Here’s last week’s excerpt from my novel, Dates With God, that I was supposed to put up last week. It’s Lauren’s Letter #7. In this letter, we see Lauren acknowledge her Internet addiction. She decides it’s time to change all of her goals, and that in order to win she has to do her Warrior Actions in a warrior way. She also recognizes in real time a Dude Moment and does her drill to keep from sliding down the chemical scale when she meets an old acquaintance that she feels superior over. If you would like to know more about the Chemical Scale, read Chapter 5 in Like Dragons Did They Fight by Maurice Harker and Lucas Reynolds. It’s free in Kindle format.
Lauren’s Letter #7
Wow, I’ve had seven perfect days so far. I love this. I have my phone alarm set to go off at 9, 12, 3, and 5:30. the hardest goal has been my Internet limit. At first I went through somewhat of a withdrawal. I was so used to checking my phone all day all the time, like a baby addicted to a pacifier. Digital screens and social media have been a pacifier for me, definitely. Checking my blog, my Facebook page, my midwifery’s business Facebook page, my birthing organization’s Facebook page, my texts, my Pinterest page, my Tumblr account, my Google circles, and my emails was way too much. I knew I was addicted when I found myself using it first in thing in the morning when I popped open my eyes, the last thing at night. Oh, and also checking my phone as the last thing I did before I left my dressing stall in the temple locker room and the first thing when I got back. I was paying more attention to screens than to my children.
There have been a few times when I have felt stress and gone to use my phone but then I remember wait, I don’t do that anymore. I’m sticking to my plan of using the Internet from 10 to noon, when my kids are all in school. I’m doing a quick lunch and then I do prenatals or housework or shopping or errands till the kids come home from school. Yes, I decided to let go my housekeeper and get me and the kids doing it, gulp. It’s part of our new plan to save money so James doesn’t have to work such long hours at his job and can start working on our own house.
After I told the kids my goal, as a joke, they started locking up the computer when they come home from school, to remind me not to use it when they are home with me. I’ve been spending the afternoons with them, actually helping them with their homework. ARRGH! We have homework for first and third graders. Every night. It is such ridiculous busywork. That’s one reason why I want to eventually homeschool when I get my ducks in a row. Then I have one of them help me fix dinner. I definitely have struggled with this. It doesn’t come naturally to me to do this. I don’t want to have to teach, explain, and go slowly while little fingers learn the skills I have known for years. Some days I think I am crazy. But, I hated how I was feeling like their time was wasted all day just watching screens. They were not doing their homework and just watching TV all afternoon, then they would tell me at 9 PM that they had a book report or a diorama of the rainforest due the next day. Disciplining wasn’t working and they were getting more and more rebellious at school. The other day Alyson looked at me while we were doing homework and smiled at me and then gave me a hug. It totally melted my heart. She told me she’s glad that I help her with her homework.
I’ve been doing one birth about every other week and when I go to that either James or one of the older kids babysits. James and I are having peace together. I am so happy that I have been keeping my Girl Goal regarding him. He’s actually starting to talk about starting to do less work for his dad so he can start building on our lot.
In class this past week we learned about doing the Power actions in a warrior way. Here’s how it applies to me:
In my prayer I’m going to start saying things like
Dear God, I thank Thee and I will think of all the many ways I feel that Thee reached out to me the day before. Then…Father, I acknowledge Thine wisdom and power. I acknowledge that I don’t have that. I ask Thee to help me know what I need to know from Thee every day to serve others in the best, Christlike way and fight my battles in the best way so I can win and be a dedicated instrument in Thy hands. I will ask Thee to speak the answers to me through Thy holy writ and Thy Holy Spirit that I will read and listen to today.
I’m using my writing in a much more active way. I used to avoid journal writing but I am finding out how powerful it is. I’m writing out all of the Captain’s Log questions every day and answering them in my journal. These questions and the answers, all written out, definitely keep me in my frontal lobe. They make me a better warrior because I am then an alert warrior, totally conscious of my goals for the day and when I am going to do them..
I learned from Kate something smart that the Nephites did in the Book of Mormon. She pointed out that at one point the Nephites slept on their swords. They did this so that they would be ready to battle at a moment’s notice. They recognized that there were times when they had to sleep for their health. But they knew they had to be ready to grab those swords and wake up in an instant. Sleeping on their swords, I’m sure was uncomfortable, and harder to sleep that way, but it was a physical reminder to them to keep their brains in high-alert state, knowing that, even though they were descending into sleep, that they needed to be ready to awake right away and fight. It’s not enough for me to think about these questions, I have to physically write them out and answer them. Just like it wasn’t enough for the Nephites to think about their swords being in some place away from their beds. They had to have the physical reminder of falling asleep on them to keep their knowledge of them in their frontal lobe while the Nephites were sleeping, if that’s possible. These questions I write out and answer, physically, with my body, help keep me in my frontal lobe as I face dangerous periods of time when I easily might fall asleep to my goals, such as when I get on the computer, and when I leave my house, especially for a birth, which puts me in a totally different environment.
I love reminding myself in writing of what I am doing right when I win. It totally cements it in my brain, so I don’t forget. I love prophesying of how the dark side will attack me to dissuade, discourage, and defeat me. In the Book of Mormon it talks of how the people had peace because of their preaching and prophesying, in Helaman 7:14. That scripture really stood out to me when I read it. I had the thought, “That is the key to my own peace, to preach to myself (by writing here Thy word and what I am feeling the Spirit tell me about They word) and to prophecy to myself about my own life.
R is for reading. To do a warrior’s reading of the scriptures, I do my reading right after my prayer in the morning. I used to do it at night but I found myself dozing off as I read. I have received so many blessings by switching my reading to the morning. It makes me think of Moses and his people gathering manna in the morning. They couldn’t do it at night because it would not stand the heat of the day. They had to gather it in the morning, in the cool. It was food to sustain them. Reading the word of God is food for my spirit. If I wait until the heat of the day to do my first reading, I notice that it is hurried. I’ve noticed other moms in my class do it differently. That’s OK. This is what works for me.
How do I keep my mind from wandering? I focus on writing a question at the top on every scripture page that is answered by that page, and then I highlight where the answer is.
Then when I am done reading I go back and write down in my Girl Power Journal what Thou spoke to me through the scriptures, if I felt any answer to my prayers. I might even get direction to change my plans for the day so I will write down my new plan.
So far my life’s been improving amazingly well. I no longer see the hurt look in James’ eyes. We’ve started going on weekly dates, something we lost the hang of a loooong time ago, and we are even holding hands again. I turned down midwifery requests and after this month the load will go down to one a month. I decided to give over the reins of my birthing web site to Emma. She needed some income to help her be a stay at home mom in her situation of temporarily leaving Clark, and I needed to divest myself of daily management, so this is perfect. I’m just blogging or doing any social media for 1 hour a day. She takes care of all the website management. It’s definitely been a weaning for me. I am no longer dependent on all those likes and comments from followers and fans, and even detractors, which I actually secretly enjoyed because it gave me more traffic. I am now more in tune to getting likes and interaction with who I want to become my biggest fans. That’s first, Thee God, then my husband and kids.
I did notice a chemical shift recently. Yesterday when I was at Target from across the parking lot I could see Julia, a girlfriend from a long time ago. We were in the same ward before we moved here. She was pushing a cart, and hugely pregnant. She had not one, but 3 kids in the cart, and 3 walking behind her. Eesh, that woman is busy!
In that instant I felt the chemical shift that is so familiar to me now. A mixture of criticalness, anger, impatience and sarcasm all rolled into one. Satan is really good at these zinger cocktails of subtle chemical spills to build up partial, negative emotions for me. “You’ve got to be kidding,” I thought. Hey, now that I am writing that I realize that was the dude moment. Here’s the rest of it.
“Isn’t her oldest kid like, 8?”
“Who does she think the is, populating the earth more?”
“Why is she having another one?”
“Go tell her how tired she looks! Have fun rubbing it in that she’s pregnant and huge and tired and fat.”
I just stood there, having these thoughts. Then I realized, “on my gosh, you are at Level 4! Do your drill!”
My old way would have been the following. I would go over to her, smoothly reconnect while feeling superior that I am not pregnant and actually have a life outside the home. Unlike her, where the highlight of the week is checking out the smartphones at Target with 6 little ones in tow and one in the womb. After a ton of chit chat I would ascertain her level of green mama earthiness so I could decide about giving her one of my business cards so she could maybe be a potential client.
But hey, my brain is changing. I don’t do that any more. That is part of my old self.
James has been opening up and talking about how much he would like for us to have another baby. Eesh! Can you believe it? I have been resisting with all my lawyerly skill as much as possible. I just blogged the other day about how four is the new six. Nobody could accuse me of trying to churn up more business by telling people to have more babies. So all of that came to me as I saw Julia. It was all in a flash, as part of the satanic spin.
So I did my drill, which is to repeat my affirmations while I breathe deeply and look upwards. I went over and talked to Julia. You know what, after a while of talking, I felt genuinely happy with her and for her. Her kids were cute and well behaved and all greeted me with smiles, looking me in the eye, and shaking my hand. They were so happy, it made me smile the rest of the day as I remembered our interactions. I started thinking how much work it takes to train children to be like that and I felt pleased to know their marvelous mom.
Copyright 2015 by Celestia Shumway