Wednesday, October 17, 2012

I'm in School Full Time

Sometimes I have asked myself, "What do you do with your time Karen?"
For about 30 years, I could easily answer that.

I'm the mom.

I remember once talking with a friend who also was a mom but spent MUCH of her time doing other things. I didn't know how she did it. I was exhausted just working at home. I didn't feel like I could afford much time doing other things because my house and family would suffer if I did.
Sometimes I felt like a failure, that didn't contribute much to the world.

I only went to two years of college and didn't even graduate with ANY degree.

As I was watching this friend go to and fro, and feeling exhausted for HER, trying to do all that a family requires and still take on a lot of projects and always on the go, I remember thinking and then telling her, 'I just need to KEEP THE HOME FIRES BURNING"
 I felt such conviction in saying that. I KNEW in my heart that that was EXACTLY what the Lord wanted me to do, and I felt a confirmation from the spirit that this was the MOST important thing anyone could be doing that was in my shoes.
If I couldn't keep life AT HOME together, nothing else mattered.

I'm the mom.

I have LOVED being the mom, and with all of it's ups and downs, I wouldn't trade it for ANY OTHER CAREER.

Well, now, all my children are "raised", so to speak.
My baby is 18, she is away at college.

My days seem to be busier than ever, but I find myself questioning,"What is it that you DO all the time Karen?"

The answer came to me the other day while driving. It was pure inspiration.

                              "I am in school FULL TIME"
I hear a lot of women now days saying just that, or some have gone back to school part time.

I have NEVER had the desire to do that, and now I see why
I am already doing it.

I thought this through. This is my WEEK.

On Monday morning at 9 am, I have a Zumba class to start off my week,
I then, rush off to a Meditation class as a stress buster to get  THROUGH the week.
Then I have a Cancer Support class to keep positive about living with cancer. Not that I have it anymore, but my world is full of people who do., and that is a very important SKILL to learn, how to live in this world with the challenge of cancer.

Then I have a break for lunch. :)
Monday afternoons, I spend 3 hrs in a Service class called Relief Society Presidency meeting.
I learn TONS in this class about helping others and at the same time helping myself.
There are about 160 women in this organization that have needs and most of them have families that have needs, and I am in the leadership of this group to help meet three of those needs.
Faith, Family, and Relief.  I spend several hours each week in a "Lab" for this class. I go with one or two other women to meet these 160 women in their homes in a personal setting.

Monday night, I have a Family Class with my husband and daughter and 5 grandchildren. We learn about living the gospel and we help teach each other basic Christian principles.

Tuesday, I have the day off.
I use this day for Re-grouping and catching up on all the things that get neglected the rest of the week. I try to keep this day JUST FOR ME.
If I feel like sleeping in, I do it.
If I feel like reading, writing, cleaning house, or whatever my heart desires, I do it
It's my "Fill my Pitcher' day.
I do, on occasion,spend the evening  going to my "LAB" for the Relief Society class, making visits.

Wednesday, classes start early as I have a 5:30 am Temple Class,
They repeat it at 6:00, and 6:40 if for some reason I can't make the first one.
At 9:15, I have my exercise class again, but instead of Zumba, it's Step Aerobics this time.
I run home and shower and then hurry off to an Addiction Recovery class.
I have someone that I love dearly that has a Pornography addiction, and I need to learn about addictions to help me love him in spite of his problems, and come to understand that the strained relationship is not because he doesn't love me, but because he has an addiction that controls him.
I take a lunch break after that, then I have the afternoon off to catch my breath.
I am in charge of dinner on Wednesdays, so I take care of that. ( for my grandchildren)
At 7:00 pm, I am off again to a Religion Class.
This year we are studying the Book of Mormon in detail.
I get home from that about 9:30 pm.

On Thursday, I have to work, but I am lucky enough to start off my day at 6:30am with a Yoga class.
With the economy the way it is, we have been a little tighter than usual with money, so I have to help bring in a little bit if possible, and I have a need to complete projects that feel like I have completed something. I also love the feeling that i have I helped someone out.
I clean houses.
I love to clean, and I have learned that people are willing to pay $20 an hour to have me do it.
I usually have one house I do in the morning, and one house I do in the afternoon got it....... my lunch break. :)
Thursday evenings, I once again, go to my "Lab" for my Relief Society class, and make visits to people's homes.

Friday, I have my exercise class again at 9 am
This is my slow day and I actually get a TREAT at 1 in the afternoon.
My brother is a massage therapist and INSISTS that after cancer, I need a weekly massage for 90 minutes.


What a blessing.

What do I do with my time???

I have found that if I take care of myself, I can be of GREAT SERVICE to others.

I think I am in the best classes of all right now in my life.
I am really learning A LOT, and I am growing in so many ways. ( we're not going to talk about weight)

I had to ask myself, "WHAT IS YOUR MAJOR?"
I think this year, it is "Religion"
That's great major

But , I will always be

Thursday, August 23, 2012

"Thy Faith Hath Made Thee Whole"

" The WHOLE need not a physician, but he that is sick"

What does it mean to be "Whole"?

Do you feel like you are whole right now, or is that something you hope for in the future?

I have been studying this idea of the Savior making me (us) WHOLE.

One of my all time favorite stories is where the woman with the Issue of Blood, reaches for the Savior's robe and touches just the hem of it, and yet she is made whole. Something she had longed for for 12 years. Later in Matthew, many are brought to the Savior, and as the verse reads., "and as many as touched his garment were made whole". I wonder how the word got out. Another story that is interesting to me is the one about the ten lepers that came to be cleansed. After Jesus told them to shew themselves to the Priests, they headed off and found they were cured. ONE turned around and gave glory to God. In otherwords, one man out of ten thanked the Lord for this miracle. Jesus says to him, "You are whole". So ten CLEANSED, and only one made whole.
That sounds like something more than just a physical cure. It sounds like it could be mental and emotion, not to mention spiritually cured too.

I know we all feel so NOT whole a lot of the time. A year or two ago, I wrote a post about being "broken", and I think the same idea applies here.

We all feel broken, a little cracked, a little "messed up" at times.
I have felt  it so many times, I probably out do all of you. :)
I cannot tell you how many times  I have sat in the celestial room in the temple in one particular chair, and looking up to the chandeliers, I have said to the Heaven's.
"WHY am I so messed up?"

During my "cancer year", I LONGED to be healed and made whole physically. It was some tough times for me, not just physically but emotionally as well. Anxiety was awful for me.

Now, my body seems to have recovered somewhat, and it is almost easy for me to forget I even had cancer.
I am now working on being made "WHOLE" by the Savior, mentally, emotionally , and spiritually.

I have come to the conclusion that this is MORE than possible because of the Atonement. and that the better we understand it and appreciate it, the more likely it is that we will have multiple moments of being made whole.
I don't think , however, that we will be perfectly whole in this life. Instead, I see myself having moments of glimpses into the future, of what Heaven will be like.
As the days pass by ever so quickly, I am having experiences that are teaching me that I am already WHOLE many times each day. Even though they might not last, I believe they are coming more and more often than any time in my life.
How do I know?
I feel the "fruits" of being made whole by the Master Gardener and Master Physician.
I feel Peace
I feel Joy
I feel Love for others
I feel calmness
I feel Faith
I feel ambitious.

All of these and more are telling me that I am TOUCHING the hem of Jesus' garment.
I am "Close Enough to Touch".........figuratively speaking......... ( title of a song but I don't know who wrote it)

Jeffrey Holland said once that if we feel broken, then we have a LOT OF COMPANY!
We have scriptural accounts of Nephi, Moses, Joseph Smith and others who felt like they were less than they thought they OUGHT to be.
That is some pretty good company!

I would love some feedback on your ideas about being made WHOLE , by the Savior. I am giving a Relief Society lesson on Sept 3rd, so send me some ideas ASAP.
Love you all,
Love, Karen

Friday, February 24, 2012

"Find Your Way Home"

It's Yoga.

Nothing I would have ever given a second glance, in my younger days.
It sounded crazy and weird to me.
It appeared to have NO real "umph" to it.

Post-Cancer, I think differently.
I feel differently.
My body is different, not just from chemo, but from age.

I have always enjoyed exercise, but only the vigorous kind.
I still want to exercise as much as possible.
There are a lot more reasons to do so now.
When I was diagnosed 4 yrs ago, my chances for survival went up significantly because of exercise that I had done regularly for almost 30 years. Hurray for exercise!

Today marks the 4 yr mark for the day that I found a rather large lump that turned out 2 weeks later to be cancer.

About 6 months ago, I was invited to try a yoga class. I had/have a lot of respect and admiration for the teacher. I wanted to try it.

WOW, what I have learned is unbelievable to me.

"Find your way home" is just one of the many things that the instructor says during our class.
This exercise is so much more than just movement of the body.
Someone LONG before me figured this out.

I have discovered strength in a way I have never seen in myself before.

First off, the positions, though slow in movement, are sometimes quite difficult for my muscles to maintain. I, on occasion, break a sweat. Something I did NOT expect to ever happen.
I feel my muscles trembling with effort. I KNOW they have to be getting stronger by doing this.

Ironically though, that is not my favorite part of the class; just an extra benefit.

What I love the most is what is going on in my head while we are working through the exercises.
The terms and the words the instructor uses bring "MINDFULNESS" to me.
Mindfulness is an ancient practice that I have discovered in my cancer support groups. History shows a lot of healing that can take place, both physically and mentally when we are mindful.
In my past life, I was too busy to be mindful.

But now, I am not too busy anymore.
I am listening more and I hear things like, "Find your way home".
She is talking about our position of standing with our hands pressed together next to our "heart center". It is a passive stance, but our mind becomes aware of our "heart center", something that we refer to often. All that is good radiates from this "center".

She reminds us to "anchor" our feet deep into the earth to give us a strong foundation.
One of the stances is "exalted warrior". We stand with our hands in a worshipful position toward heaven, with our legs in a position that is ready to fight.
I felt tears welling up inside me one day while doing that. I truly felt that I DESIRE to "be" an exalted warrior for the Lord.

Who knew I could feel spiritual during an exercise class? Who knew I could have positive uplifting thoughts about life and myself at 6:30 am?

At the end of class, we take about 10 minutes to have a rest time, a very welcomed one. We lay perfectly still. This is called Shavasana. (spelling unknown)
While I was laying there during my last class, I felt the instructor move around the room (she puts eye bags over our eyes to help relax us.) I thought we were on a concrete floor and was surprised that I could feel movement by her tiny body walking around. Then I realized that even though we were in the basement level of the building, and we were indeed on a concrete floor, there was one more level beneath us; the parking garage.
Because of the "Mindfulness" that I was experiencing, my mind told me this:
"We all need to have a STRONG foundation like this concrete floor we are on, we must be strong in all we do, and YET we must also have a little give in us, a little bit of FLEXIBILITY, just like this floor that I was laying on.


That was a profound moment for me because in my PRE -CANCER days, I was anything but flexible most of the time.

I think that Heaven talks to me during yoga.

There are a lot more words that are spoken during the class that I love, but I never have a pen and paper next to me to write them down.

If you participate in yoga and have noticed some, share them with me and tell me how they have affected your life for good.
I want to make sure to get the most I can out of this class, (it is a pretty price that I pay to attend)

I want to spend the rest of my life "Finding my way heaven"