Monday, February 9, 2009

CHOOSE the best part

I figured out my 2009 "word"...now that it's February. But the point is I figured it out thanks to Dave and the time he gave me to think.

At first Dave gave me the eyebrow-lift when I told him what it was and reminded me once again that a better phrase may be "be on time." But after I explained why I chose it he totally warmed up to it, so hear me out.

In case you're wondering what the heck I'm talking about, last year I started a new tradition for myself (inspired by my cousin Kara) to designate one word to be my motto for the year. Last year the word was "Be Still" (ok, so it was a phrase, not a word, but it still counts). And guess what? I wasn't "Still." I ran around like a crazy woman for a year BUT I always had that phrase in my mind, and it made a difference. As much as I was still scrambling to keep up, I was so thankful for the constant reminder in the back of my head to "Be Still." And in many ways, I was.

So this year I've been thinking so much about what I wanted my word to be. Man that's a lot of pressure I give myself!! I love FOCUS because I have so many things going in different directions and I realize I need to reel in my thoughts and actions and do what's most important. I love LISTEN because I feel I need to do that more...not only listen to my kids--the words that come out of their mouths as well as what their hearts are telling me--but also to the promptings of the Spirit. I've been ignoring them a bunch lately because there's too much going on. That leads me to SIMPLIFY...a great word for obvious reasons. Or there's always LOVE because who can't help but be a better person if they're loving more?

But none of those words seemed to fit right for this year.

Then I was reading this talk by Elder Oaks last week and it made the decision for my 2009 "word" easy as pie.

In it he says, "We have to forego some good things in order to CHOOSE others that are better or best because they develop faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and strengthen our families."

I realized that I am lucky enough to have so many GOOD things in my life right now. I teach classes at Blissful Living Studio. I get to be a photographer. I work in the stake primary with great people. I just finished writing a book with my mom (more on that later). I write in this blog which is such a great outlet for me.

And boy oh boy do I ever have so many GOOD things I want to do in life.

I want to have my cake and eat it too.

I want to have my five kids and be the best mother I can be, but I also want to travel the world. I want to learn Spanish. I want to learn to sight-read on the piano. I want to take a serious photography workshop. I want to finally start my photography website.

All these things are good. But the very best thing in my life right now is my family. I love them all to pieces. And these kids are growing up faster than I ever even imagined possible. I don't want to look back some day and be sad that I chose the good things instead of the best things.

Plus right now I not only need to be the best mother I can, I need to somehow figure out how to morph into a health professional. I have realized that no single doctor is going to take care of our health issues. We're spread between too many of them. I have to be in charge. And I need to do it well.

The three older kids are doing well, but Claire wets her bed every night (I'm convinced it's those darn UTIs) and despite frequent baths she smells like urine all the time now (sorry, older version of Claire who may be reading this some day, but it's true). The urologist told me I need to essentially re-potty-train her because of her reflux issues. Her six-month antibiotic doesn't seem to be doing any good at all and her poor face keeps breaking out in cold sores. I tested positive for Lupus...twice. I totally don't think it's right, since I have no symptoms whatsoever, but I need to look into it a little. Lucy needs so much help right now which takes continual self reminders that I just need to slow down. Doctors and insurance are going to be a big part of my life for the next little while as we figure things out with her.

Yes, I have my work carved out for me in the health arena.

And that has to take precedence over all the other stuff in life right now.

Elder Oaks says further, "As we consider various choices, we should remember that it is not enough that something is good. Other choices are better, and still others are best."

So my 2009 word is CHOOSE. I need to choose the best part this year.

And after a ton of thinking and wondering and changing my mind I finally feel like one thing I need to choose to let go at least for this year is photography.

It's killing me and I've been so torn about it but something needs to go. I already told Blissful Living I could only teach once per quarter. I feel like I need to stick with the stake stuff. I thought about just quitting this blog but I can't. It's too big an outlet for me right now...and it's keeping track of life which I need since I have the most horrible memory on earth.

So, photography has to go...at least for now.

At first I thought if I gave up photography I was being wimpy. I should be able to do it all. Photography pushes my creative juices. It is hard. And because of that I love it. It gets me out of my rut. But I've realized that this year I have other things that'll definitely be getting me out of my rut...namely health issues.

If you have already booked appointments with me (I'm booked through April, I have a couple in the summer, and then already a couple in the Fall), I'm still planning on doing those ones. I'll finish out what I have scheduled. But I won't be booking any more appointments this year. My kids need me. My husband needs me. And I need them.

As my wise friend Julie said, I'll always have photography. I can pick it up again whenever I feel ready.

But I can't always have my little kids clinging on my legs. And right now that's exactly what I want. Snotty noses, grimy hands, tantrums, unfinished homework, even health issues...I want it all, because it means I am a mother. And I love being a mother.

Despite the busy-ness of life, I know my kids feel the love I have for them seeping into every conversation we have. (In fact, I think I may have even seen a slight eye-roll from one of them last time I was praising their name.) But I think it was Iris Krasnow who said, "I know I was there when my kids needed me, I just don't know that I was there as much as I needed them."

Now, I personally like to think that I can have my cake and eat it too. I can do all the good things I want to do in life. But I just can't do them all right now. I need to CHOOSE what I can really handle right now and do it really well. Then I can take on the rest later.

Life is long. (Wow...so is this post!)

Childhood is not.

I have a lot more choices to make this year, but I feel like I'm off to a good start.
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