Monday, March 28, 2011

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Martha Stewart Contest

This might be biased but my sister's dog, Zoe, is the best dog in the entire world! She's so smart, so sweet, so playful and so cuddly. She's an Australian Shepherd and brings joy to anyone who comes in her path. She loves everyone!

Recently, my sister, Ashley, submitted Zoe's picture on the Martha Stewart website. She had a contest for people to send in their pictures of their pups playing. Ashley decided to enter the contest and send in this random, fun picture that I took of Zoe a few months ago.

Ashley just found out that Zoe's picture made it to the TOP 30! ( out of 600 pictures.) She'll find out soon who the winner is! The winner receives a years worth of dog food ( or something like that.) For some poor newlyweds, like my sister and her hubby, that's golden!

It also helps that Zoe is such a beautiful puppy! Can you tell I love her? Good luck to Zoe! I hope she wins!

You can check the link to Martha Stewart's contest and zoe's picture HERE.

Saturday, March 19, 2011


Meet my friend, Julie Anne and read her story about how she battled depression: 

August 2010
"How can you feel so down when you're life is so good?" is the question that swarms in my mind. My answer, "I don't know." So many, upon when hearing of my condition, have asked, "why?" and I stare blankly back, unable to respond. I wish there was a reason. I don't wish for ill, or something major, but at least I could slap a label on it and be done. Instead, I am left feeling crazy, scared, and weak and don't why.

My friend Shannon said, "I went to aerobic instructor boot camp for two days, and I literally could not do a thing after. Does it feel like that?" No. I've been sick as a dog and still ached to get up and DO.This is the sick where you lose the fire to do. That's hell if I've ever known it. I'm numb, all I can and want to do is lay in bed with the covers over my head. There I am lost, overwhelmed, and without hope, yet I still don't want to stand up. This can last for days, weeks... I force myself to get up to at least do the essentials for the kids. But if it's not essential I am frozen. I long to be busy, where I am happy (that's me!), but where is my direction? Gone.

Fears creep up. "There's no way out, I'm broken, I can't handle anything, I can't do it,everything, anything is too overwhelming".....irrational thinking of an irrational state of mind. I have realized that I care an awful lot about what people think. I agonize: "I need to call her, I have to text her back, I am suppose to be there right now, people hate me, they think I'm a flake, I'm not reliable, I'll never be the same in their eyes." When I am back to being me and thinking clearly, I know these thoughts are not true.

A year goes by with the beginnings of these suffering fading in and out, great ups and some downs... but lately, more and more of the shutting down. "I'm feeling overwhelmed, well I might as well lay down then," is how it starts. When I lay down, I am giving in. I lose my direction, I am lost. I enter into varying depths of "the pit" and may or may not reappear soon.

At this point I realized I need help. It's not something I can keep pushing and pushing and fighting and fighting through. As I look back, that's what I've done my whole life. I'm stressed, work harder. I'm so stressed, I work so hard, I achieve so high. Where is the peace, when can I relax, keep working hard, but why am I always overwhelmed? How come, even though I am so capable, she can do it and be happy and I am sitting here so overwhelmed with this cloud (whatever the cloud may be at that particular time, ie school, work, parenting) never goes away.......years, years, I'm happy, I really do love life working hard, but oh I'm always stressed, but I can live life on this high frequency, this is just how I am.....................the stress rises.........I SHUT DOWN.

Help. I need help, I might lose everything I hold dear. God, I have no idea what to do.

"You are so loved, Julie Anne," I feel it from all around, from YOU, from Will, from my kids, my family, and most especially my Father in Heaven. This is "but a small moment." (D&C 121:7)

I had my first appointment with a therapist. I learned some things. My "All or Nothing Perspective" was pointed out. WOW oh WOW how that struck home! I need to do it all, all right, or I can't do it. Example: I need to feed my kids whole grains, fruits and vegetables....oh my goodness it is too overwhelming, here, here is some chocolate chips.Or I need to do the dishes, scrub, scrub...ah the I see the baseboards are dirty, oh no I see the doors are dirty, oh my goodness look at the window sill, the windows......ahhh, I am so overwhelmed I can't possibly do these few dishes, I have to lay down on the couch ." (these are real things I stress about) But it doesn't matter the situation, I will find something to hone in my stress on. (Reagan's sleep habits for example). Yeah, All or Nothing Perspective to a T.

Through this first session I also realized something very big.....I'm trying too hard to be perfect. Yes, we are all striving to be better through this life, that's what it's all about. But somehow I need to take it on in a different way. I don't know how not to try to be perfect. I clearly know that I am NOT perfect, but I don't know how to let myself not try. Example: I honestly did not know how not to get an A in school. I mean maybe if I honestly couldn't pass a test, but there was NO way I would not turn in a paper, not do an assignment, not study my butt off for a test. I just couldn't. I could honestly say that if I got a B it was fine, but I didn't know how to not do my best in the class, if that makes sense. Now apply that to all of my life....I can't get an A in every aspect of my life and I don't have control over things and I get so stressed out and so overwhelmed that I shut down. (just lately).

As I've shared this "perfect" concept to a few people I have realized that I have sadly hurt more people than myself. Don't take this the wrong way but I sort of have a flawless first impression (once you get to know me, you realized I am all too real and flawed) but for some reason I come off WAY better than I am on first glimpse. Or on my blog. I don't think it's me being fake, but when you see everyone from the outside you don't see all the struggles.

Me proclaiming to the world that I am dealing with depression and that I am hurting so badly was almost a relief. I could breath. I could allow myself to be in sorrow, to let people see me lying in bed, with my kids going crazy, sweep the disgustingness off my kitchen floor and scrub my toilet and you know what....IT WAS OKAY.

I'm OKAY. I'm going to be OKAY. It is so so hard, and it's not over, it's going to be a long journey, probably something I will struggle with all my life. But that is OKAY.

I know that this trial will stretch me so far, and that I will undoubtedly be able to use it to help others. My Relief Society President, Rosemary Jarman, lovingly held my hand in bed and said, "Julie Anne, I don't know why you have to go through this, but when you find out, will you tell me?" Her beaming face looking down at mine, sitting on the other end of very real trials, filled me with such hope.

This will not break me! I will only be stronger. I will fulfill my dreams, so many things Heavenly Father sent me here to accomplish.

Our Deepest Fear

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.

Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.

It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.

We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant,
gorgeous, talented, fabulous?

Actually, who are you not to be?

You are a child of God.

Your playing small does not serve the world.

There is nothing enlightened about shrinking
so that other people won't feel insecure around you.

We are all meant to shine, as children do.

We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.
It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone.

And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously
give other people permission to do the same.

As we are liberated from our own fear,
our presence automatically liberates others.

A Return to Love - Marianne Williamso

September 2010
I am so grateful I opened up. I have been vulnerable and it has allowed you to be vulnerable with me. I'm grateful I can continue this conversation so openly.

I struggle with anxiety. I have my whole life. I always just labeled it as "stress" and "worry" but it pushed me to great heights and I kept it under control for the most part. When I finally admitted to myself, upon realizing that I could never relax, that I had an anxiety problem (this was one year ago), it scared me. Scared me bad. I started having anxiety over having anxiety. I wondered what I should do, should I get help or continue life as it had always been, a life that was pretty good.

I am a "to do list" kind of girl. I feel accomplished when I "get things done," "finish a project," have things in "control." As a mom, that is hard to do.

From a combination of many things (prone to anxiety, family history, all or nothing and perfection ideology, etc.) I have been suffering with depression. I don't think it's totally a depression problem but more of being so overwhelmed and full of anxiety that it plummets me into a depression. And the depression is so so real.


Julie Anne wanted to share her story so YOU can feel like you are not alone. 
Thank you, Julie for sharing your experience with us! 

Other stories to help battle depression are found here and here and here

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Seeking Higher Ground

Oh how my heart goes out to the people of Japan.
It just aches for them.

My dad served his mission in Japan and holds a special place in his heart for those people.

The Church posted this message:

"As the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami continues to unfold, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is assessing how it will best provide relief. News reports indicate that the death toll from the earthquake and tsunami in Japan is nearing 3,000 and will likely continue to rise. The majority of casualties in Japan are expected to be from the tsunami rather than the earthquake. Tens of thousands more are homeless and millions are without power. The government of Japan has mobilized thousands of troops, planes and ships for a large-scale emergency response operation.
The Church’s First Presidency made the following statement regarding the disaster:
We express our love and support to the people of Japan as they deal with this terrible tragedy. Our prayers, and the prayers of millions of Latter-day Saints across the world, are with them as they begin to recover from this disaster."
If you would like to find out how you could help, go here:
It's very sad to hear of all the earthquakes and natural disasters that are happening more frequently all around us. With all the hurt and turmoil in the world today, it's up to us to be a little better and to stand a little taller. Be kind to those who come in your path, lend a helping hand, and love your neighbors. Comfort those who stand in need of comfort.
Look to the Savior as your guide, He will show you the way.

The following is an experience a friend of mine experienced as she heard the devastating news of the large earthquake that hurt Japan. She lives in Hawaii on the island of Oahu. The people of Hawaii were asked to prepare and brace themselves for, what could be, a large tsunami.
In her own words, here's her experience:
"A few hours ago I heard someone announce that an 8.9 earthquake just occured in Japan, and that there is now a Tsunami watch. So pray for our friends in Japan, and get your 72 hour kits ready, just in case."

The events then went like so: I went home, and informed the couple I live with of the awful news. We then turned on the TV, and watched the horrible things that are occurring over in Japan.

Then the news casters announced that the "watch" had been turned to a "warning". And clarified that Tsunami warnings are issued due to the imminent threat of a tsunami. I then continued to get texts from friends here in Hawaii informing me about what had happened and about the warning.
Up to this point I wasn't nervous. A sweet sister (who I live with) was getting a little nervous, so I helped them move some of their belongings up to the second story, and then they left to go move their car up to the temple (just in case). So as I was sitting there alone watching the news, and getting texts...I was still pretty calm, not scared at all. My friend called a bit nervous and I informed her that everything was fine, no alarms were going so that was good sign.
Within seconds of hanging up the ALARM SOUNDED. My heart automatically started beating faster, and I could feel the panic. I was ALONE. I went to call my friend back and my phone said "NETWORK BUSY". I began to feel nervous, my face felt hot, I walked out on the back porch as the wind was blowing like crazy and the alarm was blaring. I just kept thinking " I am alone, and my phone won't I supposed to be doing something right now...maybe running for the hills?"
Luckily the couple arrived home a few minutes later, followed by my friend. Then all my panic left (I was fine as long as I wasn't alone). So for now we are just going to sleep. I am not really worried. It is however interesting how different people react to situations like this. There are the people who panic and make you more nervous about the situations. The ones who stay calm and collective, taking action and helping make sure others are okay. And the ones who could care less, and do nothing. Throughout this night I have encountered all three, changing my mood and feelings on the matter after each person I talk to.
It says the estimated earliest arrival in Hawaii of the first tsunami wave is 2:59 a.m. local time time Friday (7:59 a.m. ET). "A tsunami has been generated that could cause damage along the coastlines of all islands in the state of Hawaii," the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center's bulletin said. "Urgent action should be taken to protect lives and property." (The newscaster repeated the "urgent action" should be taken at least twice, explaining that they word these things very carefully, and that people should take action!!)

Thankfully, the people of Hawaii are okay and nothing major happened there.
My friend who experienced this for the first time, later told me that she hiked the hill around 2 am, behind the temple, to seek higher ground. The alarms were sounding every half hour. She knew that by finding higher ground, she would be safer. There were many others on that hill, anxiously awaiting for a large tsunami to hit the island.
We could all relate this experience to our own lives. When "tsunamis" or "earthquakes" threaten to destroy our personal lives, what is our reaction? Do we stay on ground level awaiting our fate? or do we SEEK HIGHER GROUND?
Do we rely on our Heavenly Father not just during the hard times, but every moment of our lives?

Please continue to pray for our friends in Japan and I hope we can find ways to help even though we are thousands of miles away.

go here to find out how you can help.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Finding Peace

Meet my friend, Michelle. She has been through A LOT these past 5 years. She's a young mother, a photographer, and friend. Today, I gave a talk on " The Lord's Pattern for Peace" in Sacrament meeting. I shared Michelle's story of tragic loss and then finding peace and comfort through the atonement Jesus Christ. She is amazing.

Here's her story in her own words:

“I sat in the cold dark room at the trauma center in Las Vegas. Anxiously awaiting the news and fate of my son of 22 months of age after he tragically fell from our second story window. I knew it was not going to be good. I tried to plea with God to just make him live. I found myself unable to make a plea deal with God because I just knew in my heart that what I wanted to ask for-him living- was just not going to happen. The time had come for my babe to go home to his Maker and serve God and us on the other side. It didn't look promising but the doctors gave us an ounce of hope. But still, my heart ached as I pondered the fact that I may never hold my living, breathing, beautiful, perfect baby boy again in this life.
He was my Sunshine baby. The kind of baby that lit up this world. Or at least lit up this mothers heart in this world. I adored him, and he adored me. The Doctor came in and out for 5 hours giving us updates. Moments before the doctors last arrival, an impression was made upon us, "You must let go of me. I will be with you." And then came the knock ...knock... knock... on the door.
"I need to tell you that we did everything in our power, but there was nothing left for us to do. Your son did not make it through the surgery. He's gone." I fell into the arms of who would become some of my closest friends. This couldn't be happening. But oddly, there was a strange sense of peace and reverence and faith and strength.
The years that followed were not always so full of those strengths, contrary actually. Rather filled with weaknesses and questions of why. Hate, anger, bitterness, frustration, sadness, depression, denial were some of the waves of emotions I found myself surfing on. There was very little- to no peace in my life and heart for 4 years following the aftermath of James' death. I struggled and was on the brink of losing it mentally and spiritually. God brought me to my breaking point and I was ready to snap in half.
I laid in my bed one day as I sulked in self pity. I prayed that God would send someone to me in my time of need. Heavenly Father didn't send anyone... this time, he sent me so much more than a human, he sent me this:
"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid."
The entire time after James' death I depended on the flesh of man to provide me strength and peace in my suffering. It was never lasting nor permanent. They could offer temporary relief, but it wasn't constant. That day I learned there is only 1 true source of permanent peace-and that source lies within our faith of our Savior and his ability to guide us through our lives and trials. He is the vessel, we are just merely passengers. God is peace. Faith is peace. Obedience is peace.”
Thank you for sharing your story, Michelle.

I invite you to visit her personal blog to get to know her better and to read more about James.

Go here to read more.

Losing yourself in Service

"When you are in the service of your fellow beings, you are only in the service of your God."

We find true happiness when we lose ourselves in the service of others. We forget our worries and troubles and we are strengthened.
Most importantly, we are strengthening others in their time of need.

How can you serve someone today?