The best way I can think to sum it up is in three sections:
- What I've been doing with The Power of Moms
- What I've been doing with my family
- The two main "life questions" I have, and how I'm trying to figure them out
Here are a few things I've been doing with The Power of Moms:
A fun interview with Sonia at Happy-Go-Baby. Sonia is part of our Mind Organization for Moms community, and she's been working on a darling website with "creative, unique, practical" baby items. I love seeing how this program helps moms move their projects forward. Yay, Sonia!
This recent article at Deseret News: How to Let Go of a Lot of Things a Little Bit (where I tell all about the snags in my carpet, the hole in my ceiling, and the time we taped our car together).
A podcast about balance--recorded on a day I never took a shower, cried to my husband for 15 minutes, and took TWO naps.
Work with our board of moms (who I couldn't live without) as we keep the site running, expand our offerings, network with other bloggers . . .. These ladies are some of my dearest friends. I need to do a whole post explaining how they're changing the world.
A Power of Moms Retreat, which needs a whole post of its own. My new friend Rebecca Walters took some amazing photos there that captured the beauty of the small-group discussion format, and I feel like I made dozens of new friends--women I truly admire and want to be like.
Here's a photo of Saren and me. I am very, very grateful to have her as my friend and business partner.
We also got to hear from Courtney Kendrick, who truly inspired us with some readings about family and motherhood.
LOVE the Retreats! (Have you been to one yet?) We're currently planning a Couples Retreat in September and full "mom" Retreats in October, November, and January--plus an Australia tour in March 2012 (more on that below in section #3--I've never even had a passport, and I'm feeling REALLY excited and REALLY nervous about flying around the world).
Here are a few things I've been doing with my family:
A much-needed vacation to Aspen Grove Family Camp in Utah, where we met up with seven other families who went to school with us in Boston. We also stayed an extra week and visited with my husband's family, Saren's family, my sister Page's family, and some other great friends we haven't seen in years.
The Library Summer Reading Program. We have a darling librarian here named Nancy who makes our trips to the library magical. My children love her and read their stacks of books with gusto.
Housework. Our house is a happening place during the summer. It's hot outside, so we stay indoors a lot, which means there is plenty to do to keep our home feeling "clean enough to be healthy, messy enough to be happy." My children have been organizing, mopping, vacuuming, scrubbing, "picking up," helping with the cooking, playing with Spencer, and just spending lots of time with me (which I acknowledge won't be the case in a few years). We're becoming better friends, and I love it (but I also need a little break once in awhile because the constant action is a little exhausting).
Development. My husband went to Office Depot the other day and found some incredible CD-Roms on the clearance table. Typing software and building-design software were just a dollar each, and my children (8, 9, and 11) LOVE them! We found out that our library has a "Mango Languages" program for free, as well, and it teaches our children to speak Spanish. I've also been working with my children on their "Summer Goals" (also another post I want to write), which has been such a blessing to our family (except that I haven't quite coordinated the goal-tracking sheets yet, so they're more like "Summer Ideas" at this point.
Swimming, jumping on the trampoline, visiting friends, going to the park . . . being kids. I had a good talk with my friend Elizabeth yesterday, who has been a foster mother for years and has lived through circumstances I can't even fathom. Some of the children she works with have been victims of all kinds of abuse. She said, "I feel so good when I can see my children playing and 'being kids' because not every child has that chance." I know it's a blessing for my children to get to enjoy their childhood.
|Alia is officially 11 1/2 today, and she is like "Mommy #2." Spencer told his Sunday School Teacher, "Alia takes care of all of us."|
|Spencer took this photo of Grace in our backyard, and I loved seeing her from his perspective. She is a sweetheart.|
And now . . . if you've read down this far, here are the two main "life questions I have, and how I'm trying to figure them out:
(1) How much should a young (I'm 33--that's still young, right?) mother of young children do?
I've always considered myself to be good at prioritizing and "not scheduling too much," but goodness, now that my children are growing up and my website is reaching so many moms worldwide, the options to "do" are overwhelming.
For example, I'm dying to meet Felicity and Naomi, two friends in Australia who are helping to plan our Retreat there in March. Saren and her mom and sister might be going, and I don't necessarily "need" to go, but my husband is encouraging me to do so, and I know I would love the opportunity.
That's one of the bigger decisions I'm weighing, but there are also lots of little ones. I want to take photography classes with Alia and Grace, work on Cub Scouts with my son, and read all our "baby" books to Spencer before he doesn't like them anymore. I have video footage of one of my Mind Organization presentations ready to be uploaded to the site, I'd like to write as a special contributor to CNN, and I'd like to create the five new programs Saren and I have been brainstorming.
I wrote about doing the things that can only be done now back in this post, but lately the lines seem to be blurring as to what needs to be done now and what can wait.
(2) How can I be most helpful?
In my talk with my friend Elizabeth that I mentioned earlier, she told me about her hard, hard life growing up. She wasn't complaining--just sharing her history and explaining why she now takes care of so many children (some adopted, some foster children)--even though she's 65 years old.
Her grandmother was a maid for a family in Florida, and she had to go to work each week, leaving four children under the age of 10 (Elizabeth included) home alone most of the time, and only returning on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays. She'd give the children a dollar for bread and syrup, and they would take care of themselves in a house that didn't have a stove, a bathroom, a heater . . . anything. That's just the start of her story.
I hear experiences like that--along with stories about children and families worldwide who are struggling, and they pierce my heart. I can't focus on things like home decor, shades of nail polish, abs of steel, or gourmet cupcakes because there is something deep inside me screaming, "DO something."
I have an education, a home, a husband I love, four healthy children, food to eat, and a platform where I can communicate with thousands of women . . . what am I doing with this life and the opportunities I've been given?
I'm taking today to really think. I'm thinking about my current projects and goals, thinking about the family and future I want to create, and doing my very, very best to hear God. That's the only answer that really brings me confidence: Listen to God.
Our church has temples around the world, where we can go to learn about God's purposes for us. I've heard the temple referred to as the Lord's University, and today I'm going there to talk to Him. It's a beautiful place--quiet and peaceful. I know many religions have beautiful sanctuaries where people can commune with God, and I feel grateful to have our temple in Redlands as a place of Retreat.
When I go there, I feel like I'm "going home." I feel how much God loves us, I receive that sense of calm I desperately need, and I always learn something new about how God works with His children.
Now that I've essentially poured out my heart, I feel timid about pressing the "publish post" button. I keep a separate, private journal because the things that I'm learning are very personal to me. However, I occasionally feel that I should share some of these things on my blog--in case it might be helpful to someone else out there.
Have a wonderful day. I'm off to my Retreat.