Become The Woman You Dream To Be

Sunday, May 29


How Can I Become the Woman of Whom I Dream?
April 2001 General Young Women Meeting

"For you, my dear friends, the sky is the limit.  You can be excellent in every way.  You can be first class.  There is no need for you to be a scrub.  Respect yourself.  Do not feel sorry for yourself.  Do not dwell on unkind things others say about you.  Particularly, pay no attention to what some boy might say to demean you.  He is no better than you.  In fact, he has already belittled himself by his actions.  Polish and refine whatever talents the Lord has given you.  Go forward in life with a twinkle in your eye and a smile on your face, but with great and strong purpose in your heart.  Love life and look for its opportunities, and forever and always be loyal to the church.

Never forget that you came to earth as a child of the divine Father, with something of divinity in your very makeup.  The Lord did not send you here to fail.  He did not give you life to waste it.  He bestowed upon you the gift of mortality that you might gain experience-positive, wonderful, purposeful experience-that will lead to life eternal.  He has given you this glorious church, His church, to guide you and direct you, to give you opportunity for growth and experience, to teach you and learn you and encourage you, to bless you with eternal marriage, to seal upon you a covenant between you and Him that will make of you His chosen daughter, one upon whom He may look with love and with a desire to help.  May God bless you richly and abundantly, my dear young friends, His wonderful daughters.

Of course there will be some problems along the way.  There will be difficulties to overcome.
But they will not last forever.  He will not forsake you.

When upon life's billows you are the tempest-tossed,
When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,
Count your many blessings; name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord has done...

So amid the conflict, whether great or small,
Do not be discouraged; God is over all.
Count your many blessings; angels will attend,
Help and comfort give you to your journey's end.

Look to the positive. Know that He is watching over you, that He hears your prayers and will answer them, that He loves you and will make that love manifest.  Let the Holy Spirit guide you in all that you do as you look to become the kind of woman of whom you dream.  You can do it.  You will have friends and loved ones to help.  And God will bless you as you pursue your course.  This, girls, is my humble promise and prayer in your behalf, in the name of the Lord Jesus christ, amen."

- Gordon B. Hinckley

I think more times than not, we as women are too hard on ourselves.  We constantly feel like we are coming up short and fall in the trap of comparing ourselves to others.  It's too easy sometimes to get wrapped up in the worries of the world, social media only adding fuel to this fire.  Our thoughts and focus unintentionally turning to materialistic things.  "Everything of hers is always so cute, I could never compare to her." "She literally always seems to have everything together, how does she do it?" "I wish I was as (beautiful, fit, funny, talented, successful etc. etc. etc.) as her."  These statements are completely unnecessary and very dangerous.  I think it's in our nature as women to feel self conscious and always look for our faults and short comings but I wish this wasn't the case.  I wish all of us as a society would help build each other up.  Help us all to feel comfortable with who we are.  We all have faults which gives us no room judge or be critical of others.  No, we don't have to love and be best friends with everyone we meet, that's not realistic, but we do need to be kind and respectful to everyone around us.  I think we all deserve at least that much.  We are all trying our best and you NEVER know what someone may be dealing with behind the scenes.  I have learned the truth of that lesson in my life time and time again.  I think everyone deserves the benefit of the doubt.

Recently I've been trying really hard with being okay in the "now."  Being happy today while still looking forward to where we want to be.  This applies really to all aspects of life.  Financially, learning to live within our means and being extremely grateful we are fortunate enough to have plenty to cover our needs.  Reminding ourselves that wants can wait and that they are just "things" and really shouldn't carry a lot of importance in life.  Physically, trying to be comfortable in our own skin instead of harshly critiquing ourselves before and during the process of working toward our fitness goals and where we want to be.  Taking care of our bodies and being healthy is important but we are often way too harsh on ourselves.  I mean, if I'm real with myself, my body has grown and birthed a child, and has been stuck on an emotional and high stress roller coaster non-stop for the past three years.  Those type of things are going to take a toll on our bodies.  Life happens.  There are going to be times in our life when taking care of ourselves will have to take a back seat for a time.  What's important though, is that we make it a priority to take care of ourselves when we are able to again.  We need to be both comfortable with where we currently are and also where we are going.  If we wait to put on a swimming suit until we feel totally confident with our body, we will most likely never go swimming again, and most importantly, we will miss out on an endless amount of incredible memories and experiences.  Is that a sacrifice you're willing to make?  I know I'm definitely not.  I want to stop giving so much attention to physical and worldly things and move that attention to what matters most, the people we are.  At the end of the day, I want to be kind, serving, and loving person to all those around me.  I want to be a supportive wife, a caring mother, and a thoughtful friend that's there when you need me.  I am well aware that I have many faults but the best part about this world, is that we can keep striving every day to improve ourselves and turn our faults into strengths.  Those are changes that can't take place over night but definitely can over a lifetime.  With self reflection and true effort every day, we can become the women we dream to be.

learning to dance in the rain

Thursday, May 26

Since Auni girl passed away last September, I feel like I've been in an extremely fragile state.  I got a job less than a month after her passing just to be forced to quit 3 months later because I felt as if my life was crumbling into a million pieces and my anxiety skyrocketed out of control.  Anxiety is a silent battle because it's so private, making you feel like you have to deal with it alone.  It's part of anxiety to appear as if you're completely fine and have everything together to those around you.  You seem amazing on the outside but feel like you're dying on the inside.  You over think everything and it truly consumes every aspect of your life.  I didn't truly understand how badly it was affecting me personally and my life until it was preventing me from doing an endless amount of everyday, simple tasks.

Everything we went through with Auni was so traumatic.  From the moment we heard the dreadful diagnosis of Spinal Muscular Atrophy to when I was forced to watch the life slowly leave her little body in my arms.  While she was still here with us, we were constantly doing everything in our power to keep her alive and happy.  We were in a state of non-stop survival mode, both day and night.  Always fervently praying for her comfort and dealing with the constant, debilitating fear of losing her and the unknown of how it would happen.  My stress meter was always maxed out.  All while grieving the life we once pictured and dreamed of for our beautiful daughter and trying to learn all of the new, terrifying things we had to do on a daily basis to keep her alive and breathing.  I was always so sensitive to everything she had to endure and suffer through, especially with her being so young and undeserving.  It seemed so unfair and quite literally tore me apart inside.

After going through everything with Auni and especially after losing her, fear became my unwanted constant companion always tugging at my arm; reminding me that if the worse case scenario happened once, it can definitely happen again.  The fear then caused me to be anxious to the point of preventing me from doing almost anything.  It caused me to withdraw, away from people, away from judgement, and away from the risk of making any type of mistake.  Being home and ignoring the outside world was the only place I felt completely safe.  Being fully aware that this was not normal nor helping my situation, Dall and I knew we needed to do something.  Not knowing where to turn and feeling like we had tried everything we could think of, we decided to go see a therapist. (who Heavenly Father so graciously placed in our path).  He has been nothing short of amazing and I very highly recommend therapy to every single person in this world, regardless of what you're facing.  It's so healthy and helpful to talk about everything you're going through with a third party who is not personally attached to the situation.  They bring such great perspective to the table and ask you questions that force you to step back and look at your situation in a whole new light.  In general but also due to therapy, I made a commitment to myself, Dallin, and our therapist that I would start working out again on a regular basis; a very necessary outlet for all of my pent up stress, worry, and emotions.  It has been such an immense help to me that I'm having a difficult time even finding the words to accurately describe it.  To say it simply, both nature and exercise are soooo good for the soul.

Yesterday, during my run, the song, I was Broken by Marcus Foster came on.  I have listened to this song so many times since purchasing it a few months ago but today, the lyrics took on a new meaning to me.  "There are some wounds that just can't mend...I will stand here until the end...I was broken for a long time but it's over now.  It's over now."  A few days ago was the first day I've had in a really long time that I haven't cried and was truly happy and felt like myself again all day long.  There was finally hope again.  Light at the end of this very dark, seemingly never-ending tunnel.  I felt that same thing again yesterday during my run after hearing those lyrics.  I recently applied for a couple of jobs and have an interview coming up.  At first I was so excited and grateful for the opportunity to get some structure and purpose back in my life.  That quickly morphed into fear taking over and making me feel inadequate and scared of the possibility of failing again.  Yesterday, as I was running and listening to this song, I literally felt the weight being lifted from my shoulders.  Heavenly Father letting me know that I could get through this and to not be scared because He is here to help me.  I stopped running and just sobbed.  Finally feeling hopeful again and seeing even the smallest amount of progress in my life brought me to tears.  I smiled and started running again and then quickly giggled at the thought of someone witnessing the crazy girl running that went from sobbing to laughing in a matter of seconds.  The life of a woman, am I right? ha ha

Life is just plain hard at times, so excruciatingly hard.  Sometimes the hand we are dealt seems so unfair and almost breaks us but there is always great purpose behind it all.  Light does come eventually.  There is no saying how quickly it will come and in what magnitude, but it will come.  I have undeniably witnessed this in my personal life time and time again.  I believe without a shadow of a doubt that if we are doing all we can, Heavenly Father will bless us and everything will work out.  Little by little, if we keep trying, we will keep improving and things will keep getting better and better.  If there is one thing I know of a surety, it's that Auni wants Dall and I to be happy.  I hope I can keep working and trying everyday to keep improving myself and to learn to be happy and have a heart full of gratitude, even in the middle of the storm.  I'd say it's never too late to learn how to dance in the rain, even if at times, it's in a hurricane like rain.

easy chia seed breakfast

Monday, February 29

 First things first, this brilliant recipe was created by my sister.  She is unstoppable when it comes to creating healthy recipes out of just about anything.  At-risk produce in the fridge about to go bad? Don't worry, she'll throw together an amazing vegetable soup in two seconds flat.  I'm attempting to follow in her footsteps but I have come to the conclusion that I'll never quite catch up to her.   At least I will always have a killer role model, right?

Okay, moving on.  Breakfast has never been my strong suit, even with knowing the true importance of it.  It's the most important meal of the day and is what provides us with the energy we need to start our day out right.  Mornings themselves are busy and breakfast is always the last thing that happens before I walk out the door.  Therefore, if I'm running late, breakfast is skipped all together. Not a good start to the day.  Hangry is a real and thriving emotion in my life, so let's just say I always try to keep myself fed!  It's pretty mind blowing to see the difference in myself when I eat well in comparison to when I don't.  If I get too busy to eat, I find myself to be tired, unmotivated, and just overall irritable.  Food is fuel people, food is fuel.  

This quick breakfast (or snack) is just that.  It's quick, easy, healthy, and super delicious!  Chia seeds are highly nutritious and are a great source of protein.  Topping them with more nutrient dense foods, makes for a winner of a breakfast.  I've included a recipe card below if you're interested in trying it out.  I do have a few helpful pointers for you.  Make the mixture at night so it will be ready for a quick breakfast in the morning.  Next, I used sugar and vanilla because I didn't have anything else on hand, but you can also use healthier options like honey, agave, etc. to sweeten it.  I have also found that buying nuts in bulk at whole food stores like Good Earth, is more cost effective.  You also get to select your favorites and how much you get of each.  I used unsalted cashews, almonds, and pumpkin seeds this round.  My sister also adds in craisins as well.  That's the beauty of it, you can completely fit it to your taste.

I hope you enjoy this recipe!  I would love to hear your thoughts if you decide to try it out!

this family of mine

Sunday, February 28

I have always felt recording life was important.  Ask Dallin, I'm sure he won't hesitate to tell you on how many occasions he has mumbled under his breath while I stop every two seconds to take pictures. Writing is one thing, and while it is extremely important, pictures and videos take on a whole new meaning.  Following Auni's diagnosis (Spinal Muscular Atrophy type 1), we couldn't take enough pictures or videos.  With Auni's diagnosis being terminal, and truly not knowing when our last day together would be, we wanted to be able to remember every last detail about her and about our life with her.  I think we did a pretty good job considering our expansion drive chuck full of pictures and videos of her.  Surprisingly, I still wish we would have taken more.  I knew we would always cherish them, but after she passed away, they have become so unbelievably valuable.  That is the one and only thing I would risk my life for if our house caught on fire.  I cling to every memory for dear life in fear of forgetting little details about her.  Her smell, the feel of her soft, chubby hands, the sound of her giggle, the way her babbles and squeals would carry through the house.  There is an endless list.  It's like my hands are full of laundry and I keep dropping small items as I try to carry them.  Every time I do, I scramble as quickly as possible to pick it back up in fear of losing it, all while trying to juggle all the other items in my arms.  Every last one of them being just as important as the next.  

These family pictures are some of the most cherished pictures we have.  My sweet friend, Brynn from Sunnydays Photography , took these gorgeous pictures for us and I will never be able to thank her enough.  She has taken all of our pictures clear back to Dallin and I's engagements.   She has a unique eye and her editing style is spot on!  I just can't get enough of her work.  I knew I wanted family pictures done soon, because Auni was getting to the point where she couldn't tolerate being held upright anymore without having a choking spell (due to SMA, her weakening muscles prevented her from controlling her saliva properly and it would go into her lungs).  We were still overwhelmed with Auni's care at this point so that's why family pictures had kept falling down the ever growing to-do list.  You know, picking out outfits, getting my hair done, etc.  Our life was already crazy enough, and I was trying to keep from anything additional to the list.  I finally scheduled a date with Brynn that worked with our crazy schedule and she took care of the rest!  She found this house in Provo with an unruly, unmaintained yard to use for our shoot.  To most that would have come across this house, the only thing they would have noticed was how unmaintained and homely it was sitting amongst the gorgeous neighboring yards.  Brynn saw the potential and it was exactly what we were wanting.  I wanted very outdoorsy pictures with evergreens, logs, etc., so this location fit the bill perfectly.  The best part is, we didn't have to drive up the canyon to get it.  

We were planning on doing another session with Brynn but Auni passed away before we could plan it, so these are our last professional family pictures of all three of us.  I love every last one of them.  I also want to mention that this post is not sponsored in any way, Brynn is just that talented.  I love her work more than I can say, and she has become a really good friend of ours over the years.  If you are in need of pictures of any kind, I highly recommend scheduling with her.  You will not be disappointed! 

After going through all we did with Auni girl, my eyes were opened and a lot of perspective was gained.  I now know of a surety what is most important in our lives, and that's family.  Family should be put above all else.  No matter the cost, my family is the highest priority in my life.  They are my everything and my heart is so full of gratitude for how blessed I truly am.  Hold your loved ones close today!  Appreciate every single moment you have with them, because the scary thing is, we never know when it might be our last.

breath of fresh air

Thursday, February 25

I've been out of the game for quite some time, that's not news to anyone.  The truth is I couldn't do it. After having Auni, life was a complete and utter whirlwind and there were far more important things to fill my time.  It took every ounce of energy I had to keep up with the care of a newborn, a heavy load of school work, daily practicum hours, let alone the endless list of regular daily tasks and responsibilities. Little did I know that the load I was bearing at that moment, was nothing compared to the very dark storm heading our way.  On July 18th, 2014, the life we had envisioned and dreamed of was ripped out from under us.  We fell. Hard.  Our perfect Auni girl was diagnosed with a rare genetic disease known as Spinal Muscular Atrophy type 1.  We were told there was no treatment or cure for this horrid disease and that it was going to take our daughter's life, and soon.  We were told most children with type 1 don't live to see their second birthday.  Our lives started spiraling out of control.  How do we tell people?  How are we suppose to act?  What is this disease?  What is it going to do to our daughter?  How can we help her?  Are we cut out for this?  How do we make sure our daughter feels safe and loved?  How are we suppose to make life-sustaining care decisions for our 7 month old?  What are these machines?  How do we use them?  Do we really have to keep watching her as she screams out of agony and fear?  Is this how it's always going to be?  We were drowning.  The most excruciating part was that it was happening privately. How are you suppose to go out in public and hide the fact that you are kicking with every ounce of strength you have left, fighting to reach the surface to get a gulp of air?  It's simple, because you have no other choice.  Sometimes it's easier to lie to yourself and to everyone around you instead of crashing to the floor in agony, trying to stay afloat in a lake of your own tears in some public setting.  

These days were dark, they were suffocating, and most of all, they were lonely.  I felt so completely and utterly alone.  No one understood.  No one could help.  The situation wasn't going away and it wasn't going to get any better.  "You need to fight for her."  My view shifted ever so slightly.  I needed to fight for her because she couldn't fight for herself.  No matter what it took, no matter the lengths I had to go, I needed to do everything in my power to take care of my perfect girl.  Our circumstance wasn't in our control, but how we reacted to it was.  As long as our Auni girl knew she was loved and she felt safe, that's all that mattered.  She was the most important thing and highest priority in our lives.  We were introduced to what seemed like an endless amount of machines and treatment techniques that we needed to use on a daily basis.  Each carrying an overwhelming load of stress and uncertainty. That overwhelming uncertainty slowly faded as time passed.  Each slowly morphing into what we now called our "new normal".  Each becoming a part of our regular daily routine.  As Auni got used to them, so did we.  The fog started to lift and the light started sneaking back in.  The gloomy cloud of her diagnosis and the uncertainty of our future was always present and lingering near by but it wasn't preventing us from soaking up the sun today.  We knew how fragile life was as we continued to watch Auni's disease rob almost everything from her.  It was unbearable to watch her body continue to fail her right before our eyes.  Through the steady stream of tears, we couldn't help but marvel at her resilience and determination to push forward.  Seeming to be completely unaffected by the hardships encompassing her.  She chose happiness.  She chose to smile.  Her grateful heart came beaming out through her beautiful brown eyes.  She seemed as if she had everything she had ever wanted.  Because of that, so did we.  She was our everything.  

The day shortly came when we were forced to say goodbye to our sweet girl.  Every single excruciating detail of that day will be forever engrained in my brain.  I couldn't stand the thought of having to continue to live my life without my daughter.  It seemed so unnatural and extremely unfair.  How could this be happening?  How could this be right?  This was the moment when I placed my entire life, my everything, in Heavenly Father's hands.  I knew he loved Auni just as much as I did and could take so much better care of her.  Her fragile and broken little body wouldn't have to confine her remarkable spirit any longer.  She would be free.  She would be safe.  She would be loved.  I trust 100% that she is where she needs to be.  Although I miss her every waking minute of every single day, I know she left his Earth so she could do far more important things.  She is so unbelievably special and I am so incredibly eager to have the chance to continue raising her.  I cannot believe such a valiant spirit was in our care to rear, and I hope Heavenly Father knows just how grateful we are to be parents to such an amazing girl.  Our Auni girl is truly one of a kind and we cannot wait for the day when we can reunite with her.  When I can hold her in my arms again and never have to let go.  It is that sweet image, that makes every single thing worth it.
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