Wednesday, January 29, 2014

You Just Never Know

If you've been awaiting the end of the 30-day challenge, you can stop waiting now; not because I'm finishing them up but because I'm done with them. I'm ok with getting 20-ish days for the month of January and feeling like that was a success. I didn't anticipate school to take up so much time but I also didn't anticipate life to get harder than last semester.

I thought I was on the downhill slope of healing but apparently, I came to a cliff and I'm going to have to take some time to build a bridge before I can cross and keep going.

It's hard to have a blog where you get to express your feelings but not being able to express every feeling. Does that make sense? There's a fine line between sharing enough to help others and sharing too much. I know I cross that line sometimes but I try not to. I try to help and be honest without being overly sad or descriptive.

Going through a divorce is very lonely. It doesn't matter how many people rally around me, I still get lonely sometimes. There are things only God understands. Nobody has gone through exactly what I'm going through. So it gets lonely and I hate feeling lonely.

I'm doing a lot of growing up. Learning how to live on my own is becoming more of a second nature than it was at first. I'm learning routine and how to take care of the kids for 24 hours a day except for my every other weekend and a weekday night break. It's hard. I often feel this pressure to be better for my kids, to be more for them. I keep thinking they need perfection from me and there's just no way I can live up to that. There are nights we don't do a bedtime routine because I'm so worn out and I always feel so incredibly guilty.

I put these own pressures on myself. I try and control every single little thing in my life that I can because my life feels very out of control. I'm way too hard on myself and have developed a severe case of self doubt and have lost my ability to believe I have a lot of self worth.
I often think of that little girl I used to be and how clueless she was, as we all are, to how her life would turn out. I wish I could warn her so she could get some armor on. It's taken a lot to learn how to prepare myself for trial because you just never know! I've learned that the hard way. You can prepare all you want and expect that certain things in your life are going to be constant but you just never know!

I felt like the hardest part was over but I think it's just beginning.

Why is it so hard to find that natural happiness I can usually find easily?

Lots of questions to ponder on my part.

The thing is, it's going to be ok---I'm going to be ok. This hasn't killed me. It hasn't ruined me forever. I just need to deal with it so eventually, I'm able to move on and be that healthy, happy mom my kids need.

And don't you worry --- I'll get there.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

2014: Day 23

Day 23: Something that makes you feel better

So it is probably a secret to you that I haven't been dealing with life super effectively lately. And I'm serious by that. I have tried to keep it to myself because I'm sick of having my emotions be a rollercoaster. I'm hoping that this is the lowest low point and that I can soon find my way out and trust again, love myself again, and love everything about my life.

But in the meantime, while I struggle, there are many things that help me to recognize what I have and feel a little bit better but one in particular that never ceases to help me in my daily life.

I am a mother.
My children are the best part of me. I identify as a mother more than I have ever identified with something in my life. When I'm feeling down, I am reminded that they are my biggest blessing and also my biggest priority. School gets busy, filling out paper work and figuring our future out is busy, all of the extra curricular activities are busy---but my children are my priority in all of that. I'm glad that I have them and I'm even glad that they have me, even though it's hard to recognize my own worth sometimes {or a lot of the time}.

Petey is such a 'pick me up' type girl. She is really good at sensing others' feelings and she wants to help them. She reminds me of me as a kid. I was very sensitive to others feelings and wanted my friends to feel loved. She is also just like me in the fact that she craves love and attention and I am so glad I get to be there for her and give her that whenever I can.

Spidey is our jokester. Sometimes, I'll be putting myself down or feeling bad about life right now and Spidey says the WEIRDEST things. It doesn't matter what type of mood I'm in, Spidey can always make me laugh. I remember saying that about him as a baby and saying that he would be that little kid that could brighten up a room and I was right. He is exactly that. Spidey brings a lot of challenges into my life as well and I pray that I can be the mother he needs me to be.

I pray for both of my kids. I pray for anyone else who has ever felt how I feel. Feeling defeated and beat down just doesn't feel good. I know I'll bounce back. I know I can do hard things. But sometimes, hard things are harder than we expected and new challenges arise often. I take one day at a time right now and focus on the things that matter most---my family, my religion, and school.

I can do this. We can do this.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

2014: Day 22

Day 22: Something that upsets you.

Well, let's be honest, there are a lot of things that upset me. Just the other day, my friend made a joke and I started crying because I'm emotional! It wasnt even a mean thing that she said sarcastically---I should've laughed---but there a lot of emotions swirling around in this body of mine right now.

But something that bothers me more than most other things is hatred. I'm talking about hatred because of anything-ethnicity, religion, size, personality, etc.

It makes me sad when I see people hating or being hated.

Why is it that we do that?

I group hatred in the same category as judging one another. Maybe I should, maybe I shouldnt...but I do. Placing judgment on another human being solely based on what you've seen on the outside isn't fair. If everyone did that to me, I'd probably have no friends. I know I'm a little rough around the edges. I know I don't open up right at first. I know all of my faults so it wouldn't help to have someone else point them out as well.
Life is rough. I'm serious. It seems nearly impossible to get through life with no heartache. So since everyone experiences some form of heartache, it seems like life would be a little bit easier if we understood that everyone's going through something.

When someone is mean, our first reaction is to consider them a jerk. But what if our second reaction was to consider whether they are going through a tough time?

Hatred just doesn't make sense in a world full of people trying to live life the best they know how.

So please, do yourself and the world a favor and try not to judge, try not to hate. Try to understand that everyone is the way they are because of their experiences and sometimes, they just don't know any better.

Love can be so much stronger and BETTER than hate.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

2014: Day 20 and 21

 Day 20: This month.
Day 21: A moment
Don't ya think we could just take "a moment" from "this month" and count that? Since I've been so busy with homework, that is what we are doing for this post.
I found my camera a few weeks ago when school started {It was in my backpack} and I wanted to update you on some happenings from this month. It's been a good month so far.
The day I started school, Spidey was pretty bummed that he was the only one not going to school during the day now so I packed him a backpack to take with him to Grandma's house. Doesn't he just look so happy? He thought it was pretty cool that all 3 of us had backpacks on that day.
School has been good so far. I am taking 2 classes at the college and 3 classes online---because I'm crazy. So far, only some minor hiccups in my math class. I'm getting the hang of the schedule and learning how to balance my time, which really just means getting on the computer to do homework every free second I have.
 Petey has been busy busy busy with dance! They have started basketball season and she is going to have performances every couple of weeks now. Her schedule has been killing us all because it's 6-8pm instead of the normal 4-6pm so that they can be combined with the older girls. Coming home at 8:30pm on school nights messes up our nighttime routine. But it's ok because she's happy and we are happy to support her.
 One of the nights she was at dance, some other dance moms and I went to get pedicures. We all have a little boy with us and Spidey loves hanging out with his best buddy. They played so quietly on the iPad. I'm so glad they have each other to stay entertained while we are busy doing dance things with their big sisters.
 Last Friday, Petey came running in crying, saying her finger was cut. Then Spidey comes in, puts his hands on his hips and says, "I told her not to play with the box cutter." What?! It was bleeding like crazy and I drove her to our favorite pediatrician {Grandpa}. Luckily, she didn't need stitches because of how it cut her finger but it had to be wrapped in gause for a few days.
 We celebrated Ellie's birthday! How is this girl 2 already? And yet, how is she not 3? She is the smartest 2 year old I know. And the silliest. You'll see more of that later.

The weekends I have without my kids are usually spent like this...
 This would be about 2:30 in the morning.
 Seriously. My friends are awesome. And last weekend was so much fun, even though I only got 2 hours of sleep and didn't even take a nap the next day. It was a miracle that I was functioning!

Then yesterday, we all went to our favorite pizza place, H&H City Pizza in Chandler because my sister is visiting from Virginia.
 My cousin owns this restaurant and I'd eat there every day if I could. It is always so delicious!
 I love these girlies together. Petey really loves Ellie.
 Isn't this newest addition just precious?! I love holding him.

This last series of pictures is Ellie with her MANY "silly" faces. She is such a ham!

 This one is a true scowl---she did not appreciate that Petey was trying to get in on the pictures too. ha!
It's been a whirlwind of a month. I'm grateful I have the opportunity to go to school, be a mom, participate in church activities, hang out with friends and family, and so many other things! My life i hectic and busy but I feel like I've done pretty well with this 30 day challenge, all things considered. :)

Sunday, January 19, 2014

2014: Day 19

Day 19: Your biggest regret

Well, today's post isn't going to be 100% truthful because some of my biggest regrets are not blog appropriate but I will tell you one thing, there are not many things I truly regret.
I'm 26. I've lived life so far, trying to be a kind person and trying to show love to others.

I don't always succeed. I'm feisty and quick to anger. I say things I shouldn't say before thinking them through.

My biggest blog appropriate regret would probably be that I spent most of the last 26 years not praying daily, not studying my scriptures, but relying on the testimony I already have without letting it grow even more.

There is definitely something to be said about feeling like your life's been ripped out from under you. I started praying daily, I started reading my scriptures more, and I started seeing others as children of God. These past 5 months, I've felt closer to God than ever before. I've felt my testimony grow stronger than it ever has been. And some days I wonder why I didn't do this years ago. I don't know if it would've made a difference in the major challenges I've dealt with but it would've made a difference in how I handled things.

I try and present myself in a different manner because I want to be like my older brother, Jesus Christ. I try really hard to slow down my anger and think---just think. I try to put myself in someone else's shoes and then even if I don't understand why they're doing what they're doing, I try not to judge them for it. Because they probably have a reason and even if they don't, they are God's child and He loves them.
I try...and I then I try again.

Like I said, there are not many things I truly regret but staying close to my Heavenly Father is something I wish I had done years ago.

But the best part is, I get to do it now.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

2014: Day 18

Day 18: My favorite birthday.

This post will also be short because I feel like I just posted about this! Oh yeah, two months ago I did.

Who would've thought that this past year, the number 26 would be celebrated with the most selfless, caring friends of mine?

I feel like it was better than a surprise party. It was a day filled with little surprises and wonderful friends.

Some friends took me out to lunch and secretly unlocked my back door before we left so another friend could come clean my entire house.

It was big. It may not sound big but it was big.

The incredible amount of love I felt on my birthday this past year was an indescribable feeling. It should've been my worst birthday. In fact, I was gearing up for it to be my worst birthday. I was alone so naturally, I expected to feel alone on my birthday.

But that day and so many others these past 5 months, I've felt anything but alone.

26 was my favorite birthday because of the people who love me. I hope I'm making a difference in someone's life like they constantly are in mine.

Friday, January 17, 2014

2014: Day 17

Day 17: Your Favorite Memory

I felt immediately blessed that upon reading today's writing challenge, multiple memories came to mind. I've had a great life so far and I'm so lucky to remember so many wonderful things.

The memory I've chosen for today is something that has always been special to me.

My favorite {and only} brother is adopted. He was born when I was 9 3/4 years old. His adoption was finalized when he was 15 months old, the day before Halloween. And then on Halloween, 15 years ago, I was the luckiest 11 year old in the world because I got to be in the temple with my whole family while my brother was sealed to us.

I don't feel like I took that day for granted, which is a common feeling among a lot of good things in my life. I remember feeling so special that I was younger than most people who got to step inside that sacred place. I remember getting a new white dress and feeling like an angel. I remember how calm and peaceful my autistic little sister was. I remember how calm and peaceful I felt.
I am so lucky that these people are attached to me for eternity. My brother has always been one of my best friends. I was extremely attached to him in high school and cannot imagine what life would've been like without him there. My darkest high school days were a little brighter because of him. And the happy days were happier than ever because of him.

I have a strong testimony of temples and the sacred things that go on inside. I feel so blessed to have a knowledge of forever families.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

2014: Day 16

Day 16: Write about your first kiss.

Ha...ha...ha...Is this really today's challenge?

Well, this post is going to be super short because there isn't much of a story.

I was a 15 year old sophmore in high school when I had my first kiss from the guy I was dating at the time.
It was in a movie theater, at a movie I wasn't supposed to be watching.
It was the most awkward FIVE seconds of my life.
Luckily, it got better since I dated him for months but seriously, my first kiss was cringe worthy.

And now I can look back and be grateful I never have to go through that again.

Positive thinking at it's finest...

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

2014: Day 15

Day 15: A dream.

I have this reoccuring dream and in it, I am laughing; laughing and feeling nothing but bliss. There are no worries and there are no dangers---I'm feeling pure happiness. It isn't a dream that I have to decipher when I wake up because I know exactly why it is there.

My dream is to be happy. My goal is to be happy. And above that, I dream of happiness for my children. I want them to grow up knowing what I know and acheiving happiness amidst their trials.

Will they ever get stuck in a rut that's harder than hell to get out of? Yes! But what I hope they find is that happiness can only come from within. It is a choice. It can be achieved anytime and anywhere.

I used to complain to my parents that a sister was making me mad---I think we've all heard that phrase. One of the best things my parents did for me was teach me that no one can make me mad or sad or even happy. Those are choices I make on my own. I cringe whenever I hear myself say, "You're just making me really angry right now." or anything along that line to my children because it isn't true. They can't make me angry. And my goal is to engrain that in their minds because I believe it is what has helped me be the happy person that I am.
I want their silly little personalities to hold on to the raw happiness they have from childhood. I want them to grow up knowing that you can find happiness in any situation.

I dream of a world where everyone feels happiness, where everyone feels love and joy.

What do you dream of?

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

2014: Day 14

Day 14: A Life Goal

When I was little, I dreamed of someday becoming a surgeon or a pediatrician. My mom would often catch me watching Trauma: Life in the ER on tv and would quickly make me change the channel because that show is scary-gross. But surgeries always intrigued me.
A huge part of me wanted to help other people but there was a part of me that just thought it sounded really cool to slice somebody open and sew 'em back up.

Then I was sent to ANASAZI and I thought, "Now that's what I want to do someday!" So when I graduated, I enrolled in psychology classes among my other general studies.

Then I got married and school became an after thought because we wanted to get pregnant pretty quickly.
And we did.
And we now have two children.

It wasn't until a few years ago that I thought about starting school back up again. How hard can it be with two young kids, right?
But it never worked out because I had just become a stay at home mom and I didn't want to give up any of that time with my children.
Then a year and a half ago, something changed in me. We started seeing a marriage counselor and she was a mother. I often wondered how she could juggle both lives. How could she live two successful but opposite lives? And it was then that I realized people jump in head first and do hard, scary things. They take risks and a lot of times, those risks pay off. Mothers can accomplish things just the same as anybody else. Even single mothers.

So a year and a half ago, I decided to sign up for school but it took me a while to get in to a counselor and kick start everything so the summer of 2013 is when I signed up for my first classes. Petey and I started school within weeks of each other and there was a lot of change in our home including but not limited to: kindergarten routine, college routine, separating in our marriage, the baby I watched moving to Minnesota, and Spidey starting up some playgroups and things to stay busy. August was a blur, as was September and most of October.

But we survived and that's all that matters! I took English, Math, and 2 Psychology courses and ended up with two A's and two B's. Not bad for the hectic semester that it was.

So then December rolled around and I realized I needed to get signed up for my next semester. Since there are no other adults living in my home, it was hard dropping the kids off to their dad 3 nights a week and not picking them up until 10 or 11pm so this semester, I started morning classes while my sweet, sweet, SWEET mother watches Spidey and my friend keeps Petey after school for 45 minutes.

Today was the first day and everything went smoothly. I couldn't believe it. I'm just overwhelmed with gratitude for the help people are willing to give.

So I'm a full time student. And I have a very specific long term goal and that is to get a bachelors degree in Psychology and a masters degree in Marriage and Family Therapy.

I knew what I wanted to do my senior year of high school. I knew what I wanted to do the whole time we were in marriage counseling. And now I'm lucky enough to be making those dreams a reality. It's going to be scary and hard and time consuming and stressful but I can do hard things. And this is the year I choose to be brave.
To that little girl, so full of dreams: I hope you're proud of who you are becoming. Because you should be.

Monday, January 13, 2014

2014: Day 13

 Day 13's challenge was to write about my week. Since I've chosen to write about things on my mind most of the time, I often neglect the day to day posts with pictures of my kids and what they are doing.

Last week, my sister went into labor. Yippee! I had told her I would take her 2 kids so my mom could be at the hospital with her and so we got to have a cousin sleepover on Tuesday night.
Do you think they got any sleep? Actually, they did. Surprisingly, the boys fell asleep within 20 minutes. Spidey is usually the instigator and likes to jump on the bed when he has company over so I was glad to have them asleep. The girls fought sleep for almost 2 hours but they stayed in the bedroom the whole time so I can't really complain.

The next day was really fun. I love doing hair so Ellie got a new hairstyle for the day after Petey went to school. Isn't she adorable?
My brother in law's sister came and got the kids in the afternoon and I was just waiting to hear if my sister had pushed her baby out yet!
In the early afternoon, the announcement text came through and I was an auntie again to a new little boy!
 We took these pictures tonight. I've decided to call him Red on the blog. He is one precious little baby boy. He's also really red. :) He is a mix of his two other siblings so it'll be fun to see how he looks when he's a little older.

In other exciting news, I dyed my hair this week.
 And yes, it is pink. :)
Petey was soooo jealous but also really excited! She's been asking for pink hair for months but obviously, that just isn't happening at the age of 5. I decided it fed my wild side and also made her happy. Doesn't get much better than that!
I love my pink hair so much that Facebook has had a few new awkward selfies of me. Yay Facebook viewers! I just don't think selfies are usually all that cute and yet, I keep posting them! It's partly to show off my hair and partly sarcasm.
But anyway, I really love it! Can you tell?!

This past weekend was full of events; happy, sad, and embarrassing.

I went bowling with a bunch-o-friends on Friday night and since I'm probably the most awesome person ever, I sprained my wirst bowling a ball that was apparently too heavy for my weak-sauce wrist.

Boss' cousin had passed away almost 2 weeks ago and his funeral was Saturday morning so I decided my wrist would be fine until the afternoon, even though I could barely move it.
The funeral was beautiful and I am so lucky to know such a wonderful family. I am so grateful I was able to honor such a special young man. I cried a lot more than I would've expected the day he passed away and his funeral brought a lot more tears. There were tears of happiness and sadness as we mourned our loss but were happy for his gain.

We left the luncheon around 2pm and I was almost in tears from the pain I was feeling in my wrist. Since my dad was in meetings and we couldn't figure out a better option for an xray, I dropped my kids off to my mom and sister and I headed to the hospital ER.
A fun 4 hours later and I was diagnose with a bad sprain and given an ace bandage and stronger medication. The ace bandage became annoying after about 5 minutes but thanks for my wonderful friend, I borrowed a better wrist brace that doesn't take up half my arm.
I really am surprised by how painful this sprain is. The only reason I was worried about it being broken was because of the amount of swelling and the PAIN.

But all is well. It feels a teensy bit better today and hopefully by Tuesday, I'll be writing with my right hand again since school is starting back up! Yay me! Wish me luck. :)

Sunday, January 12, 2014

2014: Day 10, 11, and 12

Day 11 was supposed to be about my siblings but since there are 6 of us and since I skipped day 9 as well, I'm lumping them all into one post. Because I can.
I am the 4th of 6 children; 5 girls, 1 boy.
I've always wanted a lot of daughters because I loved growing up surrounded by sisters---you know, when we weren't cat fighting over clothes, make up, jewelry, etc.
So I want to take the time to talk about each of them and their families.
Jamie is my oldest sister. She is 7 years older than me and being the firstborn, she was very 'mothering' when I was growing up. I always looked up to her but never really thought we'd be close because of our age gap.
The interesting thing is that even though I am the 4th daughter, I was the second one to get married. Then we got pregnant with Petey and I felt an insta-connection to my oldest sister because she was the only one who already had kids. I'm glad I got to experience that with her because it made us much closer than we were.
Jamie got married when I was 16. She made me an auntie when I was 17. Her children are now 8, 6, and 1. I love all 3 of them.
Jamie is a talented singer and piano player. She is also a really hard worker and a wonderful mother.

 Karin is daughter #2 in our family. She is 5 years older than me. Karin got married to her awesome husband, Chris, in 2011 and became stepmom to the two older boys in that picture. Soon after getting married, Karin announced she was pregnant and now that baby boy is 1! I felt a connection to her son right away when I met him and I miss him so much because they live in Virginia {Not fair!}.
Karin is also a talented singer and piano player. She is also great at making friends and keeping friends. It's funny to watch the different life stages we've all been at when we became mothers. Karin was the oldest and she is so protective of her little guy. I guess we're all kind of that way but Karin's mother instincts are incredible and I admire the way she raises Lil Lo.

 "We're best buddies, yeah!" Andrea and I are only 2 years apart and that chant was our motto growing up. We have almost always been best friends. Andrea has the only inaccurate family picture right now because she just had a baby 4 days ago! I can't believe she's already a mom of 3 since it seems like we just had our boys last year {Her oldest and Spidey are a month apart}. Her kiddos are 4, almost 2, and 0 and she is one busy momma!
Andrea is also a talented singer and piano player {I'm actually the only one who didn't keep up with the piano playing. Oops.}. She is also really good about budgeting, couponing, and anything along that line. She was brave enough to move with her husband to China and I admire the wife and mother she is.

 Candace is almost 3 years younger than me. She was also one of my best buddies growing up. Candace is autistic and has never been able to speak. But if she wants something, you'll know it. :) Candace is feisty. One of my favorite things about Candace is when she starts laughing out of the blue. Sometimes she has to catch her breath she'll be laughing so hard. We all believe it's because angels are telling her jokes.
Candace has so many talents. She is amazing at doing puzzles and building legos. She is so creative. She has the entire hymn book from our church memorized. You can write a title of a song and she will flip right to the page it's on. Her mind is amazing.

I would usually start out by saying that this kid right here is my bestest buddy but let's be honest, he's everyone's best buddy. Everyone loves Will. He has the biggest heart and says the funniest things. He is almost 10 years younger than me and is my only non-biological sibling. I remember when my parents brought up the prospect of adopting this perfect little boy. It was a 9 year old's dream! I was elated to have another sibling and after all of those girls, I know my dad was excited for a son.
Will also works hard at singing and is in choir at church and school. One of Will's best talents is to make everyone feel loved and included. He brightens up whatever room he is in. Will is pretty lucky to have the best older sisters everrrr but I think we lucked out more than he did. He is such a great brother.

I'm lucky to have the family that I do. I cannot thank God enough for letting me be a part of this crazy, messy, hilarious Guthrie world. There's no family I'd rather be a part of than my own.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

2014: Day 9

 Day 9: My beliefs

On my blog and in my life, I am pretty open about what I believe but today, I'd like to share my testimony once again, a little more in depth.

I was born and raised a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. When I was 8 years old, I made the decision to be baptized and have the Holy Ghost with me at all times.

I struggled in high school and pushed against everything I believed and had been taught because I'm not a person that likes boundaries. 'Immature me' didn't understand why I was counseled not to drink, smoke, have sex before marriage, etc. I felt like I was being confined in a small space and I needed to get out. So I pushed the boundaries as far as I was able to and what did I find at the end of that rainbow?

Well, not a pot of gold, I'll tell ya that much!

I found a lot of heartache, a lot of fake friendships, and a lot of danger.

So now let's talk about 'mature me'. I was about 18.5 when 'mature me' started to surface. Things started to make sense that I hadn't thought of before. The RULES I felt were so bluntly holding me back started to look a lot more like bad decisions and less like fun. I started to realize that I could make any decisions I wanted---no church was forcing me to make those decisions.

The guidelines I once hated are now a part of my life because I believe I am happiest when living them.

At 19, I was engaged to be married. My fiance and I already knew exactly where that wedding would take place.
The Mesa Arizona Temple.
We were married in April of 2007 and I cannot imagine a more perfect place to get married.
So why did we get married in the temple instead of somewhere else?
Because during our wedding in the temple, we were never told "til death do you part". It was a covenant we made to be together forever---for eternity. We were sealed to each other for time and all eternity.
That was an extremely happy day in my life. And I don't feel weird talking about it because of my current circumstances. The temple is sacred and I have a strong testimony in the covenants I made.
I also believe in prophets and apostles. Our church holds a general conference every 6 months and we get to listen to uplifting messages from our prophets and apostles. It isn't a secret. Anyone can listen or attend these meetings. I believe that those prophets and apostles have the ability to speak directly with God and the things they tell us aren't just things they feel like saying---they are things our Heavenly Father needs us to hear.
 I believe in families being together forever. Because of the covenants in the temple, my children are also sealed to me forever. When we die, we will see each other again. We will live together again. Death is not the end.
I believe that Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon and that he saw God and Jesus Christ. Because of this belief, I know that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ are two separate beings.

I found this wonderful picture that shows some main "stats" of Mormons.
I live what I believe because it has made me the happiest I've ever been. I have so much faith and know that my life has a specific purpose.

If you'd like to know more about what I believe, please visit or send me an email. I'd love to share more of my beliefs with any one of you.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

2014: Day 8

Day 8: A moment.

This is probably the most vague challenge but the second I read it, I knew what I wanted to talk about.

I wanted to talk about April 2012.
April 2012 was a great month.
I was getting used to my infertility and the fact that I might not have any more children.
My kids were at super fun ages---3 and 2 years old.
But the most significant event of April 2012 was getting called to be the second counselor in our ward's Relief Society.
At the time, I was struggling to decide whether I was a good person or not. Infertility had rocked me and taken a chunk of my self esteem with it.
I had never voiced those fears to anyone, not even my husband but the minute I was asked to be that second counselor, I had an overhwleming feeling that my Heavenly Father knew me, loved me, and trusted me. He knew I was a good person and He wanted me to know it.
That calling changed my life.
Sadly, I was only in the presidency for 4 months but during that time, I learned more about service than I ever had before. I learned how to love and not judge more than I ever had before.
The month after I was released was the second hardest trial I've experienced in my life (and it had nothing to do with being released) and I honestly believe I would've handled it so differently, so much worse, had I not been given that chance to learn and grow so much the 4 months prior.
April 2012 through August 2012 gave me such a great testimony that things happen for a reason. The events that have transpired in my life have come in a specific order because I needed them in that order. I don't believe that Heavenly Father inflicted me with infertility or made us get divorced because "that's just part of the plan". I believe those things happened because of free agency and unfortunate circumstances.
But let me tell you, I whole-heartedly believe that Heavenly Father knew what I was going to go through and so He placed other experiences in my life to help me learn and grow before, during, and after each trial. He knew I needed extra strength and so He helped me gain that.
So do I believe everything happens for a reason? Well, that question is loaded but my main answer would be no. But I do believe that when people utilize their free agency, God gives us tools to deal with that.
And when I think I've been given too much to handle, God won't leave my side until I figure out how to be a little stronger, deal a little better, and smile a little more. He is always there.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

2014: Day 7

 Today is all about my friends.

And since I feel so blessed that I have a lot of friends, I did have to narrow it down to 5 friends who have taught me a lot.

I remember years ago, after first getting married, when I wondered if I would ever fit in anywhere. I was really young and all of my friends were single. Then we moved into our current house and all of the people who had children my childrens' same ages were at least 5 years older than me. It took a while to learn that friendships can be found anywhere and age or children's ages aren't always a deciding factor in who you are friends with.

So here they are---the 5 women {who aren't in my family} who have taught me the most:

My favorite things about Emily:
Emily is honest. The advice she gives me is honest with a capital H.
She seems to have my 'faith over fear' motto down. She is confident and happy.
She is friendly to everyone and won't exclude others.

What I've learned from Emily: long do we have? Ok, I'm kidding but only a little bit. Emily has taught me so much, especially these past 5 months. I've learned that I need to be confident in myself and not rely on what anyone else thinks of me. She's taught me to put a smile on my face and remember that bad things happen for a reason and usually, good things come because of it. Emily's strength is ridiculously amazing to me. She is someone I want to grow up to be just like. :)

My favorite things about Lacey:
Her sarcasm that matches up with mine perfectly.
Her ability to make everyone feel included.
Her openness of her testimony.

What I've learned from Lacey:
Lacey has taught me so much about serving others. She is always doing something for someone else. I can feel that she cares about me even though sometimes I probably annoy her. :) She watches my kids often, wanting nothing in return {They are actually at her house right now}. Lacey is the epitome of a true Christian to me.

 My favorite things about Cassie:
She is real. Like down to earth, tell you what she's thinking real.
She is really funny.
She lets me pretend her baby is also mine. Kind of. Not in a creepy way. He's just soooo adorable!

What I've learned from Cassie:
Cassie has taught me how to have a positive attitude in any situation.
She is brave and has taught me how to take risks and have faith.
Patience. Cassie is one of the most patient moms I've ever met. I don't know if I've ever heard her yell.

 My favorite things about Heather:
Her ability to do hair and how all of her children are so adorable!
Her honesty---sometimes brutal honesty.
How motivated she is in life.

What I've learned from Heather:
I've learned how to accept others as they are. This may not be something she thinks she's taught me but Heather and I weren't always super close. Actually, because of Heather's blunt honesty, I used to be intimidated by her. Now that makes me laugh because we are such good friends but it was once true. Heather really taught me a lot about trusting others because once I trusted her, I knew she was an amazing friend.
It also amazes me how motivated she is to do things in life. I have learned a lot about being brave and putting myself out there because of Heather.

 My favorite things about Leyla:
How loving she is to everyone
Her attitude and strength
Her ability to create amazing pictures

What Leyla has taught me:
Leyla and I go way back---ok, four years back. There was a time in our lives where we weren't friends---more the opposite. Without Leyla's decision to put herself out there and come talk to me, we still wouldn't be friends. I owe our friendship to her and her amazing strength. I wasn't a great friend and she taught me how to love more and worry less. She taught me bravery and how to be kind. The funny thing is, when we talk, she'd explain things the opposite. But for me, I know it is because of her amazing ability to love others that we are now close again.
Leyla has also taught me how to have fun and not worry what other people think. She is the type of person that would give you the shirt off her back if she thought you needed it. She is extremely selfless.

My favorite things about Stacey:
Her ability to ask for help when she needs it
Her devotion to her family
Her positive attitude and kind-hearted personality

What I've learned from Stacey:
Going back to the first thing I said about her, I've always loved that if Stacey needs my help, she will ask. If she needs help with kids, she asks. If she needs me to run to the store, she asks. And if I can't do it, I never feel worried telling her that. She just simply asks and if I can help, I do. I wish more of us were able to speak up when we need help, even with little things.
Stacey is such a kind-hearted person. She has taught me to speak kinder to others. She has taught me to have faith in any situation. She has taught me to love more and act on things when I get the feeling I need to do something for someone else. She smiles a lot, even though her life isn't perfect. She just seems so grateful for everything she has and it makes me want to be more grateful for everything I have.

My friends are amazing. They are in my life for specific reasons and I can see that. God knows what He is doing. And He has surrounded me with people who build me up.

Monday, January 6, 2014

2014: Day 6

 Today's challenge seemed simple: write about my day. But since the day isn't over and this is my time to write, I want to tell you about yesterday.

Sundays are usually wonderful. Having three hours of spiritual lessons and being surrounded by loving, supportive people is usually a great way start my day off right. But yesterday was better than my normal Sunday. The kids were with their dad so church was all about focusing on the feelings in my heart.

One of my closest friends found out last week that her husband has cancer. He's in his 30's. They have two young children. I've known her for 4 years now and it breaks my heart to see them going through this trial. So yesterday, I fasted for her husband along with most of our ward and their families. I've been feeling so helpless for her and this was a way for me to ask God to help them in ways that I can't. I came home from church having more faith than ever before that they can get through this.
This particular friend has already taught me so much about loving and serving. She has been there for me during some really dark times. When I was sad on Christmas Eve, I got a text from her, inviting me to spend the evening with her family. Maybe she knows it, maybe she doesn't but it's the little things that have made the biggest difference.

So I was feeling great all afternoon. I got to my parents for dinner and I was surrounded by siblings, nieces, nephews, and friends. Sunday dinners are usually great memories. I was anxious to see my kids since they've been gone for 2.5 days so as soon as it was time, I drove to go pick them up.

I've always loved Boss' family. They've always welcomed me as part of the family and I love being around them. Last night was no exception. It made my heart happy to see my kids running around with cousins and second cousins. Nothing is better than seeing real smiles on my childrens' faces.

Icing on the cake to my already wonderful day?

I think so.

The last quote below is something I've been feeling often lately.
God is ever present in my life. I'm so thankful to everyone and everything He places in my life. He gives me second chances and believes in me. Even when I don't feel like I deserve it, miracles happen in my life that cause me to look up and say, "I know that was you, God. Thank you."

Sunday, January 5, 2014

2014: Day 5

Today's challenge is to write about what love means to me.

There are so many components to the word love that I believe make it such an incredible word.

To me, love is selfless. Love is service. Love is finding that seed of greatness in everyone around you.

Love is seeing others through God's eyes and understanding His view of them.

We are taught to love our parents, love our spouses, love our children, love our friends, etc. but what about loving those that it's hard to love? Do they need love too?
Maybe it is your parent, spouse, child, or friend that is hard to love. What keeps you loving them? And if you've stopped loving them, what caused you to stop?

Sometimes it's hard to stay focused on the things that really matter. It's easy to get offended or think that we deserve so much more. This has continuously been something I work on in my life. I often feel jealous or jump to conclusions or believe I deserve better but the truth is, when I focus on loving and serving, none of those other things seem to matter.

I love pretty easily. I love quickly. I am grateful that I have a natural tendency to find the good in others. The irony is using the word natural because I wasn't always this way. But throughout my life, I've learned to find that good in others because I would want others to do the same for me. And now it is natural.
I see love as an important thing in everyone's life. Everyone shows it differently but everyone wants it. No one truly wants to be hated.

I remember the very first time I stared into my newborn daughter's eyes. The love I had was unconditional. She was perfect. Nothing could change the love I have for her. It was an unexplainable love, the type you would need to experience to completely understand. She was the first person in my life that helped me to understand the phrase "I am a child of God". I knew she was my mortal daughter but far greater things were in store for her. She is a princess, the daughter of a King. I loved her and it gave me a glimpse of how my Heavenly Father sees me.

God knows we all make mistakes. He knew that when he sent us here. But He loves us unconditionally and that is my goal in life---to see everyone the way Heavenly Father sees them.