingly transparent and open about this for one reason… if sharing these thoughts will encourage even ONE person to keep on fighting for their marriage, then it would have served it’s purpose. I’m so glad we didn’t give up on each other, because we have emerged stronger and our marriage is happier now than ever.

7 principles that can restore your marriage

  1. Here’s an interesting fact I learned in a family studies class in college.  They surveyed couples that rated their marriage as unhappy and followed up with these couples after 5 years.  Turns out 85% of unhappy couples bounced back!  After the 5 year period, they rated their marriage as happy or very happy.  Not all marriages work out of course, but when things get rocky, it’s good to remember the odds and keep the hope alive.
  2. I’ve learned to shift my perspective and see relationships as a “total package” deal.  The weakness of your partner is the price you pay for all their strengths. When you marry them, you marry ALL of them… the good and the bad. The known and the unknown. The past, the present AND the future. Here’s what I realized… dealing with my husband’s weaknesses is simply the cost to have such an overall ROCKIN man. Besides… he puts up with all my nonsense too!
  3. There is a force of darkness hell bent on destroying marriages because the deepest source of joy in this life comes from these precious family relationships. One day we realized we had to stop fighting each other and instead fight against the real enemy. Because the truth is, when your partner loses, you lose too. Placing blame in marriage is like saying, “your side of the boat is sinking.”
  4. What you focus on expands!!  I was teaching kids at church about gratitude once, so I asked them to look around the room for 1 minute and try to find as many yellow things as they could.  Then I told them to close their eyes and asked them to repeat to me everything in the room that was purple.  They couldn’t do it.  Not one single thing.  When we become so focused on one bad habit or weakness, we miss out on all the beauty there in plain sight. So when we choose to magnify the good, that’s what we’ll see!
  5. We can’t change or control anyone. Only God has that power.  All we can do is to be an example and be their best friend.  That will do more to help people improve than anything else we could say or do.
  6. Love is simply a choice. Stephen R. Covey once said, “Love is a verb. Love the feeling is a fruit of love the verb.” If you feel you’re falling “out of love” that just means you need to serve each other, sacrifice for each other, listen to each other- really listen. If we both wake up every day and ask ourselves, “What can I do today to make life easier for my best friend” we simply can’t fail.
  7. Most of all, I’ve learned to rely on the Lord and trust Him. Many counselors have noted that they’ve never seen a couple in serious marital trouble who were still praying together daily. There is true power in seeking Lord’s help to restore the love and light in our marriages. Jesus Christ is the ultimate healer. He not only heals our bodies but our relationships too. He can and He WILL breathe life into our marriages if we ask Him in faith.

These are 7 principles that healed and restored our marriage.Happy and free woman facing the sun.

What principles have you lived by to help heal your marriage?

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The first and greatest commandment

“Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and greatest commandment.” (Matthew 22:38-39)

Blessings of Keeping a Journal

Today I read through a journal I’ve kept over the last few years and noticed something that really made an impact on me. I marked each day I had prayed and studied the scriptures and noticed the periods in my life that I had done these things consistently were the times I wrote about deep contentment and serenity.  My marriage was rock solid, and I seemed to have more patience with the kids.  It’s not that my life was free of trials during these times, but I seemed to have a greater resolve and strength to get through those trials – a strength beyond my own.

Make time for the Lord

Prayer and scripture study are gospel basics that I KNOW I need to do. But the challenge is in the DOING and doing it consistently and doing it right. Admittedly, I’ve done it all wrong too often. There are days when I’m completely sleep deprived. I’ve been up with an infant or a sick child, so I wake up with just enough time to scramble to get myself and everyone else ready. So in other words, I make time for everyone… except the Lord.  The rush of the day begins, and I have every intention of praying and reading scriptures during the day, but sometimes, somehow I get distracted or pulled in so many directions that it just doesn’t happen.  “The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Matthew 26:4) My intentions are good but I just don’t always have the discipline to follow through.  But the truth is…  “If you can’t find time to pray or read scriptures, you’re busier than God ever intended you to be.” -Dieter F. Uchtdorf.

Communicate with Him more sincerely

Another mistake I’ve made is to be too casual with prayer and use “vain repetitions”. Or I’ll start a prayer, and allow my mind to wander off onto something else, or on occasion, if it’s a bedtime prayer, I’ve even fallen asleep in the middle of it. Although I believe the Lord is pleased with any sincere effort we make to communicate with Him, I think He expects more from us. He asks us to be sincere and penitent. Thankfully, He is eternally patient and kind with me and with all of His children. He wants to bless us! And He already knows what we need but we must ask Him in prayer. I love this quote from the Bible dictionary, “The object of prayer is not to change the will of God, but to secure for ourselves and for others blessings that God is already willing to grant, but that are made conditional on our asking for them.” and ” … your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.” (Matthew 6:8).

I think as mothers in particular, we have a great need to renew ourselves spiritually each day. As much as I adore my children and LOVE what I do, motherhood and homemaking can be exhausting. So we especially need to draw upon the power of God so we can best serve our families. To let Him pour his love into us, so we can pour it into our loved ones.  They deserve nothing less than a balanced wife and mother who has made time to commune with the Lord.

Make God your priority

So I made a decision to be more consistent in prayer and it has been a great blessing in my life. Sometimes all it takes is ONE small choice, we just have to make up our minds, and choose to put Him first. The change came about as I asked myself, what is the single MOST important thing in my life? And the answer came, it is truly my relationship with God and my love for Him. So who then should get first priority in my life? Not my husband, not my kids, not even myself… God should! So I decided the very first thing in the morning– every morning– my knees will hit the floor, to show my love and devotion to Him each day. It’s a simple ritual, but it makes a tremendous difference in my life.

I know there is power in prayer. When I sincerely pour out my heart to Him… I literally feel the burdens lift. Sometimes the problems remain, but I can let go of the negative and worrisome thoughts, and choose to be happy and trust in the Lord.

I even put a pillow down beside my bed, as a symbol and a reminder of my desire to keep the first and great commandment.  It is now a permanent fixture beside our bed.

“Men and women who turn their lives over to God will discover that He can make a lot more out of their lives than they can” Pres. Benson declared. “He willJesus Christ Knocking deepen their joys, expand their vision, quicken their minds, strengthen their muscles, lift their spirits, multiply their blessings, increase their opportunities, comfort their souls, raise up friends, and pour out peace. Whoever will lose his life in the service of God will find eternal life” (Teachings, p. 361).

He truly does make more out of us than we could ever make of ourselves. And that is what I noticed in my journal I discovered me without Him… and me with Him. And I definitely prefer the latter! And I think my family does too. 🙂

So we have a choice. We can choose to go it alone in life, relying on our own strength, our own intellect, and our own abilities, or we can trust in Him to walk us through this life and compensate for what we lack. He wants to bless us and fulfill the petitions of our hearts but we must take the initiative and let him in.

What do you do to make God a priority and improve your communication with him?

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Simplify Your Life: A 30 Day Challenge

Simplify Your Life: A 30 Day Challenge

Simplify Your Life Text written on notebook pageThis challenge is all about getting yourself to the next level spiritually by slowing down, taking a look at what is most important and focusing on organizing our lives for 30 days so we can truly enjoy and do what we really want to do! I’m excited to share something I learned in the last couple weeks because it is AMAZING!! I have always been a little too unrealistic when it comes to setting and reaching goals. I’d have all these great ideas of how I wanted to change and what I wanted to accomplish. I’d comb the internet, ask others for tips and tools, try to get my goals organized and implement them, but undoubtedly, I’d find too many great things to fill my time with, waaay more tips than I could digest, and afterwards, my calendar would be so ambitious and full that just looking at my monthly plans was overwhelming! I felt like I needed to do all these great things to be a wonderful Mother, but at the same time didn’t know how I possibly could! Mind you, every gal needs to have direction and things that stretch us to reach for something greater, but at what cost? Dallin H. Oaks, teaches, “We have to forego some good things in order to choose others that are better or best because they develop faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and strengthen our families.” So, be mindful of what goes on your calendar—make sure those things are truly worthy of your time and are the BEST things for you and yours right now.

Now for the amazing new (to me) way of thinking about your goals!! A mentor of mine, Carolyn Cooper, asked back in December what word(s) I would choose for 2016. I’d never thought of doing that, but instantly two words popped into my mind—“peace” and “empowerment”. That surprised me! I usually have to think and think and go back and forth finding just the right ones…but this time I was blessed to just have that clarity. After that, I decided I truly wanted to see how those words show up for me this year. The more I thought of my goals, the more I realized; my goals really do fit with these two words! Then I had a flood of information and motivation and my plans for taking action for the month just came together so easily. It felt a little unreal and I am super grateful!

I hope you find this Challenge to be of as much value as I do and that you can find a balance between what is most important and what is best for you and your family. Just remember, we are ever growing, rising, and becoming. So keep at it! After 30 days, you’ll be amazed at how just by simplifying, your life will be so much more full.

  1. Take some time to be still: Find a quiet spot with minimal distractions (What’s a quiet spot, right? ha-ha) and just take some time to breathe, listen, feel gratitude, say a prayer if you like, and then ask the question, “What is/are my word(s)for this year?”
  2. Once you get your word(s) grab a pen and get going on the worksheet! It’ll help you identify the things you most want right now and help you figure out how to get that organized! It’s simple and I know that as you truly strive to put the pieces together, they will come! Have faith and be open to those around you that can lend support or be hired to help you make things happen!
  3. Comment on our Facebook or Instagram! We’d love to know what words come up for you and how your experience with using the worksheet goes!

 

Background Words Worksheet

Woo-Hoo! You’ve figured out your background words! Congrats for being open and willing to try something a little different! So I’ve put this handy little worksheet together using my own goals and thought process as examples. You gals can help me stay accountable now! 😉 Okay, time to start filling this thing out! Just remember, “To innovate does not necessarily mean to expand; very often it means to simplify.” –Russell M Ballard

My background word(s) is/are________________________________________________________________________________.

Examples:

  • Peace
  • Empowerment

1. What is/are my goal(s)?

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Examples:

  • Keep my priorities in order.
  • Go out with the Hubbs once a week/learn to ask better questions! (Can I get an Amen?!)
  • Complete certification for Simply Healed.)

2. What does that feel like to you?

 

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Examples:

  • I feel peace and empowerment when I diligently get up early so I can spend time with God through prayer, studying His word, and journaling about it.
  • I feel empowered when I take time to learn about what my husband likes so I can ask about it later. (and not feel like a fool!) 😉
  • I feel empowered when I make time and block it out for my personal development goals.

Okay, so now you’ve identified your words, your goals, and how those words relate to how you feel about your goals. Pretty cool, right?! Doesn’t it take on a whole new level of importance to accomplish these goals now that we can see how they would actually create the feelings of our inspired words and affect us for the better? So NOW WHAT???

3. GRAB your CALENDAR!!!!

Here’s a clean and empty one for ya! Now it’s time to take the opportunity to plan and implement your goals!

Ask yourself about your goals and figure out what times and days they need to be on the calendar.

Examples:

  • How am I going to keep my priorities in order? For me that means getting up earlier than the rest of my clan for a certain amt. of time so it will be ideally quiet and I can focus on taking time with God. So, on my calendar I put “Priorities” at 4:30 am. (Seriously, I am a recovering night owl! This is a HUGE sacrifice for me!! But SO very worth it!
  • My husband and I figured we could take turns planning our dates and we’d go the same night and time each week. Once I planned these out for 3 months I emailed our sitter with the days and times to get a confirmation that she would be available.
  • I have classwork and phone calls and energy work sessions that all need time to happen. So I blocked off certain days and times, the same every week, to support that and labeled it “Simply Healed”.

I have to say, doing this has seriously changed how smoothly the last couple weeks have run! My mornings start fresh on a serene and motivated note, I look forward to Fridays with new excitement because I KNOW I’ll be going out with my handsome hubby and he’ll be dazzled with my sudden interest in politics, and I am excited and confident I will reach my deadlines for my certification because the time is blocked and ready for me to work! I am SO grateful for this way of planning. It works for me and I hope it works for you too!!


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15 powerful books that will change your life forever

15 POWERFUL BOOKS THAT WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE FOREVER

  1. The Secret by Rhonda Byrne
  2. The Emotion Code by Bradley Nelson
  3. Remembering Wholeness by Carol Tuttle
  4. Man’s Search for Happiness by Elbert Hubbard
  5. The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch
  6. Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom by Don Miguel Ruiz & Janet Mills
  7. The Mastery of Love by Don Miguel Ruiz & Janet Mills
  8. Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology  That Fuel Success and Performance at Work by Shawn Achor
  9. Think & Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill
  10. Spiritual Roots of Human Relations by Stephen R. Covey
  11. The Traveler’s Gift: Seven Decisions that Determine Personal Success by Andy Andrews
  12. The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown
  13. The Power of Vulnerability by Brene Brown
  14. How Will You Measure Your Life? by Clayton M. Christensen
  15. The Presence Process: A Healing Journal Into Present Moment Awareness by Michael Brown

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Transform Your Body Happy Mom

 

 

 

 

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You are enough

Unrealistic beauty expectations

Could I just have a moment to vent about what society is doing to women? I have such strong convictions about this and have to share or I might just burst!!

Last night, I flipped through a beauty/fashion magazine for the first time in many years, and I just felt this overwhelming hollow sadness. Sadness not just for myself, but for my mother, my daughters, and every girl and woman in our society. We wonder why so many girls have body-image issues, low self-esteem and eating disorders? It occurred to me… the under”lying” LIE that each and every page is selling is that we’re not enough. No matter how hard we try and no matter how much we buy, we’ll never be enough.

The ultimate goal of advertisers (and the adversary) is to get us to keep consuming the latest fashion trend, makeup product, wrinkle cream, plastic surgery procedure, etc., and to continually strive to become this standard of beauty which is simply unattainable… because it’s not even REAL. These images are airbrushed and distorted, and yet girls see them everywhere and accept them as reality. It burns an image into our minds of what we should look like, and we jump on the hamster wheel of trying to keep up, but we’ll always fall short. Even if we come close to “ideal”… it doesn’t last and it can all be taken from us in an instant.

The magazine featured a professional manicurist boasting that she treats her nails with oils 10 times each day and recommends the same for ultimate nail care. I’m sorry… but what a colossal waste of TIME. Looking back on our lives will we wish we had spent more time in the salon?? I don’t think so!! We’re not taking our perfect manicures, breast implants, hair extensions or chiseled abs with us ladies!! You know what I think?? I think it’s all one BIG FAT distraction. Distraction designed to keep us from pursuing what we’re really here on this earth for. Distraction to distance us from God. True happiness will never come from achieving the perfect body, perfect hair, etc. It’s vapid. It’s vain. It’s an illusion!!! It keeps us trapped in this insatiable cycle of consuming and becoming so consumed with OURSELVES that we forget to lose ourselves in the service of others; the true source of joy.

Balance is Best!

Don’t get me wrong. Attention to hygiene and physical appearance is obviously important. There are spiritual benefits to mastering the body through proper nutrition and fitness. It’s all about balance, and our society has taken it all to the extreme. When our hearts become set on these things, when we neglect more important spiritual things in the pursuit of it, when we feel less than enough because we’ll never measure up to the images of “perfection” all around us, it becomes a real problem. Not just for us, but for those who are depending on us to lead them to the truth. The lie leaves us insecure, but the truth reassures us we’re secure in Christ. The lie yells: “You need more!! You’re NOT ENOUGH as you are!! You will never be enough!!” The truth whispers: “You ARE enough. You have always been enough. You are His. You are bought with a price and you are now priceless. You are fearfully and wonderfully made.”

Call to action

I’m not a fan of venting unless there’s a call to action attached to it. So here’s a call to action for myself, and anyone who cares to join me. Our daughters need the women in their lives to stand in stark opposition to the crushing tidal wave of lies they’re getting from our culture. They need women who refuse to buy into the lie. Women who are willing to take a stand for the truth and teach them about the value of DEEP and lasting beauty. To demonstrate the virtues of modesty, humility, and dignity in dress and appearance. And to show them by example that their true VALUE has NOTHING to do with how they look. That means less time in front of a mirror, and more time in front of a book. Less time shopping, and more time serving. Less money consuming, and more money contributing. I want to be that kind of woman. I can do better!! Let’s do better together. Our daughters deserve nothing less.

It’s your body and your journey.

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5 Quick Solutions for Busy Moms

1. Delegating in the home

Busy Moms delegate kids to do listsI once learned in a leadership class that “people support what they help create.” I believe this to be a true principle, but I realized we weren’t applying it very well in our family, so I decided to put it to the test. I often felt that if you want something done right, you might as well just do it yourself. It’s almost easier that way!  But that approach to motherhood was denying my children opportunities for growth and creating feelings of overwhelm and busy mom burnout. Total lose-lose. My job as a mom isn’t to take over and run the family show. My job is to guide my children to become the best versions of themselves.

So I started applying this leadership principle in the home. I took a step back and delegated more by allowing the kids to take a more active role in family duties. They help teach lessons, they share devotionals, they do their own laundry, they help prepare meals, and now they actually do it WELL because they feel a sense of ownership of these things.  And we finally have a checklist that actually works. I can’t even count how many charts and reward systems I’ve created for these kids over the years, and none of them withstood the test of time.
But this time, the kids collaborated together and created one themselves. They’re responsible to give themselves check marks and report back each day. And they love it! The jobs actually get done without any nagging which makes all of us happy. They’re more invested in the process because they took an active role in creating it. So applied our family, I’ve found this principle holds true… people tend to support what they help create.

Busy Moms Remember the important things in life.2. Teaching moments on the go

Busy Moms!!  Do you ever feel like you’re not getting enough time to teach children?  This little solution has been a total lifesaver.  Try putting scriptures or meaningful quotes on index cards to make the most of travel time.  When we’re driving to and from school, the kids take turns choosing a card and we discuss the scripture and share our thoughts and feelings about the doctrine. This has been a simple but powerful way to use time wisely.  We can connect on a spiritual level and teach life’s most valuable truths.

253.  Cultivating Gratitude

Kids complaining too much?  Have a family goal to come up with 100, or 1000 things to be grateful for!  Put it up in a prominent place in the home to be consistently reminded of your goal.  Next time they complain, help them shift their perspective and reflect instead on their blessings by adding 10 things to the list.  This simple technique can help cultivate more gratitude in the home.

14.  One-on-one time

Do you have more than one child?  Do you ever feel you’re not getting enough one-on-one time with each of them?  Try allowing each kid their own “night to stay up”.  On their special night of the week, they get to stay up later for some quality time together.  One idea is to set the timer for 30 minutes and let them choose an activity. They may want to read aloud, do an art project, tell stories, play a game, or just cuddle and talk.  It has been such a great way to ensure they’re regularly getting individualized attention.

345. The Gem Jar

Looking for a positive reinforcement technique that works?   When it comes to our children’s behavior, it’s so easy to focus on the negative.  But studies have shown reinforcing good behavior is the best way to help children improve.  This is what we call our Gem Jar. The kids earn these for good behavior, and if they fill it up, we go on a family outing.  We all try to notice and emphasize the good in each other.  The best part about this is it’s a team effort!  When we fill up the family jar, we celebrate together as a family.  Rewards might include: a special camping trip, an family movie night, a pizza party, a night to stay up past bedtime, a game night, a family service project, etc.  Anything that is especially “rewarding” for your family.

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