Sunday, August 26, 2012

A Few Stories, a Video, and Three Upcoming Events

There is more going on "behind the scenes" right now than ever before.  Lots of stories and experiences--some wonderful, some challenging.  I'm working hard on The Power of Moms--really hard--every single day, but I've been going to bed content and waking up excited.

Family life is beautiful.

Ethan and I went on a bike ride together yesterday, and we explored some areas I've never seen.  He wanted to play "Follow the Leader" so we weaved around a vacant parking lot and concrete pillars, and he was all smiles.

Alia babysat for me on Tuesday when I went to a shoe-making party for Sole Hope (amazing), but when I left, Spencer was throwing a fit and refusing to take a bath.  She said, "I've got it, Mom," and she filled an unused Rubbermaid trash can (that we use to hold water balloons) with water from the hose, added some soap, put Spencer in his bathing suit, and gave him a bath in the backyard.  He was totally happy and got clean for bed.  I laughed to myself the whole drive to the event.  My son is taking a bath in a trash can.

This morning I had a headache, and Grace let me rest on the couch while she rubbed my forehead and helped take care of the boys.  We gave each other back tickles, and I told her stories from when she was a baby.  She said, "I could do this all day."

My mom came out and spent the night with us last week.  I fixed her oatmeal for breakfast and did my computer work while I snuggled up by her on the couch.  We held hands a lot and went purse shopping together.  I got choked up when I told her that I want to be with her as much as I can because I just don't know how much more time we have together.  She hugged me and told me that she'll never leave me--and even when her life here is over, she'll put in a special request to stay close. I love her more than I can say.

Yesterday, Saren sent me a link to this video produced by a church in Whittier.  It's based on my blog post "Your Children Want YOU!" and I think Tara did a beautiful job.  Eric found the email first and was so excited that he woke me up from my nap so I could watch it.  He is so supportive of all this, which is an absolute gift.

Source: vimeo.com via Wacc on Pinterest



And just a few announcements:

I have three speaking events coming up next month, and if any of you are in the Southern California area and want to meet up, here are the details:

(1) Penelope Lane is hosting a Mini Blog Conference and Boutique on Saturday, September 29th.  I'm going to be speaking about how to make blogging a powerful experience.  My dear friend Sarah Hull runs this, and I'm so excited to be a part of it.


Eventbrite - Penelope Lane Mini Blog Conference 2012

(2) For the very first time, I'm holding a Mind Organization Workshop in my home. It will be Saturday, September 15th from 9-11:30 am.  This is something I've dreamed about for a long time, and while spots are filling up quickly, we still have some space left.  Come join me!

(3) And finally, Eric and I are hosting a Couples Retreat/Workshop on Friday night, September 28th somewhere in or near Irvine, CA.  We're still working on the final details, but this is going to be an amazing date night.  I'll post the registration link as soon as it's up.

Okay, I think that's it for today.  Time to get back to being mommy.  :)

Love,
April


Saturday, August 11, 2012

How to Get Rid of Stress and Anxiety--Forever

Eric says I'm a worrier.  He thinks I like to have something to worry about.  Once one problem is solved, I look for the next problem.

He's right in many ways.  Although I like to think of myself as a happy, optimistic person, I still get anxious about a lot of different things.

Sometimes I worry about my mom and how I wish I could just have her move in with me.  I worry about my neighbor's son who has been struggling since the death of his brother.  I worry about politics, struggles in society, my husband and children, whether I'm doing a good enough job with all my responsibilities, and about a lot of other things too personal to record here.

But as I've been reading my scriptures lately, I've been thinking about the power of the Lord--and how a perfect faith in Him can calm the stress and anxiety I feel.  It seems too good to be true, but a few months ago, I started to sense a glimmer of hope.

So I opened my scriptures and stuck a Post-it note in the front cover that reads, "How can I draw upon the powers of heaven--to the point that I no longer feel any stress or anxiety in my life--through faith in the atonement of Jesus Christ?"

And now each morning, I read the scriptures with that question in mind.

Then I record my answers on another Post-it note:


And I'll keep adding to this each day.

It's amazing to me how this process takes my stress and anxiety away and fills me with a confidence and hope I didn't know was possible.  But this isn't a one-time thing.  It's something I have to repeat each morning, think about during the day, and commit to live--even when life gets tricky.

A couple of weeks ago, my friend Kaylie asked if I would accompany her in church as she was singing "Savior, Redeemer, of My Soul."

I practiced the song for a few days, and I felt the most incredible peace, power, joy, and love as I sang the song in my head throughout my week.  I found this video of the song, if you'd like to hear it.  The singer begins at about 2 minutes, 14 seconds.


There's another version by Dallyn Bayles that is beautiful as well.

I've memorized most of the words, and I sing them while I'm blow drying my hair, while I'm loading the dishwasher, and whenever my heart needs strength.

(Here are the lyrics, if you'd like to sing along.)

1. Savior, Redeemer of my soul,
Whose mighty hand hath made me whole,
Whose wondrous pow’r hath raised me up
And filled with sweet my bitter cup!
What tongue my gratitude can tell,
O gracious God of Israel.

2. Never can I repay thee, Lord,
But I can love thee. Thy pure word,
Hath it not been my one delight,
My joy by day, my dream by night?
Then let my lips proclaim it still,
And all my life reflect thy will.

3. O’errule mine acts to serve thine ends.
Change frowning foes to smiling friends.
Chasten my soul till I shall be
In perfect harmony with thee.
Make me more worthy of thy love,
And fit me for the life above.

Text: Orson F. Whitney, 1855–1931

There are a lot of things to do.  And there are a lot of reasons to be stressed and anxious. But coming to the Lord and letting His power guide and lift us is the best solution I have ever known.  He is wonderful.

Much love,
April



Thursday, August 9, 2012

Family Dance Day?

My friend Catherine Arveseth posted this video to her blog the other day, and our house hasn't been the same since.




We bought the song on iTunes, and now we are dancing around the house to this music at least 15 times a day.  Grace even played it on my iPhone tonight on the way home from Back-to-School Night, and we danced the whole way through the parking lot.

When the kids got home from their first day of school on Wednesday, Alia and Spencer stood up on chairs and danced their hearts out while Grace pretended she was a fan in the audience begging for high fives.


  (Alia loved middle school, by the way, and the younger three think their teachers are heroes!)

Which gave me an idea.  What if this cute Kesler Family (or someone else who loves to dance) made "Family Dance" Instructional Videos?  Or does anyone know of some that are already out there?

I would love to learn simple dances with my children and then get together with other families and dance together. (Flash mobs at the park?) But I'm not a choreographer. And I need some help. 

Ideas?

It just seems like dancing would help us remember how fun families are.  Because even though I had to clean up a smashed jar of maraschino cherries yesterday, and even though someone left the deep freezer open and all the frozen stuff softened, and even though the boys were swinging on the shower rod the other day, families are still fun. Really fun.

So I'd really appreciate any help anyone has to offer on this.  We could even expand it to our whole Power of Moms Community and have an official "Family Dance Day."  I'm getting more excited every minute. . . .


Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Why My Heart Melted On the First Day of School

School started today for my children.  They could hardly sleep last night, and the anticipation this morning was so cute to watch.   

My stomach was all in knots, as well.  I can now better understand that quote by Elizabeth Stone that says, "Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body."  (And mine is in four parts!)


But to explain why my heart melted, I need to go back a few years to a conversation I recorded when Spencer (age one) and Ethan (age five) were taking a bath together.  I was sitting on the bathroom floor with my computer, and when I heard their sweet dialogue, I started typing as quickly as I could.

Ethan: Spencer, will you stay one forever?

Spencer: Oooh bash

Will you stay one for me?

Uhhhhh abash

I'm going to miss you when you grow up.

Arsh?

When I'm in 4th grade, you'll be in Kindergarten.  And I'll call to you on the playground, and you'll run to me and hug me.  And you'll always know me because I'm your brother.  Forever we're brothers . . . Forever we're brothers . . . Forever we're brothers, right?

Oooh abash

Forever we're brothers.


That experience was sweet to me then, but now I need to finish the story with what happened this morning.

Eric took Alia to middle school (Ahhh!  Can't wait to hear how it went for her), and I dropped Grace off in the car line because she was dying to get to her classroom.  Then I parked in a neighborhood across the street (too many cars in the parking lot today) and walked in with the boys.

Ethan helped Spencer put his shoes on the right feet this morning, and then while we were walking, he said, "Here Spencer, let me put your lunch box into your backpack for you."



And then Ethan said, "You can hold my hand."


We walked together up to the gate, and then I kissed Ethan and sent him off to find his class.


And then I stayed in the Kindergarten room until all the parents had to leave.  We read books, did a few activities together, and met some new friends.


And then when I walked out the door, I wiped away a few tears and entered this brand new stage in my life--one where I have three and a half hours of quiet time every day.  It's marvelous when I think about how much I can get done, but I can't wait to see my children again.

Do you love the first day of school?
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