Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Time for a Self-Assessment :)

These past six weeks have been beautiful in so many ways, but in other ways, I feel like I am going through the hardest time in my life.

Do you mind if I take a couple of minutes to do a self-assessment? I'm guessing that many of you are going through similar things, and maybe if we can go through it together, it won't seem so tricky.

I think one of the things that has made it so hard lately is that I'm not making the time to sit down and write--to step back and process everything that's happening.

I mean, I'm doing good things with my time--things that I've felt directed to do and that help the people around me, but sometimes I feel like my routines and responsibilities come in such quick succession that there's not enough time to really see what I am doing with my life. (Do you ever feel like that?)

I'll start by typing out a little summary of what's been happening around here:

My husband and I work together every day from home.  That's a dream, right? We have a partner desk, and so we face each other while we hold our meetings and type on our computers. We've started recording podcasts together and working on some pretty amazing projects for Power of Moms/Power of Families. He jogs behind me while I rollerblade. He puts me down for naps when I'm cranky. He whistles at me and steals kisses during the day. I'm head-over-heels for him. Our work isn't easy, but we're growing together.

A lot of my time recently has been spent helping my children start the new school year--with special shopping trips for each one (where they learned how to shop on a budget and buy just a few new things they really needed), Back-to-School Night, and all kinds of other little details. We're in a good daily routine now, with morning scripture study and our afternoon smoothie--plus lots of time to talk, prepare meals, and sing together. Our relationships have never been so good.

Every Thursday, we take care of my mom. I've been writing that book I mentioned a few posts back, and each week I hold her hand and read her a new chapter while she rests in her bed. She doesn't seem to understand what I'm reading, but at the end she always smiles and says, "That's so nice!" (A part of one of my chapters was posted on Power of Moms last Tuesday, if you'd like to read it.)

Power of Moms is growing and becoming such a blessing--to my own family and to others. This community is a joint project. I don't take the credit.  But there is something so incredibly powerful happening over there, and I feel an enormous responsibility to do a good job with this. So...we're in the middle of mobilizing/redesigning our site, automating a bunch of systems in our database software, promoting our new webinar series, building Power of Moms Radio, and working on dozens of other projects that fuel the site and community. Honestly, I had no idea what a big job this would be, but it's exciting...and sometimes overwhelming.  :)

I've also been spending quite a bit of time with my calling at church (which I love). I get to be the Personal Progress Coordinator, which means I help the Young Women (ages 12-18) to set and move forward on personal goals. This gives me the opportunity to work closely with Grace and Alia, and I've been creating some new templates and frameworks that will hopefully help the girls to draw closer to Christ--in a way that will have a lasting impact on their lives.

Then there are the more personal systems I've been trying to put in place.  This summer, after being inspired by Jordan Page over at Fun, Cheap, or Free, I completely revamped my spending plan. I thought I was pretty good at budgeting before, but Jordan has helped me to take it to a whole new level. I can't even explain how much this has empowered me.

And after reading The Calorie Myth by Jonathan Bailor, I changed up my diet so I'm now eating 10+ servings of vegetables a day, balanced with lean protein, whole-food fats, and low-fructose fruits, and my body has never felt stronger or happier. (I get to record a podcast with him on Friday, and I'm so excited!) Now I'm trying to get my whole family on board (we're moving in the right direction, but wow, it's a process).

I'm also trying to make time to really be in my scriptures each day. I want to hear the Lord. I need to hear the Lord. He is so, so good to us.

And in the midst of all this, I know He wants me to get enough rest, to read good books, to sit and think, and to realize that everything doesn't have to happen right this minute.

I know I have a good life. I'm living my dream in pretty much every part of it.  

None of it is easy, but I generally feel so grateful and happy.

But here's one element where I need to improve: I need more faith. More faith that the Lord will bless me with the power to do all of these things I feel excited and inspired to do.

I'm guessing that's the hard part for most of us.

In Sunday School a few weeks ago, we read in 1 Kings 17 about the widow who gave Elijah the first portion of her very last bit of food. (Remember that story about the barrel of meal and the cruse of oil that never failed?)

I raised my hand in class and asked how I could better apply that to my life right now. "I feel stretched too thin sometimes," I said. "I wonder if I'll have enough time/energy/patience/ability to do what I feel the Lord wants me to do. How can I better trust in the Lord? How can I know that He will help me?"

And then others in the class started raising their hands in response. At least ten of them. They shared beautiful experiences from their own lives--when they were sure they weren't going to have what they needed, but the Lord came through...every single time.

Something amazing happened as I listened to their stories.

I felt the sweetness of the Spirit tell me that the Lord is totally aware of me. He knows how hard it is for me to move forward each day. He knows how I feel during this whole process of losing my mom. He understands my anxiety over the projects that require so much of my energy, and He recognizes that every day feels like I'm digging into the barrel for that last handful of meal.

But He keeps giving me exactly what I need. He sends mentors and helpers and angels to assist me. He helps me to breathe and to see the vision He has for me. And His Spirit lifts my heart--not so much that I don't have to stretch myself, but enough that I have total confidence that I am not alone.

So that's where I am today. Grateful for Him. Grateful for this life. Hoping that I will one day get to the point where this all doesn't feel so hard, but working desperately to enjoy the process, even while it does.

With love,


  1. April, thank you so much for this post. I know it was about you, but I felt like it was about me too in some ways. :) I needed these reminders today. I feel like I can't make any progress on anything and all I really want to do anyways is just savor the little moments. So very easy to get discouraged sometimes but thank you for reminding me to trust deeply in the Lord and to use the help/helpers he places in my path. I want to say more but it's almost time to wake my sleeping kids to go get the older kids from school! Many thanks :)

    1. Thank you, Stacey. I think we all need constant reminders to "trust deeply." Your faith helps to strengthen mine. :)

  2. I love Amanda Roos post on POMs "There Is Enough Oil." It's one of my all-time favorites.

    I can't believe all that you do. When I read that list, I was blown away. You are awesome and don't forget it!

    I am still interested in doing a podcast with you about what I learned in eating disorder counseling. It is so applicable to this topic of feeling stretched to capacity. I will get together a proposal/outline in the next few weeks and send it to you.

    Hang in there!

    1. Rachel, thank you for reminding me of Amanda's post. There's so much good stuff on Power of Moms...I need to read the archives more often!

      I would love to interview you on POMs Radio. I actually just got my calendar system all set up. Will you please email Koni and tell her I asked you to book a slot? She'll send you the link, and we'll get you on the calendar.

      Love you!

  3. I so hear you on this entire post! I am constantly asking myself if I am using my time wisely, and most of the time I feel like the answer is no. I was reading Elder Scott's talk, "I Have Given You An Example,' and his words "Do not become so absorbed with trivial things that you miss learning the doctrine and teachings of the Lord." He then goes on to say, "With a solid, personal doctrinal foundation, you will be a powerful source for sharing vital truths with others who desperately need them." Thanks for you post, as it echos these words.

    1. Angie, your comment here was like a wake-up call to me. I think I keep forgetting to go back to the Lord and ask HIM if I'm doing enough. Instead, I just keep telling myself I need to do more, do better--when, really, it might just be that I'm worrying for no reason. I think my expectations of myself are way higher than they need to be. Eric keeps reminding me to be gentle with myself and remember to accept the grace of God. I actually did that today. Took a break and made sure I got enough sleep. Read my scriptures slowly and really LISTENED. Wow, I felt happier. :) Thanks for your inspiration.

  4. I loved what you wrote here April. Especially your realization in Sunday school. I hope you don't mind, but I quoted you on my blog today. :) Thanks for always inspiring and uplifting!


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