Archive | Spirit

Happiness or Joy?

IMG_8956

I recently attended an evening meeting with women from my area where the topic of happiness and joy were discussed. It was then that I really started to think about the two, the differences and what I do daily that contributes to one of the other. There is a difference between the two that I never thought about.

Happiness

Happiness is that feeling that comes over you when you know life is good and you can’t help but smile. It is a sense of well-being, joy or contentment.

Some things that make me happy are: playing volleyball, working out, alone time, vacation with the family, the cabin, when I’ve had a successful day of eating healthy, chocolate, shopping, girls nights, date nights, bedtime for the kids, music, a walk outside in the sunshine.

IMG_8958Joy

Joy is the emotion evoked by the prospect of possessing what one desires: delight; the exhibition of such emotion. Bliss. Intense and especially ecstatic or exultant happiness.  The definition of the word “rejoice” from which our word “joy” comes, is to “feel great delight, to welcome or be glad.”

Some things that bring me JOY are: making a family member or friend feel loved or happy, vacation with my husband, seeing my children excel in a sport or activity, connecting with God, hearing my child say a sincere prayer, the beach, the mountains, girls getaway, helping others accomplish their goals, serving others, when a friend or family member feels joy.

Self Reflection

As I looked over my list I realized that most of what brings me joy and FILLS MY SOUL comes from connections with nature, God, my family or serving others. My happy times come mostly from superficial and temporary things.  Experiencing true joy leads to happiness and seems to overflow into many aspects of my life.

How do I accomplish this?  How do you accomplish this?

Focus on others, enjoy the simple things in life, find gratitude in life’s blessings, be the best version of me, seek for light and peace on a daily and sometimes hourly basis and “dance in the downpour”.

This self-discussion and reflection reminded me of what is truly important in my life and that if I desire joy, I need to “throw away the mirrors and look out the window”. (Talk given by Cheryl Esplin which you can find here .)

IMG_8959

What is it that makes you happy and what truly fills your soul?

 

Tana Post Signature

0

The Truth the Media Doesn’t Want you to Know

Her Value is More Precious than Rubies

The other day I walked past the floor-length bathroom mirror and caught a glimpse of myself out of the corner of my eye. I felt truly beautiful and valuable, kind of out of nowhere. It really surprised me! I haven’t forgotten the feeling and want to share because it has calmed all the negative voices once and for all and I am truly happy and working patiently where I’m at. But it wasn’t always that way.

shannon tulip 2

The struggle is REAL!

Seriously! Can any of you relate? I’ve struggled with self-worth since I was a teenager. I became more aware of my looks and body shape, I started to compare myself with others, criticize my flaws, and cared way too much about what others thought. These feelings of not being enough stuck as I moved through college and marriage.

At the height of some of my most difficult Mom years, I had 5 kids under the age of 7–all BOYS! My husband was in residency and I mothered full time at home with my beautiful babies.  We had a LOT of fun and I worked my butt off, but I was also overwhelmed and stressed out, not to mention sleep deprived trying my best to be a great Mom! It didn’t help that everywhere I went, people bombarded me with rude comments and intrusive questions about my age and the number of kids we have etc. At the time I didn’t know how to handle the emotional attacks other than to feel shocked for the harsh judgments being thrown at me. This happened so regularly that over time, I came to feel so undervalued.

3 Books that Shift Negativity

I needed support and I needed the best kind. I turned to Gordon B. Hinkley’s book Standing For Something. AH-Maaa-zing! He prompts, “The home produces the nursery stock of new generations and parents are the gardeners. In that light, I must emphasize the importance, the value, the singular impact that women have within the fabric of our society and in the makeup of our homes.” I had to let that sink in. Internalizing this idea has been a turning point for me. My role as a mom to a handful of kids wasn’t just valuable, it had the power to influence generations. Wow! This woke me up. I started to see I truly had the power to change how I felt about myself and my role as a mother.

When negativity came my way, I followed another trick from Gordon—as much as I could, I made it an opportunity to respond with humor and love. A couple of my favorites:

1) In the checkout at the grocery store I could count on the clerk to ask with wide eyes and a sagging jaw (in reference to the kids in and on the cart), “Are they all yours???” I’d smile and reply back, “Aren’t they adorable? There’s a buy one get one free sale and there were only 5 left. You owe me a kid!” 😉

2) Going place to place like a Mama with her ducklings all in a line, others would see me and ask, “Are you the Nanny?” (HA!) I’d smile and say, “No, they’re mine.” That was followed by disbelief and the remark “You look so young!” and then (of course) the demand to know, “How old are you?” I decided because this is one of the top questions I get, for my own sanity I’d not just change the subject or ignore it, but answer with, “Isn’t it great? When I’m 50 I’ll be looking fabulous!”

This kind of response either made people laugh, changed their attitude, or shut them up. It’s funny to watch—try it! This positive spin is so helpful in keeping a better perspective for myself and it shows a good example to our kids.

Another book that really helped is I am a Mother, by Jayne Clayson Johnson. She shares, “[M]otherhood involves some sacrifices…You will certainly lose some sleep over the years, and, every now and then, you might temporarily lose your sanity. But you will also learn about yourself…the world…the Spirit…As you learn these things…you do not lose your identity, [but you more] closely identify with God.” Isn’t that amazing? It reminded me of Lucia in Max Lucado’s book, You are Special. She didn’t let the dots or stars others tried to put on her stick to her. I decided, I wasn’t going to either. It’s such a gift that we can become free and unspotted from the judgements others throw our way and identify ourselves as His greatest creations.

Jeffrey R. Holland teaches, God “knows your name and knows your circumstance. He hears your prayers. He knows your hopes and dreams, including your fears and frustrations…and He knows what you can become through faith in Him.” When we truly understand His love for us, the confusion clears and our priorities align. Our walk as disciples of Christ becomes more joyful and our lives take on new meaning. It’s so refreshing to look in the mirror and not focus on the imperfections, but to see myself as a beautiful daughter of God, precious and happy. I’m excited I am finally here!

What are your favorite ways to combat negativity? Do you also have some favorite positive responses? I’d love to hear them!

 

shannon signaturestripes shannon

 

 

0

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!
shannon signature

2

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?

Nicole Post Signature

 

0

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?

Nicole Post Signature

0

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.

Nicole Post Signature
1

Powered by iNFLUXPC.com