October 16th - Custom & Ceremony

Monday, October 16, 2017

I love love love what Sarah has to say today. 

Start Quote
Ceremony and custom give birth to beauty,
restoring a sense of wonder to our daily round.

Most of us are far too jaded for our own good.

We've seen it all.
Nothing surprises us anymore.

Which is precisely our problem.

We only THINK we've seen it all.
What we haven't begun to see is 
the abundance that surrounds us,
the beauty that gift wraps the 
extravagance of each day.

The best way to renew our sense of the Sacred 
is through personal rituals...

Perception comes only when we pace ourselves.
Nothing is too insignificant in the eyes of the authentic self.

Nothing is beneath notice...

We actually do most of our living among the common days,
taking them for granted just the way we do the people we love.

Yet myriad occasions during the course of each day
cry out for consecration.

A liturgy of commonplace moments 
ripe for personal ritual might include
sipping the first cup of coffee;
putting on one's public face;
eating at one's desk;
window shopping;
making a long-desired purchase;
crossing the threshold at night;
changing into comfortable clothes;
hearing the sound of a loved one's homecoming footsteps;
sitting down to a simple meal;
being paid;
traveling on business;
sharing a laugh, or a confidence, or both;
indulging in rainy day reveries;
curling up to watch videos at home;
sleeping late and having breakfast in bed;
starting a good book;
losing five pounds;
having a good cry;
and so to bed.

There is no shortage of common day ceremonies 
waiting to be enjoyed,
only weary imaginations 
in need of inspirational transfusions...

"As I watch the stars of evening,
and in the morning open my window toward the east, 
I shall observe the ceremonial of quietness of heart,
of simplicity, and poise of spirit,
that I may keep my soul and the souls of others
free from entaglements in the machinery of a day."
End Quote

She found it for $1 at a second hand shop. 
It's going for around $300-500 online. 
I even saw one for $2,000.
So if you ever find one for a couple dollars at a thrift store, 

Can I just say Amen?

As I've been applying this to my daily life,
my days, no matter how chaotic or busy,
have been truly blessed.

Gratitude Journal

1) Good friends to exercise with and talk to.

2) Hand me down bicycles. Chase is adorable riding it with his training wheels, he thinks he's all that and a bag of chips.

3) I feel so fat. Robbie wanted nachos when we went to the fair, and we didn't get any. So, I went to Costco today, and since I was there I figured I'd get nachos. Costco's nacho cheese is the best nacho cheese. And now that I've gorged myself, I feel very fat, like that too full feeling. Heavyweights anyone?

4) The kids completely destroyed my green onion garden. Turns out, when you grind green onion all over the backyard, the backyard stinks of green onion. I'm grateful that you learn something new every day. Also that it could have been worse, it could have been a skunk, or poop smeared everywhere. Green onion is not so bad when you put it like that.

5) Going grocery shopping with friends, it is so much fun! Also, churros. Yum. 

October 15th - Quality

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Start Quote
We know now that there are many aspects to real life
 in which our opinion is neither sought nor required. 
[Well, some people know this...
others still need to learn it.] 

Sometimes, despite our best efforts and positive thinking, 
health, fortune, and/or peace elude us.  

But the one thing we do have absolute control over 
is the quality of our days. 

Even when we're grief stricken, racked with pain,
sick from worry, deeply depressed, squeezed by circumstances
- how we greet, meet, and complete each day is our choosing.  

We hate to hear this. 

Of course, when we're sick, worried, grieving, depressed, or frantic,
we're not very interested in the day's quality;
we just want the misery to end.

But wishing the day away is also a creative choice,
even if it's not a deliberate one.

Artists of the everyday excel in elevating 
the simple to the level of the Sacred.  

You can use whatever you have on hand
- a meal, a conversation, humor, affection -
to create comfort and contentment - to put a positive spin, 
if not on the overall quality of the day,
then on critical moments of it...  

I have been conducting a top-secret experiment with life...
I wanted to see just how much influence 
I really had on the day's character.  
So the first words I speak in the morning are
"Thank you for the gift of this wonderful day."

Here are the initial findings,
but you will not like them.
[I certainly didn't].

  • All the days are wonderful in direct proportion to the creative energy invested in them. No investment, no return.
  • Even lousy days possess hidden wonder. Sometimes all you need is a moment of attitude adjustment to shift your perception of an entire afternoon and move forward into a pleasant evening. 
  • Weather does not seem to affect the experiment. Gray, cold, and rainy days spent in an office are just as susceptible to the warming influence of enthusiasm as are sunny days spent lying in a hammock sipping sangria.
  • Days that are expected to be wonderful before they begin turn out to be so much more frequently than days greeted with grumbling. 
  • The results of this experiment suggest that it doesn't matter whether a day is good or bad. What matters is what we do without it.

[But] we knew that.
End Quote 

Of course, is under maintenance right now or something,  
so it's not allowing me to find the ensign article, 
but when it's working again go check out President Monson's 
Living the Abundant Life. 

Of course, this is easier said then done. 
Have you ever tried to change a flat tire? 
Let me tell you, it isn't easy. 
Robbie says yes it is, but have you seen the muscles on my man?

But I'm sure it would get easier if I practiced.

Nobody said we had to have a good attitude all the time,
but lets admit, life is better when our attitude is happy.

So let's just try. 
Sure, there will be days when you can't,
there will be days when you are overwhelmed with any little thing
but let's just try.

No matter what circumstance or situation is thrown our way,
whether we put our self there or it was thrust upon us,
let's try to have a good attitude about it. 
And I'm sure we'll find that our quality of life has improved.

Gratitude Journal

1) I was going to take a picture of my outfit, but then I got into my pjs and completely forgot. I just wanted to share, I make this mom thing look good. 9 o'clock and still looking fierce. Thank you Rebekah for the rimmel lipstick! It is an amazing color.

 2) We had 24 hours without the kids! I needed a break, and it was amazing.

3) Sleep. I'm so grateful for uninterrupted sleep. And we slept in! 11:30 am. I didn't even know that was possible.

4) Not having to make dinner, thank you to Robbie's mom! They watched our kids all day, and then made dinner. Amazing.

5) Plans. I love making plans. We talked about the laundry room and the backyard. Robbie is going to work on them during Christmas break, and I'm super excited about them.

October 14th - Happy Home

Saturday, October 14, 2017

"To be happy at home
is the ultimate result of all ambition."

Start Quote
The wisdom contained in this one sentence
is worth meditating on for the rest of our lives...

Why are you working so hard?
To be happy at home.

But you're never at home
- in mind, body, or spirit -
because you're always working.

So why are you working so hard?
To be happy at home...

Life IS a paradox, 
but we don't have to make it any harder than it is already...

Hold this thought: 

Engrave this truth on your consciousness.
Lay the track deeply, so that even when you're on your 
own version of automatic pilot, you'll be homeward bound.

Write it on the palm of your hand...
mutter it under your breath...

What is the [the point of all of this?]
You know. 

Inscribe it on your heart.
Needlepoint it on a pillow.
Say it out loud when you get up and just before retiring...

Doing so will help remind you that the 
greatest adventure of our lives is 
End Quote


Why do we do it all? 

If you keep the reason on your mind all the time, 
make every decision based on that reason,
then you will find that you have made
your home a heaven on earth.

Your home and your family 
are the most important things in the world.

Don't lose them because you're distracted 
by what isn't important,
or your ambition isn't sending you in their direction.

Gratitude Journal

1) Date night, and keeping our tradition.

2) Kids and costumes. They're so cute. I finished two, three to go. Chase's is almost done, but I wanted to try the two I finished....
He didn't understand.

3) Fair food. Yum. I had the triple decker cheeseburger with krispy kreme donuts...delicious. 

4) A break from the kids. They have been driving me nuts.

5) Good tv.

October 13th - Shadows

Friday, October 13, 2017

Have you ever heard the idea about our shadows being our
Start Quote
darker self lurking deep within[?]

[Carl] Jung believed that our shadows are the composite
of all the shameful emotions, nasty impulses,
and negative aspects  of our personalities
that we attempt to bury in order to show an 
acceptable face to the world.

Think of the raving lunatic the family keeps 
locked in a tower in gothic novels,
or...Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, 
and you get the idea. 

Unfortunately, not knowing is what hurts us, 
especially when sublimating our shadows. 

Joan Borysenko describes the fermentation of our 
"ghostly double"as "getting up a head of steam, 
getting wilder and wilder inside us, informing our 
behaviors without our consciously knowing 
they are there" until they express themselves "
quite suddenly and explosively in accidents, 
impulsive behavior, illness, lapses of judgment...

In other words, an unexplored shadow leaves us stuck
without understanding why, assaulted by strange impulses,
and powerless to change." 
End Quote

Then Sarah asks us if we've ever seen the show

I was previewing this day last night, 
I just glimpsed through the day, like didn't read it at all.
Sarah's title for today is Absolutely Fabulous, 
and then I saw her mention the tv show.
Then when I was browsing Netflix, it was there!

So I started watching it.

And it was awful.

When I put the words "absolutely" and "fabulous" together
I think of my mom, she says that phrase often,
because she is absolutely fabulous. 

So I go from the mental image of my mom,
to these two superficial, alcoholic women who do drugs
and take no responsibility for anything.
No poise, can hardly be called ladies...just awful selfish people.

It was horrid. 
To some it may be funny, but to me it was just painful.
I guess it's just not my kind of comedy.

Start Quote
They are vile, vain, vapic, vacuous.
Shallow, selfish.
Dumb and dumber...

Edie was my evil twin, my shadow.
I recognized her instantly.

 Eddie Left, Patsy Right

I suspect there are many women who identify 
with some part of Edie and Patsy...

All these women are out of control, 
so watch out.

But we can't afford to be;
there are people who need care and 
there are jobs waiting to be done. 

But if we could shed every responsibility and inhibition 
for a half a day, perhaps we'd resemble one of these dolls.

And while that's amusing, it's not pretty...

Our shadows are only to be feared if we repress them,
if we refuse to give them the recognition they need...

In our search [for our authentic selves], sweetie darling, 
we must not ignore what Dr. Estes calls 
"these discarded, devalued, and 
unacceptable aspects of soul and self," 
even if they make us feel uncomfortable.

Especially - sweetie darling -
if we long for our lives to be rich, deep and absolutely fabulous.
Kiss, kiss.
End Quote

If you get a chance, go watch an episode.
You might enjoy it more than I did.

Like our failures, don't keep your shadows in the dark. 
Get into the light so you can see them clearly,
where they're much less frightening.

Gratitude Journal

1) Robbie is home safe! 

2) PB&J for dinner, the kids are like yum...thank goodness.

3) Today, we have 79 days left in the year. I'm so excited!!! I've said it before and I'll say it again, this has been fun and very educational, but I'm quite ready to start something else. 365 days is a long time.

4) Shaggy Dog, with Tim Allen! My kids had a ball, pun intended. We tried the rest of the evening to be dogs. Running on all fours is really hard.

5) It's Friday!!!!!

October 12th - Time

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Start Quote
Since the dawn of Time, 
we've tried to understand her nature.
In order to control her.

But time is a holy mystery, an extravagant gift
meant to be experienced, not understood.
Certainly not controlled.
Why do you think we're crazed half the time?

Time's mystery is appreciate 
because we've so little of it. 

Although we've all been allotted 
it doesn't seem to go very far. 

So if we experience anything at all, 
it's dread,
because we keep running out of time.

and again...

For centuries those with time on their hands...
have pondered time's enigma.

They've discovered her duality.
As the sculptor and poet Henry Van Dyke explains:

Slow and swift are time's parallel realities, 
the yin and yang of existence.

In order to know a semblance of serenity 
during the days of our lives, 
we also need to discover Time's twin nature,
which the ancient Greeks called 

Chronos is clocks, deadlines, watches, calendars, 
agendas, planners, schedules, beepers.  

Chronos is time at her worst.
Chronos keeps track.
Chronos is a delusion of grandeur. 

Chronos is running the Marine Corps marathon in heels.

In chronos we think only of ourselves.
Chronos is the world's time.

Kairos is transcendence, infinity, reverence, 
joy, passion, love, the Sacred. 
Kairos is intimacy with the Real.

Kairos is time at her best. 
In kairos we escape the dungeon of self.

Kairos is a Schubert waltz in 
nineteenth-century Vienna with your soul mate.

Kairos is Spirit's time.

We exist in chronos. 
We long for kairos. 
That's our duality.

Chronos requires speed so that it won't be wasted.
Kairos requires space so that it might be savored.

We do in chronos.
In kairos we're allowed to be.

We think we've never known kairos, but we have:
when making love,
when meditating or praying,
when lost in music's rapture 
or literature's reverie,
when planting bulbs or pulling weeds,
when watching over a sleeping child,
when reading the Sunday comics together in bed,
when delighting in a sunset, 
when exulting in our passions.

We know joy in kairos,
glimpse beauty in kairos, 
remember what it means to be alive in kairos, 
reconnect with our Divinity in kairos. 

So how do we exchange chronos for kairos?

By concentrating on one thing at a time.
By going about whatever we are doing as if it were
the only thing worth doing at that moment.
By pretending we have all the time in the world,
so that our subconscious will kick in and make it so.

By making time.
By taking time.

It only takes a moment to cross over from chronos into kairos, 
but it does take a moment.

All that kairos asks is our willingness to 
stop running long enough to hear the music...

Today, be willing to join in the dance.
End Quote

And then of course this came up 
on my Facebook feed today.

Funny how things work like that huh.

Gratitude Journal

1) Tender mercies. Chase came up to keep eating yesterday when we were at Mcdonalds and he climbed up on the bench, and started pooping. In his underwear. That was fun. I get home, and Robbie is still in a meeting so I am putting the kids to bed by myself...and after a no good very bad day they just went to bed. No more crying, no more yelling, no more fighting...just quiet. It's like God was saying good job, you survived this awful day, I think you need a break now. 
 They were so cute, "take my picture mom!"
 This was before the poop.

2) Nanny 911.

3) Indy. I don't know how I could ever live this life without her.

4) My home. It's crazy how many people have lost their homes from the fires, the hurricanes, and all the other natural disasters. I'm so sorry for them, and I'm grateful for my home. It can be gone in an instant, and you don't ever think about that.

5) I'm getting pretty good at my new skill, mosquito killing.

October 11th - It's Always Something

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

First, I want to make something clear. 

Yesterday was about poise
and then I woke up and I knew I didn't have any today. 
Today I didn't want to get out of bed, and I have not 
changed out of my sweats and I refuse to wear a bra.  

I wanted to make it clear, 
that you can't be on your A game every day.
You're not going to be able to have poise every day,
sometimes it's just not possible.  

And that's perfectly okay.

Just wanted to be clear.

Start Quote
 Sometimes it's a damn nuisance. 
Sometimes it's soul shattering.

But it's always something.

It's real life
End Quote

Sarah talks today about cancer, 
and how you shouldn't wait until 
you have a life threatening illness
to start living your life!

It's always going to be something, 
something earth shattering like cancer or the death of a loved one,
and sometimes it's just a bad day...just a nuisance.

Don't let them ruin your life.

Live your life, and be happy.

Gratitude Journal

1) My new friend.

2) Easy dinners.

3) The Chronicles of Narnia. C.S. Lewis is one of my favorite authors. And the movies aren't half bad. My kids are loving them.

4) Mcdonald's play houses.

5) Making Halloween costumes. I'm so grateful that a few lines sewn here and there, a few snips and some cuts and ta da! Costumes. I also am grateful for candy, it's the only way I could bribe the kids to stand still while I pinned.


October 10th - Poise

"No quality is more attractive than poise
- that deep sense of being at ease with yourself and the world."
- Good Housekeeping, September 1947

Today Sarah shares with us a truly horrible story
about a truly awful day that she had.

I want to share it with you in full, 
because I think we all need a laugh.
Not because we're laughing at her and her experience,
which I wouldn't wish on anyone,
but laughing with her in hindsight
because I believe every single one of us 
has had one (or more) of these days.

It's nice to know that I'm not alone.

Start Quote
One of the most miserable days in my life 
graciously bestowed on me a priceless gift:
the awareness that everyday poise is acquired or lost
before we leave our homes.

Early in my writing career I was summoned to New York 
for an important meeting with a woman who, 
it was whispered, made Medea seem beatific.

I decided I should prepare for this encounter 
by appearing just as formidable.

Since deep within I was paralyzed with fear,
I attempted to overcompensate for it with outward trappings.

In a frenzy, I bought an expensive outfit 
that screamed "woman of substance," 
although it most assuredly didn't look like me.

I also dramatically changed my hairstyle and makeup.

Because I felt so strange with my sophisticated new getup,
I stayed up far too late the night before my trip 
fussing with everything instead of relaxing, packing leisurely,
and getting some much needed sleep.

I was exhausted when I finally dropped into bed, 
so I just left my makeup, personal care necessities,
and accessories strewn on top of the dresser.

In order to arrive in New York in time for the meeting, 
I had to get up at 4:30 am.  

It had never occurred to me that I would be
virtually dressing in the dark,
so as not to wake up Ed and Katie. 

It was difficult and frustrating 
feeling my way to find what I needed. 

I ended up rushing out in a state of utter panic to catch my train. 

The meeting had not even begun 
before I became hot and sweaty.
This was right after I felt 
the left sleeve of my blouse 
rip beneath my suit jacket. 
Since I'd never worn this outfit before,
I didn't realize how tight the arms were 
or how much the skirt rode up on my hips 
when I sat down.

The deep red nail polish that had looked so elegant 
in the salon the day before had chipped en route; 
naturally, I had no way of touching up my nails,
so I tried to hide my hands.

Several cups of coffee on the train, 
combined with raw nerves, 
had made my mouth dry, 
but I hadn't thought to carry breath freshener in my purse
or ask for a glass of water before the meeting started.

I was so self-conscious during the meeting 
that I had difficulty focusing and 
certainly didn't have the confidence to offer my opinion, 
even though I felt very strongly about some of the decisions 
being made on my publishing project. 

Two excruciating hours later, the conference-from-hell was over.
As the elevator doors closed, I swore I would never again 
leave another business meeting hot and sweaty...

Into each of our lives come important meetings,
public appearances, and special occasions.

Here are some practical antidotes for public awkwardness:

Never dress to impress others:
dress to express your authentic sense of style

The only way we become truly at ease with ourselves
is by knowing who we are.

Never wear an outfit that you've 
never worn before to an important event; 

if your clothes need constant adjustment 
- pulling down a too-short skirt, hitching up a shoulder strap -
you'll be unable to relax, focus, and function.

If you buy something new, give it a trail run. 

NEVER drastically change your hair and makeup
just before meeting new people for the first time. 

If you want a new look, put it together thoughtfully and gradually,
so that you'll be at ease with the final effect.

If your dressing table is cluttered and your closet jumbled
you're bound to feel less than confident and serene when you're 
trying to put together a look that presents you at your best. 

To achieve order within,
begin with outward order. 

If your hair needs washing, your breath isn't fesh,
or your makeup is stale, if your nails are rough or chipped
or your antiperspirant is fading, you'll self-consciously 
avoid close encounters, giving others the wrong impression.

Poise and personal grooming are soul mates.
Women known for their sense of style and poise 
are impeccably groomed. 

Poise is often overlooked when we think of 
putting together our authentic look. 
And why is developing poise so important?
 Because when we're not obsessively focusing on ourselves 
or our shortcomings, our smiles become warmer, our laughter 
more spontaneous, and our thoughtfulness blossoms. 

Outer poise mirrors inner poise.

Moments spent in quiet contemplation to nurture our inner poise 
should be an essential part of every woman's daily beauty ritual. 

Self-possession costs us only time and self-nurturance

When we feel at ease with ourselves,
we feel at ease in the world.
End Quote

Gratitude Journal

1) Halloween decorations. Yeah, I had them up the last week of September.

2) The exercise group that I go to...I would never put myself through the type of torture this woman comes up with, so I'm grateful that she does it and then shares it with us so I can force myself to work out harder.

3) Good friends.

4) My piano students being so happy with their gifts that I gave them after 25 successful weeks of practicing the piano. 

5) My kids. Tonight I was just combing Riley's hair while she read a insignificant moment to some, but a sacred and unforgettable moment to me.