Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Just Give it to Him

Excerpt from my new blog uncoveringstrength.com.

Today I'm grateful for...

I am so grateful for this book!
I love all of Emily's books,
but this one is my all time favorite!
I was just telling My Handsome Guy
how it was a tender mercy and a little
bit of Grace for me to get it the way I did
and at the time I did.
It came into my life at a time
when I needed the messages it shares.
It came into my life at a time
when my family needs it too.
It was a little reminder that
heaven hasn't forgotten me.

I just finished reading it,
and now I'm going back through it and
studying it with My Handsome Guy.
I'm so excited to work on making
our home a more Christ-centered place.
A place where it doesn't matter if He
showed up on our doorstep without
warning and wanted to come in.
We'd invite Him in without hesitation.

The Word...

Matthew 11:28-30
"Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."

What I wrote below reminded me of this scripture.
When we're feeling loaded down with so many cares
we can't see the end, He is there.
He's asking us to let Him help you
carry the burden.
I think I often forget to share it with Him.
I forget to have faith
and rely on my own strength
to make it through the trials and challenges of life.
It's when I rely on the Lord's strength and His yoke
that I truly find rest in soul.
I truly feel lighter and happier.
He loves us so much!
He'll do anything for us!
Except deny us our agency.
We still get to choose.
When I run into a wall or
have an obstacle in front of me.
When I'm feeling burdened down
by my learning experiences (trials).
I'm choosing to remember to share
my burden with Him and
rely on His strength to help me get through.
What will you choose?

On my heart...

Today I've watched my sweet L 
cart around this arch thing
that attaches to her Minnie Mouse Chair.
It goes over the chair and has toys
hanging down for her to play with 
while she sits there.
She keeps trying to crawl around
with it and pull herself up on things
while she's holding it.
She's been very frustrated
and whiny about it.
I keep trying to help her
and get her to just let go,
but all she does is cry harder.

It got me thinking about myself.
Am carting around something that
I think I love and getting 
frustrated when it's keeping me from
doing things that I want to do?
Is the Lord watching me,
telling me to just let go and
I'll be able to accomplish more?
Wow, just had a thought.
He's not just telling me to let go;
He's asking me to give it to Him.
What do I need to let go of or
give to Him so I can truly
uncover strength?

The first thing I think of
is my phone and all my social media.
I spend way too much time on Facebook
looking at useless things that don't really help me.
I've already had plenty of times 
when I make a goal to not be on it
so much.  I've even deleted the app
from my phone several times.
Lately though I've been attached to it again.
I'm sure Heavenly Father really is sitting
there waiting for me to just get off my phone
so He can help me find the help and strength
I need to make it through this time in my life.
So I'm saying good-bye to my excessive social media use.
I wrote a social media mission statement to help me with this. 

"I use my social media with intention to love
and glorify God and to serve others."

I'm going to put that somewhere I can see it often
to remind myself what I'm using SM for!
I'm going to make it a goal to not be on any SM after 6 p.m.
and I'm going to be doing #socialmediafreeweekend s.
The only thing I'm not including in this is
posting my #uncoveringstrength posts everyday.

Whew! What a goal. 
It's totally doable and I've done it many
times.  I just get to step back into that choice!

I'm sure there is more that I'm holding on to.
Stuff that is deeper than social media.
I know I get to spend some time uncovering
the truth of those things,
and being on SM less will give 
me more time to delve into it!

Thank you Heavenly Father for this lesson!

God is good! He is in the details of our lives!

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Uncovering Strength: The 100 Day Project

Hello Soulful Brilliance friends!  My heart is so full as I type this.  This is the 100th post on Soulful Brilliance.  When I started it just four short years ago, I had so many hopes and dreams for it.  I would say that the reality has far surpassed that!  I have learned so much about myself and life. I have received help from both sides of the veil. If you read my last post you know that right now, I'm struggling with some depression. I really feel like God has put it in my heart to share the journey I'm on now.

I've struggled the last few weeks trying to find words and trying to know what to share, but I haven't been able to figure out what to do.  Yesterday I discovered something and all of the sudden everything came together perfectly.

As I've contemplated what I wanted to do, I realized that I needed to do something new. I needed to start writing on an old blog from years ago.  I renamed it "Uncovering Strength".  At first I felt like I was abandoning Soulful Brilliance, but I'm choosing not to.  I still will post a couple times a month, probably sharing posts from the other blog.  I also will be inviting my Soulful B Sisterhood to continue posting and sharing their journeys here.

Please feel free to visit uncoveringstrength.blogspot.com to see what's happening each day!  Below is the first post for this new season in my life!

A couple weeks ago,
my daughter L started
pulling herself up on things.
The first time she did it
(pictured above),
she stood there for a minute
and promptly fell down
giving herself a bruise 
on her forehead.
After comforting her,
she crawled off my lap
and went straight back
to the same spot
and started climbing again.

Being a mother has been
so many things,
but one of my favorite
things is all that she teaches me
about myself and God.
I hope I get to teach her
just as much as she's
teaching me!
When I kept watching her 
pull herself up and fall
over again and again,
I realized that I am doing
the same thing in my life.

Five years ago,
my life was changed 
by a path Heavenly Father
led me to start.
I learned so much
about myself and life.
I learned to love myself
and trust in God's plan for me.
It  was a huge milestone in
my personal development.
It was my first moment of
pulling myself up.
I was able to continue 
living my life this way
for a short amount of time,
but eventually fell down
into my old self.
It hurt because of
what I knew I could 
really do and be.

After letting myself 
feel the pain and 
finding comfort in 
the Lord's Grace,
I pulled myself back up again.
Just like L I keep falling,
but keep getting back up
again and again.

Since L was born I feel
like I fell long and hard
and have ended up in a place
that is deep and dark.
I've been trying to pull
myself up,
but I keep falling back down.

After having a huge breakdown on Sunday,
I've been thinking this week
that there is something I'm missing.
After contemplating it,
I've realized that I 
did miss something.
When L falls,
there is someone there to 
help her and comfort her.
I have this as well.
I have a Father 
who wants the best for me.
He wants me to learn and grow.
He doesn't leave me alone,
but instead is there to catch me
and to comfort me.
He's here to help me
heal and mend my heart.
The only way I can do it 
is through my Savior
and his Grace!

I'd like to share my journey
on this blog. 
It's going to be a huge
undertaking, but 
I'm not doing it alone.
I'm choosing to lean in
and allow my Father
to help me get stronger.

I need his strength
added to my strength,
so I can uncover myself
So I can uncover
the strength
I have with Him.

God put it on my heart
to share my journey,
and I've been stuck
lately not knowing
the words to use
to share.

Yesterday I came across
a project on Instagram that
a friend is doing.
It's called #the100dayproject.
It started yesterday,
but I'm going to start today.
It is a chance to start something you
will do everyday no matter what
and share it on Instagram.

My project will be #uncoveringstrength.
I'm going to be writing
daily on this blog,
sharing scriptures
and gratitude
and other things that
are on my heart.

Here I go!

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

This is me.  I'm a teacher.  I'm a wife. I'm a mother. I have a great life.  I have an amazing husband.  I have a beautiful daughter. I don't live a glamorous life.  I've never had some big horrible thing happen to me. I'm just a typical LDS woman.  Trying to live the Gospel of Jesus Christ and keep the covenants I have made. I know I should be happy.  But in the last few months, I haven't been.  I've been doing a lot of silent suffering.

I am a perfectionist.  A perfectionist who feels she has to appear perfect all the time.  Especially because I know how to be happy.  I have all the tools I might need. About five years ago, Heavenly Father put me on a path that taught me those tools.  I used to see sad women who would say mean things about themselves, and I would wish I could share with them all the things I had learned.  That's how this blog came to be.

I realized a couple weeks ago that I'm now one of those women again.  I've been praying to my Father in Heaven for relief.  To return to being the woman I once was.  Optimistic. Happy. But I'm still waiting for it to come. I've been more depressed than I have been in a very long time.

At first I kept telling myself that I was fine. Nothing was wrong with me. I'm just tired. That was the excuse I often used to convince myself and others that it was nothing. I'd feel very inadequate as a wife, mother and teacher. Especially as a mother. I have a very easy baby. She sleeps through the night and is generally a happy baby.  I love her. After I'd think that, there would be a big BUT in my mind.  But I wish I could let someone else take care of her for a while. But I'm so tired all the time, I'm not helping her learn and grow like I should. I would see other people with babies and hear them these expressions of overwhelming love and gratitude and just...happiness. They'd tell about all the things their babies were doing that my baby hadn't even come close to starting to do. I didn't always feel about my baby the way they seemed to about their babies. Every time a family member would innocently ask me ask me if she was doing some milestone yet, I'd feel like the worst mother in the world that she wasn't. I'd feel guilty. Guilty that I wasn't doing as much as I could.  Guilty that I just wanted some time to myself. Guilty that I felt mad towards people who didn't really deserve my anger. I would sit around waiting to be happy. Even though I knew that it wouldn't work.

Then I started praying. And praying. And praying. I haven't received any big answers. But I have received little ones here and there. He sent promptings to people in my life to talk to me and get me to at least tell them how I'm feeling even if I don't know how to tell them why without bursting into tears. He sent other little tender mercies into my life. It's like He's reminding me that I know what I need to do.  I have all the tools I need.  I just need to dust them off and get busy. So I did.

I unzipped my actual scriptures and started studying my Book of Mormon in a more in-depth way than I have in a very long time.  I'm choosing to eat better and exercise. And Heavenly Father has put something else in my heart.  To write.  To tell people about this moment in my life.  To share what I'm learning through all of this.

And that's why I'm here today. Writing to you. Not you in the group way, but YOU! The one person reading this!  Sometimes Heavenly Father doesn't step in right away and fix things. Sometimes we feel like we've been left in the dark, BUT I know that He's right there with us! As hard as life is sometimes, we wouldn't learn if he just immediately fixed everything for us.  We wouldn't progress or grow to become like he is. There is a purpose in every experience we have.  It's hard to go through them.  It hurts. Sometimes we get depressed, but He is there with us still.

I recently read a post by Emily Freeman, who is one of my favorite authors.  Click here to read it. In it she talks about just before the Lord was crucified.  Mary and Martha send word that their brother Lazarus is sick.  Christ waits a few days before he begins to travel to Bethany to see them. Martha hears they are coming and runs to meet them before they get to the city.  She tells him, "...if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died. But I know, that even now, whatsoever thou wilt ask of God, God will give it thee" (John 11:21-22). She had been waiting in sorrow for four days. She still had faith that Christ could do anything through Heavenly Father.

Then "Jesus saith unto her, Thy brother shall rise again.
"Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day.
"Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whoso ever liveth and believeth in me shall never die.  Believest thou this?
" She said unto him, Yea, Lord: I believe that thou are the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world" (John 11:23-27).

Martha goes to bring Mary to the Lord.  He weeps with them. Then they go to Lazarus' tomb. They took away the stone that covered the tomb.  Jesus prayed and then cried out "with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth" (John 11:43).

After reading the post from Emily Freeman, I felt more connection to this story than I ever had.  I feel  like I can relate to Martha, Mary, and Lazarus.  I feel  like I've been waiting in a dark place where I've been feeling sorrow, grief, guilt and so many other emotions. I've been waiting and wondering when answers will come.  I haven't lost my faith.  I still have that, but I sometimes wonder at the Lord's timing, but just as he used the life of these people, he is using my life.  To teach me. To help me see that he's always there.  To help me feel his love. To help me stand in my Soulful Brilliance and be a light in the darkness for others.

Answers don't always come easily, but what ever path we are on, we are being led by a loving Father and Savior who want us to become the best person we can be.  We just get to have faith in them and live in faith and love.

And that's the beginning of my new journey of remembering what I already know.


Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Goal Setting: Part 4

Today is Februrary 26, 2016.  I've changed my goals yet again.  I keep reminding myself that I don't have to stick to the goals I wrote back in January if they aren't working in my life.  I used to always get to February and get so discouraged when I hadn't accomplished much to do with my goals. Now, I look at how they're working for me and pray to see if that was really what Heavenly Father wanted me to be working on.

One thing that I've learned the last few years, is that it's not really accomplishing goals that is the best part of life.  The best part is in the journey of accomplishing goals.  It is in the journey that we learn and grow.  It is in the journey that we can see God's hand in our lives.  It is in the journey where we find happiness and joy. We do all of this as we progress, little by little.

One reason I love Lara Casey's goal setting and Powersheets process is because I get to move step by step and dig deeper to find what goals really matter in your life and what Heavenly Father would like you to work on. I love the story from the Book of Mormon about the Jaredites. As they were traveling to the promised land, they came to a great sea.  While there the Lord had them build boats and get prepared for a journey across the sea.  They did everything they could to be prepared and then they got to commend their journey to the Lord. Their boats didn't have sails, but were driven by the waves and storms at sea. It was almost a year in those boats that they journeyed to the promised land.

This goal setting process is like that for me.  I prepare and get as ready as I can.  Then I commend my journey to the Lord and get to trust in Him and His plan to get me to my own promised land. With that, here are the goals I have for the rest of 2016!

  • Cultivating my relationships with my husband and daughter.
  • Sharing my life experiences in vulnerability on soulfulbrilliance.com to help encourage and uplift others.
  • Daily Gratitude to help me focus on the little tender mercies in my life.
  • Make healthy lifestyle choices.
  • Simplify and declutter my life (physical, mental, digital, etc.)
  • Cultivate my friendships to create lasting relationships.
  • I immerse myself in the the scriptures.  Not just reading, but studying them to grow my faith and receive personal revelation.
What are your goals for 2016?  Share here!


Wednesday, February 24, 2016

2016 Goal Setting: Part 3


How has your goal setting going? Hqw are you working on you're goals? I've had my goals written since the first of the year, but I've been changing them and tweeking them as I go along and see what is really going to work in my life and what I purposefully want to make happen. Here's the next steps I do:

Step 7
Read over all of your progress so far!

I love looking over what I've done so far.  I feel like it's so important to go over again and again just to remind yourself of things you are feeling are important.  I rewrite things, add things, and do it all over again. Getting messy is the key!  That is really hard for me.  I want things to go well and to look good, but goal setting for me now is messy. If I wait for it to be perfect, it will never happen. If I do it and don't change anything, I don't get much done on the important things.  I don't live on purpose.  Living on purpose is about living messy.  
It's about changing and redoing things.
It's about being flexible.

Step 8
Write your list of what you are saying YES to in 2016 and what you are saying NO to.

What am I saying "Yes" to in 2016?
-Intentional Prayer
-Immersing myself in the scriptures and words of the prophets
-Quality time with My Handsome Guy and L
-Serving others
-Building relationships
-Surrendering to God
-Cultivating what matters
-Waiting with patience
-Asking God First
-Studying scripture
-genuine friendships
-Asking for priesthood blessings
-thinking of others
-getting small and humble
-writing the word

What am I saying "No" to in 2016?
-Excess Social Media
-Excessive TV watching
-material things
-fear of not being "good enough"
-always having to be in control
-thinking of me first
-wasting time trying/searching for peace or value in anything besides the Lord
-doing things/thinking I should do thing like everyone else--COMPARISON

What are you saying yes and no to in 2016?

Thursday, February 18, 2016

2016 Goal Setting: Part 2

Hello friends!  Here comes the next part of my goal setting process.  I get to look back at some not so fun things.  This part for me is good as long as I don't choose to stay in the muck.  I get to look at it and see what I have learned from it and move on.  To me a huge part of living on purpose is looking back at what didn't work and then not doing it any more.  See an old post here: INsanity.

Step 4
What does your perfectly imperfect "Messy 2016" look like?

My Messy 2016 is about letting go of my fears and insecurities and trusting in the Lord's grace.
It will look like immersing myself in His word.  I pray intentionally and act on promptings, even the little ones. I cultivate gratitude and my relationships. I look for the tender mercies the Lord sends. I choose joy and love! 

Step 5
What didn't work in 2015? What kept me from living on purpose?

-Anxiety, overwhelm, worry
-Not exercising
-Baby in the hospital for 2 weeks
-not blogging
-too much stuff in my spaces (physical, mental, etc.)
-Comparison = coveting

Name three lessons you learned and an idea for what to do about it.
-When I had L, she had some problems breathing and got put into the NICU for 16 days. There were 16 of the hardest days of my life.  Having to leave her at the hospital when I went home was heartbreaking. Choosing to take care of myself instead of be at the hospital all the time was heartbreaking, but I learned.  I learned once again to trust in God's plan for my life and so much more.  It was hard, but it was a very special experience too.
-I learned that worry is fruitless.  All it did was make my blood pressure go up, which wasn't good.
-I learned again that I have the power to choose my attitude.

The biggest thing I can think of that can help me through hard things is to study scriptures.  To ponderize them.  Not just read them, but make them a part of my life.

Step 6
Who helped you cultivate what matters in 2015?

Can I just tell you that this list is so long this year!
-First and foremost I would say my Heavenly Father and my Savior!
-My amazing husband, who has lived through all those hard things with me and constantly helped me remember to trust in God.
-L has been an amazing driving force for me to be better and do my best.
-The fabulous friends and family who have helped watch L while I've been at work: Alyssa, Tonessa, Kathy, Judy, Shellie, and my parents.
-Nicci the fabulous teacher I job share with has been amazing to work with.
-My mom who always knows when I need some encouraging words.
-And I really feel grateful for myself.  I have done amazing things this last year!


Friday, February 12, 2016

2016 Goal Setting: Part 1


Hello dear friends! It feels like forever since I last wrote!  I'm excited to be here with all of you sharing and growing together! Today I'd like to start talking about goals and some of the steps I use to find the goals Heavenly Father wants me to work on. The steps I use come from Lara Casey Isaacson.  Click here to read her posts about goals.

My life has drastically changed in the last year.  I'm now a mommy, and it has been the craziest, hardest, most amazing thing I've ever had the privilege to do.  It has taught me so much.  Mostly that I'm incredibly inadequate all by myself. Luckily, I am not alone! I have an amazing husband and family and friends that help me along this marvelous journey of mommyhood. I also have my Savior, who makes up for all my inadequacies and weaknesses.

With everything I've learned and dreamed about, getting started on my goals for 2016 was fun! The one thing I love about Lara's goal setting steps is that she encourages you to make a mess and to be okay with changing your goals anytime.  They don't have to start on January 1st.  They can start whenever you want.  You can change them whenever you want.  The biggest thing is to take action.  If you just sit and stare at your paper, nothing will happen. But if you take action, even small steps, it adds up and you can slowly make progress and accomplish your goals!

The other thing I like about Lara's goal setting steps is the prep work before you actually write your goals.  It is a chance to get down and dirty with yourself and what you really want to make happen.  I've tried all sorts of goal writing steps, but these by far have been the best to help me!  Here we go!

Step 1
What have you been chasing?

I have felt like I'm chasing perfect.  I look and hear about other people and how their lives are with their new babies. I keep fighting the feeling that there must be something wrong with me if I'm not feeling like all those other moms do with their babies. So I try harder and feel like I'm failing miserably. Then there is my job as a teacher.  I'm at a new school this year, teaching new curriculum.  I'm trying so hard to get it right and "perfect" that when the kids don't get it, I feel like a failure. Basically my chasing perfect hasn't made me any more perfect.  If anything I've felt more imperfect than ever.

Step 2
How are you?

Even typing how I'm doing right now scares me...I want to start off by saying that I'm grateful for the growth I've experienced in the last year.  I love my little family so much.  I'm grateful for the Gospel of Jesus Christ and all the peace and comfort I find in it.

On that note it has been really hard trying to figure out what steps I get to take next in my life. I can stay effortlessly in my comfort zone, or I can take those scary steps out into the unknown and grow.  Today I feel like I'd rather stay in my comfort zone!
Basically I feel like I can say please refer to step 1 above. Also, I'm wanting to work on bettering the relationships in my life, especially my marriage and my family relationships. I'd like to work on doing better to live a healthy life.  I'm feeling tired and sick a lot, and I know I have the tools to fix that.  I'm really looking forward to 2016 and all the new things I'm going to learn as I get to step out of my comfort zone.

Step 3
What worked in 2015?

Wow!  I have a huge list this year! Most of it revolves around L and all that has happened with her.
-I started off the year pregnant with L and so excited to meet her.
-I found a new job that fit with working part time this school year! It was a blessing that happened at just the right time.
-I had a mostly healthy pregnancy.
-I safely had L.  I had really high blood pressure, so my midwife decided I needed to have her three weeks early.  It was an amazing experience and scary at the same time. When she was finally born, she had some troubles with her breathing.
-I'm so thankful for the amazing nurses who took care of L in the NICU.  They are seriously angels!
-I recovered well after having L. With all the stories everyone was telling me I was expecting my recovery to be hard, but it ended up not being so bad.
-I'm a mom!
-L started sleeping through the night at three months old.
-Working part time.
-Finding babysitters sometimes stresses me out, but it's all worked out perfectly and I haven't had to get a sub and stay home (as much as I want to sometimes).
-L is healthy and growing.
-I have a small class this year.
-I'm thankful for Nicci the teacher I do the job share with.  She is amazing and did so much while I was on restricted activity and on my maternity leave.
-L is a happy baby.
-We have financially been blessed to have what we need plus a little extra.
-I have an amazing husband.  Friends, I am so blessed.  He works so hard to take care of us.
-I got to go to Time Out for Women in Layton.
-I got to know people in my ward better.
-I've enjoyed the bookclub I've been a part of.

What did I learn from what worked?
-I get to leg go and let God take care of it.
-Keeping commandments brings big BLESSINGS!
-Being a mama is amazing!
-I get to choose!
-Choose joy!
-Choose God!
-Choose love!

What am I grateful for?
-my handsome guy with the killer smile
-my health
-God is good
-The Gospel
-scriptures and word of the prophets

Now it's your turn!  What did you write down to answer these questions?