Monday, June 6, 2011

Slowing Down

I'm a summer girl. I love having my boys out of school. I love being outside day and night. I also love writing out a list of chores we're going to accomplish each summer. The boys and I are going to deep clean and repaint every room in the house. The lawn will be free of trash and dandelions. My garden will feed the entire neighborhood. I will park my van and we will ride bikes everywhere (think of all the gas money I'll save). Summer reenergizes me. I usually update my New Year's Resolutions and plan to conquer my corner of Cache Valley. But life changed at the Checketts' home last summer. I used to feel I was efficient and organized. I used to have monthly goals and daily to-do lists and if I didn't work towards each goal every day I would get frustrated with myself. Baby number four has flipped our objectives and made us so much happier. I still want to deep clean the house (though maybe not repaint) and have a garden (thank heavens it's at the back of our property so no one will see how weedy it is). After having four children I finally conquered my obsessive-compulsive tendencies. Because I have no choice. My baby needs me. My older boys need me. My husband needs me. My goals had to change. My new goals focus on my family, serving the Lord, and savoring each moment with this chubby baby. If I don't make it to the gym, turn on my computer, or fold the laundry, I try not to obsess over my lack of ambition. Elder Dallin H. Oaks, in a recent general conference, taught, “We have to forego some good things in order to choose others that are better or best because they develop faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and strengthen our families.” (i) Prioritizing is the hardest thing for me. Of course I'm not going to give up on my goals: my dreams of a garden, finishing my next novel, saving gas money by biking, or actually having a clean house. These are important things to me and I like to be motivated. We should always be trying to improve ourselves and the world around us. But sometimes we can go too far, get so wrapped up in the to-do list and forget about what's most important. Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin said he feared that we might "feel the busier we are, the more important we are - as though busyness defines our worth." Slowing down so we can meditate, ponder, and pray more can help us focus. President Gordon B. Hinckley recalled that his father "never ceased growing because he made time for thinking, meditating, and pondering." (ii) Maybe as we write our list of summer dreams we can focus more on improving our spirituality and making it possible for us to slow down and enjoy family, serving others, and the things that matter most. This is especially true if you and your family are on overload (and who isn't most of the time?). Slowing down and focusing on the essentials will make it possible to accomplish the important things - scripture study, prayer, family meals, family activities, serving others, etc. President Dieter F. Uchtdorf said, "It is said that any virtue when taken to an extreme can become a vice. Overscheduling our days would certainly qualify for this. Therefore, it is good advice to slow down a little, steady the course, and focus on the essentials when experiencing adverse conditions. Strength comes not from frantic activity but from being settled on a firm foundation of truth and light. It comes from placing our attention and efforts on the basics of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. It comes from paying attention to the divine things that matter most. Let us simplify our lives a little. Let us make the changes necessary to refocus our lives on the sublime beauty of the simple, humble path of Christian discipleship—the path that leads always toward a life of meaning, gladness, and peace." (iii) I pray each of you will have a wonderful, productive summer and be able to accomplish the goals you're setting for yourself and attain your dreams while still focusing on what matters most. (i) "Good, Better, Best." Dallin H. Oaks, (ii) "Don't be in a Hurry." by John C. Thomas, Ensign, June 2010 (This is a fabulous article. I re-read it every time I start feeling frantic.) (iii) "Of things that matter most." President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, October, 2010, Church News


  1. Wonderful post, Cami! I completely relate-- though my OCD recovery came with child number two. :) It's been quite freeing to narrow down the ambitions and be more easygoing and flexible.

    Have a great summer with those wonderful boys!

  2. Thanks! You're a quicker learner than me. I hope you have a wonderful summer as well!

  3. Excellent advice here! Baby #4 has taught me some of the same things. I struggle so much with wanting to conquer the world and reminding myself that I am conquering my little corner of the world by just keeping up with my kids!

  4. You're so right, Rachelle. I am amazed by how much you do accomplish!

  5. Cami, I just found your blog and I'm very excited. I love reading but have a difficult time finding new things to read. I also know what it's like being a busy mom and having to slow down. Babies #3 & #4 arrived together last summer. (At the time my oldest had just turned 4). I quickly learned that every thing does not have to look perfect. This was the perfect time in my life to stop obsessing about the little things and focus on the bigger more important things. Some days it is more important to go to the park with my kids than to make my house spotless. And I've learned to not feel guilty over that. Thanks, Morgan

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