Monday, May 13, 2019

We Can Do Better and Be Better!

“Nothing is more liberating, more ennobling, or more crucial to our individual progression than is a regular, daily focus on repentance.”
Russell M. Nelson

I haven't blogged much anymore because life is just crazy raising a family, nursing school, and a new job. But I really felt that I should share a lesson I taught on Mother's Day to all the women at church. It's all about a wonderful gift called repentance.

This past General Conference, our prophet Russell M. Nelson gave a fantastic talk. Even though it was delivered to the men during the Priesthood session, it is a message for us all.

"When Jesus asks you and me to “repent,” He is inviting us to change our mind, our knowledge, our spirit—even the way we breathe. He is asking us to change the way we love, think, serve, spend our time, treat our [husbands], teach our children, and even care for our bodies."

For most of my life, I had no understanding that repentance was a gift, especially a gift to be used every day. Often times repentance is associated with these big scary sins. I used to look at repentance like it was something to be avoided as much as possible. If I put a visual to the word repentance as I used to see it, it would look kind of like this:
Almost like a sentence to repentance. Maybe you look at it that way too. But I’m learning to look at it as something beautiful.

We can do better and be better - beautiful repentance

My goal in writing this is that you can start to see it as something wonderful and beautiful too. The reason why repentance is so wonderful is that it is a divine tool that allows us to CHANGE and get closer to Christ every day.

"Too many people consider repentance as punishment—something to be avoided except in the most serious circumstances. But this feeling of being penalized is engendered by Satan. He tries to block us from looking to Jesus Christ, who stands with open arms, hoping and willing to heal, forgive, cleanse, strengthen, purify, and sanctify us."

Almost 40 years ago, Elder Holland was trying to tell us the same thing: "Repentance is not a foreboding word. It is following faith, the most encouraging word in the Christian vocabulary. Repentance is simply the scriptural invitation for growth and improvement and progress and renewal. You can change! You can be anything you want to be in righteousness."

There’s a story in the Ensign from last year that tells of a bishop explaining an important part of repentance to someone who came to visit with him because of a serious sin. The bishop told him: “You are thinking of repentance like you are flipping a switch from darkness to light,” he said. “As if you were a perfect 10, and because you sinned, you’re now an 8 or a 7.”

The bishop continued by saying, “In reality, none of us are 10s. In fact, we are probably closer to 1s and 2s. We’re not perfect to begin with. Repentance can cleanse us from sin, but it also helps us progress from 2s to 3s and 3s to 4s and so on until we reach that perfect 10 one day. Repentance helps us become more Christlike.”

Repentance is essential on the path towards perfection. A quote I love by Brad Wilcox says, “Heaven is not a prize for the perfect, but the future home of all who are willing to be perfected.” Repentance is progression. It is one step closer and closer to our savior.

Our prophet is yearning for us to “experience the strengthening power of daily repentance - of doing a little better each day.” He wants us to continually change. To progress towards Christ every day.

Ask yourself: Why is continual progression/change so important in life?
What are some ways you can stop being stagnant in life and continue to progress toward Christ?

What is holding you back from changing through repentance? When we change our ways and increase our focus on Christ, we see who we are truly meant to become.

When we look at daily repentance as a daily progression towards Christ, we will be continually changed. It is what allows the Savior to transform us into the best version of ourselves. Christ wants us to change and as we plead for the power of his infinite and atoning sacrifice to be applied in our lives, his ultimate healing will bring to each of our lives the ultimate change.

Jesus Christ is our means of change. Ask him to help you recognize the improvements you need to make in your life. As you continually turn to Him, he will bring the best out of you.

Just as the Savior changed the eyes of the blind, he can give you the eyes to see what you need to change in your life.
The Savior changed the ears of the deaf. And he can help you hear his voice.

He changed a few fishes and a couple of loaves of bread into enough to feed 5,000 people. And he will take your time, your energy, and your ability and magnify them and multiply them so that there is enough to spare.

Although our Lord Jesus Christ never changes, what he does change is us. 

I hope that you’re starting to associate repentance with a progressive change, rather than associate it with the heaviness of sin. 

Don't give up!
I know that all this talk of change can feel overwhelming. We are already doing so much, how in the world are we going to add change into our busy lives! But remember this: Change is why we came to earth. To change from the natural man into the queens in God's kingdom that we are destined to become.

As women, especially on a day like Mother’s day, we often reflect on our worth. We torture ourselves with “Am I good enough?” Am I a good enough friend, sister, wife, mother? With all this talk about change, it can feel overwhelming as our minds make a seemingly infinite list of all the things that we can change and do better. We are naturally so hard on ourselves. Sometimes we might think, is it still worth trying? I try and I try and I just feel like I keep failing.

You are enough. In fact, you're more than enough! Please, please, please watch this beautiful video and message from Elder Cornish.

Jesus Christ endured and completed His eternal, infinite atonement so that you and I can change. Repentance is what makes weak things strong and what helps us change.

President Nelson said he has recently found himself drawn to a verse in Doctrine and Covenants that says, “Say nothing but repentance unto this generation.”

I used to think verses like this one sounded kind of mean and punishing. But now I understand.

I finally understand that repentance is not something to be dreaded, but something to be embraced. I am grateful for repentance because it is the tool I can use each day to do better and be better than I was the day before. I'm grateful for repentance because it allows the Spirit to guide me in ways of continual progression to be more like my Savior. I'm grateful for repentance because even though I fail and fail, and fail again, repentance always allows me to try again.

Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ love you. They are rooting for you. They want you to repent and change because it will bring happiness and peace to your life, and ultimately bring you back to them. They are on your side. Keep trying, do your absolute best, and remember that Christ makes up for all the rest.

#ldsquotes #preanelson #grace #agency #choice #accountability True #change … can come only through the #healing, cleansing, and #enabling #power of the #AtonementofJesusChrist. … He allows you to access His power as you keep His commandments, eagerly, earnestly, and exactly. It is that simple and certain. The gospel of Jesus Christ is a gospel of change! #lds #faith #priesthood #repentance #churchofjesuschrist

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Nursing School

When I gave birth to my sweet Cosette last year, I enjoyed every moment I was in the hospital. I loved the environment, the nurses, the knowledge they had, and the kindness of their hearts. I wanted to be just like them. Within a week of bringing Cosette home I started thinking about nursing school and how strongly I felt about it. They were very intense feelings. I wrestled with the idea for a month straight, mostly thinking it would be absolutely impossible. However, I had this constant spiritual nagging telling me this is what I was supposed to do. Even with the promptings I felt so hopeless with the idea of leaving my kids to go to school and eventually, to work. It was especially hard to think about this while holding a tiny baby in my arms. Everyday I would research and learn everything I could about nursing school, but I still felt utterly overwhelmed and I was terrified of letting God down because I truly believed I couldn't do it. I didn't feel smart enough or strong enough. But as hard as I tried, I could not get rid of the thoughts of going to nursing school. It was constantly on my mind and deep down I knew it was something I needed to do. So I made the choice, I was going to go to nursing school. I had no idea what I was going to do with my kids, but I knew if this was what God wanted me to do, he would provide a way.

It took some research but I found the perfect program for me. Weber State University was the only school in the area that would accept all the work I did from the degree I earned from BYU-Hawaii. They have a bachelors of nursing program, and I would be able to get into the program sooner than any of the other schools around. I was so set on this school and knew it was the right one that we even moved to be closer to the campus. This was an act of faith considering I hadn't even applied yet!

I had several prerequisites to do, but was blessed with the ability to take all of them online so I could still be with my little baby. I remember even taking some psychology tests while nursing Cosette! There was lots of anatomy, physiology, chemistry, and pathophysioloy, but for the first time ever, I was absolutely loving what I was learning. I thrived in my classes. I remember my first anatomy and physiology test I got a 100% when the class average was 64%. More people failed that class than passed! It was a HARD class. I worked my butt off, but I really attribute my straight A's to reading the scriptures before I studied, and never studying on a Sunday. I'm grateful for the blessings I received for doing those things and showing my Heavenly Father the priority He is in my life. 

Weber State University has graciously accepted me into their program and I couldn't be more excited (or terrified)! January is when it all begins! I still feel guilty thinking about being away from my kids, but I hope someday they will be inspired by me doing this. And just like I said earlier, if this is what God wants me to do, then He would provide a way. And provide a way He did, in ways we never could have imagined a year ago. 

Friday, July 21, 2017

Little Ivie #3

It's hard to believe it has been two months since having our baby!  

If you don't already know, much to our surprise I gave birth to a baby GIRL! Even though we didn't find out the gender, we were pretty sure it was going to be a boy. The original name we were considering for a girl just didn't seem to fit her, so it took us awhile to find one that did. After a day of getting to know her, we finally named her Cosette. (No, we didn't name her from Les Mis. We just love the name plus my husband speaks French. He even says her name with a French accent!) We also call her Cosy. 

Other then an extremely painful false alarm trip to the hospital a week prior, her birth was wonderfully uneventful. It was incredible, and just like the twins birth, I wish I could relive the day again and again. It was also nice that I didn't have to give birth in the OR in front of 10+ people again! She came out with brown hair just like Boston did. The first thing my doctor said about her is that she looks just like the twins. She is a perfect combination of them. 

It was so sweet when the twins got to meet her. They were curious about this new place they were in, but even more curious about this new little baby. We gave them each a baby doll to take home and care for. 

My doctor and nurses were the best. After we got home from the hospital I would just cry and cry because I missed them so incredible doctor, nurse Jeanie and nurse Kara to name a few. I missed being in the hospital and getting enormous trays of food. I wanted to do it all again. I was unaware that my husband audio recorded the whole birth. When he shared it with me my heart leaped. What a gift it was to hear what was going on in those precious moments and to hear Cosy's first cry again. 

Cosette is a wonderful and happy baby. She even gained a whole pound in her first week. She is a GOOD eater! I've been able to breastfeed her which has been a wonderful blessing. The twins wouldn't breastfeed, so I wasn't sure how this would go, but I love it. I will definitely take it over exclusively pumping again! That was flat out awful. 

We've also discovered how hard twins really are. I'll say it again and again: I rather have two toddlers and a newborn than have two newborns! Thank goodness we didn't know any different at the time. I feel for the parents that have twins after having just one! 

Life hasn't been too eventful since Cosette was born. We blessed her at church a few weeks ago. I distinctly remember from the blessing that Cosette was told she is a miracle. She certainly is. Sometimes I look at her and can't believe that she really is mine. She's perfect and fills a void we didn't even know we had in our family. I love that each of my children are wonderful miraculous gifts from heaven. It took a little adjusting, but Boston and Lyla are great big siblings. Boston loves giving baby "Coo-sette" hugs and kisses. Lyla loves to help take care of Cosy by getting me burp cloths and bringing me a diaper after Lyla announces that Cosy is poopy. It's crazy at times having three kids under three, but I'm loving the challenge. 

Cosy is my little sidekick. It's been wonderful to have a baby that I can tote around. That was very difficult to do with the twins since I only had two hands. She smiles and sleeps well and is growing so fast. My favorite thing about her is that she laughs in her sleep! She even joyfully snorted while sleeping yesterday. I simply adore this little girl and I am so, SO grateful to have her. 

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Chris's Reaction to the Amazingly Great and Wonderful Surprise News!

I thought it would be fun to have Chris type out his reaction to the positive pregnancy tests I gave him, especially since it was hard to read what was going through his head. This post is all from him!

It's Thursday evening and I'm excited to be home. I'm always excited to come home. My kids are especially playful and momma has a smile on her face so I'm on cloud 9. We're all downstairs playing and having a great time. There's extra levity in the air and it's turning into a memory I would remember regardless of the bombshell or not... but oh was there a bombshell.

Babe gets my attention and says she has something for me and pulls out a wrapped box. It's not my birthday, Christmas, anniversary (yes I remember our anniversary), nor any other occasion I can remember and we aren't really the couple that surprise each other with gifts, so obviously I'm curious. (Rach has a video of this but she won't show it because of something I say right when I open it, which is a funny anecdote.) To paint the scene we're in our bedroom downstairs, I've just tickled the twins like crazy and jumped around the bed making a mess of the bedding but it's all in good fun. We're catching our breath and momma hands me the gift. I'm surprised and intrigued but can't really remember what I thought it might have been, but I can say that I wasn't expecting what it actually was.

I unwrap the gift and see a thermometer, well what I thought was one at first (and I think I touched it before realizing what it was) but only a second or two later I realize what it really is. I quickly look up at Rachel (without reading the result) and now I immediately think she's got to be pregnant otherwise she wouldn't show me this. I'm not the sharpest tool in the shed but I can do deductive reasoning! I look back down and see that it's positive. I'm happy, I'm surprised, I'm ecstatic, I'm every positive emotion for like 3 seconds until the doubt sets in...But we didn't do IVF, and the last time we did it didn't work. I got my hopes up before and I wanted to keep myself in check before I'd let myself get them up again, which to be honest is a little sad, well it's very sad because I'm purposefully repressing hope to shield myself from the pain again. The pain I felt back in November when what I really wanted, and what I really thought was going to happen...suddenly didn't.

So I process she's pregnant, I'm hopeful, but then I put my guard up. "How? Are you sure?" She shrugs her shoulders with a smile, "I think so". Neither of us believe the third positive pregnancy test I made her take. Both of us remember the repressed pain and try to repress it further by putting our guard up and letting doubt win. To my recollection we celebrated but it was a hesitant celebration, like we kind of let ourselves believe it might kind of sort of be possible and how great and amazing that would be, but we didn't really believe it at the same time. We got to talk a lot on a drive up to Idaho for a friend's wedding that weekend, but we mostly didn't bring it up. Even at the wedding when Rachel had an upset stomach we both thought it was because she ate too fast. Neither of us felt we could blame it on a miraculous parasite. 

Flash forward to the following Monday morning at the doctor's office, with the nurse walking into a hilarious scene. You could cut whatever weird mix of emotion was in the air with a knife. I still remember the thought in my head when the nurse congratulated us for being pregnant on our third, "Shut up with your congratulations until we see a blood test or ultrasound or concrete evidence." And what was weirder was neither of us really said anything, needless to say it was awkward. Which we have since cleared up with that same nurse. I couldn't believe it and my guard was up fully. I was ready to hear the tests were a mistake, multiple false positives, that Rach had a funky pee probably from asparagus. It messes with the smell and color so maybe it could do this. I didn't really let myself have the hope. It was too much pain last November and the subsequent months that followed. I had buried that hope for now, buried it good and deep.

Then the moment. I saw it. The doctor said it. Rachel saw it, said it, and confirmed it. But still I took a minute before I let my guard down, before I believed it. Even though they'd both said it I had to dig that hole open and let the hope run wild. But when it did... oh boy was it fast and overwhelming. I still feel like I asked at least 5 times in 5 different ways if the doctor was sure. When I pray for the twins I thank God for our two little miracles and this feels like it eclipses miracles. 
Those 3 seconds of joy and happiness I felt on Thursday was all I could feel now. Once I let my guard down it was down. I let myself believe. I opened myself up, I remembered the pain vividly from when it didn't work but it seemed to be erased little by little. The more I let myself believe the more that pain didn't matter anymore. It hurt like the dickens but now it didn't, now it doesn't.

I'm so very happy for this baby. Everyday I thank God for our new miracle, for "new baby" (we don't know the gender and I feel weird calling him or her 'it'). I was still skeptical, and I asked repeatedly what the odds of losing the baby could be, to what percentile confidence was the doctor? How many standard deviations? I needed the reassurance, I needed to know. The hurt was that deep, but by now my doubts are gone. This baby is coming and I'm so excited. Sometimes I even feel sorry for Boston and Lyla because I think they love my attention but this baby is going to get a lot of cuddles because I'm full of over a year of wishing I could have them. So ready or not New Baby, Daddy is bringing the cuddles!

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

I'm Pregnant?!!

How did I find out I was pregnant, especially since I wasn't expecting it?

I have to thank our local McDonald's for that. Every time I saw that McDonald's I had to fight every fiber of my being not to go and order a greasy double cheeseburger. For someone who doesn't eat fast food, this was very unusual. I guess I should mention that I had been feeling "off" as well due to extreme lightheadedness and some nausea.

I was concerned there was something wrong with me, but I also knew that what I was feeling could be signs of pregnancy even though it would pretty much be impossible. So the morning of October 6th, I took a cheap little .88 cent pregnancy test just to excuse that very unlikely possibility. When I looked at the pregnancy test there were two very clear lines. A quick review of the instructions confirmed that two lines meant positive. My pregnancy test was positive.

Even with a positive pregnancy test in my hands I didn't believe it. I immediately googled all the possible reasons for a false positive. Nothing I could find really explained it so I just chalked it up to being a cheap little test. However, I was feeling weird and I had been having the most ridiculous vivid dreams...

Two hours later I found myself in Walmart looking at a shelf of pregnancy tests, but this time I was looking at the fancy expensive ones. I had no idea what I was doing so I grabbed one that had 2 tests and had a $2 off coupon attached to it. (Score!) I also bought the twins plastic pumpkins to hold their Halloween candy in because it's impossible to go to Walmart without picking up something you weren't planning on buying, am I right?

I got home, fed the twins lunch, and peed in a cup.

I think the video below pretty much explains what happened. It's embarrassing and my voice is annoying, but this is real life people!


I'm pregnant!

No hours and hours of doctors appointments, no needles and medications, no ultrasounds to check on my follicles, no daily blood draws, no stressful bills, no ovaries the size of tennis balls. Nope. Just a beautiful miracle from God.

I couldn't wait to tell Chris, so when he got home from work I gave him a gift box with my two positive tests inside. I was still in utter disbelief, clinging onto a small bit of hope that this was really happening when I gave him the box. We were both so shocked, he made me take another pregnancy test. (Spoiler alert: it was another positive!) I actually asked him to type out his reaction so I could share it here on my blog, but it's so long that I'm going to make it my next post. He's an overachiever :)

I'm pregnant!!!

*Special thank you to McDonalds and Clearblue ;)

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