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?

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

I've really been struggling lately with feeling like I'm enough.  Last Sunday I was scrolling through my dropbox account and started reading what I've written so far for my book...Reading it really reminded me that I'm pretty amazing.  I'm going to share with you what I have written for the first chapter.  Please note that this is the first draft and there are definitely some things I want to add and change. Reading it was really a tender mercy for me.  Maybe while you're reading it you'll be reminded of something about yourself too.  Love you all!  Remember you matter!

Luvz, Meg

"Two roads diverged in a wood, and I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference." ~Robert Frost

One beautiful spring day, one of my cousins and I were out hiking around Arches National Park in Moab, Utah.  You cannot follow a specific path or trail in the park because the terrain is stony and barren, which makes it impossible to leave a trail on the ground. To remedy this there are stacks of stones called cairns along the trail. When you reach a cairn you should be able to look around and see the next cairn to go to, in this way you follow a path to many beautiful places.

Well, my cousin and I took a well traveled path to see an arch.  When we got to the arch, we discovered and less traveled path that was label with a sign that read “Caution: Primitive Trail Difficult Hiking.” “How hard could it be?” we asked ourselves. We started on a journey that would prove a great learning experience.

At one point on this “primitive trail”, we came to a small stream running through our path. It had just rained and snowed the night before, so it was running high.  It traveled in front of us and between two rocks. We searched and searched, but could not find the next cairn.  It became quite obvious that we were now going to have to guess where to go next. If we chose to go back the way we came, we would have difficulty climbing the steep slick rock we had just slid down.  If we chose to go up the little hill we would be ankle deep in wet snow.  Because the stream between the two rocks didn’t leave any room to get by, we would have to use a very small crack in one of the rocks to climb to the other side near the pool the stream fell into.  It was quite the dilemma.  We had no idea where to go because we couldn’t find the cairn. Essentially we were lost. I stayed calm only in knowing that if we really were lost, eventually someone would find us.  That’s what search and rescue is for, right?

We finally decided to use the small crack to climb to the other side of the rocks. As I tried to use the crack to avoid landing in the deep pool below me, I kept slipping due to the smooth worn out bottoms of my shoes.  I took them off and hooked them around my backpack, and barefoot maneuvered myself to the other side.  I remember thinking how I hoped that this was the right way because there was no way I was going back! We put our shoes back on and searched around for a minute, and there it was!  The small cairn was standing as tall and proud as it could, saying, “This way!  This way is the right way!” We continued on our way and made it back to the trailhead.

I found myself thinking how this adventure we had been on was so similar to our journey here in mortal life.  We start out on this journey, and we are excited to experience something new and to work towards returning to live with our Father in Heaven. As we travel on this journey there are certain "cairns" that mark the path to help me get where I need to go. The first few are our parents, family, church leaders and many other people who teach us and light the way for us. They teach us about other cairns that can be used as tools to help us find our way, such as the atonement, scriptures, prayer, fasting, personal revelation and much more.  Sometimes we come to cairns that lead us on difficult paths.  These paths test us and our resolve to continue on our journey.  We get stronger when we pass through difficult things. Other times we are searching everywhere and we are not able to find the next cairn on our path, and we get to take a step into the darkness before Heavenly Father helps us see the little cairn marking it as the correct path. Sometimes we choose to go the wrong way, to explore and see what else is out there. We can become lost and afraid.  Our Heavenly Father seeing this might happen sent a Savior to atone for our mistakes and help lead us back to our correct path.

I know that as I follow my Savior and strive to follow the cairns on my path of life, I am given the strength I need to keep moving and to help others on my way. I'm very thankful for my own personal cairns, especially the Atonement, scriptures, teachings of the prophets and apostles, and my own personal angels, all of whom have assisted me in shifting my life to build a personal relationship with my Savior and finding and living in what I like to call my “soulful brilliance.”

I love to learn about words and the meaning they had when they first were used. I love to learn the true meaning of words. So let's take a moment to look at what the words soulful and brilliance really mean.

soulful = soul + ful

A soul is a "spiritual and emotional part of a person". It is the place inside of each of us that is connected to our Heavenly Father and our emotions and feelings. Our emotions are gifts from a loving Heavenly Father.  He has given them to us to help us to find our paths and to govern our lives. "-ful" is a suffix meaning "full of". So soulful is to have a spiritual part of ourselves that is full of feelings. Some of those feelings might include sadness, depression, and loneliness or passion, fire, and purpose.

Brilliance comes from the word brilliant, which means "shining, sparkling." It is a synonym of shine, which means to "shed light or be radiant." It also means "excellence or distinction"

These things said, what is Soulful Brilliance really? It is the greatness inside you. It's the gifts, talents, and abilities that exist in the core of who you are. Your. Divine. Potential. It is the place inside of you that contains love, truth, light, peace and wisdom. It is the whisper calling to you in all the noisiness of life, asking you to give it meaning. It is the light that stands at the foundation of who you are in this life. It's acting on the feelings inside yourself--your intuition, your own personal revelation--and following the path to your greatness, your passion.

As you discover your soulful brilliance and embrace it, you will find that you will rise to levels of accomplishment that you had never thought possible. You start to radiate the light of Christ and the light of your brilliance, which will lead others to you, so you may be an instrument in His hands to light the path for them.

We all desire to have purpose in life. Purpose is our driving energy in life. When we discover our soul purpose, our SOULFUL BRILLIANCE, we find we have an infinite supply of energy and enthusiasm. Our capacity expands and becomes almost effortless.

Many people desire a quick answer or quick path to discovering their path or soulful brilliance, but the truth is that it is different for everyone. There is no one way to find your soulful brilliance. The best we can do is to have faith in our Heavenly Father’s plan for our life and to be ready to receive His direction when it does come.

We are each on our own journey to discovering ourselves. I've learned through the years that it comes a little at a time. I think Heavenly Father in His infinite wisdom knew that if He gave it all to us at one time we may get overwhelmed and not be able to accomplish all He desires of us. He has given us gifts, talents and special experiences so we can be a light for others to shape their lives in the way He intended. I love this scripture: "Verily, verily, I say unto you, I give unto you to be the light of this people.  A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid...Therefore let your light so shine before this people, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven" (3 Nephi 12:14-16). I know that as we grow closer to our Heavenly Father and work on shaping our own lives to accomplish all He wants us to do, we become like a city on a hill. A bright light shining and inviting others to come and see all the amazing and wonderful things that are in store for them if they but come unto Christ.

I often hear people tell me they don’t have any talents, that they aren’t good at anything.  If that is you, here is what I have to say about that. No one, NOT ONE SOUL, on the face of the earth is excluded from receiving gifts, talents, and abilities that are unique to him or her. Our Father in Heaven sent us here with purpose that is uniquely ours and the power and tools we need to accomplish that purpose. We are blessed with the beautiful opportunity to have a life. This life is a time to learn and grow.  TO PROGRESS. We get to find out who we really are. It doesn’t all come at once.  If it did we most likely wouldn’t appreciate it, but when we work towards it and sacrifice to find it, it becomes something most precious to us.  Something we are committed to, so we may return to our Father in Heaven and report that we did all we could do to keep the covenants we made with Him.

If you are anything like I was, you are probably on your well travelled path right now.  The path you have been stuck on because you’ve been afraid to try something new, or afraid to fail. It is paved with beliefs formed from experiences in your life. Those beliefs are limiting you and keeping you from living up to your divine potential. For many of us we trudge on, staying with what we know and feel safe with, all the while feeling like life is beating us down. Like horrible things always happen to us. We know our lives need to change. We just don't know how to go about changing them.

I had been trudging down my well travelled path for 28 years. Clinging to my limiting beliefs, to my well travelled path. It was my comfort zone. Fear of the unknown rooted me to my path. I knew there was somewhere I wanted my path to take me, but I had no clear vision of where exactly. Then finally I came to a fork in the road...

I was sitting in my basement, being lonely and depressed, hating my life, when my cousin called me and invited me to meet someone who had assisted her in finding the path towards living in her soulful brilliance. As I met and spent time with this new friend, my Father in Heaven helped me to know that this was the road I should take.  The part I could see looked rough and broken, dangerous and difficult.  It was my path “less traveled by.” Others told me it would be worth taking, but it meant getting off the road that was safe and comfortable. It meant being willing to shift my limiting beliefs and allowing myself to stop hiding in the shadows and discover who I truly was, who my Heavenly Father created me to be.

I did it. I chose the path less traveled and it truly has made all the difference in my life! I discovered some cairns I hadn’t know and rediscovered some that I had had a brief acquaintance with. I discovered a greatness inside myself. A power that I had always had! When I finally let it out to shine, my life became cosmically bright and full of unending love and happiness! It was my SOULFUL BRILLIANCE!!

As I live my soulful brilliance each and every day, it is my desire for you also to discover your soulful brilliance and to live the life of love and happiness you've always dreamed of! It is my hope that as you read this book you will be able to learn from some small cairns of wisdom from scriptures, prophets, apostles, and other sources that were placed lovingly on your path by Heavenly Father.  He loves you as only He can love, unconditionally. He wants for you to live a happy life and to return to him and have eternal life.

Let’s start this journey by quickly going over some things you should know about this book.  First commit to being on this journey. I invite you not to just read this book, but “experiment upon my words”