Arrival

ArrivalToday begins the end of an incredible journey.

Five years ago I stepped onto a karate map, changing the course of my life forever. It was then I joined my family in our journey to earn our black belts. I can remember the feelings of trepidation that coursed through my heart, yet my soul felt electrified.

As I have reflected upon the path we have walked down, I have found myself feeling overwhelmed by the fact that we have done what we set out to do….as a family.

Individually each one of us has become so much more, grown in ways that we could never describe and learned very deeply that we are strong. As a family we have become cemented in the team that we are. There is a lot of peace knowing that each one of us would take or give a hit to save each other.

There have been moments of victory, defeat, learning, excitement, and contemplations of quitting…all things that create a path of worth.

We have been blessed through this journey by a loving Heavenly Father. I cannot look back and not see His hand guiding, helping and encouraging us on our way. I see how things that are important to us are important to Him. I see how He has changed the world for us.

The mat we stepped onto for the first time is not that mat we will arrive on, however we were given the basic love and knowledge of karate from those who trained with us on our first mat. We were shown the direction we needed to travel. A guide at the beginning of a journey is priceless. Thank you Leah for giving us a strong start.

As with any wonderful journey, ours took an unexpected, but marvelous turn. We left our beginnings and found ourselves welcomed into a karate family that means more to us than words can describe. Our Kona family is beautiful.

Along our path we found ourselves in one of the most difficult trials we had ever experienced. Karate became our safe-haven, our home, a refuge and somewhere we could express ourselves. As we would walk through the doors, the weights we were carrying were lifted and for a few moments we were free. Truly another gift from God. Karate has saved our lives on many levels.

As we enter the testing period tonight, I know that we have many around us who are pulling for us. I am humbled by their love and support for our little team. I cannot begin to express how this will lift us and give us strength beyond what we feel we have. I love that we can be that for our karate family too…it is all about lifting each other.

Thank you Te, Jade, Victor and Tyler for lifting us, inspiring us, believing in us and showing us the way.

We have arrived at the end of one journey….only to begin another.

 

Time

It has been just over a week in our new home, new area and new adventures. I am often amazed at how much learning Heavenly Father can fit into one week….one day.

Last week was filled with adapting and change. It became apparent quickly that there would be more change necessary for our son as we navigated his schooling. More than anything he wanted to stay where he was, because there were so many good friends and (I hate to say this as a Mom, but I will) girls. It was a good school.

I had the feeling near the beginning of the week that it would be his last week there. In my normal way, I wanted to just tell him that it was time to change and be done with it. ITimet is just ‘easier’ if we make the decision and move on it. Yet, that is not how he needed to learn.

Each day I pray for guidance with my children…how to help them, what to say, what not to say and what I should and should not do for them. Some days these prayers remain as an open ended conversation, because I just need His wisdom. He knows these children so much deeper than I ever will.

As I thought about what I had felt, the impression came to me that I needed to step back and allow my son to learn this one. I received this feeling and prayed for strength to do so.

During our commutes, we were able to have good conversations about everything. I love the relationship I have with my son…he is wise beyond his years and also 13 in his thinking. It is an interesting, never dull combination. As we talked about him transferring schools, he rejected the idea at first. Then, as he saw the sacrifices we all were making for him, he took another look at what he wanted.

He asked for advice on how to make the best choice. “What do I do mom? I asked Heavenly Father to tell me what to do, but I didn’t get an answer.”

I talked to him about the gift we received before we came….our agency. This is one of the greatest learning tools we have. It gives us the opportunity to weigh decisions in our minds and make a choice based on what we know and feel. The best part is Heavenly Father wants us to use this agency, make choices and then come to Him with our decision. The key is being ready for His answer, because there are times when we think we have it all figured out with our limited scope and yet, with His eternal view, it is not what we need.

He was quite agitated in the spirit for a few days. Fortunately for us this kid is pretty transparent with his feelings. As with all teenagers, it takes some prodding, but he will eventually share what is in his heart. Watching him weigh this choice was difficutly beautiful. It is never easy to see our children struggle, however this is when they grow to be who they are meant to be.

Once he made his decision, he prayed and felt okay. He said it was the most peace he felt in a long time, because he had at least made a choice. His answer wasn’t quite what he thought it should be, so he did what most of us do…he did his best to create an atmosphere that would get the answer he wanted.

Heavenly Father knows better.

With the deadline of transferring coming up, he spent some time counselling with his Dad. My husband has a gift to help our children see things from different perspectives. This was vital to understanding why his prayers were answered the way that they were. He knew that staying in school where he was was not an option. So he returned to his knees and found the answer that brought true peace.

The change was made.

Standing back and giving him time was a gift to me. I saw the slightest of glimpses of how Heavenly Father works in our lives at times. Time…. He sees that we need to have the opportunity to weigh the options, learn what is important to us and then take it before Him. He is always ready to counsel with us and give us the next bit of knowledge.

The first few days of the new school have not been easy. He has mentioned more than a few times how he wants to go back to the familiar. Yet, because he received the answer from Heavenly Father, he knows he is where he is supposed to be. It doesn’t erase the adversity that comes when we are being strengthened. It does give us a certain level of peace, knowing that there is something greater than what we can see.

As  time moves forward, he will understand the wisdom of what took place at this point in his life. Time….

I am grateful for the time I have to be his mom. He is one amazing boy.

I Am His

I Am HisI read a scripture a few days ago that has penetrated my heart and brought a deeper knowledge of the love Jesus Christ has for me…

“Yea, blessed is this people who are willing to bear my name; for in my name shall they be called; and they are mine.” (Mosiah 26:18)

…they are mine….

As I read that verse, I thought about the husband and children I have been blessed with. They are mine and I love them with such a profound love that grows daily.

I thought about how that translates into the love my Savior has for me. He blesses my life daily through the power of His life, gospel and Atonement.

As I have struggled with growth for the past couple of years, it is evident how much He has been involved in feeding me the daily bread I have required. There have been days that He has had to lift my chin and feed me by hand. There have been days that He has left a little bit here and a little bit there for me to find and replenish my heart. There have been days that He has allowed me to share what I have to feed another.

I am astounded often times that I am that important to Him, and yet it makes sense. He bought me for a price…and He knows I am worth everything He gave for me. It is up to me to remember this, because as He said,

“I have engraven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me.” (Isaiah 49:16)

I have always loved this scripture. I has shown me that I am His…He is there to lift me, strengthen me, guide me and comfort me when I am faced with the challenges that this life throws at me. Every time I have been faced with something that felt too heavy to bear, He has lifted me….I just needed to look for Him.

On days that seem eternal, heavy and overwhelming, I will remember….

I am His.

Then I will overcome.

Nothing Left

The WellThere is a woman in the Old Testament that I have always admired. She lived at a time when the heavens were sealed by the prophet Elijah. Her life was not one of luxury, simply living day to day. Her greatest blessing was her son and her faith in the God of Israel. She is simply referred to as the widow of Zarephath.

I am sure the day she met Elijah her heart was heavier than what she could bear. Her cupboards were almost completely empty, with no hope of relief on the horizon. She had just enough for her and her son to survive one more day.  I wonder how often she had gone to the Lord in prayer, tears streaming down her face, pleading for deliverance…more for her beloved son than for herself. I wonder how she found the strength to take each step that led her to her destination that day.

And yet, when Elijah asked her to fetch him some water, she went. Then came the question that I am sure caused her heart to plummet into her stomach….”Bring me, I pray thee, a morsel of bread in thine hand.” Her response speaks volumes of her heart:

And she said, As the Lord thy God liveth, I have not a cake, but an handful of meal in a barrel, and a little oil in a cruse: and, behold, I am gathering two sticks, that I may go in and dress it for me and my son, that we may eat it, and die.”

I have often wondered why the Lord would require such faith from one who had offered so many prayers, sought His will and did her best to do it. She had only the words spoken from a stranger to give her any sort of hope or strength:

“And Elijah said unto her, Fear not; go and do as thou hast said: but make me thereof a little cake first, and bring it unto me, and after make for thee and for thy son. For thus saith the Lord God of Israel, The barrel of meal shall not waste, neither shall the cruse of oil fail, until the day taht the Lord sendeth rain upon the earth.”(1Kings 17)

She had nothing left in her soul, but the faith she had succored each day. With that faith, she did as he asked and was blessed just as was promised.

As I pondered the turn our life has taken at this time and the many questions that continue to be asked, my mind was directed to this story. Today, I feel as I have nothing left. I see into her heart a little clearer and will follow the example she set. The little faith I do my best to succor each day. I do my best to keep my heart soft through prayer and studying of the scriptures so that I may be ready when an answer comes.

I learned today that when we have nothing left, it is when the promises can be fulfilled. It is when our hearts only have Him to look to for deliverance, that He can come.

Just as this woman was blessed, I know we too shall find our barrel filled and our oil sustained. He has never left us. He has never failed us.

More For Moms

fieldFor over a year my husband and I have been working to find a ‘niche’ to help as many people as we could. With the journey we have been on, we have wanted to use the talents and gifts we have received from Heavenly Father, life and education. We have researched many possibilities, and yet, the answer was so close to home.

My husband is a talented hypnotherapist, teacher and coach. He is so gifted at giving people the opportunity to grow within themselves by overcoming things that have been holding them back. His ability to teach is truly a gift from Heaven, because it comes so naturally to him. He is such a great blessing to me and our children.Continue reading “More For Moms”

My Little Artist

heartttTonight, as the sun was setting, I watched my little girl as she played outside. The winter is slowly leaving our area and the increasing warmth ignites her desires to be outside. Our backyard is a wonderland full of opportunities for her imagination to run at full speed.

She and her little friends have created a ‘cafe’ in the backyard. They have many tools for baking up any kind of mud entree one would ever desire. To the outsider it would look like a mess, to them it is heaven. It amazes me what they come up with.Continue reading “My Little Artist”

Unique and Beautiful

DSCN1894One of the most peaceful moments I have is watching the snow fall quietly. It is almost surreal at times as the snowflakes find their way to the earth. Each snowflake is unique and beautiful. Each has a purpose.

As I have pondered the beauty of God’s creations, I see in each of them a unique beauty and purpose. He has placed everything and everyone where they are for a reason. Those reasons are usually only known to Him, however there are moments we get to see into His great heart and understand.

Today I received a beautiful gift from Him. I had a few minutes to simply sit, think and watch. The ‘solitude’ was something I needed right then. Looking into my backyard, the snow began to fall. My mind took the opportunity and wandered wherever it wanted to go. I thought about how much He loves me, it humbled me. I thought about how perfect His plan for me is, again I was humbled. I thought about how unique He made me and in that is a special beauty that He has given me.

My heart turned to the many amazing people that I am blessed to know. As I thought about each of them I saw this unique and special beauty that is a true gift from Him. They are all incredible people, with amazing talents reserved for them. I was humbled to realize that they are all in my life…for a purpose.

I have to wonder what would happen if we all recognized this unique beauty that has been given us…all of us. How much closer would Heaven be if we could see ourselves through His eyes, if only for a moment each day? How much strength would we have to let go of the things that hold us back and cause us unnecessary heartache? How much more would we be able to give those who need us?

We have been blessed with 2 incredible children. I watch as they navigate this life, learning and becoming who they are. There is so much around them that would have them be less than, more like and not enough. Daily we tell them how amazing they are, specifically. Yet, sometimes words are not enough. They need to see that their Daddy and I feel within ourselves what we say. They need to realize that we are happy with who we are, what we are becoming and how we are getting there.

Some days are simply a battle just to survive. Yet, everyday we have the ability to choose to see ourselves as He does…no matter how many times we have fallen down. We find these glimpses in the simplest places, quietest moments and in the mirror.

May we all take a moment and look, so that we may understand we are unique and beautiful.

Reblogged from own-who-you-are.com.

Closer at the End…

DSCN1337Today marks the end of summer vacation in our home. It is eerily quiet in the house. In years past I have looked forward to this day with great anticipation…not today. I already miss them and it has only been 45 minutes.

My kids are amazing. I love these two incredible spirits! They are as different as fire and ice, yet they both have brought so much life and love into our lives.

As I walked home from dropping them off at school, I thought about the summer and what we experienced that made it different from every other summer. We didn’t go on any elaborate family vacations, we actually didn’t do more than a couple of extras this year. Yet, we had a blast. It speaks a lot about the giants I am raising (not just stature) when they did not complain that we were not on vacation or out doing things other people were doing.

This summer we became closer as a family than we have ever been. I am so thankful for each day we spent together. When I say ‘we’, I mean the entire family. It is a blessing in our lives that my husband is with us every day, all day. I know not every family could do this, so I am thankful ours can.

I learned that it is not in the grand things that we draw closer to each other. It is in the simple moments of going on a hike, building Legos, playing a video game or two together, reading, coloring, chatting, eating together, practicing karate and so much more that we have the moments to truly bind our hearts together.

We were blessed with the opportunity to spend time helping my parents build a wall in their backyard (something we all lovingly refer to as prison work) and landscape. I was able to capture moments in my heart watching my children draw closer to their grandparents. These are priceless times that no camera could fully capture, but my soul has them.

There have been many a Friday evening when my husband’s mom would come up to eat and play games with us. We thoroughly enjoyed our time with her. She and the kids had this fun and sweet banter they would share. They have been able to share moments with her that will bring joy into their hearts when they recall them down the road.

The blessings we have received this summer are overwhelming; the greatest of which is the closeness we have gained. I love who my kids are. I love that we get to see them become the amazing people they are.

As much as I am sad that the summer has ended, I am excited for the journey they have started today. I look forward to sharing the adventure of a new school year with them, because it brings with it even more opportunities to become closer.

Undaunted

This morning I woke up feeling truly grateful for the incredibleDSCN1076 husband I have been blessed with. He is simply amazing.

For over a year I have watched him fight relentlessly against a foe that has neither face nor form. One that would steal all that he is if he allowed it. And yet, he does not.

I have never seen someone work so hard to become who he is meant to be. It is a lesson that I strive to take within my heart and one I pray that our children will understand. His deep desire to simply be the best he can is inspiring to all who are blessed to know him.

There is not a day that goes by that he is not learning, moving forward. If he is faced with a problem that he is not currently able to solve, he finds a way to do it. It is impressive to see the amount of knowledge he has gained and is able to share with others. He is one of the most gifted teachers I have ever seen. It is beautiful to watch him break down what he knows and allow another to find what they are searching for.

I have watched him find healing as he has been blessed to help others. He sees the best in those around him and can bring it out with a few simple words. From a distance, I have seen people come to him who are defeated, broken and lost. I have watched them leave victorious, whole and found. It is like witnessing small miracles. He is a healer.

I know there are moments within that he does not feel like he can take another step. Yet, in spite of it all, he gets up and moves forward. He is the strength of our family. He is my rock.

I am in awe of how undaunted he is. I am blessed to be his.

Daddy’s Girl

DSCN1063There is something very special about being the only girl in my family. I have one of the best relationships with my Daddy. Even though I am close to forty years old, I still call him Daddy, because I am still his little girl.

Today I just wanted to share a little about the man I have been blessed to live with, learn from, be protected by and loved by. We have been able to spend some fantastic time this summer doing what I like to call ‘prison work’ in his backyard. We are basically moving dirt and rocks from one area to another and back again. He is re-landscaping his yard. As we have worked together we have had the time to quietly chat, just he and I. These are moments I treasure.

This is how it has been throughout my life. He was very gifted at working on our cars whenever they would break. I remember sitting at his side as he would tear apart our 1972 orange GMC truck. He would explain why things worked the way they did and let me see how he put it all back together when he had fixed the problem. We would quietly chat about things that were safe for a teenage girl to talk to her father about.

Looking back at these times in my life, I see that he was teaching me how to solve problems. He was showing me how to break things down and find what was not working right. He taught me how to live in a way that I could take care of myself, as long as I had him to watch over me. He blessed me with a deep understanding that there are times when you need to walk away, think and come back with a solution that was given to you from the Spirit.

I have watched this giant of a man take care of my mom each and every time she has had surgery (there have been over 30). I watched him give up his work in order to be there for his aged mother as she prepared to leave this life. He and my mom would take time each and every night to go to where she was staying, dress her, tuck her in and pray with her. I have watch him drop everything he was doing to be there for me and my brothers any time we would call (and sometimes when he just felt like we needed him). I have seen him sacrifice anything and everything so that those around him could have what they needed.

The tools he has given me have blessed my life every day. From him I have learned to care for those I love, make life for those around me a little better and strength that goes beyond anything physical.

I will never forget the day I was married. As I was sealed to my husband, I looked over at him. The man who had raised, protected and loved me for over 20 years. I noticed the tears streaming down his face. I knew right then that it would all be different, but I would forever be my Daddy’s little girl.

He is my hero. He is one of the greatest blessings I have in my life.