Sunday, February 27, 2011

A happiness project

I was at the nail salon getting a pedicure -ironically, something that makes me happy- when I stumbled on an article in a magazine. The article was written by a woman who wrote the book on happiness.
Here it is.

So the premise behind this "project" was that she felt she was missing out on happiness that was available to her because she was bogged down by duty, commitments, etc.

Can you relate?

So she decided to identify things that would bring her happiness AND researched things that statistically are supposed to bring people happiness according to studies and she assigned one thing to focus on each month of the year. As an experiment.

Not only did she find more happiness in her life through the experiment. She found more happiness in her life because her book became a NYT #1 bestseller. :O)

Just Kidding....

One of the things that she discovered through her research is that there is little correlation between cash and contentment. According to a recent study in the article, there is no emotional benefit to earning more than $75,000 a year.


I feel like I am letting this darned chronic illness of Brent's get the best of me lately. Living sith someone who is constantly in pain and having an insurance company who doesn't want to pay for the off-label use of the drug that could cure him can wear you out. I used to be happy all the time. I was KNOWN for always having a smile on my face. But 4 1/2 years of Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension affecting the person you love most in the world can have a little wear and tear on your emotional state.

So, I am embarking on a happiness project.!

I have thought of some things I might try. I made a long list.

March is exercise.

There are alot of emotional benefits to exercise.

Did you know that "For some people, exercising at high intensity three times a week for just 30 minutes at a time can provide the same benefits as some of the most powerful psychiatric medications"? The body releases a protein called "brain derived neurotrophic factor". Yoga was cited as also having additional calming (and happy-making) effects.

I stopped exercising around Christmas. I was so sick of exercising!!! Then I got sick and for a month took a long hiatus. Now, I realize that might be a factor. I used to be a die-hard worker-outer. now one of my BFFs has joined my gym and I am taking that as a sign. (Exercise is so much better with a buddy.)

Will you join me ...

and start a happiness project too?

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

We come here with our worth

The Worth of a Soul by Liz Lemon Swindle

Several years ago I had an "aha moment" in a presidency meeting. My friend, and counselor, Christi was in charge of the spiritual thought to start us off. She told a story about her son. Jake had just started middle school - HUGE adjustment. He was having a particularly hard time in math. His father had been working with him for several nights in a row on a new concept that had just been introduced but he just wasn't getting it very well.

Christi could see after several days of this that he was growing more and more discouraged. Being the wise mom that she is, she saw this as a teaching opportunity. She sat down with him and said, "Jake, whether or not you can solve this particular kind of math problem doesn't really matter in the scheme of things. You came here to this earth with your worth, you don't have to earn it." Immediately, she could see that he felt better and Jake knew that everything was going to be ok.

What a powerful message! I need to be reminded of that. ALOT. I also have tried to communicate that to my kids as much as I possibly can. We live in a world that tells us that we have to earn our value. We need to be a size 6, a good provider, mother, hostess, wife, . We should be the best at everything we do so that we can impress others, receive loads of praise, and feel valued. That is the world's way.

Heavenly Father would have us know that we came here with our worth. We should strive to do our best, yes. But his grace is sufficient to make up where we lack. HE loves us unconditionally - just for trying.

I used to be such a perfectionist. I spent hours cleaning, cooking, helping children with homework (so they could be high achievers too), working in my calling, serving others. There were times I got so worn out that I had nothing left to offer. Then one day I realized it was not the best environment to live in. It wasn't what I wanted for my kids. It wasn't very peaceful. When you are a TRUE perfectionist, you never feel content.

With a lot of prayer and conscientious effort, I can happily say that I no longer feel like I have to do everything perfect. I probably have only a few things I do WELL. But I am a much happier person, knowing that I don't have to earn my worth. I came here with it. Perfectionism is overrated. Trust me, peace feels much better.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Just cuz I wanna have it documented next time they are at each other's throats

What each Argyle wrote to the other Argyles:

(from Tanner)
to Jensen: "You are an awesome townsperson. (referring to her stint in the school play, Beauty and the Beast). "I love to watch you swim." (I think he is saying it is entertaining to watch her swim which doesn't sound like much of a compliment to me!)
to Brady: "you are so cool. I love your fun personality. You are a good little reader."
to McKinley: "Your an awesome point gaurd!"
to Reagan: "You are the coolest third grader I know. I love your swag."
To Dad: "Your an awesome Young Men's leader. I love your lessons ALOT!"
to Mom: "I love your warm personality. You always accomodate other people before yourself. and I like your pinky toes" (inside joke)

From Jensen:
to Mom: "I love to watch Law and Order with you."
to Brady: "I love when you read to me!"
to Reagan; "I love your confidence"
to McKinley: " I love that you are such a good big sister"
to Dad: "I love your chocolate chip pancakes"
to Tanner: " I love to hear you play the piano"

From McKinley:
to Tanner: " You have a great personality1"
to mom: "I love you because you take care of us and clean up after us"
to Jensen: "You are really good at sharing"
to Dad: "You are so sweet"
to Brady: " I love how you always want to play with me even when I am mean to you."
to Reagan: "You are so thoughtful"

from Reagan:
to Brady: "You always want to do something fun."
to Daddy: I love you because you go fishing with me."
to Mommy: "I love your sunggles"
to Jensen: " I love you because you are always doing the right thing"
to Tanner:I love you because you are smart and funny. You are also very fun to be with."
to McKinley: "You are always happy"

From Brady: (In his original "inventive" spelling)
to Dad: "I lic dad bcuz he cars" (I like Dad because he cares)
to Mom: "I lic Mom bcuz she max dinr"
to Tanner: "I lic Tanr bcuz he is smrt"
to Jensen: "I lic Jsen bcuz she pts on movies"
to McKinley: " I lic mcile bcuz she is nis"
to Reagan: "I lic Ragin bcuz she plas sopr smash bro wi mey" (super smash brother with me)

From Mom:
to Jensen: "You always have a smile on your face and a great attitude"
to Tanner: "You are a good example to aLL of us- especially me...and you make me laugh"
to McKinley: "You are so easy to love. You are one of the most tender-hearted people I know. I love to snuggle with you."
Reagan: "I love your moxie. You make me smile."
to Brady: "You are so smart. I love it when you read to me. You are also a good friend."
to Brent: "I love you because you love me unconditionally - even when I'm grouchy."

From Brent:
to Jensen: "Your honestly and integrity are an example to everyone. i love you"
to Tanner: "I love that you are spiritual Giant and that you know ans understand when you feel the Spirit. I love that you are not ashamed of the Gospel and stand for what you believe."
to McKinley: "You are so responsible and yet you love to have fun. I love that you are always wanting to do something, to get better, and to be the best that you can be."
to Reagan: "I love to watch you sing and dance. You are such a fun girl. You are alwasy the first to give me hugs and snuggles".
to Brady: "I love that you are such a daddy's boy. I love to fish and ride bikes with you."
to me: "I love that you are so patient. I am so grateful that you help me be a better person. I am also grateful for your compassion."

Sunday, February 6, 2011

bowling for 26 please

On Friday, the last day of the freeze, we were all feeling a little cabin fever. We were so glad to get a call from some good friends that invited us to go bowling. 8 adults, 16 children between us. We had a blast. I love these families and love their children to boot. It was a welcome reprieve from being shut ins. Saturday the same group went tubing on a neighborhood hill but I didn't get pictures. :O(

Tanner, getting his bowling face on.
Don't the boys look excited?
sweet, cute girls

Thursday, February 3, 2011

How we spent the winter freeze of 2011

Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday school was cancelled due to frozen, icy roads. EVERYTHING was cancelled.

Honestly, I loved every minute of it. First of all, I was diagnosed Monday afternoon with "walking Pneumonia". The Dr. gave me a shot of antibiotic and a "Z pack" and told me to go home and rest. I laughed at him. It is pretty much impossible for a mother of 5 to rest. As I left his office, I thought of how I needed to order the desserts for "treat the teacher" for the elementary school, finish planning and purchasing items for the 3rd grade valentine party that I am in charge of the following week, prep for the presidency meeting I had on Thursday, catch up on no less than 7 loads of laundry, etc. You get the picture.

So the freeze was a gift for me. All of a sudden EVERYTHING was wiped off of my list temporarily. I spent the first day sleeping which felt WONDERFUL. The rest of the time we did this:

1. We cleaned the media room and play room from top to bottom. The kids did not even complain because we all worked together as a team and it only took about 30 minutes.

2. The girls and I watched this series.

It's Awesome.
We ate alot of this

with these

We built lots of these to stay warm.

We painted fingernails and toenails.

The boys painted Brent's office. (pictures coming soon)

Tanner was MIA for about 24 hours when he went to spend the night at his best buddy's house, Kade. That was a huge blessing because he was starting to get cabin fever.

We made valentines for everyone in the family. Then we "heart attacked" the kitchen cabinets with them.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

we are the champions, literally

Way to go Prosper Eagles! They won the men's and women's division at the district meet. Tanner was one of several who qualified for regionals next weekend. He swam the 200 m butterfly and the 200m Individual Medley (two of each stroke for those of you who are non-swimmers).

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Sometimes OUR charity faileth

Recently I was saddened to hear an unfair and uninformed public comment made about someone that I love. I was not offended. I was, however, grateful. Grateful because the person that was being judged was not present to hear the comment. I think it would have broken her heart.

It reminded me of this talk that I LOVE. I have listened to it so many times that I feel like I almost have it memorized. It is from Sister Sheri Dew. She gave it at a Women's conference at BYU when she was serving in the Relief Society General Presidency several years ago. I feel like it was written for me. I used to REALLY struggle with being judgemental. This talk changed alot of that for me. Now when I am tempted to make a judgement about someone, it almost immediately comes into my mind. Because this is an area that I know we all struggle, I thought it was well worth posting.

It is simply not for us to judge each
other. The Lord has reserved that right for
Himself, because only He knows our hearts and
understands the varying circumstances of our
Principles and covenants are the same for
all of us. But the application of those principles
will differ from woman to woman. ...And His
approval is so much more vital than that of the
ward busybody.
Another kind of judging is more subtle
but equally destructive. How often do we
describe a sister with words like these: She's a
convert. She's been inactive. She's a Utah
Mormon. She's single. She's a stay‐at‐home
mom. When we label one another, we make
judgments that divide us from each other and
inevitably alienate us from the Lord. The
Nephites learned this lesson the hard way. After
the Savior appeared on this continent, those
converted to the gospel lived in harmony for
two hundred years. Because they loved God,
they also loved each other. And though
previously there had been Nephites and
Lamanites and Ishmaelites, there were now no
"‐ites," as the scriptures tell us (4 Nephi 1:17).
They were one. The result? There was not "a
happier people among all the people who had
been created by the hand of God" (4 Nephi
1:16). It wasn't until they again divided into
classes that Satan began to win many hearts.
The Nephites never recovered spiritually.
Can't we get rid of the "‐ites" among
us? Can't we avoid this "hardening of the
categories"? We gain nothing by segregating
ourselves based on superficial differences.
What we have in common‐particularly our
commitment to the same glorious cause‐is so
much more significant than any distinctions in
our individual lives. I think again of our sisters in
Africa. The fact that my life is completely
different from theirs didn't matter. When we
left that last meeting in Ghana, I wept because I
felt such a bond with them. We are our sister's
keeper. Heaven forbid that we would ever make
even one sister feel left out. If there is anyplace
in all the world where a woman should feel that
she belongs, it is in this Church.
None of us needs one more person
pointing out where we've fallen short. What we
do need are each other's compassion, prayers,
and support. What if we were to decide today
that we would make just one assumption about
each other‐that we are each doing the best we
can? And what if we were to try a little harder
to help each other?
Imagine the cumulative
effect, not to mention the effect on us
spiritually. Followers of Christ who pray with all
the energy of their hearts to be filled with His
love, the pure love of Christ, will become like
Him (Moroni 7:48). As we are filled with this
love, we no longer feel envy or think evil of
others. That's because "charity never faileth"
(Moroni 7:46). Charity is demonstrated when
we give someone the benefit of the doubt, or
readily accept an apology, or refuse to pass
along a juicy piece of gossip.
Might we this
evening in prayer contemplate grudges we need
to put behind us, jealousies we should let go,
and relationships we could improve by simply
laying our pride aside?