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This life is pretty interesting. I think the world we live in makes us believe that things are a certain way. Over the past year or so I have been thinking about my own mindset and I have touched on this in a couple of blog posts, but thought I would share my thoughts once again, maybe more focused on this topic specifically. I have been reading a number of books on mindset that have helped me see things a little bit differently, and have talked about those books previously, but as with all things, you need to mull over what you read for a while for it to really sink in.

I also found a song I love that illustrates the direction my thoughts have been going as well. It’s an Andy Grammer song called 85 and talks about getting caught up in the world’s perspective of accumulating stuff and how to live but reminding us that we can’t take it with us and that we’re missing the bigger picture. I love this reminder. Anyway, on with my thoughts.

First off, thinking about abundance. The world today would have us think that abundance means having a lot of things, and often the latest and greatest. Advertisers would have you believe that if you don’t have the latest and greatest, or at least their product, you are somehow living below the standard and thus, less than others. That is an incorrect mindset. Over the years, and as the kids have grown up, I have realized that is a really bad way to look at life. Abundance is a mindset, and it involves a lot more about how we view life and what we do with what we have rather than just collecting more and new. Abundance is having our needs met and being willing to help those around us with our excess. Abundance also involves our time and how we spend it.

Social media can be a detriment in our mindset. We see others going and doing all this stuff that maybe we had never thought of, maybe we don’t have the money to do, or maybe we would like to do and just hadn’t yet. We see everyone else’s “perfect” life, and we feel like we are suddenly missing out, when prior to seeing that post we were perfectly happy with our life. We often forget that some people are doing all this stuff on credit and that they really can’t afford to do it. Or maybe they saved up for a long time to be able to go and do it, going without things we’re not willing to go without, just so they could experience something they’ve always wanted to. If viewed correctly though, social media can be good as well, there can be motivation to do things we thought we couldn’t, just because we see someone else doing it. So, a lot of it is determined by our mindset and how we think about and view the things we see others doing and how we view social media.

We were cutting wood the other day, and for some reason one of my sons was very preoccupied in his own thoughts. He almost got hit by a falling tree because he was not listening or watching. Fortunately, that snapped him out of his thoughts and got him focused on the task at hand for the rest of the afternoon. As I was watching and thinking about that, I thought about how often we get stuck in our own minds. Often, we think we are the only ones who struggle, that we are the only ones who have ever experienced what we’re experiencing, and this affects our mindset negatively. In most cases we need to stop and look around, see others and see that everyone is struggling with something. This can change our perspective, giving us compassion for others, and help us give ourselves a break from the negativity, so that we can change our mindset and move forward.

How we view life is so important. Having a positive mindset can affect how well, how happily, how abundantly we live our lives. Changing our mindset can be difficult, but it’s not impossible, and just like the quote above, once your mindset changes, so will everything else.

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We have been gathering wood for the winter. We are really late this year as we hadn’t even started until last week. We have been extremely busy this summer and just hadn’t been able to fit it in yet. Because we are getting such a late start some of the kids have been at school for part of the day. It has also been raining a lot and cutting wood in the rain is not fun, plus the wood is then all wet and once it gets stacked in our woodshed it doesn’t tend to dry very fast as there isn’t a lot of circulation when we get it stacked in tight. So, between school starting and the rain, we have only had a few afternoons to work on it this past week.

Because we only heat with wood, we don’t have any other source of backup, we have to gather a lot of wood. We heat several buildings with our wood and need about 20 cords. We have a boiler that we can put 4-foot-long pieces of wood into, so that helps as there’s no splitting involved, and we don’t have to cut the pieces down to the 18 inches or so that you normally need for a woodstove. But it’s still a lot of work and usually takes about 10 days of work to get it all cut, whether 10 days consecutive, or spaced throughout the summer.

We have spent the last several years, and probably the next several as well, cutting down the dead spruce trees on our property. We have had the spruce bark beetle in our area for several years, so there are a lot of dead trees. They are a huge fire danger in the summer and with the risk of forest fire ever present the last few years, we decided we needed to make sure we were doing our part to keep our home and my mother in laws home safe. Because all of our children are older my husband has been teaching each one of us how to run the chainsaw so that we can speed up the process. Usually, my husband and sons run the chainsaws, but with my younger son being gone all last week I ran his chainsaw. My husband taught me several years ago how to run one before our boys were old enough to do so.

This year I was excited to get going so we could get done, and I enjoy running the chainsaw, so I was more excited still. But because of my shoulder injury this winter I was slightly worried about starting the chainsaw myself. As we went along, I was confident my shoulder was going to be okay, but for some reason I could only get my chainsaw started on my own every other time or so. I kept asking my son to start it. He finally looked at me one time, surprisingly patiently, and said, “Mom you just gotta believe in yourself. You know you can start it.” Wow, these kids. Sometimes I am amazed at their thoughtfulness and patience with me, and their wisdom in my struggles. That bit of encouragement was all that I needed. There still was the occasional need for help, usually after filling it up with gas, but I was able to start it pretty much all the time by myself after that, just because I believed I could.

It is amazing what a little bit of belief in oneself can do. We all face challenges in life, and it is those individuals who believe that they can overcome, who do. We see and read inspiring stories of people overcoming huge obstacles, and it is because they believed that they could, and they persisted in that belief and the work needed so that they could overcome. It is interesting, I usually don’t have any issue in believing in myself, I plow forward, knowing that with a little (or a lot) of work, I can do just about anything. I have accomplished far more so far in my life than my younger self would have ever imagined, but there are still areas that I need to work on. I am grateful for my son’s patience with me the whole week, and especially grateful for the wisdom and encouragement that he shared with me in a time of need. We each have the opportunity to believe in ourselves, and we each have the opportunity to help others believe in themselves as well.

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You may notice that time and how busy we have been, has been on my mind quite a bit lately. Today is no exception. As I have been sitting at my computer this morning editing a new YouTube video my alarm has been going off reminding me to write my blog post. I have a couple of pictures that need to be edited, and we are in the middle of putting up wood for the winter, which is our one and only source of heat. Last night I missed a dinner with my youngest son who is in Anchorage for his school orientation week. It was an evening for parents to come and learn more about what the kids were doing, eat dinner, and enjoy some entertainment, which my son told me was a native dance presentation. It would have been a fun evening, but we were out cutting wood and completely spaced it out until it was too late to try and make it.

Time is an interesting thing. We often think of money as being the reason we do things, and often it is the reason. We work and work trying to make enough money so that we don’t have to work so hard later, but in the meantime, we miss out on the time that is slipping away with those things that matter more than making money, money only has the value that society places on it. It’s just paper. But time is the one thing we are all given to utilize however we so choose, and it is the one thing that seems to be wasted the most. Sometimes I look back at my life years ago. I would think it would be nice to do this or that but think of the time commitment and decided that the several years it would take me to accomplish whatever it was, was too long so I wouldn’t even start! I am now on the flip side of that, not having progressed in some areas of my life like I could have. looking back at that time, which really wasn’t that long, and wondering what I had accomplished instead, because it could have been so much more if I had utilized my time more wisely.

It really is interesting how the passing of time changes our priorities though. I love my life now. I have had so many adventures, challenges, ups and downs. And through it all I have learned a lot about what is important to me. When I was younger it had a lot more to do with money and stuff. I thought money and stuff would bring happiness and ease. I have learned that is not always the case. Our paycheck doesn’t guarantee anything, especially not happiness, and depending on how we spend it, it may not create ease either.

Over the years my goals have shifted away from money and stuff and turned more inward, to family and relationships, peace of mind and heart, memories, especially the kind that don’t cost money, they are usually the best kind anyway. These things don’t require anything more than time for the most part, but they are the things I look forward to the most. As my kids are starting to leave home, the memories are sweeter, and when they come home to visit, the laughter deeper. Most of my kids are still home, but they are not little anymore, they don’t spend as much time at home, and will be leaving sooner than later. I want to utilize the time we have more wisely, which involves more time not money. Last night as most of us worked together on cutting wood we missed the ones who weren’t there, not just for the help, but the fun involved. We laughed together, and maybe got a little carried away with the spray paint, but we spent time, and we made memories.

I love the quote at the top. Our time here is priceless and spending it going down one path means we won’t be going down a different path. We don’t have enough time to do everything in this wonderful world that we would probably like to do, so we need to look at our priorities, look at what’s really important to us, and then utilize the time we have here to accomplish those things. We should get to the end of our lives having utilized our time wisely, because we can never get it back.

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In my last blog post I commented on how busy we have been the last couple of weeks. I had felt at times like I was going to drown in all the things that needed to be done and the lack of time I felt like I had to do them in. Even as things have finally started to slow down the past couple of days, I have still felt hectic and cluttered in my mind and unsettled in my heart.

Today at Church as I was listening to the speakers speak, the thought came into my mind, not words or a huge overwhelming feeling, but a simple, quiet thought that came with peace – Slow down, be still. It was just what I needed today. I thought about the last couple of weeks, all that we had to do and everything we accomplished, but also some of the things I should have done better that don’t take a lot of time, like saying my prayers in the morning, and getting my scriptures read first thing, things that slow me down so I can prepare for my days but had neglected because my mind was so full of other things.

As I have been thinking about this, I have thought about how quickly the world and all the “stuff” that “just has to be done” creep into every aspect of my life and how easily the really important things get pushed aside or completely forgotten in the moments when they should be the priority. I don’t find it hard to stay busy, but sometimes it is hard to slow down and do those things that affect me on the inside, that have the greatest impact on my day.

Sunday is my favorite day of the week, and lately it has been even more so because it is a day that I can slow down a little bit, that I can go to Church, get the strength I need for the next week, and recommit myself to the things that matter most, and for some reason lately, I have felt that strength more so than I have most of my life. Not that I haven’t always noticed that it makes a difference, I know it’s always there and that my week will always go better when I go to Church, but lately the strength that comes from being there and then recommitting myself to studying, prayer, etc. during the week has been almost palpable.

This evening I can see all the things we need to do this week. But I know that as I go forward, doing those simple things that keep me on the right track, assisted by my Heavenly Father, I can do all things, in the right time, and in the right order, when I start off right every morning. I am grateful for that simple inspiration – Slow down, be still. I hope that I can remember that this week, and that you all can be inspired in the way that you need it most as well.

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We have had a very crazy busy last few weeks. So, I figured this was a good place to put my thoughts so that I could move ahead again. What set it all off was my older son decided which school he wanted to attend finally. He had his choice between the school in our area, homeschooling, and what is called Middle College. He had previously decided he really didn’t want to attend the school in our area for a variety of reason, so had mostly decided to homeschool. I was not thrilled necessarily, not that we wouldn’t have proceeded forward, but high school is harder, requires more paperwork on my end, and more time than he devoted in middle school.

3 days before the deadline for Middle College he decided he would like to try and get in. They were thrilled to have him, and he had already completed 1 of the 2 required tests to see if he could get in, and passed it with a score high enough to get in. So, we knew he was eligible regardless of his other score. But there was so much paperwork to fill out in a very short space of time. My daughters both went to Middle College, and I remembered the paperwork, but they had months to complete each step, we had days for some of it, up to a week later for other pieces, but it required a lot of phone calls on my part and zoom meetings with counselors on his part. But he did it!

The reason I bring this up is because just 3 months ago, he saw the amount of paperwork, the 2 tests, and everything else required and he gave up. He decided he would take the easy road and just do one of the other 2 schooling options. This summer through some of the things he has done working with his dad, he has developed confidence in his ability to do hard or scary things and knows that he can push through. I am proud of him and his courage to try, not knowing if it was even possible, and so excited that he is excited for school this year!

Also, this past week, our 2nd daughter had the opportunity to learn and develop doing something hard and scary. Interesting how that all works out sometimes. She is graduated from High School, still trying to figure out what she wants to do with life. She has really wanted a dog for a number of years, and finally this summer she bought one. I have been impressed by her ownership of all the tasks involved without me even jumping in and giving advice. The first couple days she asked me a lot of questions, but after that, she just went for it and has done a great job. But last week we noticed a lump on her dog’s lip. Everything in my daughter’s life turned upside down as she worried and wondered. We decided she should take the dog to the vet. She thought a lot about this, and then asked if I would please go with her. I agreed but reminded her she was paying!

On the day of the appointment, she talked to the vet for the most part, she took really good care of most of the situation and only needed help a couple of times. She is not a people person, and sometimes freezes up when she has to be in situations like these. But she did fantastic (so did the dog). The bump is most likely a small infection, but we will have it checked again in a month. I was so impressed by how much she had grown recently, by having the dog, and by choosing to get out and be around people in a variety of situations this summer that she wouldn’t have chosen to do previously.

My kids are always inspiring to me and watching these two grow this summer in a variety of ways has been amazing to watch. I am so grateful for opportunities to learn and grow in our lives, so grateful that we don’t have to be stuck in one spot, and that everyone has the opportunity to become better.