Friday, January 20, 2017

What I Want My Kids To Know About Today

Hey Kids,

Today is going to be a rough day in American history. Please do not ask why or how we got to this point, because right now, it doesn't do us much good. The only thing I will say is your Dad and I tried. We did our best. However what is the most important is the next 4 years. Emma, you will be 8 about to turn 9 when this man leaves office. This means you will be pretty settled into your education and looking at what your interests and hobbies truly are and perhaps looking to turn them into a life long pursuit. Lincoln, you will be 4, and on the brink of starting school.

Emma, unfortunately I'm pretty sure you will learn derrogatory words and phrases I didn't even know existed about women until I was in my late teens. Lincoln, while you will be young, you will be raised in a society for the last 4 years lead by a man who thinks women are nothing more than just a good looking statue to have around. As your Mother, I am telling you, that is not okay. Just because some man who leads our country may treat his wife and other women that way doesn't mean you can. Ever. Both of you, Emma and Lincoln, deserve respect but never ever demean someone else, especially in a way that they are different from you, to get it.

The news and social media sites are just nuts right now. Can I offer a recommendation to you both as you get older and enter the technological world? Watch and read the news just enough to know the facts. Nothing more. It's important to stay informed. However, watching/reading it too much will make you want a straight jacket. The world is going to continue to spiral down. There are so many people in positions of power that are corrupt. Life will make you tough, if you choose to let it. Know things and people's intentions, however, it is also important to still have your inherit kindness I know both of you have. Don't be naive, but "always have courage and be kind."

You will both have to face a society where we are so so divided. There are several hundreds, almost thousands, of people who don't even want to consider this man to be President. While I just vomited in my mouth quite a bit thinking about what will happen at noon today, that doesn't take away the respect we give someone. Just because my mother and father chose not to raise me in the best way, doesn't mean I don't respect them for the life they gave me. You can choose to give respect, even if they don't. It's called rising above. So many people do not understand that you can respectfully disagree with someone. Just because you disagree doesn't mean you can't still be friends or even polite.

There are so many people who are here in the states because of a horrible situation back in the country they are from or they believe the American way will get them to the life they want to live. Remember that respect thing I mentioned earlier? It applies here too. We need to give men, women, and children of all races, ethnicities, and orientation the same respect we give our friends. Just because they may look different from us doesn't mean they are different. We are all children from the same God.

Let me repeat--
God created us, we are brothers and sisters, and we need to give each other respect.

Respect can come in the form of being there to listen, it can come in the form of a friendly smile, it can even come in the form of not talking to them if they wish. No matter what it is, we need to be there for our brothers and sisters.

So far I've mentioned respect a lot. It's something that has lost a bit of meaning in the last few years. However, we need to make sure we are giving respect to those who hold titles, even if they don't give respect to the title themselves. It's just the polite thing to do.

I do not know why we have the current president elect that we do. However, I do have faith. Faith in the Lord's timing. Not sure what is meant to come about in this nation as a result of this crazy election and inaguration day. However, I have faith that it will all work out. Some how in the grand scheme of things, it always does.

I love you both, and I wish, so much, only the brightest for your future. As your Mom, I will make sure it will happen, not just hope for it.


Thursday, June 16, 2016

Be Kind || the City Beautiful

When I was 14 we moved to a small town called Apopka. Even though I only lived there for 4 years, it was more of a home to me than some of the other cities I lived in. Mostly because of the people and the friends I made. High school has a way of doing that to you. Fun fact that I believe (may or may not be true): small towns in Florida are really just made small by the fact that they're surrounded by gorgeous lakes and large orange groves. To do anything "fun" (not including beach trips, or other things that I consider fun like reading books, etc.) you'd have to go up to Daytona or go down to Orlando. The drive was about 45 minutes. It wasn't very often I went there with my family, except the handful of times I had visited my brother who lived close to the airport. I would go mostly with friends. I remember several times going to Lake Eola for a walk around there, or going to the malls downtown. Every time I went I just remember being in awe of how big the city looked in comparison to the little small town just 45 minutes away.

In central Florida there are so many different cultures packed into one small area. Because of this, I have grown to appreciate people for who they are, and that everyone is different. Not only have an appreciation, but love them. I have several friends from this time in my life who are African American, from Puerto Rico, Gay, Lesbian, Canadian, from the North East states, from the Western states, my list could continue. The rich diverse culture you experience in central Florida is probably the best part of living there.

I was the only Mormon girl at my high school. Just one teenage girl surrounded by so many different beliefs. It was truly amazing to get that perspective on my life and my beliefs at such a young age. Surrounded by all this culture, you would think that others would come to just accept each other. The majority of the people did, but I remember on several occasions having to explain my religion to others who told me (didn't ask me) that I was going to be wife #15 someday, or that I have horns and they only come out at the full moon. Oh the stories people make up about other religions and people. There were quite a few days after being told my religious beliefs from several people that I would leave school feeling tiny. Feeling insignificant. Not feeling like I mattered. At the time of course I thought it was such a huge deal and this is just how life was. However looking back I realize it's just a small amount of what other people go through on a regular basis. I also realized this was just a small group of people who didn't represent all of the great people I knew in Florida, who were accepting and kind to me.

Because of the small amount of persecution, for choosing to live the way I did, I decided I would never want to cause anyone to feel that way about themselves personally. It truly helped me realize that we are all human beings with feelings. We all have our own beliefs. We all have the rules that guide our lives. We all deserve respect, kindness, and love.

On Sunday June 12, 2016 an atrocity occurred in the city I consider my old stomping grounds. 49 people were gunned down for the way they choose to live their lives. Just for choosing to go to a bar that night, and not just any bar, but the known bar in central Florida for LGBTQ community. My heart has been torn apart by this news. I was in denial that kind of hate existed in this world. I thought that we as a society had at least gotten past that much hate. I remember sitting reading all of these articles, thinking "This has to be a different Orlando. This cannot be the Orlando, Florida I know."

My personal religious beliefs do not coincide very well with the LGBTQ community. However, that does not mean that I cannot love and be kind to the individuals of this community for who they are. That does not mean I can't offer some type of feeling of remorse for how others are choosing to treat them. The great thing about the country we live in is that we can and we all do have differing opinions.

The person who ripped this much hate into the City Beautiful in just a few hours caused a type of fear I'm sure people didn't know existed in their bodies. This kind of paralyzing fear is one that I've never personally experienced. However, reading previous survivors stories from mass shooters, or bombings, can give me at least a glimpse into this. The person who did this was run by hate and fear. Two traits, that when combined, are lethal in a human.

So much has been talked about the last few days on how to prevent this in the future. I have no answers. No answers on either side of the political aisles, no answers on why this happened, just no answers.

However, I do have a thought on what we can do for each other. What we can do for each other is be kind.

Be kind without judgement.
Be kind because you don't know who isn't being kind to them.
Be kind because it's how your Mom raised you.
Be kind because it's what Jesus would do.
Be kind because you agree on something.
Be kind because you don't agree on something, and that's beautiful.
Be kind because you can relate to their situation.
Be kind because you can't relate to their situation and don't know what it's like.
Be kind  because we can all relate to being human.

Most importantly,
Be kind because we are all humans and deserve the right to be treated with kindness and respect no matter our race, no matter our gender, no matter how we identify, no matter which college team we choose to support during football season,  and no matter anything else, everyone deserves the basic right to be treated kind.

We have seen this word turned into a verb over the last several days as we've seen a wonderful community rally around each other. I mentioned above that I didn't possibly think that that was my Orlando. However the more I read about the "helpers" the more I see my Orlando. My Orlando is having too many people in line to donate blood that they had to turn them away. My Orlando is those who couldn't donate blood instead donated food or time for those who were donating already. My Orlando is people hugging complete strangers because of the grief they feel together. My Orlando is the nurses who greeted each other this morning with a round of applause after only being home for a few hours to sleep and then coming back in the morning. My Orlando is the doctors shoes covered in the blood and tears of the victims as he continues to save lives. My Orlando is the men and women in uniform who may know or be close to someone who was a victim of this horrific event still putting the uniform on to go to work today. My Orlando is the hundreds (maybe thousands) of people who gathered for vigil tonight. My Orlando is the wands raised at Harry Potter world for the victim who worked there. My Orlando is not *just* home to one of the worst gun crimes in history. My Orlando is home to the people who have volunteered time, blood, sweat, and tears into the last several days to try and help repair the damage that someone ripped into the City Beautiful in a matter of minutes.

I would like to imagine that by simply just being kind would help fix major problems, however I know it won't fix everything 100%, it certainly won't bring back the individuals lost due to this (and past) horrendous acts, but could you imagine living in a world where everyone was at least kind to each other, despite differing beliefs? That's a beautiful thought.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Mother's Day

Mother's Day is a hard day. Hard day for so many. I know it's supposed to be great, Mom's are wonderful beings. I am one. I know the joys, tears, heartache, and crazy roller coaster ride that come with 4 years of raising a child, I can only imagine what the following years hold as we add another kiddo into the mix, and continue to raise our kids.

I wish I could say that every woman gets to experience this joy, but they don't. I don't understand why so many don't. So many wonderful women that I know are going to be wonderful Mother's someday. So many that I know that are so deserving. So many empty arms (whether by the sting of infertility or young children passing away) that deserve to be full of the same joy, tears, heartache, and roller coaster ride I'm on. That makes it a hard day.

I wish I could say that every woman gets the joy of experiencing a Mom who loves them unconditionally. Who is mentally and physically present. I don't know what it's like to physically lose a Mom due to death, but I do know what it's like to "break up" with a Mom due to a mixture of reasons. (For further note on this meaning please see this article.) That makes it a hard day.

These reasons seem not fair. Not fair to those who don't have a "Hallmark card" defined of life. (You know, the kind where you know exactly what kind of card to get for who you actually consider to be your Mom?) I don't know all the reasons why, but I do know that we will know them someday. We will be able to grasp why we've gone through the trials, whether it's through being able to help someone else through theirs, or it's personal growth. Whatever it may be, there is a reason.

Then there's actually being a Mom and still having to be a Mom on Mother's Day. It's like being an adult on your birthday -- you still have responsibilities, still stuff you've gotta deal with, but.... you should be able to take the day off from the "not fun stuff of being a Mom" because it's your day right? Not fun stuff can be defined as: non stop chatting/answering questions to your 4 year old who has to know everything, changing diapers, making bottles, waking up early to get the kids ready and yourself, etc.

So the expectation makes it a hard day, but you should be able to set expectations and want things right? How do you celebrate a hard day with so many expectations? With so many different things going on, so many different women experiencing different stages of their Motherhood, or not being able to experience it?

For years after my Mom disowned me I refused to celebrate Mother's Day in anyway. I called it Not Mother's Day. Then after being married, slightly warmed up to the idea of it, then I had Emma. My reason to not celebrate changed. Emma made me a Mom and she's just as much my reason to celebrate as I am hers. Becoming a Mom and holding Emma changed me. My pregnancy wasn't normal. I didn't have as many people celebrate or be excited about me being pregnant when I announced I was pregnant to them, especially people who I thought were close to me and would be happy for me. Tyler and I also went through several rough trials during that pregnancy that taught us a lot of valuable life lessons. All of these things prepared me in a way I can't describe to know the second I held that 6 pound 1 ounce 21 inches long little girl, that this was exactly where I was and what I was supposed to be doing.

The woman who prepared me for this moment wasn't the woman who birthed me herself, but the woman who let me move in with her and her family when I was 18. She is biologically my cousin. I was scared. I didn't know how to be a teenager -- let alone look at the prospects of being an adult. I was recovering from my parents divorce, and just a total wreck. She took me in and taught me how to be an adult. Helped me get my first real job, taught me the importance of hard work and how to keep said job, walked me through the steps of buying my first car, walked me through getting into college, taught me the importance of finding a good man to marry, taught me the importance of taking care of myself so I make sure I'm around for my future kids mentally and physically. Truly raised me in just a short 18 months before I moved out and married Tyler. She was there to hold me as I cried when my Mom told me she wasn't going to be, and didn't want to be, at my wedding. She and her husband were the first people I called after I found out my Dad had passed away. She was the first person who was excited I was pregnant with Emma. She was there holding my other hand (Tyler of course was there on the other side :) ) for 8 hours of my labor with Emma. She still continues to teach me things that I think I know, but really I don't. Everything I am today, I owe at least half to her. My body and breath I have I owe to my biological Mother -- of which I am forever grateful, but my mental state, the marriage I have, the child(ren) I have, the fact that I know how to run a household, I owe to her. She is so much more than just my cousin.

I could go on about other women who have shaped me, like other cousins, the sisters I have, or even friends I know who are wonderful Mom's and set the example for me as a Mom. However, this would be a novel if I were to do that.

I hope that as we all celebrated Mother's Day today that you can find at least one positive woman to celebrate or honor. Despite everything else you have going on today, whether it's emotions, feelings, or lack thereof, I hope that you got to remember a woman, somewhere, has done something for you in your life. Because women have the power to affect the world, whether we know it or not.

Monday, August 31, 2015


Tempest: a violent windstorm, especially one with rain, hail, or snow. The last year I’ve felt like I’ve been living in a consistent tempest. This tempest has made me feel like at times I was drowning. Between our life consistently changing, Going from being the full time bread winner to being with Emma while we get the move sorted out, Tyler starting the Master's program, me figuring out what my next step is after quitting my job, being a Mom, and everything in between, it just seems like I’m hanging onto a life raft and wave after wave keeps hitting me. I tried everything to see why this was happening. Prayer, scripture study, church attendance, consistent temple attendance, serving others, everything. Then during one of the biggest waves, I came across this quote:

Right away I realized -- I have been praying for the wrong thing here! I have been praying for Heavenly Father to change my circumstances, instead of praying for Him to help me through them and to find joy in them. How much better my perspective on this last year had been if I had focused on that instead? Probably a lot better. The Lord will always have a plan for us, an even bigger one than we can possibly imagine. If we just put our faith in Him, He will help us through. Find joy in your journey. Try to look at the positive, even if it is something as simple as, "The sun is shining today!" Looking at the positive will help you realize that life really isn't that bad. Be grateful to your creator for everything you have, and you will make it through. Not only will you make it through, but you will thrive through it and learn what you need to.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Creative Block

I've been gone for a while, and I realize this. I've been putting off writing for a while. I have a ton of ideas to write about, so that hasn't been the issue. The issue is that I got hurt. I was called out for being honest by quite a few people, and that put a creative block in my way. I can say that I didn't expect that, but life goes on.

I can tell you that I am not perfect. Just in case you needed a reminder of how imperfect I am, well... we can talk about a lot of those imperfections later. What I write about is mostly for me, and lessons that I've learned. It's also a way of journaling to write my experiences to keep for my kiddos (because yes, I do c+p these posts into a journal I've been keeping for them). I write the blog for myself. I didn't expect people to actually read this, but I guess it's kind of a thing now, so I'm going to keep at it. Yes there may be times that I will post something that I may not practicing myself. Yeah, I know, kind of hypocritical, but I'm working on it. That's why I'm posting about it, because I've done research on it and I feel a certain way on it, and I'm wanting to put that change in my life. I will keep being honest. I'm not going to apologize for being me, because at this point in my self discovery journey, it would be a step back, which I've taken too many of those for an easy thing like this.

So get used to my honesty... it's here to stay. :) (sorry for the rant, I will get off of it now) 

So I'm back from outer space!  to write some more on life happenings with us, and also my "deep thoughts" (I'll try not to do those too often, unless those are your favorites, or if I have a really enlightening week. haha!)

Right now we are packing up our home of 3 years and moving. We are moving into student housing! It's going to be a change, but a good one. We are excited for Emma to be in a neighborhood with kids her age, and to also be in a neighborhood where we will have people in the same place as us. We've liked this little apartment, and at times I will miss it, especially when I have to lug the groceries all the way to our apartment door from the parking lot instead of just right inside from our car port haha! (Problems of having a great apartment, I know)

I wanted to write to let others know though, that if you're experiencing a creative block of some kind, to do some meditation. Think about why you're blocked, and do some journaling. You might find some things that will surprise you, including how amazing you are. 


Wednesday, March 25, 2015

What's new Wednesday


What's new with us? The last few weeks have been a doozy, so I'm looking forward to a fun weekend, and especially one that will involve family pictures! We always try to do family pictures around Easter, because it falls right around Emma and I's birthday. 
A Pinterest win that I had this week was a DELICIOUS meal. "One Pan Enchilada Pasta" from No. 2 Pencil. Seriously, easiest meal I've made in a while that tasted amazing! Tips that I have: follow the instructions as stated, otherwise it may be a little bit more runny than you will want. The upside to this meal, aside from the fact that it was easy, is that it made enough left overs for me to have for at least 3 more lunches. Can't beat that!

In other news: Tyler got into the Master's program at the U, WAHOO! This means that post grad won't last for long before he starts school again. Of course this meant buying new Utes shirts for us, and picture taking for graduation announcements. 

I sure married a good one didn't I?

This afternoon was spent catching up on household chores that I've been letting slide -- which meant that Emma got to watch movies (read: Incredibles). And of course, what post isn't complete without a picture of Emma? Goodness I love this girl, and she sure does love pictures being taken of her and her sass.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

3 things for March

March. Ides of March? March Madness? You could call March any of those things. I have 2 “deathaverseries” that take place in March. You could say that I would want to hole myself up, have a “dark day” like Luke in Gilmore Girls and not come out until after those days have come and gone. However, that’s not how these people would want me to act. So instead, I’m posting a blog, and I am spending extra time with Emma and Tyler this weekend, just as those who’ve passed on would have wanted me to.

My Dad always told fantastic stories. His stories were like those of Edward Bloom’s in Big Fish. You didn’t know what was truth and what was an exaggeration. I miss them sometimes. However, whenever he gave talks in church, one of his stories wound up in the 3 things that he always talked about. He only ever talked about 3 things in talks. Well in honor of him, this post is on 3 things.

  1. Good
  2. Harry, Ron, and Hermione
  3. Where do you want me to go?

#1: Good: My Dad lived by 2 mantra’s towards the end of his life: “Have I done any good in the world today?” and “I’ll go where you want me to go Lord.” He passed away 4 years ago yesterday. I always think that each year will get easier, and sometimes it does, and sometimes it’s not. My Dad had a love for doing things for other people and serving others. He had a love for doing nothing but seeing the joy that came from doing unexpectedly nice things. He was always kind to everyone he met. He never had a bad word to say to anyone that he just met.

Too many times we get caught up in being the first to anger, and the first to say something rude about someone. My Dad since his passing, has taught me that this isn’t the way to live your life. If you choose to do so, your life will most likely be miserable.

Why not choose to be kind?

Because it’s not easy for most people, that’s why. I will admit, it’s easy to say bad words to someone under your breath, or assume the worst when someone does something rude. I’ve been there, trust me. However, it’s not way to live a life. So as Kid President has said, “Be somebody who makes everybody feel like a somebody!”

#2: Harry, Ron, and Hermione: I am a Harry Potter Nerd, it’s kind of a thing. I was homeschooled all through middle school and when I started reading them, I prayed for friends like those that Harry had. I craved to have those kind of friends that would be there through everything to encourage and have fun with. I found those kind of friends within my first few weeks of moving to Apopka. One of those friends was Rhett Fisher. He mocked my Harry Potter obsession relentlessly. He came over weekly for voice lessons from my Mom, on top of the school choir and ward activities, we spent a bit of time together. When we moved from Apopka and to Tavares, he was one of the first that showed up to help us move and one of the last that left. We didn't see each other very much after that except at the stake activities. However, when my parents told us that they were getting a divorce my senior year, he was the one of the first friends to be there and offer a shoulder to cry on. His heart was genuine, and his testimony astounding. After high school, we didn't stay in touch very much. I actually didn't stay in touch with a lot of my friends that moved out to Provo and were just 30 minutes away. I could make excuses for it, however all I will say is that I just don’t have a good one that justifies being a crummy friend.  A year ago today Rhett passed away unexpectedly (You've heard me mention him before here.)

This shook me. His passing served as several wake up calls for me. One of them being: have I been a good friend to those who helped me through so much? Am I as good of a friend to those around me as Rhett was to me? I have been a crummy friend to many who meant, and still mean so much to me. Since his passing, I have made a conscious effort to reach out to them. I am also trying to work on not holding back expressions of love in friendships and family. **Keyword: WORK.

#3: Where do you want me to go?: The second of Dad’s mantra of “Going where the Lord wants us to” is being open to allowing the Lord to help you go where He needs you to. Right now, this second, I’m sure there’s someone who is needing a call, a text, a Facebook message, or even a hug from you. Are you in a place where you can do that, or would you rather turn on Netflix?

What about that big decision of moving cross country? Are you afraid of doing this because you’re worried you won’t know anyone? If it feels right, but you’re allowing emotions get into it, the Lord has something bigger planned for you. You will meet friends, and you will probably be a positive influence in a lot of lives. I guarantee it. Or, you could choose to stay safe and where you are and not grow and miss out on an adventure.

What about choosing to sit and chat a little longer with a friend because you have an inclination that they just need someone to listen? That right there is going where the Lord wants you to go. Also, yes, being open to serve a mission wherever He wants you to go is a good example of that too :).

If we put ourselves in a spot where we can be that person that can “make everyone feel like a somebody”, then I think we have done something right.

You could say that March is a rough month. However, when I have 2 examples of how to live my life of serving others, being a better friend, and being where the Lord wants me to go, why would that be rough? I have a lot to work on, and even more to be grateful for that the Lord put such men in my life.