Monday, August 4, 2014

Inspiration in July

:: This post resonated with me because this lovely lady had a similar spiritual inspiration to mine to pursue something outside of the home while in the midst of motherhood.

:: 15 moms you will probably meet at playgroup -- this made me laugh out loud. Although there are some of them that unfortunately describe me...

:: I love Laini Taylor and I love Paris. A fun look at the city through her ever-creative eyes.

:: This post about how a child sees his mother's beauty made me cry. And simultaneously reminded me of how I have always thought my mom was the most beautiful lady in the world (but really, she actually is).

:: Thoughts on solitude and the Savior. (Introverts unite!)

:: 10 promises that should be part of wedding vows -- good (and amusing) advice for any marriage.

:: A wonderful post about Caleb of the Old Testament. A good role model for my own little Caleb.

:: I want to read this book -- it sounds really thought-provoking.

:: This post on why you should say yes to... you know... had me laughing.

:: Surviving the first year of parenthood (survival skill essential: a sense of humor).

:: I love Cup of Jo's blog series about parenting around the world. This post about Germany had particular appeal to me because we might live there some day.

:: Stop accusing women for being pregnant just because they exhibit one of these 5 symptoms.

:: Loved this interview with Dr. Christina Hibbert, an psychologist who has been through some difficult trials herself.

:: We spend way too much time on our smart phones.

:: A career woman became a SAHM -- and liked it. (And more about this...)

:: 35 life lessons.

:: Being real about our struggles and our humanity, instead of presenting our perfect facades to the world. If you read one link on this page, read this one.

:: Vulnerability in parenthood.

:: A thought-provoking post on what we should and shouldn't share on instagram. I know I have been on the same side as this author of seeing a photo shared of an event with everyone from the ward except yourself invited to some get-together and being stricken at being left out. And yet, at the same time, do we have an obligation to protect everyone else in the world from being offended? Interesting, with lots to chew on.

:: It's okay if it takes time to grow into motherhood.

:: A beautiful beautiful BEAUTIFUL scholarly dissection of some of the latest talks and books about women and the priesthood. I LOVE the insights here.

:: Becoming perfect in Christ.

Have a great month! And share any links you have found, too. :)

Friday, August 1, 2014

The Happiness Project: July Recap and August

July was my month of learning to love myself and recognize my worth as a daughter of a Heavenly Father. And it has been an interesting adventure.

I'll start by saying I didn't follow any of my resolutions. I started out with them, and probably followed them for about three days, but over the course of the month I found myself jumping off and exploring self-worth in new directions. I read in the scriptures and in General Conference talks about divine nature and how each child of God is "a joint-heir with Christ" (Romans 8:17). I read self-help books (Best one? You are a Bad-A** by Jen Sincero -- thanks for the recommendation, Alison!). I meditated a lot, which may be the best thing I have done for my mental health, ever. I prayed a lot. I had a lot of ideas, and I didn't discount any of them. I learned a lot about myself, and tried a lot to let go of the idea that I'm not good enough. I spent an hour crying in a therapist's office and felt a lot like Rory Gilmore when she goes to a counselor after stealing a yacht -- not sure why I felt like I needed to do that, because my life is pretty good, but it was cathartic (and is now over, thank goodness).

I don't have anything concrete, no measurable way to say that I feel better about myself than I did 31 days ago, but... I do. This month of focus has been earth-shaking for me, and I am going to keep this up. Unlike The Happiness Project, my different emphases each month haven't stayed in their discrete zones, and I think that is as it should be, for me. I think these months of focus are turning out more to be jumping-off points for me.

So what's in the cards for August? I have been digging deep over the last few months, and this month I am going to focus on FUN! I have never been great at relaxing and just having fun. I've always felt like I needed to get ahead, be productive, use my time (and never sleep). I like to think I've loosened up a tiny bit since college, but the truth is that I still sometimes get stuck in this spiral of being productive and then crashing and dumping my mind into the cavernous depths of the internet (Pinterest and Facebook being the main culprits). I'd like to focus on first of all using my leisure time well instead of on social media (it has its place, but I think it has encroached too far on my time) and second of all, enjoying my summer. This coming week I am off Monday through Friday, and then I am going to Boise for a week, so I think I can manage some fun.

Having resolutions to have fun seems contradictory to me, so I'm just going to come up with a few guidelines for myself --

* Don't get sucked into my phone or the internet just because I don't feel like I have the energy for anything else. If I really have no energy for anything, I need to go to sleep. Or watch a movie.
* Don't feel guilty for doing a few things on my own when I get to Boise.
* Do what I think is fun, not what other people think is fun. For me, fun can be reading in bed with a cup of tea for three hours. Or playing the piano. Or writing on my blog. Sometimes it is more fun to stay home and relax than to go to all the museums or parks or whatever. Sometimes I need to be by myself rather than with someone else.

Some things I'm hoping to do during my "fun month":

* Go blackberry picking
* Watch some movies on my Netflix list
* Read alone at my favorite coffeeshop, Rembrandts
* Go for a run on the beach
* Take Cal out to lunch at Lemonade

Onward to fun!
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