Saturday, September 2, 2017

What I've been up to...

Happy Saturday afternoon, everyone! Can you believe it's already September?! I can't! Every summer month of 2017 felt like it ended after two weeks—and I didn't like it! Ha ha.

Before school began, I sincerely wished I had at least 21 more days with my babies at home (when they weren't with their friends), but my wish wasn't granted. #sosadface! My three darlings went back to school 10 days ago, and I've been in denial ever since. I just wish they could stay home with Greg and me forever, but that's not going to happen. That said, I'm utterly grateful for the excellent schools they attend—in one of the best school districts in Utah! We are so blessed to live where we have access to such great education!

So, what I've been up to these past few months is varied...yet the same. I'm sure I sound like many other stay-at-home moms during their summer vacations. My little family and I greatly enjoyed our summer break! We loved staying up late and sleeping in! We loved not having a schedule that we had to stick to! Well, I was teaching piano every weekday, so I wasn't completely off the hook, but our summer days were pretty darn awesome!

We didn't do a whole lot of adventuring, but we did get to go on an extended family vacation (thanks to my generous mom) to the incomparable Sun Valley, Idaho! 🌞 It was a (mostly) marvelous experience, but there were a few instances where I struggled with the sometimes lack of communication between my extended family members and me.

Yet isn't that always how family vacations go?! 😄 Don't we all have these grand ideas about how our vacations will be sheer familial bliss? Yet when reality hits, we remember that everyone is imperfect with their deeply-held likes, dislikes, and opinions?! Yes, that is exactly how family life is miraculous: we all somehow come together, despite our differences that are as vast as the seven seas!

I've also been a piano-lessons-teaching machine! It shocks me to write that I'm now teaching piano to 24 students(!)—including my daughter! Yay! My youngest son is taking a break from piano, but he should be back to it shortly. So I guess I'll be teaching 25 students(!) very soon!

Yes, piano lessons are keeping me very busy. Even though I "only" teach piano for two-and-a-half hours a day, Mondays through Thursdays, one-and-a-half hours on Fridays, and a half-hour on Saturdays, I am totally wiped out when I finish teaching! It's definitely a tiring endeavour as I have to be on-my-game 100% of the time! Yesterday when I was so utterly exhausted after a long week, I mistook an "e" half note for a "d" half note and incorrectly told my student what to play! Yeah, I had to quickly correct my mistake, and my student probably thought I was nuts! 😆

I've also been trying my best to keep up with my growing children. If I'm not shopping for their food, I'm shopping for their clothes, or shoes, or school supplies, or, or, or...the list goes on and on! Interestingly (and going along with the theme of my growing children), my little family is at the point where Greg and I don't really have to help out very much with homework anymore! We'll still have random projects where our kids will ask us a question, but for the most part (in terms of homework) they're fully self-sufficient! It's a strange feeling, for sure!

Paying our endless bills seems to take up a good chunk of my time, too. Each time I think, Oh, yay! I don't have any bills to pay!, something unexpected will pop up—every time! Ha ha. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love paying bills, but it's just time consuming to make sure Greg and I are current on everything.

I'll never stop being grateful for my first fully real/grownup job in a finance department! I learned so much from my time there! I learned about creating Excel spreadsheets to keep track of bills and purchase orders, and creating budgets, and allocating money to/from cost centers. There's more, but I won't bore you. 😉

I'm also grateful to my parents for helping me see that we should try our very best not to use credit cards unless we can pay them off immediately that next month when the bill is due. Greg and I don't always perfectly follow that advice because we've had legitimate emergencies in the past where there was truly no other option other than to charge our credit card. But we always try our very best to get our credit card balances back to zero as soon as humanly possible. I don't think we've ever carried a credit card balance longer than six or seven months (at the very most), most are paid off the month they're due, or within two months.

But I digress...

I've posted fairly frequently on Instagram this summer, but it's a pretty tiny snapshot of my life compared to everything that goes on. Yes, Instagram is still one of my happiest of happy places ever! I absolutely love Instagram! I'm sooo grateful for the connections I've made there, and for the beautiful pictures I get to see. I get inspired by my Instagram peeps every single day! 😁

I've also been able to workout a lot more lately than I have in the past year! Yayayayayayayay! Fankle still gives me painful grief, but I'm continually working through it. I'm progressing ever-so-slowly every day, and that's what matters!

I'm so excited because I implemented a new laundry system at my house this past week! I'm seriously jumping for joy at my new inspiration! So, for nearly twenty years (next week!), I've been the laundry queen of the Peterson household. You see, not only do I love serving my little family, I'm also very picky about the way our laundry is done. I won't settle for anything less than very clean, great smelling, nicely folded clothes! Yet my desires for a well-dressed family has taken a huge toll on my free time—i.e., no time for blogging! 😢 I've spent quite a bit of time each week doing laundry.

With the addition of so many new piano students—and still trying to keep up with everything a mother and wife needs/wants to do, I was feeling the time crunch worse than I have in years! And yet our family totally needs the income I receive from teaching piano lessons—it's truly not an option for me to quit...unless we want to downsize and move again, which will not happen! We are here to stay! (Unless something randomly "hits" us out of the blue...)

Thus, I decided to stop my laundry insanity and quit being such a sweet laundry lady for my family. The good news is, I have zero guilt about it, so I know it's the right thing to do! Ha ha. My husband and children aren't thrilled with my new system, but they know they totally hit the jackpot with me doing their laundry for 19+ years, so they didn't complain when I gave up my crown! 👑 Hahaha. Greg helped out with our family's laundry many times over the years, but my persnickety-ness mainly kept him away (I don't think he minded!)...until now! 😆

I bought a few extra square laundry baskets from Walmart to make this system work. I wrote my family members' names on 4x6 blank note cards and taped them with strong packing tape on the laundry baskets—under the handle areas.

Each of my family members now have two big laundry baskets—one for whites and one for lights/darks. I've situated the laundry baskets on and under my laundry table in the basement for easy access.

I still separate and wash all of my family's laundry because I know the best settings to use on our washer and dryer—plus, we need to wash/dry full loads to save energy.

Once our laundry is dry, I separate it into each of my family member's baskets. If I easily see two socks that match, I'll pair them up, but otherwise, I try to divide/separate our clean laundry as quickly as I can into the appropriate baskets!

Obviously, I fold my own laundry and all the household linens, and put them away. But for the rest of my little family, they're on their own!

I can't describe how liberating(!) it is to not have to worry about folding all of my family's laundry anymore! I've cut my laundry time significantly! Yay yay! Happy day!

I've told my family it's their choice what they choose to do with their laundry. I make sure everyone's clothes are clean (As long as their clothes are in the hamper they'll get cleaned; if they're on the floor, they'll stay dirty until they're put in the hamper!), but they know they have to put everything away themselves.

It's been interesting to see who decides to fold their laundry and put it away, vs. who likes to keep their laundry in a basket and hastily hunt through it in the morning—or at night when they're ready to take a shower! Ha ha. I just laugh to myself and joyously think, "It's not my problem! I've done my job so I can rest easy!"

Just as a reminder, I very happily chose to fold and put away my family's laundry for all those years—no one forced me to do it. I'm sure I could have implemented a less-time-consuming system years ago, but I chose not to. I'm also very happy with my decision to quit providing that laundry folding/putting-away service!

Lastly, I've been listening to and watching so many great talks, speeches, articles, and podcasts while working around my house, and I shared them on Pinterest! So if you want to check out the amazing speakers and uplifting subjects I've enjoyed, check out my Pinterest page! *And please remember that I don't receive any sort of kickback or payment from you visiting my page—I'm not sending you there for any reason other than I want to share all of the goodness I've found! #fulldisclosure! 😀 I spent quite a bit of time pinning today because I felt all of it was soooo important! Thus, it would make me super duper really happy if someone out there benefited from my sharing! 😁

With that, I must end my blogging for today. I hope all of you readers are enjoying this glorious weekend! Now, go hug your loved ones and tell them how much you love them, and how important they are to you!

P.S. I'm totally praying for Houston. I have been utterly shocked at the devastation people are enduring there. I can't even imagine how deeply their hearts are hurting! 💔 My heart so goes out to all of them! 💖 That said, I absolutely love what my church and its members are doing to help out—we truly love serving and helping our brothers and sisters! 💛


Thursday, August 3, 2017

I Love My Blog!

The other night, I clicked on a link inside a Google Domains email I received. Google wanted to confirm and/or update my blog's contact information. While nothing has changed in that area, I wanted to check and see what info they had for me, and I wanted to make sure it was all private. Thankfully, everything is in check—my blog looks great and is good to go!

Before I left Google Domains, I looked at how long my Enthusiastic Fantastic domain is good for—i.e., how long I've paid to keep and run my own website. I was happy to see that my blog is paid up through October, 2020. I thought, "Wow, I still remember when I switched from Go Daddy over to Google Domains, which didn't seem very long ago!" Yet, if I remember right, it's been two entire years since I made the switch! I cannot believe how time has flown by!

I also debated whether to pay to extend my website for a few more years. Yet because my family's budget is tight at the moment, I decided to wait for a while to extend my blog. Oh, who am I kidding? My budget has been tight for the past 19+ years! 😆

As I thought about Enthusiastic Fantastic and all that it means to me, I realized I've not given it the time and attention it deserves. Not to mention, I really want to spend more time here! I love my blog! Yet my lack of posting on a regular basis indicates otherwise.

So why the procrastination of putting thoughts to keyboard? Well, it's because my life is busy (not a good excuse) and there are a million ways to spend my minutes (a better excuse)! I think my lack of posting also comes from a subconscious worry that I won't have time to create my posts in the way I so deeply desire—so if I don't start them, I won't be frustrated when I literally don't have time to finish them. That personality trait of mine is also why I never joined the scrapbooking craze of the early 2000's. (Which, by the way, I don't regret in the least! I have all the essential photos of my children's lives—they're just not cleverly put together on a scrapbook page!)

But let's revisit the money it costs to run Enthusiastic Fantastic. When I really think about all that goes into this website, it's not an inexpensive hobby. Yes, I only technically pay $12/year for my spot on the www, but I don't make any money from blogging, either. And in terms of my hours spent writing, creating typographic designs, and posting (here and on other social media sites), well, Enthusiastic Fantastic is definitely an expensive little spot on the web for me! Remember, time is money!

All of that said, againI love my blog! I love writing! I love creating! I love leaving my thoughts for my posterity! Whether those wonderful future people will enjoy my thoughts remains to be seen. 😄

Will everyone in today's technological society be seen as annoying to future technology users—simply due to the fact that there's an overwhelming amount of information to sift through? While I like to think that my great-great-great grandchildren would be thrilled to read of their third great grandmother's life and thoughts, the fact is, they just might not! Ha ha.

But even if no one finds my blog to be helpful or exciting, I still really love blogging! I want to put more of my time here. I am going to create more space in my life schedule to contribute to Enthusiastic Fantastic more frequently!

And with that, I'm signing off to start writing my next post! Funny thing is, I've been writing it in my head for months now, so it's high time I get crackin'! 😁

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Daughters of God—Be a Force for Good!

On March 12th, 2017, I taught my ward's Relief Society lesson, "Daughters of God." Unfortunately, I was unable to give my entire lesson because our opening exercises—with our ward's darling young women in attendance—ran extremely long.

Normally, I wouldn't care in the least that I had less time to present my RS lesson, but this was a very special lesson that was jam-packed with goodness in every section! Because of our lesson's phenomenal nature, and my desire to share all of its amazingness, I'd spent a lot of time preparing it. To say I was seriously bummed that I wasn't able to share everything I had prepared would be an understatement! 😢

I find it super interesting that "Daughters of God" is one of the longest RS lessons I've seen in 2017—so I was sort of "doomed" from the beginning 😉. In my defense, I didn't realize just how long it truly was until I began preparing my next RS lesson, "The Whisperings of the Spirit," that I taught in April!

Yet how could I not share such wonderful thoughts and heavenly principles with my dear ward sisters?! I had oodles of information to present, and I really wanted to hear what my lovely ward sisters had to say!

Because I was so disheartened that my RS lesson didn't go as planned, I decided to turn my heartache into something better! 😀 I'm so happy to finally be sharing my thoughts about the wonderful Daughters of God lesson right here on my blog! Yay!

Not only do I feel better in finally sharing everything I prepared for my lesson, but I would absolutely love it if someone here in Internetland finds my post helpful! 💕 The funniest thing is, I actually began writing this blog post clear back in March(!), but the months dashed away from me like a scene from "The Incredibles"! Hey, better late than never!

Daughters of God

Let's start by reading part of the introduction on page 95:
"Throughout his life, Gordon B. Hinckley expressed appreciation for the abilities and contributions of women. He also expressed his strong witness of the importance of women in God’s eternal plan. He delighted in women’s increasing opportunities, as well as in their faith in the Savior and their devotion to their families and the Church."
I can so attest to this wonderful truth about President Hinckley! He was always sincerely praising and honoring women. He made sure all women felt unending and unconditional love from Church leadership!

I loved reading about Gordon B. Hinckley’s sweet mother, Ada (introduction, page 95). She was bright; educated; loved literature, music and art; raised eight of her husband’s children and five of her own(!); learned to manage a large household; had a tremendous influence on Gordon, and was a force for good throughout President Hinckley’s life 😊 I'm truly in awe of Ada Hinckley. Certainly her accomplishments are impressive, but what sticks with me most is the impact she had on President Hinckley. Because of Awesome Ada, millions of people throughout this entire world were and are positively affected for the best through her son, Gordon B.!

Gordon B. Hinckley’s wife, Marjorie (introduction; page 95), was a very strong woman devoted to the gospel of Jesus Christ. She had extraordinary faith and a cheerful disposition. Marjorie loved life, was quick witted, and very wise. She was a voracious reader and an intense seeker of knowledge. Best of all, Marjorie was down-to-earth—she connected well with everyone, yet she was confident, alert and refreshing throughout her life! 😊

I love these paragraphs from section 1 (pg. 96–97):
"Each of you is a daughter of God. Reflect on all the wondrous meaning of that one paramount fact. 
"If you live up to your privileges, the angels cannot be restrained from being your associates. 
"You are very precious, each of you. ... You occupy a high and sacred place in the eternal plan of God, our Father in Heaven. You are His daughters, precious to Him, loved by Him, and very important to Him. His grand design cannot succeed without you. 
"Let me say to you sisters that you do not hold a second place in our Father’s plan for the eternal happiness and well-being of His children. You are an absolutely essential part of that plan. Without you the plan could not function. Without you the entire program would be frustrated."
During my RS lesson, I wanted to ask many questions, but I was only able to get to a few of them. I didn't personally answer all of those wonderful questions here in my blog post, but I'm sharing them anyway. I hope we ladies will contemplate these questions to help remind ourselves of our great worth and importance!

Question: Why is it important for us to understand the "high and sacred place" of women in God’s eternal plan?

Question (section 2; pg. 97): Let’s review the Lord’s advice to Emma Smith found in D&C 25: 1–16. What can we learn from those verses about being an elect lady (ourselves)?

Here's what I came up with after studying D&C 25. These points are my opinion, not Church doctrine—each of these points are separated out by the corresponding verse:
1. Listen to the Lord; if we receive the Lord’s words, we’ll be sons and daughters in His kingdom.
2. Be faithful and walk in the paths of virtue; if we do those things, we’ll be preserved and receive an inheritance in Zion.
3. Our sins can be forgiven; we can all be elect ladies.
4. Don’t murmur about the Lord regarding things we haven’t seen or don’t understand; everything will be revealed eventually.
5. Support our husbands (if we’re married); speak kind words; be humble.
6. *This wasn’t written in the verse, these are just my thoughts: we should write about our marriages and our family history.
7. Read/learn from the scriptures; share what we learn at church—as we are inspired by the Holy Ghost.
8. Utilize the gift of the Holy Ghost; we should spend much of our time writing and learning things of the gospel and about the world.
9. Don’t ever feel undervalued in The Church; our husbands and other priesthood brethren support us; have faith.
10. Don’t be hyper-focused on worldly issues; seek the best things in life that enhance our spiritual progression; I believe Luke 10:38–42 goes perfectly with this verse:
38 ¶Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house. 
39 And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word. 
40 But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me. 
41 And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: 
42 But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.
11. We don’t have to write hymns, but we should use our musical abilities and share our talents.
12. We should sing uplifting spiritual music—we’ll be blessed when we do.
13. Be happy; look at the bright side of life; keep the covenants we’ve made.
14. Be humble; don’t be prideful; delight in our husbands; be close with our husbands; support our husbands; The following isn’t in the scripture—they’re my thoughts: If you don’t have a husband yet, live your life worthily so you’ll be ready for celestial marriage when the opportunity presents itself—which could be in this life, or in the world to come…remember, the Lord keeps his promises!
15. Keep the Lord’s commandments; if we keep the commandments, we’ll receive a crown of righteousness (We’re daughters of a king!); we’ll also be able to be with our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ again one day.
16. The Lord's voice is for all sisters, not just Emma.
Question: What aspects of the Lord’s counsel to Emma Smith are especially helpful to you?

I love all of those recommendations—every single one of them are helpful to me! It's like the perfect recipe for a successful, happy life!

Question (section 3; pg. 99–101): What are your impressions as you read President Hinckley’s following counsel to mothers? (I totally enlarged all of the text because it deserves to be emphasized! 😊)
"The true strength of any nation, society, or family lies in those qualities of character that have been acquired for the most part by children taught in the quiet, simple everyday manner of mothers. 
"It is the home which produces the nursery stock of new generations. I hope that you mothers will realize that when all is said and done, you have no more compelling responsibility, nor any laden with greater rewards, than the nurture you give your children in an environment of security, peace, companionship, love, and motivation to grow and do well. 
"I remind mothers everywhere of the sanctity of your calling. No other can adequately take your place. No responsibility is greater, no obligation more binding than that you rear in love and peace and integrity those whom you have brought into the world. 
"Rear your children in light and truth. Teach them to pray while they are young. Read to them from the scriptures even though they may not understand all that you read. Teach them to pay their tithes and offerings on the first money they ever receive. Let this practice become a habit in their lives. Teach your sons to honor womanhood. Teach your daughters to walk in virtue. Accept responsibility in the Church, and trust in the Lord to make you equal to any call you may receive. Your example will set a pattern for your children. 
"God bless you, mothers! When all the victories and defeats of men’s efforts are tallied, when the dust of life’s battles begins to settle, when all for which we labor so hard in this world of conquest fades before our eyes, you will be there, you must be there, as the strength for a new generation, the ever-improving onward movement of the race. Its quality will depend on you."
Isn't President Hinckley's advice amazing?! I love his words so much! He's such a happy, inspiring guy! 😀

Question: For parents, why is "no obligation more binding" than rearing their children "in love and peace and integrity"?

For me, the answer is obvious. Parents have been given the ultimate responsibility in the creation of the bodies and the raising of Heavenly Father's children! He's literally allowing us to act in place of Him! Thus, we must do our very best to accomplish His heavenly goals for His children...our children! Oh, how grateful I am to have been given the heavenly opportunity of being a mother! Children are a most wonderful gift! 💛💙💚💜

Question: We have all seen marvelous examples of women in the Church with "strength and great capacity." What are some ways that we women can help bring to pass "the immortality and the eternal life of all of the sons and daughters of God"?

To help answer that, let's read from section 4, page 101:
"God has given the women of this church a work to do in building his kingdom. That concerns all aspects of our great triad of responsibility—which is, first, to teach the gospel to the world; second, to strengthen the faith and build the happiness of the membership of the Church; and, third, to carry forward the great work of salvation for the dead."
To go along with that, I found this great quote while researching Susan Easton Black Durrant. (She spoke at my stake's 2017 Women's Conference, and I wanted to find out more about her.) Susan said,
"Many people leave the Church because they have so many questions, but we have stayed because we have received so many answers."
Amen, sister! I couldn't agree more with you! We must stay and help build God's kingdom!

Continuing on, let's read some more of President Hinckley's fabulous words (section 4; pg. 101): {Isn't this fun?! 😁}
"Women in the Church are associates with their brethren in carrying forward this mighty work of the Lord. 
"We expect leadership, and strength, and impressive results from your management of the organizations for which you are responsible. We uphold and sustain you as daughters of God, working in a great partnership to assist him in bringing to pass the immortality and the eternal life of all of the sons and daughters of God."
Question: Why is it important that men and women work together to move the Lord’s work forward?

As I've said many times before, I believe men and women need each other. Men are not better than women! Women are not better than men! We are supposed to work side by side with each other because we each bring something important and different to the table. 😊 The Lord needs all of us to help be his "hands" here on Earth!

I read the other day about a great, new scientific discovery: Stars are born in pairs!  Interestingly, when stars are created they aren't identical to each other, but they're definitely companions! Just like each amazing star in the heavens is created with a companion star, men and women are created to have a companion—and it all started with Adam and Eve! Heavenly stars and Heavenly Father's children are not meant to be alone! 🌟⭐

Yes, men and women are meant to influence each others' lives for the better!

Moving right along, let's read the following (section 5; pg. 101–102):
"The women of the Relief Society are literally encircled eternally in the arms of our Lord. In my judgment, this is the greatest women’s organization in all the world... 
"Who, even in the wildest stretch of imagination, can fathom the uncountable acts of charity that have been performed, the food that has been put on barren tables, the faith that has been nurtured in desperate hours of illness, the wounds that have been bound up, the pains that have been ameliorated by loving hands and quiet and reassuring words, the comfort that has been extended in times of death and consequent loneliness?"
For those of you who are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, ponder to yourselves: What blessings have come to you from the efforts of Relief Society sisters, including those who are serving in Young Women and Primary?

For those of you who aren't members of the LDS Church, I highly recommend looking into the benefits that Relief Society can bring to your life! 😇

For me, the Relief Society has been my anchor ⚓ throughout my adult life. Every move my family and I made to a different city was made easier by my association with wonderful Relief Society sisters! No one is perfect, but the sisters of the Relief Society truly and continually try to help others in Christlike ways! 💛 I am grateful for my membership in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and my subsequent access to the Relief Society!

Question: How can we each strengthen the Relief Society in our own wards?

Here are some ideas found in section 6 (pg. 103–104):
"No one can calculate the tremendous force for good that you can become. 
"I feel to invite women everywhere to rise to the great potential within you. I do not ask that you reach beyond your capacity. I hope you will not nag yourselves with thoughts of failure. I hope you will not try to set goals far beyond your capacity to achieve. I hope you will simply do what you can do in the best way you know. If you do so, you will witness miracles come to pass."
I love how President Hinckley clarifies that we sisters are not supposed to sacrifice ourselves to the point of destruction. Yes, there's a fine line between doing enough and overdoing it. We must be aware of our human limitations, but we be must also be willing to push just a little further to improve in tiny increments! 😀

In "Preach My Gospel," there's a wonderful section that helps us identify if we are doing "enough":
"You can feel certain that the Lord is pleased when you feel the Spirit working through you." (The Spirit is also called the Holy Ghost.)
Isn't that idea so beautiful?! It's the perfect way to gauge our efforts! (I didn't include that part in my lesson because I just found it today. Oh, how I love finding new gems of jewels!)

Questions: How can we gain a better vision of what God sees our potential to be? How can we progress toward reaching our potential?

Obviously, those questions will be answered differently by everyone. For me, the way I learn more about myself and what Heavenly Father knows I can become is by searching and seeking. I'm constantly reaching out to our Heavenly Father through prayer, scripture study, endlessly researching gospel topics, going to church every Sunday, serving others, attending the temple, etc.

The way I progress toward reaching my eternal potential is, first, by having endless faith that Heavenly Father loves me(!), that He will answer me (eventually!), and that He will help me every step of the way!

Secondly, I never, ever give up! Even when I make mistakes or sin, I never stop striving to become what our Heavenly Father knows I can be/achieve. I always try to think of and thank our Savior for the marvelous opportunity He has provided for me to be connected to heaven!

If I ever start feeling down about myself, I pray pray pray! 😀 Then I listen for inspiration/revelation from the Holy Ghost, and I act on what He tells me.

Now I'd like to share a little homework assignment! 😁

Susan Easton Black Durrant spoke at my stake's Women’s Conference about wonderful, prominent LDS women who did extraordinary things in their lives. It really was amazing to hear of those phenomenal women's contributions. While the majority of us will never become "prominent Mormons" in terms of the public spotlight, that doesn’t mean we can’t be prominent to our families, or the people in our communities! 😊

*By the way, I searched on LDS.org about the current membership numbers of the Church. As of March, 2017, MormonNewsroom.org showed that The Church has 15,634,199 members throughout the world. When I did a Google search about the number of prominent Mormons, the biggest website I could find listed 857 members of The Church on it. So, our chances of becoming "prominent Mormons" are a measly .00006%! That's quite the statistic! The good news is, each of us have at least a 50% chance of being important to our families! Of course, that all depends on what we choose to do with our lives! 😉

Thus, I want all of us to ponder President Hinckley’s statement and think about when we have seen examples of the "marvelous … power of women of faith." What can we learn from those great women that will help us in our own lives?

Let’s all take the opportunity to write in our journals—or a blog (Yay! #EnthusiasticFantastic! 😄), or some other form of social media—about the kind of women we want to become. Let’s really evaluate ourselves with an honest heart (our strengths and weaknesses) and set realistic goals to achieve our desired potential—as well as our heavenly potential!

At the end of my lesson, I handed out this 3.75 x 3.75 card to all of my ward sisters to help remind us of our great potential and capacity! (I created it in black and white because my printer is a basic laser printer, and I wasn't really planning on sharing it here on my blog! Ha ha.) It makes me happy every time I read it!



Well, friends, we've finally made it to the end of my lesson! It feels great having shared it with all of you(!)—especially since I was just recently released from being a Relief Society teacher. I was immediately called to be a Sunday school teacher (there are two teachers; we alternate teaching every other Sunday) for the 12–13 year-olds in my ward.

I'm truly excited for this new opportunity(!) as I've never been a Sunday school teacher before! I'm fully prepared and ready to teach my first lesson tomorrow—which feels great! Let's just hope my 12-year-old son is okay with me teaching his class! 😂 #sayalittleprayerforme! 😊

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Just Checking In!

Hello! 😁 Good morning! How are you?!

No, I didn't die and I didn't have anything tragic happen to me! 😄 Yes, I'm still here! As I've said before—and like most of you—I'm just a super busy lady with not enough hours in my days to blog in the way I desire! (Actually, if I really think about it, there are enough hours—I just want more of them! Three extra hours a day would be really nice!) I simply have many other things I've been spending my time on.

Thankfully, I can see the light at the end of my endlessly busy tunnel! Yay! My kids' school year is almost complete and I want to shout "Hooray!" every single day! I cannot wait for summer and all of the blogging fun it promises! (At least I dearly hope I'll be able to blog more!)

And with that, my blogging minutes are over. I hope to be back writing again very soon—I love it soooo much! Wish me luck! 🍀 😀

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Just Do It! Dump Facebook! :)

Two days ago, I read Lauren Field's troubling article, "Should we fear the future of Facebook?", in the In Depth section of the Deseret News. Even though its subject is worrisome, I feel very strongly that everyone should read it and share it with their peeps!

After I finished the article, my mind instantly went to the family of my birth (and their spouses)—more than half of them are still active on Facebook. I composed an email to my peeps that included the article listed above and sent it right off.

I won't bore you with my entire email, but this is the first sentence I sent to my beloved Fam, "I just read this article about Fakebook and I'm convinced yet again that Facebook is NOT good for any of us!" I strongly encouraged my family members to read the article and delete their Facebook accounts!

Thus, I was super happy (and genuinely surprised!) to receive an email yesterday morning from my wonderful sister-in-law. She's been wanting delete her Facebook account for a while now, but kept hanging onto it for little reasons. Happily, she said the article I shared is what convinced her to finally "dump Facebook"! Yay yay happy day! Now I just need to get the rest of my extended family to break up with Facebook, too! Ha ha.

Don't worry, I'm not too pesky about trying to get them off of Facebook. I fully understand that everyone gets to choose how they live their lives. That said, I wonder if I might persuade some of you in the world wide web to dump Facebook, too? 😇

What really bothers me about Facebook's status these days (ha!) is that the company and its influence has grown much bigger, I think, than anyone ever planned on. I believe it's so big, in fact, that there are problem accounts/groups on Facebook that aren't being monitored properly. I don't think Facebook has the employee power or resources to handle the vastness that it's helped create in our www—not to mention the fallout that happens to its users in real life! And the fake news that engulfed Facebook users during the United States Presidential Election is downright scary!

Yes, I worry about a company that has that much access to its customers' personal lives. I totally worry about the tornado vacuums and virtual reality bubbles that Facebook has created in our society. That sounds extreme, but I believe Facebook's "social experiment" is far from over!

In fact, whenever I think of Mark Zuckerberg, my mind instantly goes to the cartoon, "Pinky and the Brain"—and Mr. Zuckerberg is Brain, just waiting to take over the world! Ha ha. For a fun visual, see this YouTube video: Pinky and the Brain intro.

Now I wouldn't necessarily call Mark Zuckerberg a literal genius, but he has accomplished what no one else could do—and on such a grand scale. So I give him props for that. But his great accomplishment certainly doesn't make me want to sign away my privacy and free time to him, that's for darn sure!

I realized that it's been two years to the day since I quit Facebook! (And I so did not plan my post this way! 😁)  As I look back over those two years, I'm amazed at how ecstatic I truly am—and continually feel(!)—that I dumped Facebook! Leaving Facebook behind really is one of the best social media decisions I've ever made! 😀

Of course I've found other ways to spend my social media time since leaving Facebook, but overall, I have a lot more free time! My brain is absolutely less cluttered—which means I have more time for researching other things I'm interested in or passionate about. My soul is so much less annoyed! I can honestly say that I'm a better person for having shunned Facebook! Yay me! 😄

If you're not yet tired of this subject, feel free to read more of my thoughts about Facebook and why I ended up leaving it—my previous posts are in chronological order:




I could go on and on about the dangers I see in Facebook (like I did to Greg yesterday morning!), but I'll refrain. Suffice it to say, I'm so happy I use Instagram and my blog to keep up with my friends and family! As I've said many times before, I wish everyone would write a blog! And I still deeply feel that way!

Yesterday, I watched an interesting TED Talk about blogging—clear back from 2006! While our social media society has drastically changed since then, the speaker's point—that everyone should be blogging about their lives—is as important today as it was 11 years ago! I totally agree with Mena Trott! Here's her talk if you're interested: "Meet the founder of the blog revolution."

Then, last night after dinner, I started watching the new documentary, "Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise" via our Roku's PBS channel. I was only about 15 minutes into it when I felt strongly that I needed to finish this creating this post instead.

But before I started writing again, I looked at the list of literary works Ms. Angelou created over her lifetime. I was impressed—okay, blown away!—to see all of her accomplishments! Yet in that very same moment, I felt the fire within me roar even stronger that everyone needs to be writing (i.e., blogging! 😍) about their lives as much as possible! Obviously, we shouldn't blog to the point of becoming unbalanced in our lives—we need moderation in all things, but each and every single one of us should absolutely be writing about our lives on a consistent basis.

In the end, I'll let my favorite hashtag of the day have some time in the Enthusiastic Fantastic spotlight. 😊 Yes, I'm all about the #neverfacebook movement! I thought I created that awesome hashtag, but according to Twitter, it's already been used to complain about Facebook many times! Ha ha. I hope you'll join me in my #neverfacebook "mission" and spread the word!


P.S. I had a lot of fun creating this typographic design!


*Update: 08/03/17:
To further support my ideas in this post, please watch this fascinating TED Talk, "The manipulative tricks tech companies use to capture your attention," by Tristan Harris. It will blow your mind! And then it will make you decide to take back your life and own your brain's attention! We all must fight being "controlled" by big tech companies!! #notgonnadoit! 😂

*Update: 09/28/17:
With all that is going on with Facebook in the news these days, here's another article that raises the alarm bells about Facebook.  Fakebook is not good for our world!

"Facebook’s Frankenstein Moment," by Kevin Roose of the New York Times.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Fankle Recovery, Month Seven

(This is my seventh post in My Fankle Journey.)

Wow, I can't believe it's actually been seven full months since my posterior tibial tendon surgery (August 3rd, 2016)! When I began my Fankle journey, I honestly never thought my recovery would take this long! And yet here I am, still quite in the middle of my ankle-surgery recovery. So, I thought I'd give a little bit of an update as to where Fankle stands today! 😉

I still have stiffness and some degree of pain in my Fankle every morning when I wake up. It doesn't seem to matter what I've done the day before, I'm still always aware that Fankle exists. I can stretch and stretch my calf and ankle until I feel I'm going to scream from the tediousness of it all (#mytedioustendon! ha ha), and finally feel better for a little while, but it never lasts long. I'll excitedly think, "Hey! Maybe I am improving! Maybe I'll feel significantly better tomorrow!" But sadly, I wake up the very next morning with my familiar ankle stiffness/pain in tow. It's very disheartening and beyond frustrating.

I've had a few blessed days over the past seven months where I didn't have pain (just an awareness that Fankle exists), but they didn't last. 😢 I've tried to figure out any sort of pattern as to what I did differently that made my pain disappear during those minuscule days, but for the life of me, I can't see any regularity in my behavior that constitutes a pain-free, non-tight Fankle.

I wear supportive athletic shoes with good arch supports about 80% of the time; I've stretched Fankle until the cows come home; I've iced my way through untold on-demand TV episodes; I've worn high heels once in a while to give my tendon a break (Because I have high arches, high heels are truly such a nice break{!}, which I know sounds a little nutty, but it's true!); I've massaged my ankle for unbelievably lengthy periods of time; I've taken super hot showers; I've done and done and done! But after all of my work and experimenting, nothing makes sense as to what makes my Fankle totally pain-free for longer than one day at a time.

The one thing that does make sense is this: I will definitely not take any more pain pills during the rest of my recovery unless it's absolutely necessary. I've learned that it's much better to feel my ankle pain every day so I don't overdo it, than to blissfully not feel any pain at all and definitely overdo it. (I already explained in my post, "Fanklebaby" about the negative effects of NSAIDs on tendon healing, which is the main reason I don't take ibuprofen on a regular basis.)

Every time I've taken ibuprofen during the day (maybe four times in the past seven months?), I've totally regretted it the next day. My Fankle always seems to take at least three days to recover from my pain-free ibuprofen-induced frivolity 😉, and I'll not to do it anymore! In my defense, I took pain meds in the first place because I was enduring Shark Week, i.e., it was that not-so-lovely time of the month and I needed some real help to survive my day! Thus, after all of my efforts, I'm trying to convince myself that it's just a matter of time for my ankle pain to fully subside.

From all the research I've done (I've spent uncountable hours researching posterior tibial tendon repair surgeries!), I see over and over that until about nine–12 months, ankle surgery patients are still suffering and feeling some sort of pain on a daily basis. Yeah, that would have been great information for my podiatrist to give me before and after my surgery!

My only criticism of my podiatrist is that he definitely should have prepared me for a year-long recovery! Yet nothing in our appointments leading up to my surgery ever indicated such a lengthy, complicated, heart-wrenching recovery! But maybe it's just me who's struggling? #idon'tthinkso! 😒 I'm sincerely not trying to diss my podiatrist—I know he's one of the best podiatrists in my area—but I honestly wonder what he was thinking when he prepared me for surgery and left out the vitally important year-long-recovery bit?!?! #frustration!

*One of the reasons I continue sharing my experiences with posterior tibial tendon surgery recovery is to help others in the same boat know what to expect. I've been greatly helped by people online sharing their experiences with the same surgery I had, so I hope I can help someone else navigate this painful process in the future!

I promise, I don't mean to sound so gloomy! I'm just being realistic. Recovering from major ankle surgery is a major deal, plain and simple!

The good news is, I am getting stronger! Yay! When I first began my new at-home physical therapy regimen (after I finished my in-office physical therapy—December 27th, 2016), I was ridiculously sore every single day. I almost couldn't even stand to walk around my house! No pun intended! It took everything inside of me to keep doing my physical therapy routine on a daily basis. After I completed my first week of at-home physical therapy, I finally began to feel a little less sore. At week two, I thought, "I'm going to survive!" 😊

As I've said before, obedience takes strength! And it took a lot of physical, emotional, and spiritual strength for me to stick with my entire physical therapy program (in-office and at-home) for 17 full weeks!


Thus, there really aren't enough positive words/sayings/descriptions to express how thrilled I was when I completed my entire physical therapy program on February 8th, 2017! Aahh! 😁 I was beyond excited and happy to finally be rid of my daily physical therapy routines! I don't know if I've ever been so tired and filled with pain for such a long period of time. So yeah, it feels unbelievably great knowing I've done my very best! 

As I've continued recovering, I've been exercising to my PiYo videos occasionally over the past several weeks. PiYo has been really fun(!), but I could tell after completing several videos that Fankle wasn't doing very well with it—even though it's pretty much all non-impact. Near the beginning of doing PiYo, my ankle began swelling again and I took it as a sign that I needed to back off the serious exercising for a few more weeks. Lately, Fankle has been much less swollen, and I'm really excited about that improvement! 😀

*Side note: One of my physical therapists said it would take about six months for the swelling in my ankle to go completely away, and she was right. It was probably around six-and-a-half months when Fankle finally stopped being swollen consistently every day. As I've begun month seven of my recovery, the swelling is pretty much gone! Hip hip hooray! Occasionally I'll have some swelling right around my surgical site if I've been on my feet for many hours without taking a break. But I think it's safe to say that the extreme swelling I endured for so many months on end is (hopefully) a thing of the past!

My great news happened on February 4th when I s-t-r-e-t-c-h-e-d my ankle while reading a book in bed. (That sounds lazy, but I literally had no more get up and go juice left inside of me! I was beyond exhausted and simply had to take a break. If I hadn't fully rested that day, I honestly think I could have fallen asleep in the middle of my day!) Let me explain...


One of the things I did while recovering from my longboarding accident—before my surgery—was stretching my ankle by pulling my toes upward. Whenever I did that motion (usually in bed while I was barely waking up) I felt a sickening, prickly, stinging sensation in my posterior tibial tendon. Yes, it was very painful, but it was also the strangest feeling i'd ever experienced. At the time, I couldn't pinpoint what that pain was; what was causing it; what it meant; or how describe it to anyone, but now I know better!

It sounds horrible, but I know now that every time I stretched my toes and pulled my foot upward (before my surgery), I was pulling apart any healing that my posterior tibial tendon had accomplished. 😓 I'm guessing I probably made my torn tendon worse with every foot flex! I shudder to think about those icky moments!

So, four Saturdays ago, when I was stretching my foot like I had many times in the past, I felt something very different. I suddenly felt strength in my posterior tibial tendon! Yes, I still have ankle pain (probably from scar tissue), but I no longer feel the same weakness, or experience that intense fear/worry that I've endured for so many months. (It's been nine months {tomorrow} since my accident!) I nearly cried tears of joy for feeling that new strong sensation! I only hope that lovely feeling continues!

I'm sure some of you will laugh at me for sharing this, but one of the things that's been sooo hard for me is not being able to wear every pair of my favorite high heels like I want. Yes, I'm able to wear wedges and many versions of high heels, but I haven't been able to wear all of my awesome platform high heels just yet—Fankle is simply not ready for them. Even though I have so many cute pairs of high heels that I really want to wear to church again (and my church wardrobe is subsequently smaller because some of my dresses are too long for non-platform shoes), I'll have to continue being patient. #thestoryofmylife! 😂

I repeatedly tell myself, "Wait until ____ months, then reevaluate where you are. Maybe after ____ months you can wear those platform high heels again!" It's become quite comical (and frustrating) that I'm still telling myself that same bit of advice no matter how many months pass! The good news is, I can see real progress in my high-heal-wearing abilities! 👠 I'm getting better and better at wearing them with each passing Sunday! #yayme! I don't want to get overly excited, but I think I might be able to wear all of my shoes (for limited periods of time) within another month or two! #freakin'hallelujah! I'll just have to patiently wait and see...

One area of my recovery that continues to puzzle me is that my posterior tibial muscle itself continues to be so darn tight and achy all along/behind my tibia. I keep thinking it will loosen up one of these days, but it's not happening. Yes, I expected my tendon to be tight because it had surgery and the scar tissue has built up—but not my entire muscle!

There are days when I just want to take a big soup spoon and push/dig/scrape my posterior tibial muscle until it finally relaxes! That sounds insane, but I can't describe it any other way. Plus, the posterior tibial muscle is just super hard to get at. I've watched massage videos to see how they access it, but I've not been very successful at it myself. The good news is, my muscle tightness has improved/relaxed a teeny bit over the past month! It's by no means perfect yet, but I'm finally catching this little glimmer of hope that one day I won't want to dig my calf muscle with a soup spoon! Ha ha. 😄

I'm also beyond ready to be able to run up and down my stairs again! It's crazy to think how much the little things bother us when we aren't able to do them anymore. I had years when I was exhausted every day because of my hypothyroidism, and running up/down the stairs was the last thing I wanted to do! Yet, oh my, what I wouldn't give to be able to fully bound up and down the stairs any time I want! That said, I've felt a smidgen of improvement on my stairs the past couple of weeks! I tried bounding just a little bit, and it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be! Yay! Thus, I'm going to keep trying a little more every day! Within reason, of course...

One thing that has helped me tremendously over the past several weeks was something President Russell M. Nelson said in his most recent Worldwide Devotional. He said (these are separate paragraphs throughout his talk—emphasis added),
"When I was a young medical student, my rigorous study of the human body convinced me that God lived. And as I came to know that the body was God’s creation, I became increasingly intrigued with the [divine laws] of God that govern the function of the body." 
"Divine law is incontrovertible and irrefutable. Divine law cannot be denied or disputed." 
"...Not even for God’s prophet could the [divine] law relating to the transmission of electricity be ignored." 
"In a coming day, you will present yourself before the Savior. You will be overwhelmed to the point of tears to be in His holy presence. You will struggle to find words to thank Him for paying for your sins, for forgiving you of any unkindness toward others, for healing you from the injuries and injustices of this life."
While President Nelson was mainly referring to heart surgery in this example of divine law, the Holy Ghost helped me take his words in a completely different direction because I needed that spiritual uplift. 😇

As I thought about my human body in relation to what President Nelson taught, I internalized that our Heavenly Father's divine laws also apply to me.

I thought about the fact that tendons are one of the s.l.o.w.e.s.t. healing tissues in the human body.

I thought about the fact that my ankle's blood supply isn't the greatest right where the posterior tibial tendon is. Yet I know that's exactly how the human body had to be formed—because what if our ankles had a gushing blood supply like we do in our heads? Can you imagine the amount of blood that would pool/escape if/when we accidentally cut our feet? If we had the same amounts of blood in our feet as we do in our heads, we could bleed out so very quickly because of gravity pulling the blood away from our hearts.

I also thought about the fact that the posterior tibial tendons are two of the most important tendons in the human body! Because of their great importance in holding up the arches of our feet, of course the posterior tibial tendons take even longer to heal than most other tendons—more of our mobility is at risk, so they must be darn well strong enough to support our bodies' "suspension bridges"!

I thought about how any tissue in the human body won't grow to its full potential unless and until it is worked and moderately stressed. Without resistance, human tissues atrophy—which is exactly what happened when I was fully protected by my boot/cast and crutches! My calf muscle shrank an enormous amount. And my thigh and buttock muscles shrank a pretty significantly, too. Yes, I had to let my ankle tissues (posterior tibial tendon, tendon sheath, flexor retinaculum, skin) heal from the surgery, but they were nowhere near completely healed until the pressure, weight, and stretching happened from putting my full body weight on my foot. Basically (and obviously!), I had to work to regain my ankle motion and muscle strength!

In further pondering my ankle's recovery and divine law, I find it fascinating that we are commanded to work. Our Heavenly Father's divine law dictates that our growth and healing—whether it be physical or spiritual—won't ever be complete unless we work. Jesus Christ's work is what created our beautiful Earth, and His work is precisely what will bring us back to our Heavenly Father. He said, "For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man." (Moses 1:39.)

Jesus Christ is the perfect example of our Heavenly Father's divine law in action! Because of His example, I know that the same divine law that required our Savior to atone for our sins (and die for each one of us) applies to me and my Fankle recovery.

*Before anyone thinks I'm being sacrilegious, please know that I fully understand that my ankle surgery and recovery are nowhere near the Atonement, Crucifixion, and Resurrection. I'm simply stating the fact that divine law applied to Jesus Christ, and divine law applies to me, too.

When I remember to think of my recovery in terms of divine law, I have greater patience in my daily ankle pain and the exhaustion of my recovery. Best of all, I have true hope for a full recovery one day! #prettyplease?! Thus, I'm working at keeping the perspective of divine law in my mind at all times. Of course, some days are easier than others, but I keep trying! 👍 😎

Finally, while I've spent an extensive amount of time complaining in this post about my situation, fatigue, and pain, I want it to be known that the positive difference between Fankle at six months and seven months (first week of February, 2017–first week of March, 2017) is significant. 😀 I most definitely see progress since I finished my at-home physical therapy! And that is a positive I'm trying to remember every day! #somedaysarebetterthanothers I simply wish that my ankle recovery was progressing faster than it is!

Thus, we see that as much as I've felt successful at gaining patience over my lifetime (I've improved a lot, I promise!), I obviously have more work to do! #don'tweall?! I absolutely know that our Heavenly Father sees my progress (And my blessed angels are taking notes! 😇 Ha ha.), but He clearly wants more for my soul, thus, here I still find myself, standing in this extended Fankle-recovery position.

I will absolutely keep going no matter what! I won't ever give up! I will continue working diligently to regain my ankle function, and I'll get myself back in shape to the very best of my ability! But I know both of those goals will take time, and I'm in it for the long haul. As much as I can't wait for all of those positive things to happen (I'm so excited to be fully healed and physically fit again!), I will wait because I have no other option! 😉

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Happiness Soulwork

Good evening! Today I taught the lesson in my ward's (congregation) Relief Society meeting. It was such a marvelous lesson(!): "Chapter 3: Cultivating an Attitude of Happiness and a Spirit of Optimism," Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Gordon B. Hinckley.

I had such a great time preparing for my lesson—I enjoyed every single minute of it! 😊 I've decided everyone should listen to "Cultivating an Attitude of Happiness and a Spirit of Optimism" (via the Internet {link above} or the Gospel Library app on your smartphone) once a quarter! President Hinckley is such an uplifting person, one can't help but become better by listening to his inspiring words!

I created a handout to go with my lesson because I wanted to give a resource to my ward sisters. We all talk about how we should choose happiness, but there are definitely times in our lives when things are very difficult. Sometimes, grand-scale tragedies happen, but most often, we simply must endure hardships, annoyances, disappointments, setbacks, frustrations, etc. Thus, after researching many articles, talks, books, and videos, I came up with my happiness soulwork handout! (soulwork meaning soul-homework. 😀) No, I didn't title it as exactly that, but my ward sisters got the gist of what I was presenting.

We didn't have time to go over my handout in class because our lesson time is only about 35–40 minutes. I truly wish I had two hours to go over my Relief Society lessons! You see, my ward is filled with amazing women with so much wisdom and insight to share about life. We could talk for dayz! Ha ha.

I'm so grateful my beloved church has given me the opportunity to teach! Many years ago, when we lived in Colorado, I used to get so nervous when it came to teaching adults. Yet here I am, 12 years later, where teaching anybody and everybody has become profoundly joyful to my soul! 😇 I love that I've changed for the better during my many varied life experiences, which simultaneously allows me to be a better teacher!

What thrilled me today was looking out over my ward sisters' faces and seeing them connect with what I was presenting. Yay! I loved seeing joy brighten their eyes! I loved seeing their "Aha!" light bulbs go on when they received insight to their precious souls!

Yes, friends, it's in moments like these (my experiences teaching Relief Society) when my heart is filled to overflowing with love for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints! And when I say, "The Church," it 100% includes the souls that fill its ranks. I honestly, truly and deeply believe that my church is THE church of Jesus Christ—restored to the earth!

The Church's Relief Society program is divinely inspired to watch over, love, protect, teach, inspire, care for, and engage every woman on Earth! 😀 The Relief Society a way for every woman to feel connected with her spiritual sisters and have the opportunity to contribute love and service to others! It really is a perfect program for women to feel happy, united, and better themselves.

Late last night when Greg asked me how I felt about my lesson (I had been working on it for several hours yesterday, and preparing many days in advance), I told him, "I'm absolutely prepared in every way possible! So it's up to my sisters to utilize what I've prepared for them. It's their own darn fault if they don't take something positive from my lesson!" Ha ha.

Greg laughingly said, "Well, you have been preparing for this moment your entire life!" Yes, it's a little joke between us about how happy and optimistic I am and have been since I was a little baby...Enthusiastic Fantastic, anyone?! I totally laughed and said, "Yeah, what if teaching this lesson is the very reason for my existence?! What if I keel over and die after I finish teaching my lesson?!" 😂 Ha ha. Oh, it was so hilarious!

Anyway, just know that my heart swelled with happiness during and after I presented my Relief Socity lesson. I'm so grateful to know that my great efforts were absolutely useful and appreciated by my ward sisters!

Without further ado, here's my happiness soulwork handout...enjoy!

How to Bounce Back from Life’s Letdowns 

Compiled and Edited by Adrie Peterson

Preface


Identity is defined as “the fact of being who or what a person is;” it is “the concept you develop about yourself that evolves over the course of your life.” I also believe our identities consist of who we choose to be. For example: I am Adrie, and the “pillars” of my identity are: wife; mother; homemaker; fitness enthusiast; writer; pianist; researcher; teacher; fashionista; artist; daughter; sister; granddaughter; aunt; friend; Mormon; Utahn; and a loving, happy, determined lady! 😀
What are your identity pillars

 1. Uncover Your Identity Story
a. Letdowns happen because something rocks your identity.
b. Fully examine your identity crisis—everyone has one at some point. Which part of your identity is crumbling?
c. We all need to feel that we’re lovable, capable, and secure—we struggle when one of those needs are in question.
d. Your subconscious holds onto issues because you feel the need to solve problems. Let go of your issue even if you haven’t solved the problem yet.
e. Usually, you don’t have all the information/data to judge every situation properly and have the correct perspective.
f. Reframe your identity story: define the most important parts of who you are.
 2. Stay in the Now
a. You no longer have your past, and your future isn’t here yet—don’t dwell on either.
b. Really feel the emotion and pain of your current experience—it will pass eventually, but don’t push through it too quickly.
c. Rethink what you’re feeling about life; what part of your identity story is in crisis? How can you positively change your perspective about yourself?
3. Connect to Your Highest Self
a. You are not what you’re “made of,” i.e., you are not your house, car, job, bank account, or relationship status.
b. Remember that you are deeply connected to Heavenly Father—you are His creation! 😊
c. What would you feel and think about if Heavenly Father or Jesus Christ came and talked with you—what would really matter?
d. Instead of thinking about what you’ve lost, ponder these questions: What is your greatest contribution to this world? What can you give our universe? What can you share of yourself that matters?
4. Convert Your Pain into Purpose
a. There are two ways to look at life: either this life is here to teach you, or this life is here to torture you.
b. Decide how you will view your life. Every day, internalize the idea, “I choose to be _________!” 😊
c. Ask yourself, “What can I learn from this experience?”
That's the end of Dr. Townsend's advice.

Additional Happiness Soulwork—read, watch or listen: 

I highly recommend all of these! 😀

Okay, I'm completely bushed, I need to go to bed now! I hope you all have a great day and enjoy your happiness soulwork!

P.S. Here's the typographic design I created for my previous Relief Society lesson. I know it doesn't exactly match this post about today's RS lesson, but I still love President Hinckley's words so much! I think it's safe to say that Gordon B. Hinckley was very certain that living happily and optimistically is the best thing we can do for ourselves and everyone around us! 😁 #letsbehappy!