"Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to let you in."

-- Robert Frost

Friday, January 23, 2015

into the new year

“O ye that embark in the service of God
see that ye serve him with 
all your heart, might, mind and strength, 
that ye may stand blameless before God at the last day” 
(D&C 4:2).

It is my absolute privilege to serve in the youth program of our church. I love getting to spend time with beautiful young women while listening and learning about all they face, fear, and overcome so gracefully. They give me strength.

In the first week of this month, our Stake held a fireside to kick-off our church-wide theme for the youth this year.

I know that word "embark" is pretty mighty. It means to be engaged and committed and it's a biggie.

I like "stand" too, because it's an action word.

But the word that stood out to me the most was ALL. Not just some or when I feel like it. Followed by those facets of commitment ... the heart, might, mind and strength,  I jotted down a few thoughts.
  • With all my HEART:  "Taking something to heart" means to make an internal change and let it become second nature.
  • With all my MIGHT: Talents and spiritual gifts are the making of a person and using them wisely takes will power.
  • With all my MIND:  Strive for continual learning and use that knowledge for good. God cannot inspire an empty mind.
  • With all my STRENGTH: A physical best is required, only then can strength be counted upon.

I left that meeting with lofty thoughts of all that I was going to change and commit to for myself and my family in the year ahead. My list was long and brimming with ways to make internal changes, use will power, develop talents, increase knowledge, eat healthier, exercise and get more sleep. 

The following Sunday, I had an insightful discussion with a group of young women about what the world expects of women today.

The general consensus in the room was that there is an expectation to be ALL things and that unrealistic view could lead to feelings of inadequacy and depression.

No wonder week #1 had left me just a little frustrated and overwhelmed with failure! Much as I'd like, I can't do it all.

Not the answer I was expecting, I had to ask what they thought could be done since, after all, there is a directive to be perfect even as the Savior is perfect.

Together we determined that maybe giving our all to just one character flaw to perfect would lead to the indirect improvement of other changes we'd like to see within ourselves.  Then if we allowed the purifying power of our Savior's atonement to work as we continually and inevitably recommit and start again each time we fall short, we'll move forward more than we think we are.

It was a lot to chew on before our own family home evening on setting goals for the new year, in which I set only one very well thought out commitment for myself. (Then posted it over the treadmill in my unfinished basement where I could hammer it into my head with each hammering footstep in prep for the day ahead.)

It's hard to be heard in this super boisterous family. I admit to feeling like a raised voice is sometimes the answer. Truthfully, it's not. In all ways, a soft answer really does turn away wrath. It also teaches my patience to stretch. My soul feels more at peace. Being at peace gives me grace even in tough situations. My grandmother used to say that she who could hold her tongue would have less to apologize for later. That's true. Who doesn't want to walk away with nothing to apologize for? And self control lends to mental control and an all around environment filled with more love, more optimism, more compassion.

So I set for myself one goal for 2015 in the hopes of ALL that could follow if I use ALL of my heart, might, mind and strength.

In other completely non-related new year's news, I missed having kids around for New Year's Eve. This crew took off and younger kids crashed so early, it was quiet. Too quiet.

I could sit all day and listen to them banter and laugh about what is going on in their outside world.

We just love the missionaries who come and go in our area. We'd adopt all of them. New Year's Day we were lucky enough to adopt these two and hold them captive for a start to finish game of Monopoly ... Christian's dream.

Little girls not into Monopoly, held me captive with round after round of Shoots and Ladders.

During the break, we made a Natural History Museum trip. It's one of our favorite places.

We watched plenty of skits by "Anna and Elsa". Guess which one always gets to be Anna?

Following a really long wait at the DMV, this happened. That estimated wait time was. not. lying.

We were served tons of Easy-bake oven cooking.

And then one morning this gal and I sent reluctant kids back to school.

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