Sunday, September 1, 2013

Marriage is Hard, Life is Hard: "Cast Not Away Therefore Your Confidence"

"...I would like to have a dollar for every person in a courtship who knew he or she had felt the guidance of the Lord in that relationship, had prayed about the experience enough to know it was the will of the Lord, knew they loved each other and enjoyed each other’s company, and saw a lifetime of wonderful compatibility ahead—only to panic, to get a brain cramp, to have total catatonic fear sweep over them. They “draw back,” as Paul said, if not into perdition at least into marital paralysis.

I am not saying you shouldn’t be very careful about something as significant and serious as marriage. And I certainly am not saying that a young man can get a revelation that he is to marry a certain person without that young woman getting the same confirmation. I have seen a lot of those one-way revelations in young people’s lives. Yes, there are cautions and considerations to make, but once there has been genuine illumination, beware the temptation to retreat from a good thing. If it was right when you prayed about it and trusted it and lived for it, it is right now. Don’t give up when the pressure mounts. You can find an apartment. You can win over your mother-in-law. You can sell your harmonica and therein fund one more meal. It’s been done before. Don’t give in. Certainly don’t give in to that being who is bent on the destruction of your happiness. He wants everyone to be miserable like unto himself. Face your doubts. Master your fears. “Cast not away therefore your confidence.” Stay the course and see the beauty of life unfold for you."...

Virtually everyone in the room knows the formula for revelation given in section 9 of the Doctrine and Covenants—you know, the verses about studying it out in your mind and the Lord promising to confirm or deny. What most of us don’t read in conjunction with this is the section that precedes it—section 8. In that revelation the Lord defined revelation:
I will tell you in your mind and in your heart, by the Holy Ghost, which shall come upon you and which shall dwell in your heart. [I love the combination there of both mind and heart. God will teach us in a reasonable way and in a revelatory way—mind and heart combined, by the Holy Ghost.]"

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Sleep and the Teenage Brain

I just read this very interesting article about sleep and teenagers. I'm noticing that now that I'm done with school and can be more in tune with my awake and tired cues I tend to go to sleep around 10:30. I'm still not totally honoring them because of a newborn and a toddler, of course, but it's a huge improvement from when I was doing homework after the kids went to sleep.

"Biology’s cruel joke goes something like this: As a teenage body goes through puberty, its circadian rhythm essentially shifts three hours backward. Suddenly, going to bed at nine or ten o’clock at night isn’t just a drag, but close to a biological impossibility. Studies of teenagers around the globe have found that adolescent brains do not start releasing melatonin until around eleven o’clock at night and keep pumping out the hormone well past sunrise. Adults, meanwhile, have little-to-no melatonin in their bodies when they wake up. With all that melatonin surging through their bloodstream, teenagers who are forced to be awake before eight in the morning are often barely alert and want nothing more than to give in to their body’s demands and fall back asleep. Because of the shift in their circadian rhythm, asking a teenager to perform well in a classroom during the early morning is like asking him or her to fly across the country and instantly adjust to the new time zone — and then do the same thing every night, for four years.

...The lack of sleep affects the teenage brain in similar ways to the adult brain, only more so. Chronic sleep deprivation in adolescents diminishes the brain’s ability to learn new information, and can lead to emotional issues like depression and aggression. Researchers now see sleep problems as a cause, and not a side effect, of teenage depression. In one study by researchers at Columbia University, teens who went to bed at 10 p.m. or earlier were less likely to suffer from depression or suicidal thoughts than those who regularly stayed awake well after midnight."


At any given point, I tend to have at least 3 tabs open and probably a word document and/or spreadsheet open on my computer...

"We live in a society that seems to force multitasking. Most people do not do it very well, but researchers at the University of Utah have identified "supertaskers".
"But it's only 2-and-a-half percent that are able to engage in those activities simultaneously without impairment," said Jason Watson, associate professor of Cognition and Neural Science at the University of Utah."
There's a fun little game that can test your ability to multitask HERE

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

15 Reasons Why Being Married to a Therapist May Actually be More Difficult Than Dating Them

Recently, eHarmony posted an awesome article with a list of 15 Reasons to Date a Therapist. They are pretty awesome reasons!

As I was reading through them, I thought, Hm. I'm a pretty normal wife with plenty of issues. Pretty sure Aaron is a much better person for being married to a therapist than I am as the therapist.

So I came up with a little add-on for each of the eHarmony reasons for why that reason could actual be a bit of a stumbling block in a marriage thus making the spouse o the therapist the "better" marriage partner.

15 Reasons to Date a Therapist Being Married to a Therapist Isn't Anything Amazing 
(or Perhaps, Why it is Even More Difficult than the Average Marriage)

15 Reasons Anybody Married to a Therapist Is Amazing and Deserves an Award for their Patience, Empathy and Understanding

1. Therapists are great listeners, and intentionally do so without judgement.
But when therapists have been listening to people all day long, they really just want somebody to listen to them talk without judgment.

2. Therapists keep secrets. If you’re looking for someone trustworthy, a therapist is trained in confidentiality.
This also means they may be a bit socially awkward because they can't discuss the details of their work at the local dinner parties and after-work chat may be limited when you ask about their day.

3. Therapists offer good advice and can help you make wise choices if you’re looking for input into a difficult situation.
Or they'll just sit their and ask you what you think you should do in various phrasings over and over until you've made the best decision yourself (... or have you?)

4. Therapists are compassionate.
Which means they may often come home burnt out and just not have any compassion left when you want to talk to them at the end of the day so they tell you to just, "Deal with it".

5. A lot of people are in therapy. If your date is good at what he/she does, he/she has job security.
You may end up in therapy at multiple points in your marriage because everybody needs therapy- including you, and your marriage, and your kids etc.

6. Therapists are acutely aware of emotional needs and the human condition. It’s safe to be vulnerable around them.
They carry a lot of emotions throughout the day while only showing clients brief snippets of their reactions. You will get to witness the full brunt and the crying meltdown if your spouse had a hard day or is feeling incredibly empathetic toward a client and their struggles. (You also get to see the good and great days, too. It can be a bit of a roller coaster.)

7. Therapists want to see positive change take place and are proactive when it comes to problem-solving.
You may find yourself saying to your spouse, "I just want you to listen. Stop giving me solutions."

8. Therapists are good communicators. Not only do they listen well, they help people acknowledge their own weaknesses and make healthy decisions. Game-playing and cryptic comments won’t help clients, so neither are part of their communication arsenal.
Because they aren't usually cryptic with clients, they may overdo it with you at home because they don't want to seem like they are being too bossy and powerful in your marriage and want to make sure all decisions are very mutual.

9. Therapists have seen and heard it all. Your date will not be intimidated by your crazy family.
But now you also understand why your spouse became a therapist- your in-laws. Of course he/she wasn't intimidated by your crazy family!

10. Therapists might seem like intimidating dates, but they aren’t holier-than-thou. Rather, therapists are aware of their own weaknesses, insecurities and shortcomings. You’ll soon realize that your therapist significant other could be just as confused as you are at times.
You will see them at their lowest lows and wonder, "How could anybody pay him/her for help and guidance through problems and difficulties? He/She is barely keeping it together." or "Why does anybody pay a therapist when they are really just normal people?"

11. Therapists are safe and consistent. When other people have crises, they call your date for wisdom, stability and security. Others trust that he/she will be there for them even when they make poor choices or little progress.
Your dates and quiet time could and will be interrupted by those friends that are having crises. If you are struggling, you may feel intimidated to reach out to your own spouse feeling that they already have too many other people to worry about.

12. Therapists are interesting. Instead of small talk about the weather, your date can offer interesting facts and tidbits about human behavior. Even while keeping cases confidential, therapists still have plenty of entertaining stories to share.
The entertaining stories are often surrounding socially taboo topics and will usually make other guests blush or offer a courtesy laugh as they walk away, leaving you and your spouse alone.

13. Therapists at work aren’t necessarily therapists at home. Don’t assume that a therapist is going to act or respond a certain way at home because of what he/she does for a living. Even the best therapists can neglect to make wise decisions during off hours. If you’re paranoid about getting analyzed during every fight, you may be surprised to find your date uninterested in using psychobabble outside the office.
You get to be the stronger one in the relationship and help buoy your partner when they are struggling. You will learn to pick on the smallest emotional or physical cues in your spouse and be ready to jump in at any moment to help him/her.

14. Therapists are available to those who need them. You date will understand that in certain situations, it’s important to always be available. While this may be annoying for therapists’ partners, it’s encouraging to know that your therapist date is prepared to drop everything for you when times get tough.
He/she may often be running late from work due to client's doorknob therapy or most recent crisis because he/she needed to help the client become functional and commit to safety before ending the session.

15. Therapists are emotionally strong. They help clients process heartbreaking stories all the time. If you need a shoulder to cry on, your partner will be capable of sharing the burden.
Therapists appear emotionally strong, but also get burdened at times and need a break. So, have your shoulder ready and your arms open to hold her.

*Please note that some of these may seem insensitive, but I'm just being brutally honest and/or attempting some humor here

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Advice from Elder Busche

Elder F. Enzio Busche
Quorum of the Seventy
BYU Devotional May 14, 1996

I want to share with you a vehicle, an instrument, that I developed some time ago for myself and for my family. It can assist us to reach our focus as we read the suggested vision of true discipleship as a Latter-day Saint. It helps when we, from time to time, ponder and seek identification with the following thoughts.
Embrace this day with an enthusiastic welcome, no matter how it looks. The covenant with God to which you are true enables you to become enlightened by him, and nothing is impossible for you.
When you are physically sick, tired, or in despair, steer your thoughts away from yourself and direct them, in gratitude and love, toward God.
In your life there have to be challenges. They will either bring you closer to God and therefore make you stronger, or they can destroy you. But you make the decision of which road you take.
First and foremost, you are a spirit child of God. If you neglect to feed your spirit, you will reap unhappiness. Don’t permit anything to detract you from this awareness.
You cannot communicate with God unless you have first sacrificed your self-oriented natural man and have brought yourself into the lower levels of meekness, to become acceptable for the Light of Christ.
Put all frustrations, hurt feelings, and grumblings into the perspective of your eternal hope. Light will flow into your soul. Pause to ponder the suffering Christ felt in the Garden of Gethsemane. In the awareness of the depth of gratitude for him, you appreciate every opportunity to show your love for him by diligently serving in his Church. God knows that you are not perfect.
As you suffer about your imperfections he will give you comfort and suggestions of where to improve. God knows better than you what you need. He always attempts to speak to you.
Listen, and follow the uncomfortable suggestions that he makes to us—everything will fall into its place.
Avoid any fear like your worst enemy, but magnify your fear about the consequences of sin.
When you cannot love someone, look into that person’s eyes long enough to find the hidden rudiments of the child of God in him. Never judge anyone. When you accept this, you will be freed. In the case of your own children or subordinates, where you have the responsibility to judge help them to become their own judges.
If someone hurts you so much that your feelings seem to choke you, forgive and you will be free again.
Avoid at all cost any pessimistic, negative, or criticizing thoughts. If you cannot cut them out, they will do you harm.
On the road to salvation let questions arise but never doubts. If something is wrong, God will give you clarity but never doubts. Avoid rush and haste and uncontrolled words.
Divine light develops in places of peace and quiet. Be aware of that as you enter places of worship.
Be not so much concerned about what you do, but what you do with all your heart, might, and strength. In thoroughness is satisfaction.
You want to be good and do good, that is commendable, but the greatest achievement that can be reached in our lives is to be under the complete influence of the Holy Ghost then he will teach us what is really good and necessary to do.
The pain of sacrifice last only on moment. It is the fear of the pain of sacrifice that makes you hesitate to do it. Be grateful for every opportunity to serve. It helps you more than those you serve.
And finally, when you are compelled to give up something or when things that are dear to you are withdrawn from you, know this is your lesson to be learned right now. But know also that as you are learning this lesson God wants to give you something better.
Thus, we prepare all the days of our lives, and, as we grow death loses its sting, hell loses its power, and we look forward to that day with anticipation of joy when He will come in his glory.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Dear Aidan

Dear Aidan,

Within the next couple weeks, your life will be changed forever. Mine will, too. In a couple weeks, this "baby in mama's belly" will make her grand entrance and, I have to admit, I'm a bit worried about how it will affect you. There's so much unknown. I don't want you to feel forgotten or replaced. After all, you've been "my baby" your whole life the past 33 months.

I've been thinking a lot about when I went into labor with you. We were so excited and anxious to meet you! It seemed like almost everything that could go wrong after a perfectly healthy pregnancy, went wrong- emergency c-section and then you being in the NICU for almost 3 weeks while they tested for strep b, meiningitis, treated an infection, monitored your blood pressure, heart rate, we tried to teach you to eat etc. I remember panicking, but also feeling calm and knowing that everything would be okay. Your grandmother asked one of the nurses if you'd "be okay and develop as a healthy little boy despite all of the birthing complications" and I remember thinking that, of course you would. You were such a fighter- everything that was causing the doctors to worry would suddenly be gone the next time they checked. I think that was an example of your faith, too. You have been one energetic and healthy boy since then!

I see you now and I wonder, "What will I do with a baby that cannot speak to me and tell me exactly what she wants?" You've learned to ask (and demand, at times) for exactly what you think you need- even if it is that you "need choc-co-let".

I love that you are already so caring and kind. I was worried about being pregnant while also having such a rambunctious and energetic toddler. Toward the beginning of my pregnancy when I was so exhausted from working and the hormones and just feeling so sick all of the time, you were always there to comfort me and you would be calm.

One particular day, I remember I was feeling extremely tired and had made multiple trips to the bathroom. You'd stand next to my legs while I was hunched over the toilet and spit into it next to me and then get me some toilet paper to wipe my mouth. You've always been great at providing a little comedic relief when it's needed! I came over to the couch and plopped myself down with my head hung over and you came and just hugged me. Other times, you'd go and get your blankie and "babies" and bring them to me and rub my hair and say, "It's okay, Mama. Daddy was often gone at night with school, but we somehow made it through those first almost 20 weeks of pregnancy together with you helping take care of me in the evening. I know it was tough to not have me playing cars with you on the ground or doing other activities that you enjoy many of those evenings.

I'm grateful that you made me a mom. I know that I'm not always the best at being patient with you or having the most creative activities for you and I don't always take you outside when you want to go out and that you get frustrated with me. But I'm grateful for your overall patience with me as I try to figure out this parenting thing and balancing what I want with what you need and want.

You are an absolutely amazing boy! You have such a great sense of humor and I love that you do silly things purposefully to make us laugh- whether it's making silly noises with your mouth or pretending like you're falling over or playing games of peek-a-boo or blowing raspberries on my belly. It's so funny to me when you pretend to not know what something is and then giggle and make it a guessing game.

I love when you ramble on with stories that sometimes don't make the most coherent sense with such passion and expression. Your most recent one has been about a motorcycle crashing and getting "super big itty bitty owies". You sometimes tell stories where you are obviously trying to say some words, but it comes out as mush with a bunch of vowels and consonants strung together yet your expression is just so engaging and priceless. You laugh and giggle and your eyes get so wide. You are such a great story-teller already!

I love when you start to say and do things that Daddy and I say to you. Sometimes, it helps me realize how ridiculous I must sound to you. Other times, it's a reminder that we must be doing something right. Like, today, you put a piece of tape on my arm insisting it was a bandaid covering an owie and then lightly patted my arm and said "It's okay, Mama. It won't hurt. I kiss it better." and then kissed my arm.

I love that you are able to be so tough and roar and jump and climb and throw and then be soft and cuddly at other times. I love that every night you still insist that I be the one to put you to bed and you ask to "cuddle me". I know that I won't always have such a willing boy to cuddle with me in a rocking chair or on his bed when you get older, but I still hope you will cuddle up to me on the couch as you get older.

I love watching your relationship with Daddy flourish. He cares about you so much. I want you to know that not many Daddys would willingly stay home all day with you like he has for the past year while I've been working and then still be interested in spending time with you during the evening and weekends. He always does fun activities with you, too. It's amazing to hear the way he speaks about you. When we were talking about having another baby I remember he said something about how "knowing how much he loves and cares about you just makes him so much more excited to have that with another child." I hope you always continue to appreciate and love your dad and all that he does for you. It's so fun to hear you talk about "going on rides in the jeep with Dad" and "going up on the mountain with Dad". I'm always a bit jealous when he sends me pictures of you two on your adventures.

I love your excitement for church and praying. I'm sure you don't understand a lot of it, yet. But I always love when you're saying your nightly prayers and you'll look up at me and ask if you can pray for something. Your first non-prompted prayer, you prayed for Buzz Lightyear. Now, you'll pray for things like "daddy feel better" "Avalon to sleep" "Go play with doggie" "Go to nursery" and other things on your own. I love these little examples of how your mind is working and what you're aware of.

I'm amazed at the boy you are growing into. I can only imagine the great things you will be able to accomplish in your life. I hope that I can be a good example to you and give you all of the things that you need to thrive, excel and grow. I hope that you will continue to be curious about the world around you and continue asking questions and I really hope that I will know how to answer your questions, but if I don't, I bet Daddy will know and we'll go ask him.

I hope that you will continue to find the balance between being tough and being "soft". The world and culture around you will just want you to be tough all of the time as you get older, but don't get caught in that lie- you only really get to know other people when they are being vulnerable and those are the friendships worth keeping. It's okay to be sensitive and caring.

I love how you will talk to Avalon through my belly button and lay your head on my belly (which as you said today "the baby is getting so tall and big!") and just "cuddle and listen to Avalon". Today, when she gave you a little kick while your head was lying there, you just laughed it off.

I know that you will be an amazing older brother. I'm sure you'll be very protective of her. I hope that you and Avalon will be close and that you two will always look out for each other. I hope that you can teach her and be a good example to her.

I hope that you will always know that I love you and know that you have brought so much love, joy and excitement into my life. I hope that over these next few months when I am sleep deprived and trying to re-learn how to take care of a newborn that you will be patient with me and also remind me that I need to spend alone time with you, too.

I'm so excited for you to be a big brother! I hope that you know how much I only want the best for you and that you know that I absolutely, unconditionally love you (even when you are smearing poop all over the carpet and door). Thanks for being my baby boy.


Sunday, March 10, 2013

Can Ye Feel So Now?

Excerpts from Can Ye Fell So Now?- Elder Quentin L. Cook, Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

...This question, “Can ye feel so now?” rings across the centuries. With all that we have received in this dispensation—including the Restoration of the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the outpouring of spiritual gifts, and the indisputable blessings of heaven—Alma’s challenge has never been more important.

It is not surprising that some in the Church believe they can’t answer Alma’s question with a resounding yes. They do not “feel so now.” They feel they are in a spiritual drought. Others are angry, hurt, or disillusioned. If these descriptions apply to you, it is important to evaluate why you cannot “feel so now.

Many who are in a spiritual drought and lack commitment have not necessarily been involved in major sins or transgressions, but they have made unwise choices. Some are casual in their observance of sacred covenants. Others spend most of their time giving first-class devotion to lesser causes. Some allow intense cultural or political views to weaken their allegiance to the gospel of Jesus Christ. Some have immersed themselves in Internet materials that magnify, exaggerate, and, in some cases, invent shortcomings of early Church leaders. Then they draw incorrect conclusions that can affect testimony. Any who have made these choices can repent and be spiritually renewed.

Immersion in the scriptures is essential for spiritual nourishment. The word of God inspires commitment and acts as a healing balm for hurt feelings, anger, or disillusionment. When our commitment is diminished for any reason, part of the solution is repentance. Commitment and repentance are closely intertwined."

C.S. Lewis asserted that Christianity tells people to repent and promises them forgiveness; but until people know and feel they need forgiveness, Christianity does not speak to them. He stated, “When you know you are sick, you will listen to the doctor.”

How we treat those closest to us is of fundamental importance. Violence, abuse, lack of civility, and disrespect in the home are not acceptable—not acceptable for adults and not acceptable for the rising generation. My father was not active in the Church but was a remarkably good example, especially in his treatment of my mother. He used to say, “God will hold men responsible for every tear they cause their wives to shed.”

Sexual immorality and impure thoughts violate the standard established by the Savior. We were warned at the beginning of this dispensation that sexual immorality would be perhaps the greatest challenge. Such conduct will, without repentance, cause a spiritual drought and loss of commitment. Movies, TV, and the Internet often convey degrading messages and images.

I recently had an insightful conversation with a 15-year-old Aaronic Priesthood holder. He helped me understand how easy it is in this Internet age for young people to almost inadvertently be exposed to impure and even pornographic images. He pointed out that for most principles the Church teaches, there is at least some recognition in society at large that violating these principles can have devastating effects on health and well-being. He mentioned cigarette smoking, drug use, and alcohol consumption by young people. But he noted that there is no corresponding outcry or even a significant warning from society at large about pornography or immorality.

My dear brothers and sisters, this young man’s analysis is correct. What is the answer? For years, prophets and apostles have taught the importance of religious observance in the home.

Parents, the days are long past when regular, active participation in Church meetings and programs, though essential, can fulfill your sacred responsibility to teach your children to live moral, righteous lives and walk uprightly before the Lord. It is essential that this be faithfully accomplished in homes which are places of refuge where kindness, forgiveness, truth, and righteousness prevail. Parents must have the courage to filter or monitor Internet access, television, movies, and music. Parents must have the courage to say no, defend truth, and bear powerful testimony. Your children need to know that you have faith in the Savior, love your Heavenly Father, and sustain the leaders of the Church. Spiritual maturity must flourish in our homes. My hope is that no one will leave this conference without understanding that the moral issues of our day must be addressed in the family.

I want to assure you, as Alma taught, that through repentance you can qualify for all the blessings of heaven. That is what the Savior’s Atonement is all about.

For any whose lives are not in order, remember, it is never too late to make the Savior’s Atonement the foundation of our faith and lives.

In the words of Isaiah, “Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.”

My sincere prayer is that each of us will take any necessary action to feel the Spirit now so we can sing the song of redeeming love with all our hearts.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Yes, My Husband is Full-Time Dad Right Now

Aaron has been a full-time stay at home dad since the end of December while trying to figure out his next step in school and career. I have no idea what it's really like for him and he insists, "I don't care what other people think." But you'd be surprised the kind of comments I get about him staying home with Aidan. I don't think he's had very many comments directly, but I know he's aware of others' looks and possible perceptions about him.

In the past 3 weeks, I have had some stunning comments when talking to people. The conversation usually goes something like this:

"What do you do?"
"I work full-time as a therapist treating women and girls with eating disorders during the day. I'm also trying to finish a PhD in Marriage & Family Therapy."
"And what's your husband doing?"
"Right now, he's at home with our son full-time trying to figure out the next plan for school and work."

And that's when the comments get interesting to me.

"Wait, he's not working and you are?... and you're 7 months pregnant?"
"He's not in school or working?! He needs to be pulling some of the weight- don't you think?"
"Well, that doesn't seem fair."
"Um.... oh...... cool....."

I usually respond with something diplomatic like,
"Yes, our son is so lucky to have this opportunity with him. Many kids don't get this much time with their dad. They have an awesome bond. And I'm lucky to have a job I love."
"This is what works best for our family right now. It was getting a bit crazy with us both working part-time and doing school full-time and neither having benefits. This was a great fit for us right now."
"I don't expect this to be permanent nor do either one of us want it to be. I know Aaron would rather be working, but right now we're still working together on getting there."
"Yeah, isn't it great that we were blessed with this full-time job opportunity and that I've been able to receive a good education to help me get this job? Many couples are just working crazily with scheduling and neither get much time with their kids while they're in this stage of life and in school."

I don't think any of those previous comments would be said to a father who said his wife was a stay at home mom. Okay, maybe some people, but it wouldn't be as socially acceptable- right? You'd never say a SAHM wasn't pulling her weight without some repercussion.

In searching for experiences from other LDS SAHDs I came across this and enjoyed reading a first-hand experience from a dad that worked through a lot of the social stigma.

Aaron tells me about how he takes Aidan to the zoo or other places and many women look at him like "Please, don't steal my child". A child ran away from his mother the other day at the zoo and came near Aaron and his mother quickly chided him and insisted he get away and come back while flashing Aaron a panicked glance.

Or how if he's at a playground, people look at him like he's crazy for being there playing with his child.

Aaron doesn't get to just go hang out with other stay at home parents during play group. It's just not socially acceptable.

He can't just go knock doors around the neighborhood of other stay at home parents when he's feeling overwhelmed and find somebody to hang out and talk to while the kids play together.

I believe his job staying at home is actually much more difficult than it would be if it were me. There is such a support network readily available to moms- especially in the church around here.

It's just so interesting to me that there are still such firm stereotypes against men that they must be fulfilling their duty to provide for their family to "be a man". I think this is going to be a lot harder to break than women being in the workforce. Men probably do get a lot more judgement than a woman breaking from her traditional role as a full-time SAHM if they go against their traditional role as provider. Maybe men just don't whine about it as much as people like I do and that's why it's not getting as much attention? Think about how hard it typically is for a man to get time off work for a sick child or something else.

I guess the bottom line is, I'm grateful that Aaron is such a good dad and doesn't seem to care what other people think. I want to acknowledge how difficult it is for him and I think he deserves a lot more credit than people give him (and even what I give him at times) and other stay at home dads or even just fathers involved in their children's lives. Parenting isn't easy. Every child deserves a good father and mother actively involved in their life.

"HUSBAND AND WIFE have a solemn responsibility to love and care for each other and for their children. “Children are an heritage of the Lord” (Psalm 127:3). Parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness, to provide for their physical and spiritual needs, and to teach them to love and serve one another, observe the commandments of God, and be law-abiding citizens wherever they live. Husbands and wives—mothers and fathers—will be held accountable before God for the discharge of these obligations...

By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children. In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners. Disability, death, or other circumstances may necessitate individual adaptation..." (here)

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Easy Money From Home: SWAGBUCKS

I'm sure most of you have heard about Swagbucks. I'd been hearing about it for a while, but finally tried it this past week. Just by searching the internet, doing a daily poll, and going through No Obligation Offers enough to earn a $5 Amazon gift card (450SB) and then some every month. They have a bunch of different prizes. You can look over them in the swag store and see if anything appeals to you.

I don't search for much on the internet. Some baby growth and development stuff, research, sports scores etc. and I still managed to earn plenty. They have a search toolbar you can download so it's directly on your browser. I have the drop down search menu so I can easily still switch over to Google for most of my real research.Some ways to earn swagbucks:

  • Sign up=30SB
  • Daily Poll=2SB/Day
  • No Obligation Offers (You literally hit skip, skip, skip and don't sign up or give any info)=2SB/Day
  • Toolbar=2SB/day when you open your browser
  • Profile= 70+SB
  • Using Coupons printed through their site
  • Surveys (Different ones every day)= I've seen anywhere from 10-50SB/Survey
  • Searching (doesn't matter what you search for)= Awarded randomly. 5-100SB. Fridays typically award larger amounts.
  • Swagcodes: You can check on facebook, twitter or the swidget (I have one down on the right)
  • Referrals= Whatever your referrals earn in their Open Searches you also get.
  • Buy Daily Deals (eversave, homerun etc) through swagbucks and get the deal PLUS swagbucks.
  • More Tips Here
This is my referral link-

My friend has a very thorough description of Swagbucks on her blog.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Anne Hathaway: "I Needed to Look Like I was Dying" for Les Mis

I'm grateful to see a story where an actress and actor are honest about their weight loss for a film (A film I have yet to actually see...)! They both talk about how it was miserable and unhealthy to lose weight the way they did and do not encourage it for others. I'm happy to see they are both looking healthy and happy after filming as well.

Check out Hugh Jackman & Anne Hathaway as they discuss preparing for their roles.

"I was an actor and I had to do a role and I find it kinda weird the way the media can glamorise this sort of thing.
"I didn't lose the weight to look attractive," added the Oscar and Bafta nominated star.
"I needed to look like I was dying and I worry that all that attention adds up to an unhealthy way."
There have been widely varying rumours as to how little Hathaway ate to portray the tragic character of Fantine. But when asked to clear those up, she said: 
"You know I appreciate the question, I don't want to answer it because I think that I was on a starvation diet to look like I was near death in a film and I don't want anyone to feel like,'Oh I just want to drop like a couple of pounds.'

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The Position of the Church on Prioritizing Womanhood: Education and/or Motherhood?

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I wrote this paper for a Religion Class (REL 333) at BYU with Br. Newell during my undergrad in 2007 and just stumbled upon it while organizing some files. I was extremely, extremely conflicted about pursuing a graduate degree and when to start our family and chose to make that the topic of this paper and researched some church guidelines.

Hope this might help some other women who are having the same wonderings.

The Position of the Church on Prioritizing Womanhood: Education and/or Motherhood?

The church’s position regarding the decision to continue an education or begin parenthood is between the couple and the Lord as stated in the attached research. It is not directly stated that one should always come before the other or whether motherhood and education should occur tangentially. However, a main responsibility and privilege of couples is to bring children into this world as stated in The Family: A Proclamation to the World:
The family is central to the Creator's plan for the eternal destiny of His children…. [and] God's commandment for His children to multiply and replenish the earth remains in force. (Faust, J.E., Hinckley, G.B., Monson, T.S., 2005)
The commandment to “multiply and replenish the earth” was the first commandment given to Adam and Eve anteceding the Fall (See Genesis 1:28 & Moses 2:28). This first commandment is still as much of a commandment as it was in the beginning. It should remain on all couples’ minds as they prayerfully ponder when to begin bringing children into this world. It is also important to note that the spirit doesn’t always move us with a voice of thunder and lightening.
True to the Faith, a book which describes positions of the church on various gospel principles, elaborates on the church’s position regarding when and how many children a couple should have.
If you are married, you and your spouse should discuss your sacred responsibility to bring children into the world and nurture them in righteousness. As you do so consider the sanctity and meaning of life. Ponder the joy that comes when children are in the home. Consider the eternal blessings that come from having a good posterity. With a testimony of these principles, you and your spouse will be prepared to prayerfully decide how many children to have and when to have them. Such decisions are between the two of you and the Lord. (Faust, J.E., Hinckley, G.B., Monson, T.S., 2004; Emphasis added)
There is no specific time frame that a couple must have children. Some couples may not have children for many years while others become pregnant quickly after marriage. We are not to judge each other in this matter. We may look to the brethren that guide our church as examples; some of the apostles have as many as ten children while others have two, some began their families almost immediately while others did not. These are very private and sacred matters that should be left between the couple and the Lord.
            All of God’s children are different and may be directed down different paths. God will not lead us astray. It is best that we heed the promptings of the spirit as directed and counsel with the Lord and our spouse regarding when to have children. In 1987, President Ezra Taft Benson counseled couples at a fireside:
Young mothers and fathers, with all my heart I counsel you not to postpone having your children, being co-creators with Father in Heaven. Do not use the reasoning of the world, such as, ‘We’ll wait until we can better afford having children, until we are more secure, until John has completed his education, until he has a better paying job, until we have a larger home, until we’ve obtained a few of the material conveniences’ and on and on. Mothers who enjoy good health, have you children and have them early. (Benson, E.T., 1987)
While this counsel was stated over 20 years ago, it has not been refuted by any of the following prophets. Couples are not to put materialistic wants above the commandments of God. This is not to say that couples should not prepare wisely financially, emotionally, and physically for children. However, couples should remain cautious and prayerful as they consider their priorities- what is truly needed and what is simply regarded as a “material convenience”?
Years before this statement by President Benson, President Kimball counseled:
After marriage young wives should be occupied in bearing and rearing children. I know of no scriptures or authorities which authorize young wives to delay their families or to go to work to put their husbands through college. Young married couples can make their way and reach their educational heights, if they are determined. (Kimball, S.W., 1976)
Couples should not delay beginning their family for selfish reasons. Through faith and works couples may come to realize and obtain their educational goals (See James 2:24). It may not be immediately and it may not even be in this life, but the education gained from having an eternal family is endless. President James E. Faust has also counseled that “[We] need not try to sing all of the verses of [our] song at the same time” (Faust, J.E., 1986). There is order to all that needs to be done.
            President Gordon B. Hinckley has counseled members of the church to obtain as much education and knowledge as possible. “It is the obligation of every woman of this Church to get all the education she can. It will enlarge her life and increase her opportunities. It will provide her with marketable skills in case she needs them” (Hinckley, G.B., 2006). President Hinckley is constantly reminding us to be prepared for our future. Notice that he states “in case she needs them”. President Hinckley in no way is instructing women to work hard with education and a full-time career as the goal- although there are situations that merit this circumstance. It is important to realize that education does not only mean knowledge gained in a university, college or classroom setting- knowledge may be gained through an assortment of ways.
President Howard W. Hunter also stated that “Motherhood is near to divinity. It is the highest, holiest service to be assumed by mankind” The purpose of our existence on this earth is to become exalted as gods and goddesses in the next life. Should we not strive here and now to become as near to divinity as possible? Many factors affect a couples’ life as they contemplate when to begin bearing and raising children, but the most important component of the decision is being led prayerfully by the Holy Ghost.

Personal Insights
            As a child, I was always blessed to have a full-time mother while my father worked outside the home. My mother was always home upon my arrival from school and work. My father often traveled, but was home occasionally and always helped fulfill household responsibilities. About four years ago, my father was in a car accident which left him permanently disabled. He has since been unable to do many things that he enjoyed previously including sports and more importantly has not been able to maintain a career.
            My mother and father had been married about 23 years at the time of his accident and the youngest child, my sister, was only 8 years old. As stated in The Family: A Proclamation to the World, “disability… may necessitate individual adaptation” which is precisely what occurred in my family (Faust, J.E., Hinckley, G.B. & Monson, T.S 1995). We hoped for a few months that my father would recover quickly and be able to return to at least part-time work and continue providing for our family. However, even to this day he is still not able to work. My mother had obtained a bachelor’s degree in Spanish with a minor in French and had also worked as a teacher during the first few years of my parents’ married life. My mom began looking for a job as soon as we realized that their retirement money and life savings were dwindling quite rapidly.
            Due in large part to my mom’s degree and past experience she was able to attain a job that she enjoys- working as an office assistant for LDS Facilities Management. It has been a huge blessing to us that my mom was able to get a job that she enjoys and that provides the necessary income for the family to survive. My mother’s job probably barely brings in a fourth as much as my father’s job did in the past and they can only make ends meet because my father has private disability insurance which only lasts a few more years. They hope to pay off debt that was incurred in a business fraud just before his accident. After the disability income runs out, hopefully my father will have Social Security disability approved. However, for the time being, my family is able to live well and be self-sufficient and even still have time for the occasional vacation
            With the constant rise of education and knowledge available I realize that my mother was probably lucky to obtain the job she currently possesses- especially as a woman who hadn’t worked in 20 years with only a bachelor’s degree. I realize that opportunities like this are not very common, but I also realize the importance of faith that must be exhibited and maybe that’s where I struggle the most. Occasionally I find myself thinking that I am now obligated to get as much education as possible as quickly as possible just to be “safe”. Sometimes I think to myself that “something bad will happen. I just don’t know what.”
            I will graduate next year with a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology at the age of 20. By the time of my graduation, my husband and I will have been married for almost two years. My husband will still have at least 2 years left of his undergraduate degree and then he plans to obtain both an MBA/JD. I had always planned to obtain a Master’s Degree as a child and teenager, but I never really expected to be married this young or even at all during my undergraduate education.
            While discussing with my husband President Hinckley’s counsel to obtain all the education we can he pointed out that education doesn’t necessarily mean attending a university or college. Education includes the knowledge we gain from reading and participating in various activities and learning new skills. We have been told, “The glory of God is intelligence, or, in other words, light and truth (D&C 93:36).” Many, if not all things, are learned through the spirit and it is this knowledge that we take with us into the next life.
            Children are to be raised in an atmosphere of peace, love and joy- an atmosphere of the gospel- surrounded by those that love and care for them. In order for children to be raised in this kind of atmosphere it is essential that both parents agree and set standards for their home. Families must participate regularly in family home evening, prayer and scripture study starting from the first day of marriage to establish good habits. I strongly believe that a couples’ relationship must be firm (but obviously not perfect) before bringing children into the home. I have witnessed the sorrow and grief that occurs when couples believe that a child will make things better and easier. It is upon a firm foundation as a husband and wife that children are to be raised.
            While I have not necessarily reached a conclusion for myself as to what I will do about graduate school next year, I will continue to trust the Lord and rely upon him for guidance. He knows my situation better than anyone- including myself.

Benson, E.T. (1987, February). To the Mothers in Zion. Retrieved May 18, 2007, from Brigham Young University: Faculty Center for Teaching and Learning:
Clark, J.R. (1965-75). Messages of the First Presidency, 6 vols., Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 6:178. Retrieved May 16, 2007, from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:
Faust, J.E. (1986). A Message to My Granddaughters: Becoming Great Women. Ensign, 16. Retrieved May 12, 2007 from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:
            ““[We] need not try to sing all of the verses of [our] song at the same time” (Faust, J.E., 1986).”
 Faust, J.E., Hinckley, G.B., Monson, T.S. (2004). Birth Control. In True to the Faith: A Gospel Reference. (pp. 26) Salt Lake City, UT: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Faust, J.E., Hinckley, G.B., Monson, T.S. (2005, September). The Family: A Proclamation to the World. Retrieved May 16, 2007, from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:,4945,105-1-11-1,00.html.
Hinckley, G.B. (2006, November). In the Arms of His Love. Ensign, 115-118. Retrieved on May 28, 2007, from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:
Kimball, S.W. (1976, February). Marriage- The Proper Way. New Era, 4. Retrieved on May 28, 2007, from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:

Sunday, January 27, 2013

As an LDS Mother Who Works

I've been trying to get myself to write at least one post on my honest experience thus far working full-time. I've had a million thoughts and things that I thought I should say. Many thoughts were followed by what will they think when they read that? Is that being too honest? Well, that's not true all the time. Maybe I shouldn't say that after all...

I'm going to just try and let it flow out of me. So, you might be offended by my unedited thoughts. So here goes.

Being an LDS working mom sucks. And it is good. I feel so conflicted. I feel like no matter what I will do, I will feel like I'm missing out somewhere. If I were a full-time SAHM, I would feel guilty not using the education I've earned. Plus, I'll be honest here and say I don't think I could ever stay home full-time. My patience is not high enough. I enjoy the fulfillment that comes from working. Working full-time, I feel the guilt of I should be the main nurterer (read: I should be at home). I feel guilty for enjoying a good day at work. I feel like crap for coming home emotionally worn out some days and not being completely present for Aidan and Aaron. Aaron has pointed out this emotional exhaustion on multiple occasions and I have owned up to it. The other day he clearly pointed out "You'd rather spend time cleaning than with your son." And he was right in that moment. It was one of those days. In my mind, I needed to tidy our house before I could even enjoy playing with Aidan. I hate it, but it's true. More guilt. Also, I hate that my house isn't as clean as most moms around here. Dumb, I know. But I honestly worry about it and don't often invite people over because I'm so embarrassed.

So, why did I put "LDS" in there. Within the LDS Culture (different from the doctrine), I feel like I am the "working mom". That's it. I have no depth. I am known because I work full-time. Many of the cultural fun things don't really naturally allow room for women that work. Callings are typically scheduled with meetings during the day (Luckily, the presidency I'm in is awesome. But I do feel some guilt that I'm not available during the day to meet when I know they would prefer to be meeting.) Ward play group and mom's group are during working hours. I go to the Girls Night Outs and feel like the odd duck. All of these moms get to know each other and I have a shot once a month to get to know people. Especially since I'm in Primary on Sundays. Over the summer there were a bunch of women involved in a workout competition. I heard about it from a friend a few weeks in and asked why I didn't hear about it and she just responded, "Because you work. You can't come workout with us." I feel so socially awkward at gatherings. I used to be the one to host play group and mother's group in our old ward. I don't know how accurate my perception of this is and realize that I'm pretty sensitive to it. I don't want to be "the working mom". I am a lot more than that... I think.

I love that I'm using my education. I love the experience I'm getting. I love the patients I work with and seeing them progress. I love that I work at a place where it is 95% female and my boss is a working mom with 2 kids herself so she's very understanding of life. At the same time, there are maybe 3 of us therapists (including my boss) out of the 20ish married with kid(s). It makes it a bit difficult to reach out and connect at work when I don't feel like I can add much to the conversation of who's dating who etc. Plus, if I'm really being honest, I try to get work done as fast as possible to rush home. What's up with that anyway? I go to work, I enjoy it. But in the back of my mind I'm always thinking and trying to get it done as fast as possible to get back home to Aidan and Aaron. It's like I'm never fully present there. Is any mother? Just curious. Then again, is any working father?

I never thought my husband would be a full-time stay at home dad before me. But here we are. I remember as a little girl saying "I want to be a mommy" and admiring my mom for everything that she did. Aaron started full-time SAHDness around November when Police Academy wrapped up. Before that, he was doing school or academy in the evenings. He hasn't quite figured out what the plan is going forward. He still needs to pass a 1.5mile run in the required time and then he can start the second Police block (either this March or next January). He also has about 30 credits of his undergrad left. I wonder if I would feel more or less guilt if he were in a place he was graduated and could be in a career? Would/Will I still work when he's at that point when it's not vital that I provide this income? Is him not being able to work giving me an excuse or an opportunity to work? I can't tell sometimes. Also, I do realize he could provide for us if we really wanted. He'd let me quit in in an instant and go find jobs. I know he's worn out on being home full-time. We both made this decision together... Another story. But very complexly tied into this rant I guess...

I feel like my ability to mother drastically declined as I entered the work-force. My patience has dwindled, my ability to be creative and come up with activities disappeared. I'm totally serious. On evenings and weekends, I think "ummmmmm.... what could we do.....?" And I usually get complete brain farts. Which further solidifies my thought, I suck as a mom. This thought also leads me to think I should never be home full-time. My poor kids would be so bored.... I shouldn't want to explode at them this fast. This thought is also solidified whenever Aidan clearly chooses to be with Aaron over me. Aaron is waaaay more fun and creative. I realize. When Aidan's with me, we tend to do things like wash the dishes together, mop the floors, learning to cook as well as playing with cars and hiding from monsters. Also, I don't think I ever yelled at Aidan or got the kind of reactions I do from him now before I was working. Yup, low patience. I yelled at him- like full-out yelled- about two weeks ago. I can't even remember what it was over, but I feel like poop about it. All that did was give him more attention. The only reason I yelled was because of me being overwhelmed  It didn't help anything in the situation. Dumb. Today, as I carried him out of sacrament meeting to go home and take the nap he clearly needed he pulled my hair and swatted my face and body yelling and crying at me. We got home and he started finding things to throw at me and throw all over the ground. I'm sure some kids do this at some point, but Aidan doing it to me makes me feel like crap. And sometimes during these tantrums, it is only Aaron that can get him to calm down. Isn't it me as the mom that should be able to calm my toddler during his meltdown? I want to be able to calm my son. I miss the days when I could calm him over anything. Yup, those days when I could just take him in my arms and he'd be quiet and still and I secretly thought in my head muah ha ha! Yesss!. And again, I don't know if it's because I work and am not around as much that I can't comfort him like I used to, but I blame that at least in part. It's good that Aaron can experience being the comforter, but I'm jealous and disappointed in myself- probably how Aaron felt the first 18 months of his life.

I'm terrified for the birth of this second child. I want to be thrilled and excited, but it seems like working is just this huge barrier. I don't want to get too attached even though I do. I don't even know if that makes sense. Like I said, the "original" plan was that Aaron would be done with all Police Academy Training in May just in time for me to have our baby. It would have allowed me to take Maternity and then just go back very part-time (my dream). But, I'm now looking at going back full-time after Maternity Leave because we need the benefits and Aaron most likely won't be done and able to get a good full-time job with benefits at that point. 1) I don't like when things don't go as planned. 2) I'm so sick of us being in school 3) I totally realize that Aaron probably feels more anxiety and worry than me in regard to his schooling and career. With Aidan, I was in school full-time, but I think I was only gone about 15-20 hours a week maximum for the first 18 months of his life. With this baby, I will be home full-time for 3 months (which is pretty dang cool. I didn't even have that with Aidan), but then I'll be back to work 32 hours/week. And work is now 15 minutes away instead of 3 like it was with Aidan. I want to breastfeed. I want to be there for her first time lifting her head and her first time rolling and her first time crawling and all of her other firsts. This is going to be my baby girl. My first daughter. And I won't get to be there for all of it. And here goes the waterworks...

In writing all of this, I realize I may sound very entitled and snobbish. I know I have been blessed immensely, but I also have some honest struggles within myself. This is where I guess the true pessimist comes out? I got to go to a great school and I had a supportive husband all the way through. I received a great education. I have had great peers and mentors. I wanted to move out of Provo and student-life and I was blessed with a job that allowed us to move. I have a job I love with good benefits. I have great coworkers. I can do fun things with my kids. I can choose my work hours so I'm usually home by 3 in the afternoon instead of 5 or 5:30 or later like most. I have a husband willing to stay home with 1 (and soon 2) kids. I don't have to pay for daycare. My house may not (ever) be clean, but it's a nice house in a nice neighborhood. I still have people at church and in my neighborhood that I can get to know. I know that someday I will have the option of how much and where to work. I'm just being impatient and struggling at times right now and I just have to admit it is hard. I'm grateful for the friends I have that I can be honest with. It's also been nice to be able to talk to my mom who has been working full-time since my dad was disabled so I don't feel so alone and messed up. It'll be interesting to see what the future holds for our family.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

BMI for a Two-Year Old?

Today I went in for an appointment and met with a dietitian as part of it. They weighed me and weighed Aidan and got our heights etc. She told me Aidan is in the 40th %tile for height and the 80th %tile for weight. She then proceeded to tell me that this put him in the 90th percentile for his BMI. I was thinking it was a bit odd they were using BMI, but continued to listen. I guess the AAP and CDC has endorsed this starting at age 2, but let's remember that they also say that doctors should use further assessments to see if excess fat is actually a problem (per here).

She then continued to tell me that I should watch out for Aidan because he could be on track to become obese. I was very polite in the moment, but in my head I was thinking, Heck no, woman! My child is only two and he looks and seems very healthy. And I can see this kid's ribs! I'm always worried that he doesn't have enough meat on his bones. Plus, I believe in intuitive eating and that kids are expert intuitive eaters. Plus, he runs around allllll the time. Plus, his primary doctor thinks he's doing well so I'll take his word over yours. Yeah, I totally over-reacted in my head, but even now it's still sticking with me. I think it's wise that we make sure our kids develop healthy habits while they're young and we do have an obesity epidemic in the US.

It was a very interesting experience for me. It totally caught me off guard. Completely. I never think of him as an overweight or hefty toddler at all. I think we're going to switch him to skim or 1% milk now and try to be a bit more mindful and make sure we offer him a wide variety of foods, regular meal times etc.

Has anybody else had an experience like this?