Beautifully Broken

I’m going to be a little bit vulnerable with you today. I feel broken. I have been in denial because it isn’t logical, but I am admitting to myself, to you, and to my Savior today that it is nonetheless real and it hurts.

There are times in your life that it is logical to admit that you feel broken. Times when big changes come and it is obvious to everyone that you feel broken and that it makes sense that you would be… after you lose a loved one or family member, times when you’ve lost a job, gotten a divorce, maybe even changing jobs or moving to a new home. Then there are times in your life when the changes are not so obvious and no one sees the fracture lines in the glass walls of your life and even you have a hard time accepting they are there, because they are not so explainable or admittable.

That is the world I am living in right now. And maybe, there are a lot more souls out there that feel the same way. One of those fracture lines that I think is very common right now is that our world was turned upside down by a virus and choices outside our control, made for us, on how to deal with that virus. I have a very real need for social interaction and my ability to meet that need was stripped from me. I’m not addressing my feelings about whether I believe this was or not necessary, only that the glass wall of my life was effected by it. All of us need people, yet some of us are more shaken emotionally when we do not have this social interaction, the face to face, eye to eye, heart to heart regular healing that comes with these interactions. I am one of those. The isolation imposed on me by this time in our world, it hurts.

The next fracture line that developed is that my baby has graduated from high school. He said from day one of this school year that he did not want to walk for graduation. He gave me his arguments in defense of his feelings and I agreed to allow him this stance. So, even though graduation would not have been normal this year, it would have resulted in the same lack of ceremony and closure for me. I just don’t think I realized how much the absence of those things would effect me. I am proud of my son. He has worked hard and done well academically and in life. He was even awarded a scholarship that will help substantially with his pursuits in the field of engineering. I just don’t think we, as a society, talk very much about the stress that comes with the transition from parent of a child to parent of an adult. Yet, those changes are real and they are hard! Going from a home filled with beautiful chaos to the quiet of one’s own thoughts can be a silent strain, an eerie heartache. I have till the fall until my son’s plans change my life even more. But the ticking of that clock hurts, breaks me more than I ever considered.

I am married to a police officer. I love to say that. And I hate to say that. My husband is a good man with the best of intentions. He has a wonderful heart with pure motives to help, serve and protect. There is a stress that comes with that job that no one else except other officers and families of officers can even remotely understand or empathize with. The last month has been especially difficult as we have watched the media and social media vilify and slander the good intents of his heart and the good hearts of his brothers and sisters in blue. And we do it silently from the other side of our monitor because speaking out in defense in the midst of this climate would really help nothing and probably just cause more division. I know that what we hear is the loud minority and that there are many in the silent majority who do appreciate law enforcement and what they stand for, but the silence is deafening when your heart is hurting. It further fractures the glass walls of my heart.

In the midst of this chaos involving his profession, we have made some decisions as a family as to which department my husband will work for. There are pros and cons in every job. There are pros and cons in every department. For reasons not necessary to discuss, we have decided in the best interest of our family, some changes were needed. Changing any job is hard, but changing in law enforcement is more stressful than any job I know of. Not only are there personal interviews and evaluations, but there are background investigations, polygraphs, and psych evaluations. These are necessary because this line of work does require more accountability and does need a higher bar set for those who will fill each position. Sure, there are a few with questionable motives and character that slip through this process, but the good majority are tried, tested and found worthy. But it is a very stressful process for those who have to go through it. And the fact that this process began just before an officer was shot and killed in Ogden, made it heavier than ever for our family. I am proud of my husband. I am proud of the man he is. I am proud of him for being one of those few special souls who are willing to run into a dangerous situation to protect the life of a stranger when everyone else, including me, would be running out and away to protect their own lives. Sometimes these feelings of pride I carry, though worthy, come at a cost, they fracture me.

I have reduced my time on social media significantly, for the reasons above, as well as the fact that my heart is breaking over the obvious division in our country, community, and even amongst my friends. I was raised with a special awareness and an appreciation for differences. We are all aware of differences, so when I say a special awareness, what I mean is that my sisters and I were taught to look for those who were feeling left out and lonely. We were taught to have the courage to include them and love them in spite of our differences, and maybe even because of them, to recognize that those differences are beautiful. A quilt made from all the same fabric is not nearly as beautiful as one pieced together with a variety of colors and patterns. My heart aches that instead of celebrating our differences we seem to be in this twilight zone where we are using labels and boxes to set ourselves separate from or above one another. These labels and differences are easy to identify with outside appearances, but there are far more that we use for division… religion, politics, classes, status, culture, etc. Our inability to accept and love others regardless of differences is painful. It hurts them and it hurts us! But I don’t believe that the solution comes with embracing causes or platforms with their own agendas. I believe it comes with a lot of personal introspection and self-evaluation. It requires each person to stand in front of the mirror and ask, “What am I doing personally to make my own life better? What am I doing to make the world better? What can I do in my own sphere of influence to spread love and light?” I believe if we were each asking ourselves these questions regularly, our world would have a lot less finger pointing and a lot more love and healing. The division because of our differences is fracturing a lot more than my little heart!

As I finish typing the current causes of my brokenness, they feel a little more logical and explainable than I first thought. It has become clear for me to see why my heart has been utterly shattered. Maybe some of these things are causing pain and brokenness in your hearts too. I know that I am broken. I can see clearly what is causing those feelings of aching helplessness. I also know that I am incapable of healing myself. But I do know where healing comes from.

A… Healing comes first from Admitting that we are broken, from Accepting that we are in a space ready to seek healing. It comes from recognizing the source of that healing is our Savior, Jesus Christ. It comes from Asking for His help.

B… It comes from Believing that with help, things can get better. Not even back to the normal we once knew, but actually Better. For me, I know that this help comes from my Savior, Jesus Christ. I know that when I go to Him with my aching, my broken pieces, He can help put me Back together again. He can teach me where those pieces go and help me replace some of the no longer useful pieces with better ones. He can help me recognize the next right step to Becoming whole again and even stronger than I was before.

C… It comes from Connecting with others. It comes as we are vulnerable enough to reach out and search for Common ground. As we Communicate our own needs, we find that there are so many others that are hurting too and have needs we can help fill. Together we can process those feelings and help each other heal. We can support each other, Comfort each other, and help lift each other up.

I am at this point. I accept that I am broken and I admit that I need help to heal. I believe that our lives and our world can be better, more beautiful than it has been in the past. I am craving the connection and comfort of common ground. I want to lift others and feel lifted as we work together to heal. I know that as we partner with our Redeemer Jesus Christ, we can find this healing, for ourselves and for the world we live in. Our brokenness can become beautiful through this process of help and healing.

Christ as our Mediator

1 Timothy 2:5-6
For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; who gave himself around some for all, to be testified in due time.

Mediator literally means the one who stands in the middle.

Christ does not belong to one side or the other, but to both. He stands between us and God intervening to restore harmony between us, to repair the breech that separates us caused by human sin.

Though tempted, Christ never sinned, and so qualifies as the perfect sacrifice that was necessary to meet the demands of justice. His atoning blood allows us to be redeemed and return to a God who’s perfect nature demands us be perfectly clean.

God be thanked for the perfect mediator serviced by Him to complete the plan of redemption.

To see a video with more on this title, watch and subscribe here: https://youtu.be/fOZcEZ7u8aQ

Christ as our Rabbi

John 3:2
The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.

What draws you to Christ?

For me it is the warmth, the love, the truth.

He knows us. He loves us. He teaches us. He gives us the laws that will make us happy.

Then, if we trust Him enough to step out of our comfort zones, He can teach us individually, Spirit to spirit, heart to heart, step by step where to go in our own personal journey.

For a video with more thoughts on this title watch and subscribe here: https://youtu.be/73812rF_fSo

Would you like connection with like minded people? Would you like to anchor more securely in Christ and His teachings?

I facilitate two Facebook groups…
Anchoring in Christ (Christians from all backgrounds)

Scripture Study 365 (a group for those studying the scriptures using resources from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints)

I also have a business page
Rising Moon Adventures
(I sell images, stories and games for helping your little ones anchor in Christ)

Christ as the Bread of Life

Christ as the Bread of Life

John 6:35
And Jesus said unto them, I am the Bread of Life: he that cometh unto me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.

Ever since Adam and Eve left the Garden of Eden and the presence of God, there is a hole in the human soul. It is a hole that so many of us try to fill with a myriad of worldly things… Money, toys, status, power… Things we think will make us feel whole and complete. Things that will not and cannot fill what is missing.

It is the lucky ones who recognize that what is missing is a relationship with Jesus. As we spend time with Him, get to know Him, begin to trust Him, we find that hole filled, find what makes us feel complete.

Christ is the bread of life, the one who gives us what no worldly thing can give. He helps us find God’s life, a security and serenity that only He can give.

To see more on this title, watch and subscribe here: https://youtu.be/5Fhd6UKYA_Y

Christ as our Rock

I love that Christ is the strong, dependable shelter I can always run to when I need refuge. .
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I also love that He helps me build my own solid foundation as I carve out regular time to spend with Him. .
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And when I get cracks in my foundation because I have not been diligent enough, He is there one who can help me make repairs to make my foundation strong again.

This year I am focusing on the Titles of Christ and the roles they play in our life. I am posting videos once a week with scriptures and my thoughts after studying. I’d love for you to join me in this journey!

I’ll Huff and I’ll Puff

F and FT Three Little Pigs Download
I’m not sure I can explain my feelings during this time, as they seem to be more of a roller coaster than a steady feeling. Some times I think I’m just fine, my life really hasn’t changed that much. My husband is a police officer and is still going to work for his normal shifts. I work from home creating and sharing my stories, images, and games, which is exactly what I’m still doing. My daughter is in another city working as an assistant to children and disabled adults. And the younger of my children is a non-emotional senior in high school who is happy he won our year long debate about whether or not he was to have to walk…. And yet, even though things are mostly normal, they are not! I am very much an extrovert and my freedom to schedule the time with friends that I need for my emotional stability has been taken from me. I am so grateful for the technology that makes it possible for me to still find connection, but it is not quite the same. Then I listen to the frustration of my family and friends with littles and I wonder how I have anything to feel emotional about. It is a weird time that has us all doing a little huffing and puffing.
I’ve actually spent a lot of time thinking about how we will look back on this time. How will our children remember it? I hope that I am being intentional when talking to my teen/adult children about the blessings I am seeing and not just my fears. I hope I am taking the time to create memories in this time of slowing down that would not be otherwise possible.
When I look back on the memories I have with my children when they were little there are so many that I treasure, and they almost always include time that I took to be intentional in my mothering! I don’t know how many times I had to tell the story of the three little pigs to my kids when they were little. I’m pretty sure it was the voice that I would do for the wolf when I’d get really into it. Those times really were some of my favorite times… reading the classics or using my flannel board images to retell them. My kids loved being able to use the pieces to tell those stories over and over again! Those were the times when I felt like the BEST mom!!
Whether you are baking with your kids, playing with them in the backyard, reading to them, or even using some of my sets to tell them some of your favorite stories, I hope that you are connecting with them in a positive way.  I hope you are making memories.  I hope you are mostly creating a time they will look back on and cherish!  Even if you are like me and find yourself huffing and puffing a little bit through the day.
During this unprecedented and unpredictable time, I’ve started using my creations to do two new things to try to help out moms with young children who all of the sudden have had to add the extra hats of school teacher as well as religious teacher.  I’ve begun to do story time every Friday on my Rising Moon Adventures Facebook page (stories also uploaded to my Story Time YouTube channel). And I’ve started to teach a Come Follow Me Primary lesson on Sundays at 10 am MST on the same page (those uploaded to my Scripture Story Time YouTube channel).  You are welcome to join us for either thing or to share these opportunities with anyone who you think they may help. These all come with free downloads if requested.
Stay well and keep breathing!
Love – Oléa

Christ as the Messiah

The people Christ came to were expecting a military leader to free them from bondage to Rome. Instead Christ came to free them, and us, from the bondage of sins and death. It was so much more than they were wanting and yet many did not recognize it for the incredible gift it was.
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Jesus is our deliverer and rescuer. He saves us from ourselves! Our own shortcomings and weaknesses. Our own mistakes and humanness. .
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He seeks out the lost,
brings back those who have been driven,
binds the broken,
strengthens the sick,
humbles the proud, feeds His flock and
gives them rest.
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Where do you see these gifts in your own life?

Joy Journey Day 5: Slow Down

James 1

19 wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath.

“Sometimes we feel that the busier we are, the more important we are—as though our busyness defines our worth. We can spend a lifetime whirling about at a feverish pace, checking off list after list of things that in the end really don’t matter.
That we do a lot may not be so important. That we focus the energy of our minds, our hearts, and our souls on those things of eternal significance—that is essential.” – Joseph Wirthlin

This quote is exactly the reason we need to stop being so busy, slow down and be intentional about the way we spend our time and energy.  We live in a fast paced, instant gratification, constantly connected society.  This leads to distraction, competition, comparison, stress, and burnout.  These things can be a danger to us in all areas of our lives, mental, emotional, spiritual and even physical.

How do you know if you are running too fast and burning yourself out?  Here are some questions to ask yourself… Are you constantly late? Are you always losing things? Are you forgetting appointments?  Are you unable to remember how you got from point A to point B?  Are you repeatedly getting sick?  Do you have no time to eat?  Are you not getting enough sleep?  Are you always multi-tasking?  If one or more of these apply to you, you may want to consider slowing down.

Slowing down will not be easy and it will take intentional thought and planning.  Here are a few suggestions I found for slowing down…

*Disconnect: A huge part of our problem comes from being constantly connected to technology.  We don’t give ourselves time to ponder, process, or just to relax.  We even use technology to replace the human need for face to face connection with others.  Physically our bodies need rest. Mentally our brains need time to decompress. Emotionally we need face to face connection with other people.  Spiritually we need a space of silence to reconnect with ourselves and with our God.

* Simplify:  Decluttering our lives does wonders for our emotional and mental state.  Get rid of a few things that you don’t need and spend some time organizing your space.  This will allow you to slow down and think more clearly.  We also need to simplify our task lists.  We need to DO LESS!  If we take some time to sort through the things we have on our to do lists and sift out the unnecessary busy work we assign ourselves, we will feel more peace and joy.  We really need to determine what things are necessary and what things we feel obligated to do.  There is a difference.

*Be Present:  This is another area where we really need to put our phones away and connect with ourselves, life, and others.  We need to be present in body.  We can even find joy in the tasks that we normally resent if we can be present when we do them, appreciate the fact that our bodies work so well, appreciate that the reason we have to clean is because we have been so blessed with food to eat and clothes to wear and a roof over our heads.  We can appreciate the sensation of warm water when we do dishes, or the sound of dirt being sucked up into the vacuum cleaner.  We can appreciate the shine of a clean window or mirror and the scent of clean clothes.  Are we really appreciating our miraculous bodies or the gift of our senses that God gave us? Sometimes when I am with another person I notice that my body is there but not my mind.  Why do I allow this stupid little rectangle I carry around to distract me from fully enjoying the company of another human being.  There are so many lonely people in the world.  I am starting to notice that sometimes because of my distraction, I am the cause of my own loneliness.

*Appreciate Nature:  God has given us the most beautiful planet.  He could have sent us to a perfectly smooth glass ball to live our lives and be tested in this sphere.  But He didn’t.  He gave us mountains, trees, sunsets, butterflies, flowers, birds, oceans, rivers and so many different animals to admire and appreciate.  How often do we take the time to appreciate what He has given us, to put down the phone, turn the TV off and really use our senses to connect with the beauty around us?

*Breathe: I did not realize how pivotal this action, perhaps most taken for granted, is to our health.  Well, obviously I know we need to breathe to live.  But I didn’t understand what things we allow to get in the way of breathing properly.  Our brain needs 20 percent of the oxygen we breathe and gets it from 20 percent of the blood that flows through us.  So when we are stressed, or have over eaten, or aren’t getting enough exercise or sleep and we are not breathing deeply enough, our brains are not getting the oxygen they need to do their best work.  Is it any wonder that I feel like I’m not thinking clearly or functioning well?

*Eat Slower: This is another thing that came as a surprise for me.  We eat a lot of garbage and we eat it fast.  Did you know it takes your brain 20 minutes to register that you are full?  So when we are shoveling our food in as quick as we can we tend to overeat because our brain can’t compute fast enough to tell us we have overdone it.  Maybe try putting your fork down between bites.  Enjoy what’s in your mouth, the flavor, the texture, the seasoning. Then after you have swallowed pick up your fork to add another bite.  If we eat slower we will even breathe better!

*Drive Slower:  We are all in a hurry and because of this our roadways are one of the biggest dangers in our daily lives.  Slow down!  When you are not in a hurry you are more aware of what is happening around you. You are less annoyed when you aren’t in a rush to get somewhere. A drive can actually be an enjoyable time, disconnected.  It can be a time to connect with good music, visit with other human beings in your car, or a time of pondering and prayer.  I love to turn my radio off when I drive and talk to my God.  I have had some of the best prayers, most profound answers, and amazing ideas come to me while I drive without any background noise.

*Stop Multi-tasking: We think that we are getting many things done faster, but really we are just not doing any of them well.  If we choose to focus on one thing at a time and give it our best effort I think we will find that we actually work more quickly with better results.  Try it.

*Intentional Social Media: I am not at all implying that we should never be connected.  There are some amazing tools on that same little rectangle that can be a distraction!  When used with purpose it is a very good servant.  But when we are careless it tends to be a heavy task master.  I suggest planning out your social media time.  What are you getting on to do?  How long do you plan to spend?  If you do searches rather than just scrolling you will probably feel energized when you get off rather than like you are coming out of the Narnia wardrobe.  Join groups and follow pages that make you feel uplifted and inspired.  Use the tools to select which friends you want to see first.  Then Facebook will be a light to your day rather than a drain on it.  Share positive thoughts yourself so that you are adding to the positivity that can be found there.

*Create a Daily Space of Silence: One of the best ways to slow down is to disconnect to the world and connect to your Divine source of power.  Take some time to decompress as you read the word of God, listen to some uplifting Christian music, and talk to the One who knows every detail of your life and wants to help you, but will never impose.  Then give Him a little silence to give you some feedback.  It is amazing to me how much He wants to help with every aspect of our lives if we will just give Him a little space to do that.  But we really do need to turn a few things down and a few things off so that we can tune in to hear that still small voice.

If we want to add more joy to our lives, slowing down is a very good place to start.  When we slow down we are rewarded with clarity of vision and renewal of focus.  We allow our brains to rest and recharge which in turn allows us to be more creative and better tuned into recognize new ideas and inspiration.  Slowing down allows us to disconnect from the world and our busyness and reconnect with the things and people that matter most. It allows us to be better able to organize our time and sift out the things that really aren’t necessary.  When we slow down we will be more intentional in our actions and choose things that fill us with increased gratitude and joy.

Song: Slow Down by Danny Gokey

Face to face with the author:

Gratitude Challenge Day 4: Be Present

One of the things that impedes joy the most in our current society is our choice to not be present. There are many things that we allow to distract us from our life, from learning, growing and progressing. The first thing that comes to mind when I think of distractions in my own life is my cell phone. It has many good uses. It allows me to research interesting facts or facilitate my scripture study. It helps me stay connected with friends and family. It give me tools through social media to maintain relationships that would otherwise be lost with distance. It gives me a platform to share my witness of Christ and to spread light. But when I am not intentional in how I use it, it can easily become an escape from life. I can spend hours scrolling on Facebook, pinning on Pinterest, or get completely sucked into a game. I can get caught up in feeling sorry for myself as I compare my life to the pictures of what my friends are experiencing in their lives. I can even become frustrated and discouraged with myself as I begin to believe I am not doing as well as some of them are in my role as a wife or mother. In essence comparing my “behind the scenes to their highlight reels”, as Pastor Steve Furtick wisely put it. All of these things distract me from living the kind of life I know God wants me to live. He wants me to love my life and find joy and gratitude in it. He wants me to be focused on growing closer to Him and learning how to live more like His son. He wants my time to be spent serving others and spreading His light and love to the world. And to do that best, I need to be present. I need to be aware of my time and how I am spending it. How often have I allowed opportunities of truly connecting with another person through conversation or participation in an activity because I was distracted by my phone? These lost experiences haunt me at times. It is something I need to do much better!

Another way that we get distracted from being present that is worth mentioning is when we choose to live either in the future or in the past. Some people spend so much time working and building the future they wish to have that they do so at the sacrifice of the present. They lose the moments that are happening now because they are so focused on what they hope is coming. Far more of us, I’m afraid, miss out on the present because we are too focused on what we have left behind. In a class I was taking a few years ago a woman who had lost her husband suddenly and had grieved deeply mentioned that she had to learn to stop coveting her old life. I found that profound! How often, especially in hard times, do we spend our days thinking about and wishing we had back the happiness and contentment we remember from a past time in our lives. I know I have spent good chunks of time in my life living in a fantasy that no longer exists, so caught up in this memory that I am not engaged in my present life, focused on improvement and gratitude of my current blessings. This can cause us to sacrifice current opportunities, desires, and even relationships. I know this in not what our Father wants for us. Of course He wants us to plan for the future and He wants us to learn from our past, but He wants us to live in our present. He wants us to enjoy the life we have, appreciate the blessings that are currently ours, focus on serving and loving the people around us, and He wants us to work on discovering and pursuing our own special purpose on earth. This is where our time is best spent, living, truly living in the present!

Romans 12:

1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
Song: Love Like Jesus by Rhett Walker Band

Today’s Challenge:

Challenge Video by Oléa: