Like so many women out there, I am a wife, mom, and do-it-all handyman, err- woman. I wanted to create a blog that can help us as women get back to what's really important. It's time to get priorities straight and make life better for ourselves and our families in these troubling times. I plan on having multiple pages to touch on each aspect of our lives- including what others expect of us, as well as the pressure we put on ourselves. I hope my posts will touch someone out there and help her days be sweeter!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Projects, Projects, and more Projects

This spring/summer has been full of projects at my house. The fence was finally put in, sprinklers are on their way to getting done, I painted/decorated our bedroom the way I wanted it to be, and I got a ton of shelving units put together and placed in their permanent homes. Not to mention ALL the moving boxes have been unpacked (except for some of my craft and sewing stuff). There is still more painting to be done, the fence needs stained and sealed, more purging of old stuff needs to happen (garage sale is coming in the next couple of weekends, so come on over!), re-organizing my craft room again and again 'till it works the way I like it, and the constant uphill battle of cleaning up after 6 people with begrudging children not really helping.

I took a look at my house today and sighed. I took a "break" from cleaning over the weekend. I was just too tired. I am ashamed to see how much mess my family makes and does not clean up after themselves. The living room is basically a storage room right now for the sprinkler parts waiting to be installed and the laundry that has not been put away. The hall closet had to be emptied out so the hubby could access the crawl space and bate the ants who have invaded our house since all the outdoor projects have started, and the stuff is still sitting in the family room awaiting permission to be returned to their homes in the closet- but alas, the ants haven't met their demise yet... The toys that had been bagged up and set aside for the garage sale are now being reintegrated back into the mesh. I am going to have to buck up and just say, "Everything goes." The kids don't even take care of anything, so why should they have it? Bicycles and scooters are in the entry way because the garage is blocked by a mound of river rock. Someone gave my husband something like 5 big boxes of paperback books, knowing that he never turns down books-especially free ones. So they are sitting on the foot chest at the base of the stairs waiting for a home on a bookshelf. I have a bag of pants I promised a friend a week and a half ago I would alter for her husband and haven't even started yet. They, and the sewing machine are sitting next to the newly acquired books.

I still see so many projects I want/need to get done, but haven't. Summer sure does make it hard. I am sooo looking forward to school starting again and having the peace and quiet to think and get my projects done efficiently. Don't get me wrong, I love my kids. But nothing ever gets or even stays accomplished when they are home 24/7.

I went to Jo-Ann's the other day and got a bunch of supplies to make some fun crafty things I've had stuck in my head for a while. I want to do them so badly, but cannot bring myself to actually do it until I have order and cleanliness around me. That is just how I function. So until I get the living room to no longer be a storage unit, the closet put back together, the toys gone, and my craft room re-organized, my creative outlet will just have to wait. Ugh.

I guess it's just all part of being a mom. We shuffle our schedules to meet the demands of our families and are constantly re-prioritizing what has to get done and what can wait. I know we can all relate to this. I'm at the point right now where the stuff that was put off just can't wait anymore, and I am having a tough time doing it without feeling discouraged. Hmmm, I wonder if there would be much cooperation for a "Chore Day Get-A-Way." Once a week (or month) moms send all their kids to one person's house for the WHOLE DAY. Then all the other moms go on a cleaning fury. The next swap, they go to someone else's home, and keep rotating until all moms have had a turn. It would need to be greatly organized, and people would have to stay committed. I tried doing something like this in Beaverton, before moving to Woodburn, but there was a real lack of commitment. When it was my turn, I only got about 2 1/2 hours (without help) before I got a call saying that I needed to get my kids- she was done with it. Not much got done that day.

Oh, well. Life goes on. "Oh blah dee, oh blah dah," as the Beatles would say. I sure need to get functioning again soon so I can fill my cup!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Who Keeps Giving Monkeys All The Wrenches?

Someone needs to find all the tools in the world and keep them away from the pesky monkeys in my life. I understand everything is in the Lord's time, but I would really like things to go my way every once in a while (wishful thinking).

I told my mom it's been hard to think of positive things to blog about these last two weeks, and to not be negative. I've been stressed; my friends have been stressed; my family's been stressed, and no relief in sight (yet). She and one of my brothers said that it's all part of life and to write it in a way that is understanding to those kinds of days. I've done one previously titled "Can I Have A Redo?" Yes, I know it is all part of life. Believe me, my life is not all butterflies and rainbows. I do try my best to be optimistic and find the light at the end of the tunnel.

Like most Americans, finances are tight. I have not worked in over 2 years because of my youngest son who has Cystic Fibrosis. Going back to work is a tricky situation. Part of it is that I am not flexible in my schedule, and my pay scale is higher than what most employers are willing to pay right now. There are many things I have to weigh to even make it worth taking a job. I've prayed about it, and the Lord keeps saying not to worry about going back to work, all will be taken care of. So 6 months ago I decided it was time to go back to school, and MAKE IT HAPPEN!

I have been trying for a couple years now to get back to college. Life kept getting in the way and it would get delayed, again and again. I decided there would be no excuse for this next school year (2010-11) and started the process back in March to register and get financial aid ready. I met with the advisers a few times to make sure I was doing things right and planned out my pre-nursing class schedule for the next two years- as all my previous credits were now expired or invalid. So hopefully I don't have to keep trying to get my previous transcripts transferred. I've tried twice and both times the new college says they never got the files. I did get a massive scholarship application packet completed, along with 2 letters of recommendation, and turned it in at the deadline. I thought I had done everything I needed to for the ball to start rolling.

I've been waiting since April to hear back from the Financial Aid/Scholarships Office for the status of my applications. FAFSA said my application was completed back in mid April, yet the college didn't have the info yet. The review board is still going over the scholarship packets, so no clue where that one is going. I did get one letter stating I was not chosen for that particular grant, but that's the only response so far.

I got a letter a few days ago, followed by an email today stating that my college application has been put on hold. I called today to find out why. Apparently I had to do an online orientation and do the placement testing ASAP before they can finish my enrollment and financial aid paperwork. So I did the orientation online today (which was boring and didn't learn anything I didn't already know) and I will go do my testing tomorrow. I called the Financial Aid Office again to check on the FAFSA status, and they still haven't received it. They are up to applications processed by April 5, 2010, and said it can take an additional 16 weeks after they receive it from the government before they complete their end of it! My date was April 19, so who knows how much longer I am going to have to wait. I can't go if I don't have funding. Arrgh.

I know eventually it will happen-I MUST HAVE PATIENCE. I have noticed as I have gotten older that my patience wears thinner. I know I need to work on that topic a lot. I know we all have those days/weeks/months/years where we just feel so disconnected from where we need to be, and feeling continually set back no matter what we do, or even a lack the motivation to get there. But there is hope. Keeping our eyes focused on the Lord, even when we might be perturbed at Him for not getting our way, will ALWAYS get us through even the toughest of times.

I apologize if this comes off as "me, me, me." I am in the same boat as a lot of you out there, and trying to stay positive with some venting along the way. I will keep moving forward and find the time to fill my cup. I hope you do, too.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Vitamin D Update!

We are still having computer issues, but for tonight, it seems to be cooperating.

I wanted to post some more info on Vitamin D that I knew was stored somewhere in my brain, and my mom found it. Thanks!

Vitamin D is not actually a vitamin. It is a natural steroid that helps regulate hormones. Your body CANNOT store it. It also takes a couple days to process through your system. So for all you out there who religiously shower and scrub with soap daily, listen up. Vitamin D actually sits on your skin's surface when you are out in the UV rays. (Which are good for you! Just not in excess.) It takes 48-72 hours from exposure for your body to process it. When you take a shower and use soap, you are literally washing it down the drain. Just use soap on the stinky and truly dirty parts of your body, and rinse with water on the other parts. This preserves the natural oils in your skin so they can do their jobs properly and get that D where it needs to go.

Also, your eyes are the main benefactor for processing Vit. D if you allow them. Your retina can amazingly produce up to 90% of needed Vitamin D if you have UNFILTERED exposure. This means no glasses or contacts. Exposure can be indirect (meaning eyes closed). If you cannot be outside without glasses or contacts (like me- I'm legally blind) then get that trunk exposed and don't wash it with soap!

Getting adequate Vitamin D greatly increases your health both physically and emotionally. Because it aids in regulating hormones, which play such a big role in our lives, we all need to make sure we are getting enough. Ladies, it helps with regulating your period, lessening your symptoms from it, and can even help shorten it if you suffer from long, heavy menses. Guys, it helps with prostate health and testosterone levels.

Let's all get out in the sun this summer and literally "soak it in" so we can fill our cups!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Get Out In the Sun

So this comes from many different sources in my life. Some think it's hokey, but I say it totally makes sense. You decide for yourself.

Is sunscreen bad for you? Some researchers say, "Yes." There have been studies linked with sunscreen and their ingredients causing cancer. It is said that particular ingredients found in most sunscreen actually speed up the naturally occurring cancer cells in your body so they manifest themselves early or even awaken them if dormant. (check out the link, and read about the importance of Vitamin D and sunscreen- references are at the bottom of the article)Yes, everyone has cancer cells. Not everyone has the genetic disposition for them to awaken and become dominate. So, don't let that statement scare you, please. But unnatural circumstances can cause them to reek havoc.

Vitamin D is another topic that needs to be acknowledged. Most Americans are deficient, including myself. Going out in the sun (with out sunblock!) is the natural way our body makes this vital nutrient. Vitamin D cannot be stored, so we need a continuing supply to replenish ourselves. There are some foods and supplements that offer fortified Vitamin D. These help, but are not the most effective. I also learned from my doctor recently that in the medical field they are discovering that 10-15 minutes a day in direct sunlight is all you need, as long as you don't have sunblock on, and have your trunk exposed. Arms and legs go not have enough surface area, nor do they have internal organs to utilize the solar power. When your chest, stomach, and back are exposed do direct sunlight your body can quickly and efficiently make enough Vitamin D needed to get you through.

Spending time outdoors is a great way to fight depression, get your vitamins, and give thanks to the Lord for all the beauty He has given us. Get in touch with nature, and fill your cup! 

Monday, July 12, 2010

Shameless Plug

So today I am going to promote my blog...heehee. If you haven't ventured past this page, you're missing 85% of the Cups Half Full experience. All my pages have cute names (in my humble opinion) for their subjects and have a ton of information, tips, and resources to help us women have a more rounded whole being.

The "You're A Babe" page is for exercising tips, self-esteem boosters, article links about myths and realities of dieting, what's really in what you eat and drink, the importance of a healthy diet and exercise, and a cool calorie counter to see how much you burned from a workout. There is so much to play with on this page. There is even a cute little cartoon lady doing jumping jacks for you while you read. Don't forget to take the pole on "how much do you exercise a week?" There are just a couple weeks left open for the tally and only one person has done it!

"Fun Family Activities" is pretty self explanatory. There are links and info on fun cheap and some free activities to do as a family. There are also links for clothing swaps for the kids and you moms! I post new stuff as I find it, so check back often to see if something new is available. Also, feel free to post a comment on an activity that your family enjoys that may not be listed so other families can enjoy them, too! Craft ideas are also welcome. Fun times don't have to be away from home!

"Healthy Yummy Recipes" has recipes for old fashioned homemade goodness! No pampered chef shortcuts here. These recipes promote healthy living, natural and organic products, and minimal to no processed foods. Yes, they are delicious. Most are my own personal recipes I use on a regular basis, and have even created myself. If you have a favorite recipe you would like to share, feel free to comment. Or if you have an opinion on a posted recipe after trying it, let everyone know by leaving a comment on it's posting. Feedback is highly appreciated.

"Organization 101" is a simple and friendly way to prioritize and get going on the daunting tasks of cleaning monster messes and getting clutter free. There are also some decorating tips to help spaces feel open and fresh.

"Are You Ready" gives helpful hints on how to be prepared for the unknown: natural disasters, economic crisis, family emergencies, personal financial strain, and even death in the family. Being prepared is not just food storage! I will be posting more resource links as I find them. I know of cool items I've seen in ads that look awesome for getting items organized and stored, I just need to investigate where to get them and find their links. At least one new resource will be posted each week.

"Act 'Naturally'" is about cleaning with natural products you probably have in the house anyway, and doing your part to take care of the environment. The term "going green" is what most people associate these things with, but I feel this is just living the old fashioned way. There are tips and tricks for cleaning just about everything in the house with things on hand, and the classic reduce, reuse, recycle. There are also links for unconventional resources and products to help keep your world clean and the landfills empty. Again, feel free to leave your 2 cents!

Coming soon (when I get all my notes together) is "You Need Me To Do What?" This page will focus on time management and learning to say, "no" when you know you just can't be stretched any further. This is hard for a lot of us who are always giving, but it is ESSENTIAL for keeping your cup full so you have the ability to continue on.

Please check out these pages and become a fan of those you wish to follow. These "pages" have unique URL addresses, so you can bookmark your favorites! Thanks for reading and fill your cup!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Girls Night In

Last night I had a girls night in. Instead of going out and spending a small fortune on movie tickets and concessions, I invited my mom and a dear friend (and her kids to spend the night with my kids) for a movie marathon night with goodies at home. We did mani/pedis until around 2:30am while watching a great movie called "The 10th Kingdom." (It's 8 hrs long!) It was so nice to relax at home and be like a kid again, even though "mom mode" was still on until the 6 kiddos calmed down and went to sleep on the hide-a-bed. The night was a great way to spend time with friends and get to know each other better, and have good old fashioned girl talk.

While "Girls Night In" doesn't need to be a sleepover, spending time with girlfriends and letting your guard down is a great way to connect on a personal level and rejuvenate each other. You can also do a theme night. I went to a chocolate night at a friends house from church a few months back where it was a potluck style dessert buffet with a chocolate fondue fountain. There was a movie too, but we were too busy chit-chatting to watch it.

Be creative with the theme or style! Delegate some responsibilities out, like the food (do a potluck) or games/movies. It's up to you if you want an intimate setting with just a few people or a large gathering. Maybe even co-host(ess) with someone if your space is too small. Either way, having adult female bonding time is a great way to fill your cup!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Learning To Share... Again

So my posts have been infrequent this last week and a half because the nifty little notebook I do all my online stuff with has been confiscated by my husband. His computer is choking to death because the hard drive is full to the brim and has now decided it doesn't want to connect to the internet anymore. So thus, I get to share, reluctantly.

I got to thinking: we tell our kids all the time to share, and even at times take away their stuff and give it to the other kid/sibling so they are forced to share. Hmm, I'm getting a taste of my own medicine. As adults we do share our things quite a bit. Right now our post hole digger is being lent out, I'm borrowing movies from my mom, she's using my brother's car, a friend of mine is borrowing movies and a book from my mom...on and on. But rarely are we forced to share. We borrow and barter as needed. It makes me think of yet another conversation my mom and I had this last week (She's good for getting topics from...thanks, Mom!).

We talked about the Law of Consecration. Life will be grand when we are righteous enough to live this law to its full aspects. We give all we have to the Lord; possessions, time, talents. In return, everyone is given back material goods sufficient for their needs and wants (within reason). It's the Lord's way of doing the adversary's "socialism." Sharing is not forced, we will all be willing and eager to help our fellow man (or woman). There will be no, "Mine, mine, mine!" like I hear from my fighting children. My mom was so cute, she said she would ask if she could keep her sleep number bed because it's the only bed she found that doesn't hurt her back. I reminded her that you get what you need, and if that was what she needed, then yes. Also, when it comes time to live that law, resurrections will be nigh at hand. Her aching back and sleep will no longer be an issue. Wouldn't that be great! All of us who jokingly ask where to buy a new body will get one:) Well, not new, but renewed.

It makes me happy to know that we are coming so close to the time of our Lord's second coming, yet apprehensive because I know I still have so much more work and learning to do. I hope that when that day comes, my cup will be full with all the good things I strive to do, and that you, my fellow sisters will be at my side with cups running over! So let's get to work:)

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Blast From the Past

I hope everyone had a happy and safe 4th of July weekend. My weekend was very full of family events and spending time with dear friends. My happiness has even spilled into today, Tuesday, because a very dear old friend whom I had been diligently searching for, for 14 years, called me tonight. We had a wonderful conversation and got up to date on current events in each others lives. I now have 2 friends in my life that time does not touch our bonds.

I hope she doesn't mind me telling a little of her story, and I won't give her name because it doesn't change anything. She told me she is still freshly out of (just over 1 year) an abusive, domestic violence ridden relationship and home. I honor her courage to protect herself and her children. She has also spoken at conventions and seminars about how to get out of and overcome these circumstances. She is strong and filling her cup, too- along with helping other women fill theirs. She has taken control of her life in the things she can, and is getting back to church so the Lord can do His part for her as well. It filled my heart so much tonight hearing from her and the things she has done. You go girl!

Tonight's topic is from her (thanks). Women (and some men) who are in abusive relationships often do not want to acknowledge what is really happening to them and/or their children. It is scary and many times dangerous and life threatening to do anything about it. But something MUST be done!

My friend is not the only person I know who has had to suffer through this. All the signs are the same. All the excuses are the same. The cycle is the same. You are most likely secluded from your friends and family because of your partner. People who were in your life previous to the relationship are "not a good influence on you," or "I know what's best for you." You may even have been threatened with physical harm if you try to contact anyone. Your partner keeps vigilant tabs on you, maybe even calling obsessively to see where you are and what you are doing/who you are talking to. There is no freedom unless they grant it to you.

The relationship flows in a predictable circle. You have the "honeymoon" stage where your partner promises to be good and things will change, often with a promise from you that you will stay and do your part to make them happy. This fizzles fairly quickly into the "abusive" stage, whether verbal or physical. You are blamed for their unhappiness. You are blamed for things being the way they are. You are the one who has to get it straight for things to be better. You think to yourself, "If only I had... been a better wife," or "been more attentive," or " not gotten in the way".... These are all classic signs from the victim that there is trouble at home. When these escalate to the point that police are called (once or multiple times) or family/friends are raising a fuss about you (many times pleading for you to call the police), the offender starts to be apologetic, and begs but mainly guilt trips the victim into staying and the cycle starts all over again. If any of this sounds familiar and is currently going on in your life, I plead with you to please seek help. Pray to the Lord for the strength to do what needs to be done. There is help out there specifically for this purpose.

There are lots of excuses for not leaving. At one point, I was on the child's side of the situation of my mother needing to leave my father. I was scared of what was going to happen. I was really scared. I thought maybe if we did nothing, things would be OK at some point and we could all move on. But what I wanted was contradictory. Things couldn't get better and we couldn't move on if we stayed in that situation. There had to be action. It took my mom years of prayer for strength before she finally got us out of the abuse, but she did it even though it was hard and scary. She was now a single mom with 6 kids, the youngest with autism. No job, no support. She had been a homemaker for 17 years. We worked as a family and made it through with a lot of help from the Lord. He made it possible.

No matter what your excuse may be, and I'm not trying to be insensitive or not understanding, but there is a way. I promise. Change is hard. Work is hard. But you are worth being saved and loved for who you are WITHOUT ANY STRINGS ATTACHED! Remember who you are. Know who you are. Be confident. Be strong. If you can't do it for yourself, do it for your kids. As moms, we all know how we feel when it comes to our children. You do what it takes. So do it. Make that call to the shelter. They can put you in touch with resources and get you out. Don't let it keep beating you down. FILL YOUR CUP!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Where Did the Time Go?

This week has been so busy, that I realized last night that I hadn't posted since Monday! Now here it is almost midnight Thursday, and I'm just now getting a chance to write. Oh, well. Life goes on, as I often say.

Today I got to enjoy a rare treat. My mom and I went to the temple together. The last time we got this chance was about 9 years ago. I am so blessed to have a temple close to me and the ability do the Lord's work today just as the ancient people of the Bible did long ago. I am also blessed that I could have my mother as a companion doing so. Thanks, Mom!

As my mom and I conversed today over many topics, she brought up Moroni (from the Book of Mormon) and how he must have felt when he had to seclude himself during war. For those of you unfamiliar with the story, here is a rough summary:
The Native American People had 2 main tribes long ago, the Nephites and the Lamanites. The Nephites were the righteous ones (most of the time) and the Lamanites sought to destroy them (most of the time). The last recorded war between them was in the time of Moroni (son of Captain Mormon, who was the leader of the Nephite army). The Nephites had started to turn unrighteous and were warned to repent or be destroyed. They didn't listen. The Lamanites won. The Nephites were wiped out, and the Lamanites became righteous unto the Lord. During the war though, Moroni knew that his and his father's efforts to turn their hearts was futile, and he needed to preserve himself and the records of their forefathers, and the Holy Scriptures that were passed down through generations (the Jewish cannon). So he hid in a cave on the side of the mountain where he could still see all the destruction going on. He hid for a long time, all the while finishing his father's work on their people's recorded history.

So why do I bring up this subject, amongst all the others to choose from today? It's because we can learn so much from the experiences and knowledge from these ancient people in the scriptures. They were people, just like us. They had trials and hardships, just like us. They struggled with the same emotions we do: trust/distrust, denial, joy/pain, anger, longing, heartache, confusion, peace, growing, rejoicing, and acceptance. There are so many stories in our scriptures that can help us in our journeys. Male or female alike, both have great merit in the Lord's eyes, and I'm sure He would want us to learn from our ancestors as much as possible to help alleviate heartache and pain in our lives. But when we do come into these situations, we can turn to them for guidance. We have solid proof in writing how things can turn out when we put the Lord in our lives and follow Him.

The Holy Scriptures have much more meaning to me than great fanciful stories, or tales with a good moral ending as some might say. They are proof to me that no matter what I am faced with, the Lord has paved the way for me to return to Him, and it works! There are others that have been tested and proved themselves! It is possible, no matter how rough along the way. When we feel weary and trodden down, then more than ever, plead for the Father's loving embrace. He can take away the loneliness. Maybe not all at once, but He will comfort you. He has promised us this. All we have to do is ask.

I hope that one day I will know all the scriptures so well, that I won't have to look through the topical guide to find quoted text as I have to do now (but didn't have to for the story above). I want to know ALL the stories by heart and with detail. They are so easy to liken them unto myself, just like we're told to do with them. I hope that all of you can find or have found the same joy, and take from God's Words what is there to be taken, but not taken for granted. His words are the perfect way to fill your cup.