Sunday, March 30, 2014

DAY 948... LET IT GO

I have been watching Frozen twice a day for the past two weeks. This of course isn't my choosing, I just have a 21 month old who happens to be a tad extremely obsessed. To my surprise, I have found that I'm not even sick of it. At all. In fact I really love it. It's battling Beauty and the Beast and The Great Mouse Detective constantly for the title of my favorite Disney movie ever. I think that one reason I love this movie so much is because of the music. Fantastic music! I know I'm not the only one who thinks so, I mean the song "Let It Go" won an Oscar. Good stuff!

I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. AKA Mormon. I understand and I believe the teachings of my religion. After all, religion is a choice and if I didn't believe it or love it I have the choice to not attend church, not read my scriptures, not participate in church activities. Religion is a choice. However, when you choose to belong to and be a member of a church, you do not get a choice as to what you believe. You either believe the teachings completely or you don't really believe at all. This is why I'm having a really really really hard time with the LDS mother who wrote about how the song "Let It Go" from Frozen was only put in the movie to promote a homosexual lifestyle. Really? Because of this she is choosing, which is her right, to keep this movie from her children. This is her opinion, and I understand and respect that, but lucky for her I also have an opinion about this very same topic. My advice and my comments to her... LET IT GO!!!!

In my church we believe that marriage is between a man and a woman. However, we also believe in loving one another regardless of lifestyle choices. Whether a person is gay or straight, whether religious or not, whether they are divorced or married, Republican or Democrat, whether they have a rough past or not, our Heavenly Father asks that we love our neighbor. Now, I highly doubt that "Let It Go" was written with a gay agenda. Capital B and Capital S. I believe that every person has had a time if their life when they are faced with difficult changes and during that time they are required to let things go and to move on and to experiment and discover who they really are and what the right life path for them is. That is life. And that song perfectly demonstrates that. In fact as silly as it it, that song has helped me move on from some of my past. It has helped me realize that I can let it go, stop trying to appear to be perfect and that I can still be great and wonderful despite my past. I think that it is people like that, who refuse to demonstrate the teachings of the church, who give Mormon's a bad rap. So many of my closest friends do not share my faith and they are some of the best people! In fact they are less judgmental and more kind and loving and accepting than almost everyone in Rexburg (where I live) who are LDS. I have never lived in such a judgmental community and it shames me. It makes me really sad, because we are taught to love everyone, but it seems as though as soon as a person makes perhaps a mistake, or they choose to live a different lifestyle many LDS people forget to love them still and instead turn to judgement. Maybe it's my fear of being judged myself that keeps me from judging others, but I love everyone! Well... mostly. Unless you've screwed me over big time or have demonstrated something incredibly evil or if you hate Les Miserables or Taco Bell, I can respect you. I can understand you. I can love you. Speaking of Les Miserables, I also ran across this clip this morning and it combines one of my true loves in life and also one of my husband's, Wolverine. Isn't Hugh Jackman the best?

I read this article this morning and it broke my heart. There are lots of Latter-Day Saints who are gay and choose to still live worthily, and then are treated like a disease. Seriously? Why? Why would we treat a young 13 year old boy like he is garbage? There is no reason and no justification for that. The treatment that this child and his family received does not demonstrate love and it does not set an example of my religion. Maybe I have the understanding that I have because I grew up in what we call "the mission field". I didn't grow up in the "Mormon bubble" of Utah and Idaho, thank goodness! I grew up where being a member of the church made me a minority, and I was able to experience life. I was able to learn about others and to love others regardless of religion, sexual orientation or race. My mom taught me to love everyone. My mom also sets such a fantastic example of love. She hugs everyone she sees. She doesn't care if you haven't bathed in weeks or if you have lice, she will hug you and love you and make you feel special. What an amazing gift. What an amazing blessing that I have in my own life to have been raised by such a wonderful woman!

I recently saw of Facebook a mother asking for people to support her in asking the local grocery store to move the location of their wine selection because it is currently placed directly across from the juice and she was tired of explaining to her children what alcohol is. God bless those poor children. We cannot live in a world where we hide everything from our children. We cannot not teach them and expect them to go out into the world and to make good decisions. They will not completely understand. If we shelter our children like that we are losing out on so many teaching opportunities. We are not teaching our children the difference between right and wrong, we are not teaching our children to love one another. Basically, we aren't teaching them the gospel. We are picking and choosing what we teach them, and that's not true religion. I understand that this is all my opinion and it's how I feel and you may think I'm wrong, but I am choosing not to hide the truth or the world from my child. I am going to teach her everything about the world, but I am going to teach her to be not of the world. I can introduce her to challenges and life without promoting evil.

I am not going to keep Aniston from watching Disney movies because I'm afraid she is going to "dress in drag and do the hula" or that she is going to decide that she can cut her hair off and pretend to be a man. I don't think Disney movies have ever had bad intentions. Disney is amazing! When I think about my time in Disneyland, you see some rough people there. But you never hear swearing, I have never felt judged, people just love because they can feel the love and wholesomeness of Disney. Really give me anything and I will make it evil. I can make anything sound bad like that mom chose to do with Frozen, but I choose to see the positives to see the love and to set an example that I think will benefit my child and others around me in the future. I will teach my child to be in the world and not of the world. And I will be there for her when she has questions and I will answer them honestly. I won't be making up some crazy stories about a stork. I will catch her when she falls and I will help her to be strong. I will teach her to LOVE.

Just LET IT GO!!!! Live your religion, live your beliefs, but remember to love everyone and to treat everyone with the respect they deserve!!! LET IT GO!

Friday, March 28, 2014

DAY 946... Ignorance is Bliss

I think that becoming a Mom has helped me to truly see and understand that Ignorance truly is Bliss! The more I see it in Aniston the more I see it in myself. That's one of the BEST things about being a Mom... Learning more and more about yourself every single day. It's amazing!

But let's dig a little deeper into this whole idea that ignorance really is bliss. I have had so many different experiences in my life when not knowing what I was getting myself into was probably better than being experienced. In high school when I decided as a Freshman to try out for cheerleading I had absolutely no idea what to expect. I learned my routines and worked my butt off because I knew I needed to be my absolute best. I was rewarded by making the team, but the next 2 years when I endured tryouts all over again I didn't try as hard. I didn't do my absolute best. I still made the team every year, but my ignorance helped me to compete and try to the very best of my ability.

Reading a book for the very first time, Harry Potter anybody, or basically any Dan Brown book is thrilling the first time around! But once you have read it once, you can never go back and have that experience again. You know what happens and your feelings have changed. You can never go back and reread a book and have it as amazing and thrilling as that first time. Or in the case of The Hunger Games books... completely devastated! The same can be said for watching movies. I literally sat in the theater for about 15 minutes after Inception ended, just blown away by what I had just seen. I was in shock! The movie was still good the next time I saw it but it was nothing like that mind blowing first experience. The same thing happened with The Prestige, Les Miserables (now I just cringe at Russell Crowe every time) and The Dark Knight Rises. When the last two movies ended I may have been crying so hard by the ending that I just needed a minute in that dark theater to get control of my emotions....

Having a baby. I only had heard different things about childbirth, but I had also heard that every single delivery and birth is different. I had no idea what to expect, but like the cheerleading, I just did my best and out came my beautiful little baby! But I will tell you what, ignorance was truly bliss because I do NOT really want to have that experience again. But I do want more kids... tricky situation. The same thing with pregnancy. I thought, in my ignorance, that pregnancy was all flowers and butterflies and really cute clothes... thank you Aniston for that slap in the face. Then there's even parenthood on top of this. I went into parenthood ignorant, and I think I've done okay, bit now that I've done it will I be capable of doing it again someday just as well because it will be different. I am different. I am no longer ignorant.

What about when you try some kind of food for the very first time and it blows your mind? And then the next time you try it, it's just not as good? Maybe it was never really good in the first place but because it was different it just tasted amazing. Let's be honest, that's the worst!

When you are ignorant you are allowed to dream and hope and envision amazing things. Blissful things. But those visions are shattered once you have experienced it. Okay so maybe not shattered but the experience is just not the same. I am a HUGE fan of trying things for the first time. I love being able to live through Aniston in that aspect.

I can definitely say that the only time that ignorance is not bliss is in the case of Disneyland. Disneyland is always amazing and always magical, even if you have experienced it before. But once you know the ins and outs and all of the park, your experience only gets better and better! But your first visit is still AMAZING! Remember Aniston's First Visit to Disneyland?

Now of course to be ignorant after experience is ridiculous. There is a limit to things and I am not so tolerant of people who refuse to use experience to enhance their life. You should never choose to be ignorant, but when you just are ignorant due to life and what you have or have not experienced that's when it's acceptable. Do not choose to be ignorant!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

DAY 941... Guest Interview

So guess what I'm doing tomorrow at 4pm MST??? Being interviewed for White Dress Shirts on Bikes. If you're interested in checking it out... and hopefully you are, here are some links to help you do so.

Googel+ Event:
Dennis Blog Post:
Missionary Depot Blog Post:
YouTube Event:
Facebook Event:

Also here is where the video on YouTube will be!

It will be about missionary work which is exciting and something that can be accomplished at so many different levels!

I'm super excited about this opportunity and hopefully you will take some time to watch and listen!

Daily awesomeness of Aniston and Mom. We like our sunglasses BIG!

Friday, March 21, 2014

Dear Aniston... Part 13

Dear Aniston,

You are only 20 months old. You love (understatement) Frozen (I don't think a day has gone by this week were we haven't watched it at least once), you love Mickey Mouse and Blue's Clue's. Bubbles are your favorite, and you absolutely love to read anything and everything. You are incredibly sassy but insanely sweet. But most importantly you are my baby. As I watch you lately you seem so much older than you are. You are reciting your ABC's and counting to 9 (weird?) daily. You know every color, including magenta, and you sing songs perfectly after only hearing them once. Why are you so eager to grow up? Treasure these younger years, the years where you are completely cared for and taken care of. You don't have to make meals, go to work, go to school or pay bills. You get to play all day and use your imagination in incredible ways. Ways that seem to disappear and fade as you grow. Don't be in such a hurry to be a big person. I know it seems amazing and so exciting. It seems like everything you could ever dream of, and while it's not the worse thing ever, being young and free and innocent is just one of the most amazing experiences that you can have.

I feel torn, because I absolutely love teaching you new things. You are such a quick learner and I love your brilliant little mind, but the more I teach you the more you grow up. So basically I'm giving you the tools to grow up but at the same time I'm asking you to just slow it down a bit. You are my baby and I love you, but I also want to protect you from all of the grownup nonsense that is out there. Let me hold and cuddle you. Let me rock you to sleep. Let me calm you down after a bad dream and let me just be your mommy. Please just be young and let me take care of you for a while.

Love- Your Mom

Thursday, March 13, 2014

DAY 931... I Wanna See You Be Brave

As a mother one of my biggest desires in life is to see my children be brave. I want them to achieve their goals and their dreams and to have the wishes of their hearts met. I want to raise them in a manner that will encourage them and support them and empower them to be brave. I want to raise my children to know that I want that for them and for them to know that I will do everything in my power to help them be brave. I am an extremely emotional person and even the thought of being able to witness my children being brave and reaching their goals makes me tear up. I was watching Project Runway (back episodes) at the gym this morning and I watched one of the final episodes, and there I was 6:30am bawling my eyes out while running my butt off just from observing the happiness the parents of the winning designer. How proud they must have been of their child. How silly I must have looked to everyone else brave enough to be at the gym that early.

Today, Aniston went to the dentist for the first time. I have been working really hard with her for the past 2 weeks in order to make her excited and just to make sure that she understood what the dentist is and how he is a nice man. I want the dentist to be a positive experience for her. I could sense she was experiencing some anxiety, after all she is my child, but when it came down to it she was so incredibly brave! She smiled, she let the dentist check her teeth... well according the the dentist her "perfect" teeth, and she even said thank you. I'm sure it was terrifying for her to be in a new place with new people and to have a stranger sticking their fingers in her mouth, but she handled it in a manner that  I hope she can handle so many different situations in the future. I know there are going to be times where she wants to coward away from a situation, but I want her to be brave. I want her to know that by standing up to her fears, that that makes her powerful. That makes her amazing. That makes her, for that brief moment, invincible. That makes her brave. Aniston loves Big Block Sing Song on the Disney channel and the very first episode we watched was called "Brave". It also happens to be one of her favorites.

I don't think we give ourselves enough credit for how much bravery we have. It can be something as simple as eating salad. It can simply be getting out of bed in the morning. I've been there, I know that. But I also know that the rewards of bravery can be beyond anything we have ever imagined. I also know, because I have moments of extreme cowardly behavior, that the results of not using the bravery that we are capable of can be devastating.

I am faced, everyday, with the option to be brave or to be a coward. We all are. I need to embrace bravery and start looking for a new job because I'm graduating soon and I want to find a job using my degree. The idea of expanding our family scares the living daylights out of me, but I need to be brave in our decision to do so. I need to learn and develop bravery in so many aspects of my life. Everything from being brave enough to do a workout that I know is going to hurt to being brave enough to say no when it needs to be said. Life demands bravery. Sure, we could live life cowardly and afraid and never fulfilled our dreams, but what kind of life is that? A sad and pathetic and wasted life. That's definitely not the kind of life I want to live. How lucky am I to have such a beautiful little person in my life who can demonstrate the type of bravery that I can only hope to develop. I am blessed beyond belief!

I think that this song by Sara Bareilles says it best. This song embraces my complete desire and my dreams for my Aniston and her future siblings. And yes.. I cry every time I listen to it.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

DAY 926... Everyday Blessings

I am guilty of losing sight of the blessings that I receive daily in my life. I forget how lucky I am to be woken up by a crying child in the middle of the night because there are so many women out there who long to have children but don't. I forget how lucky I am to have so many options of what I want to eat for dinner because there are so many people who don't have anything at all to eat. I forget how lucky I am to have a hard time deciding what movie I want to watch because so many people don't even have a TV. I forget how lucky I am when my house feels too hot because there are so many people out there who cannot afford heat. I forget how lucky I am to be able to soak in a hot bath because there are so many people who only bathe in cold water. I forget how lucky I am to get ready for the day and go to work because there are so many people who don't have a job. I forget how lucky I am to have homework to do and papers to write because there are millions of people who cannot afford to attend school and gain a higher education. I forget how lucky I am to have to stop and go out of the way to get gas because there are many people who can't afford a car. I forget how lucky I am that I have a messy house to clean up because it means that Aniston has toys to play with. I forget how lucky I am that I have laundry to fold because it means I have clothes, and lots of clothes to wear, when there are people without clothing.

Basically I am guilty of taking advantage of so many things in my life. I feel that sometimes that even applies to Aniston, my daughter. Today, Aniston and I released 2 beautiful balloons in honor of a beautiful little girl who would have been 2 today. Unfortunately she passed away in August at 17 months old after losing her battle with cancer. I cannot even imagine that as a parent. I cannot imagine losing a child and then having to continue life with other children and jobs and the real world. My friend who is the one who lost her daughter has been amazing and has set such a fantastic example for me. She is constantly commenting on my pictures of Aniston and is continually uplifting others around her instead of focusing on her own grief. She is so strong. I know that Aniston is still young (20 months) but I feel as though she really felt and understood what we were doing today in honor of that sweet precious child. I think that she could sense my sorrow and my heartbreak. Children just tend to sense these things. It just melts my heart.

I am thankful for the blessing in my life that is my religion. Because of my beliefs, I believe that when a family member dies that we can be together forever as a family and that means in the life after we die. Because of my beliefs, as hard as a physical death may be, I can find some hope and some ray of sunshine in the fact that I will see them again. I haven't been faced with this trial at this point in my life but I hope that if I ever am challenged this way that I can remember and hold strong to my beliefs.

I am challenging myself this week to be a little more thankful and grateful for everything that I have in my life, even those things that I may deem as hard or annoying. I am blessed every single day and the sooner I realize that, the better off I will truly be.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

DAY 923... LENT

Before I get started I just want to say that I know I'm not Catholic. Whenever I tell someone that I am participating in Lent they never fail to ask, "You know you aren't Catholic right?" The answer is, yes, I know. I have celebrated lent for 7 years now. This year will be my eighth year. So why do I celebrate Lent? Although I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (aka Mormon) I understand and appreciate the beliefs and celebrations that other religions have and I love to learn about different religions. I mean let's be honest... There is no limit on education and how much you can learn. In my religion we believe that your knowledge and your education, whether it be from a formal education or attending the school of hard knocks that is life, that is what you can take with you after you die. So we believe in education and I personally believe in having as much of it as possible. I understand religious freedoms and that we can all choose to worship absolutely however we please. Instead of using that to push my religion onto others, I choose to use it as a learning experience. I find that people are much more accepting and have the potential to become better friends if they feel as though you are curious and understanding and accepting of the way they choose to live their lives as opposed to being judgmental. This short article from explains how as LDS people we can appreciate and participate in another religions holidays.

*Side note - Speaking of education... I just found out yesterday that I will be graduating with my Master Degree in Sports Management with a specialized certificate in Athletic Administration in August as opposed to October. Hard work pays off my friends! Also if you know of any job openings in this field... send them my way!

In my studies of religion, I discovered Lent. And from the minute I heard about it I loved it! From the minute I heard about it I have participated in it. I absolutely love the idea behind it. For those of you who aren't familiar with Lent let me give you a little quick background. Lent begins every year on Ash Wednesday and ends the Thursday before Easter, April 17th this year. During that period of time participants choose to give up something in their lives. People give up anything from smoking to social media to some other crazy stuff. These are things that will surely tempt them during this time, but it represents the 40 days and 40 nights of fasting that Christ experienced. Isn't that great? What a wonderful teaching opportunity for your children. Aniston is still too young to join in, but maybe next year. Lent gives people the opportunity to encourage one another regardless of their past or what it is that they are giving up. And I just think that is so great! We should reach out to one another and encourage each other more to become better, yet we seem to fall short and get stuck on judging one another instead. Judging one another is not our responsibility at all.

Every year I have given up Taco Bell and Soda. I know I don't need these things in my life, but they do help to make life taste sooooooooooooo much better. And I will be honest with you, I usually indulged in both the day Lent ends. I think that might completely ruin the whole aspect of it, but no matter what, I stick to my 40 days! And although it seems like a petty comparison, I feel as though Lent does help bring me closer to Christ and gives me a better understanding of how he felt throughout those 40 days and 40 nights. Lent helps me appreciate my Savior a little more than I have in the past.

I appreciate this time to give up things that I can certainly live without and to embrace life without them. I appreciate the idea behind Lent. I plan on using this time to make and create and discover new recipes with my family that we can enjoy sitting around the table as opposed to eating in a car or a restaurant or on the couch. I want to use this time to become closer to my family and to adopt a healthier lifestyle. I want to take this time to get my priorities straight.

So here I go.... 

Sunday, March 2, 2014

DAY 920... Emotionally Exhausted

Last time I posted about dealing with depression and anxiety it got out of control. To the point where I quit doing something that I was so in love with because people are mean and judgmental and do not understand that it's okay to struggle and it's okay to talk about it and it's okay to not be perfect. To those people... shame on you. I don't even know how to nicely say how I feel about people like that. My parents read this blog... I don't want to damper their opinion of me. I was validated in my feelings by this talk given by Elder Holland literally a week after everything changed. Perfection. Read it, love it!

When I was 14 I was diagnosed with severe depression. So for half of my life I have dealt with medications, which I currently do not take, so many different therapists, and just the every day battle or staying positive and happy and to remember my blessings as opposed to my trials. It's hard. Some days are better than others of course. Since I have been blessed with Aniston, I think I have been able to see more positives definitely. She is such a bright light in my life. She is my miracle and my biggest blessing. That's not to say that she is not emotionally draining at times, because she definitely is, but she's the only person in my life who I feel takes the time to get me. She will just me and kiss me and tell me "I love you" at the times that I need it most, but when I don't tell her I need it. With that being said, there aren't many people who understand the true impacts of depression and anxiety. I think that everyone experiences these emotions at times in their lives, but there are some of us who have been blessed with this trial in an more extreme manner to help us develop and become the people who we should become. Everyone has trials and in life we get to figure out how to deal with them and make life work even with their presence. I'm not sure that in the past 14 years I have successfully discovered a way to deal with it, I think that I still ignore it most days, which is not good. I have explored many different ways of dealing with my emotional struggles, but nothing seems to be permanently working.

I feel guilty because I think that part of the problem is that the people who are closest to me don't understand it, so they don't know how to deal with it, and they follow my example of ignoring it and that in turn hurts me. I guess I feel alone in my struggles, even though I know I'm not. But those closest to me feel as though they can just change me and my emotions. But that's not how it works. I cannot just change like that. I would love to, but if a crazy change like that actually occurred, you can bet that I would be just ignoring it. So it makes me wonder if these people don't care enough to put the energy into helping to understand me, or if they just don't care. But I may be to blame for how they react to my emotions. Sometimes I assume that they know what I need and what I want because I told them once upon a time... but I know that people don't always remember things. I just assume that they would remember something if it was important which obviously it isn't. I also despise asking for help. I hate delegating because I feel as though things will not get done correctly if I don't do them myself, so I'm willing to take on more if it means it gets done correctly. Maybe this is also an indication that I haven't put in much effort to make really true friends. I know that living in Rexburg is temporary so part of me thinks what's the point. Plus I'm not sure that between work and school and being a mom and a wife that I will have the necessary time to dedicate to friendship.

I'm just at the end of my rope. I don't know how to do everything I am suppose to do and please everyone. I am exhausted in every way a person can be exhausted. Mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually. It's a huge bummer. I definitely don't feel like myself. I'm not acting like myself. I just feel a little lost.

Now don't get me wrong here... I'm not trying to through myself a pity party or to draw negative attention to myself. I just want people to know that it's okay to be yourself and not hide how you are feeling. We are told over and over to be ourselves and that it's okay to be honest but then when we are honest we lose friends, relationships end, we end up being forced to give things up and it's just not worth it to be honest anymore. It's okay to be honest. And hopefully someday we will be able to be accepted for our trials and our flaws like we are constantly told we will be. Until then I will continue to look to my daughter for love and sunshine.