might·y: possessing great and impressive power or strength

tow·er: a place of defense; a protection

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Choose Your Own Adventure

I loved Choose Your Own Adventure books when I was a kid. I loved the excitement of knowing that I could choose any of the options and they would all be a complete storyline. But what if I had looked at those books and tried to turn them into something they’re not? What if I had tried to take every possible outcome and combine them all together to make one story. Truth is, it wouldn’t have worked. Each branch of the story is written with exactly what it needs to fulfill that storyline.

Sometimes I feel like as mothers we try to do just that. We see Athletic Mom and Crafting Mom and Party Mom and Musical Mom (I could go on and on) and try to fit them all into one person: us. There are so many beautifully talented mothers that I know and with Pinterest and blogs it’s easy to think that some moms do have it all. In reality there is no “perfect mom formula.” We are just like the choose your own adventure books I used to love and we have everything we need to create our own motherhood storyline.

I was reading an article recently that talked about this very idea. The author was lamenting that she wasn’t this mom or that mom and felt discouraged. What she finally figured out was that while she wasn’t perfect at crafting or baking she was the perfect mom her children needed.

So what kind of mom are you? Maybe you’re Crafting Mom who makes beautiful quilts for her children. Or, maybe you’re Athletic Mom whose children do Crossfit and Yoga right along with you. Perhaps you’re Baking Mom who makes gorgeous cakes and even gets called on to help friends in their baking endeavors. Maybe you’re a mix of several “moms.”

Can I tell you a secret? I’m not any of those moms. However, there were definitely times in my life where I felt like I had to try and be. Sure I like to bake cookies with my kids, do 5k’s with my daughter, and have tried my hand at simple sewing projects. These are all interests that I have, but I don’t have to be perfect at them.

They say it takes a village to raise a child and in my village there are moms whose talents and abilities amaze me. The beauty of living in a village is that we can be the mom we want to be, not the mom we think we have to be, and the village can help whereever we lack.

When my daughter was six she really got into watching cake decorating shows. She loved baking and I have an oven that ruins anything you put in it, or at least that’s my story. When she begged and begged to decorate cakes I felt discouraged. There weren’t classes available for her age range in our area and I was not equipped to teach her myself. That’s when I thought of my lovely friend who is well known in our village for her amazing baking skills. A quick phone call later and she agreed to teach my daughter. I’m sure I could have looked something up online or read a book on the topic. However, I also realized that it takes a village and that I could utilize the beautiful talents of those around me.

In your Choose Your Own Adventure you get to be whatever mom you want to be. That doesn’t mean that you can’t have multiple interests or learn a new skill. However, it’s nice to take a moment and think about your strengths as well as the strengths of those mothers around you. It took me a bit of thinking to sum up what kind of mom I am. I thought about my strengths and personality. I also thought of when I have the most fun with my family and what moments speak to me and my deeper yes as a mother. The result?

I am fun outing mom.

I love going on outings with my family! Whether it’s a spontaneous picnic at the park or a day at Disneyland, I love it. These are the moments that speak to me as a mother. I love the planning of these outings and trips whether it be to museums, zoos, theme parks, foreign countries, or the neighborhood park. I love the planning I do with the children as we decide what we want to see or do while we are visiting a certain place. I enjoy doing scavenger hunts on our outings and taking pictures of our adventures. One of our favorite outings is a simple nature walk where we wrap a piece of tape around our hand and find rocks, leaves, petals, etc. along the way that makes a unique bracelet.

Of course, being fun outing mom I use a lot of other talents to plan and carry out these adventures. And perhaps as my children and I grow and learn together the kind of “mom” I am will shift and change. But for now, I am happy with being who I am and can appreciate and love myself for it.

Now it’s up to you to choose your own adventure. What motherhood adventure does your story hold? Remember that no one is perfect and that you are equipped with exactly what you need to be the kind of mom you are meant to be. We can’t combine all of the storylines to make one perfect motherhood story. But we can try out different adventures and focus on the ones that speak to us.  

Question: What things have you done today to shape your own motherhood adventure?

Challenge: Make a list of your own talents and abilities that make you the perfect mom for your children. If there areas you want to improve think of the moms in your own village who can help you along your adventure.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Running With Joy

*For Throw Back Thursday I'm re-posting an article I wrote for Power of Moms a couple of years ago. 


My daughter is one of my biggest inspirations. She is six years old and has such a positive outlook on life and an “I can do anything” mindset. There are some things she’s hesitant to try, but for the most part, she has all the confidence in the world.
Ever since I ran my first 5k last year, she has wanted to run one with me. She is young, so I wasn’t sure if she was up to completing it. Then a few months back, I found the perfect beginners race, a 5k color run, and signed us up. We were both so excited!
I told her that if she was going to run with me she needed to train too. Funny thing is, I do not enjoy running at all. I attempt to run here and there, but I definitely have to pump myself up as I’m tying my shoes.
Margaret, on the other hand, thinks running with me is the coolest thing in the world. She gets so excited and asks me every afternoon, “Mom can we go running today? Please!!!” Talk about inspiration! She motivates me every day.
When we went for our very first official “training” run, I wasn’t sure what to expect but I was determined to just have fun with it. It wasn’t my fastest run, and she didn’t run in perfect form, but we had the best time! It was so much fun. We would challenge each other and say, “Okay, let’s run to the brown car,” and then when we’d get to the car one of us would say, “Let’s keep going to the next car!” and we’d keep running for a few more steps.
The day of the race came, and we both had butterflies. I told her that it was our big day, and we were going to focus on having fun. As we took off on the course, we both ran with joy, colors flying everywhere. We walked a good part of it but because of our training she was able to run more than I ever thought she would. We spent the next hour talking, singing, dancing, and being covered head to toe in colored cornstarch and paint.
This special day with my daughter taught me so many things. It taught me to have confidence in myself and to pursue my goals. It taught me to focus on the positive, what I can do instead of what I can’t do. I could have easily looked at the race and focused on how we had to walk so much of it when others were running. Instead, I was able to soak in every moment and really focus on this one-on-one time with her.
While I still may not enjoy running and might wrinkle my nose at the idea of another race, I will say “yes!” every time to having confidence in my abilities, creating moments with my family, and spending the day with my daughter.
QUESTION: Has your child ever asked to do something with you that you thought they were not quite “ready” for?  Is there something your child is interested in that you could do together?
CHALLENGE: Find an activity that your child would like to pursue, and pursue it together. Maybe it’s something you are already interested in, and maybe it’s not.  Besides working on getting better at the activity, focus on the time you spend learning and growing together.

Monday, March 3, 2014

10 Things to Smile About in February

My beautiful cousin-in-law Emmy Mom hosts a monthly meme called 10 Things to Smile About. It all began several years ago when she was having a hard time after a long month to find things to be happy about. I love this idea and do it occasionally on my family blog but thought I'd start here as well. 

10 Things to Smile About in February 

1. Celebrating Miss M's 8th birthday at Disneyland.

2. Gathering with family and friends to celebrate Miss M's choice to be baptized. (For those not members of our church, children in our congregation are baptized when they are 8 years old. You can find out more about baptism here: http://mormon.org/

3. Going to see the musical The Wizard of Oz for date night.

4. Spending a weekend with my awesome sister-in-law

5. Getting to see our dear friends from the Bay Area. Love you guys!

6. Watching my five year old, Mr. N, fight Darth Maul at Jedi Training. 

7. Spending an evening with six 7-8 year old girls for Miss M's birthday party. We only moved here a few months ago and it warmed my heart seeing how these girls have embraced Miss M and become great friends.

8. A trip to the beach. As a girl who grew up near the ocean it was a long overdue trip.

9. Having fun handing out Disney Cast Member Thank You Notes from Power of Moms Disney Guide. Such a great idea!

10. Taking a road trip to Arizona to tour the new Gilbert Temple. Such a great family experience. 

What made you smile this month? 

Saturday, March 1, 2014

What is A Mighty Tower

I attended a social media conference recently put on by my church. As I sat through each class I felt like the speakers, though speaking on different topics, were all saying a similar thing: Find your voice and put it out there.

And so here I am, sharing my voice and putting it out there. I came up with the name "A Mighty Tower" based off of a quote that was read in the conference.

"Our Father in heaven has now provided us mighty towers—radio and television towers with possibilities beyond comprehension—to help fulfill the words of the Lord that “the sound must go forth from this place unto all the world.” - Spencer W. Kimball

Whether you are religious or not we can all agree that technology has come a long ways since 1974 which is when that quote was given. We have so many opportunities to find others who are, as one speaker put it, "our people," meaning people who like similar things and share similar values.

There is a lot of good in the world but there is also a lot of garbage. I like to think of myself as creating a mighty tower within our own home. I am trying to protect and teach my family while sharing my strength/influence to help serve and connect with those around me. 

Let's gather together as friends and as moms to do good in this world. I hope you stick around and share your ideas and thoughts with me as I share with you!