Doubt or Question

This last Sunday in church doubt came up often. Part of the Come Follow Me reading for the week was Matthew 14 which has the story of Peter walking on water and then sinking when he gets afraid. After pulling Peter up Jesus asks him, “wherefore didst thou doubt?” In both our testimony meeting and Sunday School people talked about doubt and if it’s okay or not.

This is something that we have discussed in our own home recently as well. Our family discussion started at the beginning of the year when we read Luke 1. In Luke 1 the angel Gabriel appears to Zacharias and Mary separately and tells them that they will both experience seemingly impossible things. Both of them initially respond with a question as to how that is possible. They both seem to doubt what Gabriel has told them. We talked about this in our scripture study and how it is okay to doubt.

A few weeks later I was listening to the BYU Speeches podcast. They record the weekly devotional and post them to their podcast channel so that anyone can listen to them. In January Lawrence Corbridge, a member of the Quorum of the Seventy, spoke at the devotional. Toward the end of his talk he said, “I heard someone say recently, ‘It is okay to have doubts.’ I wonder about that. The Lord said, ‘Look unto me in every thought; doubt not, fear not.’ I have a lot of questions; I don’t have any doubts.”

That same night, during our scripture study, I played that part of the talk for my kids and talked to them about the difference between questioning and doubting. I think most of us, when we talk about doubting things, actually mean questioning them we just use the words interchangeably. The two words actually mean different things.

I wonder if doubt is borne from fear while questioning comes from faith? I don’t know but it seems to make sense to me. What do you think? Do you think there is a difference between questioning and doubting? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Small and Simple

I have had “by small and simple things are great things brought to pass…” from Alma 37:6 on my mind for weeks now. I guess I adopted it as my mantra for the time being and I remind myself of it often. I tend to look at the big picture of things or focus on everything that needs to happen and it makes me feel overwhelmed. When I’m overwhelmed I avoid starting anything or putting forth any effort. Now, whenever I’m feeling that way I repeat “small and simple” in my mind as a reminder that all grand accomplishments start with one small step and are a culmination of many other small steps along the way.

This has really helped me to accomplish more than I had been. Every January one of my goals for the year is to declutter my house. I’m not a very clean or organized person and haven’t gotten very far in the last 5 years or so. I think the hard part for me is seeing all of the mess and realizing how much work it will be to clean it all up and feeling like I don’t know where to start. It is too overwhelming when I look at the whole house.

This year my goal has been to clear out and organize for 15 minutes a day and you know what? It’s working! There are often times in my day when I have a few minutes between tasks and instead of using those few minutes to do laundry like I used to, I often spend them organizing a kitchen drawer or part of a counter, etc. Yesterday it was the game shelves.

There are other areas of my life where my “small and simple” mantra is helping me too. Actually, it really helps in all areas of my life. Parenting is done in small moments, writing is done one word at a time, breaking my big goals down into small, manageable steps helps me to move forward.

Just as one weather event at a time over millions of years creates amazing beauty like the view in the picture of Canyonlands National Park above one day and one small task at a time can build an amazing life. When I lose sight of that, as I often do, I’m grateful that I can remind myself with one simple line of scripture.

Buffers


Oh laundry!!

This comic made me laugh out loud when I first read it because that is pretty much how I feel about laundry. I never had a hard time keeping up on laundry until I had Briella and since then, 6+ years later, it seems like laundry is all I do. Well, that and feed people.

I also figured out awhile ago that laundry is a buffer for me. Whenever I have a minute during my day and don’t know what to do I turn to laundry. Since it’s always needing to be done it is always there to help me feel productive. The problem is that doing laundry isn’t really getting me anywhere. Sure, I’m going nowhere in clean clothes but that isn’t much of a consolation.

We got a new washer last week and the main reason why I chose the one I did was because it made it so that all of the people who live in my house would be able to put their own clothes, sheets, etc. in the washer and start it by themselves. And surprisingly, it has worked. Briella loves to use the washer and is always asking if she can put stuff in it. I’m sure that will wear off eventually but I’m taking full advantage of it until it does.

Along with the new washer came the miraculous events of my bed wetters not wetting the bed for several nights in a row. So between not having to wash a bunch of bedding and Briella wanting to wash all she can get her hands on there isn’t any laundry for me to do right now.

And now you know why I am actually writing again. Without any laundry to do there’s nothing else standing between me and my dreams.

Juxtaposition

This morning as I helped Keenyn get ready for school he told me that a sweet girl from his class went to another school this year because she didn’t have any friends. It made my heart hurt.  After the kids went to school, I went on a walk and passed the middle school bus pick up.  All of the neighborhood kids were hanging out in big groups, socializing and waiting for the bus.  Then I noticed one boy standing completely by himself away from all the other kids and my heart hurt even more.

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This afternoon as I was driving, I remembered this note that I saw in Eli’s room last night.  His cute section leader in marching band gave it to him last week and it is full of encouragement and motivation and tells him that she cares about him and believes in him.  It makes my heart happy.

I’m not sure if there is much of a point to this post other than to say that life is a crazy mix of emotions but the contrast of it all adds so much beauty and depth to our living.

Change

IMG_2431We bought a new to us car this week.  It was a long time coming and we are happy to have it (I admit, I’m mostly just happy that the whole car buying process is over) but it has made me think about change.

We had our old car for 7 1/2 years.  It has served us well but we have also had a lot of issues with it.  It was 15 years old and had 182,000+ miles on it.  Several years ago I let a guy use it to try and jump start another car and he hooked up the jumper cables backward.  If you don’t know, that is not a good thing.  There were flames and melted jumper cables and electrical issues in the car ever since.  Electrical issues are not fun to deal with.  In addition to the electrical issues, the heat/air registers were stuck on the defrost setting, the button that moved the driver’s seat forward only worked half of the time, another seat back was broken, and this is just a short list of all that was wrong with it.  Needless to say, we weren’t super in love with the car.

IMG_2426But, yesterday when I knew we were going to leave it at the dealership I got kind of sad and sentimental.  It is just a car but it has been a part of our life for the last 7 years. It’s a part of my kid’s childhood.  I think I was really feeling the emotions of leaving it behind because it was going to be a change for us.  We had been in that car for years and were used to all of its quirks.  I was used to backing it into the garage so that if the battery happened to be dead AGAIN when I wanted to leave next it would be easy to jump start.  The kids were used to sitting in the seat with the broken back.  I knew how all of the buttons worked and the ones that didn’t work.  I was used to it taking 10 minutes to warm up in the winter and equally as long to cool down in the summer.  Now we were going to be experiencing something new.  And change is uncomfortable.

It didn’t take me long to realize that change can be good.  After an hour or so of driving the new car around on errands, all longing for the good old car days had disappeared.  This newer car was much more comfortable, was easier to drive and all of the features it has actually work.

 

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What you get when you ask your 11-year-old son to take pictures of the car for you.

I have heard it said many times that the only constant in life is change.  We are constantly facing changes even though we long for the comfort of sameness.  Even when that change is good it is hard for me to let go of what I am used to.  This is so interesting to me.  Why is it that I am so hesitant to change even when it can bring so much good?  How many other areas of my life am I holding myself back in because of comfort?  What am I missing out on by not allowing changes to enter my life? And why am I so afraid of being uncomfortable?  What could I become if I welcomed change and the uncomfortable growth that came with it?

 

Change obviously isn’t always a bad thing.  And things often don’t change completely.  Even though my new car probably won’t have nearly as many dead batteries as the old one did I’ll still back it into the garage.  And it will be a lot easier because it has a backup camera!

20 Years

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Chris and I recently met with a new financial advisor and one of his “get to know you” questions was, how do we see ourselves spending our weekends in 20 years.   That questions stopped me in my tracks then and I have thought about it often since.  He had us answer it about each other which made it easier to answer in the moment (I said Chris would be in his wood shop and Chris said I would be writing and taking pictures.) but it hasn’t stopped me from thinking about it.

I often think about the future, about when all my kids are in school all day, or that Eli will go to high school this year and on a mission in less than 5 years.  Most of my future thoughts are between tomorrow and 5 years from now but since being asked about myself in 20 years I’ve spent some time thinking more long term.

It’s kind of amazing to realize that eventually, my kids will all move out.  I won’t have a minimum of 10 loads of laundry per week or have to figure out what to feed 6 people 3 times a day every day.  There won’t be sports games and practices and cub scouts and band concerts.

Of course, I’ve always known this was going to happen.  That’s what we’re all striving for as parents isn’t it?  To raise children into full grown, live on their own, take care of themselves humans.  I even remember thinking in my younger, pre-children years that I wanted to be done having babies by the time I was 30 so that I would have an empty nest by the time I was 50.  (I didn’t make it but I was close.  I was 32 when Brie was born.)  It’s funny to me now to think that before I had kids I was already making plans for when they would leave and now that I’m fully immersed in children I can’t imagine what life will be like without them.

But, the truth is, eventually (hopefully) my kids will leave and I will have a lot more time on my hands.  It has already started in small ways.  I have more time to myself, now that Brie is in preschool than I have for the last 13 years and it’s only going to increase from here.

After having time to think about what I see myself doing on the weekends in 20 years my answer would be spending time with my grandkids and traveling.  But that isn’t all that I have learned from being asked that question.  More importantly, I’ve learned that I need to start finding myself outside of my role as a mother.  I have not been good at self-care over the years and have felt for a long time that I lost myself to motherhood.  Now that my kids are getting older it is time to start finding me again.

The best way that I know to do that is to write.  Writing helps me to frame my thoughts and to learn about myself.  So, I’m planning on writing more in many capacities and the thought excites me.  Some of what I write I will share here, some I won’t but I know that if I write I will start to find myself again.

How about you?  How do you plan to spend your time in 20 years?  Do you think about this often or are your thoughts stuck in your current situation?

 

Mindset

trying

photo credit Mimi Lee Printables

I am always on a quest to better myself and one way I try to do that is by reading self-help books.  I’m currently reading the book Mindset by Carol Dweck.  It is a self help book that was recommended to me by the principle at my sons middle school.

The premise of the book is that there are two different mindsets, a fixed mindset and a growth mindset.  A fixed mindset is where you believe that you are what you are and have the talents that you have.  These things are fixed and don’t change.  In a fixed mindset success is proving that you are smart or talented.  You are always validating yourself and you fear failure.  A growth mindset where you believe that you can always grow and change.  The talents that you currently have can grow with effort.  You are looking for a challenge to help you learn and you don’t fear failure, you see it as a learning experience.

I really like the book and it has left me with lots of ways to change and better myself.  But the thing that I keep thinking is that it’s amazing, and not amazing at all, that in all of the self-help books that I read, the main point that they teach people about is always something that we are taught in the church.  This is true with Mindset as well.

My stake has a weekday religious class that I attend sometimes.  I went to it yesterday and one of the things the lesson was on is how we really reach heaven.  We don’t get there by being perfect, we get there by repenting and doing our best.  The teacher said, “Satan is all about perfection, while God is all about progression.”  This fits exactly into the lesson that Mindset teaches.

People who have a fixed mindset are always feeling like they need to be perfect while people with a growth mindset are happy if they are improving.  This is also part of the message of Elder Holland’s last General Conference talk. He said:

First of all, if in the days ahead you not only see limitations in those around you but also find elements in your own life that don’t yet measure up to the messages you have heard this weekend, please don’t be cast down in spirit and don’t give up. The gospel, the Church, and these wonderful semiannual gatherings are intended to give hope and inspiration. They are not intended to discourage you. Only the adversary, the enemy of us all, would try to convince us that the ideals outlined in general conference are depressing and unrealistic, that people don’t really improve, that no one really progresses. And why does Lucifer give that speech? Because he knows he can’t improve, he can’t progress, that worlds without end he will never have a bright tomorrow. He is a miserable man bound by eternal limitations, and he wants you to be miserable too. Well, don’t fall for that. With the gift of the Atonement of Jesus Christ and the strength of heaven to help us, we can improve, and the great thing about the gospel is we get credit for trying, even if we don’t always succeed.

Honestly, this happens with pretty much all of the self-help books that I read.  I am grateful for these kinds of books though.  It is easier for me to learn the lessons from the secular books and then see how they apply in a gospel sense than it is for me to see them in a gospel sense and apply them to my daily life.  I’m glad that I know that I can improve and become better, that those traits I lack now are something that I can strive for.  And I’m grateful for the many ways that we can learn about the gospel of Jesus Christ.