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So I’ve been thinking I ought to create a new blog for my stay in Saudi Arabia. My reasoning?  Well, as you all know from looking at my archives, I have many entries about our fantastic trip to Israel. Normally, if it were any other country, I would continue to use this blog. BUT, Saudi Arabia isn’t a normal country. I had to get a new passport because my old one has stamps from Israel and that would prevent me from entering the country. Furthermore, as I looked at other blogs from expats and locals from Saudi Arabia, many have mentioned censorship. It is entirely possible that my blog may be read by unfriendly eyes. And I don’t want a big section on Israel to be associated with a Saudi blog. So, in theory, I’m trying to prevent problems with  my blog and for my family.

So do you think I’m being overly cautious?

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Two days ago a reader sent me a link in response to a comment I wrote on another blog. The link describes what it is like to live with a chronic illness on a daily basis–in this case, the author has lupus. I too have lupus. There have been times throughout the eight years that I’ve lived with this disease that my days have been so similar. Other days I fly throughout without cares or worries. Anyhow, I highly recommend it as I think it really explains what it is like to live with a chronic illness.

Before I share the link I do want to talk about something that the author points out and something I’ve personally learned as a result of living with lupus. Quite simply, it is that I can’t do everything I want. Truthfully, I’m profoundly grateful that I’ve learned this because it has helped me deal with a lot of hard periods in my life. And I think it is a lesson that more of us need to learn, especially mothers of young children.

We perfectionists tend to think that we must do everything and be in perfect and complete control. We think  that our houses should be sparkling clean, obsessively organized, filled with picture-perfect children, up-to-date hobbies, and a lovely romantic relationship with our husbands.  And when we can’t do that, which would be impossible in any case, we spiral out of control, wallow in depression, or teeter on the edge of a nervous breakdown.

So maybe you are perfectly healthy and you think I’m absolutely crazy for saying this. But I really believe it. Don’t go crazy trying to do everything. Life is more than your to-do list. Don’t attach your value or self-worth to the level of your busy-ness. Do what matters most and let the rest go.

I’ll write that again: Do what matters most and let the rest go.

When I was pregnant with my fifth son, a number of odd health things cropped up that knocked me off my feet. I literally stayed in bed for almost 9 months. I could only accomplish 5 things each day. It was hard, but I was doing what I had to do. We all survived. These days, my energy and strength reserves are full and I can do much more. But I still have days where I have to weigh and measure what I want to do with what my body will allow me to do.

Wherever I am at healthwise, I try to be grateful for what I can do, instead of focusing on what I can’t do.

Sorry for the rambling, here is the link.

http://butyoudontlooksick.com/navigation/BYDLS-TheSpoonTheory.pdf

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Edited to add links to the clothes I bought:

I generally hate shopping for clothes. In order for the experience to be successful and fun the following circumstances must be present.

1. Children should be at home and not in a stroller or walking beside me. (Usually, I have a pack of children attending my every movement and then some when I go shopping.)

2. Money should be available in sufficient quantities to spend. (My budget doesn’t often have leeway in extra cash.)

3. Clothes that fit and look attractive must be available. (Most clothes seem to only fit super-skinny models without curves of any size. I, on the other hand, am short, and while slender, have curves.)

4. Sales should be on. (Sales aren’t that difficult to find. But sometimes when you find the perfect dress or outfit, there is not a sale to be had and it hurts to pay full-price.)

5. I should look attractive with curled hair and wearing makeup. (While am striving to look more put-together when I venture into the public eye, sometimes I can’t quite manage it.)

When these circumstances align, they are rarer than a solar eclipse. But on those oh so rare moments, fate intervenes and I get a perfect shopping trip.

Today was such a day, though it didn’t seem as if it would be likely. I had a rare moment, less than an hour, by myself at the store. I had tried on a couple of dresses earlier that fit perfectly and were very flattering. When I first tried them on, I didn’t have money. But today, my pocket was lined with some green. I looked more than presentable and felt optimistic as I looked through the store. There were some sales and I was able to find two dresses, a pair of comfortable dress shoes, nylons, and accessories for a good price. They even gifted me a lovely clutch for spending a certain amount.

The first dress has a floral print pattern that is fresh and springy. I could wear it anywhere–during the day, to church or at a picnic. The second dress is the perfect “little black dress”, elegant and almost formal, appropriate for a night at the opera, or at church, or on a date with my husband.

And so I revel in my perfect shopping day. Hope to post pictures soon of the dresses!

I bought this dress:   http://www.dressbarn.com/detail/box-pleated-watercolor-print-dress/100840659/406

and this dress: It isn’t an exact replica as I wasn’t able to find it on the website. I bought it in black and it has a v-neckline instead of a scoop neckline

http://www.dressbarn.com/detail/ruffle-front-dress/100825385/405

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So I did it. I stuck with my goals and resolutions for this first quarter. I’m so happy with the results and work.

Habits I’ve developed

Daily scripture study–complete with writing thoughts in a journal

Holding myself accountable with goal sheets and blog posts

Organizing my weekly and monthly work and breaking up the work

Keeping my house organized and clean

Keeping the kitchen clean

Daily scripture study in the morning with family

Piano practice and lessons

Involving the kids more in the daily and weekly work

Planning for meals and shopping

Crafting and creating more frequently 

Developed healthy habits that I work on daily

These are all habits that have added immeasurably to the peace and order in our home. I feel like I am in control, instead of being at the mercy of the chaos that used to dominate my life. I feel like I have more time in my life to stop and enjoy things. Overall, I’m happier. I’m yelling less at my kids–though I would like to eliminate that totally. And I find that I’m less likely to snap at my husband. I feel energetic and upbeat about my work. When I feel tired or down, I can take a few minutes to recoup and then generally go about my day.

I’m excited to plan my goals for the next quarter.

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March goals

I managed to check in 3 times this month about my progress. Perhaps in the future I’ll call it good if I check in every two weeks. I did find it helpful it to print out weekly goals that I could check off when completed.

Spiritual

I finished the D&C.  I didn’t listen to Conference. I kind of hit overload. But that’s okay.

Health

I saw my neurologist and have made some adjustments in my lifestyle. I’ve been taking a multi-vitamin daily. I’ve worn my retainer daily. We bought an elliptical trainer and I’ve been using it since we had it.

Family

I didn’t read consistently with my son, but I’ve been spending more time working with him on his reading. I made a budget. I’ve kept up with my basic, daily, weekly and monthly routines.

Create

I’ve backed up all my photos on CD. I found all my 2009 pictures and had them printed. I’ve made several pages for 2009. I’ve created a few 2010 pages. I’ve edited two batches of my Israel pictures.

Books

I read Woodsong and Face of a Stranger. I didn’t quite finish We’ve Got Issues, but feel like I have a good handle on the material and premise of the book. It’s a little dry, so I’m not sure I’ll finish it. But I thought it was a good reference book that you turn to when you need information.

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I finished the Doctrine and Covenants- all 138 sections and two declarations of it.

I didn’t focus on the historical aspects of this book. I rather studied with the intent of finding wisdom and advice that was directly applicable to me. If I were to sum up the Doctrine and Covenants, I would say that it is supremely optimistic and powerful about the future of the world. The great work of our day is missionary work. It is vital to the future of mankind and to our salvation. I felt that the Lord was constantly urging the Saints to look beyond their trials and go forward with faith and hope. Again and again, the Lord commands the Saints to fear not, to have faith and to trust in Him.

I personally felt that I need to be a better example in my daily life. That I need to be more open and willing to share the gospel. I also feel that I need to consciously work on preparing my children for missions. I also felt keenly that my purpose extends beyond this life. My vision of of who I want to become was curiously simplified and yet expanded beyond belief. I can live in the moment, enjoying and working on my life as it is, but not forgetting that there is a life beyond this one and that death does not end progression.

Studying the Doctrine and Covenants the past three months has been inspiring. I have a testimony that it is true.

Some favorite scriptures:

“Lift up your hearts and be glad, for I am in your midst, and am your advocate with the Father; and it is his good will to give you the kingdom.” (D&C 29:5)

“He that receiveth my law and doeth it, the same is my disciple.” (D&C 41:5)

“These words are given unto you, and they are pure before me; wherefore, beware how you hold them, for theya re to be answered upon your souls in the day of judgment.” (D&C 41:12)

“Seek not to be cumbered. Forsake all unrighteousness.” (D&C 66:10)

“And he who is faithful shall overcome all things, and shall be lifted up at the last day.” (D&C 75:16)

“And truth is knowledge of things as they are, and as they were, and as they are to come.”

“If thou are sorrowful, call on the Lord they God with supplication, that your souls may be joyful.” (D&C 136:29)  My favorite scripture and possibly worth the entire reading of D&C.

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I’m doing fine with my goals. I haven’t organized and decluttered the way I want, but I’ll work on that.

We bought an elliptical trainer and I used it 4 times last week. I’m looking forward to another good week of exercise!

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