Sunday, October 6, 2013


There I sat, on the edge of my hospital bed, staring at the familiar bassinet where my new daughter lay sleeping.  This marked the culmination of my 4th pregnancy and 3rd delivery in 5 years.  I had just sat on the edge of that very bed, 18 months prior, after the delivery of my second baby.  Needless to say, the familiarity was accompanied by paralyzing anxiety regarding the future.  My thoughts raced with useless self-doubt in my ability to sufficiently meet the needs of these three little ones, under four years of age.  Fear soon followed, as my mind raced with wonder, "How will I take care of two young ones and a newborn, each morning they wake up hungry, needing love and attention and care?" "How will I get them to bed each night, with the same one-one-one time I have always given them?" "What time will I need to wake up in the morning, to have a minute to read and recollect, before I begin each day?"  "Where will I put my groceries with a basket full of children?"  Without answers for any of these questions, I kissed my newborn on the cheek, and decided to shower, there in my hospital room.  As the water began to run down my head, tears began to flow as I pondered my future.  Soon, I heard the voice of my pediatrician.  Through the door, he asked me how I was doing?  I told him I was fine.  I assumed he then checked out the baby, and headed to his next patient's room, as he did each morning.  When I was able to maintain a little bit of composure, I turned the shower off, wrapped my body and hair in a towel and opened the bathroom door.  There, smiling, sat my pediatrician, on the foot of my hospital bed.  He winked at me and said, "Are you ready to take this Princess home?"  Suddenly, I just broke down and crumbled, right before him.  I explained to him my feelings of complete and utter inadequacy regarding this newborn, and the responsibilities that awaited me at home.  I begged him to keep me in the hospital for a few more days.  He sat down with me, and calmly took out a piece of paper.  He drew one small circle.  He said that represented my little family----- my husband and my 3 little ones, and our home, the day to day stuff that absolutely  NEEDED to be done each day, like meal prep, laundry and basic clean up.  He then drew a larger circle around it and labeled it, "My Responsibilities".  He told me that My Responsibilities included house cleaning beyond the typical day-to-day stuff, yard work, church callings, and any school or community responsibilities that I had committed to do.  Then, he drew yet an even bigger circle.  This outer circle was labeled "Friends and Neighbors".  It represented anything and anyone that did not have a particular time limit or responsibility connected to it.
 After creating these three Circles, he tenderly put his arm around me.  He pointed to the center circle.  He explained that this was all I needed to worry about for the coming days, and possibly even months.  It was up to me.  He told me that when I woke up in the morning, I just needed to worry about a husband and these 3 little ones and NOTHING ELSE.  He told me to make easy meals, do minimal chores and just worry about my family.  He told me that each day I would get better and better at it.  And, that after I felt confident with that ever important task of taking care of my family, I would naturally extend my energy to the next circle of  My Responsibilities.  I could begin to incorporate extra chores, some yard work.  Then, I could fulfill my other commitments.  This feeling of accomplishment would create more and more confidence in my abilities, that soon I would be able to reach out to that outer most circle of Friends and Neighbors.  In doing so, my confidence would grow exponentially, as I learned to take care of My Family, meet My Responsibilities and then, reach out to Friends and Neighbors.

Circles continue to remind me of a loving doctor and friend who took the time to not only teach me a valuable lesson, but to show me that he cared.  Circles continue to remind me that I cannot always do everything.  And, that my priority lies in My Family circle.  This Circle Effect has helped me during the many events of Family Change.  When a family member has been sick or struggling, I automatically go back to my inner circle, and make sure their needs are met each day.  Then, I venture out to other Responsibilities and then Friends and Neighbors.  When my husband left, for the first time, in 2005, leaving me with 4 little children, I, once again, went back to my inner most circle and began to work my way out again.  Then, when my he left for good, in 2010, the feelings of failure were all-consuming.  I had worked SO hard, been SO supportive and I failed!!!  I functioned on auto-pilot for the next few days, barely getting kids fed and off to school.  One morning, my alarm went off.  The burden of my reality so heavy that I could not even move the covers let alone, get out of bed.  So, I laid still, and horizontally pleaded to the heavens for divine guidance.  As I opened my eyes to the darkness of the morning, I saw above me, the drawing of Circles.  And, I could hear His familiar voice and feel His loving arms around me, and knew I just needed to go back to my inner Circle------just take care of my 4 children, and soon, I would gain the confidence and strength I needed to tend to the other Circles of my life.  I was calm as I realized again, that not only could I not do it all myself, but that I did not HAVE to do it ALL.  And, most importantly, someone knew me, knew the challenges that awaited me, and took the time to let me know He cared.  I can honestly say, it probably took me a year to venture out of my inner circle, after my husband left.  And, that was OK!!!  I realized that my Inner Circle had changed.  Death, divorce, college and missions, birth and adoption, military service, kids grown and gone, and even re-marriage....... as life goes on, our inner circles change.  With some change, our inner circles enlarge.  With other change and challenge, our inner circles are strengthened.

I have come to know and understand the importance of my inner circle and making sure those needs are met.  Taking care of those that I have a divine responsibility to, allows me to accomplish my other Responsibilities and even touch the hearts and serve my friends and neighbors, as I accomplish, serve and love, one circle of responsibility at a time.

I have grown to love and appreciate this blog so much.  Over the past 3 years of incredible Family Change, it has allowed me to reach out beyond my inner circle, through technology, when my time and energy would not have allowed.  It has given me the opportunity to make more friends, meet more people and even have opportunities to speak and share, even though, there are still days, when I never make it out of my inner circle. And, through this blog, many of you have touched my heart with your stories, your good wishes and your strength and courage and confidence.

 Now, with a new marriage, my inner circle is filled with new cherished loved ones who are counting on me to focus on them, and meet their every need.  So, I find myself, back to focusing on my inner circle.   I am loving the challenge of figuring out who likes what in their sack lunches, who loves their back tickled at night, who needs to be tucked in with an extra kiss and needs an extra prayer, just for them, whispered in their ear. I am learning who needs to be picked up where, who likes what for dinner, even what music everyone loves to hear.  My Inner circle has grown in number and obligations.  But it has grown even more in love, trust and confidence.  Whenever I doubt  my ability, I can hear that tender whisper of wisdom, and see those Circles.  So, I listen.  I regroup.  I move those heavy covers and return to my inner circle and begin again, to work my way out towards my other circles of responsibilities. I know that as I focus on my family, my inner most circle, that someday, I will be encircled in the arms of a loving Heavenly Father, who entrusted me with each of them.  Circles!

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