Mastering Your Day with Rhonna Farrer
Tell us a little about yourself.
Where to start? I started my love affair with art when I was 5. No, but seriously…as long as I can remember I’ve loved creating. I got my art degree at BYU despite a high school art teacher telling me I’d never amount to anything as an artist. Of course that crushed my creative soul, but at the same time it ignited a fire within me to help uplift and inspire those around me.
Fast forward to almost 20 years ago—as a young mother—I began a creative journey that would result in many learning experiences and eventually open up opportunities that I would have never thought possible. Initially, my freelance work allowed me to connect to companies that manufactured greeting cards, gift bags, stationary, and other paper products.
Later—in 2003—I began designing my own lines of scrapbook products. And during this time, I had the opportunity to author and contribute to many idea books, and to work as a creative team member with different companies and magazines. I also taught creative classes online and in-person, nationally and internationally.
More recently, my digital art has been used to create a wonderful little mobile device app called “Rhonna Designs” and was launched in July of 2013. We were awarded ‘Best of 2013’ in several categories in the App Store, so I guess you could say it’s an ‘award winning app’! Since then, we’ve launched two other apps called: Rhonna Magic & Rhonna Collage. All 3 apps work together to add design, text, filters, frames, flourishes and collage to your photos or images.
Although I love uplifting and inspiring others through my art and design, my heart truly belongs to my family & serving in my church. I had the opportunity to serve a mission for my church in Japan, and teach at the Missionary Training Center, and through these experiences I learned that I loved to teach and testify of the Savior. I have enjoyed serving in different callings where I get to lead, share hope, and witness of Christ.
I love teaching young women—of all ages (wink)—HOW to use social media for good and how to share their own goodness. I strive to empower them with ideas and inspiration that will “flood the earth with goodness." I’ve also enjoyed teaching about family history, and had the privilege of teaching at RootsTech for the past two years and attending the conference as a part of their Media Team.
Throughout this journey, my husband and 3 children (now teens and young adults) have been the lights of my life. I love it when we are all together, making memories and sharing their own journeys through life. Being a mom and wife is my greatest joy and accomplishment!
What does a typical day look like for you?
Before I answer this, I need to let you in on a little secret. Well, it’s not that secret, but I don’t talk about it very much. I have the wonderful trial/blessing of fibromyalgia (along w/ a whole slew of health issues) and although I am working with a doctor for my physical health, it’s become obvious that my spiritual and mental health play just as important of a role in dealing with this blessing every day. I’ve learned that it is critical for me to start my day with prayer, scripture and meditation. I know that my Savior helps me every single day to deal with the pains and issues that fibromyalgia brings. I honestly am so grateful for this trial because it forced me to ‘be still.’ I used to go-go-go and the Lord needed to remind me to ‘be still’. For years I just went through each day in what I now call a 'spiritual amnesia’. Don’t get me wrong, I prayed, read my scriptures, went to church and thought I was doing fine. But, when I got really sick and was forced to be in bed for months, I realized I had been distracted for so long I was just going through the motions. About 5 years ago I really woke up out of that 'spiritual amnesia’ mostly out of desperation. I was desperate to feel well, desperate to be able to create & work like I used to and go a million miles a minute like I’d grown to love, desperate to be able to even HAVE a 'typical day’. My 'typical day’ started to look very different and I went through a bit of a depression, grieving and even anger for a bit because I longed for the life I used to live. It was through much thinking, praying, and immersing myself in the scriptures that I learned that my 'typical day’ was changing. I prayed and pondered and really, truly plead with the Lord to help me learn what I was to do? HOW would I ever feel 'normal’ again? HOW could I ever get through one whole day without having so much pain that I had to be in bed? My typical day really evolved into something that has become a very sacred thing for me. Every day my 'typical’ is different except one thing: my morning routine. I have a list of what I MUST DO in order to even get through my day. I’ll talk a bit more about that below:
When do you have your scripture study and how do you make sure it gets done?
THIS is part of my morning routine that I MUST DO in order to get through my day. And I’ve learned that I can’t just ‘read’ my scriptures. I have a certain way I’ve learned that I need to feast on the scriptures which include: prayer, a question, pondering as I write in my journal and listening.
As a family, we get up every morning at 6 am to pray and read together. We read different books of scripture each year. We just finished the Book of Mormon (another book of scripture in my faith) and our kids were struggling with the Old Testament in their seminary class, so we decided we would read it together this year. We read for about 15-30 min depending on how much time we have and then we discuss, ask questions and talk about what we’ve read. Some days are better than others.
My family goes off to school and work and then it’s my time to feast on The Book of Mormon. That’s what I start out with, but it always leads to other books of scripture and words of living prophets that just feed my soul. I’ve learned that I must pray fervently with a specific question FIRST before I read/study. And every time I get the answer in the scriptures as I follow the whisperings of the Spirit. Now, realistically, I have to say: some days are better than others. But, for the most part, I’ve learned this particular formula works for me. Pray. Ask Questions. Read. Write in journal. Ponder. Search. Some days hours will go by and I didn’t even realize it. Some days I have less time, but even on those mornings…I will make sure I get my feasting in!
What do you do to handle a particularly stressful day?
When I start out with prayer and meditation and scripture feasting things go really well. When I don’t, I get stressed much easier. Part of my morning ritual is physical exercise. It hurts really badly with my Fibro, but I love PiYo or walking. This helps to relieve stress. I have had stressful situations come up though, later in the day where I want to retreat to my room to read, meditate and exercise again but, that’s just not possible. So I pray. I can pray anywhere, anytime and call down the powers of heaven to help relieve my stress. He really does help! It’s such a blessing!
What are your daily essentials? (What few things you feel you need each day in order to function?)
Along with the items above, I MUST take vitamins/supplements. drink water. create. serve. Believe it or not, I have a great app that let’s me check list everything each day. And my list of ‘daily essentials’ is long, but I do them. Faithfully…or I’ll be in bed all day!
What is the most important part of your day as an individual?
My morning routine.
What is the most important part of your day as a family?
Our morning routine, but we also try really hard to eat dinner together. With busy teens it’s impossible sometimes, so I’m thankful we have our mornings together. Mornings are challenging for me so this is a huge sacrifice. One that I know will pay off and really makes a difference.
How do you go about keeping your house clean?
I do what I can with the help of our kids and my husband, but have learned that for me, I need to let things go. I need to be happy with what we can clean and if I can’t get to something for a while, it’s OK. I used to have cleaners come to help me each week, but realized I was stressing out having them come to my house. Counterproductive.
How do you make sure you’re progressing as an individual?
This is a tricky one. Like I mentioned earlier, I thought I WAS progressing back then. And I probably was, but not in a way I know I needed to. I was too distracted. I have started praying for the spiritual gift of discernment so that I can SEE when I am being distracted. I have to work on this every day. I take one day at a time and really ASK God what He needs me to become and what I can do that day to ” become” who I'm supposed to become. I could get down about a day that I fall short, but that’s when I’m so grateful for the gift of repentance. I can repent everyday and ask for my Savior’s help to keep me on the road to progression. Because of how I lived my life 5+ years ago, I can see how easy it was to THINK I was progressing, but only to look back and see how slowly it was and how distracted I was. Who knows? Maybe in 5 years I will look back and think: What was I THINKING? But, THAT is progressing, right? We ALL will progress at different rates and I have to focus on NEVER comparing myself with anyone by myself.
How do you make sure God is at the focus?
Prayer. fervent prayer. I really do believe "I need Him every hour". I KNOW I can’t do it on my own because I get so distracted with life! That’s why I’m grateful for my pain. It’s a reminder for me. I have learned my Fibro pain is way too difficult to deal with if I’m not keeping God as my focus. He truly can bear our burdens…I feel it every day.
How do you keep a strong relationship with your spouse?
Jeff is the love of my life. We laugh, we cry, we argue, we work, we share, we cheer, we play and we worship. And we make sure we have a date night every week. THAT is huge for us! When the kids were younger and time and money were tight, we couldn’t “go out", but we still made sure we had one on one time together.
How do you facilitate regular discussions of Christ in your home?
Ohhhh…this is a good one. I grew up in a home where we talked about Christ all the time. We were comfortable talking about Him. We didn’t have a 'set’ time…it just happened naturally. In fact, to the point that as a snarky teen I’d roll my eyes and think: “here we go again." BUT, as a mother, I find myself doing the same thing: talking about Christ every time it feels natural. One thing I felt prompted to do when our kids were little was to pray specifically to recognize teaching opportunities and then when I feel it’s the time: do it! “Spontaneous testimony” bearing is one of the greatest things that brings the Spirit into our homes and makes it comfortable and natural to talk of Christ and rejoice in Christ!
How do you hold yourself accountable to God?
I think this takes some serious self-reflection. It’s not easy to admit that we aren’t doing what we are supposed to be doing…whether it’s out of laziness or ignorance. For me, praying and asking God to help me RECOGNIZE what I need to change and do helps. It’s not easy…sometimes it’s painful when I realize I’ve been doing something that offends God, but I know I find great peace in praying and really being still to LISTEN to Him and stay accountable. Again, so grateful for repentance and my Savior’s gift!
How do you balance all of your roles?
I don’t think there’s much ‘balance’ in my roles...unless you consider ‘balance’ to mean that whatever role I’m playing at the moment I’m trying my BEST. When I’m a wife: I focus on being the best wife. When I’m a mom: I focus on being the best mom. When I’m designing: I focus on being the best designer. etc. This means that when I’m focusing on one thing, other things might slip. And that’s OK. For me, even though I CAN ‘multi-task’ (and I'm really good at multi-tasking)…I’ve realized that I SHOULDN’T multi-task. I need to be present at that moment and do what is most important at that moment. It’s difficult for me because my mind goes a million miles an hour and I’m getting ideas and jumping from one thing to another. That’s why for ME, there’s no such thing as balance. I have to focus on being present and on those things that matter the most in that moment.
Was there a time in your life where you struggled with this? What did you do to adapt?
OHHHH YES! I think I struggled with it a LOT when my kiddos were smaller. I was trying to get my design business up and running and trying to design while they were asleep, serving in our church, being a single mom while my husband was getting his doctorate degree and I thought I had to do it all perfectly. I dropped so many balls I was trying to juggle. I thought: “What is WRONG with me? WHY can’t I seem to balance it all like ’so & so’ does?” Wow…did I learn that THAT is a LIE that’s told to us in society…that we have to do it all perfectly. Nope. I learned that the MY truth meant that I am happier and more peaceful when I focus on what matters most at that very moment and my mind and heart are present for that person or situation. This resonates with my core and I feel grounded when I do this. When I don’t and I’m all over the place I feel more anxious and flighty. Again, this is what I have learned for ME: my own little formula that works for ME.
Anything else you want to share?
I think I’ve shared far too much…LOL! These are such great questions and I can’t wait to read others’ experiences. It’s interesting, because what works for one person might not work for another…and that’s OK! We have to learn what works for US and be honest with what works for us and not feel any ‘less’ than what we are doing…finding our mission on this earth is one of the greatest journeys and I’m loving the things I’m learning!
Rhonna Farrer loves to uplift and inspire others through her graphic art, award-winning apps; Rhonna Designs Suite & her site/social media. She enjoys creating on a daily basis & is inspired by her family & faith. You can connect with her @rhonnafarrer.