Just Give up in your Marriage!

Marriage is hard work. There are many challenges that couples face and these challenges can bring with them much discord and disharmony.  From household chores, to time management, to children and the in laws, many of the most common reasons why marriages fail is because of the work involved in keeping your love alive.

If you want to find happiness, joy, love and peace,  It’s time to Just Give up!

  • Give up your need to be right all the time!
  • Give up your selfishness!
  • Give up your need to control!
  • Give up talking and start listening!
  • Give up the games!
  • Give up the friends who create interference!
  • Give up the laziness!
  • Give up your unwillingness to forgive!
  • Give up the boring routine!
  • Give up being so stubborn!
  • Give up your unrealistic expectations!
  • Give up your annoying habits!
  • Give up your desire to be judgmental!
  • Give up your arrogance!
  • Give up anything that prevents mutual love and respect!

My life is amazingly happy with a remarkable woman as my wife!  As we have learned in our relationship to give up the negative barriers that get in the way we have continually drawn closer to one another.  Our life is more fulfilled and complete than either of us have ever experienced prior to our marriage.  We find strength in our differences while confronting the negative pressures that I believe occur in every relationship.  Our focus stays on the other one and not on our self as we solve difficulties that arise. 

We have learned that for marriage to be successful, you first have to be willing to give up!

 

Hiking the Trails of LIfe

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My wife and I love spending time outdoors, especially hiking.   The opportunity to spend time together, outside,  while climbing along a mountain trail provides great moments to grow closer to each other and gain a deeper love and appreciation for this earth and the wondrous beauty around us.  We have hiked many trails throughout the western states and Hawaii.  Each one is unique and offers something the others do not.  I would find it difficult to identify my favorite trail or hike.

As we hike along the different paths, they all share one thing in common, the farther along we get the more majestic and beautiful the scenery becomes. The more challenging the hike, the more beautiful they become.  The reward is always worth the effort.

Many times people will stand at the base of the trail deciding whether or not to begin the journey.  The assumption is made based upon how difficult the journey looks or at times the obvious lack of beauty at the beginning.  We judge the outcome of the journey by where it starts instead of where it leads.  Beauty is always found in the journey and where it leads, not by standing still at the bottom.

Our lives too resemble these hikes.  If we judge others based upon the outward appearance instead of investing the energy necessary to take the journey required to know them we will never know the beauty that each person brings.  If we choose to stand still and not invest the energy to take the journey necessary to find the beauty in any aspect of life, be it love, family relationships, school, work, religion, friendships, or anything, we will never discover the beauty that lies deep along the path.

While beauty is all around us, the ability to see it in its fullest grandeur requires effort on our part.  Those who choose the take and complete the journey always find the greatest satisfaction and fulfillment.

My Life’s Adventure with My Beloved Karla

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Life is an amazing adventure when you are able to journey through this existence with someone you love.  The little things don’t ever matter and the big things all become little things. My wife and I do not always see eye to eye on things, in fact we are on opposite sides of the spectrum at times.  We have discovered that most of the areas where we disagree really don’t matter anyway as most often they are political or social in nature and truly have no impact on our lives.  I believe this is the way we have been able to build such a magnificent, loving and beautiful relationship over the years.

We have both experienced painful pasts where trust was violated and the journey back to being able to love and trust has been a difficult one for both of us.  The honesty with which we communicate with each other, while not always easy has given each of us the ability to trust one another and in turn has allowed our love to grow.

The journey through life can be a challenge and sometimes painful experience.  Understanding that we have each carried with us those heavy burdens also allows us to lift them from each other as we walk through this life hand in hand.  While most of our goals and desires in life are the same, we share with one another the enjoyment of discovering the differences each of us bring.  It is through our differences that we actually grow the closest, as we discover new things in life from each other, it also drives us to discover new things we can share.

Our life is perfect.  We are different but equal.  We share everything while enjoying things the other doesn’t.  We explore this world together, parent together and dream together.  There isn’t a single morning that passes when I don’t get to listen to my wife’s sometimes crazy dreams.  We laugh together and we cry together.

The journey to find one another has been hard, filled with heartache and sorrow along the way.  The darkest of nights have led us each to the brightest of days in our lives.  The journey has been worth every step, and for this I am deeply grateful that we have been brought together.

My world is enriched, blessed and filled with love and wonder with you at my side, thank you my beloved wife for being the amazing woman you are and making a me a better man. 

God’s Laws Can Never be Changed by Man

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Many friends I know feel as though the commandments are antiquated, outdated and not relevant in today’s world.  This belief seems to be prevalent in our culture,   Each of the ten commandments have become glamorized through our movies and invade our homes daily through the internet, television and music.  We are falsely led to believe that the only way to have fun and enjoy life is to break the commandments and live a life without rules or restrictions.

This is the greatest lie ever told to mankind.

Happiness, joy, and peace can never be found violating these laws of God.  The commandments are not given to us to restrict our lifestyle, they are given to provide direction and guidance that will bring about that happiness, joy and peace we long for.  Living a life in harmony with Gods law is the only way to find that deep peace that our spirits hunger for.  God’s laws are not meant to restrict us, he has given these laws to enable us to know how to bring about true joy and happiness in our lives.

Those who live the way of the world rush from one placebo to the next in looking for the happiness they long for.  These placebo’s deceive the individual into believing they have found happiness, only for it to be fleeting and without substance or staying power.

Those who do all within their power to live God’s laws find great peace and comfort in abiding these commandments. These individuals are not prone to the heartache that comes as a natural consequence from violating these laws.  They avoid the emotional roller coaster that comes from chasing after one placebo to the next and eliminate much worry and stress from their lives.  As a God who loves his children, these commandments are designed to bring about joy in our lives, God desires that we are happy and have joy, his laws are the road map leading to it.

As society tries to eradicate these laws from our lives, through countless legal actions and maneuvers there are those who desire all to lose hope and chase after these placebos instead of discovering for themselves the inner peace and happiness that can be.  Man continues its assault on God’s laws.  Making a law declaring something legal, will never make it right. Making laws declaring something right as illegal will never them wrong.

There is only one way to true happiness and joy.  All others are a deception.

There is No Tomorrow – A Fathers Heartache Part 12

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Oh how I have missed having my children with me.  These past couple of weeks without being able to see them due to the Thanksgiving holiday was difficult for us.  It is frustrating to think anyone would keep their child away from a parent, yet that is the unfortunate reality that my children and I face.  It was 14 days since my last 4 hour visit, and I only had 4 hours to spend with them last night, 4 hours to last us another week.

These nights are about what the kids want to do.  Interestingly enough they all wanted to go spend some time in our home.  My wife was working late, so it was the 4 of us at home.  Alexa and Londyn wanted to play together as they missed each other so much.  The girls quickly took off to the bedrooms to laugh and giggle, followed much later my a game of hide and seek with all of them.  My son Bridger wanted to shoot on his nerf hoop in his room, so we shot around for a little while, while our baby Bella chased everyone in the house in her walker.

The house was full of noise and laughter.  A far cry from the normal silence we face when the oldest 3 are away with the other parent.  I hunger for those moments of sweet music as the children laugh and play together.  My home is meant to have the sound of little feet as they pitter patter across the hardwood, the giggles and the joy that comes from them when they are together.    I treasure these moments in time as they are fleeting for us.  Our children are growing so fast and these few opportunities go by so fast as I try to hold onto them and stay in the moment.

As our night was coming to an end last night, Bridger asked me about this blog.  I suggested he write a story and draw a picture for it that we could post.   He loves to write and draw, yet thinks he isn’t very good at it.  As the eternal optimist and wanting to encourage him to chase his dreams, i posted his story last night to show him that people would read it and like it.   Thank you for proving me right.

https://jisbell22.wordpress.com/2013/12/05/tim-and-his-monster-by-my-11-year-old-son-bridger

I was once told by someone dear to me, whom is married to his first wife and has raised their kids in a traditional family that I spend more one on one time with my kids than they do.  This saddened me to think that could even be possible.  I yearn for time with my children and live for these moments when I get to see them.  I have spent my life wanting to be a great father and do the best I can with very limited opportunity.  I truly live for these moments.

Over the years as I have pondered these comments, I wonder if the reason that was said was due to the fact that I give my children the attention they need when I have them with me.  We pray, we play, we cry, we laugh and we love one another and spending time together,  Maybe its because we don’t get the time we would otherwise have that we spend every possible minute together.  Maybe others take for granted that time that we do not as a result of our limited time together.  Maye our time together becomes more important because we don’t have tomorrow to ride bikes, play and laugh.  We can’t procrastinate the time we spend together as a family whereas others might put things off because they can where we can’t.  Maybe by putting things off, they never get to it?  I have never fully understood his words, nor how it is even possible.  I can only guess.   I have learned over the years to always find joy in the journey.

Magical Meals – A Fathers Heartache part 11

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The unlikely moments of school lunch are often the anchor to my children that keep us connected.  As many who have read this series knows that except in the most extreme circumstances, my ex does not allow my children to call me.  I am relegated to my one 4 hour visit per week and every other weekend, with exception to the scattered holidays we get together.  My time with my children becomes limited and often times painful for us as we are apart.  School lunch allows me the moments with my children to make up some of our lost time.  I travel 25 minutes from my office to their school as often as possible to spend 10 minutes with each of them sitting at the lunch table with them and all of their friends.  These moments are what I refer to as the magical lunch moments in our life.  Simple and short opportunities for my children and I to laugh and talk about school and what is happening.  Our time together seems to go quickly, yet these brief moments in time help secure our bond together. I live for the smiles I get from their shining faces when they see me standing in the doorway to the cafeteria waiting for them. They never know for certain what days I can break away from the office to have this time with them so it is always a surprise.

Over these long lonely years of missing my children, I have needed to search for the magical moments when I can make a difference for them in their lives, when I can show them how much I love and adore them.  Our school lunches together has been one of these magical moments I search for.  I learn so much about them as I sit and laugh with their friends at the table as we eat, they open up and tell me everything that is happening, they feel secure and safe, just like home.  I discover the games they play on the playground with their friends and how they treat others as well as how the kids at school treat my children.  I learn about the homework, the books they are reading and any issues with school and their sports.   I treasure these moments with them and the opportunity to connect.

Our mealtimes have become some of the most amazing opportunities to connect with one another as we sit around tables talking with one another.  My wife and I have found that our children thrive at the dinner table together. We talk honestly and openly about the things that are happening in our lives and it is an opportunity for our children, where they feel safe and secure in our home, to relax and truly open up to us.  The other day while sitting at dinner together, my dear wife asked Bridger and Londyn what they liked most about coming to our home, with no hesitation whatsoever Bridger responds, “this is family.”  WOW!  The emotions I felt as I tightened my grip on my wife’s hand under the table were overwhelming.  Finally!  I received the confirmation that what we have been doing has been the right thing and we were making the impact we have been striving so hard for all these years!

These opportunities to connect with my children have provided anchors to my soul to help me through some of the dark times when they are away.  This connection is what gets us through times like we enter now, as over the next month we will only have two 4 hours visits, 8 hours in 30 days of time together as a result of the holiday and weekend schedule and the conflict created with the holiday happening on my regularly scheduled weekend.  It is times like this when our school lunches become ever more magical, precious and all important.   The times that will anchor our souls as one.

FINDING JOY IN THE JOURNEY

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Finding joy in our journey here on earth at times can seem daunting as life’s challenges and obstacles can create sometimes seemingly overwhelming sadness, sorrow and depression. Overcoming this cycle many of us find ourselves in at one point or another in this life is key to finding that lasting joy we all seek.  It is upon learning, understanding, believing and then acting upon the belief, that we are in control of our own happiness and joy, that we can finally take control of our own lives. We can discover the true joy that exists and that we alone control.  Perspective, gratitude and focus are some of the most powerful tools we have at our own personal disposal to change our own lives and find Joy in the journey.  We alone control these tools, ones that can be used to change or destroy our lives.  The choice is ours and ours alone, no one else can control that choice but ourselves.

Perspective and how we view ourselves, others around us, the circumstances we find ourselves in and the world around is critical to the level of happiness and joy we can attain in this life.  By shifting our perspective towards a more positive outlook and looking at things from a broader view of the world we can eliminate much of our self doubt we encounter along the way.  We will discover as we look through different lenses that the most difficult of life’s events can be overcome and that these moments can make us stronger. We will gain wisdom, understanding and clarity as we widen our view with which we see things.  It’s all a matter of perspective.

Gratitude provides us the opportunity in our lives to see the blessings we are given each day.  As we identify and write down the things we are grateful for our hearts and minds will be opened to seeing the positive in our lives.   It may be as simple as a shirt on our backs, a dry place to sleep, to our children and families.  Sincere gratitude for what we have in our lives and the blessings we are given, opens our hearts to recognizing that happiness does not come from no problems in our lives, it comes from our abilities to handle the problems we are given.  Epicurus said it best “Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.” Be grateful in all things.

Focus is a fundamental key to finding joy in our lives,  The law of attraction is immensely powerful, we attract into our lives that which we focus upon. Finding a clear perspective in everything allows us to master this law of attraction and bring these things into our lives we all desire, for “man is that he might have joy.”  The things that we focus upon in life are the things we attract in our life.  If we spend our time and effort focusing upon the negative things that happen to us, our circumstances, or what we deem “unfair” we will attract more the those negative situations into our lives.  An individual who is sick and spends their time focused on the sickness, always seems to get more sick.  Individuals who focus on others, and service to others, are always surrounded by great friends while those that focus inward and their loneliness, find themselves more lonely.  A positive focus in life will bring about positive effects in our lives.  We master that where we spend our time and energy (focus).

Our lives are meant to be filled with happiness, joy and love.    We alone control our success or failure in these areas.  We are the captain of our own ship, the choices we make with our perspectives, gratitude and focus will determine the level of success in life we find.

“At the end of the day, let there be no excuses, no explanations, no regrets.”  Steve Maraboli

Look to the Light, and Live!

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We each experience pain and heartache in our life.  These pains can become deep emotional scars that paralyze us from experiencing the joys that are to be found in this life.  Finding joy in the journey can be difficult when the pains and wounds are so deep that despair almost seems inevitable.  These wounds can become chains binding us from feeling anything but sorrow and despair.

Many times these pains come from those we have allowed into our lives, to be part of our life and to share our journey with. It can be from death to disagreements to rejection, anything,  that create this intense pain, sorrow and loss.  Sometimes they are family members, spouses, children, neighbors, friends and even our church leaders.  Whoever they may be, many times this heartache burns deep within our souls and left unattended can crush our ability and desire to press forward.  These sorrows for many create the inability to trust another, to open themselves up to another, to love again or let anyone close.  It affects current and future relationships.  The ghosts of the past haunt the individuals present and future happiness, becoming victims again to the already overwhelming sadness and heartache, thus creating a vicious cycle of sorrow.

One of my favorite speakers/authors Jack Christensen taught me a lesson that has never left me in his talk/book “Healing the Wounded Soul.”  Jack explains that many of our wounds need to be healed from the inside out.  He also explains that many people react through outward behaviors based upon deep emotional wounds.

It was upon listening to his talk that I was able to finally look deep inside of me in an attempt to discover what my wounds were and as I pondered this, I allowed the Atonement of Jesus Christ to work within me to identify the wounds that were causing my sorrow and to begin the healing process. I never fully understood nor comprehended how these wounds, hidden from not only everyone else, but from myself for years had impacted my life.  The freedom that entered my life upon conquering these wounds and allowing the Gospel of Jesus Christ to heal me from the inside out has been life changing. Not only has it allowed me to find true love with my beloved wife, it has also changed my eyes and how I view others who are hurting and manifesting that through their outward behaviors.   I see others differently than ever before.

As we struggle in life and deal with past wounds, as well as the current ones, if we look to our Savior and allow Him to enter our life, He can heal us from the inside out, the way we are meant to heal and thus eliminating the scars that come when we try to heal ourselves from the outside in.  We can find the inner peace and joy in our lives that can never be taken from us.  We can prevent our past from damaging our dreams for the future.  We can reclaim our lives and find joy in the journey as we look to the light, and live.

THE POWER OF CHOICE

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Have you ever noticed that some people regardless of the trials they are facing in life always seem to be happy and always in a good mood?  There are many who have learned that they have a power within them to be happy, no matter what they are facing in life.   They make a choice.

Choices are the most powerful force we have in our lives and ones we alone have total ownership of.  It is through our choices that our lives are lived, our paths are chosen and our circumstances are brought to pass.  Understanding this powerful force in our lives allows us to create the future we desire and deserve.

There are many of us who all too often blame others for our own bad choices and the difficult circumstances we find ourselves in.  While it is true that many of the challenges we face are created by the choices of others, the responsibility for our choices overrides anything that another can do.  I used to blame my sadness and unhappiness on my ex and her choices that led to the demise of our family, until I learned that in the beginning it was MY CHOICE to date her and marry her.  I invited her into my life and in that single act and choice of my own, I allowed the situation that then led to my sadness and unhappiness.  The feelings I felt and the sorrow that I felt were also MY CHOICE to accept them into my life. When I began choosing to take responsibility for my own choices, both the good and bad choices that I alone had made, I discovered a power within me to take control of my own life and stop letting others choices dictate my satisfaction and success in life.

This isn’t to say that I don’t struggle with the outcome and result from choices that others have made that have impacted my life directly, it does mean that I take responsibility for my choices in how it impacts me. I miss my children immensely, the choices of their mother impact my life on a daily basis.  At times the sorrow at not seeing them seems overwhelming.  When I feel the deep sense of loss and imminent despair, I remind myself of the simple rule that has taken me a lifetime to learn, I choose my own feelings.  I choose to be happy for my kids sake.  If I am despondent then what good am I to them?  The more I understand the power in choices, the more I refuse to allow anyone else to choose my happiness or sadness for me.  It is my life and I alone am in control.

There are some who will argue that we don’t choose our circumstances in life.  While on many levels this would be true, this isn’t about choosing what we have been born into, or sickness and disease, it is all about choosing what we are to become and who we are!  Regardless of our own personal struggles, we alone choose how we respond to them.  There is no one else who can make those choices for us. If we choose to break the law that takes us into a prison where we lose our freedoms, the original choice was ours and ours alone.  There are always consequences for our choices.  Choose wisely and we gain success in our endeavors, choose poorly and we create additional obstacles that limit what choices we are able to make.  Our attitude will always be our choice alone!

Sometimes we feel like we have no other choice, that circumstances require the choice we make.  Logically, this may be true, that the wisest choice is obvious and set before us, however the choice to act or not to act upon that logic is ours and ours alone. Every day of our lives are filled with choices, sometimes we even make the choice not to make a choice, regardless we have chosen inaction over action and we are responsible for that choice, or lack thereof.

Choices are one of the most powerful forces upon us in our lives.  It is through our understanding and mastering of this limitless personal power that will create the life we envision for ourselves.  When we take responsibility for our choices, both past and present we can take tremendous power over our lives and responsibility for ourselves.  We are in control of our choices and therefore over our own destiny and futures.   Our lives are a mirror image of the personal choices we make, what we see in the mirror staring back at us come from all the choices that we have made.  If we don’t like what we see, change how make your choices.

I OFTEN SIT IN SILENCE, I OFTEN SIT ALONE – A Fathers Heartache Part 9

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Last night was my sons annual football banquet.  Each year I put together a highlight video for the boys and their families to watch, each boy is given a copy as a memento of the season.  Last night was no exception and after hours of preparation the video was again ready to go and copies made for each boy.

I arrived at the restaurant early to make certain that everything was ready to go and that video would play on their televisions. Once this was finished I anxiously waited for my boy to arrive.  I hadn’t seen him in days and was excited for the opportunity to talk with him.  I quietly sat and  waited about twenty minutes for him to arrive. 

Suddenly I felt him place his arms around my shoulders as he hugged me and said hi dad, I love you.  My heart swelled momentarily until I heard his mother sternly inform him that he couldn’t sit with me and had to sit with her.  I watched a sadness appear on his face as he gave me another quick hug, whispered I love you and went to sit near his mother.   As I surveyed the room, I noticed that the other boys were all sitting together in the center tables, my dear boy was sitting head down next to his mother as he quietly obeyed her demands.

I sat there, my heart aching for my boy as he humbly and dutifully did as he was instructed, all the while watching the other boys laugh and play.  I was grateful to see his mothers friend arrive nearly 30 minutes later when she finally allowed him to sit with his friends, so she could have her moment to “talk”. 

Alone I sat at my table, watching my boy both quietly sitting next to his mother and also as he laughed with his friends. I fought the tears and anger at the way his mother controlled him.  I thought to myself how much I would have loved  to have been able to sit with him, yet this was his night to be with his friends, it wasn’t about what I wanted, it should have been about what he wanted, this was his night for him and his team.

I often sit in silence.  I often sit alone.  The numbness from the continual hurt at watching my kids many times from a distance pierces my soul.  I hunger for the days when they can express their love for me, their dad, without fear of the reaction from their mother.  My only hope and prayer is that one day my children will come to grasp the magnitude of my love and devotion for them, even if at times it is from a distance created by others…