I have always been impressed with David Archuleta and my respect for him grew even more when I read a blog he wrote the other day. It truly touched me and I appreciated his honesty. He is true to himself. I am sure there is great pressure out there for him to use his talent in so many different ways. I truly appreciate that he uses his talent to bless others lives. I love this video: Glorious. There are melodies in each one of us. . .
For Christmas we got the "old" version of Annie. My boys had never seen it, but I always loved it. Tonight my boys put it in to watch and I had to join in and watch it. I loved watching it with my boys and really liked that they loved it! I love the song Tomorrow. A perfect Friday night.
Reality Check??? Let's Be Real
I have been reading lots of comments and quotes lately on Facebook about how some people portray the perfect life or the perfect children and that the reality isn't that. I know that I have had people ask me how I have it all together. I get the comments about how wonderful my children are, it appears our life is all together and I have even had people ask me if we ever have problems / challenges in our family. I just have to laugh when I am asked this. Yes, we do have challenges, my children are not perfect, I am by no means a perfect parent and the list goes on.
In fact, just over a week ago one of my boys was facing some struggles and having a rough night and one of the comments he said was, "I hate being put on a pedestal, because of the things you say about me, by all of your friends and family. I feel like I have to maintain that image."
As he said that I thought about my growing up years and being an "Anderson." My parent's were / are well-known in the community. My dad had his own business with his dad, president of Character Connection, president of Alpine Foundation, served on the State School Board, served on a bank board, served in several church callings and my mom was wonder woman raising 9 children, volunteering in the schools, holding several church callings and giving so much back to the community. They shared everything they had with others - even strangers - and they still do. People knew my parent's, saw us out giving service as a family and really thought highly of our family. I felt like I had an image to live up to.
Was my life perfect? No, not by any measure of the word. I had many struggles and many hard things I was going through that people didn't know about until I went on my mission. In fact, I had a counselor tell me that the only way I made it through the challenges was because I was stubborn.
Was it wrong for me to strive to live up to the image and portray that we were happy and life was great when things weren't? I would say no.
I look back at those times and I am so grateful that my parent's taught us hard work, to serve the community, to spend time together as a family, to work for good grades and take education seriously and the list goes on.
Was I mad at my parent's at times because I didn't get to go hang out with my friends instead of planting trees? Yes.
Did I fight with my siblings and even think that I hated some of them growing up? Yes.
Did I fight with my parent's and think they were wrong at times? Yes.
Did I treat others with disrespect because I was mad and thought they were wrong? Yes.
Did I cause my parent's worry and heartbreak growing up? Yes.
Do I hope that my children don't do some of the things that I did to my parent's? Yes.
Did I feel the spirit and enjoy giving service when all was said and done? Yes.
Do I have utmost respect for my parent's for all that they taught me? Yes.
Do I think it was easy for them to be parent's? No
Do I think they felt like they were failing at times? Yes.
Am I blessed because people thought highly of me and I worked at living up to that image when things weren't really as they seemed? Yes.
There is definitely a balance, because the weight of being on a pedestal can be really heavy and sometimes cause us to be depressed or even want to give up. We might compare our weaknesses to other peoples strengths. We might perceive that this family has it all together and we don't. I yelled at my children and I am sure that mom doesn't ever yell at their children. My house is a filthy mess and I am sure their's isn't and the list goes on.
I truly believe that the bottom line is counting our blessings where we are right now and finding happiness in the struggles. I promise, everyone has struggles and no one is perfect (or they would have been translated). I do go out in the public, smile, put on my best face and give whatever I have committed to my all even though I might completely be heartbroken inside or even feeling like I can't take another step and I don't have one more thing to give to someone else. What amazes me every time is when I get out and do those things, because I have to, there is a friend, smile, note, comment that is a boost for me and helps me realize I can keep going. I realize I am not really alone. There are people that love me and want what is best for me. Every single parent is fighting their own battles, just like each of our children are. I gain so much every time I look outside myself and I hope that I can do that for others.
So, just for fun I thought I would list a few of the imperfections in our family (and I promise I am not lying about these things):
1. Our house is a mess and there is ALWAYS a pile of laundry
2. There are always dishes that need to be done
3. Every time I want something done in the house I have to ask my children more than once to help and sometimes I give up and just do it myself or leave it undone
4. I struggle with my health and have to work at it every day - sometimes I can't even think clearly because of the numbers from my diabetes, blood pressure, cholesterol - take your pick
5. We have gone through 4 different times of unemployment in the last 6 - 7 years.
6. With that has brought major financial struggles and we are still working on taking care of our financial obligations.
7. My boys each have their own struggles and some days are better than others.
8. We do have fighting in our home - probably on a daily basis among the brothers and sometimes with dad and mom. I have to work daily at building stronger, better relationships with my boys and my husband.
9. I struggle with being confident and have to give myself pep talks when going to meetings or getting up in front of people (I am TERRIFIED to be in front of people). I often lose sleep the night before a meeting that I am in charge of. I struggle with anxiety and have a major fear of making mistakes.
10. I yell. I get mad. I have an opinion and can get really frustrated when I am at home. Not very often in public, because I have a major guilt problem and worry so much about hurting people's feelings.
I am guessing that many wouldn't believe some of these things and think I might be exaggerating some of these things or my perception is off on the reality of some of these things. I promise, it's not :). This is the truth. The list above could be my reality and I could feel discouraged, but I refuse to accept these things as they appear above and what some would say is "my real reality." So, here is how I view each of the things listed above:
1. I am enjoying making memories with my family, because the mess will always be there. There will always be laundry to be done, as long as we have clean clothes to wear each day we are doing great!
2. Yes, the dishes have to be done. It's a part of life, but it's alright if they wait for a short bit. It can be a team effort when they do get done.
3. It is frustrating asking my children over and over, but hard work and learning to do household things is very important. These are skills they will need for their missions and cleaning can be fun and very rewarding. Sometimes we have to take a breather or negotiate for a different time when we are all feeling like we can do it.
4. Due to a doctor helping me face my reality, I am getting healthier. I love that I have perspective that if I get healthier I can be around longer for my boys. That is very important to me. I love that I might have a bad day, but that I can start over tomorrow or even in 10 minutes and make things better. I love a good challenge and this is the one for me.
5. Unemployment has not been easy by any sense of the word. It has taken a financial and emotional toll on our family. It has caused many tears,worry, stress, etc. On the other hand, unemployment has helped us appreciate the simple life. We don't have to have the big things. Playing a board game and pancakes and eggs for dinner is the best meal ever. We have also learned what it is like to be served and helped by so many. It has been extremely humbling, but in turn it has helped us empathize and reach out to others and give back when we haven't been unemployed. Also, with each time there has always been a reason, something to learn and something better on the other side. Rick has a job that he absolutely loves and that wouldn't have happened without losing his other jobs.
6. Financial struggles stink. Owing people money, not making ends meet, finding balance between the needs and wants and providing my boys with opportunities they would like is really a challenge. This can be a very heavy weight. On the other side of things, my boys appreciate the simple things we are able to do for them. They don't just assume that they can do everything they would like to do. They learn to make decisions and are learning great lessons for their future. Because we don't have money for everything out there we really get to spend a lot of quality time as a family that we will cherish forever. When we pay something off it is so rewarding. We recognize both sides of the coin on this one and we are still working at it, but I don't let it get me down.
7. My boys struggles. We all have hard days with our own weaknesses, disappointments, etc. What I love is that they are learning to battle through them. When they go through the experiences they are better people for it. They are stronger and find a feeling of success and momentum to take on the next challenge, because it will be there. There is no need to beat ourselves or others up over their mistakes. We all make them in different ways so it is important to be a team and work together, be a cheerleader. I want them to know that there is still happiness and laughter through struggles.
8. Fighting in our home - surprise!!! Someone is mad, wrestling started out as fun and now someone is hurt, I got impatient and yelled at one of the boys or felt disappointment that something wasn't done, etc. We all know the story, because I am sure it happens in all of our homes. We have a saying that we are working for eternity and these are the people we want to be with forever. We apologize, work through things, apologize when we are wrong (I probably do the most apologizing) and we love each other. Our best friends and those that are truly our safety nets live right within the walls of our home. This is our safe place.
9. I am working on myself constantly. I am not a very confident person internally, but I would bet those who know me or who have worked with me would totally think that I am confident. I give myself pep talks and I go for it. I give things a try. I do fail and I recognize that some things are just not for me and it is alright. I am proud of myself for reaching outside of my comfort zone and becoming a better person. I like making progress in the right direction so I have to do hard things. Due to doing hard things I have been extremely blessed with great friends and a network of people who have not only blessed my life, but my entire family. If I didn't face my fears I wouldn't know the joy that comes with the things that I do.
10. Guilt and getting mad are probably the greatest things I need to work on all of the time, but due to those two characteristics in my life I really strive hard to keep my mean feelings or opinions to myself or vent to Rick when I am at home. The blessing of this is that I find myself really trying hard to understand where that person is coming from or what they need. I want to leave each situation helping people feel better about themselves. I want them to think about their interactions with me as a positive thing. I want to be a better person and in turn help others to be their very best.
Alright, this has been an EXTREMELY long post, but I just felt that I should share a little more about myself and what my reality or my real life is really all about. I truly believe life is all about counting our blessings right where we are and finding happiness in the struggles - we all have them. Good or bad - happiness makes each day better.
I saw the video below tonight and LOVED it!!! I can't help but smile and it takes me back to my missionary days. So, I had to go take a look at my missionary album. So fun!!! I thought I would share some of my pics from my mission. Serving an LDS mission in Arizona for 18 months blessed my life. That time of my life blesses my life daily. I often reflect on lessons learned, friendships made, those I met and their life experiences and the life changes that came into my life. It was a huge turning point for me. I haven't kept in touch with everyone, but I think of all of the dear people I loved during that time and changed my life forever. I hope I made a difference in their lives. It's been 20 years in February since I returned from my mission.
I have my hands into a lot of things and that means a lot of meetings and places to be most days. The days that I don't have anything I find myself not getting ready for the day, sitting in my bed and working on my computer. There were days that I didn't leave my room at all. I am pretty productive on these days, but by the end of 2014 I was noticing that those were the days that by the end of the day I felt a little more down, life was a little hard and I felt a little lonely in life. It wasn't bad, but those were also the days I didn't interact with my kids as much, the house didn't get picked up, blinds didn't get opened and I didn't get some fresh air.
I decided that I would make a point each morning to get ready first thing in the day regardless of what I had going on. I would leave my room and work at the kitchen table or comfortably on the couch with my laptop. It wasn't a big change, but decided it would be good emotionally.
I also decided that when I came downstairs the first thing I would do downstairs is spend 10 - 15 minutes picking up shoes, clothes, garbage, etc. It definitely didn't clean the house, but instead of going straight to my computer and getting things done I made my house a quick priority. With that I would open the blinds and enjoy the gray overcast weather, snow or the sun (whatever it was I was going to enjoy it).
I also decided that when I started feeling tired or got on the phone I would walk around. I would go outside regardless of how cold it was. Just stand on my porch or go for a walk down the driveway. Sometimes it's just for a few minutes, but sometimes it is for 10 - 15 minutes several times a day.
These are just small and simple things, but I am now 14 days into the year and I am amazed at how much better I am feeling emotionally. It's feeling more like a habit and it's easy to do.
I would love to set more lofty goals or set my vision of the things I will get done around my house much more, but one simple step at a time and it doesn't feel overwhelming or hard. It's doable. Even the days I don't feel like I can or want to I think in short time frames and it is much easier.
I believe that each of us can do that one simple thing that can make our lives better and then add one more thing on as we continue each day. It's exciting to see positive progress in our lives and when times get hard we then have something to lean on - the great progress in our lives :).
or are you one of the Cool Moms? I saw this last night and LOVED IT!!!! How often do we compare our weaknesses to other mom's strengths? Or we perceive someone else's life as perfect or all put together. Maybe we are too hard on ourselves when the laundry is undone or the dishes are sitting on the counter dirty. Like they say in the video - it really is the love we show our children. I hope you enjoy the video as much as I did. .
Here is a great article about this video: http://www.today.com/parents/cool-moms-new-song-parody-explores-mom-cliques-insecurity-1D80409160
Last May I was diagnosed with Diabetes and I had to go on insulin. There were many things going on and I knew I had to take it serious. I made eating changes, took my insulin faithfully and other medication and was amazed at how much better I felt. I was excited about the changes that I was seeing in my life. Then in December I got out of routine, my favorite holiday treats were all around and I pretty much went back to all of my old habits. No insulin and , other medication and lots of sugars and you get a bad combination :).
I am amazed at how much different I feel. When you live the stressful, bad eating habits, not taking care of yourself life for so long and have a taste of feeling so much better, energy and even the emotional side of things it's amazing. I feel like I can't get back to the healthy side fast enough.
It's an awesome thing that we can get up each day and start new. Make the changes that are necessary knowing that the other side is so much better. So, today is definitely a Rainy Day & Monday get me down kindof day, but each day keeps getting better.
My boys LOVE Studio C and this is one of their favorites as they have watched me go through Diabetes this last year. It's fun to watch and get a good laugh as a family.
Don't Send a Man to the Store
My posts lately have been a little more on the serious side, but we do have a lot of laughs in our home. Today I was thinking about a You Tube video that I watched a long time ago and wanted to share it. It's pretty funny. Lucky for me my boys are pretty good about going to the store (since I hate going to the store :).
Finding Joy in Times of Trial
Last September we were in Bear Lake and I needed to find a receipt of a purchase that was going to determine which way we went home. If I didn't find the receipt we would go through Wyoming and if I found it we would go back up through Logan and stop at the store to exchange a birthday gift that had been purchased for my son and didn't work.
It wasn't a huge deal, but with getting in and out with luggage, pillows, blankets, wet sand, seashells, etc. I was thinking it could have easily been lost in the shuffle. I had the thought to look in a very specific place that seemed weird and totally didn't make sense, but there it was. We didn't have to waste much time looking for it which I was glad. I get a little impatient when things are missing and can quickly change the mood of our family.
At that moment I had the thought very clearly that if I listened more closely and acted and didn't question I would recognize many more promptings that came into my life daily. I definitely receive promptings and can think of many over the years, but since that time I have strived to live closer to the spirit. Not only when it pertains to the gospel or church callings or my children, but in my daily life. In my daily interactions. How I treat people, how can I help someone, the thought to visit with someone or just send a simple text, tell someone I love them, give a simple compliment, leave a thank you card or a treat, etc. Before this experience I did think about these things and acted on some of them, but I knew that day that if I acted on each prompting that it would make a greater difference in my life. I would find the time to do these things - it didn't need to be hard or time consuming.
11 Short Days Ago the New Year rang in. I found myself feeling so blessed for the amazing December we had as a family, with our friends, extended family and thousands of those we didn't know. I thought through the month and could think of many miracles that had happened throughout the month. The joy, peace and happiness that I found throughout the month.
Last Sunday we went to Church with my heart feeling so full. I was excited for a new year, but just had this feeling that there was something coming in my life that would teach me more - you know those growing pains. As we sang "I Know That My Redeemer Lives" as the closing hymn the following lines REALLY jumped out at me - love this song, but these lines spoke to me deeper and stronger than ever before:
"He lives to comfort me when faint
He lives to hear my soul's complaint.
He lives to silence all my fears.
He lives to wipe away my tears.
He lives to calm my troubled heart.
He lives all blessings to impart.
Oh, sweet the joy this sentence gives: "I know that my Redeemer lives!"
I am not one that cries very often, but this week brought some challenges that brought me to my knees to take a deeper look at how I am as a parent. I felt a heartbreak pain that I hadn't ever felt before. I honestly hadn't shed more tears in a long time. I had much to learn and felt the atonement acting in my life. The love I feel for my children and the desire I have in my heart for the very best for them weighed very heavy on my heart. There was a time in a short few hours that I felt alone. Then I thought of where I would want my children to turn with their heavy hearts and the Lord lifted my burdens to where they were made very light.
Over the last few days I have found that even in times of trial, hardships and heart break that there is light, happiness, strength and a spiritual growth that can't even be explained. Relationships can be strengthened, laughter is a part of our home and through the atonement we can continue to grow and be made whole.
I am so grateful for the small promptings along the way, that I recognize so much more in my life, that prepare me for the hard times and give me something to lean on and know that I am not alone. In fact, I don't have to carry the weight, but focus on being a better person, doing good things and finding true happiness in each hour of each day of my life.
You're Gonna Miss This
After sending everyone off to school and work on Monday I was so happy to gather everyone back home at the end of the day. I loved having FHE together, and as everyone went to bed I found myself laying in bed thinking about each of my children. I was thinking through the relationship I have with each of them, the fun times, the hard times, the blessings of a family, their personalities, the things they love to do, their individual challenges, their talents and interests, their role in our family, their friends, what I hope for each of them, what I can do better for each of them, their happiness, etc.
As I thought about my oldest it hit me that this August could be his last birthday at home before his mission. With that, I thought back to the AMAZING miracle he was when I found out I was pregnant with him. The doctors weren't so sure I would have any children. I was deathly ill through the pregnancy with only so many hours I could be up, but going to college and working. I thought about the emotions of holding this new baby in my arms and the joy he has brought me over the years. There was a flood of emotions and I found myself crying as I thought about this coming year and the blessing of being a mom to 4 amazing boys. I thought about all of the things I want to do to make memories and how I need to cherish each day.
This morning I was listening to the radio and the song by Trace Adkins "You're Gonna Miss This" came on. It really struck me how we need to enjoy each day and not look to the future to find joy. Cherish each moment with our children - the good and the bad. They will both end up being memories that we learn from and make us stronger, closer and better.
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