SMM 063: How to Embrace Agency + Increase Love as a Mother || Shelley Swapp

Welcome to the final episode of season 2. I am taking a short break from the podcast and will be back in September with more faith-filled interviews for you.

In episode 63, my guest is Shelley Swapp. Shelley shares what she hopes her children will remember about her as a mom.

Motherhood Challenges

She also gives insights into the challenges her family has faced in the past few years. As a mother, she has watched her children deal with moving, brain injury, physical special needs, mental health challenges and faith crisis.

No Checklist to Perfect Kids

Shelley shares how she always believed there was a “checklist” of things to do as a mom. If she could just check all of the things on the list off, like family home evening, scripture study, attending church and the temple, etc., all of our children would turn out exactly as she planned. But Shelley shares how she has learned that’s not what the Gospel is about. She gives her insights on agency, something we fought valiantly for before we came to earth.

Instead of a “checklist,” Shelley discusses how “The true test of motherhood is who I become and the true test of fatherhood is who my husband becomes and not who my children become.”

She openly admits she and her husband weren’t perfect parents but can honestly say they have always loved their children.

Preserving Relationships

Shelley shares how she has persevered her relationship with her children, especially as some have chosen to leave the church. She shares how realizing our Heavenly Parents don’t sit in heaven wringing their hands has helped her to avoid worrying as well. She knows her children are on their own journey and it’s not about her.

The Power of Scripture

Both the Book of Mormon and the Bible have been huge helps to Shelley in her life as a mother. She describes the Book of Mormon as an entire book about families who were fighting valiantly to keep their children in the Gospel. She attributes the stories of Jesus found in the Bible to helping her get to a place where she can love and accept her children where they are.

Her Son’s Perspective

In preparation for the interview, Shelley spoke with her son who has recently experienced a faith crisis. She shares the advice he would gives to family members who are struggling to understand why someone would leave.

Why Heaven is Close

Ultimately, Shelley shares her testimony that heaven is so close. We can recognize tender mercies and angels here on earth. She acknowledges God’s hand in her life and knows He is helping her and her children.

How to Listen

Listen to the podcast below or on iTunesSpotifyGoogle PlayStitcher or Sound Cloud.  If you like the show, please subscribe and leave a review.

Show Notes

Light the Fight Podcast with Heidi Swapp and David Kozlowski.

Talk by Elder Robert D. Hales, With all the Feeling of a Tender Parent, April 2004 General Conference

Talk by President Henry B. Eyring, A Home Where the Spirit of the Lord Dwells, April 2019 General Conference

This is the quote by President Eyring Shelley referenced in the interview from the talk above.

“Some have tried with full heart for that blessing, yet it has not been granted. My promise to you is one that a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles once made to me. I had said to him that because of choices some in our extended family had made, I doubted that we could be together in the world to come. He said, as well as I can remember, ‘You are worrying about the wrong problem. You just live worthy of the celestial kingdom, and the family arrangements will be more wonderful than you can imagine.'”

Listen to Shelley’s daughter share her story on episode 6 of the podcast, Still Tripin’

Read more about Shelley’s motherhood journey in an article she wrote on the Awaiting Rainbows website.

Listen to a previous episode with similar stories: Episode 62, How to Show Unconditional Love When Loved Ones Don’t Share Your Faith

Follow Shelley

Instagram: @shelleyswapp
Facebook: shelleyswappsvintageherbals
Website: shelleyswapp.com

Follow Spiritually Minded Mom

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Instagram: @spirituallymindedmom
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Podcast: Spiritually Minded Mom on iTunes

SMM 062: How to Show Unconditional Love When Loved Ones Don’t Share Your Faith

Episode 62 shares the perspectives of 6 different people who have experience with a loved one who doesn’t share their faith. I am so grateful for each of these people who called in to share their thoughts and perspectives on a topic that isn’t always easy to talk about.

In addition to hearing from members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who have had families members who have struggled with their faith, you will also hear the perspective of someone who left the church. She shares her advice for loving unconditionally and preserving the relationship no matter what someone else believes.

All the people who called in shared the overarching message that unconditional love, love like the Savior shared, is the most important thing we can give.

If you are someone who struggles with similar situations I hope you this episode will show you that you are not alone. I also hope you will listen to each of these perspectives and gain what you need from their words.

I am so grateful to the women who called in and were willing to be featured on this episode. Sharing our stories binds us together. I learned so much from each of them.

How to Listen

Listen to the podcast below or on iTunesSpotifyGoogle PlayStitcher or Sound Cloud.  If you like the show, please subscribe and leave a review.

Show Notes

Read or listen to the entire talk by Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf from October 2013 General Conference, Come, Join with Us.

Full quote by Gretchen Rubin: “It’s a Secret of Adulthood: I can’t make people change, but when I change, others may change; and when others change, I may change.”

John 11 – Story of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead

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Podcast: Spiritually Minded Mom on iTunes

SMM 061: How to Eliminate Distractions + Always Have the Spirit || Darla Trendler

Today I am doing a solo episode talking about how to eliminate distractions and always have the Spirit. This content was originally a devotional I wrote and presented at a recent girls camp. Feel free to use this episode as a resource to help you teach your older children or other youth.

Can You Hear the Music of the Spirit?

I shared a story told by Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf about a violinist dressed in jeans who plays in a busy subway. Elder Uchtdorf uses this story to illustrate how we might miss the spirit in our life. The story shows why it’s important to slow down, eliminate distractions and always have the spirit with us.

What the Still Small Voice Sounds Like

These three scriptures help paint the picture of what the still small voice sounds like:

  • 1 Kings 19:11-12 – Elijah hears the voice of the Lord as he hiding because Jezebel wants to kill him.
  • 3 Nephi 11:3 – The Nephites have just gone through great destruction. They hear God’s voice introducing the Savior.
  • Helaman 5:30 – Nephi and Lehi are imprisoned and fire encircles them. The earth shakes and the people hear a voice.

Ways You Might Feel the Spirit

I shared 9 possible ways (and there are many more) you might feel the Spirit. You can read the accompanying scriptures and ponder on whether you feel the Spirit in this way.

  • Feelings of love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, faith, meekness (see Galatians 5:22–23)
  • Thoughts that occupy the mind or press on your feelings (see D&C 128:1)
  • A desire to do good and obey the commandments (see Mosiah 5:2)
  • A feeling that something is right (see D&C 9:8)
  • Feelings of comfort (see John 14:26)
  • Feelings that “enlarge [your] soul” (Alma 32:28)
  • Thoughts that “enlighten [your] understanding” (Alma 32:28)
  • A hunger for more truth (see Alma 32:28)
  • Feeling constrained (encouraged) to take an action or restrained (held back) from doing something (see 1 Nephi 7:15; 2 Nephi 32:7)

(This article for youth on the church website that was the source for this list.)

The Constant Influence of the Holy Ghost

In coming days, it will not be possible to survive spiritually without the guiding, directing, comforting, and constant influence of the Holy Ghost.

President Russell M. Nelson

I talked about a time in my life where I learned the importance of eliminating distractions that were keeping me from the influence of the Holy Ghost.

How to hear the Holy Ghost and Eliminate Distractions

Here are some questions you can ask yourself.

What are the distractions that are keeping me from the still small voice in my life?

How can I eliminate those distractions?

The sacrament prayers give us clues of how we can eliminate distractions in our life.

See the prayers in D&C 20 verses 77 and 79.

“Always” Have His Spirit

“Always” is a promise we are given. I looked up the definition in the dictionary and it said this: “at all times, forever, at any rate, in any event.”  Then the dictionary listed the synonyms to the word always: consistently, constantly, continually, ever, forever, incessantly, invariably, night and day, perpetually, unfailing.

I shared another quote from President Nelson: “Does God really want to speak to you? Yes!”

How to Listen

Listen to the podcast below or on iTunesSpotifyGoogle PlayStitcher or Sound Cloud.  If you like the show, please subscribe and leave a review.

Show Notes

Listen to the BYU Devotional by Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Can You Hear the Music.

See the footage of Joshua Bell playing in the subway.

Go to Episode 44: Use God as a Guide to learn more about how to discover how you feel the spirit.

Follow Spiritually Minded Mom

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Podcast: Spiritually Minded Mom on iTunes

SMM 060: Why You Can Have Joy in the Middle of Hard Things || Stephanie Piacitelli

Stephanie Piacitelli, my guest for episode 60, is someone who has learned to find joy in the middle of hard things.

In October 2014, Stephanie and her husband, Bryant, were living a normal life with their four children. But near the end of that month, everything changed in an instant. Bryant was on his way to work as a police officer when he was struck on his motorcycle by a driver who ran a red light. Bryant was killed and Stephanie was left a widow with four young children.

Losing Her Husband

In the interview, Stephanie shares about her life before Bryant passed away and the details of the day he was killed. She talks about how she shared the heartbreaking news with her children that their father had been killed.

One of her first thoughts was forgiveness for the person who hit her husband. Her second thought was that she and her family were loved. She knew they had so many people around them who loved them.

Stephanie shares the tender mercies she received from God prior to her husband’s death that did not lessen the shock but did leave her with the knowledge she was loved. She didn’t know it at the time, but as she looks back, she can see how God was preparing her and giving her what she needed.

Submitting Her Will to God

During her grief, Stephanie had a pivotal moment when she was able to turn everything over to God. She said, “This was a test for me. Am I really willing to put my trust in my Heavenly Father, in an all-knowing, all-loving God? Am I able to do that?… These experiences that we go through, are for our own good. We may not see it in the moment, but if we will allow the refiner’s fire to allow Heavenly Father to mold us into the person that He needs us to become, we will be better off than what we may have thought.”

Stephanie used the word “liberating” when talking about surrendering her will to God. We discussed the miracle of giving your will to the One who matters most and how surrendering will change your life.

“God will not forsake me” was on repeat in Stephanie’s mind for months after her husband’s death and is how she ultimately got through the darkest days.

Knowing Her Children’s Needs

Stephanie also shares how prayer and relying on the spirit have helped her know the individual needs of her four children who lost their dad. She also talks about how she uses these same skills to help the four step children she is mothering since remarrying.

Joy in the Middle of Hard Things

Overall, Stephanie’s story illustrates well it is possible to have faith and trust, even during difficult challenges. Stephanie knows “Joy is possible, even in the midst of hard things.” God makes this possible.

How to Listen

Listen to the podcast below or on iTunesSpotifyGoogle PlayStitcher or Sound Cloud.  If you like the show, please subscribe and leave a review.

Other Episodes Dealing with Grief

Episode 2: Navigating Loss, Special Needs and Fostering as a Young Mom with Alie Jones

Episode 5: Choosing Happiness in Motherhood Despite Grief and Tragedy with Maralyn Nava

Episode 7: Turning to God Through Infertility, Adoption and Miscarriage with Kay West

Episode 58: Why Gratitude for Little Things Will Make Your Life Better with Heather Herbert

Follow Stephanie

Instagram: @stephaniepiacitelli

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Instagram: @spirituallymindedmom
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Podcast: Spiritually Minded Mom on iTunes

SMM 059: How to Be the Expert +Advocate for Your Child||Cheryl Cardall

I first interviewed Cheryl Cardall in episode 23 about overcoming weakness and using humor in motherhood. Cheryl is back and we are diving in to talk about what Cheryl has learned in 20 years of motherhood. You’ll also hear why Cheryl believes you should be the expert and advocate for your child.

Cheryl talks about a recent moment when she realized she was doing better as a mom than she thought she was. She shares how motherhood refines us and makes us better. Cheryl believes you can do more than just survive in motherhood. You can thrive.

We also have a discussion about why a mother’s worth isn’t determined by what her kids do. Cheryl has learned to be good with herself no matter what her kids do. “Their behavior has no reflection on me.”

Cheryl also discusses her recent experiences learning how to be an expert and advocate for one of her children struggling with mental health issues.

Recently, both Cheryl and her husband were prompted to get a dog for their family. She talks about how they trusted this prompting and how having a dog has been a huge blessing for their whole family. Her story illustrates so well that God cares about everything in our lives and why you can trust and act on the promptings you get.

Cheryl has seen and felt God the most when she has felt she isn’t enough. She discusses how a common answer from God for her has been to “Love them through it.”

“Motherhood is the perfect way to learn about the atonement. We are not enough on our own but when we use God and our Savior as our partner, somehow we are.”

How to Listen

Listen to the podcast below or on iTunesSpotifyGoogle PlayStitcher or Sound Cloud.  If you like the show, please subscribe and leave a review.

Show Notes

Here is the quote Cheryl shared by Dr. Christina Hibbert: “The fruit of motherhood isn’t how your kids turn out. It’s how you turn out.”

See the Instagram post by @reflectionsofchrist about the parenting advice to repent fast and frequently I mentioned in the episode. (I think I said it was about forgiveness in the episode, but it’s about repentance.)

This is the quote Cheryl shared by Janet Lansbury: “It can be really tough to remember how emotionally immature children are because they can be so impressively intelligent, capable, and aware. When they seem deliberately bratty or downright mean, we’ll need to remind ourselves: These are tiny people with incredibly low impulse control who are very easily overwhelmed. In the moment, it may feel like our kids are out to get us, but it is actually that their impulses have gotten the better of them.”

Books Cheryl recommends:
The Whole Brain Child by Dr. Dan Siegel
The Teenage Brain: A Neuroscientist’s Survival Guide to Raising Adolescents and Young Adults by Frances E. Jensen

Follow Cheryl

Instagram: @supermamas4real

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Instagram: @spirituallymindedmom
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Podcast: Spiritually Minded Mom on iTunes