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Thursday, October 24, 2013

Welcome to the Beginning

Hello my lovely Readers! This is a farewell note on this page. I am moving, and growing to a new blog that is better suited to my purpose and desires. I invite you to go to this new blog, and you'll find all these old posts, and many more new ones. I know, I know, you're thinking- but Shannon WHY the change? I'll tell you why- because it is time. 

I love you guys! Join me at my new blog: breakthroughthegrey.blogspot.com


Thursday, April 25, 2013

For young Mothers

We are all grateful for the women that we call Mother, but I am not sure that we spend enough time being Thankful to BE MOTHERS. 
I want to point out first of all that motherhood is our divine calling, and it is something extended to all women- THAT includes those who have not yet had the opportunity to bear or raise their OWN children.
Sheri Dew, who was a member of the General Relief Society Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, has never had the opportunity to marry and bear children, and she has expressed her thoughts on this subject much more beautifully than I ever could so I am going to read it to you.
While we tend to equate motherhood solely with maternity, in the Lord’s language, the word mother has layers of meaning. Of all the words they could have chosen to define her role and her essence, both God the Father and Adam called Eve “the mother of all living” and they did so before she ever bore a child. Like Eve, our motherhood began before we were born. Just as worthy men were foreordained to hold the priesthood in mortality, righteous women were endowed premortally with the privilege of motherhood. Motherhood is more than bearing children, though it is certainly that. It is the essence of who we are as women. It defines our very identity, our divine stature and nature, and the unique traits our Father gave us.
Elder John A. Widtsoe was explicit: “Women who through no fault of their own cannot exercise the gift of motherhood directly, may do so vicariously.”
Few of us will reach our potential without the nurturing of both the mother who bore us and the mothers who bear with us. (Sheri Dew)

As women we are full of opportunities to mother others, let me give you an example from my own life.
Linda Lawrence, is a wonderful woman, who has just one child- yet she was a mother to all of us, her sons friends- I knew when I was sad I could go to her and she would give me one of her the Great hugs  she is famous for, and I knew she loved me and cared about what happened to me- and that was enough to make it all better.
With or without children of our own- as women we are ALL MOTHERS- and we have a great responsibility. But when we are blessed with children in our home, the most important work that we can do is THERE with them-
We live in a difficult world where the family is falling apart-- Divorce is almost as common as marriage and people are more concerned with success than they are with their children. Children are growing up without the strong family influence so vital to their moral character- they are learning their values from TV and Friends instead of from their parents- and we, as mothers- hold the key to the whole problem!
Sister Virgina U. Jensen of the General Relief Society Board said this

It is my sincere belief that the most powerful protection against the deteriorating condition of the family is a faithful, righteous mother. In 1993 President Hinckley said: “I remind mothers everywhere of the sanctity of your calling. No other can adequately take your place. No responsibility is greater, no obligation more binding than that you rear in love and peace and integrity those whom you have brought into the world.”

What a great responsibility the Lord has given to us- I feel SO HONORED to be a part of that- We are the ones with the power to change everything- for our children.
This power given to us is almost magical- we have the ability to mold and shape little minds- and to watch them reflect the things that we have taught them.  Here is a moment I wrote about when my oldest was still small.
"My 4 year old, Ethan is quite a talker- as a matter of fact he rarely stops- (I can't imagine where that comes from) and so as he is getting older I am constantly seeing myself in him- Imitating me—sometimes its sweet, sometimes its funny, and sometimes I am shocked at what he has picked up- and embarrassed that it came from me!-But each time this happens, I am overwhelmed with the strongest feelings- because I am SO grateful that it is MEEEEE that he is copying, not some babysitter, or daycare worker- or the television.-- My husband and I are the strongest influences in his life and that is how it was intended to be."
In “The Family, A proclamation to the world", they are very specific about the roles of parents.
By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN????- Well also in the proclamation the first presidency states-
Husband and wife have a solemn responsibility to love and care for each other and for their children. "Children are an heritage of the Lord" (Psalms 127:3). Parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness, to provide for their physical and spiritual needs, to teach them to love and serve one another, to observe the commandments of God and to be law-abiding citizens wherever they live. Husbands and wives—mothers and fathers—will be held accountable before God for the discharge of these obligations.
Wow, what a big responsibility- I don't know about you, but thats almost overwhelming to me! It is our SACRED DUTY, and we will be held accountable for that obligation. I feel so inadequate for this challenge the Lord has given to me- I look at my two small children and feel scared, there is so much evil in the world- how can I teach them everything they need to know- how can I prepare them for it all. But the truth is that AS MOTHERS we are blessed to be partners with the Lord. We are instruments in his hands and he can guide us to do the things that are best for our children. But when I get too overwhelmed with it all, I can find comfort in the words of President Hinckley given in a General Relief Society Meeting a few years back. He was speaking specifically to us mothers, and he says
To you young women with small children, yours is a tremendous challenge. So often there is not enough money. You must scrimp and save. You must be wise and careful in your expenditures. You must be strong and bold and brave and march forward with gladness in your eye and love in your heart. How blessed you are, my dear young mothers. You have children who will be yours forever. I hope that you have been sealed in the house of the Lord and that your family will be an everlasting family in the kingdom of our Father.
May you be given strength to carry your heavy load, to meet every obligation, to walk side by side with a good and faithful and caring man, and together with him rear and nurture and bring up your children in righteousness and truth. Nothing else you will ever own, no worldly thing you will ever acquire will be worth so much as the love of your children. God bless you, my dear, dear young mothers.
Then we have you older women who are neither young nor old. You are in the most wonderful season of your lives. Your children are in their teens. Possibly one or two are married. Some are on missions, and you are sacrificing to keep them in the field. You are hoping and praying for their success and happiness. To you dear women I offer some special counsel.
Count your blessings; name them one by one. You don't need a great big mansion of a house with an all-consuming mortgage that goes on forever. You do need a comfortable and pleasant home where love abides. Someone has said that there is no more beautiful picture than that of a good woman cooking a meal for those she loves. Weigh carefully that which you do. You do not need some of the extravagances that working outside the home might bring. Weigh carefully the importance of your being in the home when your children come from school.
I am very blessed to be able to stay home with my children-
I have people all the time who say- Oh you are SO lucky, I wish I could stay home- but we just can't afford it. And sometimes I just want to say to them- “have you ever tried?”- I do recognize that there are many women who must work outside the home to survive, for various reasons beyond their control- and I admire these women greatly-but for the rest of us, I bear my testimony to you that if you trust in the Lord and take that leap of faith- it is possible.
When asked what her feelings were on women working outside the home- A former General Relief Society president- Sister Barbara B Smith has said...
Sister Barbara B Smith (general Relief Society President): The decision of a mother to go to work outside her home is an individual matter. Some widowed and divorced mothers may find they have to work to support themselves and their children. For some women working is a right decision at a certain time; for others it is not. It is not a simple choice. This is an area in which a woman must be most thoughtful and prayerful. She must carefully weigh the economic advantages against the possible adverse effects on the family of her absence from home. She must recognize her vital responsibilities as a wife and mother and ask herself how these will be affected if she leaves the home for outside employment. She must explore all of the options and choose the activities which will permit the greatest good for those for whom she has primary responsibility.
I'm not saying it's easy. I KNOW for a fact that it isn't easy financially to stay home- We live on a cop's salary- so believe me- I know... I spend hours budgeting and planning every single penny we have. And I will NEVER be fashionably dressed, and I shop for groceries with a calculator in my hand- make a tube of foundation last three years and cringe when my kids need new shoes-
BUT, I am there when my children bring me a book and say “read to me” 5 times a day, I am there to sing them to sleep every night, and to talk about their latest "crush". I am there to take them on walks to teach them about Nature, I am there to answer every single one of the million questions, and if I teach my children NOTHING else, I will have taught them that I loved them enough to give up all the rest.
A Good chunk of mommys job is not to give orders but to listen...
There was a fantastic story in the Ensign called “Mother Come Home” Where a woman had planned and prepared her entire life for her dream of being a successful corporate executive. She finished graduate school and was offered a job with a major international company that would assure her success and wealth, but would be very demanding on her family. After much prayer she was guided not to take the job and eventually became a full time “stay at home” mom. let me just read you a quote from that

After four years with this company, I felt that I was not supposed to work outside the home anymore. After another long night of counseling with my husband and with the Lord, I told the company owner I would be leaving. This decision took a leap of faith because we still had bills to pay, including student loans, and we had recently welcomed another daughter, Aerie, to our family. But I had learned that I am happiest when I follow the Lord’s plan for my life rather than my own personal plans.
Three years after this difficult decision to leave my job, our daughter Aerie asked me, “Mom, if someone said you could have ten thousand million diamonds or your Aerie, what would you choose?” I told her, “I would choose my Aerie.” She went on, “If someone said you could have ten million hundred dollars or your Aerie, what would you choose?” Again I told her, “I would choose my Aerie.” She jumped up and down, crying with glee, “I knew you would say that! I just knew you would say that!”
It hit me then that I had chosen my Aerie. Had I taken the position with the large international company, I probably would not have her in my life. And she is truly a joy, as are our four other children.
My mother was Valedictorian of her high school class, and when she recently went for her 30 year reunion, people were shocked to find out she -by their standards hadn't done anything great-, they expected so much of her- expected her to have all these accomplishments and all these degrees- but she doesn't feel like them at all- She could have been ANYTHING- but she CHOSE to be a Mother-She says-

“I made my job successful, because that is what I cared about- so I put my whole heart and soul into it. What is the difference between excelling there- and excelling outside the home- where down the road no-one really cares.
“I did a little of everything”- and that was MY CHOICE, and I don't regret it, not at all- I can't think of anything I would rather have done.”
Now whether you stay at home or must work- you are NO LESS A MOTHER- If anything it is more challenging for those women who are forced into the workplace- for whatever reason... I do have great respect and awe for these women and their efforts to compensate for the time spent away from home.
Being a mother is difficult no matter how you look at it- We all have different circumstances, and different obstacles-
I had a conversation with a friend the other day who had had a disagreement with her husband over whose job was more difficult. She didn't felt like he understood how hard it was to be a mother- and he didn't feel like she understood how hard his job was -and how much he needed to relax when he got home- instead of sharing in responsibilities. Whether we work or not, I imagine we have all had similar battles- feeling like no one understands how difficult what you 43do is. I have found myself spending what precious time I have with my husband complaining about the difficulties of my day- and giving him a play by play of everything that the kids did- and how frustrating it all was- etc etc. It finally hit me that I was trying to prove to him that what I did was hard and important- I needed him to know that I was working hard.-- And I found myself doing it with other people too- Like I needed everyone else's approval for my work as a mother. I call it “Validation” when we constantly need others - be it our husband, friends, family, or even the rest of the world- to approve or validate what we do. We can never truly be happy when our happiness or sense of self comes from others.
In this conversation with my friend, we both realized, that it isn't anyone else's approval that we needed.  We just needed to believe in OURSELVES and believe in what we are doing. As mothers, we have to find that strength within ourselves- and that can be harder than we ever imagined as na├»ve young women dreaming of what motherhood would be like. If you struggle with this, as we all do, I promise the Lord can help you. A favorite scripture we all know- 1 Nephi 3:7 reads, that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he hath commanded them.  The Lord has blessed us to be mothers- he knows our individual circumstances, and if we go to him for support and approval we will find it. He will help us through the challenges that come our way- whether you are a single mom with two kids- trying to make ends meet- or a stay at home mom struggling to find meaning in the day to day menial tasks that never end.
We also have to accept some pretty basic things about Motherhood, like the fact that the world is NEVER going to view our job as important or worthwhile. We are going to sit in work parties with our husbands and have the other women turn their noses up when they ask what we do, and we say “I chose to stay home with my children.” We are going to have people filling out forms ask us for our job, and when we say “stay at home Mom” they are going to say “Oh so you don't work”? Its going to happen, again and again and again. And I won't pretend that these things don't STILL bother me, but what bothers me now isn't that it makes me feel small anymore. NOW, it bothers me that these women don't know any better. That they don't have the same conviction that I do, that a mothers place is in the home.
I have always wanted to be a Mother-

I was going to be the perfect Mom--

kids always dressed nice and matching- and hair combed-
A nutritious meal always on the table at 5
I would always have this sense of fulfillment and accomplishment

Fast forward to a few years ago----

Its about 6:30 at night
the house is a disaster- although I spent all day cleaning it
there are piles of dirty dishes- even though the sink was empty this morning and there is a stack of laundry that needs to be folded and another one that I SWEAR I just put away that morning
the boys need a bath and are chasing each other around the kitchen with their fish sticks and frozen corn scattered all over the kitchen table
My husband is at work and won't be home till the middle of the night and I am at my wits end-- It wasn't supposed to be like this!
Ethan has been arguing with me, and even though he has dumped every toy he owns on the family room floor I can NOT get him to clean it up!- I can't remember what he had said specifically but it was enough to make me VERY angry with him.
SO I call my Mom and I am just complaining and venting about how frustrated I am, and how much these guys drive me crazy and how tired I am and so on and so on and so on. -- and she stops me in the middle of my tirade and says-
Put everything down and go gather your children in your arms and read them a story- and I was like “WHAT” But Mom, I am so mad, and so on and so on... but she persisted, so I did as she suggested. And do you know what? It got better. The kitchen was still a mess, and the laundry still needed to be folded and the playroom was still a disaster. But I WAS THE ONE WHO CHANGED. My attitude turned towards loving and teaching instead of yelling and screaming.
What did I learn from this small moment? That I am NEVER going to be perfect, and that my kids aren't going to be perfect- but my kids don't care- they love me no matter what, and its BEING THERE that counts.
Elder Jeffrey R Holland gave us some words of wisdom when he said.
Yours is the grand tradition of Eve, the mother of all the human family, the one who understood that she and Adam had to fall in order that “men [and women] might be” 9 and that there would be joy. Yours is the grand tradition of Sarah and Rebekah and Rachel, without whom there could not have been those magnificent patriarchal promises to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob which bless us all. Yours is the grand tradition of Lois and Eunice and the mothers of the 2,000 stripling warriors. Yours is the grand tradition of Mary, chosen and foreordained from before this world was, to conceive, carry, and bear the Son of God Himself. We thank all of you, including our own mothers, and tell you there is nothing more important in this world than participating so directly in the work and glory of God, in bringing to pass the mortality and earthly life of His daughters and sons, so that immortality and eternal life can come in those celestial realms on high.
“May I say to mothers collectively, in the name of the Lord, you are magnificent. You are doing terrifically well. The very fact that you have been given such a responsibility is everlasting evidence of the trust your Father in Heaven has in you. He knows that your giving birth to a child does not immediately propel you into the circle of the omniscient. If you and your husband will strive to love God and live the gospel yourselves; if you will plead for that guidance and comfort of the Holy Spirit promised to the faithful; if you will go to the temple to both make and claim the promises of the most sacred covenants a woman or man can make in this world; if you will show others, including your children, the same caring, compassionate, forgiving heart you want heaven to show you; if you try your best to be the best parent you can be, you will have done all that a human being can do and all that God expects you to do.”
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, “Because She Is a Mother,” Ensign, May 1997, 36.
I bear my testimony to you, that motherhood is the greatest gift we, as women have been given. We need to cherish it and appreciate what a gift it is. We need to believe in ourselves if we choose to stay home and KNOW that what we are CHOOSING our children over success in the world. What a wonderful gift to have that choice to make! And I challenge you to sit down with your children and love them, read to them, sing to them, and play with them. Sometimes its okay to let the house go and just enjoy the little moments. Because they really do grow up before you can blink. I encourage you to get down on your knees and seek your validation from the Lord and stop allowing the world to make you feel small.  We are mothers, and it is the greatest blessing in the world!

Friday, March 29, 2013

Ladies and Gentlemen

   "Well isn't today just beautiful?!" I couldn't help but asking myself as I walked to work this morning.  The sun is out (I think you'll notice a common trend that I happen to love it when the sun is out.), the trees are green, there's no snow, and it is just radiant outside today!  (Seriously. I forgot my sunglasses, and my eyes are secretly hating me for it.)  Today, my message for you is about not just love, but about life.  What exactly though?  (I know...ALL of my messages are about the same kind of thing ;) )  
Today I want to address the idea of being 
ladies and gentlemen.  

What does this even mean in our culture today?  Now think about that question for a minute.  Were you raised to be a lady or a gentleman?  I'm talking to you ladies out there, and asking...how do you think of yourself?  How do you think of the men in your life?  In our world today, there is evidence on top of evidence suggesting the loss of this concept.  Take a look at the article excerpt from Leonard Sax's "Ladies and Gentlemen, Skanks and Pimps."  (I'm sorry for those words...but it is the article title.)

     "The New York Times recently published a column by Lynn Messina, a regular contributor, in which she complained about her preschool teaching her 4-year-old son something about what it means to be a gentleman. Ms. Messina was upset that her preschool would dare to use the word “gentleman.” In Ms. Messina’s opinion, teaching girls and boys to be Ladies and Gentlemen is a “first lesson in sexism.” She admits that when she shares her concern with other parents, not all agree. “What’s the harm in teaching little boys to respect little girls?” they ask. I would ask the same question. If you fail to teach little boys to respect little girls, some years later you are likely to have teenage boys who do not respect teenage girls."

    Apparently, we shouldn't even be teaching children about ladies and gentlemen! Let me ask, what happened to this ideal that used to be such a part of our society?  I was so saddened as I read this full article, that I made up my mind to write a post about it.  

     I was raised in a very traditional, religious, southern family.  That being said, I love everyone I meet, and I was also raised to never hold prejudices against ANYONE, regardless of color, sexual orientation, background, or political party. I want to make it plain though, that while I will never discriminate against those of homosexual orientation, I do not agree with, nor will ever support homosexuality.  I have had many friends who are gay or lesbian, and I have never loved them any less. I would like for you to bear this in mind, as I discuss my views on this Ladies and Gentlemen issue, since I will only refer to love and marriage in a traditional sense.  If that offends you, I am very sorry that it does, and I hope you will continue to read other blog posts that don't.  It is not my intention to offend, but I want it clear where I stand.  

     Growing up, my mother relentlessly enforced the ideals of being a "little lady," and "would a princess act that way?"  I can remember kicking my childhood best friend Christopher Stewart in his "man parts", and my mother about lost her marbles.  In addition to that, I was always splashing in the creek, coming home mud-streaked, and saying whatever was on my mind.  After each of these episodes (nearly every day) my mom would sit down with me, and discuss the importance of acting like a lady, and emphasizing that I could still have fun, but I needed to do it in the right time and place, and respect other ladies and gentlemen. 

     My mother taught me to say kind things, help others in need, and dress in an appropriate manner.  She taught me how to have tact, and hold my head up high, no matter how someone's biting words hurt. She taught me how to keep my composure, and how to act like a LADY. I have carried these principles with me as I have grown, and work to show others that today, I am the LADY she wanted me to be. Do you act like a lady?  

It's not just about femininity, it's about 
professionalism, tact and composure

     Now, with all of that in mind...now let me ask you my REAL question- do you LOOK for a GENTLEMAN?  If you already have a sweetheart, do you TREAT him like a GENTLEMAN?  This is our job as women.  We act like ladies, they treat us like ladies.  We find a gentleman, and we treat him as such.  How should a gentleman be treated though?  I'm not talking about doing the "make-me-a-sandwich" kind of things. Here's a list of questions to ask yourself, because as a LADY, it is my responsibility to treat my gentleman as such, and it's yours too.

1. Do you treat him with the same respect you would your father?

2. Do you allow him to act as a gentlemen?
     *Letting him open the door for you
     *Letting him pay
     *Letting him pull out your chair
3. Do you LET him protect you from harm?
4. Do you let him compliment you?
5. Do you try to "out-do" him? Stop.
6. Do you let him take care of you when you're sick or hurt?
7. Do you take his arm, and allow him to take the lead? (Not just in dancing)
8. Do you let him surprise you?
9. Do you make him feel love in return?

     If we fail to do these things as women, 
men will fail to treat us this way.  
Every girl wants to be treated like a lady, but we have to let our men do so.  There is nothing wrong with being a strong, independent woman, but if a man never feels as though he can be the gentleman, and take care of you, then why will he continue to try? A major portion of being a lady is allowing gentlemen to act AS GENTLEMEN.  I've seen dozens of Facebook statues, and Pinterest quotes, and news articles asking the SAME QUESTION: "What happened to good old fashioned gentlemen?"  Well women...I fear we have driven them away and forgotten their importance to us.  

    I challenge you (I will always have a challenge for you), be a lady, and allow your man to be a gentle one.  Let him do these things for you, and then allow him to feel loved in return. Do things for him, surprise him, THANK HIM, and most of all, let him know how loved he is.  

    Ask yourself if you act like a lady, with tact, composure, compassion and professionalism?  You don't have to sacrifice independence and originality for these things. In no way am I suggesting that we put back on 50 layers of skirts, and give up the right to vote. But I am telling you, it's OKAY to be a LADY.  It's about being respectful and respected in return; respected by the men we want to be GENTLEMEN.

    I know I can be better at being a lady, and letting Eric always be the gentleman.  He gets on me for it all the time!!  We can all be better.  So how will it be for you?  I'm holding myself accountable here.  I want to make sure that I can answer all of my own questions appropriately. 

    Think about it. Read up more on it if you want, and finish that article I posted.  Decide what is of value to you, and what isn't.  Most of all...be a lady, and let him be a gentleman. 

Monday, March 18, 2013

Speaking of Priorities

     Good Afternoon lovely readers! It has been just about insanity the past couple of weeks as the final inning begins.  My last exams are less than a month away at this point, and like the other millions of college students, I'm starting to feel the pressure. When it gets to this point in the semester, I tend to turn into a blond Hermione Granger. 
"What am I studying for? Are you crazy? You realize we need to pass these exams to get into the second year? They're very important, I should have started studying a month ago, I don't know what's gotten into me ..."

     Suffice it to say that, yes...I become a bit busy during the final weeks of the semester.  In addition to that, I've been busying myself with a few new things.  (Songs will follow soon...trust me)  I've recently decided it's high time I found myself a boyfriend.  So after a long wait of about a year and half, I finally brainwashed my best friend into dating me.  Just kidding of course, I didn't have to brainwash him.  Things are going swimmingly, and I'm sure as the weeks dwindle down and that spring air fills my head, you'll be seeing more and more posts about what this relationship is teaching me, and the songs I've written about it.  BUTTT for just a teensy preview- his name is Eric, and he is (in short) absolutely wonderful.

Today what I really want to address is Priorities.  I work at the Career and Academic Success Center at BYU, and priorities are something we cover in almost every study skill lesson we teach.  What even are priorities???  According to dictionary.com:


the state or quality of being earlier in time, occurrence, etc.
the right to precede others in order, rank, privilege, etc.; precedence.
the right to take precedence in obtaining certain supplies, services, facilities, etc., especially during a shortage.
something given special attention.
To put it in layman's terms...priorities are the things that matter most to us.  We are often asked what they are, and have we sat down and written them out?  As a college students, it's just about vital for me to recognize them, and focus my time around them.  But what about for younger students, or older parents?  Are priorities important at that age too?? YES!

In psychology there is a principle we learn about called "Relational Importance."  What that means is, where you spend your time is where your heart lies.  Are you spending the bulk of your time on things that truly matter to you, your goals, your dreams, or are you allowing time to slip away and fade into yesterday?  I'm asking you to sit down and honestly evaluate yourself.  Where do you spend the most amount of your time?  Is it work?  Class?  Boyfriend?  Shopping?  Pinterest?  

When I was asked to do this very thing, I found that I spend the most amount of my time focusing on school and work.  I asked myself...is that really where my top priorities are? No.  I sat down and made a list of my priorities.  This is my list, (Yes I'm willing to share! It's basic, but you get the idea)

Spiritual Well-being
     I am a very spiritual person.  This is my top priority because it is my Heavenly Father who has given me all that I am, and guides my footsteps every day.  I am a member of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and I want to live my life in such a way that everyone knows that and never doubts it.  Regardless of my personal beliefs, I feel that the spiritual well-being of every person is important.
Family & Sweetheart
     This is one of my top priorities because my life would be empty without my family.  My family makes up a network of supporters, best friends, fans, and loving advice-givers.  I am ridiculously close to my siblings and my parents.  I believe in Eternal families, and therefore they take precedence over most other priorities of mine.  I believe in constantly nurturing those relationships I have with them.
     In addition to family, I place my sweetheart as a high priority as well.  Love is all about caring for the other person above yourself, and therefore I strive to make sure he is doing well and is taken care of.
Self-improvement & Goals
     As an individual and an intellectual, I believe in constant progression.  Yes, sometimes progression is slower than others, but there should always be growth.  I heard once that life is like a down escalator.  If you're not moving, it's moving down.  If you're working hard, and pushing yourself, you can continue to improve, even when faced with resistance.  I look for ways to educate myself about the world, and people, as well as help the lives of others.  I also work towards my talents and career goals, as I try to better myself.
People & Friends
     After my top three priorities, people and friends in general will always come next.  I LOVE people, and I LOVE helping people.  I listen, I advise, I help them burn old stuff, I'm a shoulder to cry on.  No matter what kind of homework is pressing on my time, I will always make room if a person comes to me. 
     Because I love people so much,  serving people is vitally important to my life.  It's not a self-fulfilling kind of thing, rather just that I genuinely love to serve, and feel useless if I'm not serving in some way.  I guess you could say I have a giant hero-complex.  People are my passion, and helping them is my obsession.
Finding Inspiration
     Life is difficult.  I find you can't do anything else if you have no motivation or inspiration.  So as an individual who is constantly trying to grow and help others... I look for inspiration everywhere.  I look for the random flower that makes my day brighter, and in turn it becomes a priority for me to show it to others, and find it myself.  Life is about winning the small day-to-day battles. 
     I am a student at BYU studying Therapeutic Recreation, and therefore school is important to me, but I believe that education is more than just schooling.  It's a combination of experiences, people, and how you react to them that creates a sound education for an individual.  
     I am very devoted to living a healthy life-style and re-defining for myself and other women what health and beauty is.  I work towards loving the blessing of a body I have been given every single day.  Good food, lots of exercise, and (trying really hard) getting enough sleep.  These are essential to a healthy and happy lifestyle, decreasing stress, and being prepared to enjoy everything else in life.
     Working is in my top ten priorities because if there is something to do, it is worth doing well.  I work almost every week day, and I thoroughly enjoy what I do. 
     Leisure is not something I really get to enjoy as much during the week, and since serving and people and educating myself are more important to me- when I have spare time, it's usually full of those.  (especially the people) However, it is really nice every now and then to read a book or watch an episode of my favorite shows. :) Relaxation is essential a happy life, and so it's definitely A priority, just no the top one.

So now that you know my priorities, I can attest that those are the areas 
 I devote my life to.  I wish I could say I devoted as much time to my number one priority as I do to school or work, but it is what is in my heart.  I challenge you to sit down and make a list of where you spend the bulk of your time, and then make a list of where you WANT to, and WHY, and then determine how those two can meet in the middle.  This will help lead to a happier and more productive lifestyle, at EVERY AGE!  

Have a wonderful day, and happy prioritizing!

Thursday, February 14, 2013


TODAY IS VALENTINES! Go out and serve someone, or sing them a song! Tell them you love them! Let people know that you care!!!

Here is a valentines song for everyone!!!

I hope it's a wonderful day!

Friday, February 8, 2013

I really love this cute little video and the message is great!  There really isn't much more I could say about the idea of waiting till marriage.   But something I noticed was when the kids were in groups of two it seemed to be a little easier.  And you could see them copying each other, and supporting each other.  I encourage you to surround yourself with GOOD friends, who will encourage you and uplift you.  Friends who will help you through anything and remind you "not to eat that chocolate chip" and WHY!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Never less than Stunning

     Good morning lovely readers! So I've a couple thoughts to share with you on this beautiful day.  It really is fabulous. Look. 

It's sunny, it's relatively warm (for Utah winter) and I couldn't feel more refreshed.  Lately, there have been some difficult trials in my life, and that's no real excuse, but it is my reason for not blogging more.  But I'm committing to those who read this...I promise to write more.  Instead of just writing down my ideas for posts, I'll make sure I just write the post instead ;).  

      What I want to share with you today though, isn't simply a list of the reasons I'm sorry for not being a better blog queen, it's how I feel today.  As I was getting ready, I was listening to a wonderful song by Phillip Phillips.  It's called Home, and it never fails to put me a glorious mood. I tried on about 32 outfits, only managing to find a good one for my interview tomorrow. Nothing for today! So I kept trying on outfits and listening to this song over and over.  When I finally had arranging the perfect outfit, I took a look in the mirror and thought, "Okay...this is decent. WHAT?! I forgot to put on any makeup!!!" Who forgets their makeup!?! So I quickly applied all the basics and put a red flower in my hair. 

     But then something caught me...what on earth was I thinking?  Yes...my outfit is cute, and the red flower is just perfect, my hair is in the right place...but is that REALLY what makes me beautiful?  Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to call myself beautiful- but when I looked in the mirror, that's exactly how I felt.  WHY?

     That's when it hit me what was different about the picture.  I FEEL beautiful.  I feel beautiful not because of the clothes and the makeup and the flower...I feel beautiful because I am happy, and today is beautiful, and WHY ON EARTH would I feel anything less?   

     My message for you today ladies is about inner beauty.   We always talk about it, and we talk about boosting it, and appreciating it, but yet it always seems just beyond our fingertips.  I've heard the old phrase "beauty comes from within," I don't know how many times.  I've heard it so many times thought because it is ABSOLUTELY TRUE.  I recently went to an old friend's wedding reception and she looked radiant.  My roommate/ best friend leaned over and said, "She looks so beautiful.  She knows she's beautiful, and everyone else can see it. It must be how happy she is." HOW TRUE IS THAT- for ALL of us? 

      Inner beauty is that feeling of being happy, and knowing who you are.  It's recognizing the flaws and the perfections in ourselves, and loving them both.  I'm not talking appearance.  I'm speaking about the quirks to our personalities that make us individual, unique, and yes BEAUTIFUL.  When a woman, or a girl is happy with WHO she is, she honestly can't help but be stunning, and everyone around her knows it, and sees it.  

     Woman are always looking for validation.  "Does my hair look okay? Can you tell I have a huge zit?  Do these jeans make me look lumpy?"  WHY do we ask these questions?  I CHALLENGE you- Don't ask.  

KNOW how you FEEL, and OWN IT! Stop looking for validation in other places, in other people, on Pinterest for goodness sake.  Look for validation in yourself.  Be happy with the woman you see.  She may not be perfect, and she may have some truly rough things to deal with, she might not be great at crafts or math, and she may not be a size 0, but she is INCREDIBLE, and she is special.  

      The only person who needs to know that is herself, and then the rest of the world will be blinded by that happiness and light coming from her; blinded by her beauty that radiates around her.  

     I wrote on my mirror, "Never less than Absolutely Stunning," to remind myself that my beauty comes from within and when I'm happy, I will always be beautiful to others around me yes, but more importantly to myself.

 Happiness is beauty, and when I feel happy with myself, I feel beautiful.  

    So I'm asking you to go look at yourself.  Go smile in the mirror and KNOW that you are happy, amazing, and NEVER LESS THAN STUNNING.  Remind yourself of this every day.  Work on the things that you want to change, and deal with the trials that come day by day, but above all remember WHO YOU ARE, and how beautiful that woman is every single day.  

Happiness is your choice, and so is beauty.  So remember, in my eyes, and in the rest of the world's, and in yours 
You are never less than stunning.