Sunday, July 20, 2014

Today's Tender Mercies

In his talk titled “The Tender Mercies of the Lord,” Elder Bednar says: “the Lord’s tender mercies are the very personal and individualized blessings, strength, protection, assurances, guidance, loving-kindnesses, consolation, support, and spiritual gifts which we receive from and because of and through the Lord Jesus Christ.”

1 Nephi 1:20 "...I, Nephi, will show unto you that the tender mercies of the Lord are over all those whom he hath chosen, because of their faith, to make them mighty even unto the power of deliverance."

Spencer and I had an incredible day today! After church, we came home and ate dinner together (just the two of us, because both our families are out of town). After dinner, we left to visit my favorite Bishop, whom I haven't seen in two years!

As we were about to turn onto State Street, we noticed there were a bunch of lights flashing on our dashboard. I had the great idea to turn the car off, then back on to see if the lights went away (hey, it's worked before!!). Of course, the car wouldn't turn back on. Spencer got out of the car to tell the people behind us to drive around because our car was dead. The car behind us just happened to be filled with men, so they hopped out and helped Spence push the car to the side of the road!

Before we even had a chance to get out of the car, we noticed someone pulling up behind us. It was a couple from our ward! They saw we were having car trouble and stopped to help. We asked them to take us to Grandma and Grandpa Elison's since it was close, and we'd figure something out from there. 

When we got to G&Gs, the house was empty and we tried to decide what to do. We didn't want to go buy and install a new battery on Sunday, and we obviously didn't want to leave the car on the side of state street. After talking to my dad, we decided to have a tow truck come and take the car to our friends at Midas. 

Meanwhile, I texted Bishop Jensen to tell him we wouldn't be able to make it to visit tonight. He was asking what we were going to do about the car, and when I said we would get it towed he said, "I'll come tow it!" I didn't know it was that easy to tow a car, but I know he has a giant truck so he convinced me. 

While we waited for Bishop Jensen, it started pouring rain and the power went out. Of course!

Bishop and Sister Jensen came to G&Gs to pick us up. Of course Bishop got out of the car with a big neck brace on! I was thinking, no way am I going to let you tow the car in that state. Luckily, we didn't have to tow the car! It miraculously started and made it to Midas. After we dropped it off, Bishop and Sister Jensen took us home so we could pick up the car we were borrowing from my parents. It was great that we had another car to use! 

Even though we didn't get a traditional visit with the Jensens, it was so fun to talk with them while we were driving around. We have been blessed by their service, not only tonight but through the years. 

To end the night, we drove back to my grandparents house. They were home and we were able to have a good visit. 

It felt like such a crazy night! It was full of tender mercies and we are so grateful for everyone who was placed in our path to help us out. What a night!

Eli got to hang out with his namesakes! 

Saturday, July 19, 2014

My Problem with Pinterest

I don't want this to be long, but I think it will be. I don't  know the best way to write down my thoughts, which will probably result in verbosity. 

Before anyone starts thinking I'm about to get hypocritical, let's put everything out in the open: I use Pinterest. However, I do not like Pinterest. I used to loooove it (look at all these ideas to make my classroom/teaching/cooking/wifeing/homemaking/relationshipping/mothering THE BEST IN THE WORLD!). 

Pinterest is ruining us. I don't think I'm exaggerating. 

I read an article on KSL a few months ago about food. You know how people take "food selfies?" It was talking about that--how we are exposed to good looking food every where we turn: we see amazing looking dishes on Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, you name it. Our friends' food always looks SO good. Then, when we go to make the dish we've just seen, or when we attempt to eat our own meal, our satisfaction with what we're eating is decreased. We have such high expectations based on everything we see, that our own food just can't live up to our expectations. It was a really interesting article, I wish I could find a link. I totally believe that. How many times have you or I been disappointed in a recipe because it didn't turn out they way we thought it should? 

The problem goes so much deeper than food. We are starting to feel dissatisfied with our whole LIVES. Do you think I'm wrong? 

As I mentioned, I used to love looking at Pinterest. There were so many great ideas to make every area of my life just a little bit better. A little prettier, a little more organized, a little tastier, a little skinnier. I don't think trying to improve ourselves/our lives is a problem. But it's spiraling out of control. What I see on Pinterest is how to make every aspect of my life perfect. 

Consider the titles of pins I've seen recently. 
"The best toys for your 3 month old to encourage proper development!"
"How to get rid of all stomach flab!" (Pinned by a young teen. Broke my heart.)
"Perfect summer decoration" (I have to change my pillows, blankets, etc based on season??)
"How to have flawless skin"
The list could go on and on. Let me make it clear: there are great things on Pinterest. Pictures of the Savior, scripture study aids, quotes from conference, great, healthy recipes, etc. I love seeing those things. And there's nothing wrong with the other pins. Beautifying our lives is a good thing. But I think we are walking an incredibly fine, gray line (as Spencer would say). 

We're constantly fed images of perfection, and think we need to be that way. It's impossible, not to mention unnecessary. Your house doesn't need to be perfectly coordinating and organized. Your body doesn't need to fit into the ideals of society. Your baby doesn't need designer clothes/toys; he needs love. Same for your marriage--while you need to date, you don't need fancy dates and gifts. 

I wish people were more realistic about life. About the only time you see "real" pictures on social media, it's because you're looking at a before/after. 

"Look at how my home/classroom/food/style/body used to look! How embarrassing!"

While we should work on bettering our lives, we should do it to glorify our Lord and make ourselves better, not so that everything seems perfect.  

 1 Chronicles 16:29 Give unto the Lord the glory due unto his name: bring an offering, and come before him: worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.

I want to take care of my body because the Lord gave it to me. I want to be the best in my marriage because we have been sealed, and that's an important covenant. I want my house to be clean and tidy so we can always have the spirit in our home. I will never forget something Baylor said to me. He was picking up his room and said, "I want to keep my room clean because I know the spirit likes to be in clean places." That is good parenting right there! I hope this upcoming generation can focus on the real reasons for doing things, instead of thinking, "I want this because it's what I see online." 

Again, I don't think there is anything wrong with having a perfect looking house/body/classroom, etc. But I do think there's too much emphasis on being perfect. We need to make sure the more important aspects of our life aren't slipping away. 

I just worry that satisfaction is becoming impossible to achieve. The more we see, the more we want, the less grateful we are for what we do have. The more we see, the more time we spend trying to replicate what we see, the less time we have for the important things. 

The reason I'm writing this post is because I have completely, 100%  fallen into the Pinterest trap lately. I just had a baby and we just moved, so naturally everything that is talking about post-partum bodies, raising a child, and decorating your house is interesting to me. I have been stuck in a rut of trying to perfect everything in my life, even though it's not necessary and I've never felt this way before. I never thought I cared about having a Pinterest looking home. But suddenly I do care, and I think it's because I'm spending more time looking at that stuff. 

We know that what you see and hear becomes part of you. The facade of social media is no exception. 

Spencer and I have talked a lot about the trap of social media lately. He's helping me stay grounded. I will never forget what he said to me at the beginning of our marriage. I was browsing the Hair and Beauty section on Pinterest one morning in bed. Spencer woke up, looked over, and said, "You know I don't expect you to do any of that, right? I love you the way you are." 

I don't know what to do about my Pinterest account. I do feel hypocritical. I just keep thinking about all the recipes I love that I don't want to lose by deleting my account!

To end this verbose post, I'll end with some real pictures from my life. I'm not trying to say my house is gross, or dirty, or clean, or cute, or anything. I just want to say, "This is my life. This is reality. I'm done trying to mirror what I see online!" 

Our dressers don't match. But they do what we need them to!

Towels ready for the laundry...

Curtains waiting to be hung. And I'll admit I'm obsessed with our "Take time to make a moment" and picture of the temple.