Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Bad Mood Blues?

  Do you ever just feel bogged down by a dark and negative energy? That's how I've felt lately, or was feeling. I've made some changes, said a lot of prayers, and tried to wake up each morning with a positive outlook on life and the mission of my day being to serve the Lord in all I do and say. (that rhymed but it didn't plan it) The world around me is so full of hate, anger, negativity, trash, filth, and sinning. The Bible tells us to be in the world, but not of the world..."And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God" Romans 12:2. Y'all, that is really hard to do!! Satan is everywhere. He hides himself in things that are desirable and seem acceptable, he is there in the negativity that you may let take over when your having a bad day, or have a spat with a friend or loved one. Don't let yourself be fooled by his tricks or succumb to his illusions....easier said than done, right?! I admit I can get caught up in gossip, I let my anger get the best of me and say mean things, and I often find myself placing value on the things of this world that are not ultimately not important. Here are some of the changes I've been trying to make in my life to clear that dark cloud to let the light through! Maybe they'll help you, too!

I had so much trash in my itunes, it wasn't even funny. I put aside that fact that the language and content were inappropriate, even for a married adult, and listened to it anyway. I opted not to pay attention to that feeling that maybe it wasn't the best choice. I was driving one day and having a fit of roadrage, I found myself spewing profanities through my rolled-up windows at another driver (who was a total idiot-just sayin). By some chance I noticed that I had one of my more hard-core rap songs on, and immediately turned it off....I know that what you listen to affects your mood and your actions. I was becoming numb to the audacity and unattractiveness of using those words. So, I got rid of all of my unedited music, and even some of my edit stuff that I felt I didn't need in my head, and downloaded some awesome praise and worship songs, as well as some awesome smile-enducing reggae. I can't begin to describe the monumental difference I feel when I listen to uplifting and positive music all day versus the alternative. Please don't confuse this as me saying all I listen to is Christian Rock now, because that is SO not the case, I can still get down-trust. I am merely saying that I am more conscious of what I'm listening to and putting in my mind!

p.s. Download Matt Redman 10,000 reasons album for $0.99 for an awesome jam!

I know this seems a little bizaare, but I realized that I hadn't been cooking as much in the past few months as I normally do. Cooking is super theraputic for me, it is a passion, and something that I consider to be a lot of fun (minus the clean-up). Cooking for my husband and daughter is a way that I can serve the Lord. Cooking for others, and doing for others is being in the service of your fellow man, showing love to them and compassion, all of which are things that the Savior was an example of. It makes me feel good, and I know it makes my husband feel appreciated and cared for when I cook a nice meal for him to eat.

Taking care of my body, and eating and exercising often is an instant spirit lifter! I'm happy, smiling, maybe sweaty, but ready to take on the world and it's tricks when I've had a good work out. I love Zumba classes, and always have a blast, but sometimes a good solo cardio session is just what I need to clear my head and get my mind and heart right!

This is just something that has been on my mind lately! Thanks for letting me share! What do you to to "let the light" into your life when it's getting funky? I'd love to hear it! Other than cooking and singing and working out, this week I've been gearing up and preparing for Noah's big 1st birthday party! We've got a TON of family and friends coming to town to celebrate with us! Oh, and did I mention we're having our entire yard landscaped this week! Gulp, lets hope Hurricane Isaac doesn't messed it all up with these evening storms we're getting! Y'all have a safe and relaxing Labor Day weekend! Peace and Love, Layne

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Your body is a temple...

        Yesterday, on my day off from work a girlfriend and I had the opportunity to go the Columbia, South Carolina LDS temple. A very generous friend kept Noah (in addition to her two precious children), and it was so nice knowing that Noah was safe and having fun while I was having my spiritual time. It is always a blessing to visit the temple. For those who are not LDS, or unfamiliar with our faith, the temple is different from our church buildings that we attend every Sunday, it is a very hallowed place in which we participate in church ordinances that differ from our normal Sunday sacrament services. Here is a link to that can explain a little more thoroughly and eloquently than I can, regarding temples... Frequently asked questions about Temples.  I enjoy any time I can visit the temple, but it is very special when I get to go with a friend. My friend Anna is also a convert to the church, she and I were able to go yesterday and enjoy the Spirit together. Anna is actually only about a month away from being married and sealed to her fiance in the temple (yay!). Part of what transpires during a temple session is the renewing of Covenants with the Lord. I've made a lot of Covenants with my Heavenly Father all of them critical to my eternal happiness, and being at the temple I'm able to reflect and renew those covenants. Some involve service to the Lord, faithfulness to my husband, and keeping my body and pure and sanctified vessel.

the Temple!

            As some of you know, I am a Zumba intructor. I also diet and exercise in other ways, too. For as long as I can remember I've been involved in some form of physical activity be it cheerleading, dance, working out, etc. I also for as long as I can remember have been on some form of diet or healthy eating regime. When I joined the church in 2007 I gave up all tobacco, drugs, and alcohol and convenanted with the Lord to treat my body as a temple. To treat it just as if it were the beautiful white, shining, pure and sanctified house of the Lord that I was able to visit yesterday. My body is a gift from God, "What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's." 1 Corinthians Chapter 6:19-20 and I have been abundantly blesse for treating it that way. I try very hard to be healthy and encourage others to do so, as well. It is so important for your friends and family and children to not only have you healthy so that you can live a long and productive life, but also so that you can be an example to them. I'm so blessed to have family and friends that are also not only involved in physical fitness, but supportive of my involvement. When I leave the temple, just like when I attend a wedding, or baptism, or take the sacrament in church on Sunday, I get such a pure, and spiritual high. I feel spectacular inside and out. That's one of the reasons it is so great to share the experience of attending the temple with a friend! When I exercise it's a very similar, I get a "high" of sorts, I'm always happy, at peace, and feel generally great! Again, I love being able to share that positive experience, and feel so great with my friends and people I care about!
It's a little peculiar to think of a Zumba class as a spiritual experience... there is loud music and lots of people, and you're shaking what your mama gave you for about an hour! You leave sweaty and tired- BUT... that class is just another way I'm keeping my part of the covenant I made with the Lord to be healthy and treat my body like the gift it is. I'm not only happier, but my capability to serve the Lord, my husband and daughter, and others is so much greater when I'm in shape and healthy!!
      Like I mentioned before, I am so lucky to have friends that are passionate about health and fitness, too. It makes the experience such a positive one, and it helps me stay on track. Here are a couple of resources I use, and some great pages regarding health and physical fitness, especially for women! Peace and Love, Layne

Jewels and Jerseys

POJO Fitness

Exploits of a Military Mama, Body After Baby

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Noah's First Birthday Party- sneak peek!

Y'all, I cannot believe my baby girl is about to be a year old! I have planned a spectacular party, which hopefully I can pull-off! Here are some sneak peek shots of what I have in store! I can not wait to share the occasion with you!! Peace and Love, Layne

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Why Noah will be our only child for a nice, loooong, while...

        For those of you that know me, you know that I have decided that I do not want to have any more children. Physically, that is. I do eventually want another child whether it be through surrogacy or adoption, but this mama's body is officially closed for business. I've been through too much physically, emotionally, and psychologically to be pregnant again. Don't get me wrong, Noah was SO worth it. So unbelievably worth it...but she's here now, and I know what me being pregnant entails, and knowing it all up front, well, I just can't do it again. I do truly want a son one day, and I'd love for it to be mine and Chad's biological child if at any point we can afford a surrogate, however I also love the idea of adoption and giving a child a good, loving home that they might not otherwise have. With that being said, I do not want another child for a loooooonnnggg time. Like years from now, and I am SO sure about that. We've been lucky enough to spend some time with my in-laws, nieces and nephews recently (there are 5 children under 5, not including Noah) and I have never been so content with just having Noah in my entire life. I'm also pretty certain at this point that my sisters-in-law are the most patient women I know, and that Chad's oldest sister, Nicole (mother to 3 under 5), is a saint. A saint who hasn't slept, showered, or pooped in peace in 5 years. If I know one thing about myself after being around these amazing kids, and I truly mean that they are amazing, is that I am too selfish, too impatient, and just not cut out for more than one child right now.
        After a family dinner and hang out session at Chad's parent's house, I have a border-line migraine and feel like I could sleep for 14 hours. I often sit back and take inventory of the scene in the house during these get-togethers and just shake my head and laugh...the three oldest (the 5 year old, 2 year old, and almost 3 year old) are running around with flash lights, screaming about who pushed who, putting each other in time-out, and then hugging and making up in the most heart-melting of fashions...the oldest of the babies, who is 16 months old, is screaming bloody murder-not out of sadness, anger or frustration, but out of sheer joy at building a block tower and knocking it down herself. Noah is crawling around on all of the furniture on her tip toes trying to reach whatever electronic device we've placed out of her reach and the youngest, a nine month-old, is crawling on the ground as if navigating a war zone fighting to just make it through the den and into the kitchen with his extremities in-tact. Meanwhile, Chad's two sisters are negotiating with the big kids, "Now lets give her back her flashlight, and she'll give you back your truck..." in addition to "Did you push him?" (which, by the way the response to that is the most adorably honest "He pushed me....and I pushed him first!") Chad's brothers-in-law are trying to get by with what little interjection they can, but still having to throw out an occasional "Watch out for the baby," or "don't throw that!" Chad and I are changing dirty diapers, placing phones up on end tables and then removing them and placing them on higher tables....and then pulling Noah away from the electrical cords she's found by crawling under the couch and getting stuck between it and the wall. As well as having everyone's favorite conversation: "What did you give Noah to eat?" "I didn't give her anything..." "Well what's in her mouth?" ---rush over to the baby and pry the <insert random object here> out of her throat. The greatest part is that ALL of this has taken place over just a 5 minute time period....and what's even more unbelievable is that these are good kids. Heaven help the families with problem children, I shudder to think about how I would cope in that situation. I have said time and time and time again, certain kids take certain types of parents, and folks I have recognized my short-comings and recognized my potential, and right now that potential is shouting: being an amazing ONE child. I am not organized enough, patient enough, clear-headed enough, kind enough, or strong enough to handle anything more than my sweet Noah girl right now. I've got to tell ya, I am certainly humbled by the amazing parenting abilities I witness from Chad's two sisters and their husbands. My nieces and nephews are the smartest and funniest kids I know, and they have the biggest hearts. My nephew pushed me on the porch swing for 5 minutes tonight, and while that might not seem like long, he's only two. My 5-year-old niece told her other Aunt, who hadn't been given an invitation to Noah's birthday party yet, to "just be patient and she was sure that she would get it soon"....and my two-year-old niece sat on the counter eating boiled peanuts with me today and out of the blue looked over and told me "I'm SO excited because my cousins are coming to grandmama's house today, too!" What's great for Chad and I, but especially for Noah is that we don't have to have any other kids for a while because she's the luckiest little girl in the world to have such amazing cousins just a few hours away to play with!
       Here are some pics of my little angel from tonight, she's getting so big! We had her one-year-old portraits done yesterday, and I could hardly believe it! What is the family dynamic like in your family? Did I paint an accurate picture of your family get-togethers, or is it totally different? More kids for you, or content with what you've got? For me, it's nice to know where I stand, and I can safely say my hubby agrees with me! We are content with our little family for now! Peace and Love, Layne

Noah chillin' on the porch with her Grandaddy.

Grandmama snuggling with Noah and her cousin, both having their nighttime milk.

Friday, August 3, 2012

For this child I prayed....

....and the Lord hath given me my petition which I asked of Him. 1Samuel 1:27

We're quickly approaching Noah's 1st birthday. A year has FLOWN by. I have had so much fun with this little goober the past few days, and wanted to share some of the adorable pictures I managed to snap!! Peace and Love, Layne

picking her up from the babysitter's house...

gave it to her as a drum, and she used it to "cook"

When she sits on her stool she always claps because she feels like a big girl!

Kisses to her favorite guy!

I think she wondered what I was doing to her I love that expression!

baths are faves.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Who I used to be...

I know I have written about this before, but I've had a pretty fantastic day, and I really feel like talking about it again. So here goes. I am not the same person I used to be. The Layne from 5 years ago, is not the Layne of today. In fact, the Layne of 1 year ago is not the Layne of today. But, I especially look back to my high school and early college years and think what an amazing change I've made, and how glad I am that I am not that person anymore. The difference has nothing to do with the obvious worldy changes I have made in my life, it has nothing to do with that fact that I don't drink alcohol anymore, or go out and party, it is very much an inner change that happened to me and that I'd like to dwell on that today.
     I used to be mean. I was a mean person, especially in high school. I was a bully, and another B-word, too (if ya know what I'm sayin'). I was mean to people for a million different reasons, none of them worthwhile, none of them acceptable, and I have no idea why I acted that way or what I thought gave me that right. I certainly had a fair share of people who picked on me, or talked bad about me, maybe my attitude and actions were a defense mechanism- who knows, not me- I'm not a psychiatrist. I do know that I was always amidst controversy, whether I was involved in it, causing it, or talking about it. My senior superlative was "Most likely to start a Gossip Hotline" it sounds funny, but in reality gossip is salicious and hurtful and causes no positive effects on anyone involved. I realize I'm not painting a very flattering picture of myself- but it is a truthful one. Despite this horrible attribute and disposition I had to injure others, I had some great friends. Some who were mean, too, and some who were amazing, kind, and funny people....all who I loved dearly and loved me despite that fact that I acted like Regina George on crack ( Mean Girl's reference).

I'm not sure when I realized how horrible I'd been, or when I stopped being so horrible, I think the change in actions was a gradual transition, and maybe the realization was something of a giant slap in the face epiphany, but none the less, I stopped. For the most part. I still struggle with that meanness more than I would like to admit and sometimes I let it get the best of me. My husband thinks it's equally hilarious and horrifying. Ok... so maybe he thinks it's just horrifying, but he likes to make fun of me behind closed doors about it. He often refers to it as me "getting ghetto" on someone, or if someone else acts that way he may call it "pulling a Layne". These days, though, if I do slip up and are mean to someone, most of the time it stems from me losing my patience or being frustrated. It's no longer for amusement or malicious and I feel like, while it is still unacceptable, it is much more of a flaw and than a condition. For entertaiment purposes here is an example of me losing it:
When we lived in Florence, SC my old Hyundai would decide not to start a lot of the time. It would be completely random and I would have done nothing wrong and it was so embarrassing because it would be in my office parking lot, or somewhere public and I would eventually have to have it towed to a garage to be looked at. The first time it happened the guys told me it started up for them just fine (of course) and I blushed and sighed and explained that that was really discouraging because I tried everything and did nothing wrong and what on Earth could it be, and they asked did I leave my lights on or the door open and I told them no and took my car and left. Then it did it again and I had to have it towed....again, and the shop guys got it to start first try....again! They smiled, sort of chuckled leaned over the counter and very condescendingly said "Sweetheart, are you suuurre you aren't maybe leaving the lights on or door not closed all the way and just running your battery down?" *SNAP*CRACKLE*POP* That sent my lid flying.. Yes I am sure I have not let the battery die, I was sure the first time you suggested it. Do I look stupid, DO. I. LOOK. STUPID. Do you think as an intellegent adult I might have tried to jump my car before bringing it here? That maybe I noticed and pointed out to you that the AC, and radio work and it is just the ignition that doesn't that might clue you in on the fact that I have not let the battery die. Maybe you just thought that I like coming to see you, right? That I paid $70 TWICE to have my car towed but didn't think to check the battery first, silly me for bringing my car here to your place of business that is supposed to be able to help me and tell me what it wrong with my car rather than talk to me like a child and not thoroughly do your job, I assure I wont come back and that someone else will be receiving my money to fix my car-YOU. IDIOT.

<sigh> I'm only human.

But each night when I pray I ask God for forgiveness for anyone I might have caused to be unhappy, anyone I might have injured with my words or an unfriendly look, and anyone I might have said something unkind about. Each day I wake up with one goal, and that is to try and be more like my Savior. He was kind to and loved everyone, even his persecutors, even strangers, even people who believed different things than him, who tested his patience, who were different than he was. I think about how I feel when someone is kind to me, when their tone of voice says that they are glad to be talking to me and I'm not wasting their time, and when a stranger passes and just smiles and waves. It feels great, it can make a bad day an ok day. So, I try to be that person and treat people that way. Today I was nice. I was pleasant and perky and friendly to everyone I came in contact with and it felt great. I feel happier when I make an effort to be good to others, it's infectious and it makes me want to do it all of the time. It makes my heart happy, and I hope that the people I interact with are uplifted by it, too. So just know that when you roll your eyes, or stick up your nose in judgement....that when you feel like you are just too dang busy to deal with someone else, or give anyone your attention, or when someone is wearing thin on your patience, and maybe even when someone is making you bonkers in another car driving next to you on the road....a smile can melt the tension, a nice word can make someone's day, and treating others with respect and love will ALWAYS lead to a better outcome than being mean. Peace and Love, Layne