Friday, May 15, 2015

Media addicted and spiritually desensitized?

Today while driving I happened upon a sermon being given about Media addiction and becoming spiritually desensitized. He challenged everyone to do a media fast and find out how addicted to media you are, or how spiritually desensitized you have become.
While this may sound easy, it may well be the hardest thing you do.

1. Take upon yourself to have a media fast for 1-10 days
This means totally unplugged from the media.  Turn off that phone, turn off the television, the radio in the car etc. It all has to go.  

Do this for at least one day, but up to ten if you can handle it.
Some will start to get jittery after an hour, going to check the phone. You may begin itching for that feeling of connection, stirring to hear the background sounds of all the media noise that is always around. If it is hard to go even an hour, you know that you are addicted.

2. After a period of media fasting turn on prime-time television and watch for an hour.

You may be shocked at what you find.

I have taken time to fast from the media several times over the last few years. I even wrote about it nearly 3 years ago on my other blog encouraging people to take time out to unplug.  It is nice to get away from the media for a bit. It is nice to take a breather, but I did not go on to step 2. I did not stop to look at these questions: How does all the media affect us? Do we really get desensitized by it?
 Recently I had an experience that put it all into perspective. I was watching the television and I started noticing that on this particular show people were being brutalized and shot right in front of my face and I was watching realized that I was not having much of a reaction to it. It was just "normal" All of a sudden a passage of scripture from the Book of Mormon ran through my mind from Mormon 2:18......  "a continual scene of  wickedness and abominations has been before my eyes" It awoke me to the state that I was in. 

I also at this time had an experience where I had picked a TV series for my husband and I to watch. We began the series and after a few episodes I noticed that there were things happening in the show that I knew were not good, yet I watched on because I was addicted to the series. A few more episodes and I found myself watching the women on this show-- women who were living a life far different from my own and found myself thinking "Is that what men want a woman to be like? Maybe I should...."  All of a sudden; I awoke to my thoughts and said "Whoa! hold on a minute, Did I really just think that?"  I was shocked and in disbelief that I had those thoughts. I told my husband that we could not watch that show anymore because it was affecting my thoughts and the way I related to the world.  He agreed, yet he was like me--addicted!  

A few more episodes and we finally decided to put the series away for good. It was poisoning us.  I began to be more aware of what the family was being exposed to. I was finding it hard to be a good Christian/Proverbs 31 woman when other ideas and ways to behave were being presented before me. It was all becoming too appealing. I was starting to want to please the world as opposed to God. It was a startling realization for me to realize that I had convinced myself that "it isn't all that bad, there are worse things that we could be watching" but drop by drop it was adding up, the attitudes of what we were exposing ourselves to was creeping in my attitude and thoughts were changing. I was accepting things that 5 years ago I would have never even have imagined.  It was time for a real change. 

Now, We unplug a whole lot more. We are finding more time dedicated to learning the ways of the Lord and reading the scriptures. We are finding ourselves telling  and retelling the stories of courage and hope from them. We are very aware of the media and are limiting its influence. We still watch more TV than needed, but I am putting a plan in place to limit the amount of media this summer while the children are out of school.  It is a battle worth fighting.  Being aware is the first step to lasting change. I am glad I became aware and have been able to begin a new chapter in our lives.  Now it is your turn. Try the challenge, see what happens in your life.

Blessings to you,

Happy Momma 


Wednesday, April 22, 2015

putting things in the right order (let God be first in your life)

"The average woman today, I believe, would do well to appraise her interests, evaluate the activities in which she is engaged, and then take steps to simplify her life, putting things of first importance first, placing emphasis where the rewards will be greatest and most enduring, and ridding herself of the less rewarding activities."
Belle S. Spafford, the ninth Relief Society general president.

Right in the front cover of my bible I have a quote from Elder Neil A Maxwell it says....
If you have not chosen the kingdom of God first, it will in the end make no difference what you have chosen instead. It is a strong reminder to me to get things in order. We have been warned often about letting the things of the world get in the way of  us seeking the things of the Lord. It can often be difficult with so many voices and so many things pulling us in so many ways. I know from experience that Satan is very good at distracting us and keeping us from the things of most importance. We get weighed down by so many little things. One of the hardest things for many of us to say is "no". This can be troubling because often what happens is that we end up saying yes to so many good things that we inadvertently find ourselves saying no to things that matter most. We end up overwhelmed and thinking about the worldly things more often than the things of God.


Life is busy, there are many things that are to be done. It is easy to become worried, stressed and overwhelmed by the things we are doing. It becomes easy to get caught up and  forget our purpose and our creator.  Sometimes we need to just stop and look at the wonderful things around us and breathe in heaven for a moment, then make more opportunities to breathe life from the heavens.  Here is an excerpt from a book that I am writing that illustrates my point.     

" I remember one Sunday morning when my young daughter who was about four years old came into the bathroom while I was getting ready for church. She told me. "Mom you and I, we look so beautiful in our dresses; let's dance" The old worried, stressed out me would have pushed that aside and say, "Not now, I don't have the time, we are going to be late".  I was learning the power of those little moments. I swept up my daughter and took  ten or fifteen seconds to whisk her about the bathroom in a magical dance. In those few seconds we were swept up into a fantasy land,  a magical moment that could have easily been lost. The dance only lasted a few moments, but the feelings lasted most of the day, and the memory will last a lifetime." 

I pray that you will take this to heart and spend a moment to ponder on the things of God today. That you will breathe in life from him. That you will make thoughts of Heaven a regular part of your daily life. 
Happy Momma

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Help us flood social media with the message of Christ.

On  August 23rd, another worldwide event is beginning here with #calledtoshare. We need your help to spread the good news of Jesus Christ! We invite you to share a picture of yourself with a photo of Jesus Christ on your Facebook profile and any social media outlet of choice. Include your testimony of why you follow Him... and use the hashtag #ifollowhim.

Example: #ifollowhim because I find happiness and peace as I walk in His footsteps.

Invite your friends of all Christian faiths to join us in this worldwide event. Jesus Christ is the essence of everything we do.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Stand tall through it all

It is a time to stand tall and strong against the evils that surround us. I wrote a post two years ago entitled Drowning in a gray world.   It is even more important today than it was two years ago.  I am afraid that too many of my Christian sisters are being lulled into the things of this world. Too many have not firmly set their sights upon the things of God and kept themselves there.  Many of us have been so beaten down we have given up and forgotten the fight. Many of our homes are in danger of becoming a "spiritual slum" a place where God cannot dwell. Most often it begins with the entertainment that we allow into our lives and our homes. Far too many of our sisters an brothers are beginning to frequent the "slums" of the world through the media that comes into the home in the form of internet, television and books we are reading. For many of us our attitudes are changing with the world. Sinful attitudes and disrespect for our God and his laws is becoming commonplace in many homes which have typically been the last frontier of goodness.

What can you and I do?  First, be aware of what is coming into your home. Take a good and honest look at what is coming into your home. Take a close look at the things you entertain yourself with. It may be surprising. As we began to call out sin on the television we were surprised at how much had crept in and how our attitudes had changes us and we were seemingly unaware of how far it had really gone.  Dr. Phil has often said "You can't change what you don't acknowledge." So my advice, see where attitudes are changing and create your home as a stronghold of the Gospel of Christ once again. Second, Make changes and institute new rules if needed.  Let those around you know that you stand in Christ. Let your actions show that you are living by God's laws. Tell your children what is acceptable and what is not. Let them know that God's laws are your laws. Teach them to love the Lord and obey his word while doing the same in your own life. Third, create a pocket of goodness around you.  Keep your home as a good and safe place in this world. Seek out the goodness in your neighborhood, invite others to join you. Find those who want to join with you and gather together do good and stand up for the right. Together we can stand firm where alone, we can get swept away.  It is the only way for us to "overcome" the world. 

Ezra Taft Benson put it so well......

"God takes the slums out of people who then take themselves out of the slums
The Lord works from the inside out. The world works from the outside in. The world would take people out of the slums. Christ takes the slums out of people, and then they take themselves out of the slums. The world would mold men by changing their environment. Christ changes men, who then change their environment. The world would shape human behavior, but Christ can change human nature.”

We can overcome the world. We can take ourselves out of the slums of sin. It is possible through Jesus Christ.

P.S. I am working on a post about those who overcome through Christ. There is so much that is promised to those who would live and abide in his law, and those who overcome the things of this world.  It is such exciting stuff. The promised blessings and the hope that comes through a belief in Christ makes is much easier to stand strong.  Be on the lookout for that post in the near future. 

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

First responses are not always the best response


Life is not always about what happens to us, but how we respond to the situations around us. Sometimes it begins with making a different choice other than what our "first response" would dictate.
I recently read an article from hands free momma's blog which helped me to remember that I am not alone it all this.

Here are a few thoughts that come out of my book "Goodbye surviving, Hello thriving"  I hope to have it available early fall.  
Life has been a journey. It has taken me to places that I never imagined. But I have had to learn new skills and habits along the way. I also have had to break some of those habits that have not served me well. I have had to learn  some "new responses" to situations.
"I remember one Sunday morning when my young daughter who was about four years old came into the bathroom while I was getting ready for church. She told me. "Mom you and I, we look so beautiful in our dresses; let's dance! " The old, worried, stressed out me would have pushed that aside and say, "Not now honey, I don't have the time we are going to be late."  I was learning the power of those little moments. I swept up my daughter and took ten or fifteen seconds out of my life to whisk her about the bathroom in a magical dance. In those few seconds we were both swept up into a fantasy land,  a magical moment that could have easily been lost. The dance only lasted a few moments, but the feelings lasted most of the day, and the memory will last a lifetime."   


Adaption and learning new strategies and habits

We become what we repeatedly do. Steven covey (7 habits of highly effective teens)

"Sometimes, I get the feeling that we're just a bunch of habits. The gestures we repeat over and over, they're just our need to be recognized. Without them, we'd be unidentifiable. We have to reinvent ourselves every minute.” Nicole Krauss

"It has been said that we are nothing more than our behaviors repeated throughout  our entire life. We are made up of daily life choices. We are also talking of daily habits, especially the ones that seem like they are not a choice anymore because they come so easily, and we do not consciously realize that we are making a choice because it is just habit. Some daily habits serve us well, but far too many of us have habits and strategies for getting us through life that really do not serve us well. We all have a habit of insisting on keeping up these broken strategies that really do not work. Why?  Because they are habits, and habits have a history of being too hard to break. Let me share with you an example from my own life.  

I had found myself in a bad habit of yelling at my children. The trouble  was that the children were beginning to model that same behavior. I found myself hating the fact that they were yelling at one another. We were getting to be a very loud family. I found myself wondering what it was going to be like once they all reached the teenage years. The thought of three very loud, yelling teenagers was frightening. We found ourselves yelling at each other to a point that everyone was yelling and nobody was  listening to anybody. Everyone was getting louder and louder to be heard over the other yellers.  It was out of control. I could only see it getting worse and worse, with no end in sight

It was my middle child who was the catalyst for change. She began holding her hands over her ears for large parts of the day. She is very sensitive to words, and yelling was over the top for her. She couldn't stand it anymore. I would notice her in the midst of the yelling with her hands over her ears.  Then I noticed that she would just tune out anything and everything going on in the house for large parts of the day. She was not happy in life.  She was spending way too much time with her hands over her ears or just plain tuned out to life. I knew it was not healthy for a 5 year old to be like this, I just didn't know what to do about it.  

One day I came to this daughter to give her a compliment on something that she had done well, and out of habit her hands went over her ears and her eyes closed. I was not angry at all, and I was not yelling, but she had gotten into the habit, she was ready for me to start yelling because most of the time it was that way.  I stood there in shock. What had we come too?  I felt like a monster, my child was hiding from me, and all I wanted to do was to tell her that I loved her and that she had done a good job.  My heart was about to break. I slowly took her hands off her ears, I whispered to her, "please open your eyes, I want to talk to you."  She shook her head  to tell me no.  I began to feel angry at her response toward me, but more angry with myself. The feelings I had were so strong, but the sadness coming from her was even stronger. I shut my mouth and waited.  She finally opened her eyes, but wouldn't look at me. When I finally  reached under her chin and held her head up, she looked at me with such sadness in her huge blue eyes, I was pierced to the soul.  "Why did you cover your ears when you saw me coming?" I asked,--- " I thought you were going to yell at me like you always do." was her reply, "I do not like the yelling and everyone keeps on yelling all the time, it never stops."  Oh my heart ached, I vowed that moment that we were going to change that habit.

How? What needed to happen for us to change? I called a family meeting right away. I announced that there was a new family rule. No yelling. I was going to start and set the example. We had to break this habit and replace it with another. "Yelling is not communicating" became our key phrase. The other was, "We do not communicate by yelling".  When we found ourselves yelling the new habit was this.... We were to stop, take a deep breath, and repeat one of those two phrases before continuing on with what we wanted to say in a nice, calm voice.

It was hard work. I would get about three words into my yelling rant and then have to stop, take a deep breath, repeat the phrase, then speak softly and kindly. It seemed like I was repeating these phrases five thousand times a day. It was exhausting at times.  About the third day, I was ready to give in, I had tried, but it was such hard work. I felt like it was constantly on my mind and a constant battle I didn't know I would ever win. I felt like I didn't have time to stop, and repeat the phrase so many times a day, but my little blue eyed girl caught my attention again. I noticed that she was not spending so much of her time tuned out to life with her hands over her ears. I also noticed that the sparkle was coming back to her eyes. She was doing better, and we were beginning to see results in the rest of us too. So we continued on the journey.

It was nearly six months into the journey when I realized that I had made it until noon without having to repeat the words; "yelling is not how we communicate".  I was overjoyed. We had come so far. It was no longer a constant, conscious, nearly overwhelming effort.  It was becoming a new habit not to yell. It made those long days in the beginning worth it. "
My hope and prayer is that we will find a desire to be better, to do better, to be a little slower in responding becoming aware that there may be something better than that "first initial response".   

Monday, July 28, 2014

Teach children of their heritage

The month of July is wonderful time here in Utah. With our Independence Day celebrations, and then our state celebration of the Mormon pioneers settling in Utah, it opens up the door for conversations about our heritage.  

Why is it important for to teach children about their heritage, and what things should you be sure to teach them?

1.  It is important for our children to know of the past and the things that brought about their freedom in this country. They must know of the brave souls that fought for our liberty. They must know of the struggles that this country went through as a new and struggling nation of God loving people who desired freedom to worship and live.  They must know about the Constitution of the United States of America. You must help them to understand the constitution, what it is, what it stands for, and what it means for them going forward.  You must do it, the public school system may cover it for just a brief moment, but it is watered down and sugar coated until it has lost much of what it is. The school system cannot make up for you sharing your own experience and love for this country. Teach your children to honor the flag and other symbols of our freedom, for it is a rock upon which they must stand.  Teach them the pledge of Allegiance. Teach them the star spangled banner.  Teach them about the land of the free. Teach them to be brave. Teach them to honor the freedoms they have and to stand in liberty.

A great read on the history of our country is Seven Miracles That Saved America: Why They Matter and Why We Should Have Hope

2.  Our children should know about their Grandparents, Great Grandparents and so on. It is important for them. I have found great strength through knowing my grandparents. My Grandma turned 94 this year. She is one of those people I have looked to for inspiration over the years.  In fact, one of my very first blog posts was all about her.  Our extended families can give us clues to our life. We can learn from their mistakes and we can gain wisdom and strength from their life experiences.  Make it an experience for your children by sharing the stories of their close ancestors.  My mother in-law is a great story-teller.  She has shared many stories about my Husband and his family. She makes it fun for us all to learn about our relatives.

3. Most of all teach them of their Spiritual heritage. We are all Children of God. Teach your children of that God who created them. Teach them to love the scriptures.  Our evening time for the past several months has been spent in telling the stories of the scriptures. My young children are begging to know more. Every night it is, "just one more Bible story!" They are hungry for the word of God.  I have had to step up my studies of the scriptures just to keep up with them. It is a wonderful thing to see their eyes light up as I tell them stories of the great prophets, and tell them about the miracles that came about through faith in the Lord.

It was just a few generations ago that most people read the scriptures and family Bibles were cherished treasures, but it is a tradition that has gone away in many parts of the country. It is time to bring it back.

It is a time to take a good look to at the word of God especially the book of revelation as we are upon the doorstep of the things John saw concerning the world as it comes very close to the time when Christ shall come again. Just take a look around, you will see that the signs of His coming are all around us. 

May you and your family find hope for the future as you turn to the past.

Happy Momma

Monday, July 21, 2014

recognizing the answers

Do you ever struggle to recognize the answers to your prayers? You are not alone! Many have struggled with this.

Sometimes prayers are answered in large ways, but more often it is that little thought, or that simple little thing someone does. When we take time to recognize those small things, and give God thanks, we tend to find more of them and we see the hand of God has been in our lives. Let me share some examples with you so you can see what I mean.

Mary is struggling with finances and is in need of a bit of extra this week. The gas tank is on empty and the pantry seems a bit bare. She prays for relief. The next day, a friend offers to take her to lunch. The day after that, she finds a forgotten $20 bill.  Have her prayers been answered? Many may say it is just coincidence, but I say yes, her prayers were answered in a very real way. She was taken care of when she was needing it. God said yes, and provided for her in her time of need.

In my own life, when finances have gotten a little tight God has provided. Sometimes it has been in the form of a friend needing help with a job and asking my husband to assist them. For myself, it has been daycare jobs for family or friends that paid enough to cover some of the basics and it seemed that the payments always showed up just at the right time. 

Another example is that of Amy who is struggling with the pressures of her job and family life. She is feeling overwhelmed by it all. She is feeling hopeless and in despair. All of a sudden there is a phone call from a friend who just happened to call and say "hello" This is an answer to prayer.

Susie is struggling with her son. He has some behavior issues that cause Susie to be at the "end of her rope" She has been praying for help knowing what to do. She has struggled through many days with her son and his behavior, nothing seems to be working. She is learning patience, but it is growing thin. The struggles continue, then one day while talking with a friend the answer seems to come in a small and simple way. This friend is struggling with her own child, although their troubles and issues seem to be so different, Suzie's mind is awakened to something that might just work. She begins to feel a small glimmer of hope in this "new thought". 

Sometimes we get those "thoughts".  Do not discount them, often they are overlooked answers to prayers. Explore those little thoughts and see what comes of them. See if God is saying, "flap your wings and fly."  Sometimes it is only when we look back and realize that it all started with that one little thought that we  can see our prayers were answered.

There is a song that helps me to remember that while I do not always know what God has in store, he can see the big picture. This is especially helpful to remember when dark clouds are near and I cannot see more than just a few steps. 

Click here to listen on you tube

Blessings by Laura Story

We pray for blessings
We pray for peace
Comfort for family, protection while we sleep
We pray for healing, for prosperity
We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering
All the while, You hear each spoken need
Yet love us way too much to give us lesser things

'Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You're near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

We pray for wisdom
Your voice to hear
And we cry in anger when we cannot feel You near
We doubt Your goodness, we doubt Your love
As if every promise from Your Word is not enough
All the while, You hear each desperate plea
And long that we have faith to believe

'Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You're near
And what if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

When friends betray us
When darkness seems to win
We know that pain reminds this heart
That this is not, this is not our home
It's not our home

'Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
And what if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You're near
What if my greatest disappointments
Or the achings of this life
Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can't satisfy
And what if trials of this life
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights
Are Your mercies in disguise

My Prayer for you today; May God bless you in your struggles. May you find that your prayers are answered and that He has always had a hand in your life.
Happy Momma