Saturday, June 16, 2018

Strengthening Our Families

Hi, everyone! This morning, I was getting ready to compose an Instagram post on my private account. As I was downloading photos and screenshots to create a visually interesting post, I realized that I needed this post to be public, and that Instagram couldn't really hold all of the wonderfulness that I've found.

Plus, I'm super wordy and I struggle with editing my Instagram posts to be the length allowed on that platform. #wordyAdrie! 😄 Sometimes, I've spent way too much time figuring out what words/sentences to omit on Instagram, when I really should have just written a blog post to begin with! Thus, today I'm breaking my time-consuming Instagram-posting habit and writing a time-consuming-but-much-more-fulfilling blog post instead! Ha ha. Yay me!

If you didn't know, I'm right smack dab in the middle of raising teenagers! What's amazing to me about this season of life is that when you're pregnant, or just had a baby, no doctor or nurse or parenting book fully prepares you for teenagers and all that comes with them! 😅 Even though I took a complete Love and Logic parenting class in Colorado when my firstborn was (I think) seven years old, it still didn't prepare me for these wild teenage years!

Yes, we parents were all teenagers once, but being a teen and raising teens are two very different things! I certainly remember being a teenager and all that entails, but I could go on for days about how surprising it's been to parent my teenagers! It's nearly unbelievable how quickly teen emotions change—my view of my family can go from being "Everything is easy-peasy, super awesome!" to "I'm so tired! How am I going to make it through one more day of teenagedom without crying my eyes out?!" in nearly an instant!

The good news is, all things considered, my sweet little family is doing well!

My oldest son just graduated from high school and I'm sooo happy for him! It was a definite struggle at some points of his high school journey, but we all hung in there and he was successful in his efforts! 🎓👏😁 That said, I will not miss those seemingly never-ending high school nights when he refused to go to bed at a decent hour. If I didn't know what I know about teenagers and their sleep cycles, I would have been a complete wreck!

Thankfully, I know it's not just my teenagers who don't want to go to sleep at night, but a scientifically proven problem for teens the world over. The National Sleep Foundation points out that, "Biological sleep patterns shift toward later times for both sleeping and waking during adolescence—meaning it is natural to not be able to fall asleep before 11:00 pm." Amen to that statement! And yet I wonder why on earth it is that high school is still held at such an early hour! We seriously need to make every high school's start time later in the morning!

Sleep aside, my teenagers are doing really well for being teenagers. 😊 I am so grateful for the incredible human beings I've been given and entrusted to raise. My heart is completely filled with love for my growing babies! 💖 That said, I am constantly looking for ways to help my children feel happier, do better, and be the best version of themselves—without me becoming an annoying dictator in the process! Ha ha.

I know that being a good parent starts with me and my positive attitude. That said, even though I'm technically and legally responsible for my darling children and their well-being until the age of 18, in the end, they each need to live their own lives and be in charge of themselves. They need to make their choices and own them—I so hope they make good ones! In the end, I'm only able to regulate/manage/change myself! And that's how it is for every person on this planet!

So, as much as I dearly want to help my children every minute of every day of their precious lives, I can only help them to the point that they want me to help. Yes, parenting teenagers is a delicate tightrope-walk that takes loads of careful practice, purposeful dedication, laser-sharp focus, and enthusiastic perseverance! Not to mention, an endless supply of unconditional love, great self confidence, and lots of "strength training"!

But seriously, parents of teenagers need to have good support systems and excellent self-care measures in place to feel successful in their callings. I would not do as well as I do in parenting my teenagers without my coping strategies—for example: having a wonderful marriage; exercising five to six days per week; getting enough sleep; eating healthily; having good friends/family members to talk with; and especially my spiritual connection to Heaven.

Speaking of prayer, it's my go-to best parenting technique for raising teenagers! I literally can't tell you how many times I've prayed for my teens because I'm always praying for them! 💗 I know our Heavenly Father knows my children much better than I do, and I know He actually sees what their future holds—unlike me who just thinks I know what's best for my children. Thus, my prayers are always first and foremost in my parenting strategies. I have experienced miracles through prayer and fasting for my children! I will continue praying for my children every day for the rest of my life and into eternity!

As I said before, I'm always seeking out ways to be a better mother. I've shared many helpful motherhood/parenting articles, talks, and videos on my Pinterest account, and I'll continue sharing what I find there, but I've definitely not had the time to pin everything yet. I seriously wish Heavenly Father would give us three additional hours every day! A 27-hour day sounds pretty great to me! So, for today, I'll share here the things I've recently found to be helpful in my efforts of parenting my cherished teenagers:

"To Women: 'Doing Better Doesn’t Mean Doing More'"
By Sharon Eubank and Reyna Aburto—blog post on LDS.org.

I love the entire blog post, but this paragraph really stood out to me:
"As we seek the Lord’s will and strive to do it, we are assured that every small effort is accepted. All the Lord asks of us is a heart full of love and willingness to share that love. We’ve all made covenants to “mourn with those that mourn … and comfort those that stand in need of comfort” (Mosiah 18:9), but that doesn’t mean to run ourselves ragged. Doing better doesn’t always mean doing more. And if you do just one inspired thing each day, you are nevertheless the Lord’s agent."
Amen, sista, and bravo! 👏😁

"Love One Another, As I Have Loved You"
By Jennifer Brinkerhoff Platt—talk presented at BYU Women's Conference, 2018.

I'm so excited Jennifer's talk is available to read and watch! I've listened to her video at least three times already, and I'll be listening to/watching/reading it again very soon! Here are three sections of her talk that I absolutely love!
"...if we really understand the distinction between doctrine, principles and application, then we will work to focus more on the doctrine—the WHY of our behaviors. Focusing on application or HOW we live is divisive, because I shouldn’t judge you for what the Holy Ghost is telling you to do. I may not understand your approach, but if we are one in doctrine, in the WHY, then it doesn’t matter how we pursue it."
"Continually pointing ourselves to the doctrine helps us to be one in Christ as He is one with the Father. Think of the love we extend to each other when instead of judging HOW another person is living, we assume the very best, that they are pursuing doctrine. Look for and trust the WHY of other’s behaviors. Teach and testify of WHY we do what we do. This gives us entrance into the sacred spaces of one another’s hearts where there is hidden sorrow that the eye can’t see. We also learn to pursue our questions differently and find peace with the ambiguity associated with mortality."
"Now, do you recognize this statement from President Boyd K. Packer? 
'True doctrine, understood, changes attitudes and behaviors. The study of the doctrines of the gospel will improve behavior quicker than a study of behavior will improve behavior. Preoccupation with unworthy behavior can lead to unworthy behavior. That is why we stress so forcefully the study of the doctrines of the gospel.'"
So awesome, right?! 😀

"How great leaders inspire action"
By Simon Sinek—TEDxPuget Sound

It might seem strange to relate this TED Talk to parenting, but it really clicked with me! I've simply applied what he said to parenting and children! 😊 Here's a great quote from Mr. Sinek's wise words:
"Every single person, every single organization on the planet knows what they do, 100 percent. Some know how they do it, ... But very, very few people or organizations know why they do what they do. And by 'why' I don't mean 'to make a profit.' That's a result. It's always a result. By 'why,' I mean: What's your purpose? What's your cause? What's your belief? Why does your organization exist? Why do you get out of bed in the morning? And why should anyone care? As a result, the way we think, we act, the way we communicate is from the outside in, it's obvious. We go from the clearest thing to the fuzziest thing. But the inspired leaders and the inspired organizations—regardless of their size, regardless of their industry—all think, act and communicate from the inside out."
I also really like Simon's second TED Talk: "Why good leaders make you feel safe," and applied what he teaches to parenting, as well! Here's one of my favorite quotes from his talk:
"Leadership is a choice. It is not a rank. I know many people at the senior[-]most levels of organizations who are absolutely not leaders. They are authorities, and we do what they say because they have authority over us, but we would not follow them. And I know many people who are at the bottoms of organizations who have no authority and they are absolutely leaders, and this is because they have chosen to look after the person to the left of them, and they have chosen to look after the person to the right of them. This is what a leader is."

"The Idea of 'Mothers in Zion' Made Me Mad—Until I Learned What It Meant"
By Sharon Eubank—blog post on LDS.org.

Oh, how I love her quote! 💛
"Charity, or the pure love of Christ, is motherhood in a very practical and real way—sacrificing so that others might thrive and seeing beyond present circumstances to the way things really are. This motherhood is part of my covenantal identity. My mother-work will come directly through the whispers of the Holy Spirit."

"Strengthening the Family: Resource Guide for Parents"
Published by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints—also available for purchase at LDS.org's online store.

This is the gem of all parenting jewels! I'm so happy I found Strengthening the Family! I'll be reading and referring to it again and again! I only wish it had been available when I was pregnant with my first baby! It was published in 2006, two years after my last baby was born, but I never knew about it until recently. Thus, I'm sharing it with the world now in hopes that it helps some new parent somewhere in this glorious world of ours! While I feel silly that I had access to it all this time with the amazing Gospel Library app on my smartphone and didn't previously find it, I'm not going to worry because at least I'll be using it now!

Here are two great quotes from its pages:
"Words and behavior have the power to hurt or to help, to inflict pain and suffering or to soothe painful feelings, to provoke doubt and fear or to instill faith and courage." 
"President James E. Faust of the First Presidency taught the importance of love and of recognizing differences in children when disciplining them: 'Child rearing is so individualistic. Every child is different and unique. What works with one may not work with another. I do not know who is wise enough to say what discipline is too harsh or what is too lenient except the parents of the children themselves, who love them most. It is a matter of prayerful discernment for the parents. Certainly the overarching and undergirding principle is that the discipline of children must be motivated more by love than by punishment.'"
President Faust's quote can apply to every parenting issue under the sun because we parents know and love our children the most! We have the individual responsibility and joy of parenting our children in the best ways possible for each of them because they are "ours"! 💞

I'm so grateful for this gift of motherhood I've been given because it's everything to me! 🎁 When I say everything, I mean that I always wanted to be a mother{!}—from my earliest memories—and I'm so grateful my wish/desire has been so richly fulfilled! And I must give huge props to my darling Gregor for helping me achieve my dreams of motherhood!

While I know my time is short in terms of having my children live with me (and Greg 😍) before they move on into the wide wide world, I will always be a mother; I am eternally a mother, inside and out! Regardless of the outcome of my children's lives—whatever path they choose in this world—I will love and care for these amazing souls that our Heavenly Father has blessed me with forever! 😇

You've come to the end of my parenting thoughts/helps for now, but I'll share more as I discover them! I'd love it if something I've shared today is of value to you or someone you know! I sincerely hope we'll all work on strengthening our families because relationships with our loved ones are the most important! 💛

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Speedy Answers to My Fast

Before I begin, I just have to say how much I love the title I created for this blog post! #ifeelsoclever! Ha ha. Okay, now we may proceed! 😊

Remember how I posted back in December about my issues with some of my extended family members? Well, those separate relationship issues recently came to a head. One of the issues was extremely worrisome and significant enough to my soul that I made an appointment to speak with my bishop about it—I really wanted to get his ecclesiastical take on the situation.

As a side note, I might write about all of this in greater detail someday, but out of respect for my extended family members, I'm going to stay vague for now.

My bishop kindly listened as I very tearfully explained my story and that of my extended family member. After my bishop and I talked for a long time, and he could see that there was truly nothing else I could do on my end with this extended family member, he suggested that I fast for myself to help me through my struggle. My bishop gave a lot of great advice and counsel, but the fasting just for me idea stood out the very most. Here are the scriptures my bishop shared with me—I included some additional verses that I like:

Isaiah 58: 6, 8, 11, 14:
6  Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke?
8 ¶ Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the Lord shall be thy rearward.
11 And the Lord shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not.
14 Then shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth...
Aren't those verses awesome?! I've heard them before, but I'd forgotten them because there are so many great scripture verses to remember! 😇 

Initially, I was surprised at the idea of fasting for myself, but after I thought about it for a few minutes, I decided to try it! I've always had great faith in the law of the fast. I've consistently fasted throughout my life for everyone else—my fasting list for people that I care about is forever long! 😇 Also, I've fasted for Greg and I as a couple, and for our children, but I've never fasted specifically and only for myself.

At first, I felt kind of squirmy inside at the thought of focusing only on me and not fasting for anyone else this past Fast Sunday, but at the same time I knew it was exactly what I should do. So I did it! 😀 I fasted and prayed for my peace of mind, patience, and especially for resolution to my issues with my extended family members. How those things would be resolved, I had no idea, but I fasted for direction and comfort, and I was ready for any answer(s) I would receive!

I say "would receive" because I fully expected Heavenly Father to answer my prayers and fasting through the Holy Ghost. I had patiently endured my issues for a very long time (we're talking months, and years in one instance). I felt like I had done my best with what I had been "given." Yes, it was time for some divine intervention to help me move past those issues because they were starting to affect me in a negative way. And don't even get me started on the dreams (while sleeping) I was having in relation to my issues with those extended family members! Oh, my issue-related dreams were not my favorite! 😬

After Greg and I broke our fast together, I felt much better. Nothing had been resolved yet, but I loved hearing my wonderful husband's voice praying for me—yes, he specifically fasted for me, too, and I'll love him forever for it!! Of course, Greg and I pray together all the time, and I love him for innumerable reasons, but this (him fasting/praying specifically for me) just adds to my adoration of him! Speaking of my husband's wonderful voice, I think Greg should start doing voice-overs! I'm going to see what I can do to get him in that industry! 😃 #randomthoughtsbyAdrie! 😄

The amazing news is, one of my issues with one of my extended family members was resolved literally one day after I fasted!! Said extended-family-member and I had been emailing each other the day before my fast, and cleared up everything by Monday! Yay! Some might say that emailing isn't a great way to resolve conflict, but in our case, emails were the only thing that would have worked because even after seeing each other in person, it was glaringly obvious that we still had issues with each other. I even had a nightmare about said family member a couple of nights after we saw each other in person! When I awoke, I knew it was time for me to take action asap!

I also know that because I fasted that Sunday, I was inspired as to how to respond in my final email. My extended family member might not have particularly liked what I had to say, but, oh my goodness, it felt sooo great(!) to write what I hadn't been able to express in any way for seemingly endless months! I tried to show as much love and compassion with my words as I possibly could without being a door mat. Yes, it's a tricky balance to show love to others while simultaneously standing our ground and staying true to who we are!

The other issue with my other extended family member—the one I met with my bishop about—didn't go away quite so instantly (a one-day turnaround is pretty exciting, right?!!), and it felt like our situation got even more difficult the day after my fast—which was a little concerning, to say the least.

Interestingly, and not coincidentally (As I've always said, everything happens for a reason!), I went walking with two of my dear friends that same Monday morning after completing my fast (on Sunday). As we were walking and talking about each of our issues with our extended family members, my one friend said, "Have you heard about Bold New Mom?" I was like, "What?" because I had never heard of that bold new mom. My friend then explained about the podcast she had recently found and how she thought of me in my situation with my extended family member that I was struggling with. My other friend immediately chimed in and said, "I love Bold New Mom! She has some great stuff!" And that was the end of our discussion about Bold New Mom.

But later that night, my mind wouldn't let go of the podcast that my friend had told me about. I give full thanks and credit to the Holy Ghost for reminding me of what my soul needed to do! 💛 As I pondered if I should look further into the podcast, I reminded myself that my friend who brought up Bold New Mom is a very easy-going, go-with-the-flow type of girl. She doesn't usually give out advice, recommendations, or her opinions unless she's specifically asked—which is why it surprised me that she brought up the podcast out of the blue. Thus, I knew it was something I should definitely look into. I texted said friend about the podcast information, and the rest is history!

After Googling Bold New Mom, I discovered Jody Moore's website and especially her fabulous podcastI linked you to her first episodes. Here's the link to her podcast, Better Than Happy, in iTunes. I don't know when she changed the name of her podcast, but I really like the new title! 😊

I never expected any of this to happen(!), but I have spent the last week cocooning myself in Better Than Happy podcasts, extensive note-taking, analyzing, pondering, praying, and writing! This amazing week of self-care has helped me more than I ever could have imagined! In my wildest, most faith-filled dreams, I could not have envisioned this specific result happening! And it was all made possible because of my special fast on Sunday, April 8th, 2018!

I mean, I had complete and utter faith that I would absolutely get the help that I needed from our Heavenly Father through fasting, I just had no clue as to how that help would manifest itself. I also couldn't have possibly fathomed how completely my soul has been healed over this past week! Yet that is exactly what has happened!

In fact, when I was talking with my bishop (two weeks ago), I explained to him how much I hoped I could get a significant/direct answer to my fasting and prayers because if I didn't, my situation with my extended family member was getting to the point that I felt I might need a therapist to help me get over it. Yes, it was that much of an issue for me. My bishop assured me that they (my ward in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints) would help me with therapy if my insurance wouldn't cover it. I was grateful for his kind thoughts, but I didn't feel like I was to that point just yet. I was definitely waiting for inspiration from the Holy Ghost as to what I should do.

So yeah, finding life coach Jody Moore was truly an inspired event in my life(!)—one that is not a coincidence and was most definitely meant to happen! Interestingly, that Monday walk-and-talk with my friends was the first time we've gotten together to go walking—and it was my idea! Yay! 😀 Yet when I say "my idea," I totally laugh because I know I was inspired by the Holy Ghost to suggest that my friends and I start walking together! (I texted them in March, and together we set up our walking date for April.) Also, I know my dear friend was fully inspired to tell me about Bold New Mom! If she wouldn't have spoken up, I don't know when or if I ever would have found Jody Moore and her fabulous, amazing podcasts!

Also, I feel strongly that I wasn't meant to find Jody's podcasts until now. That seems so silly to say because she's so helpful, but up until very recently (we're talking within the last month), I really didn't have any extended-family relationship issues that I couldn't deal with—and I was dealing with them just fine in my own way. I am a strong woman. I have confidence. I know who I am. I am spiritually in tune with our Heavenly Father. I study, research, ponder, and pray about everything in my life. I've never felt the need for a therapist or a life coach. I honestly didn't feel there was any issue I've dealt with (or would deal with) that I couldn't find an answer to or work through "on my own."

I say "on my own" because the Holy Ghost has always told/shown me everything that's best for me to do—and I've done it! I'm very much in tune with Heavenly Father as to who I am and what I need to do to make my life work in the very best way possible. Of course, I'm not perfect! That goes without saying! I've definitely had my struggles, but I've always found my way to sunshine and happiness—every time! 🌞😎😁

That said, I was also smack dab in the middle of grieving that specific relationship with my one extended family member (the one I spoke with my bishop about) for several months. Our relationship had changed drastically over the past few years and I needed to grieve all of it first before I could move on in Better Than Happy Land.

So even if someone would have told me about Jody previously, I wouldn't have felt a particular need to check out her content. Even when I wrote about my extended family issues back in December, 2017, I was handling everything okay; even when I was struggling, I wasn't truly ready to find Jody's brilliant advice. Yes, I had to get to my personal breaking point—and I arrived there about three weeks ago. Thus, last Monday was literally the perfect time for me to discover Better Than Happy!

Do you see how all of this was so meant to be?!

It's mind blowing and humbling in the same moment to think about everything that has transpired in just the past three weeks(!):
  1. I was inspired to meet with my bishop.
  2. My bishop was inspired to counsel me in the way that he did—and especially in advising me that I should fast and pray for myself.
  3. Greg was inspired when he prayed for me as we ended our fast together.
  4. I was inspired as to how to respond to my one extended family member over email.
  5. I was inspired to set up my walking date with my friends—far in advance of my important week.
  6. My walking/talking friends were inspired to take our conversation in the direction it went—about our issues with our extended family members.
  7. My one friend, in particular, was so inspired to tell me about Bold New Mom.
  8. I was inspired to later ask my friend for information about the podcast, research it, listen to 37 episodes, and do the "self" work that needed to be done.
  9. Jody Moore was inspired to become a life coach and begin her own podcast series!
  10. Brooke Castillo was inspired to do all of the study and research she did in order to create The Life Coach School (with her husband) in the first place!
Not only has this experience helped me tremendously with resolving my extended family relationship issues, it has strengthened (yet again!) my unshakable testimony of fasting and prayer.

I have never doubted nor questioned my relationship with our Heavenly Father—through our Savior, Jesus Christ—but there have been times when I've felt picked on because I didn't receive the immediate answers from Him that I so desperately desired—answers that I knew He could freely give me if he wanted to! *And yes, I fully acknowledge that Heavenly Father gives us trials to help us grow and become our best selves! That said, there have been times when I've wished my "trial" path was a smidgen of a bit easier! 😉

Several weeks ago, this thought entered my mind so strongly:

Trials are meant to strengthen you and give you compassion for others.


I 100% believe in and agree with that brilliant statement! Again, trials are given to us so that we can truly become our best selves! I've written about trials before in my blog post, "Receiving Our Trials with Thankfulness." So even though we may not want those soul-trying trials at the time, in the end, they are always given to us for our best benefit!

All of that said, I still have some significant work to do in relation to my other extended family member. I'm not out of the woods quite yet, but thanks to this amazing week I've had—of doing the self-care work I know Heavenly Father wants me to do—I can actually see a glimmer of the Road to Resolution that I've been searching for! And I will happily hike the remainder of my journey through the thick trees because I know I can do it! 👊😁🌲

I'm so grateful to Heavenly Father for listening to my prayers, accepting my fasting efforts, and blessing my life in exactly the ways I needed! 💛 I'm unbelievably happy (and slightly overwhelmed!) to have received such speedy answers to my fast! It's truly amazing to me!

Finally, here's a wrap-up about my experience with listening to the Better Than Happy podcast:

Even though I could have listened to Better Than Happy through iTunes, or on my iPod Touch, I chose to access Jody's podcast through her website on my smartphone. (My LGV20 is my absolute favorite!) Instead of listening from Episode 1, I started listening at Episode 5—which was my friend's recommendation.

After finishing Episode 5, I knew I wanted to explore more of Jody's awesome thoughts! Thus, I went through the entire Better Than Happy podcast list and opened the links to all of the podcast topics that I felt applied to my situation with my extended family member in any way.

I initially listened to the following episodes (not in this exact order): 3, 6, 8, 13, 14, 16, 17, 21, 29, 33, 65, 81, 94, 97, and 122. After I finished those episodes, I decided to look at Jody's podcast list again and see if there was anything else that interested me. As you might have guessed, yep(!), I found an additional 17 podcasts to listen to! Here's round two of the Better Than Happy podcasts I listened to (not in this exact order): 27, 36, 37, 47, 50, 53, 73, 77, 81, 83, 85, 86, 87, 107, 110, 114, and 126! After I felt satisfied with my podcast learning, I went back and listened to episodes 1, 2, 4, and 141.

If you're wondering how and why I kept track of the episodes I listened to, I just opened each episode in a new window of my phone's Chrome browser. When I finished listening to everything I was interested in, I went into my Chrome browser again, wrote down all of the podcast episode numbers I had open, and then I closed all of those tabs. I kept track of those podcasts because I want to know which ones I listened to—in case I want to refer back to them at a later date.

I listened to a bunch of the Better Than Happy podcasts out of numerical order, which was fine, but after I take a little break, I'm going to go back and listen to Jody's podcasts from Episode 1 all the way to her most current episode! I can't wait to begin this adventure again! 😊 Her podcasts really are perfect for listening to while doing household chores—they make the time fly by! And they're simultaneously turning listeners into better humans! It's a true win-win!

*If you want to start listening to Better Than Happy, I highly recommend starting right at Episode 1, as she guides you through everything you need to know from there. Yes, you can understand what she's teaching if you start at a different episode, but based on my experience, I believe it's better to start at the beginning because it's a very good place to start! 😁 #DoReMi 🎶

I seriously wish I could recommend the Better Than Happy podcast to every human on planet earth! 😀 Jody Moore is a living example of the parable of the talents. She knows and understands the talents she's been blessed with, she's practiced and honed her skills in marvelous ways, and she is actively blessing humanity by freely sharing her special gifts with us!

As a fun tidbit, Better Than Happy has received 1,671 reviews (to this date—her reviews keep increasing daily) on iTunes and only four of those reviews (0.0024%!) have been negative! Jody should feel ecstatic that she continually produces a five-star podcast! ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Wow! I'm so happy for her success! And I'm grateful she's continuing to create so many helpful podcasts!

I also researched The Life Coach School, which is where Jody received her life-coaching certification. It looks like a really great program, they've turned out some amazing life coaches! I listened to the first three podcast episodes of The Life Coach School, and they were great, yet I just didn't feel the deep connection to Brooke that I instantly felt with Jody. There might come a day when I feel the urge to listen to more of The Life Coach School's podcasts, but right now isn't the time.

I greatly enjoy Jody's connection to my beloved church; I believe it helps that she's a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints because she brings an additional spiritual perspective/dimension that I didn't feel/experience (so far) while listening to Brooke. That isn't meant to be anything negative (not in any way!) against The Life Coach School, it's just that I found the important connection I was looking for in Jody, and I'm sticking with her for the foreseeable future! 😁

Thanks for reading, I hope you have a wonderful day! 😘

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Adventures with William Wurlitzer!

In March, 2017, I went on a piano adventure and bought a new/used piano! But before I get into my new-to-me piano story, let's take a walk down piano-memory lane...

I had been using my great grandparent's old Story and Clark piano since 2003—when my Grandpa Charles was so generous to give it to me after my Grandma Ardis died (in 2001). My grandpa's gift was such a blessing in my life!

At the time I received my great-grandparents' piano, my church calling was Primary pianist. Before my grandpa so generously helped me out, I had to go to my church building to practice the assigned Primary songs. Thankfully, my weekly outings to my church building didn't last long. I was thrilled to be able to practice Primary songs in my very own home! I was also excited to refresh older songs I had "perfected" in my youth while taking piano lessons and performing in recitals and Federation competitions.

Because my family's historical piano was moved nine times while in my possession, it really started showing wear and tear everywhere. I felt so badly about its worn-out condition, but we needed our piano, so it always went with us wherever we moved!

Fast forward 13+ years.

Once I gained many more piano students (I don't remember the exact tally, but it was more than 15), I decided I not only wanted but needed a newer piano. I asked Greg what he thought about me buying a new/used piano and he agreed it was a good idea—a smart business decision! Up until that moment, I had never realized that I was a small-business owner, but it's true! 😊

As I prayed what to do about my piano needs, I received the distinct impression that I should go to the Piano Gallery in Murray, Utah, and buy the black Wurlitzer piano. That was a very random thought considering there's a Piano Gallery closer to my house up north, and especially considering the fact that I was being told so specifically which piano brand and color to buy. Thus, I knew it had to be divine inspiration and decided to follow through on my answer.

But before we went to the Piano Gallery, I decided to do my due diligence and check KSL.com's classifieds. (I always do my part when receiving heavenly answers!) There were so many used pianos and I searched through every single one of them(!), but nothing felt right. Greg and I even looked at purchasing a 30-year-old Yamaha upright in our own little city, but when I saw/played it in person, it was nothing close to what I wanted. I was most definitely not feeling it! To me, the price of that old Yamaha was outlandish for a piano in not-great condition!

As I prayed again—this time to "present my case" and confirm my decision—I had the same impression: Piano Gallery, Murray; black Wurlitzer piano.

It was a rainy Saturday when we pulled into the Piano Gallery's Murray parking lot. As cheesy as it sounds, I can truly remember it like it was yesterday! Aww! They were having a sale that day, so I was super hopeful at what I'd find...until I walked through their side-front doors! I was blown away at the high prices of their pianos! That dinky little used Yamaha upright was looking pretty great at that point! Ha ha.

After practically drooling over the amazing, gorgeous, lovely, and inspiring grand pianos (Oh, they were so unbelievably great!), I yanked my soul back into reality and forced myself to walk to the smaller used pianos section in the back of the gallery. Yet I was pleasantly surprised at what we found: I saw many great used pianos! Yay! There were also new, beautiful Yamaha spinets and uprights, among other brands that I don't remember. Still, there was nothing in my price point that I wanted to pony up for, so I walked mindlessly toward the section of used medium-grand pianos.

That's when I stopped in my tracks: I saw a GORGEOUS black Wurlitzer grand piano! It was sooo shiny and looked absolutely perfect! But once I saw the price tag—which included the on-sale price that was still too much money(!)—a little, tiny piece of me died inside. It was waaayyyy over our used-piano budget. 😢

As I continued walking through the rest of the store, I never saw another black Wurlitzer piano. Add to that, I never saw another Wurlitzer piano at all! Not a one! It was true: The only Wurlitzer piano in that entire store was a black, medium-grand beauty!

I was very befuddled in that moment. I had received very direct and specific inspiration of what I was supposed to do, yet what I found at the Piano Gallery was not at all what I expected. But I had followed through on said inspiration up to that point, so I decided to go back and play the black Wurlitzer. I was nervous as I walked over to play it because I knew I was entering dangerous territory! You laugh, but when you follow inspiration like I do, there's a point of no return and I knew I was nearing it!

When I finally played the lovely, black, medium-grand Wurlitzer, it absolutely did something to my soul! I was overjoyed in that moment of contact! I knew I just HAD to have it! I also didn't know what to tell my husband! Aahh! 😄

Greg was taken aback when I told him of my gorgeous find, and about the inspiration I had received. The look on his face said he wasn't entirely sure of what to do. He suggested asking if the Piano Gallery was firm on the Wurlitzer's price. They were very firm on their price and pointed out it was on sale, but they also said that we could do in-store financing if we wanted. (It was zero percent interest if the piano loan was paid off within six months.) We asked the store manager, Mike, how long the sale with special financing would be available. I don't remember what he said, but we told him we'd think about it and let him know. I'm pretty sure he envisioned that we wouldn't be back! Ha ha.

I felt defeated when we left the Piano Gallery. I was super bummed we hadn't bought a piano that day like I planned! Frustration set in as I literally could not stop thinking about the black, medium-grand Wurlitzer! It was at the forefront of my mind for endless hours—and especially while I folded laundry!

At my extended family's party that Sunday night (one day later), I told everyone of our piano adventures. I explained how difficult it was going to be finding a piano we could afford that was nice enough and made my soul sing like the black Wurlitzer medium-grand did!

Greg and I talked about the beautiful Wurlitzer grand piano again on our drive home. I was shocked when Greg said, "Let's buy you your piano!" I argued with him, explaining our tight budget (Greg was still attending Harvard online; our expensive, growing children; etc., etc.), and pointing out everything that was wrong about buying the expensive-to-us Wurlitzer. Greg rebutted with the fact that my piano-lessons money could pay for the piano within a year and that it could be written off as a business expense! While both of those were valid points, I still completely worried about what such an expensive purchase would do to our family's budget and well-being! They were legitimate concerns!

That very next Monday, March 27th, two days since I first met Mr. Wurlitzer, I went online and searched for "my" piano. I was stunned to see the price of it online was $1,000 less than the sale price in the store! I excitedly told Greg and he said, "We are buying you your piano!" I squealed and replied, "Really?! We're doing this?!!" He said, "Yes! We'll finance it and pay it off with our savings before the loan starts charging interest." My soul soared!

At that point, I had a new worry: that my incredible find would have already been sold out from under me! I immediately called Mike and asked him about the price of "my" piano. He said the online price was correct and the piano was still for sale. I asked him if the price could be lowered any further than that, considering the internet price was lower than the price in the store, but he said that was it. I told him I wanted to buy it, but I'd have to come later that day. He said he would hold it for me until 4:00 p.m., but after that, it would be available for someone else to purchase. I said okay, thanked him, and told him I would see him soon!

I was absolutely giddy with excitement! Not only was I was purchasing the black Wurlitzer that the Holy Ghost specifically told me to buy(!), I was also buying the piano that I fell head-over-heels in love with! Again you laugh, but piano love is a real thing! People have fallen in love with pianos for centuries! I have nothing to back up my statement, but Google it and you'll see that I'm right! Ha ha. 😍

I drove myself to Murray (so Greg could pick up our kids from school) asap to buy my piano. I was glad I'd be finished with everything before my piano lessons began that afternoon! I had so much time on my drive to think of ways to shrink our budget for six months—so we could get a head start on our piano loan payments; I knew we could do it!

When I went into the store and told them which piano I wanted, I could barely contain my excitement! I looked over the black, medium-grand Wurlitzer one last time (to be absolutely certain of my decision), found a piano bench I wanted, and headed over to sign the paperwork. As a funny side note, I took longer deciding what piano bench to buy than I did my piano! 😄

While sitting across from the store manager, Mike, I looked at his family photos around his desk. I suddenly realized...I knew this man! I was 99% certain he had been in our ward (church congregation) 13 years ago! I asked him if he had ever lived in Layton, and he said, "Yes." I then said, "I think you were in my ward in Layton!" We talked and confirmed that we were indeed in the same ward!

I was utterly amazed when I remembered that Mike was on my list of "substitute pianists" for my calling as Primary pianist! Oh, wow! I had suddenly come full circle! I also remembered the incredible vocal talents of his darling wife, Stacie. Even now, 14 years later, I can still recall their soul-touching performances in our ward's sacrament meetings! I was stunned to learn that his wife had never created an album of her astounding gift! As we talked, I was blown away thinking of the many things that had to fall into place for that moment to happen!

I mean, comon'! What are the odds that I would choose the very piano store that not only produced my perfect-for-me piano(!), but also included the man who used to be in my previous ward who was on my list of substitute pianists?! Those odds are ridiculous, and most definitely not a coincidence!

Back-in-the-day, I tried to convince Mike's fabulous wife that she needed to create a CD of her vocal talents. As I recently searched the internet for Stacie—to see if she's created a CD like I recommended (😁)—I was disappointed to see she hasn't done anything yet. I remember Mike telling me that Stacie now teaches singing lessons (or something like that), which is truly wonderful for her to pass on her gift!

Side note: I found a performance of Stacie and Mike (from their family reunion) for you to watch! So yeah, please feel free to say, "You're right, Adrie! She's amazing!" Ha ha. Yes, I'm an internet sleuth! #notastalker! 😆 Of course this performance is not professional, and I wish you could see them in a sacrament meeting setting(!), but their talents as a musical couple are impressive!

The next several days were a blur of getting my house ready for my black, medium-grand Wurlitzer to arrive! I spent a long time researching where I should place my piano and realized I had to switch around my entire living room! You see, the bass side of a grand piano needs to be on an inside wall, away from windows with direct sunlight, and away from blowing/direct air. I actually had a great time rearranging everything! It totally reminded me of moving houses/cities/states again, which I was so grateful we didn't have to do!

In my spare time before bed each night, I researched my new piano (the make and model number) to make sure I had made a good decision. I know, I know!, that seems like such a backward move—especially considering that I'm such a researcher! Yes, I should have researched my piano before I bought it! Yet I was so completely certain of my actions that I didn't feel the need to research any of it beforehand.

In the hours I spent looking online, I realized that I could not have made a more perfect piano purchase if I tried!! Even if I had spent hours upon hours researching pianos and pricing, I still would have absolutely come to the same conclusion: the shiny, black, medium-grand Wurlitzer was the perfect piano for me and my situation! Even today, knowing all that I know with hindsight being 20/20, I would still make the same decision over and over again! And that backed-up/solid/researched knowledge feels incredibly great!

My new piano was safely delivered and installed (woohoo!), and my great-grandparents' piano was sent to my dad's living room! He was super excited to receive his family heirloom and is looking into getting it restored. Yay! Yay! Happy piano days!

After I had my piano for a few hours, I decided I'd better name my black beauty, I also decided my piano is a boy! I know, I'm the silliest! I looked at all the "W" boy names and narrowed it down to like nine or 10. In the end, William Wurlitzer sounded the best to me and I named "him" exactly that! I'm very happy with my naming choice! 😁 Oh, and I forgot to mention that William was tuned a few weeks after I brought him home!

In an email I sent April 3rd, 2017, I told the family of my birth how much I love my piano and presented some of the reasons why I have such cheesy piano love:
  • I love it because it sounds so amazing!
  • It's so beautiful to look at! 😍
  • It challenges me in my mind, heart, soul, and physical abilities.
  • I'm able to create something from inside of me that doesn't exist without my piano.
  • It gives me all the feels! 💛
  • My piano connects me to my family in ways that I can't without it.
  • It brings an amazing spirit into our home.
  • It energizes me as a player, and as a listener. Sometimes I'm like, "Wow! I just played that! That just happened!" 😄 Ha ha.
  • My piano makes me feel like I'm contributing something 100% worthwhile to our world—it's an activity that's actually making the world a better place!
Nearly one year later (almost exactly 😁), those reasons still totally apply! Buying William Wurlitzer was and is one of the best decisions I've ever made! Thankfully, my Gregor agrees with me! My medium-grand piano is literally the purchase of my lifetime! It's been a financial struggle, for sure, but it's worth every penny. The great news is, our bank account has nearly recovered from our life-changing purchase! Yay! I still remember the oh-so-happy day I paid off my piano, I was so excited and jumped for joy!! There is just something about finally owning what you love and have worked so hard for! 😍

*By the way, no, this blog post is not an advertisement to get you to go buy a piano! Ha ha. I'm simply stating the fact that there is almost nothing on Earth so lovely as live music that you or your loved ones create yourselves!

I've also thoroughly enjoyed watching my wonderful students fall in love with my piano as well! They're fascinated to watch all that goes into making a piano play! They also love playing their own songs they've created on my piano. Wow, I love watching their growing minds work! So yes, buying William Wurlitzer has been highly beneficial to my piano students, too! We have such a great time playing the piano together! I absolutely know that having my students play on an "above average" piano truly helps inspire them to play their very best!

All of that fun aside, last fall, a few of my piano's keys began sticking. #ohno! 😬 I became really concerned when they weren't becoming unstuck! I worriedly thought, "Did I buy a lemon?! Did the Piano Gallery pull the wool over my starry-eyes and take advantage of me?!" I researched everything that could possibly be wrong with William Wurlitzer and came to the conclusion that, no, the Piano Gallery didn't do anything wrong—sticky piano keys are very common, especially in older pianos like mine who've been through big transitions. The only thing I could do was hire a piano tuner/technician. Thus began my search for a piano doctor!

While I liked the piano tuner I used to tune my great-grandparents' piano, I couldn't find a website for him anywhere (and I really searched!), so I didn't know if he did piano repairs, or not. Because William Wurlitzer means the world to me, I decided to go with a piano tuner/technician who has an active, functioning website that clearly states all of his/her services, accomplishments, certificates, and customer reviews! After all of my research, I narrowed it down to one gentleman who has really great piano credentials—and his resume outside of piano tuning/repair is truly amazing!

I then texted my friend (and wonderful mother of three of my darling piano students!) who recently had her piano tuned, to see if she could share her piano tuner's information with me. I wanted to make sure there wasn't someone better than the guy I chose. Yet after waiting 27 minutes (I checked my sent texts 😄), I felt the Holy Ghost tell me that I'd made a good decision and I should call William Wurlitzer's new piano doctor immediately! 😁

By the way, "piano doctor" is not our piano tuner's company name—it's just the nickname I gave him! I clarified that because there's a piano doctor website, but he's not the piano guy I chose.

When I called to set up William's appointment, I signed him up for every treatment the piano tuner/technician offered besides an appraisal! It was a pricey list of services, but it was fully worth it—and I can write it off as a business expense for my 2018 taxes!

It was a super exciting day when William Wurlitzer was taken apart, completely dusted inside and out, cleaned, fully repaired, and perfectly tuned by our new piano doctor! I was utterly fascinated by everything our piano technician was doing! He really knew his stuff! And he made my mind completely relax when he told me that William Wurlitzer's sticky keys were 100% fixable! Oh, it was such a relief to my piano-loving soul! I could finally breathe again and boundlessly love my piano without any worries! I know my reactions are extreme, but this is how much I truly love my piano! 😍




My favorite part of this whole "Fix William Wurlitzer!" adventure was when our piano doctor began playing my piano (to see how in tune it was)—he's a fantastic pianist! I felt like I was an important patron at a five-star hotel restaurant! ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Greg mentioned how great of a pianist our piano doctor was, too! But the best news (besides the repair of William's sticky keys) came when our piano doctor began tuning the piano. Turns out, William Wurlitzer held his tune pretty well from his initial tuning in 2017—which shows, again, that I bought a high-quality piano! Yay me! 👍

I was super impressed with our piano doctor because he tuned mainly by ear! Our previous piano tuner used an app on his smart phone to check his work—which is totally fine, don't get me wrong! But I love the fact that our new piano tuner/technician understands pianos and music as a whole to the degree that he knows every note by ear! #amazing!

And it gets even better! There was one octave, or so, in the higher notes of William Wurlitzer that always sounded a little bit "pingy" or "tinny" when played. It's like they were in tune, but just one teensy little degree out of tune. And those notes had been "off" since I bought the piano, so I thought there was just no fixing them. Yet our piano doctor put those babies right in tune, and they no longer have that tinny/pingy sound! Hip hip hooray!

As I was getting ready to pay William's piano doctor, we ended up chatting while he cleaned up everything. It was a nice conversation, but I was floored when he said he just moved into a house east of my neighborhood! He moved into my stake (several church congregations grouped together) less than one month earlier! I was beyond amazed at the new/additional "coincidence" to go along with William Wurlitzer's story! But I know it's not a coincidence!

I mean, seriously, what are the odds that out of all the internet options available, I would choose a master piano tuner/technician that just moved mere minutes away from my house?! Yeah, slim to none is what I said, too! Ha ha. Yet I know our piano doctor wasn't my discovery: I know the Holy Ghost inspired me with my best possible outcome for fixing William Wurlitzer and putting my mind at ease!

After experiencing nearly one full year with William Wurlitzer, I say yet again: the Holy Ghost is a legitimate spiritual personage—the third member of the Godhead who tells us the will of our Heavenly Father! The Spirit speaks the truth, and He told me exactly what was the best choice for me at each crossroad of my piano adventure! Any and all who will cultivate a righteous life and continually listen to the Holy Ghost, and act upon what He says, will be blessed forever! I'm so thankful I was given so many opportunities to rely on my faith throughout this past year with my beloved piano!

These amazing experiences (among many others) remind me that we are known and deeply loved by our Heavenly Father, and our Savior, Jesus Christ. Our Heavenly Father gives us exactly what we need, and, many times, He gives us what we want! 😁 The nicest thing is when we, as individuals, align our needs and wants with our Heavenly Father's knowledge of what is best for us!

We must always remember and never forget just how loved we are(!) and that we matter to our Heavenly Father! Our lives are most definitely not small, nor insignificant! Each of us are a vital part of God's very great plan of happiness!

Lastly, my grand piano adventures with William Wurlitzer show that creating beautiful music is very important to our Heavenly Father! We have all been given access to inspiring, uplifting, soul-changing music through multiple avenues. Our musical options in today's technological society are unmatched by previous generations! We are so blessed to have music everywhere! Some people are obviously more talented than others in the music world, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't all still try to create beautiful music to the best of our abilities! Yes, each of us needs to decide now how we will daily incorporate essential music into our lives...I know what I've chosen! 😀