poverty doesn’t define me.

I recently finished the book YOU ARE A BADASS AT MAKING MONEY by Jen Sincero. I loved the book. (If swearing isn’t your thing, know that there is plenty of it in this book.) I gained so much insight, and it has given weeks (if not months!) of journaling|self reflecting work to go through. One of the first insights I gained, in my history with money, was my attitude toward it. I would never have consciously said this, but I had an almost fearful disdain for it. In fact, I held a belief that there was valor in poverty.

My father was born in 1931. He and his family were nearly overtaken by the depression. His mom raised her seven…and then eight children as a single mom for the majority of it. She has been revered for this, as she should be. She worked in cotton fields, orchards and sewing rooms. She often worked more than one job a day. She brought home a meager existence. I can’t imagine the struggle.

The struggle she went through is something I will always admire, but I took a long with that- an idealization of poverty. Her hardship, her poverty is what adds character to the story we re-tell of her. In our minds, it added honor to her mistakes and her triumphs. What if instead, we chose to see that hardship as a circumstance but not the value. What if we saw greatness in what she gained instead of what she lacked.

left to right: Aunt Vivian, ME, Granny, my mom, and my sister Dede on her lap

My new story will be this:

I come from a line of hard working women. They bring tremendous value in the world. Their work is worthy of support and money. They created income and put a roof over our heads (including MY mom for me). They found many ways to feed themselves and the people they loved. They strived to do their best, and grow and learn. They knew that the money they created made them more of who they are, and not less. Poverty doesn’t define us. The value we put into the world and in our own lives does.

As Ms. Sincero teaches masterfully in her book, I know that the words we say do create our reality. And the thoughts we think about money feed those words. And the beliefs we hold, even the well intentioned ones, are the foundation of those thoughts. I know we can all benefit from considering what is contributing to our reality today. YOU ARE A BADASS AT MAKING MONEY helped me take a giant leap in that direction, and I am grateful.

money doesn’t grow on trees- or does it?

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I was sitting in a home that was beautiful and inspiring. It was filled with relics and artifacts from around the world. It was set in a breathtaking spot, surrounded by trees with massive windows to let in the beauty. I was there for a parenting seminar. The family that was teaching this seminar is amazing. They have sold millions of books. They are asked to speak and teach all over the world, and rightfully so. They are very intentional and proactive individuals. It was inspiring to learn from them. Toward the end of the seminar, a concept came up that I disagreed with. A question was raised to the attendees:

What do you want your children to know about money?

There were answers spilling out that I feel can poison potential…

  • “take care of what you have, because it is limited”
  • “when you spend it, it is gone”
  • “money doesn’t grow on trees” with a chuckle

These are well meaning thoughts that I was taught growing up. They sound good. They sound like the building blocks to inhibit entitlement. They sound responsible and like common sense. But do we really want to believe this? What if instead we taught our children-

  • “making money is easy and fun”
  • “there is always enough”
  • “money is there for you whenever you need it”

I am letting go of scarcity. I am teaching myself, and hopefully teaching my girls, that life and it’s resources are abundant. That they are there for whatever we need. That I know what to do and how to find it. What if they believe that now, at their young ages? Imagine the good they could do in the world!$

like learning an instrument

I read on one of the almost 100 mother’s day posts that I saw yesterday-

“…because she enjoyed us so much, she taught me to enjoy my own children.”

That isn’t an exact quote, but gives the full idea. It was my favorite thing I read yesterday. EnJOY! EnJOY life…motherhood…relationships! Even the messy, complicated, difficult, exhausting parts.

The card Danny gave me for Mother’s Day had this photo on the front. I took this of Ellie when she was playing one afternoon. Her fingers move so beautifully as she plays guitar.

I have loved guitar so much since I was a teenager. My dad loved having friends over for dinner. Our family’s dear friend, Jim Earp, brought his guitar over and we would gather and sing. He always wears a big smile when he plays. His singing voice is often accented with one of the most infectious laughs I have been around. It was a collective joy one felt lucky to be around.

Danny gifted me my first guitar for our first Christmas together. I was completely surprised. He bought it at a guitar shop in Salt Lake City and somehow got it to California, where we were spending Christmas. How did he do that!? I have had at least 4 guitar teachers and been an owner of at least one guitar for the past 25 years. I am a very mediocre guitar player. I realize this morning, the missing ingredient-

joy.

I am learning in life to let go of perfect. Let go of expectation. Live in the moment. Love what is today. When we have an expectation of what life should look like, we add so much frustration and misery. What if we let it go? What if we instead see with eyes gratitude and joy? The harmony of life is much more beautiful through those lenses. I have known and understood this for a long time, but FINALLY, I think it is sinking deeper and deeper into my heart, right where it belongs.

Maybe it’s time to pick up my guitar again- not with an expectation to be perfect…just for the joy of making music.

SEE HER

Kate and I on our lunch date yesterday…me learning how to post a selfie on VSCO

Sometime last year, I overheard some teenage girls talking. There was a get together planned that night. A group of friends (boys and girls) would be watching a movie at one of their homes. A few of the kids liked each other. One of the girls was unsure about the attention she knew one of the boys wanted to show her. (Could I word anything more awkwardly!? Uggg) Anyway- the girls had arranged that as friends they would sit next to each other to thwart off any unwanted advances. It wasn’t my place in this situation-but I wanted to say SPEAK UP! Make your voices heard! What you want (or don’t want!) matters! Speak your mind.

This experience has given me food for thought as a parent of three teenage daughters. Am I being an example of speaking my mind? Do I allow myself, and my thoughts to BE SEEN! I know some of the most amazing women. Some of my dearest friends are some of the greatest examples I have known throughout my whole life. They are following passions, creating art, running businesses, serving their families and communities…even outside their communities. They completely inspire me. But the lives they live are not shown on social media. They are not glamorized on any media platform…

Why as women, do we hold back? Some of us live small. (me) We are comfortable behind the scenes. We are killing it behind the scenes, by the way. And service definitely doesn’t have to be shouted from the rooftops. But maybe if we allowed ourselves to be seen, AND that we ourselves completely saw:

  • our own potential
  • our own dreams
  • our own gifts

-and shared them with others to inspire them, maybe those girls would find their voices and make their true feelings heard and SEEN.

a knock at the door

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On Sunday afternoon there was a knock at the door. I opened it and saw my friend and neighbor Jaxson on the other side. He was holding a bouquet of tulips and a card. He handed them to me and said “thank you for taking my pictures.” I gave him a hug, thanking him for the flowers and he ran back to the car with the sweetest smile on his face. Jaxson is 8 years old. I took some photos of him as a church assignment. It was an absolute pleasure. His mom had already thanked me in person and via text. Despite that, which was already so nice, he picked out these flowers (his mom told me) and in his own writing thanked me in a card. Jaxson reminded me how good it feels to be filled with gratitude, and express it!

I love this quote by Thomas S Monson:

“To express gratitude is gracious and honorable, to enact gratitude is generous and noble…to live with gratitude ever in our hearts is to touch heaven.”

I see those qualities in Jaxson. Having these flowers in my home this week has made it feel a bit more like heaven too. Thank you Jaxson for your kindness and example. I am grateful that we are friends.

10-10-1 as a family

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We have a money system in our house where our girls pay for their own clothes, entertainment with friends, shoes, spending money for gas, to go out to lunch, etc… Part of earning money within our finances, is to complete checklists. They hate them. They rarely do them. SO their desire for money can be a motivator to do things they might otherwise roll their eyes at…like life coaching. I am drawn to self help resources of all kinds. SO I often find things I know not only benefit me, but really could help all five of us. Danny and I decided a bit ago that we would pay our girls $5 a week to participate in some type of life coaching activity. We have mainly listened to podcasts (like Brooke Castillo, Better Than Happy, and their new favorite, Show Up).

Like I mentioned yesterday, I love the 10-10-1 concept Rachel Hollis teaches in her book GIRL STOP APOLOGIZING so we listened to chapter 12 together around the dining room table. I had pens and paper on the table. As the audio book played, they were taking notes! We paused after Rachel spoke about envisioning your life in ten years. We did the exercise right then together. My girls pushed back a bit on writing about life that far in the future and we encouraged them to pick a year. When two of my girls said, “nothing we are doing today will matter in 10 years” we had a great discussion. I explained how my inattention and lack of drive in high school and the first few years out of high school effected my ability to graduate college in a timely manner. I did it. I graduated at 30, but what could I have accomplished if I had believed in myself earlier? They were back on board. We finished the chapter.

10 dreams…then 1 goal. They were writing their dreams with absolutely no input from us. We actually cautioned about sharing them if they thought they would be influenced by other’s opinions. (who isn’t influenced by other’s opinions…ugggh!) These are YOUR dreams. We did dangle a carrot. If you write down your 10 dreams everyday like Ms. Hollis suggests there will be NO MORE CHECKLISTS…we will pay you your “checklist money.” They were IN!

Their checklists consist of practicing instruments, household responsibilities, exercise, etc… They will still be helping around the house, and taking their turn with what MO needs but they don’t have to spend anytime or energy tracking it. That energy can go toward remembering their dreams and rewriting their goal daily. In my opinion, that will be much more powerful than any checklist we have ever created. The checklists felt like a list of what they haven’t accomplished. Their dreams brighten their futures and motivate them today.

I wasn’t sure if they would like it, or need reminders. The next day two of them had already rewritten their dreams that morning, without any prompt from Danny or I. (YAY!) The other completed it excitedly in the evening. I am so excited for us. Some daily goals are hard, but when it is something that feels so good to do, there is a bit more motivation behind it.

the sign is found here and the letters are found here

I am amazed by all of the fantastic resources out in the world that are free, or very inexpensive. The tools and motivation found in podcasts and audio books are incredible. I could listen all day. I have tried to make sure they are off when my girls are in the car…that we are talking or listening to music so I don’t oversaturate that for them. As Rachel said in this chapter, “If everything is important, nothing is important.” Even though I love all of theses resources I am learning to slow down…and instead of consuming too much, start listening less and putting into practice more. If I only have these on for my girls during our “life coaching time” they will be more likely to listen and take it seriously. Having said all of that, are there any podcasts or audio books that you know I would LOVE?

10-10-1

I want to not like her. After reading her first book (that I really liked) I decided to follow her on social media. I couldn’t take it. I unfollowed her within the week. Why is it some of us are turned off by highly motivated-have it all together-living their dreams-women? (I feel super shallow admitting that) Maybe it is an insight into why we resist in ourselves, or maybe that’s just me. HA! Regardless, I want to change this in myself. Anyway, her new book GIRL STOP APOLOGIZING came out last week, I had a credit on audible and downloaded it. I am over half way through Rachel Hollis’s new book. Chapter 12 especially got my attention. I took it seriously and began.

10 YEARS: envision who I will be in 10 years…what will I wear, what will I drive…how will I spend my days…who do I love…how do I love them, etc…

10 DREAMS: what 10 dreams, when I accomplish them, will get me to who I want to be in 10 years

1 GOAL: this is a tough one, pick ONE goal that will help you toward a dream or dreams. Just ONE. She explains this much better in her book. I had never thought of it this way, but I love it and I am all in for trying it.

EVERYDAY: write your 10 dreams down every single day. I am writing my goal too. A friend gave me this darling journal for my birthday and this is my first dream journal.

WHY: another idea she discusses in the book, if you aren’t sticking to your goal your why isn’t strong enough or clear enough. SO in my daily dream writing, I am adding my goal AND it’s “why

I am going to share my ten dreams:

  1. I am a covenant keeping woman of faith
  2. I create>consume: writing, photography, music, art & exercise
  3. I am strong, flexible & energetic in a body that weighs 118 lbs (which is ideal for my 5’2″ frame)
  4. I am an exceptional wife-in love with my husband
  5. I am an amazing mom that has a strong connection with her children
  6. I am a certified life coach
  7. I am a life documenting expert
  8. I live in a paid off home
  9. I am a cheerleader for women in their 40s-50
  10. I travel the world with Danny and close friends

Rachel teaches that it is important to be specific and write your dreams as they have already happened…no “I will” or “I am going to”

Tomorrow I will write about how we did this as a family. I will also REfollow Rachel Hollis again on IG, and practice celebrating the success and accomplishments of other women!  Have you read this book? I would love to know what you loved, or didn’t love!

thoughts from my yoga teacher

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At yoga yesterday, the teacher began with a thought she offered that we could meditate on for a few years…

perfection- take away perfection = perfection

I have been thinking about it since then. She also stopped in the middle of our class, muscles straining…focus sharpened, trying to learn side planks and the most efficient safest form…

“you know this is FUN right, that’s why we come, or one of the reasons.”

I do love yoga, but FUN isn’t the first word that would come to mind when I think of yoga. But it is FUN. And maybe I could focus on FUN a bit more…and do things not because I should, or out of duty, but because it’s FUN.

And maybe if I took perfection, out of perfection, that would leave a lot more space for FUN. Maybe I could talk Sophie into believing homework is FUN! 🙂

GNOME GNOTEBOOK

I was asked to give a talk at church Sunday. My assignment was to speak about THIS talk given in General Conference October 18, 2018. This was my talk:

Organizing storage recently, I ran across this book.  It is a gift that was given to me when I was 9 years old, from my Great Aunt Dot (she is from the East so it is “aunt” not “ant”).  The inscription says, 

“A…diary-or place to write little stories of things that happen-or for autographs of your friends”

As I looked at the cover, I was flooded with memories of brilliant fictional stories that I had written through its pages.  I loved writing then, even into my teen years.  I wanted to be a writer.  I remember loving this book with my stories, and the feedback others gave me.

Opening the book after many years of it being stored in a box, I was surprised by what I actually found.  Instead of the brilliance I remembered, there were:

  • shallow storylines
  • misspellings 
  • grammatical errors

As a child, as shy as I was, I would share my stories with anyone who would listen…NOW only the flaws in my work stand out to me. 

In her book GRIT, Angela Duckworth reminds her readers,

“infants and toddlers spend most of their time trying to do things they can’t, again and again—and yet they don’t seem especially embarrassed or anxious. No pain, no gain is a rule that doesn’t seem to apply to the preschool set…Watch a baby struggle to sit up, or a toddler learn to walk; you’ll see one error after another, failure after failure, a lot of challenge exceeding skill.”

What if as we age…we decide that is still noble to do something…just because we don’t know how, or it’s fun, or we want the experience.  Just think of how we would grow…and really how much fun we would have.  

Elder Richard G Scott said,

“Attempt to be creative even if the results are modest…creativity can engender a spirit of gratitude for life and for what the Lord has woven into your being”

“attempting to be creative, even if the results are modest…” requires a childlike spirit…

A spirit that…

  • -finds joy in creativity, regardless of the outcome
  • -takes pleasure in the simple joys of life

And especially a spirit that…

  • -trusts our Lord and Savior

Elder Gong shared an experience this last General Conference.  Elder Richard G Scott, an apostle and an artist, invited him to watercolor with him.  Elder Scott was experienced and Elder Gong was a novice.  Although he describes feeling apprehensive, he focused on what he could learn instead of what he lacked.  Elder Gong found joy in trying something new, in fact, he was really touched by the opportunity, enough to base his general conference talk around the experience.

What can finding joy in creativity…without concern for ability or outcome change for you in your life?

A childlike spirit finds it easy to take pleasure in the simple joys of life.  

Last weekend my youngest daughter, Sophie had a friend over.  They decided to play hide & seek.  The rules were laid down:

outside + garages were a no hide zone,

Ellie’s room too (her oldest sister)

everything else was free game.

After one round…Kate, my 14 year old, asked if she could play too.  As I stood at the sink, doing dishes, I knew exactly where I would hide if I were playing.  I was thrilled that my 9th grader was playing, as social stress & teenage-hood had been weighing on her lately.  Their laughter and joy lightened the whole atmosphere of our home.  I loved it.

So that night before bed, as we gathered for prayer and scriptures, Sophie asked if WE wanted to play HIDE & SEEK, I quickly said YES….and the rest of the family agreed.  So 4 of us hid in crevices, closets, and bathtubs while one searched.  

Now before you get the wrong idea, that I am a fun mom, let me confess that In the almost 17 years that I have been a parent…this week was the first time I had played HIDE & SEEK with my children…or at all.  And now this week we have played several nights before bed.  And guess what!  Every time I hid I was the last one found.  Who knew I would be so good at hide & seek!?

I had forgotten a lot about the game since I played as a child… 

  • -the thrill and anticipation of trying not to be found
  • -the strategy required to play the game
  • -the suspense of searching

(it’s SO scary to pull back a curtain, unsure if someone will jump out at you!)

As an adult, I realize that I have let the distractions of the world pull me from some of the JOYS of the simple things in life and the gospel.  

Yesterday, I was privileged to attend the Stake Activity Day meeting.  To begin the activity, we sang in unison, I AM A CHILD OF GOD.  Those beautiful primary girls filled the chapel with faith as we sang.  When was the last time I really appreciated the JOY of knowing that I am a child of a divine, all knowing, all loving, eternal Father…that knows me, that loves me?  And that pleads with us,

“Be still and know that I am God” Psalm 46:10

A childlike spirit allows our hearts to be filled with more trust in our Father in Heaven and our Savior. 

Elder Gong teaches,

“There is joy in imagining, learning, and doing worthwhile new things.  This is especially true as we deepen faith and trust in Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ.  We cannot love ourselves enough to save ourselves. But Heavenly Father loves us more and knows us better than we love or know ourselves.  We can trust the Lord and lean not unto our own understanding.”

One of my very favorite scripture stories teaches this principle in a beautiful way.   In Matthew 14 we read,

“…when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone.  But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary.  And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea.

…when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear. But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid.  And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water.  And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus.”

But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me.  And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?”

This story causes me to reflect each time I read or hear it-  Where is my focus…? Is it on the boisterous wind? On my fears? Or is my focus on the invitation of our Savior, “Come…”

It is my hope that as children of God…we will remember, regardless of our age…we are children, we are ALL children.  We are all children of a Father in Heaven…and that is a gift.  Especially when we take time and effort to soften our hearts and:

  • find joy in creativity, regardless of the outcome
  • take pleasure in the simple joys of life & the gospel
  • And especially, trust our Lord and Savior with our focus on Him