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5 Podcasts that Have Changed My Life

 

I love listening to podcasts. They have been a total lifesaver for me. They keep me motivated and inspired and keep my brain learning (which is so important because some days it starts to feel like mush after talking to little kiddos all day!). The episodes are short and sweet and I usually listen to several a day while I’m going about my daily chores. It’s great because I feel like I am still using my brain but I am also still getting things done at the same time. Plus I’m still able to be present with my kids. Here are a few podcasts that are real gems and have changed my life for the better.

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1.Power of Moms – I have listened to every single one of these podcasts and it has given me so many good ideas on how to be a better mother. I have learned and implemented so much from this podcast! I love this one.

2. Marvelous Mom’s Club – Kirsten Tyrell does a great job of helping moms get out of motherhood ruts by sharing uplifting and inspiring stories of moms. I love hearing how other moms have overcome hard things. This one is fun to listen to.

3. The School of Greatness – This one is so motivational. This podcast is hosted by a pro football player who got injured and was unable to play anymore. He went through a period of depression living on his sister’s couch. Then he realized there was still a lot he could do with his life. Now he interviews millionaires and Olympic athletes who all have inspiring stories of how they became so successful. It’s super interesting and inspiring.

4. Happier with Gretchin Rubin – I love the topic of happiness and I love Gretchin’s take on it. I absolutely loved her book, The Happiness Project. Her podcast is very creative and she has such an interesting way of looking at happiness and it always opens up my mind to new ideas. I love it.

5. This Is Your Life with Michael Hyatt – Michael Hyatt is such an inspiring business leader and he has a lot of experience and just a good perspective on life. I love his advice in all areas and I’m always left inspired after listening to his podcasts.

 

I use the Stitcher app (it’s free!) on my phone and it makes it really easy to listen to my favorite podcasts while I’m doing stuff around the house. Basically what I’m saying is podcasts are the best thing ever and if you aren’t listening to them, you should! It’s a game changer!

What are your favorite podcasts to listen to? I’m always on the lookout for more!

 

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Happiness Hacks for Wintertime

The holidays are about over and the winter blues are about to start, right? And dang, winters in Idaho never end! They last for 8 months, no joke! Cold snow and gray weather for months and months. It can be hard when you live in a basement apartment out in the country. So here are a few of my favorite Happiness Hacks for surviving the winter…

 

1. SUNSHINE! Open up all of your curtains every single morning and let those rays of sunshine in! (Even if it’s a gray day outside, open up all your curtains and blinds anyway!)

 

 2. COLOR! Add as many happy colors to your house as possible. Make or buy colorful      pillows. Paint something a fresh, fun new color. Add colorful curtains. Make a fun new garland for your wall or fireplace. Color = happiness! Here are a few colors I’ve added to my house and I have lots of plans for more!

 

 

3. MUSIC! This is one of my favorite tips. If it’s turning out to be a blah type of day, turn on some fun, happy music and turn it up LOUD! This always helps lift my mood and helps me feel happy. If I’m having a really hard day I always listen to Christmas music. There’s something about Christmas music that is just magical and fun. Get the Pandora app on your phone and you can listen to awesome music for free. My favorite Pandora stations are: Celtic Woman, Michael Buble, Bluegrass, Disney, etc. Also, it’s a lot of fun to add in a little dance party while you’re listening. Who cares if your kids think you’re crazy! Here’s one of my favorite “pump yourself up” songs right now…

 

4. Have something to look forward to on your calendar AT ALL TIMES! It doesn’t have to be something huge like a vacation, it can be something small like going to a fun little museum in town, or starting a new book that you’ve wanted to read for a while, or a game night with your spouse. Just always have something to look forward to on your calendar. As for me right now, I’m looking forward to Valentine’s Day because that’s one of my favorite holidays. I’m also working on a fun project a little bit each night when my kids go to bed and that also been really fun for me to look forward to doing each day.

 

What are your favorite happiness hacks for wintertime? I’d really like to know!

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My Story

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I love hearing people’s stories and how they overcome things and make it through in the end. I want to share a little bit of my current story.

My husband graduated from school a year and a half ago and we had to make some big decisions about where to live and what job to take etc. It was pretty stressful. After a lot of prayer and weighing pros and cons we decided to take a job in Idaho. This was far from our families and in a town that neither of us had been to before. And through some crazy, but miraculous circumstances we found an apartment to move into last minute (sometime I’ll share that story!).

We made the big move to Idaho and started settling into our new life here. It has been challenging! Our apartment is old and has some interesting and less than desirable quirks. We live in a small town with few neighbors close by (in fact I hardly ever see any other human life unless I drive into town).We had previously lived in such a fun area and we had SO many friends close by and now we had no one. The only other life around us is horses. And I love horses, but they don’t exactly fill my social needs:). I didn’t know a single person in the area and I’ve never felt so incredibly alone. Plus I was pregnant at that time and I was SO SICK!

Oh, and did I mention that our apartment had mice? Yeah. That was the cherry on top. Lots of mice. Luckily they have never come into our actual living area, they’ve just been in the walls, ceilings and storage room. But that was enough to really throw me for a loop.

I’m not one to give up and I’ve made it through hard things before and I knew I could do it again. In fact, I’ve moved TONS of times growing up and I loved it. But for some reason moving as an adult (pregnant!) with 2 little kids is much less fun:). Anyway, needless to say I had a LOT of hard days following that move.

I tried to get my sick, pregnant self out of the house with my kiddos and go to parks a couple times a week and explore our new little town. And I slowly came to find things to love about our new situation.

Fast forward a year and a half…I’ve since had my baby and we’ve made friends here and I know the town really well now. Things have gotten MUCH better. But it is still very challenging to be a mom of 3 little kids who are all home with me all day, living far away from our families, and living in a place where I feel so alone! I feel like through this experience and time in my life I’ve really had to dig deep to keep myself grounded and happy and it is a struggle that I have to deal with every day.

I am so grateful for my trials and challenges that I’ve this last little while though because my testimony has never been stronger as I’ve had to really depend on it and my knowledge of Jesus Christ and my Heavenly Father to get me through. I’ve learned that I have to put that first in my life to get through each day. That’s what centers me and keeps me balanced.

I’ve also had to dig deep to find the things that make me, me. And the things that make me feel happy and like I’m fulfilling my purpose in life. I feel like as a mom of little kids that your identity can easily get lost with all the chaos. It’s so important to spend time on yourself (within reason of course!) and remember the things you love doing and then keep doing them! I also started spending time each day reading and working on self-development and that has also helped so much. I love learning from other people and changing myself for the better.

So basically that’s why I’m writing this blog. I just want to share all the things I’m learning that have really helped me get through challenging times. I hope to be able to look back on my life and really see that my trials have made me better and not bitter:) And that they have shaped me and changed my HEART into the person that I am supposed to be. 🙂

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people will not feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone and as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others. -Marianne Williamson

 

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Two Favorite Christmas Memories

 

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I recently read an article that said that if you want to raise resilient kids you need to tell them family stories. I definitely want resilient kids so I’ve been thinking of what family stories I could tell them today and I thought of two that had to do with Christmas.

The first story happened when I was about 10 or 11. We lived in Columbia, Missouri at the time and we had a neighbor that had a tragic accident happen to him. He was flying a kite with his kids in his front yard and the kite got stuck in his tree. He climbed up the tree to retreive the kite and somehow he slipped or the branch broke and he fell out of the tree onto the ground. I remember hearing and seeing the ambulance come and being worried about him and his family.

Our neighbor didn’t die thank goodness, but I think he was hurt and it took time for him to heal from his injuries. (I should probably ask my mom for the details because she probably remembers better than I do!) But I remember that for Christmas that year my family decided that we would buy some gifts for our neighbor and his family  to help them out in their time of need. We bought and wrapped the presents and then we left them on their porch and rang the doorbell and ran. I remember my excitement that Christmas and being so excited to pick out presents for the kids. I hope that our serive helped brighten their difficult Christmas that year. That experience brought the spirit of Christmas to my family and I and taught us all how important it is to serve others and how much fun it can be too!

 

My grandpa, Russell Nelson

My other favorite Christmas memory was when I was about 18 or 19 and we lived in Utah. My family decided that for Christmas Eve that year we would drive an hour away and visit my grandpa who lived alone, and bring him some Christmas cheer. I wasn’t too excited about the drive, but it ended up being a favorite Christmas memory for me. My mom made him his favorite dinner of ham and yams and we all ate together in his cute little white house. We ate and talked and I looked at all the fun family pictures of all my extended family members that surrounded us on his walls and shelves. (I think he saved and framed every picture anyone had ever given him!)

It was fun to see him and bring him some Christmas cheer that Christmas Eve. I remember driving back to our house that night and listening to Christmas music on the radio and thinking that that was what Christmas was really about…spending time with those you love and serving others. That’s what brings the Christmas spirit into your HEART.♥

 

Now I need to share these stories with my own kiddos this Christmas and hopefully we can find a way to help them feel the spirit of Christmas this year and create more family stories to remember forever.

Merry Christmas!

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The Power of Sleep – Part 2

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“We need to rethink sleep as a core family value.” –Tom Rath, pg 168

I wanted to share a few more quotes from The Sleep Revolution about the importance of sleep for kids. I’m a big believer in kids getting the sleep that they need. I love the idea that sleep should be a ‘core family value.’ Seriously, just think if we were all getting enough sleep everyone would be so much happier, more patient and healthier too! In the book it mentions that sleep deprivation leads to getting sick more often (like with the common cold), as well as even bigger health concerns such as heart attack, stroke, diabetes, and obesity.  Yikes! I think we need to really make sure our families are getting the sleep that we need!

>“Children are taught early on that sleep is something to avoid as long as possible- a sword of Damocles hanging over their heads every night- and that with sleep comes the end of play and fun. What a terrible message to send! We need to do a much better job of framing sleep in a positive way for our children, letting them know that sleep is a vital part of being able to play and have fun, and teaching them healthy sleep habits, including naps and transitions to bedtime, that will last a lifetime.” -Arianna Huffington, pg 169

>“When adults don’t get enough sleep, they feel and look tired. For kids, the opposite is true- sleep deprivation can actually make them hyperactive and can lead to a diagnosis of ADHD.” -Arianna Huffington, pg 38

A few sleep tips that work for me:

-I go to bed early (I sleep better when I go to bed early and get up early)

-I dim the lights when it gets closer to bed time

-I turn my phone OFF early. My goal is usually about 8pm. I don’t always do this, but I try!

-I charge my phone in the kitchen and not in my bedroom. (One of Arianna’s biggest sleep tips is to get all of your technology out of your bedroom at least 30 minutes before bed.)

-I use white noise (like a fan).

-When I’m trying to fall asleep I focus on my breathing and trying to slow it down. I also notice any tense areas in my body and try to relax them (like my neck and shoulders).

I’m still adapting and changing my nighttime routine. I’d love to get in the habit of reading a book for a few minutes before I go to bed. I’d also love to try dropping a little lavender oil on my pillow before I go to sleep.  I’d like to try meditation before I sleep too. I’m still learning more about that so I’ll have to keep you updated on how that goes…

***Do you have any sleep tips that work for you and your family? I’d love to hear!

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The Power of Sleep

 

“Sleep helps you win at life.” -Amy Poehler

I love the topic of sleep and I am pretty passionate about it. I have struggled with sleep my whole life and I used to not really care about it, but in more recent years I’ve learned that sleep makes a HUGE difference in my happiness and energy levels. So in 2015 I decided that “Early to bed” would be my theme for the year and I have improved so much in the sleep department since then! I love studying about sleep and trying new things to help myself and my family sleep better.
The Sleep Revolution book coverI recently read The Sleep Revolution and there was a ton of great information in there. I’ll share a few of my favorite quotes from the book:

>> “Sleep affects our mental health every bit as profoundly as it does our physical health. Sleep deprivation has been found to have a strong connection with practically every mental health disorder that we know of, especially depression and anxiety.” -Arianna Huffington, pg 28

>> “What is fatigue? It is nature’s notice that you have done enough.” –Harvey Washington Wiley, pg 61

>> “There are endless flashing lights and signposts telling us we have a medical problem – after all, there are billions of dollars to be made by getting us to believe that sleeping pills are the answer to our sleep deprivation. Yet what we really have is not a medical problem but a lifestyle problem.” -Arianna Huffinton, pg 67

>> “I would stress three words: calm the mind. If we can’t slow our thoughts and disengage out minds from the daily stress and strain we experience, we have little chance of getting restful sleep. Strategies for doing this will vary from person to person, but yoga and meditation are good options.” –Jennifer Ailshire, UCS professor of gerontolty, pg 211

>> “If you are having a lot of trouble sleeping, your body may be trying to tell you something about the way you are conducting your life. As with all other mind-body symptoms, this message is worth listening to.” –Jon Kabat-Zinn, founder of Mindfullness-Based Stress Reduction, pg 210

>> “I usually do a short meditation before I go to sleep where I reflect on the day and express my gratitude for the opportunities I’ve been given to help others and make a difference. When I wake up, I also reflect on how I can best serve others in the various meetings and events I have scheduled that day.” –Richard Davidson, neuroscientist at the University of Wisconson, pg 214

>> “…emotions like kindness and gratitude help us sleep because they have a calming effect on the mind and reduce disturbing emotions.” -Arianna Huffington, pg 214

>> “I tried to go from being an amateur, one who simply crashed every night and hoped for the best, to being a sleep pro. According to Steven Pressfield, the author of Turning Pro, when we turn pro, things because much simpler.” -Arianna Huffington, pg 218

>> “It is a common experience that a problem difficult at night is resolved in the morning after the committee of sleep has worked on it.” –John Steinbeck, Sweet Thursday, pg 110

>> “When we walk through the door of our bedroom, it should be a symbolic moment that marks leaving the day, with all of its problems and unfinished business, behind us.” -Arianna Huffington, pg 211

I have more to say on this topic so stay tuned!…….

Young Women

Motivating Young Women to do their Personal Progress

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It is hard to motivate girls to do their Personal Progress. I think Personal Progress should be personal and they should do it on their own…but having some reminders and an incentive or two can also help:).

I am the Personal Progress expert in my ward and I looked high and low for ideas on how to motivate girls to do their Personal Progress and there were hardly any ideas out there on the web so I thought I would share this idea in case it helps anyone else!

(This idea comes from my friend Jesika. Thank you!!)

We have a Personal Progress Jar and if the girls finish any experiences or projects during the week they can write their name and what they 20161106_085311accomplished on a little slip of paper and then add it to the jar.

I set the jar and prize basket up on the table at the front of the Young Women room at the beginning of opening exercises each Sunday. This helps gives the girls a visual reminder every week to do their Personal Progress.

On the first Sunday of every month I randomly pick a name out of the jar and that person gets to pick a prize out of our prize basket. The prizes are just fun little things that I found at the dollar store. 20161106_085434

We’ve been doing this for a little while and so far it has been helping to remind the girls and motivate a good handful of them to do their Personal Progress. I hope that it continues to do so!

My very favorite quote about Personal Progress comes from Sister Elaine S. Dalton:

“Personal Progress helps each young woman who participates develop daily righteous routines and holy habits.”

These routines and habits you develop will help you now and for the rest of your life! Personal Progress is so WORTH IT! Just do it! You won’t regret it one bit! Good luck!

Love,

Shan’tel