Thursday, December 17, 2015

Homemade Gift Tags Are My Favorite!

I have always been of the opinion that books make the very best gifts.


I can't think of anything dreamier than to open a holiday gift and find a glossy book cover and crisp white pages beneath the festive wrapping paper. I love that first "crack" of the spine and the distinct new smell of a book. Books make me happy!

Thursday, December 10, 2015

"Tai Gui Le" and the Art of the Barter

Many years ago, before I was married and while I was attending school at Utah State University, I had the opportunity to travel to China with some friends.


While there, I learned “the art of bartering.” To barter is to haggle over goods and to negotiate a price; with the primary purpose being to get the best deal for all involved. I quickly learned—while standing in my trusty Chacos, in a dirty market street—that the Chinese people love to barter. Spitting numbers like calculators; feverishly scribbling prices on palm-sized notepads.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Season's Readings and How You Can Help

Late at night--when the house is stone-still and the children are peacefully sleeping--I lie on my pillow and think about errands to run, tasks to accomplish, and my endless to-do list. (Those dang gears in my head seem to whir and spin the most when all is silent!)


And that is exactly how the idea came to me.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Jammin'!

The holiday season is here! And I can't believe how quickly it came. I've decked my halls, I've "clicked" and "refreshed" through the madness that is Cyber Monday, and I've started addressing my Christmas cards. It's a busy time of year! Time to bake, time to wrap, time to give gifts.


Do you have all your shopping done? (Eek!) Does that question make you a little clammy? (Like it does me!) Never fear, Mama Leisha is here with a cute and easy suggestion:

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Pack Rats and Love Books!

Confession: I am a bit of a pack rat.


Much to my husband’s chagrin (he is neat, tidy, and obnoxiously organized), I keep every note, every letter, every card, every stick figure portrait of myself my kids have drawn for me for Mother’s Day. I cannot bare to part with the sweet stuff. My husband calls it hoarding, I call it sentimental.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Talking to God

Dear God,

First and foremost, I should thank you for my beautiful life and for the opportunity I have to live it to the fullest. My blessings--like perfectly wrapped packages donning shiny paper and pretty bows--are genuine gifts from above. They leave me in awe. They make me cry. I will always recongize YOU as the giver.


But today I'm not thinking about life so much as I am about what comes after it. Peace. Light. Wholeness. Heaven.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Linus and Lucy and A Gratitude Tree!

One of my favorite comics is from Peanuts by Charles Schulz.


In it, Lucy is feeling mighty glum. Right from the beginning, from the opening frame, it becomes clear to the reader that Lucy is having a very bad day. She is fed up and frustrated with her life, telling her little brother that it's a complete drag. "I've never felt so low in my life," she claims.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Permission Granted

The sky has been painfully gloomy this past week.


Dark. Navy. Gray. And sad.

Those steel-colored clouds--so very heavy with fragrant, autumn rain--have perfectly mimicked my mood. Thunder storms have rolled in over the mountains I love, overwhelming the valley and my positive perspective. Looking out my smudged and dripping window, I can't see the mountain's heavenward peaks. Looking at my kitchen calendar -- with tasks to do and problems to solve -- I can't see the end of a long day, a long week.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Spooky Cookie Kit

I love Halloween! I love it, I love it, I love it.



From the big, beautiful bags of candy that line the grocery store shelves, to the bright orange pumpkins carved into jack-o-lanterns, I love this time of year. Cooler temperatures, spiced cider, sweater weather, and trick-or-treating...it is all wonderful!

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Find Your Words

I have always loved words.


I suppose this passion comes from my dad, who seldom told me the definitions of words when I--as a little girl--would ask, "Dad, what does that word mean?"

"Look it up," he would say, "Look it up."

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Frankie Says Relax! (Plus 25 Shmacks!)

Dudes! I am a product of the 1980's. I wore neon jelly bracelets and shirt clips as a little girl. I owned Michael Jackson's Thriller album on cassette tape. I wore leg warmers the first time they were cool. (Or rad, rather.) And I remember that everyone's hair was BIG!


As soon as I walked into The Wood Connection and saw the cute frankenstein they had on their shelves, I KNEW what I wanted to do for my project.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Zen Den!

Last night, during a lovely take-out dinner prepared by me (ahem), Camren busted out the "Tree Pose."


You know, like yoga. He stood beside the table and placed his hands, palm-to-palm, above his head. I watched as his foot popped up onto his wobbly little knee. He looked at us and said, "Tree!"

Friday, September 25, 2015

"Proud" Journal

My delightful and mischievous baby girl turned two years old yesterday. Where did the time go?!


The weeks (and months) after Bridget's birth were pretty difficult for me. The recovery was slow; the baby blues (too cute of a name for something so evil) were rough. I sobbed and wailed about being a failure as a mother and a wife. I sniffled and cried over feelings of worthlessness and thoughts of, "I can't do anything right." Anxiety kept me up at night; depression was my constant companion throughout the day.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Olive You; A Giveaway!

I'm so excited this morning to share a decadent new product with you! Let me introduce you to Olivi Extra Virgin Olive Oil and what's even more fun is you have a chance to win some of your very own! Awesome. (enter to win in the giveaway with the form located at the bottom of this post) Bruschetta Pasta with Olivi Olive Oil is a fresh, healthy, simple dinner for your family! #olivi I'm joining some of my favorite blogging friend to share Olivi Extra Virgin Olive Oil with you... Ruthie from Cooking with Ruthie Dru from Polka Dot Poplars Julie from Confessions of a Cooking Diva Cathy from Three Kids and a Fish Tanya from Whisk and Muddler Aleisha from She Calls me Mama Leisha Jen from Tatertots and Jello Sooooo, What's so great about Olivi? Besides the adorable packaging... it tastes like no other olive oil I've ever tasted! It's as rich and smooth as butter~ you could literally drink it straight from the bottle. It's THAT good! Bruschetta Pasta with Olivi Olive Oil is a fresh, healthy, simple dinner for your family! #olivi Olivi is a beautiful finishing extra virgin olive oil. Olivi tastes like butter with a naturally peppery pungency. It will perfectly enhance your meal while helping to keep you healthy. Olivi is pressed from the Chemlali variety of olives locally grown on Djerba Island in the South of Tunisia. The olives are hand picked by local farmers and cold pressed to produce this exceptional extra virgin olive oil. Bruschetta Pasta with Olivi Olive Oil is a fresh, healthy, simple dinner for your family! #olivi

I'd recommend making this simple and delicious Bruschetta Pasta with Olivi recipe and grabbing a multi-grain baguette to enjoy Olivi to it's fullest.

Bruchetta Pasta with Olivi
Recipe Type: Main
Author: Ruthie
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 10-15 fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup fresh grated parmesan
  • 3 tablespoons Olivi Olive Oil
  • 1/2-1 teaspoon sea salt (adjust to taste)
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 8 ounces whole grain angel hair pasta
Instructions
  1. In a large serving bowl combine tomatoes, basil, sea salt, pepper, and Olivi Olive Oil; allow to marinate while preparing pasta.
  2. Prepare pasta according to package directions, drain.
  3. Add warm pasta to serving bowl and toss.
  4. Sprinkle with parmesan.
  5. Enjoy!
Bruschetta Pasta with Olivi Olive Oil is a fresh, healthy, simple dinner for your family! #olivi If your like me and just can't wait for the giveaway winners to be announced then jump on line and order Olivi Extra Virgin Olive Oil with this link and use the discount code: RUTHIE25 and receive 25% off your order!! We're so thrilled to be giving away 5 cases of Olivi Extra Virgin Olive Oil to 5 winners!! Just fill out the entry form below and BEST of luck... a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Under A Yucatan Sun

The hot Mexican air was thick with a humidity that seemed to climb into our lungs and cling to our skin. The vibrant green jungle--with it's gnarly trees and twisting vines--was so dense I could not see beyond the first line of foliage that hugged the road.

We walked. The trees parted. And that was when I saw it...


The Kukulkan Pyramid in Chichen Itza, which is now one of the new Seven Wonders of the World.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Uplift Families

I have always been a self-professed "word nerd." Those of you who read this blog (Hi, Mom!) know that I mention this often.


I love learning new words. I love learning about where they come from and what they mean. I think language is fascinating. I confess to frequently looking up the definitions of words in the dictionary. (I may or may not highlight the ones that I especially like...I'll never tell! Because admitting that takes me to a whole other level of nerdy!)

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Stress Zits?!

Dudes! I have been breaking out like caaaaaa-razy on my forehead lately. I've been feeling very bumpy and VERY "adolescent." One afternoon I found myself wondering whether or not I remembered my Trapper Keeper for Math class, or if I had mistakenly thrown my retainer away when I dumped my lunch tray. Eek! It's like I'm thirteen all over again.


Not to be discouraged by the "Pimple Factory" that has set up shop on my forehead, I decided to do some research. And by research, I mean I googled it.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

I Remembered The Day I Accepted Me

My little sister has a delightful freckle (she'd call it a mole) on the end of her nose. It has been there for as long as I can remember.


I had forgotten about a particular conversation she and I shared so many years ago--before blogs and children and English degrees, before chick flick dates and late night excursions to get ice cream. And though the details of how our conversation came about are slightly fuzzy to me, I do remember her. She was a young girl, nestled in a daybed in a room with pink carpet, feeling self conscious and insecure about that freckle that I loved.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Today Is Special!

Did you know that today is the best day ever?! Today is better than the day my mom bought me my first book of Shel Silverstein poetry. Today is better than the day I wore my new "New Kids On The Block" t-shirt to school. Today is better than the day I met Phil Collen (of Def Leppard fame) on a street corner in Laguna Beach. Why?


Because today is my one year "Piñata Anniversary!" One year ago today, I delivered my very first piñata. And that act set into motion a project, a movement, a party, a cause that I came to embrace wholeheartedly. It has been a true source of joy in my life.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Get Up and Glow!

I recently saw an ad for a "get up and glow" beauty kit that promised to highlight certain facial features and make you look radiant. (Or dewy and sun-kissed. I can't remember which.)


The kit included a cheekbone highlighter, shimmery powder, a magic wand (har, har), a "wish and a prayer" (har, har), and a get-up-and-glow makeup stick. It was pricey, touting a name brand that carried some klout. The poor (yet lovely) model looked so shiny and slick I couldn't help but think of the newly-washed silverware reflecting brightly in my kitchen drawer. It was weird.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Piñatas = Love

She calls me "Sparkles." I call her my little "Nugget of Love." (Because she's short, you guys!) It's a very beautiful thing we've got going on!


My friend, Emilie, is brilliant and creative and lovely. I adore her to Pluto (which IS a planet) and back. Her friendship has been a blessing in my life; her light has been a gift. She's a designer at Modern Yardage, and you can check out her genius here.

Friday, July 17, 2015

You Can't Say "Frogs" Without Saying "Stupid"

To be utterly honest, I was never really attached to Lucy Patterson and Bubba Johnson.


Our frogs. Our stupid frogs that became a part of our family when my goofball little brother decided they would make the coolest birthday gifts for our kids. (Puh-leeze.) Our stupid frogs who, vexatiously enough, seemed to have a mating problem. And by "mating problem" I mean they were regularly "locked" (FOR DAYS) in a position conducive to making babies. Or tadpoles, rather. Telling my kids, "Not to worry, they are hugging," hundreds of times a day got reeeeealllly, really old.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Fair Feisty Fearless

 "Every daughter contains her mother and all the women who came before her." 
--Christiane Northrup 

I was watching Camren and Bridget play on the trampoline one typical and uneventful afternoon.


As I walked over to Bridget--to rescue her from her rowdy brother--I looked at the dainty shape of her face, the fullness of her lips, and the brightness of her pretty, blue eyes. Her sweet, baby gaze never left mine and I matched her familiar smile. A realization melted through me then--like sunshine on skin, like warmth and light:

I can see me.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Filter Shmilter

I need a filter.

No, no . . . not one of those things for your furnace or for your car. (Confession: I wouldn't know about that stuff.) I'm talking about the all-elusive and intangible filter for people with big, fat mouths. Specifically, my big, fat mouth! (And maybe my much-too-loud, slightly alarming personality.)


What feels like a billion years ago, I worked in a bookstore. It was a dream job for me as books have always been "my thang." I navigated the moving and re-shelving of the self help section, avoided the porn beneath the counter, and steered clear of the odd ducks who frequented the SciFi corner. Overall, the job was bang-a-rang!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

If a June Night Could Talk

Bern Williams said, "If a June night could talk, it would probably boast it invented romance."

I love the summertime. It sends my heart soaring with nostalgia as it reminds me of past adventures with my dreamy husband!


We first met while working the same summer job...SIXTEEN years ago! Eventually we went our separate ways (for four years) and lost track of each other, only to be reunited one summer by a mutual friend. We hung out as pals (*insert heavy-hearted sigh*) and enjoyed various summertime activities--baseball games, BBQs, and late night movies--with a great group of our friends. We had a lot of fun that summer. As pals.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Hello Sunshine and 25 Shmacks!

Lately, it has been cloudy and rainy here! Trust me when I say that the sunshine we had this past weekend was a welcome gift. I love the warmth of the sun and the brightness of a summer day. I think oranges and yellows--"sunshiney" colors--are cheerful and welcoming.


And as soon as I walked into The Wood Connection and saw their various sunshine crafts, I knew what I wanted to do for my guest post for them. I knew a "sunshine project" would be perfect for me and my home. You can view my tutorial here.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

The Day Camren Was Born

My second child—a gorgeous, brown-eyed boy—was born at Intermountain Medical Center on October 9, 2009. I felt a special, indescribable connection to him from the very beginning. I attribute this to the extraordinary care I received while giving birth at IMED, and to the nurse who bonded with us.


The very first time I cuddled with my Camren was a precious and unique experience. It happened almost immediately after his birth.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Glitter Is Everywhere (Part Three)

At the conclusion of my "glitter series" (read post one and post two), would you like to know what glitter I see?


YOU! You, you, you, you, you, you! If we are going to talk about sparkly stuff -- and if "Glitter Week" is going to be about recognizing the glitter -- then surely WE are included in that. As mothers and as women, we ARE the glitter! Dr. Hilda Ruch, who wrote a wonderful book titled, "Women Create," said, "Women's voices are crucial. Women affect history. Daughters, mothers, and wives influence families, communities, nations, and the world."

Friday, May 22, 2015

"Glitter" Is Everywhere (Part Two)

Mindfulness.

It's a very "crunchy," granola, new age, zen kind of word that's becoming more and more hip these days. And I LOVE it. It's my "One Little Word" for 2015.


Truth be told, I was first introduced to the idea of mindfulness when I was in college. I wore vintage, second-hand t-shirts and corduroy. I burned lots of incense. I wrote in my poetry journal daily and adorned myself in shells, beads, and hemp. I listened to Cat Stevens. A friend shared her love of Thich Nhat Hanh with me and I began reading his works.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Throw Me A Life Raft!

Motherhood is hard, dudes. It is really, really hard.


Metaphorically speaking (of course), I often feel as though my life as a mother is a vast sea of chaos and adversity . . . and I am drowning in it. Okay, okay! Maybe not "drowning." (That does sound a bit dramatic.) More like, "treading water." I often feel as though I am treading water -- attempting to keep my head above the surface of second-grade math, diaper blow-outs, mundane responsibilities, autistic quirks, and fighting children. "Waves" of laundry constantly crash down on my head, "undertows" of trips to the grocery store try to pull me down to my watery grave. Then there is the steady frothing and churning of toys to be picked up, diapers to be changed, and peanut butter sandwiches to be made.  The sound of my vacuum cleaner might as well resemble the sound of the tide coming in!

Monday, May 18, 2015

"Glitter" Is Everywhere (Part One)

A couple of years ago I took Lilly shopping for a Christmas dress.


We carefully perused all the racks and when Lilly laid eyes on a red tulle one she knew it was THE one! It was perfectly girly and foofy and sparkly -- covered in tiny flecks of silver glitter. She wore it all the time! It wasn't long before I noticed James' distaste for the dress. He'd mumble and grumble under his breath (never in front of her) whenever she wore it. Occasionally I would hear him mutter, "Oh man, that dress AGAIN...," or, "Not THAT dress…"

Thursday, May 14, 2015

WRONG!

I can admit when I am wrong. It ain't easy, but I can do it!


Like that time I fell for the guy in the horn-rimmed glasses in my philosophy class. He wore loafers and cardigans. He talked about existential dilemmas, moral realism, and whether or not the stupid chair his cute tushie sat on was real. He was sweet to me and we studied together often. "Maybe he likes me, too," I thought.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Keep It As Spicy As A Wheelbarrow!

While cleaning out some drawers, I found an informative pamphlet on marriage and how to keep your relationship with your spouse strong and healthy.


Captivatingly, the most common thread woven through all the advice was physical affection. Which is to say, all these smart doctors and psychologists and therapists agree that couples should be holding hands and kissing and hugging and touching and necking and snogging, oh my! And they should be doing it more than they do. To maintain connection. To keep things as spicy as a habanero. (Which autocorrect desperately wants to change to "wheelbarrow.")

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Celebrate Mothers; A Giveaway

In the eight years I have been raising my children, I have discovered that there are many things they don't tell you about becoming a mother.


They don't tell you about the borderline insanity you experience (I thought I had cancer of the kneecap) from lack of sleep during "the newborn stage." They don't tell you how to explain to your children what "the bird" is and why "flipping it" is a really bad idea. And they certainly don't tell you how to handle the tantrum of a six-year-old who wants to wear a ladybug costume to school!

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Climb Every Mountain

If you asked me what I like best about living in Utah, I would give you a myriad of reasons. Nice people. Fry sauce. (A super tasty sauce to dip your french fries in that FEW people outside of Utah have heard of!) Topographically diverse landscape. Park City. Four seasons. Top of that list of reasons would be: Mountains.


Mountains, mountains, mountains! With a hop, skip, and a jump (and a brief ride in a car) I can be in any ONE of SEVERAL canyons, enjoying a scenic display of Mother Nature.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Sleeping Little Boy

A little boy fell asleep on me in church today.

He wasn't mine and it didn't matter. It was soul-soothing. It was tenderness and sweetness rolled into one moment that made me believe I'd gone to a holier, more heavenly plane.


I held him and watched as his small body became more still, more relaxed in my arms. His breathing softened and slowed, his hand fell against my knee. His long, dark eyelashes fluttered softly against the very top of his perfectly-smooth cheeks before finally landing there to stay.

Monday, April 6, 2015

"Bee Nice" Banner and 25 Shmacks!

You guys, I am constantly harping on my kids to "use kind words." You'll hear me say stuff like: Be kind! Be sweet! Be nice to each other! Be nice to everyone! My daughter is a sassy pants and likes to call her brother a weirdo; my son has an autism spectrum disorder and has a hard time understanding why he can't call people "Donut Heads." It's a battle, I tell you!


The moment I walked into The Wood Connection and saw their brand new, adorable little bees, I knew exactly what I wanted to do for my guest post for them. A "Bee Nice" banner!

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Easter Es Bueno!

Confession: I have eaten WAY TOO MANY Reese's Peanut Butter Eggs over the last several weeks. I am not proud.

Because, OH MY GOSH, YOU GUYS! The eggs are so much better than the Christmas trees or the minis or the original cups. I have a theory it is because the ratio of chocolate to peanut butter is so "spot on" it crosses the line into perfection. Seriously. I could write a whole dissertation about this stuff.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Walk With Me

It happened a couple of years ago and I'll never forget it.

One Sunday, as we were leaving church, Lilly ran up to me, tugged on my sleeve and exclaimed, "Mom! Mom! I have to show you something I made. It is really cool!"

She preceded to show me a book she had made in her little church class. It was titled, "Service Book."


Thursday, March 19, 2015

Engrish

It's a good day when you receive a package in the mail.

It's an even better day when that package contains your adorable, perfectly purple, portable battery charger. The size of a tube of lipstick, it's "a must-have" for your purse, for smart phone backup and emergencies.

And it becomes the BEST day when you discover that your battery is from China, and that all the "product warnings" on the back of the box have been translated from Chinese to English. Poorly translated.


Monday, March 16, 2015

She Is Noble

One of my (many) favorite quotes is by the witty and intelligent, Dr. Hilda Ruch. In her book, Women Create, she writes:  "Women's voices are crucial. Women affect history. Daughters, mothers, and wives influence families, communities, nations, and the world."


She is talking about you. She is talking about me. I believe she is talking about all of us. Women are amazing.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Those Mornings

Most mornings Ms. Lilly rides the big yellow bus to school.


But then there are those mornings when we either sleep in, run late, can't find the new pink socks, or misplace the homework folder. Those are the mornings we rush and run--bumping into each other in the kitchen, in chaos. Those are the mornings we hear the mechanical growl of the school bus as it moves down our street. And we look at each other and know we missed it.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Live to Love, Love to Serve

My husband and I have an ongoing joke that I spent years in school, wrote hundreds of papers, and went thousands of dollars into debt at USU just for the opportunity to receive the publication my college mails to all its alumni.


"Liberalis."  From the College of Humanities and Social Sciences.  I have a lifetime membership.

Monday, February 23, 2015

The Paper Bag Princess

The story of Princess Elizabeth and her unbelievably lame (HA!) Prince Ronald has always been one of my favorites.  The story is charming and fun and the illustrations make me laugh . . . but it's the underlying meaning in the story that grabs a hold of my heart.


It was my privilege to share the story of The Paper Bag Princess with My Craft Channel in my most recent Craft Tips segment.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Happy Heart and 25 Shmacks!

When I was a little girl, my favorite thing about Valentine's Day was my mom's heart-shaped sugar cookies.  They were always frosted pink.  She made the best sugar cookies around!  (She still does!)

As I've gotten older I've realized my favorite thing about Valentine's Day has shifted a little bit.  Sure, I still love the candy and the cookies and the roses, but I'm finding I get just as excited about the decor!  I have a heart banner hanging in my kitchen.  I have a heart wreath on my front door.  I have wooden hearts on shelves.  All the hearts make my heart happy!

I love being "festive" and decorating for this "season of love."

I'm guest posting for The Wood Connection today.  If you'd like to see my tutorial for the world's most darling craft (ha!), you can view it here:  http://www.thewoodconnectionblog.com/37879/


A "heartfelt" thanks to The Wood Connection for allowing me the opportunity to guest post.  Working with them is almost more of a treat then eating one of my mama's sugar cookies!  (Almost.  Wink.)  The Wood Connection has generously donated a $25 gift certificate to be given to one of YOU!  Simply comment below to be entered in the drawing.  (Tell me what you love about the "Day O' Love!")  Winner will be notified February 9th!

Happy Valentine's Day and Happy Crafting!          

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Shut It Down!

Camren frequently "speaks in movie quotes."

As I am becoming more familiar with autism spectrum disorders--reading books, joining support groups, talking to other mamas--I am learning that this "phenomenon" is actually quite common.  It's Echolalia:  "Children babble in a rhythmic way, which is actually mimicking the cadence of our language.  Later, they copy sounds, words, and eventually phrases and sentences that they hear adults use in specific, repetitive contexts."  Camren watches a movie, memorizes all the dialogue, then uses it in his daily communication.

I suppose "Shut it down" came from a movie or television show, though we aren't entirely sure which one!

"Camren, I need you to put your shoes on."

"Shut it down, Mom."

"Come and eat, please.  It's time for lunch."

"Okay, shut it down."

And on and on and on...

Recently, I spoke to a youth group about social media and how to best use it for good.  I shared this little tidbit of info about Camren with them, in conjunction with the admonition to STOP THE ONLINE COMPARISONS!  I showed them this comic strip:


AAAAAHHHH!!!!  Do we do that?  Do we post on Instagram or Facebook to get "likes" and then keep track of how many likes we are getting??  Are we keeping track of who's liking our posts, and then are we working ourselves into a tizzy when we notice who ISN'T liking our posts?  ("Oh my gosh, she hasn't liked or commented!  Is she mad at me?")  Are we tracking how many followers we have and if our friends have more followers than we do?  Are we making comparisons whenever we go online and then feeling bad about ourselves because of it?!

Shut it down.

I will never forget the birthday party we threw for Lilly a couple of years ago.  It was at a beautiful, expansive park.  We laid quilts out on the soft grass and had a picnic.  I had a local bakery make and decorate some birthday cupcakes.  They were perfectly pink.  The sun was shining, the sky was a dreamy baby-blue color, and Lilly was happy.

As we were packing up to leave, a large group of people showed up.  The group seemed to consist of family members and friends.  I watched in horror as they led Shetland ponies to an open area and began setting up a "pony ride station."  My jaw dropped when I saw the bunches of balloons and the gigantic banner that was being hung from the trees:  Happy 3rd Birthday, Jack!  I knew it was time to bolt the moment the giant bounce house inflated.  I was quiet the duration of the ride home.

Why?  Because I felt like the world's worst mom!  I made a comparison--their "carnival-esque" party to our "lame-o one"--and concluded that I had failed.  I had let Lilly down.  I had thrown her a poopy party.  I was completely bummed out.

But what would that sweet girl have said if asked, "How was your birthday party?"  I guaran-damn-tee she would've replied with, "I had so much fun!"  Our children love us unconditionally.  Ponies or picnics.


One day I was lamenting to James about life.  We were sitting at the dinner table after a long day of work and kids and busy schedules.  It had been a rotten day and the weight of my discouragement and sadness was sitting like an elephant on my scrawny shoulders.  I sighed, held back tears, and said, "James, I'm not a very good mom.  I see all these other moms who seem to be doing amazing things in their lives and with their kids.  I feel like I'm failing as a mom."

He looked at me and said simply, poignantly, powerfully, "That is the social media talking."

Shut it down.

I was curious as to what friends and family think about about this topic, so I went on Facebook.  Naturally.  I asked for their opinions:

"Sometimes social media becomes a place to watch others living what seems to be a perfect life, and then you wish that it was you."

"I think social media can have negative and positive affects on us.  When we compare ourselves to all that we see on social media, sometimes it can get to us.  Jealousy can happen.  We start to wish we could have what others have." 

The bottom line is this, sisters and friends:  No one is perfect.  No one.  Looks can be deceiving.  What looks perfect is not reality.  No one has a perfect life.  And that's okay!  We have to remember that our imperfections are NOT inadequacies.  They bind us together as members of the human race.  We are all in this together.

It was Brene Brown who wrote, "Letting go of comparison is not a to-do list item.  For most of us, it's something that requires constant awareness.  It's so easy to take our eyes off our path to check out what others are doing and if they're ahead or behind us.  [We must] stay mindful that what we bring to the world is completely original and cannot be compared."

Because we're all unique and special!  I believe every man and woman born into the world is a literal child of God.  "Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny."  We all have a story to tell, greatness to contribute, love to give, a difference to make.  And in the great big and grand and beautiful picture of our lives, none of this social media crap matters!  We've got to keep an eternal perspective.  We've got to cling to it!  We've got to cling to what we know about who we are and where we come from.

No one else can do what God sent us to this earth to do. 

So take Camren's sage advice when comparison is attempting to rob you of your joy:  Shut it down!