Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Rice Try

This week has been filled with adventures for me and my little guy.  He started eating rice cereal.  The first time I gave it to my little guy he did not know what to do with it.  It reminded me of when a dog is fed peanut butter.  The dog just moves it around in his mouth and his tongue goes crazy and then it all drools out.  That is what happened for us and rice cereal.  I like to think that if my monkey could talk, he would've said, "rice try" to my attempts to feed him.

He has done better all of the times since then, except today.  I was feeding him in his bumbo chair where I can sit him up a bit, but he kept trying to get out of it so I went and sat on the sofa, and then held him on my lap and tried to feed him.  We have done this before, without any difficulties.  But not today.  The rice cereal spilled and made a mess.  Oh well.  I tried to clean it up and was afraid I had stained the sofa, but it is looking better now.  I am guessing this won't be the last stain my sofa gets.  I can just imagine kids throwing up on it or spilling on it, and then if they don't I'm sure I will drop something on it.  But I will think twice before I try feeding him on the sofa again.  I now have a better understanding as to why parents are so adamant that their kids not eat on the sofa or carpet.  It is hard to clean up.  

Monday, February 21, 2011

Finding Joy in Life Talk

This was the talk I gave in church yesterday.  I think it went well.  You never know.  Everyone will always tell you that you did a good job, but I decided to believe that they were sincere.  I think it did go pretty well.  At the very least, I know I did my best.  And that is all I can do.  

One neat thing was when I stood up to give my talk, my friend who was holding my little guy said that as soon as he heard my voice over the microphone that he turned around and looked at me.  I remember seeing him look at me and that brought a smile to my face while I was trying to give my talk.  

side note, leaders in my church are often referred to as Elder or President, so that is what you will see written here.  

Finding Joy in Life

We are here on this earth for a divine purpose.  We came here to be tried and tested.  Not to be “endlessly entertained” or to be in constant “pursuit of pleasure”.  So, if, as the Book of Mormon prophet Lehi declared in 2 Nephi 2:25 “men are that they might have joy”.  How do we obtain that joy while dealing with the trials and difficulties that come our way?  Because although we are meant to have joy, we also know “it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things”  (2 Ne 2:11) 

In Elder Scott’s talk: Finding Joy in Life (ensign 1996), he said, “Sadness, disappointment, and severe challenge are events in life, not life itself.”  While these events or challenges in our lives are difficult and at times seemingly never ending, we cannot let them “become the confining center of everything [we] do”. 

What trials or challenges might any of us here currently be facing?  Difficulty in school or work?  Challenges in our marriage or family?  Illness?  Death of a loved one?  Could our patience be waning as we continue to wait for the righteous desires of our heart to be fulfilled?  Are any of us weighed down by sin? Could some of us here be questioning our faith in God or struggling to live, and accept the gospel of Jesus Christ?

With these trials we are facing, how in the world are we supposed to find joy in this life?   Do we wait until our trial is over?  No. We can experience joy now. 

Pres. Faust said, “Happiness is not given to us in a package that we can just open up and consume. Nobody is ever happy 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Rather than thinking in terms of a day, we perhaps need to snatch happiness in little pieces, learning to recognize the elements of happiness and then treasuring them while they last.”  (Our Search for Happiness", Ensign, Oct. 2000)

Elder Scott said that our joy in life depends upon the faith we exercise in our Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus Christ, and in our level of faith in the ability of God’s plan of happiness to bring us joy. 

It doesn’t depend on whether or not life is going on as we had planned.  Because if you don’t know already, you will soon discover that life does not usually go as planned.

As the scripture states: “men are that they might have joy”.  From this we learn that our joy is conditional upon our actions.  We must choose obedience and we must choose faith in God if we are to experience the fullness of joy the Lord has in store for us. 

Elder Scott compared our trials to a pebble.   If we hold a pebble close to our eye, it seems like a huge, insurmountable obstacle.  But, if we cast the pebble on the ground we can see it in its proper perspective.  In this  perspective we can prevent this pebble or  trial from “overtak[ing] our vision, absorb[ing] our energy, [or] depriv[ing] us of the joy and beauty the Lord intends us to receive here on earth.” Are we like “rocks” or “corks” when thrown into a sea of problems?  Do we sink like a rock and drown?  Or do we fight to be free and bob up like a cork, determined to overcome our challenges? 

Elder Scott also said, “The Lord is intent on your personal growth and development.  That progress is accelerated when you willingly allow Him to lead you through every growth experience you encounter, whether initially it be to your individual liking or not.”

We can also find joy in life as we pray in faith, search the scriptures, and as we learn from others who “have made peace with their challenges and live with joy amid adversity”. 

Learning from the people of Alma in the Book of Mormon, has given me strength and has taught me to have patience and faith in my trials.  The people of Alma were a righteous people who had made a covenant with the Lord to follow Him.  Yet, in Mosiah 23: 21 we learn that the Lord saw fit to try “their patience and their faith”.  While they were in bondage to Lamanites the people of Alma cried to the Lord for help.  As they did so, the Lord promised them, “I will also ease the burdens…that even you cannot feel them upon your backs… and this will I do that ye may stand as witnesses for me hereafter, and that ye may know of a surety that I, the Lord God, do visit my people in their afflictions…And…the burdens…were made light; yea, the Lord did strengthen them that they could bear up their burdens with ease, and they did submit cheerfully and with patience to all the will of the Lord”  (Mosiah 24:13-15). 

The people of Alma did not “concentrate on what [they] didn’t have or [had] lost”.   Counting the blessings we have rather than the ones we don’t have will bring us joy.  Elder Scott reminds us that the Lord has promised to share all he possesses with those that love and obey Him.  Elder Scott also encourages us to seek out the “compensatory blessings in our life when, in the wisdom of the Lord He deprives you of something you very much want.”  This might be added patience and strength much like the people of Alma received.  Or it could be a strengthening of testimony as when we see that the Lord does visit us in our afflictions.

We can also find joy in this life as we give willing service and focus on others allowing ourselves to forget our own problems.  

Being creative also brings satisfaction and happiness.  President Uchdorf teaches us, “We were created with the express purpose and potential of experiencing a fulness of joy.  Our birthright—and the purpose of our great voyage on this earth—is to seek and experience eternal happiness. One of the ways we find this is by creating things.” Our creativity does not need to be limited to playing a piano or painting a picture.  We can create family memories or happy homes.  (Happiness Our Heritage talk)

In the women’s conference I attended yesterday, (Saturday), the theme was “living after the manner of happiness”.  President Riding counseled us to trust in God, because as the scripture in Proverbs 16:20 states, “whoso trusteth in the Lord, happy is he.” 

“God’s love brings peace and joy” (Elder. Scott).  When we trust in God we will feel of His love, and will feel joy.  With my most recent seemingly never ending trial of my faith—waiting for a child to come to my family, I found that the times when I placed my trust in God, I was happy and felt joy.  God does visit us in our afflictions.  He does love us and wants us to be happy. 

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Finding Joy in Life

I was asked to speak in church this week, and guess what my topic is?  Yep, it is Finding Joy in Life.  When I was told what I was supposed to speak about I laughed inside.  How appropriate for of all the topics I could've been asked to speak on, that this would be the one.

I am trying to gather all of my thoughts and condense them into 7 min worth of material.  A scripture and talk I was asked to reference are ones that I already wrote about in my blog here and here.  So I have been reviewing those items as well.

As you can see, I am procrastinating.

Ok, back to work.  Baby's sleeping, I need to take advantage of the little pocket of time that I have to pull this together.

Maybe you can all help me brainstorm:  How have you found joy in your life despite the challenges you face?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Flying with an infant

My trip was great. I had a good time visiting with family.  My little guy touched the pacific ocean for the first time.  It was a bit cold, so he didn't like it too much, but it was still fun.  He enjoyed meeting new faces and being held by old and new friends.  One thing I had been a bit nervous about was flying with my little guy.  I had asked some friends and family members for tips on the logistics of bringing a stroller and formula on and if they had any tips for what to do while in the air, and they were quite helpful.

Traveling on the airplane with my little guy went pretty well.  The way there was slightly harder.  The flight was full, so I had to have my little one on my lap the whole time.  I had a window seat and I was a bit nervous about that because I knew I would be stuck in my seat the whole time.  But I had read that moms recommend the window because you have a little more room to set up your stuff and you don't need to worry about getting bumped and stuff by the flight attendant's cart and stuff.  Unfortunately, my little guy needed a diaper change immediately after getting up in the air, but and the guy next to me had just fallen asleep and the guy next to him was engrossed in his iPad.  I didn't want to bother them and make them get up, so I just changed his wet diaper in my lap.  It wasn't bad.  Later when my neighbor was awake I did get up to change my little one in the bathroom.  I didn't want my neighbor to get upset or scared that he might get sprayed.  I was a little nervous about changing him in the bathroom because I had no idea where the changing table would be.  But as soon as I walked in I found it.  It was above the toilet seat.  I had never noticed it before.  And it was good size and the diaper change was easy to do.  It was nice to get up and we had fun looking in the bathroom mirror and smiling.

The 3 hr flight seemed longer than usual.  Probably because I had a baby on my lap and I needed to entertain him most of the time.  I was told to try not to have him sleep until he got on the plane, but of course he took a little cat nap before we boarded and didn't want to go back to sleep.  I usually fall asleep on airplanes, but not this time.

The pressurized cabin didn't bother him.  I had him suck on his pacifier and/or drink his milk when we took off and landed.  One friend had told me of a tip she had learned from a flight attendant that can also help.  Here is the tip:  Mix hot and cold water to make lukewarm water.  Pour it into 2 styrofoam cups, then put enough napkins or paper towels in the cups to absorb the water.  Then cup the cups over your child's ears.  She says it works every time.  I ended up doing this for my little guy when our first flight was landing because he was wide awake, not hungry, and at first did not want to suck on his pacifier.  I am sure my seat mate thought I was crazy, but hey, maybe it worked.  My baby didn't cry at all.  I wish I had 2 extra hands and I would've tried it on myself, because my ears always hurt so much from the pressure of coming down.  I may have to construct a little headband type thing for next time.  And I will let you know how it goes.

The way home was a breeze.  Another full flight.  Another window seat.  This time I got on the plane a little earlier and had more time to get myself situated.  The man next to me said he had been visiting his 4 1/2 mo old granddaughter, so he was very nice.  The lady next to him was a bit grouchy and complained that her seat was broken.  She said the seat cushion was uneven.  So she was moved to a different seat.  So my neighbor moved to the aisle seat.  He said it felt exactly the same as his middle seat;  and I had an open middle seat to lie my baby down on or to put my stuff on when I was holding my baby.  It worked out great.  Also, my little guy slept for most of the flight, and I was able to get a little nap in myself.  The flight seemed to go much faster on the way home, so that was nice.

Gate checking my stroller and car seat was easy and it was nice to have those to push him around in at the airport.  It was a little tricky taking it all down and putting it up with one hand when I needed to go through security with my baby in my arms, but I managed.  I appreciated the help I received from people along the way at every stage of the journey.

Would I do it again?  
You bet.  I'll go anywhere and do anything as long as I can do it with this little guy.  

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Everything but the kitchen sink

At least that's what it feels like.

I am going on a trip with my little boy.   And just the packing alone about did me in.  It takes me forever just to get out the door for a trip to the grocery store with him, so you can imagine how long it took to pack and make sure I had everything I might need for a week away.

I hope the flight goes well.  I will pray for no delays, no big spit ups or blow outs, and hopefully my fellow passengers won't regret sitting next to me.  It looks like it's a full flight.  My hubby is staying home, so it is just me and the little one.

Wish me luck.

We will have a fun time.  My little guy will get to meet more of my siblings, cousins, aunts/uncles, and one more set of grandparents.  We are looking forward to it.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

From flip flops to snow shoes

Saturday and Sunday I was enjoying the lovely winter weather outside in a t-shirt, shorts, and flip flops.  Today I am sitting inside watching the wind blow while the snow that fell begins to turn to ice.  I ventured out of my house once to see if the mailman had come.  Apparently he took a snow day.  I don't blame him one bit.  I was sad it was too cold to go out and play in the snow.  One of these days I will build a snowman for my little guy.  I am excited to do that.  I have built snowmen alone, with friend's kids, and with my husband all in hopes that someday I could play in the snow with my little one.  I know my little guy can't play in the snow with me yet, but soon he will, and when he does, we will have "snow" much fun.