Goal Setting for Kids

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There is no great genius without a mixture of madness.-Aristotle

Last week we did our yearly Family Meeting in which we talk about Family and Personal goals. We talked about what goals are, how to set a specific goal and work towards it step by step, and what can help to be more successful like setting a specific time of the day and making the goal very specific. We discussed how goals should help us have good habits;  we consistently do good things until they become good habits. We also talked about how as disciples of Christ we constantly want to try to improve and each time we become better and more like Christ we have more help from Him to move forward and improve even more (Proverbs 4:18)

To make the process more visual and help the kids keep track of both their goals and progress we made up this GOAL SETTING WEEKLY STAIRS on which they could write their goals and each time they complete it for the day they move up a stair step. We had the kids choose a cartoon face of a child they thought looked like them from this Multicultural kids faces Clip-Art to use to “climb” the stairs. Elf chose one of the little Asian girls:)

 

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Pregnancy: Let’s Get Real

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Real Life: Wearing my hubby’s clothes, hair not done, no make-up…Nope, I can only do two things today; homeschool while trying to keep my cookies down…

I really admire optimistic people. You know those really sunny, smiley, eternally happy people that find the silver lining in everything and don’t seem to even feel or see anything negative. I love to be around people like that, they are inspiring and really just make your day. I want to be like that so I try to surround myself with what I want to become.

However, I’m not there yet. I wouldn’t say I’m a pessimist, but I’m very realistic. I can see the positive, but I don’t ignore the negative. I also need realistic people in my life, I want someone that is going to tell me how it is, or will be. Someone that will give it to me straight. I want to know what to REALLY expect.

So with that said, these next few posts on pregnancy are going to be realistic. They are my experiences, I am not a doctor nor expert in any way. I have had 8 pregnancies in the last 10 ½ years and am just about to complete my 5th full-term pregnancy in January. Every person and every body is different so I really don’t think anyone has the same kind of pregnancy as some one else. Furthermore, in my experience every pregnancy is different, though you may have some things that are similar with each one.

So let’s get real.

1.) Morning Sickness:                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           -First of all I have NO idea why it is called MORNING sickness. For me it is all day and all night sickness. Morning is worst because my blood sugar is low and I’m so tired. Evenings are more indigestion issues. I generally start to feel queasy at conception and get to the “constantly” sick point at around 6-8 weeks and it goes to more infrequent spurts of sickness around 25-30 weeks, but I have had stomach issues for the entire 9 months for each pregnancy.

2.) Energy:                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              -For me, the tiredness is worse when the morning sickness is worse and then again toward the end. Not sure if it’s because I’m busier with each subsequent pregnancy and have less time to rest, but it seems that with each pregnancy I have had to battle the fatigue more. I also have a very hard time sleeping in general when I’m pregnant. In the beginning my stomach issues are the biggest hurdle, I can usually only sleep on my left side or I throw up. As the baby gets heavier my sciatica and tail-bone decide to wake me up in pain. The last couple of months I have really bad insomnia and though I’m incredibly tired I have a horrible time going and staying asleep, probably because by this time my mind is working MUCH more than my body is able to keep up so I get a bit frustrated and then anxiety kicks in. After the morning sickness is not constant I do find that I can get by with more normal amounts of sleep, but I still have to lay down to rest my back and veins for a bit during the day. I have had the “nesting” phase kick in with each pregnancy 2-3 weeks before delivery in differing phases. Sometimes it’s just enough to motivate me to get prepared for the baby while other times my husband has woken up at all hours of the night to find me scrubbing the top of the refrigerator (true story)!

3.) Body Changes:                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 -You could get breast augmentation or you could get pregnant. Seriously, the girls GROW! My first pregnancy I went from a small C-cup to a very full E-cup….I didn’t even know until then that an E-cup existed! My poor first born trying to breast feed…you try latching on to a beach ball! Thankfully with my subsequent pregnancies I’ve gone only up to a DD-cup, but since it’s still quite the leap and my upper back and neck definitely feel the strain. Also, by my second pregnancy the ladies shrunk down to a full C-cup generally by month 4 postpartum.

-I’m nearly 6ft tall and just generally a large person. I also carry my babies low and to the back. Thus, I don’t even look pregnant until I’m about 5-6months. I’ve been told by dozens of people that this is a wonderful thing. While I’m sure there are benefits, the cons I’ve had to deal with are sciatica, tail-bone displacement, varicose veins, and back labor. Also, though comparatively speaking my tummy doesn’t get “out there” I’ve had abdominal separation (diastasis recti) with each pregnancy, and it’s never knitted back together completely after the last three, though I have gotten close. My hips and ribs also always have grown as the baby pushes away at my insides, sometimes getting up to 4 inches wider. Thankfully they’ve gone back to position by month 5 postpartum, at the latest.

-As for weight gain, I have always lost weight (between 10-15 lbs) during the first trimester and usually don’t hit my pre-pregnancy weight again until about 5 months along. But don’t you worry! I do PLENTY of catching up in those last 4 months;) I’m not huge on weighing myself, I don’t even own a scale on purpose cause I get too obsessive. So I’m never real sure what my exact pre-pregnancy weight is but I’ve gained anywhere from 19 lbs with my second pregnancy to this pregnancy I’m currently at 44 pounds at 37 weeks! Yikes! I usually lose a few pounds at the end but suffice it to say I’ve got my work cut out for me after this one;)

-In the first trimester I generally have problems with body regulations. I don’t urinate often cause I’m vomiting up the liquids and/or not able to tolerate them, then due to lack of hydration I am generally constipated. I also am generally very cold during the first trimester and have a hard time regulating my body temperature. I get faint easily and often get headaches due to hydration issues. By the last trimester I generally just feel out of control of my body. I’m hot then cold. Gas is coming out both ends without warning. My bowels can’t decide whether to speed up or slow down. If I drink anything, or laugh, or cough, or pick up my toddler, or sit down or get up to fast, or go over bumps in the car, I have to pee. During two of my pregnancies I’ve had some swelling in my hands and feet/ankles, they’ve also been the ones in which I’ve gained the most weight, so go figure. Though I’ve always been able to keep my wedding ring on the entire time, every pregnancy either due to swelling and/or my feet actually widening, I’ve had shoes that I have to wait ‘til about 4-5 months postpartum to fit into again.

-Obviously, having a little baby inside of you is going to create some discomfort. Though the babies movements are thrilling and interesting on one hand, having someone kick your bladder, suffocate your lungs, press on your intestines and push your spine and ribs apart can be a bit disconcerting at times. I’ve found that personality tends to drive the types and frequency of movements. My more active and exuberant children have been that way even in the womb. My “dancer” today would hear one note of music in the womb and start “dancing”. Interestingly, my two children that have had the hardest time with sibling rivalry were that way from the beginning, if my toddler sat on my lap and the baby could feel her she would push at her until she moved. Thankfully, I’ve come to the point of acceptance for the most part and thankfully my last couple babies haven’t been the kick-boxers my first couple wereJ

4.) Emotions

-Generally speaking I’m a wreck when I’m pregnant. I cry over EVERYTHING. I over-react over EVERYTHING. I’m also much more “needy”, feeling lonely more easily and not liking to do things by myself. I get stressed and overwhelmed more easily. I generally hit some “blues” during all of my pregnancies, mostly due to overwhelm I think, but with two of my pregnancies I’ve had quite the battle with prenatal (antenatal) depression which seems to dissipate after the birth. I also get a bit of a “head-trip” when I really start gaining weight and my belly starts to grow. I like to be fit and seeing my body look more like the Michelin Man kind of makes me feel a little insecure, even downright ugly at times. Overall it’s a roller-coaster, I’m happy, then sad, then angry, then anxious….up and down and all around. Honestly, it’s just REALLY annoying.

5.) Spirituality

– Though incredibly related to emotions, I’m putting a separate category for this because it is truly a life changing experience. Honestly, I detest pregnancy in every other aspect other than this one. I would guess that I’ve had an overall feeling of deeper and more intense spiritual experiences during pregnancy largely because I am so intimately connected with another living spirit. Those that would argue that the fetus is not technically human, nor spiritually aware have never felt the immediate difference one feels even during the first trimester of pregnancy. There is definitely another spirit with you. With each of my pregnancies I have felt not only a presence but a definite personality and being with me. It is truly an amazing experience and it’s no surprise that when your baby is finally born it’s as if you’ve always had them in your life. God is truly wise.

Like I mentioned at the beginning, this is more just to “tell it like it is”, from my experience. In my following posts on pregnancy I’ll deal more with tips and advice. And still further posts on labor and postpartum.

Stay tuned:)

I’m Back!….What happened?

 

 

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Sometimes we get a little antsy waiting at the airport for Daddy…

 

Hey Everyone! You probably thought I got lost or something, haha! Not to worry, after a 7 month hiatus, I’m back!

So what happened? Mostly, life happened.

My computer finally gave up on me in May, after 7 years of faithful service. I decided to wait ‘til October, when we visited the U.S. to get a new one. (Anyone else have bad luck with electronics in Latin America?)

By then I was so out of the blogging habit that it’s taken be awhile to get the nerve to jump back into things. I thought I’d give you a quick update of what’s been going on for the last 7 months.

Right before my computer went kaput (is that actually a word?….yes, I’m the geek that has to look it up now….it is! Yay!) I had just started the Food Cleanse portion of my 2014 Life Cleanse. It went really well, I felt it was very effective, much more so then my last try, and I felt like it did restart my health and get me back on the right track to eating right for my body. The total cleanse lasted over a month with first taking out all processed foods, then going vegetarian, then vegan, then just fruits and veggies, then juice and then back again.

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Yep, that would be two lines alright!

I was just finishing up my Cleanse when I found out I was pregnant again! This was a bit of a surprise since I had just miscarried right before I started my Cleanse. I was so grateful I had, had the chance to clean out my body before starting to grow one inside of it;)

For the next couple months my main focus was keeping my cookies down and trying to find a rhythm of life I could realistically handle with a pregnancy.

Balance is always something I struggle with, especially when pregnant, but the last couple pregnancies have taught me that I cannot be Super Woman because my actions and health don’t just affect me. Thus, I’ve tried to be gentler with my body while pregnant and found that it helps in a multitude of ways which I’m sure I will detail in another post;)

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“She feels it’s important to be prepared….”

We were able to go on a much needed family trip to the beach in May, in which I was once again reminded of how traveling and morning sickness don’t mix well. Thankfully Marvel and the kids were just happy to be at the beach and didn’t complain that Mommy was laying around and not on top of meals nor anything else for that matter:/

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Happy with her castle cake!

We finished up our homeschool year in June and celebrated Elf’s 4th birthday! Man time flies! She is growing up so fast, maturing even faster…4 going on 40! She keeps us on our feet and laughing all the way!

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Wow! Ten years already!

In July we celebrated our 10th Wedding Anniversary with a dinner out all by ourselves! Gasp! We had entire conversations without interruption and got to talk about each other instead of family and business matters. It was wonderful to reminisce and remember why we fell in love in the first place. Marvel has helped me grow in so many ways and is so patient with me. I will be forever grateful for him in my life.cropped-fonsecas_018.jpg

What would I do without him?

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Too cool to smile I guess;)

We also got to celebrate Engineer’s 9th birthday in July! He is growing up WAY too fast and it’s amazing how much he has changed in the last year or so. He has reached a new stage in his life and it’s been interesting to watch and then adjust as all our girls are really still in the “little kid” phase. It’s been really interesting to partake of Engineer’s wisdom as he has become much more expressive about his thoughts. Loving it and at the same time a bit of the Momma in me doesn’t want my little boy to grow up!

August was my birthday and though Marvel was travelling like crazy he made sure to set aside time to surprise me with Japanese food (my craving of choice this pregnancy;) and the kids and he just about wet themselves from the excitement of trying to keep the secret from me. The girls also threw me a “tea party” in which we had imaginary strawberry soup with carrots, strawberry cake and strawberry tea.

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Oh yeah, Engineer “rescued” a homeless kitten….pets….my favorite:/

I also spent the months of July and August planning our next school year and finishing up our immigration processes to get us all our Mexican residency. Immigration is always a headache for me, honestly, but it’s so nice to get it done and know that with residency we won’t have to renew everything EVERY year anymore. I also finished up getting Button’s Mexican and U.S. passports because Marvel was a sweetheart and got us a surprise trip to the U.S. to see my family in October!

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Engineer participated in a folkdance performance for the Mexican Indepence Day

September was the start of a new school year. I decided to wait to pick up my curriculum in the U.S. when we would go to visit (AKA: saving a BUNDLE on shipping costs!!) we spent September with mostly review and setting up and getting used to some new additions (Piano, Portuguese, and Button being more involved as an almost 2 year old). It was a very useful month because I was able to better pin-point exactly where each kid was and adjust many teaching methods and scheduling before we even got our new curriculum.

Also in September I went to the OB/GYN for the first time! Yes, yes, I know, I know, believe me I’ve had the lecture about pre-natal care…let’s just suffice it to say that I’m not a big fan of doctors in general, haven’t ever really found one I’ve liked here, would prefer a midwife but after finding out about the minimal qualifications needed for them and doctors in Mexico decided not to risk it while we’re here, and in all humility I have done this pregnancy thing a few times now and basically know what is normal for me and what is not. So, all that said we were able to go to a basic check-up as a family and everyone got to see the baby on the sonogram, which is always fun. We also found out at this appointment that we are expecting another baby GIRL! January 19th is the due date…though at this point this Momma would go for earlier J

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Cousins! Actually only a few of them….

In October we continued our concentration on school and then the kids and I got to go visit my side of the family in Washington State! It had been 3 years since we’d visited and we’d only seen my parents in the meantime when they came for Button’s birth and another visit here.

It was WONDERFUL to see my brothers and sisters, many of whom had begun their families since we last saw them, and meet all the new additions to the family. It was so great to reconnect with Grandparents and Aunts and Uncles and even my close friends from my childhood.

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Birthday Girl!

Fiesta got to celebrate her 6th birthday while we were in Washington, which was a special treat and she was delighted with all of the attention! As usual, she was sure to tell us exactly how she wanted her cake, chocolate and vanilla with PINK frosting! As her nickname implies, if it had been up to her she would have invited every person she had met in Washington to her party, but we tried to keep it to close family;)

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Two Cakes???!!!!

It was really a wonderful visit and so fun for my kids to feel more connected to family that we talk about all the time. I was once again reminded of what an exceptionally loving and supportive family I have. They work so hard to stay connected and help whenever they can even with geography in the wayJ

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Can we forget Halloween?

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Why is she touching MY cake?

November we got back into the rhythm of school and also got to celebrate Button’s 2nd birthday! She was a little shy with the attention but made sure everyone understood that is was HER birthday and HER cake and HER presentsJ We had a smiley face theme because Button’s favorite song is “If you’re happy and you know it.” And she is truly one happy little girl!

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Guess we were too hungry to take the picture when the food was pretty!

We also celebrated Thanksgiving with our usual turkey dinner and this year the kids each picked a dessert that they wanted to make. We ended up having a leak come through our entry way, coming from the upstairs bathroom, a few days beforehand. So even though I wasn’t up to inviting some of our friends to share in the festivities as we usually do, we did have the plumber join us for our dinner;)

As soon as Thanksgiving was over we started on our Christmas preparations, more with our homemade gifts than anything. We knew Christmas was going to be a little different this year. Marvel had been hearing mixed reviews on his Mother’s health over the past few months and we all wanted him to go and see her himself to see what was going on. Though business wise travelling during December would be the best, he really didn’t want to leave in case the baby came early. He had decided to go in March.

Then he realized that his passport had run out of Visa pages. He travels a lot for business and Visas are often needed. Normally this isn’t a big deal but because his country has different regulations on passports the only way to get more pages was to return personally to his own country and get a whole new passport. So we felt that with that and his mother’s health deteriorating, it was best he leave before Christmas and be back by the end of December.

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Oh the ever frustrating star!

That meant we would postpone our own little family Christmas a few days. The kids were very understanding and everything was arranged. This also meant we had to adjust our Christmas preparations so that we wouldn’t just be sitting around waiting for Daddy to get home. So we moved everything over about a week and saved our Christmas baking for the real Christmas day so that we would be so busy making and delivering goodies we wouldn’t have time feel like we were missing out.

We’ll have a day of cleaning up for Daddy’s arrival and our Christmas celebration and a final day of cooking and baking and wrapping and preparing for our celebration of Jesus’ birth on Monday.

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Can you tell we like glitter?

We’ve simplified our schooling during the last part of this month and had many more activities and reading together than usual. We had a study of snow (which is interesting to do in a place where it never snowsJ We’ve made ornaments and gingerbread houses and the kids made all their gifts by hand this year. The kids also made their own Christmas stories, which was fun to see their creativity. Between that and being involved in Christmas get-togethers with friends and a Christmas program at church we’ve really had lots of fun memories made.

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Some candy even ended up on the houses!

So that about catches us up. In the next few weeks we’ll be having our Christmas with our family, celebrating the New Year, making our family and personal goals for the upcoming year, starting back to “normal” school, and finishing up our preparations for our new arrival next month!

Stay tuned!…

Is It Any Wonder?

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Why decorate ornaments when I can decorate me?

Do you ever have visions of how you think a certain aspect of your life will turn out and then get to that point and think….what happened?

It can be a two-sided coin really…or…are there any three-sided coins;)? Sometimes I look around and think, “I could not have planned it better, this is “perfect”.”

Then there are other times that I think, “Oh dear, this definitely isn’t what I wanted, can and should I change it?”

And every once in a while I have times when I think, “This really is best, but it’s not what I planned or even could have imagined.”

The last thought is what I’ve had with Christmas over the last few years. My husband and I decided a few years back that the going here and there, and doing this and that, which had been our custom at Christmas, was really taking away from the peace we felt we should be feeling at this time of the year. We vowed to focus more on our own nuclear family and keeping things low-key and Christ-centered.

We noticed an immediate change in the spiritual environment in our family. Things were indeed happier and more peaceful. Actually it felt just how we thought it should….but….why did I always have a bit of a melancholy feeling during some days of the Christmas season?

I finally decided that it was a my psyche “mourning” the visions I had created and the traditions I had left aside in order to find the best way for us.

So strange huh? Even though you know something is “best” or “right” for your family and yourself, sometimes you still yearn for “what might have been”, even though you know the fantasy you created in your imagination is next to impossible? And probably not even healthy.

Well, this year I found that my melancholy temptation, that I usually can just push aside, was being more persistent. I blamed it on pregnancy, lack of sleep, a travelling hubby, some stress over finances and changes that need to be made in our homeschooling, trying logically to explain it away and move on so I could enjoy the season and more than that make it a happy season for my family.

I would wake up and get myself motivated for a few hours but it seemed that I was running out of the ability to fake it. The last few days it was taking nearly every ounce of energy I had to get out of bed and keep the act going.

Finally this morning I really didn’t think I could do it. During my morning prayers I pleaded with the Lord, “Please, please, please, I have to do this. I know my life is not bad and I know there are people out there that are much, much worse off to worry about, but I have to have your help. I need to make this day special for my kids. If I can’t be happy I need you to help me fake it so they can be happy. This day is not about me, please, please help me.”

The Lord never lets me down. It was a bit of a bumpy take-off to the day but I finally just said, “I can’t, you have to support me through this.” And a little miracle happened. I let go. He took over. And it was a good day. I became happy. At first it was an act, and then it was real.

After I put the kids to bed I was pondering on what happened….what was the turning point? What happened?

I finally concluded that the Lord opened my eyes so that I could really see, more than anything see my kids. Children are so wonderfully happy with simplicity and reciprocate such an overflow of love with the smallest acts of love shown to them.

On our way home from watching a movie and delivering some Christmas treats my 9 yr old son said, “ Mom, doesn’t it seem like it feels happier on Christmas?” When I asked him why he felt that way he said simply, “It’s probably because it’s Jesus’ birthday.” It was then that is hit me. Is it any wonder?

Is it any wonder that Christ was sent as a baby to the earth? Is it any wonder that we call babies “bundles of joy”? Is it any wonder that no one can resist the laughter of a small child? Is it any wonder that though the textual references in the bible are few in regards to Jesus’ childhood we do know,

And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him. [Luke 2:40]

And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.” [Luke 2:51–52]

Today is was confirmed to me once again that our children are not only our responsibility, but also our teachers. They are wise beyond their years, they understand what is truly important and know truth when they hear and see it. Is it then, any wonder that the greatest gift to mankind came in the form of a child?

John 3: 16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

For this wonderful gift I will be eternally grateful. Even more amazing that we can not only be eternally saved but like I was reminded of today, we can be saved…day by day.

Merry Christmas!

“Men Are That They Might Have Joy.”

Image                                                Yes, we’re here to learn. We’re here to learn to find JOY! (2 Nephi 2:25)

Since we talked about Affliction, the what’s and why’s, last week in Family Night, we decided to cover the topic of Joy and Gratitude this week.

Here is the puzzle I made for the kids, Thank you Heavenly Father Puzzle The puzzle pieces have scriptures that talk about Joy, both how we can obtain it and how we can have it even amidst trials. Then on the other side is a picture of a little girl praying, on which I wrote “Thank you Heavenly Father” on ours. We cut out the puzzle first, then found the scriptures and talked about joy. After that we put the puzzle together with the little girl showing and talked about one of the greatest ways to find joy is to look for and thank our Heavenly Father for all of our blessings.

It was really a simple lesson, but the kids liked the puzzle and I feel like they understood the point…which is always a good thing;)

What are ways you have used to teach about Affliction and Joy?

Loaded: A Lesson in Affliction

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As I came around the corner to the laundry room it was if her little face was saying, “Come on Mom! This laundry thing is fun-stop complaining!”

So I think I’ve mentioned before that we have a Family Night each week in which we have some gospel learning time, usually a treat, and usually some fun activity to do together. We try for Monday nights and tonight I kept thinking back to two talks I had recently read/heard that seemed to be hollering at me:)

The first was a talk that was given in our Worldwide General Conference that our church holds every 6 months, you can read the whole thing here.

The second was a short talk that we read in our devotional this morning during homeschool, you can read the whole thing here.

Both talks covered the topic of challenges or afflictions, and the necessity of having trials in our lives. I thought back with a bit of shame to the middle of last night when I found myself praying, ” Can’t you just make her sleep through the night?” as I sat up with Button, whom has suddenly become an insomniac after  over a year of being my best sleeper.

There are bigger things though, and there have been times when I think, “Can’t I have a break?” But then what would I be learning?

So over the last few years I’ve tried to change my prayers during times of trial from “Why? Can’t you make it stop?” to, “Ok, Lord. Show me what I’m supposed to be learning. And please give me the strength to pull through this better than I was.”

It’s not a perfect science, for sure, but it’s amazing what my change in attitude has done for my ability to confront challenge and also to trust and rely on the Lord.

Anyway, I created this The Power of the Load as part of our Family Night tonight, trying to explain it in a way that my kiddos would understand. Well, at least they thought the old lady doing weights and the baby reading a book were funny;)