Make a Change

These guys. They're worth a change or two.

Yesterday at church, our Stake President spoke about love as a motivator and sustainer of change. He said that to love truly is not for the weak and that to change for and with love is a true act of courage. There are four key things one must have to institute a lasting change.

1. Understand the need for change

2. The facts that motivate the change must be authentic - the who, what, why of change must be true

3. There must be a systematic approach to the desired change - everything should be deliberate, planned and orderly

4. The individual must be truly committed to her plan for change.

One of my favorite things he shared was a Chinese proverb (I love any opportunity to stick one of those into my back pocket), Great souls have plans, feeble souls have wishes. 

It was a lovely talk and exactly what I needed to hear at that moment. In our little four walls, our lives are delightful. We are blessed by loving hearts, good health and an ability to laugh. But life is about progression and most nights I go to sleep wondering what I should do differently for my little family when we all wake up the next day. As the choir sang I sat in the pew and wrote in my little notebook.

First, a question,

What do I want/need to change in our lives?

And then three lists with answers to that question,

What would I like to be more consistent in providing my little girls?

- The little darlings need more routine. If we repeat activities and tasks they will learn to excel at them. Through repetition they will also learn the blessing of happy, productive habits.

- Creativity! We need to be better about filling our days with cut paper and spilled paint. I want them to know the importance of a beautiful mess.

- We need to be better about incorporating spirituality into the everyday. I need my little girls to know that the gospel is the reason they are here, not some hobby to be played at when nothing else interferes.

- We need to take more field trips into the big, wide world. I want them to feel the awe of stars in a darkened canyon and art that stretches their minds to thoughts they did not know they could have.

- A healthy meal and listening ears at the dinner table. This is a sacred time of day for our family. The only time when we are all together and without distraction. I need to treat it like the all important hour it is.

- And finally, I need to immerse them in truth seeking. I want them to know that all truth is ready to be found and they are the ones that can find it. Right now, I think the best way to do this is to focus on a new subject every month. Starting next Monday we are going to start talking about dinosaurs. Every day will have a dino activity. Fossil hunts! Coloring pages! Books! Dino museums! We will explore the subjects of the world together one toddler approved activity at a time.

What would I like to be more consistent in providing Riley?

- That boy needs a grand gesture once in a while. He grew up in a house where birthday parties were planned years in advance and pancakes were shaped like happy faces. He would never ask me to dole out a bit of that extra thoughtfulness, but I know he would appreciate it. Even if it is just a serving of happy face pancakes.

- A clean and functional house. More often than not, when Riley gets home our bed is full of pretzels (blame the girls) and our kitchen drawers hold anything from wrapping paper to that debit card I just can't find anywhere (blame me). Riley thrives in an environment that makes sense. Surely, as a sentient human being I am capable of providing that to him. I think.

- Physical affection. On second thought, I think we can all agree I have this one down pat.  (Okay, I just wanted to be able to check ONE THING OFF THE LIST. So sue me.)

- Me as an optimistic fixture in our house. Someone that can see his hopes and dreams for the big, earth moving ideas they are and someone that can shrug off the unexpected bills or unwanted extra pounds.

- Spiritual discussion. We are spiritual beings having a human experience and I need to be better about incorporating our true nature into our everyday lives.

- A healthy meal and good day talk around the dinner table. A lovely time for him to transition from the work of his day to the work of our life.

- More routine. Because we want to do big things together and that can be difficult to do when I am distracted by every object, idea and outing that sparkles. Reign it in, Meggie.

And finally, (perhaps the most important list of all...not really. But kind of.)

What would I like to be more consistent in providing myself?

- Healthy food. I can't get through my days running on sludge and empty calories. I need to fill my body with light and nutrients. There is a direct correlation between what I eat and how I feel mentally. I want to feel bright and ready. Sadly, french fries and milk shakes don't get the job done.

-Date night once a week. I need to look forward to time alone with Riley. It helps me remember how much I really like that guy.

- Routine. I mean, yeah. See lists one and two.

- A happy, functional, clean environment. I am not fantastic at creating this, but I thrive when living in it. We're working on it.

- Learning and playtime with the girls. I love them and myself the most thoroughly when I remember the beauty of disappearing into our homemade worlds together.

- Spiritual enlightenment. I need to feed my soul just as surely as I do my body.

- Riley as an optimistic fixture in our house. Because when he looks at me like I am worth something, like I can achieve all the things I hope to, I almost believe him.

- A moment each day when it is just my family and the things we can teach each other. Perhaps best accomplished around the dinner table?

- Time to write. I am happiest when I am the most authentically me and I am my most authentic self on days that I am able to write.

I think it is instructive that across age and gender most of our lists are very much the same. We need routine, space and time to create, good food, spirituality, time together, an orderly environment and support of one another. And I think I have enough love to provide us with each need at least most of the time.

Over the next few months I will be working on these lists and reporting back. Some days will be better than others. Riley will still come home to pretzel bed once in awhile and the girls will still have days that are made of junk food and TV. But we are working to be better. And for now that is enough.

Great souls have plans, feeble souls have wishes. We were each born with a great soul just waiting for us to live up to its potential. (Remember this post?)

Let's not make it wait any longer.