Archives for April 2017

04.28.17

Weekend Workshop

It’s no mystery that change requires action. You know, the whole, ‘your dreams don’t work unless you do’? Well, it’s true! But man. It can be overwhelming to see where you want to be and feel so discouraged because of where you are. We get it. That’s why we are introducing WEEKEND WORKSHOPS.

weekend workshop

Every Friday we will introduce a simple activity that we hope will boost your morale and brighten your outlook. Give it a try for at least a day. If you love it, find a way to incorporate it into your daily or weekly routine. Then check back the following week for another way to, you guessed it, improve your life!

Look at these mini workshops as baby steps. Simple ways to keep improving yourself, no matter where you are. So let’s get to it.

Gratitude Workshop

Expressing gratitude is an amazing way to change how you think. In my experience, when I go in to any given situation with an attitude of gratitude I am slower to judge, more kind and loving, and over all, happier. There is so much good in everything and everyone! Being grateful is the secret key that unlocks the door to the magical world of positivity.

So here is where you come in. Take this weekend head on with an attitude of gratitude! Do this workshop and in return, get good vibes! It’s that simple.

Workshop: Gratitude Writing Task

Take time this weekend to sit down and write a heart felt thank you letter to someone. Sit down and write an honest to goodness pen and paper letter. Lick the envelope, stick the stamp, and drop it in the mail. (Mother’s day is right around the corner, how convenient!)

Wanna know the best part of this workshop? The entire experience of expressing that gratitude and then sending it off means major bonus points for you.

flower envelope

Dr. Christian Jarrett conducted a brain-scanning study that was published in NeuroImage. He found that “even months after a simple, short gratitude writing task, people’s brains are still wired to feel extra thankful. The implication is that gratitude tasks work, at least in part, because they have a self-perpetuating nature: The more you practice gratitude, the more attuned you are to it and the more you can enjoy its psychological benefits.”

Psychological benefits that include (but aren’t limited to) a feeling of well-being and reduced depression. Sign me up! *Insert hand raise emoji here* Think of it as the gift that keeps on giving.

We hope this simple activity will give you all the good feels and motivate you to make gratitude more of a habit. Share with us your weekend workshop success stories, we wanna hear!

Happy writing, friends!

XOXO

Kimberly

 

 

 

 

04.26.17

EQUANIMITY AS A MOTHER

REAL LIFE STORY FEATURING JUDY COOLEY

e·qua·nim·i·ty
NOUN
Mental calmness, composure, and evenness of temper, especially in a difficult situation:
“she accepted both the good and the bad with equanimity”

I like to compare my journey as a mother, to a hike to the top of a mountain peak.

On the hike, the trail starts out exciting and we are admire the beauty along the way. There is a quickness in our pace and anticipation of the summit.

As the elevation increases, the incline becomes steep and rocky. Thirst, hunger and fatigue begin set in. We become keenly aware of the pains, the heaviness of the load, and perhaps some hot spots where blisters are forming. Words of encouragement are spoken, arms are extended to help each other over big boulders. Often, hearts become discouraged and some want to give up.

Sometimes, we notice the storm clouds gathering, we hear thunder clashing and the temperature quickly drops. Quickly we find shelter to avoid the danger of a mountain storm. Gathering together we wait out the storm. Extra clothing is needed for warmth, and prayers are said for protection, courage and equanimity. The storm eventually ceases and together we start climbing again, once again helping each other upward, onward to the top. We are chanting “We can do this! We go Forever!” Joy and relief wash over us while standing on the summit, beautiful vistas lay at our feet, and we feel a great sense of accomplishment.

We pause a moment to kiss the sky, say prayers of gratitude, and take pictures to remember. Then it’s back down the mountain, which is a whole different adventure, with it’s own joys and trials.

I remember starting out on adventures with my little family- what fun! The biggest worry was if I remembered the sunscreen and snacks, and trying to keep up with them as they scampered off in different directions. Motherhood is full of fun and precious moments all along the way. You just have to stop and notice them and enjoy the scenery.  Take the time to create traditions, family vacations, laughter and fond memories because this will be the shelter they seek when the lightening strikes.

The anticipation of reaching the top is the dreams and hopes we all have for our children. I have high expectations for my children, of course. I want them to be happy, but even more then that, I hope they’re self reliant, honest and accountable, and have a determination to reach the top for themselves. I also hope for kind and helpful travelers along the way and for them to find an eternal traveling companion to begin their own family and adventures. (who doesn’t want to be a grandparent?)

We will all struggle over boulders and feel the heaviness of the weight on our shoulders. The threatening storms may be when your child deals with bullies, has been exposed to pornography, hindered with sever anxiety, develops an eating disorder, struggles with depression,  participates in destructive behavior or addictions. This is where reaching out to each other and cheering each other is vital. Family prayer and time set aside to teach correct principles is the gathering together to wait out the storms and wrapping them up in warm protection.

Recently a violent storm caught us off guard threatening our family; a child battling a faith crisis, willful rebellion, and suicidal thoughts tested our equanimity and resolve. There was a one point where every single one of us was beaten down by the storm. Some didn’t want to continue on the climb and had lost vision of the summit. This is when we each had to dig down deep get on our knees and remember why we where on this journey and remind each other, “We go Forever” Hold on this storm will pass.

I don’t think I’m unique. To a parent ALL storms feel threatening to getting the whole family safely to the peak. Those summit moments for me have been when my children chose the right, found good companions, my sweet grand babies, graduated, served missions, increase their talents, tenderly take care of each other, and still found time to go on adventures with us.  What I’ve learned and what my words of hope to you are: Enjoy the journey, All storms will pass; equanimity is found in faith in Jesus Christ. I also know that everyone, especially our children, have their own journey to experience to the summit.

It is in the hard climb where we learn and gain strength. We are given weaknesses and struggles to humble us and so it is for our children. “All these things shall give thee experience.” That is not easy on a mothers heart or nerves but this I know- we will all enjoy that bliss on the summit!

I have been blessed with the gift of a joyful spirit and the ability to overcome sadness and darkness. But, I allowed the dark storm clouds to over shadow me. I felt abandoned and beaten. How grateful I am for my family and loved ones picking me up and wrapping me in love. I reached out to friends, a support group and a counselor. Most importantly I reached out to my Heavenly Father; where I found hope again, and peace in sacred moments in prayer, scripture study and quiet holy places.

Do you remember a great storm once on a sea where the waves beat into a ship. Some cried out in fear, “carest thou not that we parish!” And The Savior arose, and rebuked the wind, and said, “Peace, Be Still” and the winds ceased, and there was a great calm. And he said unto them, “Why are ye so fearful? I envision Him speaking these words to me each time my fears of the storm arise. His peace washes over me. I’m finding my joyful spirit again and the strength to continue onward and upward.

I once had a friend tell me. All will end well, and if it isn’t well it’s not the end.

Keep climbing dear friends! I wish you a happy and joy filled journey, I Believe you can do this!

 

Judy

X0X0

04.24.17

5 Ways to Find Peace

WHEN YOU’RE FALLING TO PIECES

You guys, life is hard! Recently I have had many close friends share with me such hard things they are going through. It literally breaks my heart for them and their families! I want to just bundle them up in the coziest blanket, wrap my arms around them and take all their problems away. All I can do is share what I have learned through my journey, and hope and pray it helps them.

FINDING PEACE

5 ways to find peace

These same friends recently asked me how I have found peace while dealing with anxiety and depression. At first, I wasn’t sure what to tell them because it wasn’t just one thing that helped me, so I named 10 different things that helped. I left them feeling so overwhelmed, they didn’t know where to start and they left almost more lost than before asking me for help. SOOO I have come up with the 5 main things that helped me find peace when I was completely falling to pieces. I am so excited to share them with you, and hope they help you find the peace you are searching for!

1. Attitude of Gratitude

Think back to the joy you felt the last time a friend helped you out or your spouse helped with dinner—you can’t help but feel happiness right? A growing mound of evidence shows that giving thanks can also have a lasting effect on your mood, ease stress, and help you set priorities. A study from the University of Pennsylvania found that people who wrote and delivered a heartfelt thank-you letter actually felt these effects for a full month after, and the same researchers discovered that writing down three positive things each day for a week kept happiness levels high for up to six months. Amazing right?

5 ways to find peace

Take time to write your blessings down and then remind yourself throughout your day and develop an overall attitude of gratitude.  This is a great way to ease stress, set priorities, and focus on what’s important in  your life!

2. Forgive and Forget

5 ways to find peace

I found that during my darkest days of depression I was not only feeling down in the dumps about life but I was also so mad at myself. Mad that I couldn’t be the mom and wife my family needed me to be. Not only was I mad at myself, but I was also harboring anger towards my sweet husband. I was being eaten alive by guilt and resentment. It wasn’t until I forgave myself that I could begin to heal and move forward.

Forgiving ourselves or others for wrong doings sets us free. Think of people who you may be harboring ill feelings towards and forgive them. This may take time, it may hurt and may not be easy. In the end it will be worth it!

3.Look For The Good

5 ways to find peace

If you are looking for the bad, you will surely find it! Try reprograming your mind to see the good. This takes practice and work, but can bring you so much joy and peace!

My husband and I were sitting on a park bench in Central Park, we were people watching (Central Park has some prime people watching). We were watching the exact same scenario unfold in front of us, but our outlooks on this scenario were completely different. My husband was seeing the good in people and in life and I couldn’t stop focusing on the negative and how bad people were. It was a really eye opening experience for me. I decided on that park bench to see the good. It has been hard work, and to be honest I still struggle with it, but I am here to tell you there is good in everyone and every situation. Look for the good.

 

4. Live In The Moment

“Mindfulness is a state of active, open attention on the present. When you’re mindful, you observe your thoughts and feelings from a distance, without judging them good or bad. Instead of letting your life pass you by, mindfulness means living in the moment and awakening to experience.”

Don’t let life pass you by; live in the moment. When I read that quote, I felt like I had been slapped in the face. Living in the moment or being mindful was a whole new concept to me. I was first introduced to it when I started seeing my counselor. I had heard the terms but I didn’t completely understand the concept. When my counselor explained this to me I was slapped in the face again, I finally knew what I had been doing wrong for almost three decades: I had been letting life pass me by. I was simply a bystander. I don’t want to be a bystander anymore. I don’t want to go to bed at night wondering where my day went. I don’t want to wake up twenty years from now not knowing what I’ve done with my life. I was letting my anxiety and depression live my life for me. I was living afraid of the future and guilt of the past.

Anxiety, an illness of our time, comes primarily from our inability to live in the moment -Thich Nhat Hanh

Living in the moment frees us from the events of the past and the fear of the future. When we are able to just live for the moment we are able to enjoy life for what it is.

5. Simplify

One aspect of simplifying is decluttering your life. So I ask you, what does your bedroom look like? Or what about your desk at work? I know that when I am stressed, my bedroom and closet become the catch all for life. They become super cluttered and it seems that every item that doesn’t have a home gets set on my dresser. My bedroom should be a haven for me and my husband but instead it becomes a dump station. Your mess is a reflection of you and your state of being. Simplify. Declutter your life physically and mentally.

Developing routines is another way to simplify life. Knowing what you’re going to do next and being consist in those actions brings a peace of mind. Set doable routines and practice those routines everyday. Notice the peace this brings. For example, my kids and I have a morning routine that we follow. My children know what to expect each morning and things flow so much better when we follow that routine.

5 ways to fins peace

 

I hope applying these 5 concepts into your life can help you find peace like they have for me. I know It is so much easier to stay stuck in a rut or throw yourself a pity party (trust me, I got really good at throwing pity parties). So I challenge you to start finding your peace! It is worth it and so are YOU!

XOXO

Sarah

PC: Nicole Maxfield www.colemaxfieldphotography.com

 

 

 

04.21.17

Remember, You are Loved.

I recently attended a funeral of a friend who committed suicide. It was my first time ever going to that type of funeral, and I didn’t know what to expect. As I entered that room with a heavy heart, I was overwhelmed at how crowded the room was. Almost every seat was filled. He had been struggling for a long time, and had felt so lonely for a long time, but as I looked around the room, he was surrounded by people. I listened to the wonderful and kind things that his family had to say about him; they talked about how he was their hero, how they have always looked up to him so much, how deeply and genuinely they love him, how painfully they would miss him.

I had a thought during the funeral that has been running around in my mind over and over again. I wish that this man would have really truly known how many people loved him, and how many lives he had touched.

In the darkness, it may seem that we are all alone. I know I am guilty of laying on my own bed, sobbing, wishing that I wasn’t so alone, and wishing that someone could help me. In reality, I am surrounded, just as my friend, by people who love me and would be there in seconds if they knew my struggle! I have no doubt in my mind, that each of you are also surrounded by such people, whether they are family, friends, neighbors, church members or coworkers. People LOVE you. People care about you.

It is hard to have the desire to reach out when we are in the darkness. It is hard to put down those walls and open up to someone; to let someone help you – but it is worth it.

I recently had an experience of my own like this. I was having a terrible day, I was filled with depression and anxiety, I wanted to disappear. My mom randomly called to talk about her day. I felt annoyed that she was interrupting my wallowing and quickly ended the phone call. A small moment after,  I realized that she was reaching out to me. Perhaps she had felt the need to call and check on me. I called her back. We talked for a long time. It took a while for her to break down the walls that I put up, but she listened to me, for a really long time, cry and talk about my struggles and my horrible day.

At the end of the phone call, I remembered my thought I had at the funeral, how I wish that man would have really truly known how surrounded by love he was. I wish that for every person alive; for those who struggle with depression and anxiety and eating disorders and all the types of disorders. I wish that for the poor and the beggars, for the criminals and the liars, I wish it for everyone. If people truly knew how much they were surrounded by love, I know this world would be such a better place.

I can’t make you believe me, I know that. But I promise, however hard it may seem, it is so worth it to let someone know you are struggling. I believe you will be surprised at how they will respond with love and affection.

Know that I am here, and I love you.

XOXO

Megan

 

04.19.17

Real Life featuring Kimberly Cooley

A Story About Comparison

I am going to weave my story in to an analogy. Mostly because I love analogies (what can I say, my right brain runs the show) but also because I hope it will make what I have to say more relatable.

I want you to picture a flower. What do you see?

I see vibrant, beautiful petals. Healthy, green leafs. I see beautiful. I see happy.

peony

But what you don’t see are the roots. The beautiful, messy chorus of roots that make that flower unique and alive.

roots

Do you ever find yourself so focused on every other flower in your metaphorical garden that you forget to take time to consider what lies just beneath the surface? So often we tend to look at the other flowers and as a tragic result, we neglect ourselves, our roots. And ultimately, your flower, your talents, begin to suffer.

wilting flower

Distorted Thinking

It started as a small habit. Then it grew into a monster. I had subconsciously programmed my brain to compare, which left me with a whole lot of self doubt and a fragile false confidence. I wasn’t happy with who I was. I tried to discover outlets to make me feel better about myself. But because I had neglected my roots, I was left with distorted thinking. I started down the path of an eating disorder, thinking maybe if I was skinnier… maybe then I’d be happier with myself.

But the truth is, looking outward, focusing on everyone else and how I wasn’t as good as them, left my roots to shrivel. And my beautiful flower (my talents, gifts, passions) was paying the price. I was wilting.

Thanks to the attentiveness of my angel husband, he immediately noticed I was on a path that was going from bad to worse at a frightening speed. He gave me the courage to dig up the dirt and take a good, long, honest look at my roots.

Breaking Free

What I found when I looked inward was that I wanted to be free from comparison so I could be free to be ME. I wanted to nourish my roots so that my flower could bloom and I could my bring my own kind of beauty to the garden.

It was a long, bumpy road but today, I do feel free! And every day I choose to be free.

happy

Do Your Best

Ultimately, what it came down to for me was that I had to learn to love myself, celebrate others, and do my best. “Do your best” has become my new motto. It has helped me break free from the demeaning power of comparison.

There is a mean little perfectionist deep inside of me that tells me if I don’t do it just right, I have failed. The motto “do your best” has helped me drown out that perfectionist and has brought laughter to situations that once would have reduced me to tears.

Doing your best does not mean doing it all or doing it perfectly. Doing your best means you are pushing through this messy life with a smile, with kindness, with love. Doing your best means you jump for joy when you see another flower blooming into something magnificent. Doing your best means you take time to nourish and love your roots. Doing your best means accepting that you are you and that is beautiful. You are beautiful.

family

Please don’t waste time trying to be just like the rose, or the sunflower, or the big beautiful peony. Find out who you are. Take a look at what lies beneath the surface. You might need to get your hands dirty and dig through the dirt to discover your beautiful chorus of roots. Then love on them, plant them in more nourishing soil, water them, give them sunlight. And then, my friend, watch how you bloom.

XOXO

Kimberly

04.17.17

Postive Affirmations

The Power of Positive Affirmations

I’ve seen Positive Affirmations achieve miracles in my life. The first time I experienced the power of thought was running my first 5K together with my 10 year old daughter. At mile one she began the “I can’t do this… my legs hurt… this is hard… let’s stop” talk that was going to make this the longest 5K ever! So I had her chant with me “I can do this! My legs feel strong!” and “I run forever!”. And then the miracle, her pace increased to the point where I was even having a hard time keeping up. That’s when the finish line came into view and she left me in the dust, sprinting to the end. She hasn’t looked back or quit since; she now runs marathons. I’ve often thought back on that experience and thought, what if we had stopped and let the “I can’t thinking” win?

  

Moving Mountains

The past 30 years our family has made the trek up the Middle Teton. It’s our pilgrimage to remind us that “we can do hard things”. It also serves as somewhat of a rite of passage; when our children become of age they get to go with us. I’ve seen the power of thought over and over again on that mountain as new climbers join the voyage. They hit the inevitable “let’s quit” wall and the chanting “my legs feel strong” or “yes I can!” begins and then the miracle happens. This is where our family motto “We Go Forever” was born. There’s nothing like standing on a mountaintop and seeing the views and feeling the accomplishment- I love it! It has become a reservoir of “Yes I Can!” that I’ve drawn from many times when facing demons and hard things.

“Mirror, Mirror on the Wall”

What about the days you’re not running 5Ks and climbing mountains and the “I can’t do this” thinking becomes over bearing? I know what it is like to look in the mirror and be flooded with negative self-talk or wake up and not want to face the day. Distorted negative thoughts can be as over whelming as a mountain that we just can’t seem to get over. This is where we need to learn the super power skill of Positive Affirmations: phrasing our words and thoughts in the present positive perspective.

I want you to imagine a large hourglass, and in the middle of this hourglass a filter. In any given day all the positive and negatives are piled into the top of this hourglass, and they start funneling down. This filter catches all of the positives, and releases the negatives. If you focus only on the negative things in life because they are all piled together at the bottom of the hourglass, you are going to feel overwhelmed, defeated. You see, if you focus on the negative thoughts piled at the bottom, you miss all the positive. This is distorted thinking because there are positives and negatives in every given situation. You can’t just stop on the bad when there is most likely just as much good at the same time. It’s all in our PERSPECTIVE.

The Law of the Harvest

You sow a THOUGHT- You reap an ACTION

You sow an ACTION- You reap a HABIT

You sow a HABIT – You reap a CHARACTER

You sow a CHARACTER – You reap a DESTINY

“I AM”

Why do positive affirmations work? Our subconscious brains are like this brilliant database taking in information all the time and it believes whatever we tell it- negative or positive, lies or truth, real or distorted. If we are willing to change our thinking we can change our lives. Listen to your self-talk and thoughts today, are you focusing on the negative or the positive and what seeds are you sowing?

quote

And the beautiful truth is you are the master artist of your thoughts and your perspective that will create the masterpiece of your life.

When I talk about doing affirmations- it is to consciously choose sentences or words that will either help to eliminate something from your life or help to create something new in your life, and you do this in a positive way. If you say, “I don’t want to be sick anymore” the subconscious mind hears sick more. You have to tell it clearly what you want and put it in the present positive perspective. Say and think, ‘I am feeling wonderfully well. I radiate good health!’

You see, our subconscious brain is very straightforward – what it hears is what it does. “My legs are tired” doesn’t help in a 5k, “I can’t do this, I hate hiking” doesn’t reach mountaintops.

You deserve good!

Think for a moment. What is it you really want right now? What is it you want today in your life? Think about it, and then say, I accept for myself_________ (whatever it is you want) and then write them in ‘I am…‘ statements. Write a list of positive affirmations and make copies so you can hang several lists where you can see them. Daily mediate on this list, or look yourself in the eyes in the mirror and say it. At first this is going to seem weird and your ego might even be embarrassed or think this is a lie. Stay the course when your thoughts want to slip back into old habits of sowing and reaping the negative- this might be your comfort zone. Get out! That is also the death zone for your creativity, happiness and health.

Some good thoughts to begin with would be:

  • I am a child of God who loves me
  • I am worthwhile
  • I am deserving
  • I love and accept myself
  • I am healing and healthy
  • I am calm and at peace
  • I am happy and love life
  • I am……

Possibilities are endless; our prospects are grand and glorious!

When I first began positive affirmations I found it helpful to keep it simple- 5 a day were easy to remember and count off on my hand. And like any newly developing skill this takes practice and persistence. Be mindful of the wording of your affirmations- negative words like ‘no, stop, hurt, can’t and losing etc.’ are counteracting and just solidifying more of the distorted negative perspective. State and Claim boldly the positive you want, this is your vision! Keep it in the “I can” zone.

I also find it helpful to put my affirmations on visual objects. Have fun with this- be creative! Make an Affirmation Board. My daughter wrote hers on a willow tree figurine, I have sticky notes everywhere, I’ve written some on rocks that sit on my desk. What speaks to you? When you do Positive Affirmations it can raise you up to standing on a mountaintop soaking in the beauty and the confidence that you can do hard things. I’m recommitting today to begin again. After the Easter weekend one of my affirmations is; “I am blessing cadbury eggs with love and I release it from my life.”

Today I CHOOSE to be happy. I FEEL HAPPY AND HEALTHY. I AM HAPPY AND HEALTHY!

You will find the strength to sprint to your finish lines and experience small miracles to move you over the next mountain.

I am excited for you to begin this journey.

XOXO

Judy

 

 

04.15.17

Postpartum Depression: Three Ways to Help and Heal

When you think of a precious new baby what do you think? Bingo! The smell, the sweetness, the tiny fingers and toes, the fuzzy shoulders and back, all the good stuff. Stuff good enough to make you crazy for one and crazier for more. Man, aren’t newborns just delicious?!

newborn

newborn, detail

You know what isn’t delicious? Becoming a human burp cloth. Not sleeping for longer than a couple hours at a time (if you’re lucky!). Postpartum bodies (you rock those granny panties, girlfriend!). And as beautiful as nursing is, you can’t tell me you never once thought, “moo”.

newborn, motherhood

All the good stuff is so indescribably good about newborns we want to talk about every single tiny perfect little ounce of detail. So we do. And all the bad stuff can be so miserably hard, naturally, we don’t want to talk about it. Especially not in detail. So what do we do? We bundle all that yucky into a cute, easier to swallow phrase. You guessed it, the baby blues.

Before I had my baby girl I wanted to do everything I could to avoid postpartum depression. I thought long and hard and read one too many (frightening) articles on Pinterest. Words like inevitable, out of no where, and not being who you once were terrified me. I was convinced there had to be something I could do to avoid the ‘inevitable’, or in the very least, ease the blow.

pregnancy, motherhood

I came up with three things that I think made a huge difference for me post baby. But first! Quick disclaimer. I hope these words are gentle and kind to those mothers who have dealt with postpartum depression. Hormones, and a whole slew of changes make PPD something that can’t necessarily be controlled and you might need to seek help. Totally okay! You grew and gave birth to a human life. That my friend, is no walk in the park.

Number One: PHYSICAL ACTIVITY

I knew getting up and getting moving and more importantly, getting OUT could be a huge life saver for me. Exercise is a release and endorphin booster, that does not change when baby arrives. Don’t set unattainable goals. This isn’t about getting into your pre baby jeans. It’s about being healthy and healing. For me, my goal was to go for a walk every single day. I expressed this to my spouse so I felt some accountability but also, so he could help motivate me when I didn’t feel like. It’s way easier to make exercise happen if you have someone willing to join you or keep the baby while you get away for a bit.

postpartum, exercise

This was our first walk home from the hospital. It was disastrously windy, I felt like there wasn’t an elastic waistband in the world that had enough elastic in it, and I was waddling and shuffling like a crazy lady. We did one measly loop around the park by our house but we laughed the whole time and I did it! That filled me right up.

Number Two: SPIRITUAL ACTIVITY

For me, this was time in the scriptures. My goal was to keep my habit of reading from them every single day. If you aren’t religious, think of a similar spiritual release that works for you. I believe when the body is struggling, your spirit will gently take a back seat if you let it, but if you the take time to nourish it, it will carry your struggling, unmotivated body through hard times.

quote, inspiration

Number Three: SUPPORT GROUP

This can be your spouse, friend, mother, sister. The choice is yours but find someone you can be open and honest with. I told my husband before our baby girl arrived that it was important to me that he knew I needed him to talk to. And that if he felt there were ways I was diminishing that he could feel comfortable bringing them to my attention. Talking is everything. The irrational thoughts in your head can be so real and voicing them out loud can be the difference between believing them, or recognizing them for what they are; lies.

marriage, friend

Here’s the catch. You gotta commit to these BEFORE baby comes. Because after the tenth poopy diaper and fifth wardrobe change for both you and baby, resolve is low. And I mean really, really low. If you commit before and share these commitments with someone close, you will be more likely to succeed.

If there is just one thing you take away from this post it would be this: Please, don’t stress it and don’t overthink it. Do your best, ask for help (I cannot stress this enough), and guess what? If you find yourself lost in the beautiful but messy call of motherhood, help is there! It’s okay to deal with postpartum depression, it isn’t okay to not talk about it. PPD is absolutely treatable.

Being a mom is easily one of the hardest things ever. The baby phase is this no mans land of feeling like you haven’t done anything all day and yet you haven’t even had time to shower or eat.

motherhood, newborn

Why do we as a culture feel like we just have to jump back into our skinny jeans and look put together and then when no one is looking, bawl our eyes out? I’ve come to realize that there isn’t anyone but ourselves that create that kind of pressure. We get it, motherhood is hard. So why do we feel so determined to pretend like it isn’t?

Remember, you got this! And when you feel like you don’t, there is an army of mothers, husbands, family, and friends, waiting to swoop in and pick you back up. Take the time to love yourself so you can love your precious little babies more. And never ever forget, you were absolutely made to be your babies perfect mother. And that is exactly what you are.

baby, motherhood

XOXO

Kimberly

 

04.14.17

Fire Ants & Joy!

Her name was Audrey Mortlock, and she was our neighbor in Colorado. She called to tell me she was bringing over a dinner. I’ll never forget it; a beautiful pot-roast with roasted vegetables, homemade rolls and her famous shortbread cookies. So much better than the ramen I had planned on eating that night.

At the time, our third child, Megan had just been born. She told me not worry about dinner but to take the time to hold and rock my baby and play with the older children. She told me ‘they will grow up so fast and you will miss these days’. I didn’t believe her, she was crazy because there was NO way I’d miss this circus! I felt stuck in an endless loop of feeding, diapers, and crying (not just the baby). On top of that, I was also torn between balancing the needs of Jesse and Sarah with Erik out of town most of the time.

Turns out she was right! Looking back to that day 24+ years ago it seems like time has played a trick on me. Like a great magicians disappearing act, I’m standing here wondering “where did it go?”.

Recently, my son was telling me about his sleepless night holding and comforting his sick baby daughter. He said,  “As tired as I am, holding her all night while she slept was such a sweet memory I’ll always cherish.” Funny, I remembered a sleepless night just like that with him when he was a baby that I too cherish.

Thinking back, there are many things I miss most about those crazy days: the bedtime rituals, camping, bath time, make believe stories and believe it or not, the crying baby.

I’m now what society calls an “Empty Nester” for my little birds have all flown from the nest. And now I feel stuck in this loop of grief missing my babies, redefining my purpose, hot flashes and still more crying. But Audrey’s advice “you will miss these days,” is true for whatever season of our life, either old or young, we are in. I tell my children, “If you think it is so – it is so.” That is true for focusing on either the positive or the negative happenings of your day. There is something about today that you are going to miss someday – what is it?

For me some things I’ll miss about today: mountain walks, ski days, holding grand babies, Sunday family dinners, art lessons with my granddaughter and possibly hot flashes? Nah, not that.

So mine and Audrey’s advice: focus on the joys of the “now” before the magic trick of time makes it disappear.

There is another lesson we can learn from sweet Audrey. There is a time we do the reaching out and serving and a time when we need to allow others to serve and carry us. Consider this:

Fire Ants instinctively understand this concept; when floods threaten their home they gather together and by holding onto each other’s legs and mouths they create a live floating raft to support each other through the storm until they can find safe land again.

Many times I have been the recipient of loving people reaching out to help me stay afloat, and at times I have done the supporting. We all will face adversities that threaten us, and we all need each other. It’s a brilliant and simple plan- you lift me and I’ll lift you and together we will ascend.

…All pain is temporary

All sorrow is fleeting

But LOVE is Eternal

XOXO

Judy

PS – Just in case you could use ninja superwomen powers, I’m sharing a secret formula:

 Fire Water a Remedy for Women

(I have discovered drinking this daily helps with women issues, hot flashes, and energy)

Mix ingredients in your water bottle:

Flavored Water

(I have used sparkling waters, kombuchas, and electrolyte mixes such as Sustain by Melaleuca)

1 T. Unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar (Braggs)

¼ to ½ tsp. Cayenne (start small) Be aware there are different BPU (Burn Power Units)

Optional add-ins for different needs:

Raw Honey (energy), Ginger (digestion), turmeric (inflammation), cinnamon (circulation) and kefir (probiotics)

04.12.17

Real Life Featuring Ali Linthorst

My Fear Antidote is thrilled to introduce Ali. She is a gem. We know you will love her by the end of this post as much as we do.

ALI LINTHORST

Ali Linthorst

My name is Ali Linthorst, I am 29 years old and I struggle with an eating disorder, anxiety and depression. I am also a mother, a wife, a daughter, a sister, a friend, an athlete, a college graduate, a perfectionist and a small business owner.

Ali Linthorst

I developed a severe eating disorder my freshman year of college. It started as a simple laxative here and there, but slowly turned into an obsession that included compulsive exercise, counting calories, skipping meals and more laxatives. I thought I could get better on my own and that I wasn’t sick, but that wasn’t the case.

On April 21, 2008 my best friend was hit by a car while serving an LDS mission in Brazil. He passed away from internal bleeding of the liver. My eating disorder spiraled out of control and so did my anxiety and depression, but to me it was the only thing I could control in my life at the time. I was very, very sick. It started affecting my friendships and my relationships. I was always hiding something, hiding from myself and what I had become. I wasn’t healthy mentally, spiritually or physically. At my very sickest, my weight was extremely low, I couldn’t control my bowels and I was always sick. I finally admitted to myself that I needed help and I turned to my family. It wasn’t easy and it didn’t happen overnight, but seeking and asking for help saved my life.

Ali Linthorst

I started taking medication for anxiety and depression which ultimately drove my eating disorder. I saw my family doctor once a month to check in and he was very aware and involved in my recovery. I also started seeing a therapist through the Center of Change and I honestly can say that he saved my life. I saw him once, sometimes twice a week for two years.

I found ways to find peace and ways to cope with the daily battle I fought. I wrote a lot! I wrote letters to my friend who passed on, to my eating disorder and to my healthy self. It was the perfect way to release every good and bad thought and feeling. I set small goals and found things that helped me feel joy. Some of the things that gave me peace included healthy exercise, the temple, my family, service and travel. I know these sound cliché, but they worked for me.

Ali Linthorst, Eating Disorder

I can’t say that I am ‘better’, but I can say that each day is a gift. I will always battle this disease, but I choose to be happy and healthy.

Women and men all around the world struggle with eating disorders and mental illness. There is so much shame and embarrassment, but remember people are good and want to help. Please if you are struggling or know someone who is, please ask for help. I promise you will not be judged or abandoned, but buoyed up.

Ali Linthorst, Eating Disorder

As a mother I hope that I never see my children go through what I did, I hope to always be mindful of what I say about myself and to portray a positive body image. I know sometimes I will get it wrong, but I will love them no matter what. Remember to love yourself or strive to love yourself each and every day.

Your journey will look different than someone else’s, but it is still yours and you can make it great.

04.10.17

The Dark Abyss of Postpartum Depression

How Life’s Defining Moments Saved Me

I believe there are moments in our lives that shape us and mold us into who we become. Whether they are positive or negative, these moments leave an impression on us. I like to call these “defining moments.” We all have these defining moments in our lives, we can use these moments to fall back on in hard times or propel us forward in good times.

My Defining Moments

Growing up I always wanted to be a mom. I have very tangible, distinct memories of playing house and holding my baby dolls in my arms. I would day dream about the day I would be a mom. I believed clear down to my core that I would be a great mom, and from a very young age I couldn’t wait to have children of my own. These moments were defining moments.

Postpartum

I am the oldest of 4 kids so I always felt a maternal instinct over my younger siblings. I have always worried about my siblings well being and how I can help them (minus a year or two in my teens.) I loved being a big sister, and still to this day love being around my siblings. I worry about my them and their well being. My siblings have blessed me with many defining moments.

Postpartum

Fast forward into my teenage years. On the day before graduation my 3 best friends and I headed to the park by our high school. I remember the day like it was yesterday. It was the first of June and it was warm and finally sunny. We all sat on the green grass and talked for hours about our futures. We took turns predicting how everyones lives would turn out. When it was my friends turn to predict my future I remember thinking, “please just predict that I get married and have a family.” I am pleased to report they predicted I would get married and start a family shortly there after, and their predictions were spot on! That day in the park with my best friends was another defining moment.

In 2009, I got what I had spent my whole life dreaming of and preparing for, I became a mom. When I held my little boy for the first time I was so overcome with emotion of love and joy. Once again, I knew I was supposed to be a mom and that I was going to be great at it. I promised my son that I would always be there for him. I was going to protect him, help him and teach him. I was going to be his best friend and the best mom. He would always know I had his back. A HUGE defining moment.

So, why do I tell you about some of my motherhood defining moments? Well, after the birth of my 3rd child I started questioning my abilities to be a mom. To be honest, I didn’t even like being a mom. I dreaded getting out of bed. Everyday I struggled to be kind. I struggled to be happy. I would put on a happy face out in public, but once I was home the mask came off and the monster came out! I was either crying or yelling. I was dealing with some major postpartum depression.

 

Postpartum mom

 

Dealing with Postpartum Depression

Deep down I knew this wasn’t “normal Sarah” behavior. The old Sarah love being a mom. The old Sarah was a good mom. I knew these things but the postpartum depression told me otherwise. It told me I would never be like the old Sarah again. Postpartum depression told me I was a terrible mom, and a bunch of other lies. The sad thing is, I believed those lies for months.

There are lots of resources out there to tell you all the symptoms of postpartum depression, and there are other resources that offer suggestions or ideas on  how to get through it. Trust me, I read everything. They say things like connecting with others, caring for yourself, and exercise etc. etc. etc. can help you beat postpartum depression. Those suggestions really helped to pull me from what seemed like the darkest abyss possible, and seeing a counselor helped as well. Do your research, there really are so many wonderful ideas to help those struggling.

But here is the thing, those websites or self help books or even counselors are missing one thing. They don’t know what your defining moments are. They don’t know those moments that have shaped you. They can’t instill those defining moments in you. They can remind you of them, but just like the old saying goes, you can bring a horse to water but you can’t make them drink.

All the websites I turned to, the self help books I read and even the amazing counselor I saw didn’t have the memory bank that I had. I am the only one with access to those precious moments. You are the only one that has access to your defining moments.

It was my defining moments that saved me. I leaned on those defining moments daily as I started the healing process and truly recovering. I used those moments to propel me forward. I used those moments for strength. I used those moments to remind myself that I am a good mom. I have always wanted to be a mom.

So I challenge you to take a BREIF walk down memory lane and figure out what your defining moments are. The past is in the past for a reason, so don’t stay there long, but we can learn and grow from experiences in our past.

Challenge those thoughts that tell you that you aren’t good enough. Push past the desire to stay in bed all day. Change the yelling and crying into kindness and laughter. Hold on tight to those defining moments! Being a mom is hard enough so don’t be too hard on yourself! and if anything else know that I believe in you!

XOXO

Sarah

I am not a trained counselor or medical professional, If you are thinking of harming yourself or anyone else please seek immediate medical attention or call the suicide hotline. 1-800-273-8255