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 :(


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!