What Do You Do With An Idea?

I love the library. I feel right at home when I walk through the library doors. I love being surrounded by stories. I love words. I love beautiful illustrations.

With a two year old most of my library time is spent in the Children’s Book department, and I don’t mind one bit. I love searching the shelves for a few special books to take home and share with my daughter. I love finding some of my favorites from childhood and sharing them with her. I love opening a new book and experiencing a story for the first time. I treasure these days I get to sit and share stories.

On rare occasions when I open a book for the first time, I find a story that my heart needs to hear. That happened on Monday. I picked up What Do You Do With An Idea? by Kobi Yamada and brought it home in our bag full of books. As I sat with my daughter reading her bedtime stories I selected this book and connected with the story immediately.

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In the story a child has an idea and he isn’t sure what exactly to do with it. We follow him throughout the story as he tries to leave it alone, shares it nervously with others, experiences rejection, lets go of fear, and finally changes the world. It is brilliant.

It made me think of the ideas I have had in life. Some ideas I am so afraid to share because I do not have the ability to foresee what the reaction will be. Some of my ideas have been lost because of that fear. I currently hold a few ideas that are so special and I really do not want to lose. This book just inspired me to hold those ideas close to my heart, work hard to take action on them, and someday share them, who knows maybe they will change the world.

If you need a book to read with your child to inspire them to dream, imagine, or create, I whole-heartedly recommend this one. Maybe you too will be inspired to dream, imagine, create, and share your ideas with the world.

Try Again

I love to take my little two year old daughter to the park. She loves the slides and swings and as she grows she is more adventurous in trying new things. Recently while we have been at the park she has been exploring new parts of the playground. This has caused some small falls and stumbles and she undertakes new challenges.

This last weekend my husband and I took her to a park and she wanted to try the big kid swings. They were really low to the ground so we sat her in one and pushed her gently. She did really great and wanted to keep coming back. On one attempt she didn’t quite have her grip ready before we began pushing her so naturally she fell out into the dirt landing on her bottom.

I was nervous she would start crying, but my mother heart was so proud and full of love for this little girl when she stood up and said “try again.” And when we put her back in the swing, she succeeded beautifully

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What a beautiful lesson, “try again.” I feel like I fall out of the swing a lot! I miss the mark of perfection and do things on a daily basis that I wish I wouldn’t. There are habits I would like to break and things I try to do that end up not working out how I envisioned. I hope to remember my daughters voice when I feel defeated saying “try again.”

I am so thankful for my knowledge and testimony of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. I know the way to try again and I know who made that path possible. I hope I don’t take that for granted and I use all the days of my life to continually “try again.”

Peach Picking

This weekend we went to a local farm/orchard to do some peach picking. There is something really wonderful about being so close to nature and seeing where our food comes from. As we were in the peach orchard I wondered how it came to be, how old were the rows and rows of trees bearing the fruit, how many delicious ripe peaches have been enjoyed because of each trees existence.

As I looked closer at each tree I noted how heavy with fruit the branches were. I was amazed at how many peaches grew on each branch. The natural beauty and colors of the peaches against the leaves was impressive.

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I walked by other trees whose branches were bare, having already been picked of their fruit and pruned for the season. They did not appeared weighed down, but I knew in this next year they would again bloom and grow and fruit would burden each branch once more. The cycle of each season would continue.

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I feel like we can learn so much from nature. In our lives we go through seasons. We work each day to provide and create good things for ourselves, our families, our workplace, our world. Each day we attempt growth, we try to create good. As we do we are strengthened. All of our experiences become a integral part of who we are and what we have to give.  But if we just hang on to our growth, if we don’t share it and give back to our world we become heavy with fruit that will eventually fall off and be lost. If we do share, we have the opportunity to help and serve others, to contribute to the good of this world.

As I picked peaches I was thankful for the trees planted so long ago and the strength and perseverance of each tree to continue to grow and bear fruit. These peaches will nourish my family this week. As I picked the peaches I thought about how these strong branches were relived of the some weight for this season. The peaches I picked made room for new growth and they would prepare for next year, to grow again, and as far as I know, I will be back to be nourished again.

The cycle is beautiful to me. Work, growth, strength, give, nourish. I can be part of that. I can work each day on myself and my family to grow and become a better mom, wife, sister, and friend. It will make me a stronger person. And as I give of myself to others I make room for more personal growth.

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It is something I am not perfect at, but I am thankful for this gentle reminder from nature to do a little better on each stage of the cycle.

The Book of Mormon

One of the things I love is the Book of Mormon. I have recently been trying to read it on my own, with a study guide I got when I was taking a Book of Mormon class at BYU. I really love 1 Nephi and have been amazed at how much I can learn from the journey of Lehi and his family as they left Jerusalem.

I was reading 1 Nephi 17 when a simple scripture really stood out to me. For some perspective, Nephi and his family have been traveling in the wilderness for eight years (wow that is a long time). They mention that during that time they have experienced many afflictions and much difficulty, but as they were faithful, the Lord prepared a way for them to receive nourishment and strength. In verse three it says that the Lord blessed them so much they began to bear their journeyings without murmurings (something I really need to work on).

Then Nephi is commanded to build a boat (what a task to ask of someone). And Nephi responds by asking where to go to get the ore so he can make tools to build this boat. I love that his question is not why do you expect me to do this hard thing, rather he takes action. And as Nephi prays the Lord gives him direction.

Finally the Lord says He is the light in the dark world. He will prepare us and make a path before us as we keep the commandments of God. And when we accomplish what he asks of us, then we can know God and His power.

Really it is just an amazing set of scriptures. The scripture that really stood out to me was verse 15 where Nephi says “Wherefore, I, Nephi, did strive to keep the commandments of the Lord.”

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As I let that sink in a little I thought to myself-Nephi, the one who is already placing so much trust and faith in the Lord, the one who has stayed truly faithful despite every hard thing that has already happened, he declares that he did strive to keep the commandments of the Lord. He writes it down, and in doing so shows his commitment to the Lord.

In primary we often talk about scripture heroes, and Nephi is truly one of mine. His declaration make me want to continually say I will strive every day to keep the commandments of the Lord.

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I am so thankful for the Book of Mormon. I love it. It gives me perspective and hope.

The Parable of the Paleo Cookie

Last night my husband and I decided to try to make a batch of Real Deal Chocolate Chip Cookies, paleo style. I have been wondering if I might have gluten or dairy sensitivities (which is a whole other story) so I have been trying to cut out those things for a little bit to see if it helps. To keep my family sane, and thank them for their help I decided Friday night we could whip up a little treat and try this new recipe from a paleo book I checked out from the library.

The heading of the recipe says this cookie is “the mother of all Paleo chocolate chip cookies and the closest you can get to the ones you grew up on. In fact, the reviews continue to insist that they far surpass those old cookies.” It is followed by a picture of cookies that do in fact look like the chocolate chip cookies that were in my home growing up.

So I blended, scooped, and baked the ingredients and patiently waited to see what the result would be. They smelled really good so that was promising. When I pulled them out though they didn’t look like my mothers chocolate chip cookies, or my favorite chocolate chip cookies that a friend introduced me to a few years ago. And they weren’t as perfectly pretty as the picture in the cookbook.

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I let them cool and set them on a plate. They were kind of lumpy, probably from the almond flour, I’ll try sifting it next time, but they still smelled good. I beckoned my husband to come over and try them. He went first and said they were good, but I wasn’t convinced. I tried one myself and felt some disappointment in the first bite. They were not like the chocolate chip cookies I loved growing up. They were really different.

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Then I had a second bite and thought, but they are good. And after my third bite I really thought they were really tasty actually, they just weren’t what I was expecting.

I think sometimes I get so caught up in my expectations of what things should be, and when they turn out differently my first response is to think it is negative. It’s when I let go of my expectations and just embrace the reality of my experiences I come to realize that maybe reality is wonderful in it’s own way, and there is good right now in the present even if my current circumstance is different than I expected.

And that my friends, is the parable of the paleo chocolate chip cookie.

Eucharisteo

It’s been a while since I have been on here. I created this account to share some of the things I love-namely my adventures in adobe illustrator and children’s books I love. I realized that those things are just a small portion of my life and I really just wanted an outlet to share all the things I love.

So I guess I will give it a try. We’ll see how it goes.

One Thousand Gifts-A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are. This book is so thought-provoking. In the front cover it says “Ann Voscamp (the author) hungers to live her one life well… How do we find joy in the midst of deadlines, debt, drama, and daily duties? What does a life of gratitude look like when your days are gritty, long, and sometimes dark?”

Yes. Exactly. I hunger to live my one life well, as well as I possibly can. Each day is a day full of opportunities, joy, love, and good things. Each day is also a new chance for challenges and hardships small and large to appear. Life is really hard sometimes. I often think of a talk given by Elder Quinton Cook where he says sometimes when we are struggling we look to our Heavenly Father and just want to say “Hope ya know, I’m having a hard time.” I have said it many times. And yet despite the daily struggles, the hard times that come and go and the hard things that seem to stick around a while, life is also so so good. There are one thousand gifts to be thankful for.

How do we find the gratitude? And when we do will it help, will it change us? One thousand gifts gave me my new favorite word Eucharisteo. I think it is a beautiful word with an amazing threefold meaning. Grace. Thanksgiving. Joy. As I search for things to be thankful for on a daily basis I often think in my mind Eucharisteo. What do I see around me in each moment that gives me grace, makes me thankful, brings me joy?

A sacrament meeting on Sunday where I can listen and enjoy the talks given because my busy two year old daughter is sitting quietly. Eucharisteo.

The perfect temperature outside while going on a walk. Eucharisteo.

My two year old singing I am a Child of God. Eucharisteo.

Thanksgiving is available to each of us every day, in every circumstance. Sometimes it feels really hard to find, but those times are usually the times finding it will heal us the most.

This book is truly one of my favorite things. It has inspired me to write (another one of my favorite things), and share more of the things I love on a daily basis.

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Thanks for joining me.

A Day at the Pediatrician’s Office

Although the title of this post suggests that we spent the whole day at the pediatricians office, we did not. But 2 hours with a one year old sure felt like we were there all day long. The following is the tale of how we survived the longest office visit of our lives (just barely).

9:50 a.m. was the time of the appointment. We arrived just four minutes early, 9:46 a.m. to be exact. My little girl has always hated the frequent appointments to the pediatrician for well-child checks, and I assumed this one would be no different. I did not realize just how long the agony would last when I walked in and put our name on the list. There were others waiting patiently each that came before me were called back one by one. Soon those that arrived after me were being called back. I was the only one left in the waiting room. I thought it was strange but my daughter was playing with the toys and I knew this was the calm before the storm. I would much rather wait in the lobby for a bit longer than wait in the room with a naked baby. Soon the next group of patients started to file in and sign in. At this point I was getting a little antsy because we had been waiting for quite some time-30 minutes just seemed too long for a well child check up. I was sure I would be the next to be called but I was not. As they started calling these new patients I wondered if I had been forgotten. I felt a knot in my throat form and thought momentarily that I might cry. My brain was telling my throat and feelings that it was okay, I was really not in any time crunch, but I did want to get home sometime that day. Finally after 45 minutes I walked to the counter and asked what exactly was taking so long. The lady went back and found my doctor had been tied up with a patient that came in with a severe rash that morning. Just my luck. I waited 15 more minutes, an hour total, before the nurse came to get me. I was relieved that we were finally getting back to get checked out, although a little perturbed that people that came in after me were already leaving the office.

In the back room my goober broke down immediately. She hated every minute of being weighed and measured. She cried loud and hard in my arms. Soon the initial measurements were taken and we were left alone in the room. I worked hard to calm my daughter down but just as we were feeling a bit better the doctor came in and more tears were shed. The doctor tried lots of things to make her feel better but she was just not having it. I was wishing he would just do his doctor thing and get in and get out so we could be one step closer to going home. He pulled out a lollipop and unwrapped it for the goober but she was not interested. After he had done his check she stuck it in her mouth and followed by sticking it down my shirt, leaving a wet sticky red mark on my brand new white undershirt. The doctor proceeded to tell me about keeping her safe while she was wailing in my ear. He also told me not to worry about her crying. I was not worried about her crying, I knew she would cry, but you know when someone tells you not to worry and then you feel worried because you were already not worrying. That is how I felt. He finally left. We were almost to the home stretch. A few shots and a toe prick and we would be free. Luckily it took forever for the nurse to get back to our room for these fun things. The toe prick couldn’t have gone worse. There was blood everywhere and lots of tears. The vaccines were as expected, traumatic. In the end we got to wait even longer for the results of the blood test and as we exited the building I noted that we had just spent over two hours in that building. We left with a bit of knowledge and protection from deadly diseases, but not much else. Oh wait, I also left with a lollipop stain!

It was just one of those terrible, horrible, no good, very bad days (or two hours in my case). And just like alexander’s mom says, “some days are just like that.”

You Are Capable

When I was in college my roommates and I often pulled out Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred and worked out hard in the comfort of our own living room. There were three levels and we spent a lot of time on level one. In the middle of the workout, when things start to get tough she says something that will stay etched on my mind forever.

“People are always telling you to just take the stairs. That is a false message of lethargy and it is not doing you any favors. You are capable of working out and working out hard.”

-Jillian Michaels

That nudge was all it took to keep pushing through the pain and finish the workout strong. I love this quote, it is so true. Sometimes we think we can get our workouts in by doing simple tasks like taking the stairs or parking our car far away, but really all it is doing is getting us 100 more steps and excusing us from more challenging exercises that will actually improve our health. These things we tell ourselves are false messages that we use when we are lacking motivation, energy, and enthusiasm.

Although this quote is from an exercise DVD, I thought it was very applicable to so many situations in our lives. There are so many false messages of lethargy out there that other people tell us or that we tell ourselves.

For example, if you really want to figure out how to use your new DLSR camera a false message of lethargy may be that the automatic function takes pretty good pictures. Or if you want to change your nutrition you might say to yourself “but I eat pretty healthy.” If you want to write a novel or start an Etsy shop, or do any number of things, creating false messages of lethargy can be an easy way to avoid the struggle of trying something new in your life. So we often set aside our dreams or goals for another day while excusing our behavior with false messages of lethargy.

I do this all the time. It is a really hard habit to overcome because it is so much easier to just give in to our excuses. I have found that I miss out on learning new skills or trying new things. I also have feelings of envy or jealousy towards others who have mastered things I would like to try but just have not gotten around to.

The second part of the quote is the most important part of the quote. You are capable of working out, learning how to work a camera, opening an Etsy shop, eating healthy, writing a novel, or just doing whatever it is you want to do. You are capable even if it seems daunting. You are capable of doing hard things.

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So when others tell you (or you tell yourself) you can “just take the stairs” remember it is a false message of lethargy and it is not doing you any favors. You are capable of doing the hard thing you want to accomplish.

It Won’t Be Like This For Long

Last night was one for the books. My sweet little girl decided it would be much more fun to play with me in the middle of the night than sleep sweetly in her crib. I must admit it was dreamy to cuddle with her in the stillness of a peaceful night as she lay sleepily on my lap. The perfect precious moments passed with the time and 2 hours later I was not having quite the same experience. It was midnight and we were both exhausted, but my stubborn little girl just would not give into sleep. She dozed in and out but could never commit to falling into a peaceful slumber. Finally at 1 a.m. I was at my wits end and she was fighting the inevitable sleep that was lurking around the corner. It was so close but she would not allow it to overtake her. Finally I decided to just put her in her crib until she surrendered to it. There were screams and shouts and our poor neighbors probably experienced some of the pain the little one was feeling. Twenty minutes later she gave in and lay her weary head down. Sleep always wins.

It was bliss as I cuddled up to my almost one year old. Her quiet steady breaths in the peace of the night were calming. In those tender moments I felt so close to my little baby. Within hours the peace of the night turned to frustration as our need for rest came on strong and hard. We both felt anxious and exhausted.

This morning I woke up and this experience became a memory. I was no longer in that moment. I was no longer feeling the joy or sorrow of the previous night. It had come and it had gone. I will look back on this night and as time passes I will probably remember rocking my baby as she let me hold her close. The frustration of the moment will blur and maybe be forgotten. Someday she will not need me in the middle of the night, and the inconveniences that follow will be gone. Another thing will be gone as well: the joy of holding a child and rocking back and forth in the peace only night can bring.

As a mother I watch phases of childhood come and go. There are difficulties and blessings with each phase. It truly does not last for long. While the sorrows pass the joys that are associated with them pass as well. It is a gift to be able to experience both.

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