Sunday, November 29, 2009

It's time to celebrate Christmas

I got to pick our Christmas tree this year. Our first ever! Joseph didn't really like this one because he said it was "too small" (whatever), so he agreed to choose the tree next year if I got to choose this one. Why would we need a bigger tree? I just didn't get it. I think it's a guy thing.

Anyway, it was fun. We've never bought a tree before, and when I was growing up- the Christmas tree was never anything we really got that into. My dad bought a 6 dollar tree one year I remember because he bragged about how cheap it was all the time. (And as you can imagine, it was a sorry looking tree) Then another year, he cut down a bush/tree from our front yard for our Christmas tree and that was embarrassing. I think no tree might have been a better option that year. So needless to say- this was an exciting event for us.

It smells wonderful, we love it!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Water, Weed, Repeat: Transform your life

Joseph and I have now been in our apartment for almost a month. And, during this time I've had a lot of time to myself which has allowed me to process a lot of things. I haven't had this much free time to govern for myself in years (or at least that is what if feels like). We moved here because Joseph found a job, which has been what I've been wanting since he graduated in May. So we were so excited to come and start this "new chapter" of our lives. This is the first time that at least one of us hasn't been in school our whole married lives (4 years). So, I came to New York excited, but still unsure of how if fit exactly in this new picture of our lives. I didn't know very many people around, I came with no job in place for me, and so when I first got here- I spent hours just cleaning the apartment, unpacking, and looking for jobs. This is what I did every day for about the first two weeks. However, I started noticing that if I didn't get everything done that I wanted to- then I started to feel bad and get kind of down on myself.

While all of this was going on, a friend of mine asked me, "so have you been writing more songs?" and I thought about it and was embarrassed to admit that I actually hadn't even picked up my guitar since I'd been in New York. I hadn't given myself permission to do so. I had to ask myself in that moment what was really going on with me- why did I feel this great pressure to get so much done? It wasn't coming from Joseph. In fact, he asked why I didn't go explore the City more. Why was I feeling bad about myself if I didn't get these things done that I felt I needed to?

I began to realize that this was coming from feeling like I had to do all these things so that I could show all of what I had done at the end of the day. That feeling gave me a sense of worth and purpose. I had always had a job and been busy with other things in the community, and that before had been part of what I based my worth and value on. I felt pride as I said to people when they asked me what I do, "I work at a psychiatric hospital." That meant that I had worth in some way. But now, when people asked me, "what did you do today," I felt myself trying to justify my day and if I didn't have something to show for it- than it wasn't enough.

I made a goal from that point on to write more, play more, and allow myself to enjoy each day. I started listening everyday to these CD's that I got Joseph for our anniversary gift. They're called, "Water, Weed, Repeat." They are CD's with a man named Tony Litster talking who created this program that helps people transform their self-image and create lasting change. It was actually listening to these CD's that helped me realize why I was feeling this way. I don't know if I would have noticed it before. But now, after working through this program- it is so clear to me where some of these thoughts, patterns and behaviors are coming from. And now that I'm aware of them, I am able to stop myself from thinking these things, and I'm able to really transform my belief about myself.

Part of the program has you write your own positive affirmation (something that I used to do with the patients I worked with at Central State), but until now, I had never really recited the affirmation daily like I am now. I write it and say it to myself every day. I feel like it really is working. Going through this program is helping me to see myself more as God sees me and to accept myself. I never felt before like I had this terrible self-esteem. It wasn't until I had nothing- no one to talk to or distract myself with, no job, a busy husband at work and no close friends yet- that I started to realize that I felt kind of down about myself.

As I have been listening to these CD's, and going through this program, I feel enlightened. I am really trying to now restructure the way I saw myself before. I recite this affirmation to myself everyday:

"I am a child of God. I have infinite worth and value. God loves me and accepts me as I am and I now fully accept myself. My soul is of great worth."

I know that this is true and the more I say it the more it resonates within me that it is true. I fail sometimes, I think I'm right sometimes when I'm not. I make many poor choices, but God still loves me. Elder Maxwell said it this way, "your individual worth is already divinely established as great. It does not fluctuate like the stock market."

I don't have a job yet. But that is ok, I'm going to get one soon. And what I do does not mean that that is who I am. I am beginning to understand that being is much more important than doing.

So if anyone wants to know what I've been doing these last few weeks in New York, this is pretty much it. Of course there are other things that are going on, but not a lot for me to show for it. Just an apartment that I unpacked, many emails sent, no jobs yet, and time to exercise, write music, serve in calling at church, and listen to these CD's. It's been quite a process for me, and although challenging for me still, I'm loving it.

(If you're interested in learning more about the CD's, or about Tony Litster, go to And, if you've really read all of this, I am impressed. I never read wordy posts. Give yourself a pat on the back.)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Mom got hitched!

We had a good time visiting with family and friends and are excited about our family growing.


Cristi, Mandy, Alex, little Manu, and me hanging out with Grandma Gloria

Gotta love brother-in-laws