Thursday, October 15, 2015

A rose by any other name would smell as sweet...

We don't really have any nicknames for Gavin. Sometimes we'll call him Gavin boy, and rarely we'll call him Gav, but he's usually just Gavin. When we were first thinking of a name for him, we knew his middle name would be John. I didn't want anyone to calling him AJ or TJ or anything like that, so we wanted to have his first name start with a letter that doesn't go with J. About half the alphabet was out. AJ, BJ, CJ, EJ, DJ, JJ, LJ, OJ, PJ, RJ, TJ. So the letters we were left with were F, G, H, I, K, M, N, Q, S, U, V, W, X, Y, and Z. I don't know why I was so set against a two letter nickname, but I was. In the end, Gavin was the name we were both drawn to, and it worked perfectly. No one was going to call him GJ. The funny thing is, sometimes I call him GJ as a joke.

Oh my silly, silly Gavin boy.

Maren, on the other hand, has lots of nicknames. We started out calling her Maren-Barren, but we thought it was mean and sad to call her barren, so we shortened it to Mare-Bear. Because that sounds like Care-Bear, sometimes we call her Care-Mare. We also call her Mare-Mare. She also has a nickname given to her by Gavin. One day he walked up to her, pointed at her, and said "Kovack." I have no idea what that means, but it was really funny. Since it kind of sounds like an orc name, we use Kovack when Maren is being grumpy.

Kovack is not impressed.

Oh how I love my sweet babies!

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Start Where You Are

Hello again my incredibly neglected blog! I want to start writing again, and I want to tell you why.

I have always hated writing. I have lots of ideas in my head, but I have a hard time getting them out. I want the words to come out perfectly, but they don't. Words don't flow for me, and I get frustrated by that. When I have to write something, it takes me forever to do it (mostly because I spend my time distracting myself so I don't have to write). One time in high school, I had to write a 10 page research paper. For me that is the worst. I wrote most of it, but it just wasn't coming together right. I cried and cried (I did that a lot in high school) and finally my dad caved in and wrote the introduction and conclusion for me. He just wanted me to stop crying. The other day, Morgan had to write a 5 page paper, and I needed to send four work-related emails. Guess who finished first? Morgan. I just want my words to be right, and I worry I'm not using the correct language. So this is why I don't write. 

Anyway, I have been wanting to start writing again, but obviously, it's hard for me, so I haven't been doing it. About a week and a half ago, my church had General Conference, where our leaders speak to us about modern day issues and give us guidance. Like most people, I love General Conference, but I'm not an avid note taker or anything. Most of the time, I listen to conference, but forget about it soon after. This year I wanted to try to get more out of it, even though I knew that would be a lofty goal since I have two young children. Conference started and in the very first talk, I heard exactly what I need to hear. President Ucthdorf's talk had the phrase I needed most - start where you are:

"Sometimes we feel discouraged because we are not “more” of something—more spiritual, respected, intelligent, healthy, rich, friendly, or capable. Naturally, there is nothing wrong with wanting to improve. God created us to grow and progress. But remember, our weaknesses can help us to be humble and turn us to Christ, who will “make weak things become strong.”Satan, on the other hand, uses our weaknesses to the point that we are discouraged from even trying."

I'm a perfectionist. If I can't do something right, or do it the way I want it, I give up and don't do it at all. I don't only do this with writing, I do it with a lot of good habits I want to have. If I'm bad at something I stop doing it. If I try to improve a weakness but fail at first, I don't try again. I have lots of things in my life I want to improve, but I haven't been improving because it's too hard to do it all at once. 

The other talk that spoke to me was Elder Lawrence's talk entitled "What Lack I Yet? Elder Lawrence told stories of people who asked God what they lacked and he answered, but not always with an answer that was expected. When I first heard the talk I thought, "I already know what I lack, I don't need to ask." I know that I need to fix things in my life before I am ready to ask God what else I need to fix. I was very discouraged by this talk, because I have so many weaknesses. Then Elder Lawrence said this: 

"Be persistent, brothers and sisters, but never be discouraged. We will have to go beyond the grave before we actually reach perfection, but here in mortality we can lay the foundation. “It is our duty to be better today than we were yesterday, and better tomorrow than we are today." If spiritual growth is not a priority in our lives, if we are not on a course of steady improvement, we will miss out on the important experiences that God wants to give us."
I don't have to fix everything all at once, but I do need to be on a "course of steady improvement". So I decided to do it. I want to start having better habits. I tried this in the past, but I tried doing it all at once and that failed, so I never tried again. But after listening to these two conference talks, I felt like improving slowly is something I can do. So I made a list of all the things I want to add or remove from my daily life and I started with one. The first one I chose was exercise, which is something I've always been terrible at. I don't necessarily want to exercise to lose weight or look better, I just want to feel healthy. I want to have a stronger body so I can live a better life. Anyway, I started doing T25, which is an exercise Morgan does everyday. Each exercise is 25 minutes long, but my goal is only to see how far I can go. I don't have to be perfect and do it all, I just want to get through some of it and improve each day. I have now done T25 5 days in a row (excluding Sunday which is my rest day). Now that I have established a daily exercise routine, I have moved on to the next item on my list.
I'm not going to share my list with you, because I am embarrassed by most of the items on that list. Although you have probably guessed by now that writing is on my list. I just wanted to share my plan to improve and how it is different from how I used to try to improve. I'm not going to give up if I miss a day of exercise, or scripture study, or something else on my list. I am going to steadily improve and someday I will be where I want to be and be the person I want to be. Then I can continue to improve by asking God to show me what else I lack. I will never be perfect in this life, but I can improve myself each day and be a better person than I was the day before. 
I want to write because I want to record the precious moments in my life and my children's lives. I want to remember the good times and see how I overcame the bad times. I'm not going to try to be a perfect writer anymore. I'm just going to try to be me. 

P.S. I wrote this whole post in one sitting. That's a huge deal for me.