Thursday, April 19, 2012

I didn't know that you could choose to be happy, thank you Elizabeth Smart for teaching me otherwise.

I honestly didn't know. I mean, somewhere deep down inside of me I am sure that I did know. Being a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, that fact is pretty much nailed into our brains from the time we are infants, isn't it? Or was it lost on me thinking I had to be completely 100% amazing in order to be happy?

The world teaches us that we have to be beautiful and super model thin to be happy. We have to have the seemingly perfect life in order to be happy. Our husbands have to shower us with gifts and they come home from work and clean the house and kiss us and hug us and forgive us for all of our wrong doing. We always have our makeup on and our hair done, and dinner on the table, and our kids are so well behaved and craft masters and reading masters and all other types of masters because that is what is required to be happy. You can't be happy unless your life is without trial and sorrow. If you have not all of these things, happiness cannot be found.

At least, that is kind of what I thought.

Until almost two weeks ago when I finally learned that it is possible to choose for yourself each day to be happy with what you have been dealt in life.

It went down like this. I was up late. As in...extremely late that it becomes early. You know those nights. Life had become all consuming to me. I was being bombarded with trial upon trial upon trial. I was miserable in my marriage and after the seemingly thousandth time of forgiving, I was so done with it. Done with my marriage, done with a huge trial in my extended family, I was ready to run away.
This particular evening, after being up for so many hours I was feeling the weight of everything on my shoulders, and I was feeling it hard. I went to shut down my computer before bed when I saw people talking about the wonderful speech they had heard that evening by Elizabeth Smart. I read the comments from Facebook friends, and went to bed thinking about what she had said in reference to the trials and terrible things that had happened to her during the nine months she was taken from her family. I went to bed that night and I prayed. I prayed hard. I prayed that I could find happiness and that I could learn to truly forgive and let go.

I texted my husband at 4 a.m. that morning. A simple text, where his only response was, "Wow."
The next morning I awoke to somehow come across this news article from KSL. It was as if I was being slapped in the face. I took her words literally to heart, they sang to me, rang deeply into my ears and resonated into my heart and a light finally went on inside of me, a light that had either faded after so much sorrow, or one that had possibly never even been lit before. 

My favorite portion of the article reads:
It was not until later, though, that Smart and her mother would have a conversation that would prove to be life- changing. "She said, ‘Elizabeth, what this man has done to you is terrible, and there aren't words to describe how wicked and evil he is,'" Smart said. "'He has taken nine months of your life that you will never get back, but don't give him another moment. The best punishment you could ever give him is to be happy.'" "And that's exactly what I'm trying to do for the rest of my life, is be happy." Smart focused on keeping trials in perspective and realizing that what may be difficult for one person may not be difficult for someone else. "Nobody is trial-free, but we have a choice," she said. "We can choose to allow our experiences to hold us back, and to not allow us to become great or achieve greatness in this life. Or we can allow our experiences to push us forward, to make us grateful for every day we have and to be all the more thankful for those who are around us."

That night I was able to forgive my husband for everything terrible that had been plaguing our marriage for the last 4 years. I was able to finally see that while I thought I had forgiven him, I had not. I was harboring anger and resentment and misery instead of truly choosing to be happy, and move forward with our life together. I chose, finally, to choose happiness in my life.
It has been 10 days of choosing happiness, and I have a lifetime of more happy days ahead of me. It is truly up to me to find joy in the every single day, even when the days are hard.
Does this mean our marriage is fixed and I am super happy and we are just the perfect amazing couple and family? H no. We both still act like three year old's throwing tantrums and each wanting our own way, but we are both willing to look within ourselves to see what needs to be fixed in order for us to find happiness.
There has been more laughter. SO much more laughter. There has been so much more baby squishing and big kid cuddles. I know my kids feel the change in our home. I know it is because of the changes in me.
I want to thank Elizabeth Smart for sharing what her mother shared with her so many years ago. It has truly changed my life and my heart for the better.
I hope you each choose happiness today and every day.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Breathing Space Blogger Retreat

I am a little emotional after writing my last post. I have been meaning to sit down and write about the Breathing Space Blogger Retreat I am attending on May 4-May 5 at Daybreak Utah. However, life happened and here I sit writing about it, finding out that they just sold out this morning. While I am SO happy that the event sold out, I am honestly saddened that more of my blogging friends didn't hear about it from me. If you follow my Facebook I have been talking about it non stop.

Besides the reasons I eluded to in my last post, I need to run away and the Breathing Space Blogger Retreat came into my lap at just the perfect timing. See, besides the normal struggles in my marriage, there have been some serious events happen in my extended family, and the last month has been nothing shy of a whirlwind of emotions.

This week in no different as I prepare my etsy shop (the one I run with my fabulous besties Lindsey and Leisha) to attend the famed Queen Bee Market at Thanksgiving Point this weekend. (PLEASE come see us, and see why my fingers will be covered in band aids. The saying, working your fingers to the bone can be quite literal.)

This is what my house looks like at the moment:

This is the island of my kitchen. Contained in this photo are boxes of fabric and quilt blocks I am currently finding minutes to sew together. It is a sad state. The island may have been this way for a solid week. Pffft.

Here are the Chick Fil a bags left over from lunchtime. I haven't been letting my family eat out. However, I am a mad wreck and my kids are off track and the drive through called us. This may or may not be the same island full of sewing gadgets and fabric. You decide.

We did opt for the healthier grilled nugget option and fruit and no one popped open their sauces, so I guess I haven't failed motherhood completely. Is it sorry to admit I want to drink the Chick Fil a sauce? Probably.

Can we discuss the sad state of my sink at the moment? After last night's etsy fiasco, wherein I dumped some pretty stanky (safe to dump down the drain) stuff we use on etsy night down my overly filled sink of dishes, it set off a stink bomb of rotten egg smell due to it's cloggedness.  (Cloggedness is not a word...but you get the idea.) My entire kitchen now not only looks terrible, it smells terrible. 

One last thing before I go start cleaning up this disaster? My husband makes me take family photos and videos from varied angles or pick up the mess before it is forever documented on film or video. This irks me because, reality is, our house is always a disaster. These photos are proof. I wear them with pride. 

I am a crazy mom, photographer, graphic designer, etsy shop runner x 2 almost 3, churchgoer, daughter extraordinaire, forgiver (finally, but that is another post entirely), lover, fighter, runner, kisser, hugger, crier, needer, just not the best housekeeper.

Because of all of this? I need this retreat and it could not come at a better time than now, except maybe if it were tonight, but I can wait a little longer.

Check out the amazing lineup and more information on the website and Facebook page for the Breathing Space Blogger Retreat here:

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

How I feel.

I am an emotional mess. I know better than to blog when I feel like this. Perhaps that is why I haven't blogged...not really anyway. This photo perfectly describes how I feel in every single way, shape, and form in my life at the moment. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and this one is proof. Replace my face for hers and there you have it.

I sit here not even sure of what to write. It all just seems so broken, from my mind to my heart to my body. It is a little bit depression, a little bit desperation, a little bit anxiety, a little bit (okay a lot) stress, it is sadness, it is disappointment, it is longing, it is confusion, it is love, it is very little hope still glowing, it is faith (but lacking), it is honest, it is lying, it is crazy. All of it. Crazy.

The past month. Wow. I can't even begin to describe it. Before I turned around twice the last month was gone, and with it 31 days of my life.

Barely breathing in and out. Barely getting by. Hating myself for eating through it. Unhappy with myself for not being able to just figure it out and have it be perfect once again. It is fear that it may never be perfect and feeling pressure from every side and every angle and knowing you will never please anyone, and perhaps not yourself in the process. It is the unknown that is the hardest part. It is the trust that it can be better, that it could be better, that it might get better.

It is still so many sleepless nights. Hours lying there. Awake. Longing for answers. Longing for sleep. Longing for hope.

It is a tear streaked face. It is worry for another. It is taking on the humongous responsibility of caring for someone else who so desperately needs you, but realizing for the first time in your life you might not be strong enough to continue to care for other people because it might break you. It is continuing to care for that someone regardless because there is no choice. It just is. You must, because that is what love is. That is what family means. It is you wishing family meant something completely different.

It is a 1/3 life crisis. It is wanting to run away, afraid to run away, needing to run away, knowing running is not the answer and never will be, but still wishing for it regardless.

It is the need to be just a little bit selfish, but knowing and fearing that being selfish may be the death of you. It may ruin the last bit of self you have left and then wondering what would be left of you. Anything good? It is not being able to trust yourself to be a bit selfish because you may never recover from it, and that scares you.

It is a constant worry. It was being sick through it all.

A strain. A hurt. A cry. A tear.

It is my life.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Thanksgiving Point's Easter Eggstreme | Giveaway

Who loves Easter more than I do? You would think it is the mom down the street who spends all night sewing matching Easter attire for their babies the night before. Nope. Maybe the super woman who decorates her entire house with Easter buntings and wreaths? Well, perhaps...but I still say no. Need a little hint? I say, Thanksgiving Point.

Are you looking for something amazingly fun to do this weekend with your kids? Well, Thanksgiving Point has your answer.

The Easter Eggstreme at Thanksgiving Point happens this Saturday beginning at 10 a.m.

There will be so many fun vendors and egg hunting activities for the kids. Word on the street is that this event is packed, so prepare accordingly to have an adult on hand for each little one so no one gets lost.

One of the best parts? The Easter Eggstreme is sponsored by Chick-fil-a...and you know how much I love them don't you? We even had lunch there yesterday, so delish.

I am giving away a family pack of tickets for free admission to this event. (Up to 9 tickets!) All you have to do is be able to pick the tickets up from me by Friday afternoon.

To enter, simply leave me a comment telling me what you love most about Thanksgiving Point and why. Please leave the number of tickets you require as well as your email address so that I can contact you in the event you win!

To earn additional entries:

Check out Thanksgiving Point on Facebook
Check out Kim Orlandini Photography on Facebook
Share this giveaway any way you would like, and let me know you did so.

Please leave an extra comment for each additional entry.

The giveaway ends Wednesday, April 4, 2012 at 6 p.m. MST. Winner will be notified by email tomorrow evening.

***Disclaimer: I am not being compensated in any way for this giveaway. However, I do ADORE Thanksgiving Point and love taking my kids to see their beautiful Tulips and gardens and love that they give me the opportunity to share their beautiful grounds and events with all of, thank you Thanksgiving Point!***