Thursday, November 10, 2011

What Comes Next?

We all know that after Halloween comes Thanksgiving and then Christmas. We know that after Fall comes Winter and then Spring. We all know that rainbows come after rain and night comes after day. But what happens when you're not sure what comes next?

I sat down one day and took a long hard look at my life, and realized that it was not the life I wanted to be living. I noticed how my focus had shifted from things that were making me a better person to things that weren't. I'm not saying that I was focused on things that were turning me into an evil person by any means, but they were taking me down pathways that were not where I wanted my life to be. I noticed that I was spending a lot of time dwelling on things that needed to be forgotten and forgetting things that I desperately needed to remember. I decided that it was time to change.

Since making the decision to change, my life has turned into a whirlwind of chaos. It seems like there are monsters lurking at every corner and when I try and turn a new direction one jumps out and scares me out of my socks! I start to wonder if I really am making good changes. Is this really what I should be doing? Are these really the best decisions I could be making? Are they really going to lead me where I want to go?

Setting off on a new path is scary and challenging. Making changes is always hard and when you are changing bad behaviors into good ones Satan comes out with his arsenal, doing everything he can to make you stop. There are days when I ask God if he sees the upside down of my life? I ask straight out why He would give me things that seem impossible to balance. I tell Him that I want easy and that I'm tired of fighting the battle. Then I sit and quietly listen. In the stillness of that moment I feel him assure me that I'm on the right path and hear Him whisper, "Don't give up".

I've packed my bags and set out on a journey. I'm putting one foot in front of the other and pushing past any monsters that may be lurking about. I'm not sure what comes next. I don't know exactly where this will lead me. I only know that answers come after prayer, blessings come after trials of our faith, and peace comes after doing what you know is right.

Monday, November 7, 2011

See Past What It Seems

Today I'm not really going to write the blog post I want you to read. Instead I'm going to ask that you read a different blog post. I read this today and knew that I had to share it. While we all have our own life experiences and all go through different things I know we can all relate to the story shared in this post. I personally have been on both sides of this story and am sure that I'm not the only one. My hope is that it will touch you as much as it touched me and we can all be a little bit better because of it. So go here http://bravegirlsclub.com/archives/2151 and read the post, but try not to just read it...try to really let it in and let it become a part of who you are. I know that is what I'm working on doing today.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

My Life After Facebook

Facebook can be a wonderful thing, It is a place where people connect and reconnect. They catch up with old friends, make new friends, share photos and update people on all the wonderful things going on in their lives on a daily basis. However, for many people Facebook also has a dark side. I am one of those people. I am very prone to "Facebook depression", and it was getting to the point that I just couldn't take it anymore this is why I made the decision to delete my account. I did not make this decision lightly. I knew that I would miss out on a lot if I went through with this, but deep down I knew that it was the right decision.

Since deleting my account a week or so ago life has been a little bit different. I knew facebook took up a lot of my time, but I didn't realize how much until it wasn't there anymore. I have had so much free time lately that it's scary! It has been wonderful though! I have developed a new obsession with the website Pinterest, so that takes some of the time facebook used to. I do not spend nearly as much time there though as I did with facebook and have been able to make some good use of this extra time. My house is much cleaner, I get more things done in a single day, and interestingly enough I have a little more energy than I used to.

I would be lying if I said leaving facebook has been all good. I do miss the association that I had with friends and family on facebook. I miss knowing what my friends around the world are doing. I miss knowing when everyone's birthday is. However, I would also be lying if I said that leaving facebook and all the good aspects of it behind wasn't worth it. I may not know what people are doing in their lives, but that's ok because it means I don't know what I'm being left out of. I may not see all the cute photos posted of friends and their spouses and kids, but that's ok because it means I don't get depressed when I realize that they are living the life I wish I had. I may not get to fb chat with friends or comment on their status updates, but it's ok because I can pick up a phone and have a real conversation with those who are real friends in life and it means so much more.

Life does go on after Facebook, and it's a good life!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Life Doesn't Stop














This picture is a brief description of how I felt most of last week. It started with a slight fever and took a turn for the worse when a bad case of viral vertigo kicked in. I literally could not stand up straight for an entire day. Even the slightest movement in my sleep would wake me up with feelings of motion sickness. A good friend came and helped me to the doctor who gave me a wondrous shot and some heavenly pills to make all the dizziness go away. While there the doctor checked my ears for signs of infection that could be causing the vertigo, but found them to be perfectly fine. The next day however, I woke up with an extremely bad ear ache. The vertigo was slightly better, but the pain in my ear was torture. I went back in to the doc and this time upon checking my ears was told that I had an extremely bad ear infection. The doctors exact words were, "That is the ugliest ear infection I've seen in a long time." My response was, "Awesome" with a slight roll of my eyes...only because a full eye roll would have made me way too dizzy! He sent me home with instructions to start on antibiotics right away. The pressure in my ear was so much that when I tried to blow my nose the following day I felt a surge of pain, heard a high pitched screeching sound, and lots of popping. My ear drum had burst. A minute or two went by where the pain actually eased up a bit from the pressure releasing and draining a bit, but soon the vertigo and pain kicked back in with full force. I finally called my home teacher and asked for a blessing. I am super grateful for the power of the priesthood and those worthy and willing to use that power on my behalf. Since then I have been slowly getting a little better each day. I still have a constant ringing in my ear and waves of vertigo when the dizzy pills wear off, but the way I feel now compared to a week ago is incredible.

Life doesn't stop when you get sick. As this infection was raging in my ear I still had homework to do, appointments to attend, groceries to buy, a house to clean, and an activity to plan. Did I feel like doing any of it? Absolutely not! Wait, that deserves an extra exclamation mark. Absolutely not!! All I felt up to doing was lying on the couch snuggled up in a blanket watching I Love Lucy reruns. My super awesome mom came to my rescue one day as she brought me lunch, did my dishes, and went grocery shopping for me. After that I tried to push through the pain and do the rest of the items on my lengthy to do list the best I could.

We all have days when we don't feel like doing the things that need to be done, but we do them anyway and that is what makes us great. It is when we push through the pain that we truly accomplish something. We give up what we want in the moment, but we gain so much more in the end. This week I found myself doing things I wouldn't normally do. I reached out to others and asked for help (I'm normally really bad at that). I delegated responsibilities and didn't try to do everything myself. I grew stronger as a person because life didn't stop when I got sick.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Priorities

As always listening to General Conference this weekend has given me a lot to think about. I love conference for this very reason! Every six months I get the opportunity to sit back and really think about what I'm doing with my life, where I'm headed, and what I need to work on.

While I have a lot of items on my "need to work on" list, one that has really been sticking out in my mind is how I use my time. I've been spending a lot of time lately pondering on what I want in life and what I need to do in order to achieve it. Since conference I've really given myself a kick in the butt as I've reviewed my life's priorities. I have a list of how my priorities are numbered out in my head but as I look at how I spend my time my actions don't coincide with what's in my head. In short...I've gotten lazy! This needs to change BIG time!

When I first came to this realization I tried justifying my actions because of this really good excuse and that absolutely perfect excuse, but then I looked at the date of my last blog post and knew I was in trouble. July?!? Seriously?!? For an aspiring writer and professional thinker...that is just unacceptable! Ugh! I can't believe I allowed myself to get so far behind!

I believe in change and I have some big changes to make, however, I also believe in baby steps. Changes that last usually don't occur over night. I know keeping up with this blog is not my number one priority, but it is on the list because if I'm keeping up with this then that means I'm also working on something else that is much higher on my list. So, baby step number one for me is to get back in the habit of blogging no less than once a week...but hopefully more often than that!

I am so grateful for conference and for living prophets and apostles who help me to get my life back on track!

THE CHURCH IS TRUE!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Full Speed Ahead

It amazes me how fast life can change. A month ago I was living at home, keeping busy with church callings, writing, and other various projects. My schedule wasn't jam packed and I had plenty of time to hang out with friends and family as well. I was content and happy with my day to day routines.

Then on July 9th My mom, sister, and I were walking out of Target during one of those random summer rainstorms. Tara slipped on the paint marking the end of the sidewalk and beginning of the pavement. She immediately started screaming while my mom and I went into adrenaline rush mode trying to help her. When she slipped her legs practically did the splits, her right leg was twisted behind her and I bent down to swing it around so both legs were in front of her. The second I slipped her ankle into my hand I knew we were in trouble. I could literally feel it swelling up in my hand and I knew it was broken. Needless to say we ended up calling 911 and a while later the doctors confirmed I was right. They told us she had a spiral fracture in her ankle and put her in a boot with instructions to follow-up with an orthopedic.

We didn't get home from the hospital until pretty late, so I stayed at my mom's that night and got up early to head home and get ready for church. After church I packed up the majority of my house and moved back home to help take care of Tara. I have been here ever since. Tara is doing better and this week started to actually walk without the use of her walker. However, she is still in a fair amount of pain and needs a lot of help. I estimate I will probably be here until the middle or end of August.

Life for me has changed dramatically since the beginning of the month and it all happened in one split second. There are many days I sit and watch Tara crying in pain, or listen to her talk about how badly she just wants to walk and dance, and I wish I could rewind life and warn her not to step on the paint or hold on to her tighter so she didn't fall; I just want to change that one second in time. However, God did not design life this way. Life comes at us in full speed and there is no looking back.

I know we are often told not to ask the "why" questions. Why did this happen? Why Tara of all people? Yet, I've never been very good at following that counsel. I have a curious mind and so I wonder why, but as I've thought through the "why" questions I've learned a few things. These lessons are not necessarily the answers to my questions, but they are things I needed to see.

Yes, I wish I could take away all the pain and sadness my sister is experiencing. Yes, I wish I could be home sleeping in my own bed. Yes, I wish I had more time on my hands to write, hang out with friends, and do my own thing...BUT I love the time I have now to spend with Tara. I love having "arts and crafts" day with her. I love that we eat lunch and watch a movie together every single day. I love having coloring contests and telling jokes all afternoon. My favorite time of the day is lying next to her at night reading her bedtime stories.

So, what are the lessons here? God has a purpose and a plan for everything. Life is fragile; don't take one second for granted. Don't look at change as a bad thing, just a new thing. Take time to open your eyes to what's really important in life, before it's too late. Smile, no matter what you're going through. There really is a silver lining to every dark cloud. Stop looking back wishing you could change the past and move forward full speed ahead.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Stitch by Stitch

I apologize that it has been such a long time since I've written anything here. Summertime came in full bloom this past month and I've been pretty busy spending time with family and other things. Although I haven't spent much time writing I have spent a lot of time thinking and contemplating where my life is headed. I am working on some new little self-improvement projects that I'm pretty excited about. My life is ready for some positive changes.




The more I think on the changes I'd like to make and certain weaknesses that I'd like to turn into strengths, the more I recognize how much I need my Heavenly Father. I love this song and have declared it as my anthem as I turn to Heavenly Father and hand him all of my broken pieces. I'm at a point in my life where I am really opening my heart up and asking him to heal me. For a long time there have been several pieces that I have been holding on to, unwilling to give them to God. I somehow thought that I could fix it myself. The only thing I've learned from this is that Heavenly Father is really the only one who can put the broken parts of my life back to together. He knows exactly where each piece fits and the right kind of thread to use to bind it in place. Sometimes I think that there are pieces of my life that are beyond repair, but the truth is that Heavenly Father can fix anything; no life is ever too broken for him. I'm not sure how things are going to turn out; I don't know what the future holds. The one thing I do know is that handing all of my broken pieces to God is the best decision I can make right now, so that is what I'm going to do. Doing this doesn't mean I'm going to wake up tomorrow feeling like a new person, changes like this take time. However, I do know that only God can make me whole again and over time he will take my broken pieces and put me together again stitch by stitch.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Week of Learning

I know it's been a little while since I've posted and my last post may have left some of you feeling a bit confused as to what I was up to. I am happy to say that I am back and my leap of faith turned out to be a GREAT thing!

It's really personal and not the kind of information that I want to share with the world, so I'm not going to write about the specifics of where I've been. I will tell you about some of the things I learned though, and since I'm such a big fan of lists I'm simply going to list them out one by one. (These are really in no particular order though, just as they popped into my mind.)

  1. Sometimes scary things really are as scary as you imagined
  2. I'm grateful for fresh air.
  3. I LOVE forks!
  4. After only 3 days with no chocolate I start craving it in my dreams
  5. The best friends EVER are the ones who will visit you no matter where you are.
  6. Sometimes running in a circle is the best feeling ever
  7. With Heavenly Father by my side I can accomplish even the most impossible tasks.
  8. I am beautiful from the inside out!
  9. It feels really good to just be me!
  10. Baby shampoo is NOT made for adults!
  11. Cutting the end off of a latex glove is an awesome MacGyver-type way to make a ponytail holder.
  12. One girls cheesy comment is another girls greatest compliment!
  13. Walking the perimeter of a room for 45 minutes straight is a great way to keep yourself awake at 4 in the morning.
  14. The priesthood is AWESOME!
  15. I have the best Stake President in the church.
  16. I really am an emotional girl...ugh!
  17. The Book of Mormon truly is applicable in every day life.
  18. Gratitude honestly expressed really brings the spirit.
  19. God knows me and what I am going through. He is VERY involved in my life!
  20. I can be assertive!
  21. The Four Agreements is an awesome book.
  22. People notice when your light is shining.
  23. Actions really do speak louder than words.
  24. Setting achievable goals can be a lot of fun.
  25. I need specific goals in order to focus my life.
  26. I have some spiritual things I really need to work on.
  27. Letting go is not easy.
  28. I am so not a pet person.
  29. Acceptance is key.
  30. I can't change things I can't control.
  31. An adult giving a guilt trip is like a child throwing a tantrum.
  32. Everyone needs loving support.
  33. I LOVE yoga!
  34. No day is so bad that a nap can't fix it!
  35. I don't deal with loss very well.
  36. Don't worry what others expect of you, because it's really only you who matters.
  37. What is good for survival is often bad for happiness.
  38. Sometimes when our minds and bodies are shattered by life, it's only the spirit that can pull us back together and keep us alive.
  39. Sometimes things need to be left up to just us and the Lord.
  40. The Lord fights our battles and He never loses
  41. There really is only one doctor in town and He's a miracle worker.
  42. Change is easy to make, but difficult to maintain.
  43. I really can go a week without my cell phone and/or facebook!
  44. Nothing makes me smile more than a babies laugh.
  45. The atonement isn't just for sin it's a part of my every day life.
  46. I LOVE sleeping in my own bed.
  47. Taking down walls happens one brick at a time.
  48. Being open and honest with myself is sometimes the hardest thing to do.
  49. I hate writing with pencils instead of pens.
  50. The harder the experience the more profound the lesson!
Well, there you have it. I'm sure I could have kept going but I figured 50 was a good number to end on. :0) It was a long hard week, but as you can see from my list it was worth it in the end.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Leap of Faith

Have you ever done something that you were scared out of your mind to do, but you knew it was what needed to be done so you did it anyway?

Tomorrow I'm doing something that I am petrified about. I REALLY don't want to do it. Every time I think about what I'm going to do I start to cry and get this awful pit in my stomach because I am scared to death to take this step. However, I've spent a lot of time over the past few days talking to my mom, bishop, and a few close friends about the pro's and con's of the situation and getting their input. I then took everything that everyone told me and my own gut feelings and I went vertical. I got on my knees and poured my heart out to my Heavenly Father. I begged Him to help me know what the right decision was, and I really feel like this is it.

Today at church someone said that when you take a leap of faith it will all work out in the end. I am stepping out of my comfort zone and taking a huge leap of faith. I am going into this putting my heart completely in God's hands. I know that the ONLY way I am going to make it through this is by trusting in Him and the love that He has for me. I'm not sure how it is going to work out, but I have promised Him I will do my best and pray that He will support me through the rest.

I recently read a quote that said, "Courage can't see around corners, but it goes around them anyway." Mignon Mclaughlin I would replace the word courage with faith. I can't see around the bend and don't know what is going to happen over the course of the next week or so, but I am making that turn anyway because things that don't change stay the same and I am in need of some serious change in my life.

If you read this, please keep me in your prayers and when I can I'll let you know how it all turned out.

Luvs & Hugs

Monday, May 16, 2011

Sleep

"Without enough sleep, we all become tall two-year-olds. "~JoJo Jensen, Dirt Farmer Wisdom, 2002

Sleep is such a wondrous thing. Sleep and I used to be the very best of friends. We would get together every night and go on wonderful adventures together. When I was little we would go to the moon, as I grew up a bit we started hanging out with cute celebrities, and then we started traveling a lot. We have been to Jamaica, Italy, Paris, and Africa. My favorite trip was when we used to visit the ocean and play with the dolphins; we did that quite often.

A few weeks ago things started to change. Sleep and I had some disagreements. At first he wanted me to hang out longer than I could and would get kind of upset at me when I would actually wake up to the alarm clock instead of just hitting snooze. I felt bad and I tried going to sleep earlier hoping this would make up for it, but sleep wasn't very forgiving and ran away. Now I can't find sleep anywhere.

I have checked under my covers every night, sometimes I check the couch, I have even tried to sneak up on him and find him in the middle of the afternoon, but he's no where to be found. I thought he might be coming back to me earlier today as I was stopped at a very long red light, but before I could welcome him back the light turned green and he left again.

I just wish my dear friend could see how much I miss him. I am not has happy and energetic as I used to be. I don't have him around to keep me from being cranky and irritable. My eyes are red and have dark circles under them from staying awake searching for him all night. I sure do hope my friend forgives me and comes back soon; until then I'll keep searching, keep turning off lights and counting the sheep waiting for him to return.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Bugged

Do you ever have days where you're just bugged? Today I am bugged. I'm bugged because of people and situations in my life. I'm bugged because of things that have happened recently and things that haven't. All in all I am bugged because of the actions of others. Why do I do this? Why do I get so down on myself because of the actions of other people?

I realize that there is something in all of us that wants to be loved and liked by others and when we get our feelings hurt we have a tendency to get down on ourselves. I for one am terrible at this. I get my feelings hurt and then I start telling myself that it must be because I'm a bad friend, a loser, not fun to be around, or too sickly to be around. I allow the action of someone else to send me into a downward spiral of negative thoughts about myself.

I don't want to do this anymore. I know this comes from the natural man part of me and I need to rely more on the spiritual part of me. I know that I am a daughter of God. I am a divine being. I have a Heavenly Father and a Heavenly Mother that think the world of me. They love me more than my mortal mind will ever be able to understand. They love me with an unconditional love. It does not matter to them if I tell a stupid joke, have a bad hair day, pass out at church, or do any number of lame things.

The truth of the matter is that nothing anyone else says or does should make any difference in my life because the only person who really matters is Heavenly Father and I already know how He feels about me.

I hope that as I spend the rest of the day contemplating the vast amount of love He has for me this feeling of being bugged will leave me and I'll be at peace with my life and who I am.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Blessings in Disguise

Life is hard. I have been going through some things lately that have really got me down. I go through a lot of things that I wish I didn't have to, as I'm sure we all do. Right now I'm in a depressed state that I just can't seem to pull myself out of. All I want to do is lay around in my pj's watching TV and eating junk food. I've been in this slump for a few days and will most likely not be out of it by tomorrow, but I am slowly coming out of it.

I have been challenged by my stake president to read the Book of Mormon with the specific goal to find all the references to the Savior. In doing this I've found a lot of things I'd never noticed in any of my readings before. I've noticed similarities between my personality and that of Nephi. I've read certain verses as if the Lord were speaking directly to me. I've been humbled as I do so and have begun to feel a peace come into my heart through this challenge. It's still very small and I know I still have a lot of reading, praying, pondering, and growing to do; however, I know I am on the right track.

I first heard this song a few months ago, but it has been on my mind a lot the last few days. What if blessings really do come through raindrops? Healing through tears? What if a thousand sleepless nights really is what it takes to come to know the Savior is near us? I'm not sure how many sleepless nights I have had lately or just how many tears I've cried, but I do know that my Savior is here by my side. This knowledge grows with each difficult moment that He helps me through. I may not like my trials and I may wish I didn't have to go through them, but they are blessings in disguise bringing me closer to the Lord.


Friday, April 22, 2011

Trash = Treasure



It's been said that 'one person's trash is another man's treasure'. I have a cabbage patch doll that I got when I was 6. It has scuff marks all over it's face and head. The outfit it has on has a small stain on the back and little fluff bunnies all over it. There is some kind of soda pop stain on it's left knee, and the entire skin of the baby is kind of dingy looking. Most people probably look at this doll and think I should trash it, however this doll is a priceless treasure to me.

Twenty-four years ago this week my little sister, Tara, was born. Tara has down syndrome and had some serious health challenges when she was first born. During that time she was held in the nicu of the hospital and being such a small child I was not allowed in there. This was a terrible thing for me, I had waited a long time for a little sister to play with and now she was here and no one would let me see her. I remember standing outside the door peering in the window as different family members would go in and see her. I even have pictures of me standing around crying because I wanted to see her so badly.

Eventually the day came that Tara was released from the hospital and I would finally get to meet her. I anxiously sat in a waiting area of the hospital while my parents went in to get my sister. When the big brown doors opened my mom came out holding my baby sister, she was followed by my dad and a nurse who also had something in her arms. My mom sat down next to me and introduced me to my sister. The nurse then approached me and handed me a brand new baby cabbage patch doll with a hospital band around it's wrist proclaiming me as it's mother. My mom and I both left the hospital that day cradling our newborns.

Over the next while every time my mom sat down to feed my sister I would be sitting right next to her feeding a bottle to my own baby. My baby doll got it's diaper changed, took a bath, and was rocked to sleep at the exact same time my baby sister did. You could say they were practically twins! I felt so close to my mom and my sister as we did all of these things together.

Well my sister outgrew the diapers and I outgrew playing with dolls, but we never outgrew each other. Tara and I are still the best of friends doing many things together. Whenever I look at my seemingly banged up little cabbage patch doll I recall those tender moments we had when she was just small and the love that bonded us together for a lifetime.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

So Much To Say...

I know it's been a while since I've really sat down and written something here...at least it feels like it has...but life has a way of getting busy and certain things are higher on my list of priorities. A lot has been happening and I could probably write a navel about what I've been thinking, doing, and learning lately. I'll spare you the details though and try to keep this short and sweet by simply giving some highlights.

First on my mind right now is General Conference. Wow, what a wonderful 2 days of messages from the leaders of the church. Elder Holland said that if you listen with the spirit you will find a personal epistle in at least of of the messages shared...I found several. As I look back over the notes I took I find so many little nuggets of inspiration for things I am struggling with right now. I find counsel that seems to magnify the counsel given to me by my bishop in recent discussions we've had. Most importantly I find answers to my prayers. I love the spirit conference brings into my life. It is truly a light in the midst of dark times. I will be spending the next six months pondering these messages and applying the principles taught into my life.

Another idea that has been on my mind a lot lately is making the best of difficult circumstances. I believe that we are truly as happy as we decide to be. However, sometimes things happen in our lives that make it really hard to feel happy. I have been striving to be happy no matter what is going on around me. It's not easy, but I know that the harder I try the stronger it is making me. I read the following quotation in a book I read recently and love the message of it. "We can spend our days bemoaning our losses, or we can grow from them. Ultimately the choice is ours. We can be victims of our circumstance or masters of our own fate, but make no mistake, we cannot be both." I choose to be a master of my own fate. I choose to decide what effects my happiness and what doesn't. It's a work in progress for me, but I like the way it's going.

Finally I will post the results of my March Madness book reading goal. I truly loved doing this and feel like it really helped me in combating the time-suck monster I wrote about a few weeks ago. During the month of March I read 8 books!
Before My Heart Stops by Paul Cardall
Tramp for the Lord by Corrie Ten Boom
Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis
The Golden Spiral by Lisa Mangum
Reaching Higher by Steven Cramer
Cold as Ice by Stephanie Black
I love reading and during the month I read some fun fictional books and some inspirational books that got me thinking. I hope to continue being able to read as much as I did this month. Reading opens up a part of me that is really hard to explain. Life just seems comfortable and right when I am engrossed in reading. I ordered two more books today that I'm excited to read and have several books at home that I have bought and never got around to reading. I'm looking forward to keeping this habit of reading going. Maybe I'll post a list of the books I've read at the end of each month...just as a bit of FYI for you who read this and a motivation for me to not slack off! Ha!


Sunday, March 27, 2011

I Love My Brother

For some reason I've been feeling a bit reminiscent tonight and have been watching some old movies of my family. I have watched the following clip over and over. I can't help but smile and laugh every time I watch it. I even catch myself cheering and clapping at the end. I love my brother. He has an amazing voice (that I wish I heard more often) and super awesome personality.

BTW, he's the one in the shorts.

video

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Revising Life

I've been taking an online writing class and really thinking about the whole writing process. First, I start with a bit of free writing to simply get my thoughts down on paper then I go back and sift through it to see what is worth keeping. From there I write, revise, and write some more, I tweak certain parts changing certain words to make the thoughts I'm trying to express come out right. By the time I print up the final draft I have revised the original several times.

Oh how I wish I could use this process with real life as well. I face situations every day where I say things I wish I hadn't or act without thinking it through. How wonderful it would be to go back and tweak a few of my words and/or actions. I would revise all the times I judged a person or situation without knowing the full story. I would tweak all the words that I blurt out without thinking how they may affect those around me. I would discard all the times I let my emotions control my actions and hurt friendships in the process.

While I write the story of my life each and every day I am writing with permanent ink. Things I have said and done can not be erased. The best I can do is learn from those unguarded moments and do better to write it right the first time.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Time-Suck Monster

I've been thinking a lot lately about the way I use my time. Time is a precious gift and we only get one shot at it. Once time has past we can never get it back. There are days that I wish life was like tivo and I could rewind, fast-forward, and even pause it. However, for VERY good reasons I was not involved in the planning committee on how time would be governed in this life. Life is and always will be in constant play mode, our job is to make the most of every second and not need any of the other buttons.

I spent last week evaluating my time. I didn't change anything in my normal routines. I simply went about my days the way I typically do, only I carried a timer with me. Whenever I engaged in a particular activity I started the timer and when I was done I stopped it and recorded the amount of time that had gone by. After a week I looked over how I had spent my time during the week. I was pretty disappointed in myself when I saw the results. The majority of my time was spent mouse-clicking through the internet. Runner-up went to watching movies and T.V. Next on the list was sleeping...I like sleep! Then there was time with friends and family. Glancing over the numbers it didn't take a rocket science to figure out my life was out of balance.

I was pretty shocked to see how much time I actually spent doing certain things. The timer experiment really opened my eyes to how easily time can slip away from us if we are not careful. I know some days I would sit down at the computer and say that I was just going to take a second to update my facebook status and check my email and that would be it...hours later I was prying my fingers off the mouse and dragging myself away from the computer. Some nights I tell myself I'm just going to play a quick game of solitaire before bed and then find myself falling asleep on the keyboard. I decided that the internet has a hidden monster inside of it...kind of like the one in the dryer that is always eating up my socks...it is a time-suck monster! You sit down with good intentions to not spend much time, but before you even realize it the sun is setting behind you and your left wondering what happened to the day. I'm sure other things have time-suck monsters in them as well but for me personally the internet holds the most vicious one.

In order to try and fight off this ugly monster I have been working harder to create a balance in my schedule. I am still carrying around my timer but this time I am setting it for the amount of time I will allow myself to indulge in a certain activity like watching tv or playing around on the internet. Once the timer goes off I force myself to walk away from the status updates and do something different...something more productive. I still fall prey to the time-suck monster now and then (I think sometimes he reaches through the screen and resets my timer!) however, I feel as though I have done much better at being proactive this week. I shall continue on my quest to completely destroy the time-suck monster, but for now I feel slightly victorious. I think I may go celebrate my victory with a banana split. :0)

March Madness Update: I am currently reading The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis which is my 4th book so far this month!

P.S. Good news for the day...It was sunny and warm! Yay for Spring!


Thursday, March 3, 2011

March Madness

Spring is trying to creep it's way through the clouds of winter and with that comes many things. The birds are chirping more, the sun is shining more, and college basketball scores are all over the news. I know many people are gearing up to fill out their march madness brackets and pick a winner, but I have a different kind of march madness in mind. I heard of a friend that was doing this and decided to follow suit. I am setting a goal to spend less time on the computer and more time in books. I want to see how many books I can read in the month of March. I am not going to set a goal of a certain number because I don't want that to hold me back I am simply going to read, read, and read when the month is over we'll see how I did.

I'll try to post on here and keep you updated on how I'm doing and what books I'm reading. You can also track my progress on goodreads.com I update that with each book I finish.

I think I'm off to a good start considering it is only the 3rd of March and I just finished my first book. Before My Heart Stops by Paul Cardall was a great book about all that he went through while waiting for a heart transplant. I would recommend it as a great read that makes you want to go out and live life to the fullest.

As I contemplate what books I'm going to read over the course of the month it makes me stop and wonder what are some of your favorite books?? So, if you are reading this I challenge you to make a comment on this post and share what books you have really loved. If I haven't already read them, then I'll be sure to add them to my list. Thanks!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

February Focus Project

This month for my word project the assignment was to cultivate my awareness of my word in the world by looking through the lens of a camera. The idea was to open our eyes a bit more and help us to be more consistently aware of our word. We were supposed to take pictures that we can look back on, reflect on and say, "Okay, this is a representation of my word or this is why I chose this word.

I'm not going to spend much if any time explaining the why behind my photo's if I did my project right you should be able to kind of see for yourself the reasoning behind the picture and what goals it represents. So, here are some of the pictures that I have been working on...






Thursday, February 24, 2011

Questions & Answers

Last night I was home alone sitting on my bed reading my scriptures and pondering over my lesson for Sunday. I read a few scriptures that made me really think about things. I started contemplating how it all related to me and my life and started to have some real questions. I sat there staring at my scriptures and just started to ask these questions out loud. I wasn't necessarily praying it was more like I was simply thinking out loud. Each of my questions seemed to get more and more personal and to the core of things I'm struggling with and soon the tears started to form. Finally I closed my scriptures, said a real prayer, and went to bed.

Today I went and visited a seminary class taught by my bishop. I was a bit late and didn't talk to him at all before the class. He didn't know of my experience last night and had no idea what kind of thoughts and questions were floating through my head. While I had told him I was coming to visit his class he didn't do anything different, he was simply doing what he does everyday; teaching his class and answering their questions.

I watched him pick up a piece of paper and read a question one of his students had anonymously asked...the question seemed familiar. As Bishop Dixon went about answering this question I found he was also answering many of the questions I had pondered alone in my room last night. Some of these answers came directly from what he was saying and others came because as he spoke the spirit used his words to whisper other words to my heart.

I know that the questions I asked while seemingly all alone last night were heard by someone who cared enough to send the answers. While I still may have a few thoughts and questions lingering in my head I know that I am not alone in the things I am dealing with. I know things will find a way of working out. Most importantly I know that my Father in Heaven is listening and will help me to find all the answers I need just when I need them most.


Sunday, February 20, 2011

Focus

I find it interesting how certain pieces of our lives fit together and tend to take it as a sign the world is trying to teach me something.

Earlier this month I chose the word "Focus" to be the word I was going to use for different goals and projects I'm working on. When I did this I was thinking of the things in my life that I want to focus on, things I want to bring a deeper awareness to in my life. Well, as I was thinking about all of this something else was happening inside of me...

In December my eyes started kind of bugging me. They were always red and stinging. A few days after Christmas I decided I couldn't take it anymore and went to see a doctor. He took a small look at my eyes and said that I had an eye infection. He gave me some antibiotic eye drops and sent me home. I used the drops for a few days and thought I was feeling better and so I didn't really think much about it for a while. However, slowly my eyes started getting bad again. I would have days where they would both hurt, days only one would hurt, and days they'd both be just fine. I also started noticing that things were getting harder and harder to see. I had to adjust the screen resolution on my computer just so I could read it without having my nose touching the screen! I kept thinking it was just because I was wearing my glasses more than my contacts and that was the reason things were so blurry. Well last Saturday I woke up and my eyes were both dark red, they were hurting so bad and I realized it had been almost 2 months since this all first started, so I headed back to the instacare and saw a different doctor this time. As I was telling him my symptoms I could tell he was thinking it was going to be classic pink eye and I was feeling stupid for having come back to the doctor again. Then he actually took a look in my eye. His demeanor completely changed and he started acting concerned. He commented on how inflamed my eyes were and said he was worried this was much more than just an eye infection. He set me up to see an ophthalmologist. At the eye doctor we discovered that I do not have an eye infection at all, but I have chronic dry eye. A problem in my tear ducts that is causing my eyes to not get the lubrication they need. The dryness is causing tissue on my eye to die resulting in my blurred vision. He put me on 3 different kind of eye drops and told me to use them six times a day.

As I have tried to prepare my "focus" based projects with the blurred vision I have had a lot of time to contemplate the importance of focus and clarity in all aspects of our lives. In the beginning I was thinking mostly of outward things like focusing on my schoolwork and need for regular exercise. Now, I have been able to see the need for more than just a physical focus. A focus on inner things as well. I need to add clarity to my testimony, and focus more on my Savior. My blurred vision is teaching me that when one thing is out of focus all things get out of focus and can cause a domino effect on everything in our lives. There is a true need for balance in all things.

Trying to bring my eyes back into focus is not easy, nor is it fun. My eyes still hurt quite a bit. I still have days where the last thing I want to do is open my eyes, but I kind of have to in order to function. Putting drops in my eyes six times a day isn't all that convenient but it's what is necessary. I have a feeling that the things I need to do in order to bring clarity back into my life may not be fun, easy, or convenient either but they will be necessary. Gaining back my life's focus and maintaining it is my goal for this year. A goal I will be reminded of every time I put those drops in my eyes.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Good for the Soul

My sister has been here for the past couple of days. I always enjoy having her over. We have decided that we're going to try and have her come sleepover at least once a month. When she is here I am able to kind of forget about life for a while. It's a great time for me to take a break from my to do list's and other little stresses of life. Instead I spend the majority of the time in my pj's playing games and my biggest worry is how late she is going to make me stay up! Tara is a HUGE night owl, the earliest we got to bed this week was about 3:00 am! We watched a few movies, ate some yummy treats, played lots of Uno, Sorry, Candyland, Life, Chutes and Ladders, ate yummy treats, went shopping, ate yummy treats, had a read-a-thon, ate yummy treats...It was a blast! Now that she is back home I am forced to get back to reality and actually clean the house, do some homework, pay the bills, etc. While I know that life can not be avoided forever, taking a little break once a month to play with my sister for a few days is definitely good for the soul! I feel like I could take on the world right now...after a long nap of course!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Learning vs Enduring

I am reading a book called "The Continuous Atonement" by Brad Wilcox, I am really liking it! This morning I read a sentence in there that has had me thinking all day. He asks, "What motivates us to learn from those experiences rather than just endure them?"

Like many of you I have had my share of difficult challenges to go through, and this question is something that I don't think I have ever consciously asked myself before. Am I simply enduring my trials or am I truly learning from them? If I am learning, why am I learning?

For me the answer to this question has evolved over time. If someone had asked me this a few years ago I probably would have said I wanted to learn so that I could be done with this trial and get a new one...I was sick of this particular one! However, I have come to learn that God isn't like that. He doesn't give us our trials with a checklist attached; If you learn patience, humility, and the power of prayer, you will be qualified for challenge number 2! He doesn't have certain challenges for certain principles. He gives us the challenge and let's us decide what we learn, and sometimes He'll give us the same challenge over and over again just to see if we can come up with anything new.

I have had times where I have sat down in the midst of a particularly difficult time and almost screamed at the heavens, "What do you want me to learn from this, I don't understand!" I have learned that the lessons from these kind of experiences rarely come when we feel they should. Instead they come when our Heavenly Father knows we need them the most.

So, what motivates us to learn instead of just trudge along and endure? For me it is all about joy in the journey. Think about it...if you are practicing the piano because your mom is forcing you to or because you just have to get in that 30 minutes of practice every day then you are most likely not really having much fun with it. You're simply enduring through the 30 minutes. However, if you are practicing because you are excited about the musical piece or you're excited to be learning something new it makes the experience a lot more enjoyable. It still may be tedious having to play the same notes over and over in order to learn the lesson, but you'll be happier doing it than if you're only doing it because you have to. I believe this same principle applies to life. If we set about each day eager to learn something new or become better at something it makes life a lot more enjoyable then just trying to get through the day. We may still have tough days, in fact I guarantee we will, but even on the darkest of days we can find joy in the journey. This is what motivates me to look at life through an eye of learning rather than the perspective of simply enduring.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

For Rachel...



Ok, since Rachel asked for the answers to the blogging questions I decided to do it all in a quick post. So, here goes...

Day 18: Plans, Dreams, Goals

My dreams for the future include things like...finishing school, getting a job doing something I love, finding Mr. Right and starting a family.

Day 19: Someone you see yourself marrying/being with in the future

I don't have a specific person in mind, but some of the qualities I look for in those I date are: sense of humor, cute smile, good listener, non-judgmental, and a strong testimony.

Day 20: What makes me happy: I'll do this one in pictures :0) These are the people and places that make me happy....Oh and the middle one is me being happy...LOL

Day 21: What makes me different from everyone else

haha this question reminds me of the saying, "I'm unique, just like everyone else." Um, I'm not sure I could really say what sets me apart from everyone else. I'm really not sure how to answer this one.

Day 22: Something I crave

It really depends on the mood I'm in but these are the things I tend to crave the most. Reese's Peanut Butter cups, choc. chip cookies (with milk of course), juice, and the molten chocolate cake from Chili's...YUM!

Day 23: A letter to my parents

mm...I think I'll skip this one.

Day 24: What I would find in your blog

In my blog you will find some of the random thoughts of my mind. Some are fun, others are sad, and other may be a bit inspirational. No matter what kind of mood they set, they are the thoughts that make me who I am.

Day 25: What I think of my friends

I absolutely love my friends. I have some of the best friends around. We may not see each other every day or hardly even see each other at all, but I know that they are there and they love me. I hope they all know the same thing is true with me.

Day 26: What I believe

It would take more than a few sentences to truly explain to you all that I believe and the depth at which I believe it. Suffice it to say that I know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is God's true church on the Earth today. I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God and that Thomas S. Monson is the living prophet today. I know that Christ lives. I know he came to Earth to live and die for me. He suffered all the pains and heartache I will feel in my life so that I don't have to suffer them alone. I know the Book of Mormon is the word of God. I love this church and am grateful for the blessings it provides me in my daily life.

Day 27: Favorite you tube video

See the Darth Vader commercial I recently posted!

Day 28: 10 thing I want to do before I die (In no particular order)

1. Swim with dolphins 2. Travel to a foreign country (Besides Mexico) 3. Tour the church history sites in New York 4. See a play on Broadway 5. Learn a new skill...like sewing or playing the piano 6. Be a mom 7. Attend as many temples as possible 8. Write a book 9. Be a princess for a day. 10. Walk along the beach hand in hand with the man I love (preferably at sunset)

Day 29: Post a picture from last year and this year and state how you have changed

I'm not sure my physical appearance has really changed all that much in the last year but I think I have changed quite a bit as a person. I have been working (and still am) on becoming a little bit closer to my true self each and every day. I have really opened myself up a lot more in the last year and am a lot happier because of it.

Day 30: In the past month what have you learned?

I have learned happiness is not something we gain after having accomplished a certain task or reaching a certain level of life. Happiness is a state of mind. Happiness lives within a person not without. Happiness can be a part of you whether you are "living the dream" or lying in bed dying of cancer. It is up to each of us individually to decide how happy we will be each day of our lives.

Pure Love

I absolutely love this commercial! It just makes me smile. I want to be the kind of parent who can do fun things like this for my kids. I believe that one of the best things for a kid to have is a healthy, active, imagination. It builds self-esteem and self-confidence. One of the key roles of a parent is to stimulate that imagination and help it to live on.


Monday, January 31, 2011

30 Day Challenge Question

Just curious if any of my readers would be annoyed if I totally stopped this whole 30 day blogging topic thingy...I'm kind of getting bored with it. LOL I feel like I want to share more of my thoughts on things rather than just tell you all about me.

Here are the rest of the 30 day topics, if there is one in particular any of you would like me to post about let me know and I'll do my best. If not not I think I'm going to go back to my regular way of blogging. Deal?

Day 18: Plans, Dreams, Goals
Day 19: Someone you see yourself marrying/being with in the future
Day 20: What makes me happy
Day 21: What makes me different from everyone else
Day 22: Something I crave
Day 23: A letter to my parents
Day 24: What I would find in your blog
Day 25: What I think of my friends
Day 26: What I believe
Day 27: Favorite you tube video
Day 28: 10 thing I want to do before I die
Day 29: Post a picture from last year and this year and state how you have changed
Day 30: In the past month what have you learned?

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Day 17: Nicknames and Why

I have a few different nicknames although most people just call me Tiff. Here are a few of the ones I've had over the years.

Elmo - People say I run like Elmo and just started calling me that

Tiffenstein - Because with all my surgeries most of me was made in a lab

Spazzy - Because I am kind of a spaz

and for obvious reasons...

Shorty!


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Day 16: Someone you would want to switch lives with for one day.

This is an easy one for me. If I could switch lives with someone for a day it would undoubtedly be my sister, Tara.

I love Tara to death! She is the best sister anyone could ever ask for. She is truly a light in my life and I don't know where I would be without her.

There are times I would just LOVE to get inside her head. I want to know how she truly sees the world around her. I want to know what she is really thinking sometimes. I want to see things the way she does with her innocent mind. I want to view life the way she does and maybe learn better how to channel it back into my life. I would love to see her soul and feel how close to heaven she truly is.

Tara is an extremely witty person. She doesn't necessarily do this on purpose she simply says the things that come to her mind. I would love to know how that thought process really works for her.

There are many times I am talking to her or trying to help teach her something new and I wonder what is going on in her head as I do so. Is she really understanding me? Is she understanding more than I give her credit for, or less? I wonder what kind of things she thinks when she's all alone. Tara loves talking to her imaginary friends. Sometimes as I have eavesdropped on these conversations I wonder what is really going on in her head at the time. Is she making it all up and deep down understands it's all make believe, or does she perhaps really see someone that she feels she is communicating with?

Tara is an extremely positive, outgoing, fun person with very few cares to bring her down. She doesn't take too much thought of what others think of her or how they may be judging her, good or bad. In my opinion she has perfected the art of being true to who she really is. I would love to be able to tap into that for even just a day...maybe I'd learn something that could help me be more like her.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Day 15: Another picture of yourself


I decided to take this entry a bit differently and post some pictures of me when I was younger and much more adorable.






Friday, January 21, 2011

Day 14: Something that made you smile today

My friend and I have both been kind of hating life lately. I have decided that life should be like tivo so that we can fast forward through the sucky parts. Earlier today I sent my friend a text to see what she was up to, her reply...hating life, and since I was hating life at the moment as well we devised a brilliant plan. We were going to graffiti Life! We planned out how we were going to egg it, toilet paper it, beat it up, etc...

Here is the result:


In the end it really made me smile!

Sometimes life just plain sucks and we have to find a way to laugh our way through it. Today this worked for me!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Day 13: 20 of my favorite things

"Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens, bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens, brown paper packages tied up with strings, these are a few of my favorite things"

While none of this is going to come out sounding as good as a song here is a list of 20 of my favorite things: (in no particular order)

1. Pastime: Reading or Writing
2. Cartoon: Smurfs
3. Item: Snowglobes
4. Game: Farkle
5. Animal: Dolphin
6. Article of Clothing: Pj Pants
7. Movie: Man from Snowy River
8. Book: The Hiding Place
9. Food: Cheese Enchilada's
10. Candy: Reese's Fast Break
11. Color: Purple
12: Drink: Kern's Guava Juice
13. TV Show: 24
14. Flower: Daisy
15. Dessert: Brownie Sundae
16. Store: Deseret Book
17: Season: Fall
18: Place to go: Disneyland
19: Sport: tie between Soccer and Basketball
20: Holiday: I have my own special made up holiday...I'd tell you the details, but then I'd have to kill you. LOL

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Day 12: How I found out about blogs and why I made one

I honestly do not remember how I found out about blogs. I'm sure it was on some awesomely grand adventure or something equally fantastic because that's just how I roll. The reason why I made one is simple...I know that every person out there is just dying to meet me and get to know every intimate detail of my life. Unfortunately I am only one person and there are millions of people in this world, there is no way I would be able to physically meet every one of them as they wish. So, I decided to create a blog and share all the informations my adoring fans want to know. It has been such a life changing event I just know that I am touching millions of hearts with my kindness, tenderness, and charm (oh and did I mention sarcasm).

Monday, January 17, 2011

Day 11: Songs I listen to when I'm happy, sad, hyped, bored, and mad

I absolutely LOVE music. I'm pretty sure I've mentioned that on this site before...haha. So, this post may be one of two things...super long because I have a million songs for each category, or super short because I can't decide and just say something general. I guess I'll get started and we'll just see how it turns out.

When I feel ____ I listen to ____...

Happy: My favorite songs. I have a playlist on iTunes for my 5-starred songs. It consists of everything from pop music, country music, to mellow love songs. I also like to listen to songs that just simply sound happy. Happy music also has to be something I know the words to and can sing along. *Some of my favorite happy songs are: Strongest Suit from Aida, Witch Doctor by the Chipmunks, Popular and Defying Gravity from Wicked, Happy Girl by Martina Mcbride, Give a Little by Colors, Up All Night by Colors...Ok pretty much anything by Colors.

Sad: There are times when I am sad and feel the need to listen to something uplifting to pull me out of the sadness during those times I listen to songs that have inspirational lyrics. Songs that will remind me to get up and keep pushing on no matter how hard life is. Some of my faves in this category are: Dig a Little Deeper from the Princess and the Frog soundtrack, The End by Matt West, Hold On by B*Witched, Soar by Christina Aguilera, and of course the classic You Are Loved by Josh Groban. Then there are times when I'm sad and simply want to stay sad. I need to just have a good cry and let it all out. Some of my favorite songs to listen to at times like this are: Broken by Lindsey Haun, Few Days Down by Mandy Moore, Rain by Colors, Black Roses Red by Alana Grace, and Just Let Me Cry by Hilary Weeks.

Hyped: Ok, when I'm hyped I pretty much always want to listen to music that seems just as hyped as I am. Something fun I can dance around in my pj's to! Some that I love are: The Party's Just Begun by Cheetah Girls, 121 from the Goofy Movie soundtrack, I Gotta Feeling by Black Eyed Peas, Dynamite by Taio Cruz, Replay by Iyaz, and Bam by Miranda Cosgrove.

Bored: mm...this one is strange for me because to me boredom isn't really a mood it's more of a state of being. So, hope you don't mind but I'm going to change this one to mellow. When I'm in the mood to just sit back and relax and listen to something calm and easy on the ears some of my favorites are: Tamahana from the Johnny Lingo soundtrack, Feels Like Home from the Brother Bear soundtrack, Soledad by Colors, On My Mind by Kalai, Lonely Road by Erik Hickenlooper, and This is Home by Switchfoot.

Mad: Ok, this one is the hardest for me because I don't really get mad very often. Anger just isn't my thing. So, with no way to really explain it these are the songs I tend to listen to when I come the closest to being upset: Let it Die by Three Days Grace, Just Like You also by Three Days Grace, Lie to Me by 12 Stones, If Everyone Cared by Nickelback

*Please note that all songs listed as favorites are considered "at the moment" songs and are subject to change whenever I deem necessary.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Blogging Break

Ok, I know this challenge I started was supposed to be a consecutive 30 days thing, but my sister has been here staying with me for a few days and hanging out with her takes precedence over blogging. I'll spend some time catching up this week, I promise.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Day 10: Picture of you and your family

I love my family! We have such good times together. We are a bit kooky and it makes life fun! We have our share of up's and down's but no matter what we always have each other.


This is us at the Flaming Gorge Dam.
My cousin Savannah, Uncle Johnny, My mom Susan, Sister Tara, and Brother Tyson
I was taking the picture!


This past summer we all went to see Lion King at the Capitol Theater.
It was a great family night out!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Day 9: Something you were proud of in the last few days

mm...this feels a bit like bragging, but I guess it will help you to get to know the little things about me...So, in no particular order here are things I was proud of recently.

1. I made it through an entire day of church meetings even though I was extremely sick and felt like dying the entire time.

2. I opened one of those "impossible to open unless your superman" kind of jars of applesauce all by myself.

3. I finally handed out the last of all my Christmas gifts. (Just have one Christmas card left to deliver)

4. I'm finally getting the hang of texting on my new touch screen phone without getting a complex of how fat my fingers are.

5. I've managed to make it 10 days into January without getting a ticket for not having my car registered yet.

6. I went for a nice long walk this week. Ok...this was mainly because I was trying to avoid driving and getting a ticket, but no matter the underlying motivation I still exercised!

7. I paid my tithing, despite the fact that I have barely enough money to pay my bills and have no money for food or gas this month.

8. I have blogged every day so far for this 30 day challenge!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Day 8: Short term goals for this month and why

Short term goals are a funny thing to me. I try to set little goals and then life happens and ends up giving me new goals to work on. Having said that some of the goals I have been working on this month is to never miss a night reading in my scriptures. I believe there is great power in the scriptures, and it can only come into our lives if we take the time to open the book and study. I spoke earlier of my habit of procrastination. I seem to always start off each day with a goal to spend all this time studying the scriptures and words of the prophets only to find that as the day goes on I put other things first leaving very little time for scripture study. I have been trying to work on this.

Another goal I have had for myself this month is to not spend quite as much time on the computer. Time is one of the most valuable gifts we have been given and when the day comes that I am called to stand in front of my Maker and make an account of how I used my time I do not want to tell him about all the status updates I read on facebook or how many you tube videos I watched. I hope to be able to report things of much more substance than that.

Finally, one last goal I have had is to focus more on my writing. I have started a few different writing projects and am really enjoying them. Writing is something that brings such joy to my life and opens my mind and soul. I tend to feel closest to the spirit when I am actively writing and exploring the feelings of my heart.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Day 7: Picture of someone/something that has had the biggest impact on you

I have been lucky enough to have several people in my life who are/were amazing influences on my life. It's simply too hard to just pick one.


Bro. Tim Carver is one of the best teachers I have ever had the opportunity to learn from. I got to know him by attending one of his classes at the Ogden Institute. He opened my eyes to the scriptures in a way that has forever changed me. He taught me how to dive deep and find meaning behind the words on each page. He helped me to feel and recognize how the spirit speaks to me personally. He taught me how to study the scriptures in a way that I could find the answers to my prayers. Over the years as I have sat through many hours of lessons he has taught I have always walked away with something new, and my testimony strengthened. Beyond the classroom he has been an incredible friend. He has always been a listening ear when I have needed someone to confide in. He has been a wonderful sounding board as I have discussed my struggles and life situations with him, and he has taught me many personal lessons about how the gospel relates to me and my life. When I sit back and look at my life I can see that Bro. Carver has definitely had a hand in helping me to be the person I am.

The Shaffers... there is no way I could write an entry about people who have impacted my life without mentioning this awesome family. Thayne Shaffer was called to be my bishop a little over three years ago. It amazes me how much has changed in those three years. The five people in this picture went from being complete strangers to some of my best friends. I truly consider them my second family. I spent many hours with Bishop Shaffer working through problems and life struggles. He taught me so many lessons about finding my own truth, getting validation from the right source, hard work and perseverance. I also spent quite a bit of time in their home. I learned a lot about what it's like to have a worthy priesthood holder in the home. I learned many lessons from Linda on how to raise children in love and with the gospel. I spent a lot of time watching her and learning what makes a good wife, mother, and friend. Linda has been a great example to me on doing what is right no matter what. I have watched her attend church, support, and care for her family all while struggling with illness. There have been many days where I'm sure she wanted to just call in sick and spend the day resting, but instead she got up and went about her duties as a wife, mother, and daughter of God. I look up to her more than she will ever know. I learned that every family has their struggles no matter how perfect they may seem on the outside, but that those problems can be resolved through love and faith. One thing these girls taught me is how to have fun. I loved the days I would go to their house and just sit and play games, jump on the tramp, or play "Mother, May I?" in the living room. They taught me that you are never too old to be silly, laugh, and enjoy life. Above all else these three girls have taught me about the Savior. Through their actions I have learned about unconditional love. I have felt of their love for me on many occasions over the years and love them deeply in return. I could go on for days telling of the ways this family has impacted my life. I thank my Heavenly Father every day for blessing me with the opportunity to get to know and learn from these wonderful individuals.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Day 6: Superhero and Why

I've been pondering on this one for a little while. I'm not sure I have ever stopped to think about who my superhero is. What makes someone a superhero? The dictionary says a superhero is one who has superhuman abilities or magic powers, wears a distinctive costume, and fights against evil. Well, I don't know many people that run around in capes fighting bad guys in capes so I don't know how much this definition helps me narrow my search. I thought about Jack Bauer because Keifer Sutherland is hot and Jack always saves the day from the evil terrorists. Then I thought of my friend Karen cause she fights against the evil of boredom as she entertains me at the doctor office by pretending to be superman. Then it hit me, I have the perfect superhero!



Captain Moroni! Not only does he have an awesome costume and fights against evil but he was a man full of superhuman strength and ability, because he was a man of God.

Alma 48:11-13, 17

11 And Moroni was a astrong and a mighty man; he was a man of a perfect bunderstanding; yea, a man that did not delight in bloodshed; a man whose soul did joy in the liberty and the freedom of his country, and his brethren from bondage and slavery;

12Yea, a man whose heart did swell with thanksgiving to his God, for the many privileges and blessings which he bestowed upon his people; a man who did labor exceedingly for the awelfare and safety of his people.

13Yea, and he was a man who was firm in the faith of Christ, and he had asworn with an oath to defend his people, his rights, and his country, and his religion, even to the loss of his blood.

17Yea, verily, verily I say unto you, if all men had been, and were, and ever would be, like unto aMoroni, behold, the very powers of hell would have been shaken forever; yea, the bdevil would never have power over the hearts of the children of men.

That is my definition of a superhero! I love to read the stories of Captain Moroni in the scriptures. They always fill me with amazement as I feel of the testimony, faith, and strength of this wonderful man. I can't wait until the day I get to meet him and thank him for the example he has been to me. I have learned a lot from his experiences and have tried to approach my own trials and battles the way he approached the battles of his day.