Monday, November 24, 2014

A Good Old-fashioned Pep Talk

In my nearly twenty years of marriage I have learned that I don't want my husband to fix my problems. I am not totally helpless. Sometimes I just want to hear that everything will be okay. Sometimes I just need a little pep talk.

Sometimes life stinks. Or maybe it doesn't, and you just feel like you're lame. Sometimes life throws us a curve ball. We make mistakes, and things are just plain hard. 

Sometimes we just need a good old-fashioned pep talk to get us through. So, for you who might need it (or just want it), this is for you....




You are all right, and everything will be okay.

When we feel our trials are caving in on us, it is hard to feel in control. We try to make sense of everything. We question what is happening and maybe even why. We look at our situation, which is undesirable to say the least, and we wonder how to make it better or how it can be fixed. Will things ever be the same?

Trials hard enough all by themselves, but we can complicate matters when we begin to question ourselves. We question our ability to cope and survive or even if we will survive. We worry that we will fail--that we will fail not only ourselves but also those who need us. We believe we are the sole pillar of strength and that if we fall, everything around us will, too. Questioning and doubting ourselves steal our ability to manage ourselves. We are our own kryptonite.

The adversary would have you believe that you are weak. He is the thief of hope and strength. He knows that when you feel powerless, you will act powerless. He wants to blind you to the fact that even when you are hurting and struggling, you can get up again.

Know this: You are doing better than you think you are. You are stronger than you realize. You will make it through. 

During difficult times, it might be tempting, not only to question yourself but to question God. That is, perhaps, Satan's most favorite weapon. He would have you wonder, If God loves you, why would He let this happen? He would have you doubt that God can hear you. He would have you even doubt there is a God.

But God is real. He does love you. He hears you. He will support and guide you. He has faith in you. He is the One who is ultimately in control. And as you exercise faith in Him, everything will be okay.

I know that life can be challenging. Perhaps, as you read this, you are struggling. You might be doubting yourself or your decisions, You might be wondering if you have the strength to cope. Your faith might be wavering. Your heart might be breaking. You might be confused or tired. You might even be crying. But listen to me and believe what I say:

You are all right, and everything will be okay.

Because it's true. You can have confidence in that.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Go Ahead. Reject Me...I'm OK with it.

I'll be honest, I have never liked rejection. It sucks. One of the things I'm working on is not taking rejection personally. It's hard! 

I spoke at a wonderful conference for women and young women this past weekend. One of the principles I taught them was the the opinions of others are just that--their opinions. Opinions are not truth. 

Rejection is often coupled with a palm to the face, or insults, or words like "It's not you, it's me." I can handle other people having negative opinions about me, but when it comes to the next layer of rejection, that's where I struggle.

I experience a wave of rejection just a few weeks ago. The first was an email I received from a blogger that was supposed to review my book back in January. I emailed to inquire if she had read the book and was planning on putting up a review. She said, "I've never gotten through it. What I've read is good but I seem to read a chapter then forget about it."

Ouch. Not even a typical female attempt to soften the blow. 

The next day I received word that a speaking group I had hoped to become a part of decided I wasn't "a good fit" for them. 

Ouch again.

Then, two days later, I was told by a publisher that one of my book ideas was "gimmicky," that they weren't interested in it, and that it would be damaging to my 'brand' to publish it.

Ouch. Ouch. Ouch.

I tried to remember the truth that rejection is more about the person (or people, in my case) rejecting than the person being rejected. But, I didn't do a very good job. I cried for a few minutes. (Ok, days, but who's counting?)

I focused on the trifecta of rejection until I began to take their opinions as truths. Maybe I wasn't a good writer or speaker. Maybe I was just a gimmick. The more I thought about it and chewed on it, the more miserable I became.  I mean, what if they were right? 

Then I wondered if the friend from the past that called me in January was right. She called, out of the blue, angry. She said she was reading my book, and didn't like it. She then proceeded to tell me I was a terrible person and need therapy. How could I write a book like this because I was such an awful person? She said she'd finish reading my book, but she wouldn't enjoy it. I told her I loved her and I would love to talk with her more about why she felt that way, but she said she wasn't interested. She hung up and unfriended me on FB.

Then, maybe the relative that told me the only reason they spend time with me is because they have to was right. We are too different and they just don't 'get' me.

Then, maybe Tim French from middle school was right when he spit in my face and told me I was gross.

The weight of rejection laid heavily on my heart. The more I though about it, the more I wondered if they were all right. Just maybe.

Then, two wonderful things happened. 

A few days after I became a pinata of rejection, I talked with my husband about the string, and sting, of rejections. I said, "You know, I feel like I'm trying to do good things and and be a good person, and the very ones that are supposed to be the biggest supporters, the ones who should 'get' it, are not only rejecting me, but being not very kind about it. It hurts."

His response was unexpected and profound. He said, "It sounds very similar to someone else you know and love." It took only a moment for me to understand he meant Jesus Christ. Not that he or I were comparing myself or what I am doing to Him, but my husband's point was this: 

Sometimes we focus on how much our Savior understands us--and He does. He has felt every emotion, every sorrow, every pain, every joy, every thing we have felt He has felt. He was perfect love and empathy for us. But, how often to do we focus on understanding how He felt, empathize with Him? 

In that moment I understood just a sliver of what He must have felt. He was rejected, not just by His enemies, by the very people that should have been His greatest supporters. Family, friends, church members and leaders. 

As I let this epiphany sink in, the reality of what my Savior went through became more real. He became more real. He was rejected. He hurt. I was rejected. I hurt. I knew that He understood me, but I felt that I had begun to understand Him just a little more.

Jesus Christ was perfect and rejected. His rejection was a direct reflection of others, not Him. I am totally imperfect and rejected. My rejection is a direct reflection of others, not me. Suddenly my rejection became a source of understanding and a spring-board to a stronger relationship with my Savior.

I felt closer to Him, but there were still some lingering doubts. The Savior is perfect. I'm not. What if they were right...even just by a hair?

Then came the second wonderful thing. A few days later I was scheduled to speak to a group of women about the power of doing and becoming. As I spoke the clouds of doubt left and I was lifted and filled once again. It wasn't from the women who came up afterwards and shared their stories with me (though I loved talking to every one of them!), but it was the feeling I had as I taught them.

When truth is taught, God confirms it by the power of the Spirit. If we are listening for it (and sometimes when we are not), we can hear and feel His validation of the things we are being taught or teaching. That morning I spoke about doubt and fear, and having faith in yourself. As I started to speak I felt like an empty well, but as I spoke, God seemed to fill me up with the confirmation that the things I was sharing were indeed true for them, and again true for me.

I say again because I've struggled with rejection in the past and He has helped me feel better--helped me to see once again see myself through His eyes. Not the eyes of the people who don't 'get' me, don't want me, and simply don't like me or what I have to offer, but how He sees me-how I really am. He made me feel good. He's done it in the past, and He's done it once again just last week.

When it comes right down to it, God knows me better than an old friend, a publisher, a speakers group, a blogger. Though they may even have valid points, it doesn't change my worth in God's eyes. It was a difficult, but sweet, reminder to me once again how important it is that we seek His perspective in our lives. I also felt His love for me, and it sweeter than anything I've ever tasted. Even Tollhouse chocolate chip cookie pie. It's that really good.

He also knows you and your worth. If rejection ever has or will come knocking at your door (or email, or phone), I hope you turn to Him. It's easy to get lost in the world of opinions, but He knows more about you that even you do, and His opinion is more important--and more true--than anyone else's.

To me, that's the power of perspective--it can not only help you see the good things in your life, but take the sting out of the negative things. Perspective also gives you the power to direct your eyes, your happiness, and ultimately, your power to where it needs to be--in God and in yourself. 

I gave my power over to others for a few days, but I took it back. I don't dwell on the opinions of others. God knows who I am. I know who I am. So, go ahead. Reject me. I'm OK with it. 

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Because of Him


I watched this short video again, and loved it so much I want to share it with all of you. It echos my testimony of my Savior, that I have is because of Him.







Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Beautyful

There's been a blog post circulating recently about being called beautiful. I get what they're saying. The world focuses on external beauty, placing greater value on it than our inner gifts and abilities. I totally agree. I even agree when the post said that the word has lost its true meaning.

But there was one thing I didn't agree with. It said that not everyone is beautiful--that some people are homely, plain, or even down-right ugly.

Not cool, blogger man (or woman. I never bothered to see who actually wrote it.)

I guess we've all seen people we may not find attractive, but attractiveness is different than beauty. The difference goes a bit deeper than pure semantics. Being attractive means that there is something about someone that another person is attracted to. We often say someone is beautiful when we mean they are attractive- something about their physical make-up attracts us. Even if the attraction is purely platonic and not sexual at all, it is still an attraction of sort. We are drawn to that person, they're appearance is pleasing to us. They are attractive not because of who they are, but because of who we are--because we are attracted to something about them.

Beauty is different. Beauty doesn't depend on someone else. Beauty is innate, it is divine. Beauty is in the divinity of who we are and where we came from, how we were created and who created us. Beauty is in the breaths we take, the hope in our eyes, the smile on our lips. Beauty needs no admirer or validation--it simply is.

And we simply are . . . beautiful. All of us.

I will never tell my child they are not beautiful simply because someone doesn't find them attractive. Of course I will teach them they have value and worth, talents and abilities. But, I will also teach them they are beautiful, because they are.

Beauty isn't skin deep. It is soul deep. We aren't beautiful because of what we look like, but because of who we are. We are filled with the beauty of life, love, hope, kindness, giving, laughter, and joy. There is even beauty in our sorrow and sadness, in our longing for peace--for in those moments we are humble and searching for truth and purpose. There is so much beauty in us that perhaps we should stop calling people beautiful and staring saying what we were are: beautyful.

Because we are. I am beautyful. You are beautyful.

And that is simply beautiful.



Monday, April 21, 2014

Almost Every Moment

Since the moment I signed my contract with Deseret Book to publish  'Does This Insecurity Make Me Look Fat?' I have been asked a hundred times, 'Aren't you just LOVING every minute?!'

Of course I am! How could I answer otherwise?  I am a published author--of an inspirational book, nonetheless! I landed a my first book deal from my very first pitch session at my very first writer's conference. I am proof that miracles can happen, that dreams can come true! 
So, of course I tell people I am loving every moment. Because I should, right? Right? How dare I not?

I've loved almost every moment.

But, the truth is, I haven't loved every moment. In fact, there are some moments I haven't enjoyed at all.

Like the moment before I signed the contract, where I cried and wondered how I could possibly publish a book about insecurity when I still had moments of insecurity.

Like the moment I realized my book wasn't flying off the shelves, and people weren't fighting to get their hands on the last copy in the store.

Like the moment my book was replaced by the 'next big release' and I was an 'old release.'

Like the moment I was snubbed by someone I looked up to.

Like the moment I walked up to a woman at my book signing, handed her my book, told her all about, only to have her hand it back to me and say, "No thanks, I just want Where's Waldo."

Or like the moment an old friend called me after many years to tell me she she bought my book and she felt the need to tell me I was a terrible person who needed therapy, that I am sick and twisted for writing such things, since I was a deeply disturbed person inside. That she will read my book, though she won't enjoy it at all. 

That moment was awful.

I wasn't expecting any of these moments, and, frankly, they all sucked.


Then there were other moments that were filled with surprising and unwelcome feelings.

Doubt that I could write another book. 

Fear that if I tried and failed I would become an official 'One Hit Wonder.'

Sadness that the phone stopped ringing and the emails stopped coming as I stepped off the euphoric New Release roller coaster and back onto the platform of real life.

Confusion when I struggled to know what direction to take next.

Pressure to write another book before the few fans that I have forget me.

Though these moments and feelings have only dotted the joy that I've felt during this experience, they are still real. And I have felt awful for feeling them.

Have you ever felt like that? Like you had an amazing opportunity, blessing, or experience, and yet, there are some bad or tough moments, or negative or difficult feelings that arise? Perhaps after the birth of your child, or a new job. Maybe a new relationship or marriage. Have you ever felt guilty for not loving every single moment?

I'll admit, I grappled with justifying the contradictory moments and feelings. Then I've found  few things that have helped me to understand how it all fits in--how we can feel bad amid the good, and what we can do about it. 


First, I accepted the fact that I am human. We have bad times, even bad days. That doesn't mean we're bad--that I'm bad.


Secondly, I recognized the adversary's influence in my difficulties. As I looked at timeline of the bad moments/feelings, I saw a direct correlation with my successes and opportunities. As I took a step back, it became easy for me to see the influence of the adversary on my journey. He doesn't want me to succeed. He doesn't want me to be happy. And he definitely doesn't want me to write another book.

One of the things I have loved about the publication of my book is the way it has touched and empowered so many women. I get emails and phone calls, meet them in person and online. Through hugs and tears I have heard their stories, their heartbreak, and the hope and joy they have found through the truths contained in my little book. Satan wants to stop the good from progressing. He wants to stop me.

Once I realized that, I allowed the bad moments and feelings to be just that, moments and feelings. They didn't ruin my experience. They didn't take away from the beautiful and far-reaching effects of my intentions and efforts. They didn't mean I haven't done any good, that I am weak, or that I am not cut out to do this again. They are just moments and feelings. They aren't me.

I am prone to these moments and feelings because I am doing good things, because I am pushing myself, putting myself out there, and trying hard.The adversary wouldn't mess with an unworthy opponent or one who wasn't a threat. It is a sign that I am actually doing good--really good.

Third, I also realized that, though these moments and feelings were real, and sometimes awful, it was the guilt that I felt over even having them that weighed the most heavily on me, as though having them meant that I either didn't appreciate or deserve the wonderful experience as a whole. Once I saw them for what they were, just moments and feelings I could compartmentalize and work through, rather than an indictment of my failure or unworthiness of this experience, I became free to focus once again on the joy of the journey. 

And it has been a joy.

Fourth, I realized, once again, the power that prayer unlocks. Through a lot of prayer, God has mercifully given me glimpses of His perspective and purpose. He has eased my fears, and strengthened my shoulders and heart. And He has let me know that, as always, He has a plan for me--even though I might not love every moment of it.

Fifth was the realization that difficult moments don't mean the experience isn't a or valued one and I can't still be grateful. It's okay to not love every moment or be grateful for everything we have or don't have, as long as we have gratitude in our circumstances. President Dieter F. Uchtdorf spoke of this recently:

"Could I suggest that we see gratitude as a disposition, a way of life that stands independent of our current situation? In other, I'm suggesting that instead of being thankful for things, we focus on being thankful in our circumstances--whatever they may be." 

He acknowledged that it can be difficult to be grateful for the things that are painful or difficult--but, he said, we can have gratitude IN all our circumstances.I can have miserable moments and feelings and still have a thankful heart. And that's ok.

As I look back at my journey this past year, there has not been a day--even days with tough moments and negative feelings--where I haven't felt an overall gratitude to God for His love and guidance. It was ok that I wasn't grateful for every moment, that I didn't love every second. I could have those not-so-happy experiences AND still be grateful. It wasn't an either or. 

That was a big moment for me. The guilt I felt for struggling with these moments and feelings left. There are some residual feelings there, especially as new pressures arise and new opportunities loom (or not loom), and that's all right.

Lastly, I realized that this will probably happen again--and that's ok. Good marriages are dotted with tough times. Parenting is riddled with challenging moments.Pretty much any worthy goal that requires effort to achieve will also bring on moments and feelings that might not be joyful-that might be downright awful. But that is the ebb and flow of life, the rhythm of growth. The reason we are here.

We aren't here to love every single moment of this life. But, we are here to develop the ability to have gratitude in our circumstances, whatever they may be. We are here to reach and grow, to extend ourselves and improve ourselves, to be more than we are today. That kind of reaching brings growing pains, from inside ourselves and out. With God's help, we can have the perspective to see through and beyond those moments and feelings, to the wonderful things He has in store.

So, have I loved every moment?

No. But, I am deeply grateful for my experience.

Do I look forward to the more painful moments and bad feelings?

No. But with perspective and God's help, I am ready for them, and I say, "Bring it on."


Now I'm off on another journey, another book, another amazing ride, and another set of difficult moments and feelings. 

And I'm gonna love (almost) every moment of it.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

I Do Believe in Fairies. I do, I do!

When I was younger I had a very active imagination—like borderline therapy-active. During my third grade year, my friend Melanie and I were convinced we were actually long-lost daughters of Zeus. We spent our recesses running from small green nymphs on the playground fields, and at least once a week I would do a thorough sweep of my house searching for the secret door that would lead me home. Yes, I loved anything magical or imaginary.

**Spoiler Alert for all Tooth Fairy and Santa Believers. You might want to skip ahead a few paragraphs.** 

After my parents gave me ‘the talk’  (you know, the one where they tell you that the most exciting things in your life up that point had been all lies)  I still secretly believed in the Tooth Fairy and Santa Clause. I even had an imaginary friend named Fred. Yes, I still believed in all things magical.

Then I grew up and stopped believing.

But, something has happened in recent years that has caused me to open the doors of belief once again. No, it’s not the Tooth Fairy. The Tooth Fairy in my house is completely unreliable. I don’t know how many times I’ve *ahem* I mean the Wilson Tooth Fairy has had to sneak in a stupid quarter while I ‘searched’ for the money my poor children ‘must have missed’ under their pillow because they were still half asleep.  It’s not Santa, either. As much as I love the idea of a fat man breaking into my house to watch me in my sleep and give me stuff, I think I’ll pass.
.
The thing that got me believing in fairies again is dirt.

I don’t know how many times I have cleaned my house, only to turn around and find dirt on the floor. It’s in the crook of the baseboards, peeking out from under the fridge, on my carpet, and in my bathtub. I know I clean my house, and my children tell me they didn't do it. For years I racked my brain, pulled my hair out, and hollered at my totally innocent children. Then it finally hit me. It must be the Dirt Fairy. The realization rolled around in my brain and gave birth to a life-changing epiphany:

 Fairies are actually real!


As I let this once-again-found belief sink in, the possibilities and explanations to all other life’s mysteries opened wide up—and the answers all led to fairies. But not the sweet, beautiful fairies you'd imagine.

These are totally dysfunctional fairies.

Have you ever picked up a room, went in to the next room, only to come back into the just-cleaned room to find toys on the floor. Yep. That’s the Clutter Fairy.

Or perhaps you’ve always wondered how so many shoes end up piled by the front door in masses. You can thank the Shoe Fairy for that one. She is a devious one. She steals an occasional shoe and hides it under the bed, just to watch you suffer. She also feeds your best shoes and favorite slippers to the puppy when you’re not looking.

Then there’s the Sock Fairy. She’s the Shoe Fairy’s half cousin and a total kleptomaniac.

Who can forget the Random Jab Fairy? At first I thought my random aches and pains were due to my getting older; a strange pain in the side, an ache in my knees, and headaches a plenty. But know I know that the Random Jab Fairy follows me around during the day, randomly jabbing, smacking, poking and kicking me. Sadistic fairy.

The Money Fairy is nearly the worst. Somehow she messes with my bank account, lowering my balance and ordering stuff from Amazon and the iStore that no one seems to claim.

The list goes on and on. The Gas Fairy, who siphons gas from my van when I’m asleep, leaving just enough fumes for me to get to the store the next day, all while muttering, “I just put gas in the thing!”

The Cereal Fairy who opens up twelve boxes of cereal, rips the bag in the process,  lets the cereal get stale, and NEVER finishes it.

I can’t forget the Gray Hair Fairy, who is attempting to plant a silver meadow on my head. She’s buddies with the Sleep Like Crap Fairy—the one who gives me bad dreams, hot flashes, and makes me toss and turn at night.

I won’t even go into the Metabolism Fairy, who slows my metabolism to the pace of snail. I look at a cookie and my hips explode,  yet she revs my teenage son’s metabolism up so high he can jam a gallon of ice cream, five corn dogs, and a bag of chips into his 3% body-fat physique and still be hungry. Twisted, I tell you!

The Time Fairy is the worst. She speeds it up, slows it down, and steals it from me. 

The Memory Fairy has turned my steel-trap memory into a colander. 

And I mustn't forget the Laundry Fairy that puts my children’s clean clothes right back into the dirty clothes hamper so they won’t have to put them away (they love that one.)

Luckily, in my search for fairies I have found a few good ones who are trying to salvage their family name.

I owe many thanks to the Long-lost Five Dollar Bill in my Pocket Fairy. She’s paid for many an Oreo McFlurry.

Then there’s the Bargain Fairy, who stashes the rare perfect shirt among the chaos of Norstrom Rack, Marshall’s, and Ross for me to find.

And I need to acknowledge the very real Sample Lady Fairy at Costco who has kept me fed and staved off a number potential Costco panic attacks. She’s the best.

You may not believe in fairies. You might blame my children, or coincidence, or old age—whatever. That’s okay. But, for this forty-two year old woman, I am squeezing my eyes shut and whispering, “I do believe in fairies. I do, I do! I do believe in fairies. I do, I do!”


(And I’m secretly hoping that when I open my eyes, the Warm Brownies and Vanilla Ice Cream Fairy will have stopped by. She comes around. A lot.)

Monday, March 17, 2014

Has it Been Worth It?

Getting published by Deseret Book has definitely been an amazing roller coaster of experiences and emotions. In the past twelve months I've been higher than high, but I've also been lower than low. I mean, low.

I've felt the thrill of the pitch sessions, meetings, and the acceptance. I've had the pressure of deadlines. edits, and expectations. I've felt the fear of rejection and the doubt if I could write another book. I've had women tell me I've inspired them, and I've had one tell me I am a horrible person who needs therapy. That one hurt.

I've been exposed to all sorts of things that I never would if I hadn't written and published a book Most of them good, but some were just plain bad.

A week ago I asked myself if it was worth it.

A week ago I wasn't. I was tired from the promotional trips. I was frustrated at the business end of being published. I felt as though all of my efforts to 'extend my reach' had been in vain, and felt the pressure of meeting the high hopes of my publisher. I felt like I was failing.

Then I had an experience that changed my perspective. I spoke to a group of women at their evening church activity.

My down feelings, coupled with a ten-day long battle with a cold I was losing, caused me to not only doubt my ability to inspire these women, but be inspired myself. When it was my time to speak, I stood in front of these good women and said a silent prayer that I wouldn't tank it. Then I began.

I spoke about the power of perspective--how the way we see ourselves and life is often the problem. I spoke of the things that get in the way of our perspective, and how God's perspective is clear and true. I testified that when we learn to see ourselves, our trial, and life through God's eyes, we will be amazed at the reality of who we are and the purpose of it all. I shared stories and scriptures. They laughed (a lot), they cried, and in the end, they felt inspired and changed.

The beauty of it was that I did too. 

I felt refocused re-energized. My perspective shifted back again to what was important--the message I had to share and the God that I feel who wants me to share it.

God wants His daughters to know they are of worth, that they have great things to do (even though they may not seem that great at the time), that they are stronger than they realize, and are probably doing much better than they realize, too. I believe He wants them to realize the power they have to change their perspective, to conquer fear and doubt, and to be who He knows they can be. He wants them to laugh, to learn, to work, to seek Him, and to feel joy and love. 

As we catch glimpses of ourselves through His eyes, we will be empowered. That is the message I have to share, and that message is all that matters.

I came back to the reason I began to write in the first place. I want to share that message.

So, today I asked myself again if it has been worth it.

And the answer is and unequivocal, Yes.

I've heard it said that great people do great things. I'm not saying that I'm a great person, but I feel like I've worked really hard and accomplished something pretty great. But what made it great wasn't what it was, but the Why.

Sometimes we can set off to do something great and we meet opposition along the way. Most great things don't come easy. You may be pursuing something right now. You might  be discouraged, and you might even wonder if its worth it. In those times, take a moment to go back to the Why. Set aside the stress and fear and go back to the reason you started off with.


Why are you writing what you're writing, doing what you're doing, believing what you're believing. Why did you start down this path?

I bet you'll find that your Why really is worth it.

And if it is then keep going. Work at it, share it, do it, love it, and enjoy it. Because it's worth it.

Friday, March 7, 2014

What Matters Most

This picture made me laugh. But is also encapsulates what has been on my mind and heart as of late: What matters most.

It's easy to take something that has the appearance of great importance, and attach a deep meaning to it. Like this picture. It appears to be important. It has lovely font and a picture of a tree. It is aesthetically appealing, and yet, when you really look at it, it's not that important at all.

In life, it can be easy to get distracted by the things that seem to matter--especially when people that seem to be important tell you it matters.

The tough part is that it's often difficult for our priorities and purposes to share the spotlight. So, we put them in order, even without knowing it, from highest to lowest. And sometimes what we think matters most, what 'appears' to matter most, doesn't actually matter that much at all in the eternal scheme of things.

That moment we realize what we thought matters most actually doesn't can be terrifying. We recognize the time stolen from other more important purposes. We see the wasted stress and angst over something that really doesn't matter in the grand scheme of things. We see the negativity it brought, and the shadow we allowed it to cast on our good intentions and joy.

Yet, it is also liberating. You realize you are free from trying to pursue that which does not matter most. You bask in the joy of seeing your priorities clearly. You feel a sense of peace and purpose that transcends what the world--even in their best intentions--tells you what is most important. Your soul, mind, and purpose are calibrated to God's. And you feel a peace settle that only comes when your priorities are correct, when your focus is true.

I've written this blog for years. I've shared the message that God is here, that He loves us. He sees us for who we really are and thinks we are amazing. I have loved the time spent learning and pondering about Him, and sharing those things with thousands of women. I have written a book about His perspective and the power and confidence we can gain as we see ourselves, trials, life, and even Him through His eyes. This message has inspired and uplifted me in the most difficult times. 

And I have felt, more than once, that getting to know God and trusting Him is what matters most. 

It's more important than money or book sales. More important than labels or promotions, fashion or prestige. It's more important than fame or medals, your reputation or situation. More important than a clean house, a slim figure, a new purse, a new job, or any earthly success.

There is nothing in this life that is matters more than your relationship with God and your willingness to trust Him and follow Him.  Nothing.

Those other things are, or can feel, important. But they don't define us. They don't define me. 

What matters most to me is that I live the life the He would have me live, with Him by my side. It may very well include all the things I listed above--but they are merely a bi-product of living His will, if He wants them to be. They are not the prize. He is.

It's easy to get distracted by the things that seem to matter most. Especially if people who seem important are telling you what those things are. And sometimes I believe them. 

But today I don't.

Today, I know what matters most. And today, I feel refocused. I feel peace. I feel joy.

I feel Him. I know Him. I know what He wants me to do. And I plan on doing it.

And that's what matter's most.



Monday, March 3, 2014

More Stairs? Seriously?

I spent the day in Seattle a while back, enjoying the sights and sounds of the city.  I walked through Pike Place Market, saw the ferries in the Sound, ate gelato and even saw a political protest in the middle of a busy intersection.  It was quite an eventful day.

But, the highlight of my day was a lunch date with my husband. He wanted to take me somewhere different for lunch, so we grabbed some teryaki from a local deli and headed to the rooftop patio of Rainier Square to eat our food.

We walked inside the mall and found the flight of stairs that led to the top.  Now, I don't mind a few stairs.  My home is a two-story house and I seem to manage all right. But, you see, I've got Parker Knees.  You won't find it in any medical book- it's a condition that runs in our family, on the Parker side.  It means I've got crappy knees that creek, crack, pop and ache.  They also hurt like crazy when I walk up and down stairs.

So, when we approached the first flight of stairs, I was ok.  I have become immune to climbing one or two flights. But, the stairs kept coming and coming.  By the time we reached what we thought was the last set of stairs my husband said, "I should have found you an elevator." 

And there were still two more flights.

I started up the remaining stairs and felt a shooting pain in my knee.  Instinctively I reached out for my husband's hand and he held it the rest of the way. He didn't pull me up the stairs, he simply held my hand.

But it made me feel so much better.

As I stood at the bottom of the last flight of stairs I could see the windows above and the glass door which let to the roof patio (insert angelic choirs singing, Aaaaaaaaa in unison.)

The hike up the stairs was worth it.We had a wonderful lunch together enjoying each others' company and the beautiful elevated view of Seattle.


I thought about that little stair incident this morning. The stairs were not insurmountable, but they were a painful challenge. But, as I held my husband's hand I got the support I needed ease some pain and get to the top. 

It was a small act on his part, and he probably didn't realize the impact it had on me, but it did.

In Hebrews 12:12 Paul exhorts the people to "lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees."

Most of life's most challenging times are not the make-it-or-break-it ones.  They are often those times when we are "enduring to the end," when the challenges we face are ongoing or repeating: sickness, a challenging child, financial issues, depression, etc.     

It's those times that we might look at the day and think, "More? Seriously?" We may doubt ourselves and feel discouraged. But,  Heavenly Father knows we can make it. He also knows how much a supportive hand can help.

I know there have been many times in my life where I felt weighed down, tired, in pain, and even hopeless. As I look back now, I can see that at those times I was always lifted up and supported. It isn't always as easy to see when we are smack dab in the middle of a trial or painful time.

In those times, when your hands hang down or your knees feel feeble, have faith.  God is aware and will send support. He is aware of our trials and will give you what you need to make it through.

Sometimes it comes through an inner strength and perspective given by Him, or perhaps the situation might change. But, most often He answers prayers by through those around us. So, when you stand in the middle of your trials and see another batch of the same, and think, "More trials? Seriously?" Look around. Someone will be there to lift you up. If you can't find anyone, reach for me. I will help.

Sometimes reaching out takes great courage, an act of faith in and of itself. But, that is what we must do--reach out. Most likely someone already is there next to you, waiting with an outstretched hand.

Then you'll find that all you have to do is hold tight, keep going and then enjoy the view.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Why do we care what other's think of us?

That's a tough question. I think, in part, it's because we sometimes have a hard time seeing ourselves so we rely on others to tell us what they see; kind of like taking a friend clothing shopping. 


**Side Story: About five years ago I came home from a shopping trip with some clothes I thought were fantastic. I did the obligatory fashion show for my good husband, who complimented each one, then gently suggested that perhaps next time it might be fun for me to take a friend. Turned out that my clothes were cute, but my style, like my dance moves, seemed to have been frozen in the nineties (yes, I can do The Elaine.)   Luckily I've been able to move past that--well, at least the clothes part.

The problem comes when we allow what others think--especially the wrong others--determine our worth in our own eyes. 

That was something I struggled with as a teenager. In 'Does This Insecurity Make Me Look Fat?' I explained that "I sold my identity for the compliments and criticism of others." And it was true. I would come home from middle school/high school and sit by my awesome rotary phone, waiting for it to ring. If it did, I felt great! If it didn't, I was sure it was because no one liked me because I was totally lame. 

I gave others the power to tell me what I was worth. The ironic thing that I grew to understand later was that they didn't really care. Not that they didn't care about me, but they didn't spend inordinate amounts of time considering my intrinsic value. They were just living their lives.

But I didn't know that then. I let what they thought--or more accurately, what I thought they thought of me, make me feel either good or bad. 

The difficult thing about that is that, for some crazy reason, it is so much easier for us to believe the bad things we hear than the good. So, for a long time I felt pretty bad about myself. 

Then I changed where I was looking.

As I grew older, I stopped looking around me and started looking above more. I began to really strengthen my relationship with God, and in turn, I began to see Him and myself differently. 

I began to see glimpses of how He sees me. And I wasn't lame. I'm still not. I know this because He told me. And He doesn't lie.

I've changed a lot over the years. So has my phone. And so has my view of myself. I know who He is and who I am. I like who I am. And I find great joy and confidence in that.  

But (and isn't there always a big but), sometimes I falter--especially when the threat of a CPS call is looming like at my daughter's Mother's Day Tea a few years ago. (I give a sum-up of the funny story in the video below. The full story is in my book.)




Luckily, those moments don't last, and I remind myself that no matter how bad I think I might appear in someone else's eyes, God know me. 

God knows who I am. He knows my intentions. He knows my weaknesses and shortcomings. He know my strengths and talents. He knows me.

And He thinks I am pretty amazing. 

So I choose believe Him. 

Because He can't lie. 

So, amazing it is.

Of course this doesn't apply only to me.

Are there times when you feel lame? Time when maybe you let  the opinions of others sink too deeply under your skin? Does it sometimes affect your sense of worth? You're not alone.We all do that (well, most of us, anyway. There are some that truly are impervious to anyone else's opinions-though they are few in number.)

The point is, when you feel that way, it's easy to start on the path of feeling better. Start by looking up to God. He knows you. He knows who are. He knows your intentions. He knows your weaknesses and shortcomings. He knows your strengths and talents. He knows you.

And He thinks you're pretty amazing.

So, choose to believe Him.

Because He can't lie.

So, amazing it is for you too. 



Friday, February 14, 2014

Imagine That

I remember playing as a young child. My world was colorful, the possibilities limitless. 


My imagination transformed daily life into an adventure; I was a princess, my brothers were trolls. I loved to pretend with my friends. My entire third-grade year I was convinced I was a lost daughter of Zeus. My friend Melody and I spent our school recesses running away from green nymphs who were sent to this world to get us, and I spent my evenings looking for the hidden secret door in my house that would lead me home.


My best friend Nicalee and I spent summer days pretending to be orphans running away from Ms. Minchin, the evil orphanage director.

(My love and respect 0 the late, great Shirley Temple.)


My imaginary adventures seemed to share the same theme: I was always a girl who, despite ,my best intentions, fell into misfortune. And when all hope seemed to be lost, I would realize that I was more than just a girl, I was the daughter of a king, I was the inheritor of a fortune, or I was the Bionic Woman (that was a fun one). Then, armed with the knowledge of who I really was, my “true identity”, I found the strength and will to overcome.

I always longed to be something more than I was, do something more than I did, be someone more than I was. Then I grew up, and I still had that longing -- to be something more than I am, do something more that I am doing, and be someone more than I am.

But, I can't think that desire is only mine. We are wired to grow- not just physically, but in all respects. It is ingrained into our souls to progress, to reach for more, to do more, to be more. 

When we are young, our limited ability to comprehend our eternal nature is compensated (or perhaps manifested) by childhood imaginings of princesses and dragons. As we grow up, the same desire is there- to be more than who we are. But as we mature, imagination is replaced by pragmatic views, and we find ourselves, at times, feeling unsettled and unfulfilled in life.

I think the reason for those feelings of discontent is that we truly are more that we seem to be here; and there is more to life than life than what we can see- but we just don't fully know it, understand it, or believe it.

 It is as difficult to find a woman who is completely satisfied with herself as it is to find a parking space at the mall on Black Friday. There are a few out there- but they are a real find. Most of us are quite adept at finding and acknowledging perceived flaws, downplaying our strengths and feeling like we aren't enough.

Well, enough with that rubbish!

We are more than we realize we are.

We are more than Pinterest pinners, laundry cleaners, career women, writers, runners, etc. We are more than just imperfect, fallen people bumping into each other in a world full of sadness and pain and joy. 

We are sons and daughters of Deity, with a Divine lineage and a Divine inheritance.

We are more than the knights we imagined when we are young;  we are armed with the shield of faith, and the armor of God, as described by the Apostle Paul. 

We are more than the magicians that used to amaze us with their card tricks; through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, we can have the miracle of forgiveness and healing.

We are more than children playing tag in the front yard; we are valiant disciples dodging the fiery darts of the Adversary.

Imagine that! All the things I longed for as a child are true!

I thought I was just a girl. Now I know my true identity- the daughter of God, my Heavenly Father.

I am the inheritor of an eternal fortune.

I am more that what I appear to be. 

And so are you.

And armed with that knowledge, we can find the strength and the will to overcome whatever this world has to throw at us. 

We are more than just us. We are His.

Imagine that.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Paperback or ebook? That is the question (and the shameless plug)

With the increasing popularity of the ebook, coupled with its convenience and explosion of self-pulished authors, this question seems to be on the minds of many a reader: "Paperback or ebook?

I was a slow convert to the ebook--but a convert I am.

My Kindle and Deseret Bookshelf  libraries are growing and I often read my glowing books when I should be sleeping.

I throw my mini iPad in my purse and I know I've got a gaggle of great books to read while I'm waiting for the bus to drop off my kids, or in a waiting room, while my daughter has her piano lesson, or when I am actively avoiding housework ( I find myself reading a lot more these days...)

Still, there is something about holding a book in my hand . . . the smell, the texture. The sound of the pages turning. I love it. But not as much as I love writing in them.


I am a highlighting, note taking fool. If something jumps out at me, I have this compulsion to underline it or color it in some form or fashion. It seems to sink the words deeper into my heart and into my mind.

It makes the words mine--even if they are mine.



When I received my first box of 'Does This Insecurity Make Me Look Fat?' I snagged a copy for myself. Yes, I know, I wrote it. But, if I didn't love what is in the book, then why did I write in the first place?

So, I have my own copy that I read and, you guessed it, mark up. 


Though the words are mine, marking them feels like an 'Amen' of sorts.

But that's how it is with any book I read. I know it's a good book--even a fiction novel--if I've highlighted the nuggets of truth and wisdom, wit and wonder, that speak directly to me.






If your considering buying my ebook (shameless plug, but hey, it is my website) or have already downloaded your copy, I say WONDERFUL and THANK YOU! Stick me in your purse or read me instead of vacuuming. I'm a whole lot more fun!

But, I've just got to say, that there is something so . . . cool and connecting about a paper book that I hope you consider ordering  or picking up a copy for yourself today.

They aren't just my words, they are words I believe they are His, too.

So, pick it up. Mark it up. And make it yours.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Thank you Utah--Especially Kenna

Well, my first media tour was amazing!
I didn't throw up in my publicists car, so I call it a win!

(Do I look famous? Not!) 



Among the highlights:



An interview with Chelsea on the the Park City TV Mountain Morning Show.



A guest appearance on KSL's "People of Faith" with the great Carole Makita.
(To be aired in February) 




A fun guest spot on KUTV2 News at Noon with Ron Bird.




A guest appearance on "The Good Word" Podcast
I forgot to get a pic here :(






BUT



I have to say that the highlight of my trip was meeting Kenna.

 I ran into Kenna when I stopped by one of the Deseret Book stores to sign their stock books. She'd been reading my book at home and had no idea I would be coming into the store. It was a chance meeting that inspired both of us!  

I watched as she worked magic behind the counter with swiftness and a smile--a smile and demeanor that even  tamed an upset customer. 

In between customers we were able to chat while I signed books. She inspired me with her story and her strength. It didn't take me long to know for sure that  Kenna was, and is, amazing.

But it was her humble confidence that struck me.


She epitomizes what 'Does This Insecurity Make Me Look Fat?' is all about-- the beauty and joy that comes from the confidence in knowing who you are.

The confidence we gain as we see ourselves, our trials, our lives, and even each other through God's eyes, not only effects how we feel about ourselves, but it can have a direct impact on how others feel when they'er near us.

Her enthusiasm was contagious, and I found myself wanting to just hang out with her (which I did!) because just being near Kenna made me feel really, really good!




So, thank you Utah for a wonderful tour!


But especially, thank you Kenna, for being an amazing example of awesomeness and confidence! 






Tuesday, January 7, 2014

The Blows of Life

About twice a year my pantry gets a really good cleaning. I reorganize, consolidate, and eat (all part of the
 job) until it looks perfect.


Somehow I found three bags of opened flour. I decided to fit them all into a Christmas tin, but soon found out there was more flour than tin.




My first thought was so scoop off the extra flour and bake some cookies, but I thought it best to stick with the task at hand. So I set out to find a way to make the flour fit.

Then I remembered an old trick I was taught some time ago. I patted the sides of the canister. With each pat the flour inside settled a more. I beat the poor Christmas tin for a good five minutes until it all fit.




I sat back and admired my strong work when the realization of a spiritual correlation hit me: The blows of life are what it takes to settle us in faith.


In Colossians 1:23 Paul encourages us to "continue in faith, grounded and settled" in the hope of the gospel. 

Paul took more than his fair share of life's beatings--much of which were very literal. He survived stonings, beatings, ship wrecks, snack bites, isolation, prison, just to name a few. And yet, he understood that it is the blows which we receive in life that strengthen our faith, that settles us in our faith.

1 Peter 5 great advice is given to the flock of God. Among the list is to humble yourself, cast your cares upon Him, be sober and be vigilant because the adversary seeks to devour you (scary, but so true!). 

In verse 10 it says, "But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto His eternal glory by Jesus Christ, after that ye have suffered for a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you."

The first part of this verse that struck me was after ye have suffered for a while. Life can be really difficult. We can feel like we are getting beaten on all sides. Sometimes we feel sore and bruised, hurt and tired. And we wonder why God let's it happen to us. But, here's where the last, and most important part, comes in: it is the way the He makes you perfect  and how He settles you.

 If we come to Him, He will not only consecrate our afflictions for good, but He will make us perfect through them!

I love when I can fine purpose in my pain! No one likes to hurt! But, when we take a step back and realize that the blows of life can have an eternal positive effect on us, it begins to make sense. We find a way, with God's help, to take the blows and turn to Him. 

We are like little imperfect mortals tins that, if left alone, are unable to accept and hold all that He has for us. But, we with every trial we face and endure, more of Him is settled in us. Through adversity--or more accurately, our responses in that adversity--we become more than we could on our own. We can do more, be more, hold more than if we had lived a life free from affliction and pain.

He gives purpose to the blows of life, and turns them from negative trials into what they should be: the way to settle our faith in Him, and in ourselves.






Monday, January 6, 2014

"Does This Insecurity Make Me Look Fat?' Blog Tour!!


Thanks for stopping by!  


Now that 'Does This Insecurity Make Me Look Fat?' is officially released, it's time to pack up for a virtual road trip! I LOVE road trips! Especially ones I can take in my pajamas!


I hope you'll take a few moments to check out some of these great blogs. And while you're there, take a peek at what they have to say about my book!





Monday January 6th

Tuesday, January 7th


Wednesday, January 8th

Thursday, January 9th

Friday, January 10th


Monday January 13th

Tuesday, January 14th

Wednesday, January 15th

Thursday, January 16th

Friday, January 17th

Monday January 20th

You can also check out other reviews below: