We look to be a perfect family don’t we ?! Don’t we? Well… I guess in a sense you could say that. We are perfectly messed up, perfectly imperfect, perfectly normal. Isn’t it awesome that we take photos of all the best times ? And even if it isn’t the best time we smile big and put our best face forward and it appears magical to those who see the photo ?

I felt impressed that I was supposed to write a blog and journal what I’m learning and to share it with others. I committed to myself back in November to write one blog post a week. There are some rules to my blog posts. They have to be inspired. They have to be real. They have to be honest, raw and transparent. They have to acknowledge God and His hand in my life and they have to teach myself and those around me how to embrace adversity. That’s a tall order, especially from a lounge chair by the pool…. after three days of what I would say was probably the biggest fight I’ve ever had with my husband.

As I contemplated the blog post I figured there was no way I could do it… I don’t know about you but I’m not inspired when I’m in fight or flight mode. I asked Mallory to write a post…. she gave me a funny look so I dropped it. My next thought was that the blog needs a vacation too ? Ya. That’s it. I’ll just quit when it gets hard…. that’s what I’ve done in the past isn’t it ?! Who cares.

I plopped my butt down on this lounge chair, with intent to zone out and stare at the sky while I listened to meditation music and breath.

The clouds started to part. My courage came back, and I decided to be real, raw, transparent, inspired, to acknowledge God and to talk about embracing adversity.

So, here goes…. from Hawaii…. we all have dirty laundry…. even in paradise. You’d never know it from the photos would you?! You’d never know that Paul and I have been slamming doors, swearing , screaming, or that I shoved my big strong husband three times as hard as I could. Stress. Lots and lots of stress. We handle it the best we can and at some point everyone has a breaking point. Ours just happened to be in Hawaii.

I can’t tell you how bad I wanted a return ticket. I can’t tell you how for the first time in my life I wished a shark would bite my head off.

Here’s the thing…. life happens. Really shitty things happen. Life is messy and dirty and painful and hard and it just outright SUCKS sometimes…. but the good news is, we have a washer and dryer …. right here in our condo. We all have it with us where ever we go….the tools to get through every shit show we star in, even when we have the leading role and are covered from head to toe in mud.

As I’ve studied mindfulness, staying present, having courage, letting emotions pass through us and other tools taught in yoga, I’ve been able to use simple things like my breath, my body, changing my shape, meditation and yoga to help me connect with the ultimate “laundry service”…. my Savior. He is peace. Everyone connects with Him in a different way, but regardless, He is always with each and every one of us and can always be accessed.

I was blessed with a family of warriors. My family has been through a lot of really hard stuff. Some of our challenges are easily seen, others are known only by my family, but regardless of what we encounter, my family always comes together and gets through the storm at hand. My amazing children are a witness to me that God knows each of us and what we need. I learn so much from each of my children, including my amazing son in law, Chase.

And speaking of embracing adversity, I just have to give gratitude to my sweet son, Riley. In the midst of the extremely heavy burdens he carries, he has stepped up on this trip and made sure that everyone is feeling loved, being included and having a good time. Riley is a natural born leader. He is wise beyond his years and has the capacity to turn any situation into a positive experience. Riley is the epitome of embracing adversity. He has learned and grown and endured…. he has stayed present and with courage stared directly into storms that would take most people out in the first blow.

Today is a new day… we are choosing to put one foot in front of the other and to keep going. This vacation is complete evidence of Gods love. As Mallory and I watched goofy looking birds, tiny crabs and beautiful scenery we discussed the evidence of Gods love in each and every detail. My beautiful daughter pointed out to me that she imagined Heavenly Father and Heavenly Mother like two giddy parents setting out Christmas for their children. She imagines them saying, “let’s make this bird with no neck, it’ll make Chase laugh, let’s make this tiny crab, Mallory will love it, we should make this flower this color, it’s Jackie’s favorite, make that cliff a little higher, Levi thrives on adrenaline, put a mountain here,Riley is going to love this place, let’s make the leaves on this tree a little bigger, Paul loves the shade. “ It has caused me to look at the details and with awe and wonder, contemplate which piece of Gods creation was JUST FOR ME!

The laundry is in the washer. The atonement is real. The Savior is our source of peace. I pray all of us will find a way that works for us to connect with Him and feel the peace His Atoning sacrifice can offer.