Let It Stop With Me

People frequently ask me how or what helped me change my life so drastically from how I grew up. First off, I know without a shadow of a doubt I did not do it alone. I know it was through the grace and help of a loving Father in Heaven.

Recently I was reading a book entitled Not My Will, But Thine by Neal A. Maxwell. In it he says, “… adverse environmental experiences need not be automatically perpetuated. It is possible to break the chain of events by saying, ‘Let it stop with me!'”

This statement right here perfectly echos my thinking. When I became pregnant at a young age I knew I wanted something different for the little life I was going to bring into the world. I knew I wanted it to stop with me because I wanted to make sure no other child would suffer the way I did.

After I made this pledge to myself I never looked back. It stopped right there with me. None of my children have ever had to know what it was like to live with an alcoholic or drug addict. They never have to worry about where I am at night, or when I’ll be home. They have never had to deal with that kind of instability or destructive home environment.

I am not saying it was always easy, because it wasn’t. Not having a steady role model to know how to pattern my life after has been a challenge. I have learned however that “God can heal us…”, and I am ever so grateful for that. I am thankful that it stopped with me. I am thankful for a loving Heavenly Father that helped my efforts and has been with me every step of the way.

Writing is Good for the Soul

I have developed such a love of writing, even if no one is around to do the reading!

I find it therapeutic to express my thoughts, feelings, and memories. I also have a sincere hope that others might benefit from what I have to say.

I was in church and a particular quote caught my eye. It said, “Writing is a great educational effort. It will assist you in various ways, and you will bless the lives of many…”–Gordon B. Hinckley

This quote just spoke so loudly to my mind and my heart. I fully believe we all have  story worth sharing. One of the best ways to share is to write it out! We never know when the things which we have to say may bless the life of another.

Accepting Things as They Are

When I was in the 4th grade my home life was tumultuous. My mom had started dating someone of low quality. He was a man short in stature and had an even shorter temper. One particular evening I had gotten a drink of some pop (or soda for those of you not from the Midwest!) that he had left at my house. This gent flipped his lid when he found out. He became so enraged he threw the half filled 2- liter at my head!

My mom stepped in and told him to leave. This man, however, was not the type that liked to be told what to do. He stayed and a fight ensued between he and my mom. As the fighting grew in intensity some neighbors heard it and called the cops. I remember hiding under the dining room table the whole time while things played out.

The cops decided that I should go spend some time with my dad, which I was happy about. I’m not exactly sure where my mom went, but the guy ended up in the back of a cop car.

After a peaceful night sleep at my dad’s house, the next morning he took me to school. Around lunchtime my mother showed up at the school demanding to see her daughter. I was promptly called to the office and was told I would be going home right then with my mom. I begged and pleaded with them to not make me go. I told them my dad was going to pick me up and I wasn’t supposed to go with her. I really wanted to go back to my dad’s house.

The administrators wouldn’t hear of it though. They told me to stop lying about my mom because she was a good woman. I left that day defeated and in tears. I felt like no one was listening to what I had to say.

I have often wondered if things would have been different had someone listened to me that day. Would I have gone back to my dad’s? Would I have been able to live with my dad permanently? Would I have been able to have a more stable and peaceful life? I’m sure if that would have happened a lot of things would have changed, but maybe that’s not what was meant for my life. I know I can’t change the things now; it is still hard to accept sometimes how things were. Sometimes in life we just need someone to listen to us, and to really hear what we have to say.

I try to be the kind of person now that offers a listening ear for others. Kids especially need someone to be their advocate and to be in their corner. I know that my Heavenly Father was always there for me, looking out for me and protecting me. This gives me peace and comfort because I know He has used these hard times I went through to increase my understanding and compassion towards others. Even though it was not easy to bear at the time I am grateful for where I am today.

A Portrait of Who I Wish to Be

I wish I could be the most organized person. Where my days are planned out and I am diligent about getting up at a certain time, preferably well before the kids arise. I wish I had things all figured out and things came easier for me. I kind of have a plan for my life, but it definitely doesn’t feel concrete. The person I wish to be is more financially stable. I am tired of worrying about money all the time, it’s almost a full time job in and of itself.

I wish I was a better mom to my kids. A more patient, fair, just, and merciful mom.  I wish I always spoke in a soft voice and even tones towards my children. I wish I was more of the mother where I had homemade cookies and wonderful dinners each day. The kind of mom they remember with fondness and love.

I wish I could be more understanding as a wife. That every word I said came out the right way and never caused offense. I wish I could know what was needed and help my husband more. I also wish I could be a better friend to others. That I had the time and means to be there more when needed more often.

I wish I was a more diligent and obedient daughter to my Father in Heaven. I am sure His grace is sufficient to overcome all of my short comings, but I wish I could be so good that it wasn’t needed. Thankfully He has endless and unconditional love for me.

I wish I could be a better daughter to my earthly parents. I know I have let them down, and I feel like I’m never enough for them. I wish I could make them proud of me.

These wishes for myself are always in the back of my mind. I try and I fail constantly during this Earth life. Thankfully I have been blessed with a new day, however, and I can keep trying to make myself how I wish to be. With the help and grace of Heavenly Father I am able to try and try again. Hopefully in a year or five years from now I will have mastered some of these things and I will be closer to the person I wish to be. By the time I get there I’m sure I will have new wishes for myself, and new goals to reach. All in the name of growing and learning in this mortal journey.

Dark Days and Nights

During my darkest days it was hard to believe the sun would ever shine again.

The other day I saw the neatest thing, clouds were creeping down the mountains, and it was happening ever so slowly. While it looked eery, I was more intrigued by the sight of it. It brought to my mind  how dark clouds in life sometimes sneak up on us. While we may KNOW that hard times may soon befall us; other times difficulties arise like a smack in the face. I have experienced both types, and sometimes both types at the same time!

I had some very dark and dreary days about 4 years ago. It often felt like the storm clouds would never part. I found it hard to believe anyone who told me things would get better, it felt like the sun would never shine my life again. It seemed like one thing after another just kept beating me down. I was sure I couldn’t handle anything else, and then sure enough something else would happen. I imagine it’s how one would feel if they were drowning in the ocean.

Thankfully that was not the case, life did get progressively better. Now that I am finally on the other side of that storm I see the sun shining and it feels so good. I truly appreciate the beautiful days because I have been through some of the worst times imaginable. If any of you are experiencing storms in your life, believe things will get better. Keep pushing on, and do what you can and trust God with the rest. Even when it seems the storms won’t ever part, just know someday soon the sun will shine again.

Life’s Mountains

Mountains have always captivated me. They are so tall, strong, and immovable. Recently my oldest sons were able to hike up a mountain (I am currently too pregnant to undertake such and endeavor). The boys were convinced it would be SO easy, they thought they could run right up that mountain to their desired destination. How wrong they were! As they began their journey they took off running, but quickly lost momentum. These boys didn’t even get a quarter of the way through their hike before they realized they were going to have to walk the rest of the way.

This got me thinking of ourselves and life. How often do we start something and go full speed ahead, only to lose momentum part way through the journey? I know I am guilty of this very thing in my life time and time again, especially when I am faced with a challenge–a mountain to climb if you will; I want to just get through it quickly. So I take off running and then lose all my energy as I realize the journey is going to be more tedious than I expected.

I’ve had to change my way of thinking so I don’t get too tired too quickly in my journey through trials and difficulties. When faced with a challenge I’m trying harder to find the silver lining and to have more patience with the journey. An amazing thing can happen when we slow down and try to find joy in our journey, even during the difficult times We might notice beauty around us that we wouldn’t have noticed otherwise. Just as my boys noticed, when they slowed down, so much beauty around them. As we take the time to slow down, we too can recognize more of the beauty that surrounds us. Even during the most difficult of life’s journey’s.