Sunday, August 2, 2015

Should I Dive Into RealLifeHappy.com? [Your Opinion Wanted]

When I think of the word rejoice, I think of actions like fist pumps, jumping in the air, dancing up and down and being really excited and happy.

Today in church we had an energetic and very happy message in Relief Society (our church meeting with just women 18 and older) about rejoicing in Jesus Christ. I LOVED this lesson. Part of me felt like I needed to hear the messages that were shared and feel the spirit that was present... which has got to be why baby Champlin hasn't arrived yet... (right?!).

The message was all about being happy, and taking the time to really think about the amazing blessings that we can obtain because of Jesus Christ and his gospel.

Which brings me to the main topic of this post....

NOTE: START READING HERE IF YOU WANT TO HELP ME OUT AND SHARE YOUR OPINION ON MY CRAY-ZEE IDEA



Over the past two years I've been thinking on and off about starting a formal "blog" if you will... a website to share things that I love and a way for me to connect with the outside world and hopefully help strengthen others who are going through similar things as I am. It would be part business part personal. There's been so many random promptings I've had, or at least times where I think... "Hm, I should be talking about this and sharing this with those around me".

I want to inspire hope and help others find happiness. A while back I purchased the domain "RealLifeHappy.com" thinking that would be the URL I'd publish under. Part of me doesn't know why I haven't launched it yet (well... besides the fact I'm not done designing it and populating it with content), and part of me is wondering why the heck I'm even thinking about doing it. I feel kind of silly doing it. Like somehow I'm being too cliche or convincing myself it's a ridiculous idea and I shouldn't do it.

I haven't spoken to too many people about this idea of RLH (RealLifeHappy.com). But I guess if you're still reading this then maybe you'd be willing to share your opinion. Here's how I see it: I'd keep this blog, but *probably* make it private. The purpose of me keeping the two sites would be:

brockandnatalee.blogspot.com purpose:

A place to share and record my personal thoughts and feelings (like an online journal) as well a place to share my thoughts/opinions on my religion/beliefs. (I am strongly considering going private on this blog for the security of my family/kids/sensitive thoughts/feelings/experiences I wouldn't want thrown to creepy online people). Will share 

  • Share spiritual thoughts, experiences, beliefs and opinions 
  • Share photos of my family, including my kids, in a private, non-Facebook, non-everyone in the world can see just the people I care out
  • Share links to my vlogs/YouTube videos that are personal/family related... ex: videos of Blakely, videos of me talking about random things I want to remember... (like that time I missed the MN drivers test by one question and made a 5 minute rant/video about it...)
RealLifeHappy.com purpose:

To inspire other women, mothers, and young adults to be happy and enjoy life! While also talking about topics I love like handbags, entrepreneurship and organizing. A non-religious site (though when talking about some things like marriage/family I'm sure my beliefs would come through a bit). 
  • share my personal opinions and thoughts about a variety of topics including
    • family
    • marriage
    • personal/family finance
    • designer bags/diaper bags
    • marketing/design/branding
    • event planning
    • organizing
    • entrepreneurship
    • motherhood
    • how I dislike cooking (but do it anyways... sometimes... when I'm hungry)
    • being semi-minimalist... or headed that way
    • organizing
    • whatever else tickles my fancy
  • share YouTube videos of diaper bags/handbag reviews I've made 
  • share resources that I've found or created related to the topics i mentioned above 
    • (ex: share PDFs I've made for organizing family finances to website and articles I find helpful)
  • share my favorite products/fun things that I enjoy (like these beach towels with pockets that blew my mind I hadn't thought of this before... um sweet)
Thoughts? Should I do this? Am I totally lame? It's ok if you say yes.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Reflecting on the Character of Jesus Christ

Reflecting on the Character of Jesus Christ


I can't remember where I first saw this, but I came across this really great talk given by Elder David A. Bednar. I really liked the talk, though I admit I started it about four times before actually sitting down and deciding to finish it. I wanted to share my thoughts, and I'd love to hear yours too:

(Read the Blue and Yellow if you want the cliff-notes version of this post, ha)

Click HERE to read the talk (took me about 15 minutes).

My Thoughts/Observations:


Character: the sum of the moral and mental qualities which distinguish an individual

REACHING BEYOND OUR INSTINCTS TO BE SELF ABSORBED

"Perhaps the greatest indicator of character is the capacity to recognize and appropriately respond to other people who are experiencing the very challenge or adversity that is most immediately and forcefully pressing upon us... Thus, character is demonstrated by looking and reaching outward when the natural and instinctive response is to be self-absorbed and turn inward."

There are many times I've thought to myself, "Jee I wish someone would help me with X" or "Why do I never get Y", or "If only I didn't have to deal with Z then things would be so much better".

From wishing I didn't sit alone in church, or wanting someone to ask me how I'm doing but be sincerly interested in listening, or even wishing for trials to be "anything but this", I find that the more I turn inward the more absorbed in my own problems I become. The times I've taken to listen to others and let them open up, I learn SO much about not only their lives but about how things in my life don't seem THAT bad.

RESISTING TEMPTATION

Elder Bednar speaks about Christ and how he perfectly resisted all temptations that were thrown his way. By doing so Jesus Christ has a perfect understand of the power of temptation and He can help us through our own temptations. 

REMEMBERING WHO WE ARE

The talk mentions three instances where Jesus Christ is temped by Satan, including:

  • tempting Jesus Christ to satisfy his physical hunger by changing stones to bread during a 40 day fast
  • tempting Jesus Christ to gain recognition by casting himself down from the pinnacle of the temple
  • tempting Jesus Christ with wealth and riches if he would worship Satan

"It is interesting to note that the overarching and fundamental challenge to the Savior in each of these three temptations is contained in the taunting statement, "If thou be the Son of God." Satan's strategy, in essence, was to dare the Son of God to improperly demonstrate His God-given powers, to sacrifice meekness and modesty, and, thereby, betray who He was. Thus, Satan attempted repeatedly to attack Jesus' understanding of who He was and of His relationship with His Father."

My stake president back home in Utah would always say that we need to stop putting labels on ourselves. The phrases of "I'm gay", "I'm a successful X", "I'm an addict", "I'm a sinner", "I have this/that calling in the church",... these need to stop. We need to identify ourselves as children of God. I also think we need to identify everyone around us a children of God. When we stop thinking so much about ourselves and the bubble we all live in, we can really open up our minds to the FACT that other people are different from us, they have different thoughts, feelings, convictions, temptations, strengths, abilities and each one of them is loved by our Heavenly Father just as much as he loves you and I.

ONE LAST NUGGET THAT MAY BE HARD TO SWALLOW

There are so many great talking points and takeaways from this talk, but I wanted to touch on one last thought to try and keep this post brief.

In the talk, Elder Bednar tells about an experience he had where three young women in his ward were killed in a car accident. To keep things really brief, one of the girls who was killed was also the only daughter of the Relief Society president. He describes an incident as followed:

"On the day of her daughter's funeral, this Relief Society president from my home ward received a phone call from an irritated sister in our ward. The complaining sister had a cold and did not feel well, and she basically chewed out the Relief Society president for not being thoughtful or compassionate enough to arrange for meals to be delivered to her home. Just hours before the funeral of her only child, this remarkable Relief Society president prepared and delivered a meal to the murmuring sister."

[Warning: slight non-cook talking about cooking rant]
Um. OK. First off, does anyone reading this know how much effort goes into making someone a meal?!? (You can read that sentence in my outside-not-quite-yelling-but-getting-close voice). I personally do not cook, I have never really liked to cook - I just like to eat and do the dishes. So for someone like me preparing a meal for someone else is like... stress city... and I've only done it twice. The first time I crawled Pinterest for something that would work and ended up nearly in tears with my husband, "Babe I just can't find anything to make!" and went to the store and purchased an easy freezer meal for this individual (yes, I apologized for my feeble attempt at bringing over dinner - ha). The second time I spend half the day in the kitchen, got behind, had some fun, was proud of my efforts, but was stressing and obsessing whether I had thought of everything, how was I going to keep things how, do I purchase those tin container things or just use tupperware, should I make a dessert, what if they don't like it... though I'd have to say I think it might have turned out ok.
[End of my cooking rant.]

SO. Back to the story.

For this Relief Society president to simply choose to not react to this complaining sister, and show her some compassion on the day she probably needed compassion more than any other person is a true show of her character. Acting the way she did is how Christ would have. Our natural tendency to lash back at people and say, "You're kidding me right? Do you know what I'm going through!?" or to think about how much WE need is exactly that - a natural tendency. All of us react like this sometimes and that's OK. What is important is realizing that as we commit to become more like Christ we need to act like He would, which sometimes means acting against our natural instincts. 

CONCLUDING THOUGHTS

This article sparked some good conversation with my husband, and is definitely something that I needed a reminder of (funny how that happens every time)... It was a great insight into how we could better study the life of the Savior and notice patterns that teach us about his character.

I hope something here helped you, sparked an action you could take to improve your own life, or to improve you outlook on life positively. I'd love to hear your thoughts about this :) whether you've read the article mentioned or not.

Happy Thursday.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Guys, My House Sold - Okay?


I got a phone call and an email today about our home for sale in Logan, and decided, "Ops... I'd probably better update the website/ad listing I created as SOLD".

Well, of course I'm sitting here getting all weepy looking through all the pictures of our old home. Stop. STOP! Natalee!! Shake it off. What am I doing to myself? It's so hard to balance the line between holding onto fond memories and not being willing to accept what is happening in the now.

I'll admit, it's been really hard for me. Like, I haven't told anyone hard because because I feel like I shouldn't want to go back. But sometimes I do. I miss my family. I miss the hot weather. I miss work. I miss frequent conversations with those I love. I miss tacos from La Tormenta. I miss having Blakely play with her family and cousins. I miss my doctor!!!

But even though all of this is hard, I still believe that its OK. It's only been a month since we've been in MN. And I'm 8 months pregnant - I'm sure that doesn't really add to any part of my excitement about being gone from "home". But I really do believe that somehow this is all part of Gods plan for me and my family. I KNOW he loves me, and I need to look for the opportunity and good in this adventure.

Ok, well I had to get that off my mind. I'm OK. Really. But sometimes I lie about being OK.

Here's the website I made for our home. I don't think I'll delete it because I don't want to right now. I've already "deleted" so much from my life that has hurt in the last while. I'll just let this live passively online so I can just not stress about the idea of saying a total goodbye.

Thanks for reading.

Love and hugs.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Sometimes You Read Words that Change Your Life

Sometimes you read words that change your life. Sometimes you read words that you know should be changing your life, but you're just not "in the mood" or "ready" to take those things to heart. 

I think what gets me to the point where something can really move or influence me is the personal meaning behind it. For example if someone very meaningful to me says or shares something with me it can have a really big impact. I also think we can be influenced when people we don't know well share things with a sincere heart, and that strikes a certain chord due to our personal situations. 

Well I wanted to share something that one of my students wrote to her family/friends in a letter. She was one of my interns this last school year, and she is currently serving as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. She is in Provo, UT for a few weeks to learn Mandarin Chinese in preparation to teach in Taiwan. In her letter she wrote this:
"Obedience brings blessings. But EXACT obedience brings miracles."
Not only does this girl have a special place in my heart as one of my dear friends, but I think the previous day at church helped spiritually prepare me to hear these words. The lesson in church was about reading the Book of Mormon. I was gently reminded the importance of making scripture study a PRIORITY in your life and not letting the adversary trick you into thinking, "I'm too tired, I don't have time, it's boring, etc." 

The fact that we can CHOOSE to be obedient, which WILL bring us blessings (or miracles) is huge! What an amazing opportunity for us to have faith and live life with a positive attitude, knowing that God loves us and is looking for the opportunity to soften our hearts and teach us more about his Son. Being exactly obedient to God [or regular obedient ;) ] is a sacrifice. I repeat. It is not easy, and requires work, commitment and sacrifice. But I believe it will always be worth it. 
As we sacrifice all to be obedient to the Lord, we can expect blessings to come in HIS way. And I trust that His way is always what I need, even if it's not what I want. I know Jesus Christ loves each of us, and that we are all children of God. I believe the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is the restored gospel of Jesus Christ on the earth today. Its teachings have brought me closer to God, and I am happy because of my testimony and the blessings of obeying His gospel.
Love you, thanks for reading. 

Monday, June 8, 2015

Some Times Are Hard

It's late. I should be sleeping or attempting to sleep. But things are on my mind.

Life has been hard the last few weeks. It's not bad, just hard. Leaving my family, friends, job, house, weather, mountains, the things I'm used to... I'm trying to keep a good attitude here in MN, in fact I'm enjoying new friends and fun things to do. But there's just something so hard about change, about differences.

The first Sunday we were in MN, while I was getting ready for church, there were two songs that got me all mushy/holdback tears/emotional whoa-ness. The first was Josh Groban's "You raise me up so I can stand on mountains...." In my head I thought, "Oh my heck... I miss the mountains... I love this song... it reminds me of Brock... I miss my family... I hope people like me at church."

Well the very next song that came on Pandora was the LDS hymn that goes "As I have loved you, love one another... by this shall man know, ye are my disciples if ye have love one to another." It reminded me that God loves me and my family, and hasn't stopped watching over us. I need to keep on living His gospel and not give up even though things are hard right now.

So, on top of those two songs making me feel like, "I know, I know I need to have a good attitude and be happy that we are on this new adventure..." the prior night (the first night we slept in our townhouse) Brock accidentally pulled up this talk by Neal A. Maxwell (an Apostle and previous Quorum of the Twelve member).

OK. Time out. Read/listen/watch the talk. Yeah. Spiritual punch in the face of awesome, totally needed, exactly for me kind of words. The talk is called, "Willing to Submit". Here is the one quote from his talk that I think sums up how I took it:
Just as the capacity to defer gratification is a sign of real maturity, likewise the willingness to wait for deferred explanation is a sign of real faith and of trust spread over time.
His talk is about spiritual submissiveness and how we need to continually submit our will to Heavenly Father and trust in him. I feel like that quote about was such a great message for me and has really helped me over the past week to hang on and know that there is a wonderful, smile envoking reason that Brock, Blakely and I are here in Minnesota.

Well. I'm trying to not be up too late. So I'll end here. But there are my thoughts. Maybe they will leave me in peace so I can sleep. We are going to the lake tomorrow!!

Thursday, June 4, 2015

First Week in MN

So much has happened since we've been here in MN. It's kind of hard to write it all... I should have written a little each day. Let's see what I can recall:

Thursday - I arrived with Blakely, we stayed at a hotel that night since our "stuff" wasn't being delivered till the next morning. Slept, horribly.

Friday - Moving in!! It was definitely hectic since the owners decided to wait till we moved in to paint the ENTIRE house. Literally every wall in the house got painted. So that meant that there were 2 moving guys and about 8 painting guys running around. The movers couldn't move everything into the house since the painters were in the way, but they did the best they could and left the rest in the garage. Thank goodness for Brock, because I literally can't lift nearly any of the boxes due to a tiny human who has not been named yet.

Saturday - unpacking, unpacking, unpacking.

Sunday - Church! Our church building is about 15 minutes south of us in the middle of nowhere. Seriously. You pass a bunch of fields and stuff to get there. I'm pretty sure you can see Wisconsin from the drive (hee, hee). Church was super. Sacrament meeting was awesome - there were three talks that were all really great. People talked about family history and temple service and things. Then the bishop got up after all the remarks and basically said, "Thanks for your talks, I really like the part where you illustrated that sometimes people are brought into our lives at specific times for specific reasons"... and I swear he looked right at me when he said that. I remember the song from Wicked was stuck in my head, "There are people who come into our lives..." hashtag meant to be? Maybe ;)

MacKenzie (insert last name when I remember it) came up and introduced herself. She was SUPER nice and awesome. She is married with four kids, they invited us over that night for ice cream. She also took Blakely to nursery with her two year old Amelia, and Blakely walked right in and didn't cry once. #proudmommy

It was the 5th Sunday so Brock and I stayed together the rest of the meeting. Sunday School made me really excited to (hopefully) get a calling, and the combined 3rd hour meeting was really good. The bishop talked about temples. Also, during that meeting Brock introduced us and it was fun to hear people say funny things like, "Man these guys are perfect - we didn't have to move them in or anything!"

Monday -Brock's first day of work!! Wahoo!! It's about a 10 minute drive to work (15 with traffic) and I think things went really well. Brock doesn't say much about much of anything BUT I did get really good vibes from him. I think he's really going to like his job, especially when he gets into the groove and starts to really get comfortable.
I was super productive while Brock was gone, unpacking all sorts of things and getting things put away Heck I even made dinner (if you don't already know this about me, I do not like to cook, I like to eat... there is a big difference).

Tuesday - Yet another productive day for me and awesome day for Brock.

Wednesday - crazy loud thunder/lightning storm with some slight productivity at home. We got the internet today too which is a  l i f e s a v e r  for me. #momtrepreneur

Thursday - Blakely and I took Daddy to work, hung out with MacKenzie and kids, did a little shopping, and you know just had fun :)

So far there's not really much to complain about, other than things are different (why is this bathroom counter taller than our at home? why don't we have more drawers in the kitchen? what's up with everything being not Utah and not exactly what we are used to? OH WELL MAYBE it's because it's all different... ya sillies.) and if things being different is our biggest problem right now, I feel pretty blessed.

Love and peace.

Nat.

PS. Lots of pics, video, etc to come.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Moving Day

It has been an eventful weekend. Heck, it's been an eventful month.

Today is moving day for Blakely and I. I'm typing this from my parents couch. My Dad just left work work, my sister just got home from her night shift and is sleeping, and my mom and daughter are sleeping/cuddling in bed. So I get the whole house to myself.

I just got off the phone with Brock who just pulled up into our new home to get the keys. I have butterflies of excitement thinking that I'll get to see him today, while at the same time, tears starting to well up thinking about what a peaceful goodbye my dad said to Blakely, how much he (and everyone) is going to miss her, and of course how much i'll miss everyone here in Utah.

This has been a physically and emotionally very hard month. Physically because I'm 6-7 months pregnant, and emotionally --- yeah that's pretty obvious why but it's been rough with selling our first home, traveling back and forth, and just the whole ambiguity of a lot of things. I'm pretty sure I've never really had anxiety until about 2-3 weeks ago when Brock and I flew out to find our new home. Yeah, anxiety sucks... and there was literally nothing I could do about it. I'm still fighting it even today. The two things that help me are 1) Brock and 2) listing to this audiobook called, "Boys in the Boat" which is about the "dramatic story of the American rowing team that stunned the world at Hitler's 1936 Berlin Olympics.

BUT... this whole time I've never felt like we have been doing the wrong thing. And that brings me a lot of peace. It has not been easy, but I feel like my Heavenly Father is guiding our family and there are great things in store for us.

So this morning will be filled with packing, breakfast, goodbyes, probably lots of tears, emotions, being rockstar mom in the airport, and who knows what else. It's been so weird to have time ticking away here in Utah. It's hard to say goodbye, but it's time. Time to finally feel free to be excited about this new adventure, and to look forward to a new beginning.

Lots more to come. I have a lot to say about this move that I want to remember :)