2017-01-02-08-04-06

Are You Living a Level 10 Life?

time to wake up

I recently wrote a post about my Miracle Morning and how it has quite literally, changed everything about my day.  I’d like to note here that I am still doing the Miracle Morning and it is still just as awesome as ever!  If you haven’t had a chance to read about it, you can visit my post here .

At the end of the book, the author challenged me to take the 30 day challenge, and I accepted.  That meant making a visit to the Miracle Morning website to download the toolkit.  It was all free, and gave me examples to follow for writing my own affirmations and ideas for journaling.  It was on the website that I found my absolute favorite part of the Miracle Morning. It’s called the Level 10 Life.  I’ve been working on it, and it’s actually pretty eye-opening.

So what is the Level 10 Life?

If you were to divide your life up into ten important categories, define each area by what you think it would look like if you were living it perfectly and then rate yourself on how you’re doing at this very minute, how do you think you’d be doing?  I’ll tell you how I’m doing.  I suck, that’s how.

This was a really good exercise for me. First of all, it made me really think about what perfection in each area looks like.  Writing the definitions was really difficult!  The great thing about it is that it’s completely personal.  What I think is a perfect 10 and what you think is perfect 10 might be completely different, and that’s okay.  We aren’t all meant to live the same life, we don’t all have the same goals or the same talents.  Once I got the definitions done, it was time to fill out the little graph.  I had to honestly evaluate myself and assign myself a number.  It might have been easy to lie and say I am more spiritual than I really am, but I would only be lying to myself.  The graph is basically a wheel, with each spoke of the wheel representing a different category.  It looks like this:

level 10 life

After the evaluation was done I spent a quiet moment berating myself and then realized I needed to stop, because it isn’t about living the perfect life, it’s about moving towards the perfect life.  We will never, not one of us, create the perfect life in every area during this lifetime because it isn’t possible.  All we can do is identify our weaknesses and do our best to try to improve every single day, keeping our eye on the goal line.  The funny thing is, how many of us have never even defined the goal line?  Maybe we have a really broad definition, but it’s hard to determine whether or not you’ve gotten somewhere if you don’t really know where you’re going.

When I finally decided to stop moping, I started setting goals: two goals for each area.  Some of them were very specific, like “Pay off XXX amount of debt” while others were very general, like “actually engage in conversation when my kids are speaking to me instead of letting my mind wander or answering them in my head.”  The real end game here was to give myself actionable things to do that move me towards the Level 10 Life.

It has now been a couple of months since I finished filling in my graph and setting my goals and I can honestly say that I have seen some marked improvement in a couple of areas.  These goals, along with the affirmations that I wrote as a part of my Miracle Morning, and the bullet journal that I started have moved me forward.  I still have a long way to go, but forward is forward, and it’s definitely better than standing still.

Consider the following…

I’m certainly not going to fill this post with all the categories and how I defined them, but here are a few just to get you thinking.

Contributions/Giving

This was one of the harder topics for me. How would you rate yourself when it comes to giving?  The interesting part about this category for me is that you can define “giving” in a lot of ways.  Maybe you are really a generous person when it comes to donating to charity, paying fast offerings, or other monetary contributions.  But how about when it comes to your time?  Do you freely and willingly give your time?  Are you willing to donate time, but you do it begrudgingly?  How about talents?  If you know you’re good at something and someone else is not, do you willingly step in and help?  Do you wait for them to ask and then do it gladly?  Or do you hide your talents in hopes no one will know or ask?

There are a lot of ways that you can be a giving person, so trying to define what a perfect 10 is can be hard. Maybe you believe a truly giving person is one who would sacrifice Thanksgiving to work at a soup kitchen.  Or volunteering at a children’s hospital is the perfect 10.  Maybe you believe that you have to be Mother Teresa before you can call yourself perfect.  When I did my definitions, I didn’t go this far because I don’t think that is completely necessary.  Chances are good I will never be Mother Teresa, so saying that is the only way to live my perfect life in this area is only going to saddle me with disappointment.

Career/Work

So this one can be kind of interesting.  Maybe you feel like it doesn’t apply to you if you don’t have a career outside the home, but if anyone is going to try to tell me that being a stay at home mother isn’t a full time job I might have to punch that person in the throat.  While it might be tempting to lump your job as a mother in with the family category, I honestly don’t think it should be.  There are plenty of things we do as mothers that other people get paid for that actually have no correlation with our relationship with our spouse or children…like laundry, for instance.  Or how about meal planning, housekeeping, coordinating sports schedules, taxi service, teacher… The list goes on and on.  What is your definition of how you do this job, and if you did it perfectly, what would it look like?

If you’ve ever considered going back to school to get a degree, or thought maybe you’d like to take on a career in the future, this category could apply to that as well.  Maybe you have thought about how prepared you are if you suddenly became the breadwinner of your household, or you’ve thought about trying to turn a hobby into a money making opportunity…that could be included in your definition too.

Everything Else

I won’t go in to all the other categories, but I think those two kind of give you an idea of what is involved as you think through the process.  The other areas are:

  • Family and Friends
  • Personal Development
  • Spirituality
  • Finances
  • Fun and Recreation
  • Marriage/Significant Other
  • Physical Environment
  • Health and Fitness

Surprisingly, it didn’t take me that long to define everything.  It’s surprising how when you sit down and really think about what you want in your life it’s easy to pinpoint it.

One of my favorite quotes from the Miracle Morning 30-challenge says this:

Belief is the most powerful and creative force in the universe, which is possessed by every human being.  Every aspect of our lives—good or bad, both externally and internally—are born from our beliefs.  In you believe, truly believe, that you are capable of achieving success in an endeavor, you will pursue it until you achieve it.  On the other hand, if one does not truly believe that being successful is their right, then they will give up at the first sign of an obstacle.  If you believe you are deserving of love, you will inevitably attract it.  If you don’t, you won’t.  If you believe people are generally good, you will find the good in them. It is crucial that you consciously and actively reinforce the beliefs that will support you in confidently pursuing everything you want in your life.

I love this program and the Miracle Morning!  If you still haven’t taken a look at the book you can do so here.  You can also download a couple of free chapters or see the Miracle Morning 30-day challenge here (all the downloads are free and there is a smoothie recipe too.  I haven’t tried it but I should since I love smoothies!)  I wish I had known about this and started it years ago, but regardless of how late you start, it’s never too late!

 

 

 

 

2017-01-02-08-04-06

Why I Choose to be a Mormon

book-of-mormon-jpg-kqk1nq-clipartWhen I was growing up I had a good friend named Alana.  She lived across the street from me.  Never were there two people so completely different, and yet we were amazing friends!  We had some great times that mostly involved Spanish class, and we went to Spanish camp together.  Oh, the stories I could tell!  I was raised as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and Alana was not.  Her background was Catholic, but I’m not sure if her family attended church or not because I never really paid attention to those things.  While Alana was outgoing, gregarious, loved to party (and did so often) I was more the quiet type. She couldn’t wait to grow up and leave our tiny town for places unknown, she wanted to get married (but not right away)  and never wanted children. She had dreams way more lofty than me.  I planned to go off to college, but never really yearned for the wings that she wanted.  I wanted to be a writer, knew I could be content with a good place to call home and a family, and couldn’t wait to someday be a mother. As I said before, we were polar opposites when it came to lifestyle choices but we were always good friends and I loved to talk and laugh with her and neither of us ever spent even a moment of time judging the other because we weren’t the same.

Now, thanks to the miracle of the internet and Facebook, Alana and I can still be friends even when we live worlds apart in more ways than one.  We enjoy a good online discuss now and again, keep up with each other’s comings and goings, and even occasionally talk on the phone.  We are still different in more ways than we are the same, but I can still say that I love her like I always did. I had one of these conversations with her several nights ago and hearing her voice from the other side of the country took me back for a minute to when I was sixteen and we laughed about the past and wondered about Senor Mansfield and where he might be these days.

During my conversation with Alana that night, she asked me some tough questions that I never expected her to ask me. Considering we’ve been friends (even from a distance) most of our lives, she’s never asked me these types of questions before.  They weren’t tough as in “I have no answer for that” but tough in the sense that I absolutely know the answer but trying to get it from my heart out of my mouth is challenging.  I know my answers at the time were less than adequate, and I have been thinking about it ever since. Maybe not so much because I need to give Alana a better answer, but I guess when someone, anyone, takes the time to ask us why we believe what we believe or why we choose to live like we live, it’s best to have a response so it doesn’t look like we don’t know.

Obviously I believe in my religion.  I willingly sent my son off to spend two years of his life sharing it with others (granted, most of that decision was on him, but I still went along with it) and I’m paying for it out of my own pocket.  I sacrifice all of my Sundays to worshipping and attending church services, choosing not to participate in other activities that I enjoy in an effort to keep the Sabbath day holy.  I take on jobs in the church for which I never get paid, but that eat up my time, cause stress occasionally, and create work when I have a million other things I could be doing.  I willingly part with 10% of my income in tithing.  The list could go on and on.  Ours is not an easy religion to live.  It requires time and effort and WORK every single day.

I know this doesn’t sound like much of an advertisement for joining up, but it does lead me to explain why I choose this life.

Sending my son off on a mission was difficult to do, but these last two weeks I have had the opportunity to watch my daughter prepare to send the boy she loves off on a mission as well.  It has been really hard for her to do it, but she supports his decision to go. There have been a lot of tears shed (by both of us).  But then I got to watch her get lost in doing some projects for him during his time away.  She created a little photo album filled with pictures, quotes, and memories, all designed to encourage and lift him when things got tough.  Then she wrote him a series of letters, all intended for him to take with him and open when he needs them.  They included talks from church leaders, scriptures and quotes, and, of course, her own words of love, support, and encouragement.

She delivered these things to him the Sunday before he left and said her last in-person goodbyes to him.

Tuesday, in an effort to keep her busy and not let her dwell on his leaving, she and I spent the day together.  We just happened to be passing the airport when his flight departed, and she watched as it slowly became a tiny dot in the sky.  As the day wound to a close and I was taking her back to her apartment, she told me that she knows she’s going to be okay.  She talked about what a great missionary he is going to be, and how caring he will be to the people he is serving.  I’m proud of her for her strength, and she’s right—she’ll be okay.

So why do we do these hard things?

Because, ultimately, it makes us happy.

For all of these hard things that I do, each time I choose to do them, I receive blessings without measure.  Those blessings make the sacrifices worthwhile, and, in the end, I am happy.

Many people look at the life of a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and see nothing but restrictions and rules, wondering why we are forced to live a life with no fun, no freedom, and no choices.  I never look at it like that at all—so when asked why we have so many restrictions, I’m not quite sure how to answer.  All I see is a loving Heavenly Father that gives us guidelines to follow, promising that if we will follow, it will bring us joy.  So far, that has been the case for me.  There is nothing out there “in the world” that I feel like I am missing out on—not one thing.  There are, however, an abundance of things that I have gained by living according to the standards that God has given me.

I have seen more miracles in my lifetime than one would think a simple girl like me would ever deserve.  I haven’t seen an ocean part, but when the small miracles come in your life that give you exactly what you need in that moment, it might as well be the parting of a sea.  I have no doubt in my mind that the Lord knows my name, He knows what I need, and He will perform miracles in my life at exactly the time that I need them.  By comparison, all that He asks of me seems so very small.

My faith provides hope

To sum it up, I have faith that if I do what I am asked to do, I will see the promised results.  So far I have never been let down.

faith_0I could go on and on about the reasons why I choose to live my life as a Mormon, but I think I will sum it up with words from my daughter, who posted the following on her Facebook page last night:

This Tuesday the love of my life left to serve our Heavenly Father, and help bring His perfect gospel to others. I am so very proud of the wonderful man I’ve got to see him become over the past two years, and I can’t imagine my life without him. He is so loving, and he always does his best in everything he does. I have never met anyone as loving and caring as he is, and I know he is going to be so great out there. Our relationship has brought me closer to where I need to be in my life, and because of Spencer’s help, I have grown stronger. One thing I can now say with complete surety is this:

Christ lives, and he loves us. He experienced all the pain and torments of the world, and he did this in order to save us and bring us back to our Father in Heaven. Heavenly Father loves us, and nothing can separate us from that. Romans 8: 38-39 states:

“38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

I know this is true, and I feel His love every moment I take a breath. And I most definitely feel this love when I see the wonderful gifts that Heavenly Father has given me in this life. My mom, my dad, my brothers, my friends, Spencer… These are all wonderful examples of gifts that Heavenly Father has sent me to help bring me closer to his love. Yet the perfect example of God’s love for us is in Christ. He sent His only Begotten Son down to this world out of his pure love. He sent Him to save us so that we can all return to the love that dwells within Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. In October of 2009 Deiter F. Uchtdorf gave a talk on the pure and all-encompassing love of God, stating:

“[God] loves us because He is filled with an infinite measure of holy, pure, and indescribable love. We are important to God not because of our résumé but because we are His children. He loves every one of us, even those who are flawed, rejected, awkward, sorrowful, or broken. God’s love is so great that He loves even the proud, the selfish, the arrogant, and the wicked.

“What this means is that, regardless of our current state, there is hope for us. No matter our distress, no matter our sorrow, no matter our mistakes, our infinitely compassionate Heavenly Father desires that we draw near to Him so that He can draw near to us.”

I am so grateful for all those around me, whether past or present. You all mean so much to me, and you are all examples of God’s pure love. Though these next two years will be hard, I am so glad that Spencer will be spending it sharing Heavenly Father’s love with others.

I love my Heavenly Father. And I love His perfect son. I know that I can always turn to Him, and I know that He will always be waiting with His pierced hands outstretched.

2017-01-02-08-04-06

Crepes! A General Conference Tradition

Several years back, we started a new tradition for Sunday morning before General Conference–we make crepes!

berry-crepes

(I actually make crepes a lot thanks to my handy, dandy crepe maker.)

.
I got this handy little device several years ago and love, love, love it.  It’s the  Cucinapro Crepe Maker and <— this is my shamelss affiliate link right here. It’s cordless, so you just pick it up and dip it in the batter, it cooks for about a minute, and then the crepe slides right off.  Some people feel the need to turn the crepe over to cook both sides, but honestly, it’s an extra step that can be skipped.  The crepe is so thin and even it cooks all the way through without it.  Before I got it I was NOT a crepe maker at all.  I don’t have the patience and I’m way too much of a perfectionist for using a pan!

A couple of hints for making crepes super excellent but easy too…

  1. A lot of recipes talk about making a well in the flour and stirring the eggs and milk in slowly, yada yada yada.  I’m all about the blender.  I dump all the ingredients in at once and use the batter mode.
  2. Crepe batter has to SIT so that the bubbles can all go away or you’ll end up with holey crepes.  At least 30 minutes at room temperature will usually do it.
  3. Crepes are actually better if you make the batter the night before and let it sit in the fridge overnight.  All of the bubbles will be gone, the batter is nice and cold, and it just seems like it has taken on more flavor.
  4. The directions for this crepe maker say to butter the top before dipping it in the batter.  I have never needed to do that and, in fact, have found that it ruins the first couple of crepes if I do it.

The Process

 

crepe-maker

The crepe maker doesn’t take long to heat up, but if you made your batter the night before, you can go ahead and plug it in.

dipping-tray

It comes with this really great dipping bowl/plate.  Pour your batter carefully so as not to cause bubbles.

cooking-crepes

Once you’ve dipped it in the batter, return it to the stand to cook.  It only take a minute or so to be done and will slide right off.  I usually keep the finished crepes on a plate under foil while I’m cooking.  There is no need to separate them with waxed paper or anything, I just slap them all in a pile.  Kind of like this:

crepe-toppings

The toppings are what make great crepes!

The really great thing about crepes is you can do any kind of filling or topping that you’d like.  We have some basic must-haves that always appear, like Nutella and whipped cream.

crepe-filling

This vanilla cream filling is to die for.  I could sit down with a spoon and just eat it.  In fact, I think I actually did when we were done with the crepes.  It’s super easy!

berry-sauce

This year I also made this triple berry sauce and it was delicious too!

The Finished Product

With all the different options, everyone gets exactly what they want!  In the past I have had fresh peaches, strawberries, chocolate sauce and caramel.  The possibilities are endless!  A couple of people in our family are super boring and just want your basic maple syrup and powdered sugar.  But that’s okay too.  I can just privately think they’re weird.  My personal favorite is a thin spread of Nutella with the vanilla cream filling and bananas.  I was going to take a picture but there was no good way to show the insides.  Plus I ate it too fast.  Sorry.

Print Recipe

cream-crepes

berry-crepes-2