The Balancing Act

The other day I was reading a post on the “FB” from an author I admire.  She said (and I’ll paraphrase) that “perhaps it was time that we made ourselves the center of our own lives.”  There is a part of me that is tired that inwardly said “preach it sister!” But I paused and thought about it a little more.  Something just didn’t feel right.  Something was off.  I know what she was getting at, because so many of us spend so much time tending to the needs of others that we do not invest in taking care of ourselves.  But something felt wrong.

I began to have a little talk with myself (which is perfectly normal if you are the only one listening.) I reasoned — “aren’t I worth taking care of?”  The answer is “OF COURSE!”  But why did this statement feel so off to me?  Then is dawned on me. I knew something that this New York Times Best Selling author didn’t know!  I know in my heart of hearts that if I truly put Jesus Christ at the center of my life — “ALL things will work together for my good.”

This isn’t a new concept — I’ve been taught my entire life to put the Lord first.  But at times I think I confused “putting the Lord” first with putting the “to do’s” of church activity first.  I’m not saying the “to do’s” are wrong – because they aren’t.  And some “to do’s” are more important than others.  I remember lessons, some I’ve even taught, where I’ve said that you put the Lord first, others next, and yourself last and you would be happy.  There are are times when this concept is true.  I have first had experienced what it was like to lose myself in the service of God and miraculously found myself.  I’ve also had times when I’ve spent time caught up in “doing stuff” and just lost myself.

But my “A-HA” is that I think I’m figuring out is that when I really truly put Jesus Christ FIRST and put my heart in tune with His spirit . . . I can learn this beautiful dance of nurturing and caring for myself AND others.  It’s not a simple 1-2-3.  It’s also sometimes 1-3-2.

If I truly believe that I am a child of a God who loves me – then He cares for my spiritual, physical, and emotional happiness.  He can help me build a strong foundation where those needs are met.  In turn He can use me to build the same in others.

As I learn to tune-in I will know when I need my own “40 days on the mountain” to regroup and put myself in order.  But I will also know when someone needs me more than I need my sleep.  He will help me to say “no” when I need to and “yes” when I may not want to.

So now I am asking myself “isn’t it time I really put Christ at the center of my life?”  The answer is a resounding “YES”.

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Walking, Ice Skating, and Popping Back Up.

It’s not a secret that one of the challenges I have is my relationship with food and my body.  I haven’t written about it much lately (well I haven’t blogged much lately anyway) because I have a certain level of shame for not achieving the goals I’ve wanted for myself.  It’s true that my goals have changed over time.  For instance, I no longer have a goal weight.  There is no magic number on a scale that equates to success or “arriving”.  What I want is to be free from the obsession, the emotional eating, and be at a healthy weight for me.  I want a strong body that I take care of and nurture.

But I’m tired.  I am tired of falling down and not knowing if I have the strength to get up again or even to dare to begin to hope for success.  It’s exhausting sometimes.

On Friday I left work a little early and went and had my hair cut and my nails done.  I was ready to just go home and relax but decided to stop by the indoor walking/running track at the Olympic Speed Skating Oval and walk.  Although the Oval has been here for years – I just learned about the indoor track that surrounds the oval.  They have running clubs that meet there and usually a variety of people walking and running the track.  Inside the track is the ice skating oval and in the middle of the oval are two sections where they mostly do hockey games and lessons.

I keep reminding myself that I deserve to have my body feel good by walking and wogging (my mixture of jogging and walking) and being strong.  This whole week I have struggled with doubts that I have had a hard time letting go of.  I knew even a half hour walking/wogging would do my mental health as much good as my physical health.  As I was walking around the track I noticed some figure skaters in the center of the rink practicing.  I had never been there when figure skaters were practicing and it was quite interesting to watch as I walked.  About my second lap I noticed this interesting contraption that two skaters were hooking up.  One skater had on a belt and she was attached to a wire that went up overhead and through a pulley.  Her coach/friend held on to the other end of the rope.  Then the girl wearing the belt started practicing some jumps and spins. As I watched I noticed that she fell down – A LOT.  The cool thing was — as soon as she did, the other person pulled the rope and she popped right back up.  I’m sure this saved a lot of time in training.  But it dawned on me – they anticipated that she was going to fall.  There was no pretense or expectation that she was going to be perfect – none at all!  They actually expected that she would fall.  The point seemed to be to keep practicing and to pop up very quickly every time she fell so she could get on with her training. Wow!  This was a huge aha moment for me. 

I’ve been so frustrated with myself because I am not the person I think I should be.  For whatever reasons, lately it seems like every time I fall – I end up sitting on the ice crying because I just can’t be good enough.  I even have been praying to understand how to utilize the Saviors atonement in making changes in my life – especially with my food and weight issues.  As I walked around the track I kept thinking about this and watching them practice.  She had times she didn’t fall – she had some great spins.  But she had several times she did fall.  The thought came to my mind that I need to remember that the Savior is on the other end of the rope.  He knows I keep trying! He also knows I’m going to fall.  BUT – if I let Him – he will be on the other end of the rope and pop me right back up to keep working at it.  It’s time for me to be like the graceful skater on the ice and believe that eventually I’ll get it right.  There’s no time to sit on the ice and cry — there is work to do and I have someone on the other end of the rope.

Note:  I did look it up online.  It’s called a Jump Harness.  It also helps keep the skaters straight in the air and in better position to land.  It helps develop confidence as they learn new skills.

figure skating harness photo

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The Year is Dying in the Night . . . And Other Thoughts.

I attended a funeral today.  It was a rather simple affair.  There were sweet words said and a couple of organ solo’s.  Then a simple little luncheon afterwards that consisted of “Funeral Potatoes”, ham, and Jello  — pretty standard Mormon-Funeral-Luncheon-Cuisine.

I pondered on my own funeral and felt kinda sad that I would miss it.  What a bummer . . . people finally come and say all this awesome stuff about you and you aren’t even there to hear it.  Worse yet, what if someone plans my funeral and it’s boring?  I think that would be more tragic than my actual death!  At this point my life it’s pretty apparent that I will not have children to plan a funeral for me when “my time comes” and my “non-existent family” definitely can’t be counted on for this event. With this in mind I decided I needed to plan my funeral myself – at least give some guidelines —  and then my nieces and nephews (that really do exist) can carry out my wishes. 

Songs that Shall NOT be Sung at my Funeral:

  • God Be With You ‘Till we Meet Again
  • O My Father
  • I’ll Go Where You Want me to Go
  • Any “Sunshine Song” in the hymn book.

Songs from the Hymn Book that would be okay to be sung by the congregation:

  • In Our Lovely Deseret (all verses sung loudly with energy)
  • God Save the King (just for fun – to throw everyone off)

Musical Numbers That Could be Performed

  • Aye Yuck Yuck – By My Nephew Matt
  • Hey It’s Good to Be Back Home Again (John Denver)
  • Special dramatic reading of the first verse of Ring Out Wild Bells with organ music playing in the background.

Other Specifications

As people enter the chapel they will receive a small bag of M&M’s and Small package of tissues (because of course they are gonna be crying.)

Talks should be tender and heartfelt and cause a tear to roll gently down your cheek that you will brush away with aforementioned tissue.

Talks should also be HILARIOUS and make everyone laugh.  Make funny stuff up about me if needed. 

Funeral should be no more than an hour unless there is too much heart-felt-tear-dropping-hilarious stuff to be said — then go ahead and make it a little longer.

Have a luncheon afterward, but only serve Candy Casserole. Then all my nieces and nephews should have a mixture of Root beer, Diet Coke, and Cherry 7-Up in teeny tiny cups and toast to my memory.  They should make very loud toasts using accents that are indiscernible and shout “To DeAnn  – L’Chaim”.

Afterward everyone should then just meet at Chili’s for a real lunch.

 

 

 

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What Desirest Thou?

As I am reading in the Book of Mormon, I am reading the part of the Nephi about to be shown Lehi’s vision of the Tree of Life.  But before he receives that remarkable vision the Lord asks this question “What desirest thou?”  I’ve been thinking about this for days.

What if the Lord were asking me that question – “DeAnn what do you really desire?”  How would I answer?  Am I prepared to mean the answers I want to give?  My first answer would be to be free from this eating addiction.  To eat when I’m hungry and stop when I’m satisfied.   To return to a normal body size that is good for me.

I then have to ask myself if I really truly mean that – it would mean that I would not turn to food to cope.  That crutch – that I have relied on for years – would be gone.  Am I ready for that?  Really?  Have I been going through the motions for so long acting as if that is what I want?  What I wonder – is if the Lord is there with the gift of healing and I just haven’t been willing – truly willing to accept it?  Have I not had that miraculous change of heart because I have been truly at my very depths been unwilling to allow my heart to be changed?

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A Camping I Did Go . . .

I had a fantastic summer.  One of the fun things I did this summer was go to girls camp (yes . . . AGAIN.) I loved it of course.  Yesterday I was asked to speak in sacrament meeting and report on camp.  Several of the Young Women were also speaking and so I knew everyone would get the whole scoop.  So what is a girl to do?  So I turned to the scriptures.  Here is the text of my talk.  It was pretty short for a talk which was just an extra treat for everyone. . . .

Since we are counseled to liken the scriptures unto ourselves, I thought I’d give you a recap of camp from the scriptures.

We left on a Tuesday morning.  Doing as they did in 2nd Nephi 5:7 And we did take our tents and whatsoever things were possible for us, and did journey in the wilderness for the space of many days

Driving up the mountain in a caravan until we finally arrived at our destination.  And it was said of us as said in  Joshua 6:11 and they came into the camp, and lodged in the camp.

Immediately we unpacked and did as was said in Mosiah 2:6 And they pitched their tents round about

Camp if a fun and exciting place.  At night we would gather together as a stake and do as is we are advised in Psalms 98:4 we make a loud noise, and rejoice, and sing praise.

And we had so much fun that it was said as in Ezra 3:13 – for the people shouted with a loud shout, and the noise was heard afar off.  In fact I think they heard all way back home.  But really . . . what we did was follow Isaiah 23:16 and  make sweet melody, sing many songs, that thou mayest be remembered.

One of the highlights of camp – of course is the chance to hike.  Everyone was so happy starting off but by the end it was more like 1 Nephi 16:19  and being much fatigued, because of their journeying, they did suffer much for the want of food.

I of course was a little more dramatic when I finally . . . one of the very last dragged myself into camp.  I quoted Alma 60:3 saying I have suffered exceedingly great sufferings; yea, even hunger, thirst, and fatigue, and all manner of afflictions of every kind.

Later on we learned to make fires – as part of certification.  So immediately I turned to 1 Nephi 17:11 and said  I did smite two stones together that I might make fire.  But alas . . . I could not make fire with the stones – so we just used matches.  We did need to use fire safety so it would not be said of us in  Deuteronomy 32:22 that set on fire the foundations of the mountains.

 

One of the best parts of camp is of course, camp food.  Tossing my diet aside I decided that I  would follow  2nd Nephi 9:51 let your soul delight in fatness.

Truly camp food is the best food – it was like Psalms 78:25 we did eat angels’ food

And it was said throughout the camp that my special Candy Casserole was like Alma 32:42 is sweet above all that is sweet

By the end of the week we exemplified 2nd Nephi 13:24

And it shall come to pass, instead of sweet smell there shall be stink;

But we were happy to be home knowing that that night we would be in our own best and drift off to sleep thinking Proverbs 3:24 thou shalt lie down, and thy sleep shall be sweet.

Anyone who knows me knows that I love girls camp.  Not only do I love to play, laugh, get dirty, learn important skills, eat good food, and make deep and lasting friendships – I think Sister Elaine Dalton summed it up recently by saying “Camp with the most basic and simple accommodations can become a sacred place where the Spirit of the Lord is present.” And that is the real reason why I love camp.  I have seen lives change as the Spirit teaches these Young Women who they really are in a personal way – that they are His daughters and that He loves them.

You have already heard much about our wards adventures at camp.  I will say, and every ward leader that was there with us this year will agree, that we have amazing Young Women in our ward.

I want to close with a quote from Ezra Taft Benson that expresses how I feel about the Youth and Children of this ward

“For nearly six thousand years, God has held you in reserve to make your appearance in the final days before the Second Coming. Every previous gospel dispensation has drifted into apostasy, but ours will not…. God has saved for the final inning some of his strongest children, who will help bear off the kingdom triumphantly. And that is where you come in, for you are the generation that must be prepared to meet your God….” Make no mistake about it you are a marked generation.”

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