I’ve been thinking a bunch about spiritual creation lately.
What, in Heaven’s name, is “spiritual creation” you may ask? I think Max, as a missionary, had the best answer between some letters when we were discussing it a while back: “The importance of letting God know what our hopes are…telling Him what we are going to do and our goals, and asking for his help.” When we do this sincerely, we are so much more likely to listen to little promptings or nudges I believe God is trying to send and fulfill our days (and weeks and months) as He wants us to.
I figured I’d talk about my latest thoughts here since I just came across this picture from the end of the Bear Lake reunion with Noah and Kristi holding up the “spiritual creation” award that my brother Tal gives out to new awardees at the end of the reunion each year.
Yes, it’s written on a paper plate (it is every year). But it’s a pretty big honor in our family because all of us believe in the power of spiritual creation (I think our parents have engraved it’s importance on our hearts through the years). Oh man I love those two up there…and oh boy are they ever “spiritually creating” these days, with a big move and starting a new company and raising six kids in such beautiful ways (Lucy still talks about how she joined their family for a little “devotional” before the reunion last year and how because of that very devotional she memorized the special scripture Grammie challenged them to memorize.) Yeah, they deserve that award, well placed, Tal 🙂
But I didn’t want to post that picture in the jumble of other reunion pictures because the whole spiritual creation thing has been on my mind a lot lately, and I figured it deserved it’s own post.
It’s been on my mind partly because I’m telling you what, being up at that place at Bear Lake you can’t help but think about spiritual creation. I love the goals and vision my parents had so long ago to “spiritually create” a place like that where we can be together over the years. Makes me and Dave ponder and discuss our own “thin place” we want to spiritually create for our own family. We’ve decided California for now (we can drive there relatively quickly and easily), but we’ll see…still a work in progress. Just so glad that they created that vision not only for Eyres, but for Dave and I too. (yes, we’re Eyres too, but you know what I mean?)
But I think most pressing right at this moment, I’m thinking of spiritual creation because the school year has begun and I’m feeling a need to spiritually create my time.
Why is it that it feels like I’ve come to a standstill of productivity now that I finally have a minute to breathe as my kids are in school all day? Of course, I’m productive with the things that I need to be, the fridge gets filled, meals get cooked, the house gets cleaned, house projects are in the process of getting crossed off, I’ve set some good goals and have started working in earnest on them, and I’ve worked through issues of all types (bad and good) with my children and husband. (The problems and issues keep getting bigger and more complicated as kids grow older, just as my wise mother let me know they would.)
But in addition to the regulars, I’m just in that stage of having too many goals. I’ve put big projects on hold for the summer and now that we’re here with school in session and I should have a moment to think, I want to get going on them and I find myself paralyzed. Because I feel like I should just be able to do them ALL. Right NOW! Which of course, does not work.
At the top of my priority list right now:
1) Figure out how to print out this blog. It’s always a worry in the back of my mind that I have ten years of LIFE here that could somehow accidentally get deleted. Scares me but I’m paralyzed as to how to deal with it. My sister in law created a book for the 2006 year but that was a gift (one of the best ever…see it back HERE), and she’s too expensive to do the rest 🙂
2) figure out how to revamp our family eating. Oh, I am ok at this. And I’ve talked about it incessantly on this blog (sorry). We work hard and most of the time we are all pretty dedicated to easing up on the sugar and trying all kinds of new recipes…after-school healthy snacks, healthy lunches, etc. (So many ideas have been shared here on this blog through readers and so many of them have been incorporated and fallen in love with…thank you!) But I wish I could realistically figure out something that would last, something to help our whole family, but specifically Lucy. My heart is ACHING that I can’t seem to help at least the weight part of what she deals with. I know it takes determination, and I’m determined. But it also takes a malleable soul, and malleable is not something that Lucy is right now. She’s more strong-willed and opinionated than ever before and it’s like I’m walking on a mine-field to try to help her in any way these days. Her hormones are raging and you honestly never know when she is going to fall apart.
I took her in for her sixth grade shots and well check this morning. The doctor showed me her growth chart (that made me want to cry), and suggested perhaps we should limit juices and sugary food (which made me almost laugh…and cry too…he was new and didn’t realize she’s got some strikes going against her). I always try to will time to just stop for a minute so I can figure out this puzzle, but it just keeps going…pieces out of reach in the air, and it’s overwhelming.
3) Get an on-going organizational system going. Like Mind organization for Moms, but something I can realistically do. All the time. Starting with my desk and moving out to everything else including emails and this blog and texts and papers…I need to get it all under control.
Those are just the tip of the iceberg.
So, why am I bringing this all up here?
Well, first of all: accountability. I’m hoping to come back later and tell you how I have taken some steps in the right direction on this stuff.
But second, I’m writing this here because I think we all have those goals of things we want to do looming in front of us, and all of them take a little spiritual creation, right? I don’t think there’s anyone out there who is reading this and thinking, “hmmm…weird…she doesn’t have life in control…should be easy.” If you are, please share your secrets! I think it’s safe to say we all have things we’re working on, and I love having the reminder that we can ask for God’s help and direction.
In order to spiritually create these and other projects, I keep thinking about this talk (which I talked about back HERE), and I’m working on reining in the power of “spiritually creating” our days with a morning prayer. I’m telling you, my days go better when I start off connecting with God through prayer and listening for promptings throughout the day. I’m not saying it happens all the time, but I sure try because life and mothering keep getting more complicated and I need that connection to try to figure things out. Here’s to hoping I can get some help from above for all the projects and motherhood work I want to do.
There you go, rambling thoughts on spiritual creation, one of the things on my mind these days.
I hesitate to write this, but it's a thought I have quite often when I read your blog. I want to be careful how I say this because I don't want it to come across as mean, just as a sincere simple suggestion you can ponder on and try, or not. I will write my thoughts here because I do think you are soliciting for advice a little bit. I know you love to give your kids grand experiences and live a life full of activities (like Claire last year in at least 4 activities at once), but, I think about this for my own family, too, could we not give a grand experience by simplifying? By teaching our children and ourselves the value of "no." Clearly, you are much more affluent than most of your readers (I would guess). But there is so much value to life by working together and saying to your kids we can only do one activity this school year. You have to choose. We can only go on one family vacation this year. And we have to choose and save our money as a family. Or we are going to downsize our home for a year (under 2000 square feet) and experience life in a neighborhood with a lower income. Maybe one that's still nearby. Or we are going to wear out our clothes and shoes. As my husband and I have thought about those things for our own family (except we really are on a budget) it can be a grand experience and teach empathy and self-control and hard work. Most people don't have things given to them. They have to show grit and hard work and value what they have. Not to say you don't try to do that with your family. But simplifying for a year might help you to have a much deeper spiritual creation for you and your family. I was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. I have 5 young kids at home. I have had to ponder a lot on my priorities. We have to cut back and be deliberate about how we use our time and energy. And it has been a beautiful experience. There is something grand that happens when you have to choose carefully what you will do. Most people have to do this naturally because of health reasons or money flow. But maybe you can ponder that even if you don't have money or health restrictions.
I also have a son with special needs (autism) so I can relate to some of what you say about Lucy. While I think health and weight are so important, maybe it would help a little too if you let some of your personal feelings go about her weight. This is a total assumption on my part, so please forgive me if I'm wrong, but clearly your body at a certain weight is important to you and you value health. I just worry that Lucy will one day see these comments about her weight and compare herself to you and the rest of your kids and feel ashamed of her body. But she is beautiful. She is different than you. But she is beautiful. I really hope my comments don't come across as harsh. It is not my intention. Best to you as your determine, with God, your spiritual creation for you and your family!
I love these wise words, Laura!
First of all I have to say I'm so sorry about your diagnosis. I have a couple friends who are dealing with that right now and cancer is just plain awful! It sounds like you are learning along the journey, but I'm just so so sorry it's something you and your family have to deal with. Sending love your way.
I totally appreciate your comment, because you're right, Dave and I do have one of our top goals to give our kids all the experiences we can (both of us came into this marriage with that goal in mind for very different reasons and have worked pretty hard to make it happen), but we also could always use some simplification and balance! We're all coming at this life from so many different angles! The angles include how we grew up, where we live, personalities, who we're married to, where and how that person we're married to grew up, health, what our interests are, available funds, etc., etc. Everyone has their own stories and things they're dealing with so it's tricky to figure it all out! And the answers for one person are going to be different for someone else. That's why the whole "spiritual creation" thing is so important because God knows. And maybe He sends people like friends or blog readers to give you nudges to help you get it all straight 🙂
As far as Lucy goes, I should clarify that yes, we value healthy bodies, but Lucy's syndrome causes some pretty significant health issues because BBS kids struggle mightily with obesity. It's not her appearance we worry about most, (although we do want to help her be happy with it), it's what the extra weight is doing to her body. This obesity (caused by lack of leptin) causes all kinds of additional problems to the ones already apparent in BBS kids. On top of internal health, the ability to get around with very limited vision is even more difficult with extra weight. We work hard on it and are extra motivated especially following a BBS conference (like we had this summer) because we see those issues manifesting themselves in so many of the families we meet with there. All of us are on a quest to figure out how to help our children with this, because of all the complications that it causes, some worry more about that than they do about the vision loss. Some families have been able to be on an offensive against compounding problems when they figure out how to deal with weight in healthy ways, but every child is just so different. So we're always trying to figure that out. We watch Lucy struggle as she is forced to slow down with vision loss compounded by weight gain and as a parent you will do anything to help her have a brighter future. You're right, she is so beautiful! And she totally reads this blog very carefully so I am pretty careful what I write, but this is all stuff we talk about openly. We want so much to help her live a full life, and this is a big part of that quest.
Shawn, I want to refer to your paragraph about Dave and your goal setting together, and coming into this marriage knowing what you wanted. This subject of KNOWING who you are marryibg has been on my heart and mind lately for myself, for my adult children and the one still at home.
I have thought of you doing a post on what your parents did to teach you to look for the right spouse. So many times couples come together and think they know each other, but lack any idea of how to plan for the future.
I have even hoped your parents would write a book on the subject of dating during teen years, college, etc and the questions to ask yourself and your possible future spouse (if it's getting serious). What do you discuss with Max, Elle and Grace now, to prepare them for finding the right person?
An example is maybe you are a person who likes to discuss things, goal set, even for your family. Your spouse may like to just fly by the seat of their pants every day. If you knew this before you married them, would you still have?
I would love to read more on this subject and maybe how you and Dave made it work or your siblings.
Thanks – Jamie
Excuse the typos. I typed this on a tiny tablet!
NOTOrious (Jamie), I've been thinking so much about that lately too! In fact, I picked my Dad's brain about that very subject for a long time at the lake this summer. First of all, how did he, as a PARENT, let me get married knowing how young I was?? (Ha! I know it was obviously not his decision but still! ) And then, how in the world did I make that wise decision? I'm horrible at decisions! The older I grow the more I realize I just really and truly lucked out. Ok, maybe not "lucked" out because I truly believe in the power of prayer, and I sure prayed about that one. It's such a huge decision and affects so much. I don't think you can ever find someone with the exact same interests and goals, and it would actually be awful if you did. Because I think each spouse can bring so much good to the table and push and pull each other in good ways. I know there's some tough things with marriage, but I always think of the wise advice a friend gave at a bridal shower: "You'll find what you're looking for." It's true in so many things in life, but especially in marriage. If you're looking for the bad, there it will be right in front of you. Everyone has it. But if you're looking for the good, there it will be as well. And you can nurture that and make it bigger and better for each other as you work together.
Not sure if that makes sense, I've got to run, but wanted to let you know that's sure been on my mind too. I'll have to do a blog post if I think of any other insights on the matter!
I use Shared Book to print my blog each year. They frequently have sales, and it's a pretty easy format to work with. My kids love looking at those books, and if I'm behind a year, they continually ask when I'm going to print it out. 🙂
Thank you! I will look into that!
Here's the link: https://www.blog2print.com
This is awesome, thank you!
You have seen on instagram or heard of them, but I just finished a season following the Clean Simple Eats meal plan/challenge. I lost more than 10 pounds (baby weight), the food is delicious, balanced, clean and healthy. There are also enough snack recipes that I never felt like I was depriving myself. I found my sugar cravings gone and so much better. I believe her new recipes and challenges start August 31. They would be great family meals.
Yes I've heard great things about this…and even signed up for it before things got a little crazy this summer. I'll have to look into it again. Thx for the suggestion!
Look up the Commit30 journals on Instagram. My husband has one and loves it! From an outsider I think you are doing fabulous at feeding your kids so healthy!! Thanks for this post, I have so many goals I need to get back on track with.
I will look that up too!
Looks like an awesome planner/journal!
I know exactly how you feel, I have so many things I want to do now all my kids are in school full time and have been for a couple of years, but I feel frozen? Scared? Not sure what to do.. it’s s tad scary!
Your success at these things has nothing to do with do with her test results. Does she have accessible forms of exercise? Does she have healthy food choices? The answers to those questions are where you can measure your own success.
As for Lucy these things are not character flaws.
Will you still do bear lake after you buy a reunion place in California?
Sorry.. to do was repeated.
Yes, she does have healthy food choices and accessible exercise, but we can always do so much better, taking it up a notch as our capacities to figure those things out grow.
And yes, we'll always go to Bear Lake! 🙂
Lucy is so beautiful and clearly a very special girl. I can only begin to imagine the sense of loss, sadness, and frustration she experiences due to her diminishing sight. (Yes, I understand you and dave deal with these very emotions too but I'm speaking directly about LUCY's feelings now. Not your interpretations of them or your pain from seeing her struggle). Combined with dealing with the loss of sight she also deals with other health challenges associated with her syndrome AND she's a tween girl experiencing physical and emotional changes. No wonder she is grumpy and sometimes reluctant to participate in additional activities. She has a lot to process and providing her with tons of new and exciting "experiences" just might not be productive for helpful for her. Just because you, dave, and several of your other children thrive with tons of activity etc doesn't mean it's right for her. Please consider providing Lucy with the softest place possible to fall as she deals with all of this instead of a focus on fixing or changing her. She is clearly very resistant to that.
Believe me, what is best for Lucy is constantly on our minds, in our prayers, in our hearts…her needs are woven tightly into our family culture. This can often be a tricky balance with other children with such different needs, but we work on it every day. Every day I think about how frustrating it is to be a pre-teen, let alone not being able to see things that are right in front of you, your world going foggy and dim. Yet she works so hard and is so strong and wants to learn and I love that! Grateful to have blog readers who are looking out for her best interest too!
My husband is a techie-type guy and prints my blog off for me as a birthday or valentines gift every year .. but in the meantime I also have my blog posts emailed to me, as kind of an extra backup. That shouldn’t be the only solution, of course, but it’s so easy to do (I just subscribe to my blog like any follower would) and it gives me a little extra piece of mind.
PS – I love what a purposeful woman you are. Number one reason I follow your blog! Thank you for sharing your thoughts so openly here.
Good idea to have them emailed to you. I need to figure out how to do that…would make me feel a lot better!
Your responses are always so gracious and full of compassion, even when you could get riled up (like I did a little bit). I think it's helpful to hear about others' concerns and struggles and successes because I learn best by seeing examples. Thank you for sharing and for being vulnerable.
Beth's email backup idea is genius and simple to do right now! Could be a great bridge until a physical copy can be printed.
HI! I have struggled so much with home organization and all the paper work and tasks that comes from being a homemaker! I admit I didn't start off with a good basis for various reasons. I just started something recently that actually took. I still fall off the wagon but I realized that is life and start back up again but don't berate myself for not doing it right. It sounds so simple but I really had to work hard to figure out a system that I could do and not spend all week running around not accomplishing anything fully.
Mondays: Master Bedroom, Mastering adulthood (the phone calls, bills etc) and menu planning. I also have my children focus on their rooms this day.
Tuesdays: Toilet rooms and I try to make all health appointments that I can on this day, as well as groceries
Wednesday: Wipe it down (dust, windows)
Thursday: Theater room (tv area–we don't have a theater room:) it just sounds better!) I also try to do a thoughtful service or work on my church calling more indepth this day.
Friday: Floors– this one may sound easy but after picking up the house and vacuuming/sweeping then mopping it is huge.
If I can at least touch on that area of the day then I feel like I have accomplished something. If I don't get to things for a few days I pick right back up again when I can. I also make sure the kitchen and dining room are tidy and clean each day.
I am loving this simple idea!! I'm writing up my list of "days" this morning and I think it will help so much! Thank you!
I just spent time this summer taking the STEPsystem class from April and Eric Perry at LearnDoBecome to build a Command Central. It is amazing! Now I have a system for all the papers and emails (my in box is literally at zero most of the week!) And I have goals, plans and ideas. I'm still working on making everything a habit after a couple months I'm still doing it and think it's the best investment I've made in myself and home in years.
Just signed up for the class…thank you!
Also, I really enjoyed your authenticity with this post. The idea of spiritually creating your time is just what needed to here today.
Thanks for opening up regarding your challenges. I’m looking forward to hearing how you use spiritual creativity to help you. Isn’t it beautiful that God cares about each and every thing that challenges each of us! Your words are inspirational.
Your posts always help me! Sorry this mom of 2 littles that is so sleep deprived i think im going crazy! Thanks for being such a great example of motherhood! Thanks for being willing to share. It means alot to me! ♡♡♡
My good friend has a daughter with health issues that require her to follow a special diet that precludes her from eating a lot of treats, chips, sweets etc… It is not easy and led to many emotional battles between the two. She found a nutritionist that worked with adolescents to work with her and to sort of take her out of the dynamic of always having to be the "bad" guy or food police. She hated the role and the arguments and was so worried about giving her daughter a complex about her body etc… I wouldn't say it was a cure all but my friend learned that her daughter really had to own this issue since it her body and her choice and if she wanted to eat something she shouldn't she was going to get it one way or another no matter what my friend said or did (especially since she was in high school, had her own spending money etc…)so she knew she had to find a better way. They "contracted" that her mother would stay out of her choices unless her daughter was putting her health in real jeopardy. She has seen huge strides in her daughter since she began working with the nutritionist about two years ago. There were definitely times where she didn't feel it was going to work but once her daughter really got used to being in charge (and after a few months pushing the limits with freedom to make her own choices) she really began to make healthy choices for herself. Lucy is younger than my friend's daughter but it might work. Also, is there any sort of summer camp for BBS kids… it might help her to be with other kids dealing with the same issues and with knowledgeable counselors.
I think that's such a good idea! Sometimes kids just "hear" hard truths better from a third party, and this keeps you and Dave from having to be the food police. Unfortunately you can't control what she eats all day long (I was famous for my "cheese-its and mountain dew" lunches in high school. ugh!), but if Lucy could really click with a nutritionist or registered dietitian, she might begin to really start making healthier choices on her own.
I definitely need to do this. Thank you so much for the suggestion!
And I WISH there was a summer camp for BBS kids. It is so rare that there's nothing like that. She was able to meet quite a few kids who deal with the same things she does at the conference this summer so that was good for her. There's got to be some kind of summer camp out there that would fit somehow though….another thing I need to look into!
I've used blurb for the past 8 years for our blog books. We print two every year. The program is easy to use (though time consuming to organize). I love being able to size my pictures and move the wording around. They always have sales and are decently priced.
Yes I'm using blurb to make Max's mission book, and it's great. If I do this with the blog I need to figure out how to hollow out some serious time to get it done…but maybe if I just bite of small pieces at a time I can get it done!
Will you show us what you end up doing with Max's mission book? I need to do one for my daughter. I kept a blog while she was gone, so it shouldn't be too difficult but it is very overwhelming to get what you'd like it to be from your mind to a book. I'd love to see what you do and any suggestions or tips you might have. Thanks
I see you already have lots of great suggestions. I'll just briefly suggest 2 more: 1.) blurb.com for printing blogs. I use them every year with mine and love them. 2.) Janeen Alley as a nutrition coach. You can reach her at janeenalley.com. She is amazing with kids and nutrition, is a great friend, and actually introduced me to your blog. You give me so many great ideas, glad to share the wealth.
Just emailed her, thank you!
Thanks for sharing bits of your heart as you mother!
I have a quick question for you or your readers if anyone has ideas. I blog as a journal, all private, but like you, I take lots of pictures. When I use things like blog2print, because it is heavy in photos, it will only print about three to four months at a time. That’s ok, except I sometimes wonder if I want four books for every year of our life (I know. Blog less, take fewer pictures). But are there people who have photo heavy blogs that have found a good book maker? Or have ideas about photo size or how to pick specific photos, and leave some out? When your sil did a whole year, did she custom make it and edit some?
Also. Can a blog be backed up on an external drive? I did lose my blog once and had to petition blogger to get it back. In the end, it was a mistake on their end but wow. There was total panic when I realized that six years of daily journaling had disappeared!!!
Just a quick idea, and maybe it's been mentioned, but I didn't read through all the comments. My 13 year old just turned a year of my blog into a book as her 10 hour project for good works. It helped me out tremendously, another year closer to getting the blog backed up as a hard copy, and of course it helped her out with Personal Progress. Not to mention when the book came in the mail, she told me how much she appreciates all the other books that I have spent time on to compile. It's a labor of love, but so important to print the blog!! We used Lulu Blog Books.