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sensitive

Ever since I was little, I’ve heard people tell me this… “You’re too sensitive!”  especially if something made me cry.

If felt that being called “sensitive” was an insult.  And many of us have come to believe that, and just accept that sensitivity is a sign of weakness.

There were a few years where I tried to turn it off. I then realized that I just wasn’t feeling anything at all.  The stress built up, because I wasn’t being true to myself.  I had to learn how to feel again, and get back in touch with a part of “ME.”

Several years later, I took a class on wellness coaching and discovered a whole new way to look at being sensitive.  Someone who is sensitive it actually someone who is highly aware of their surroundings and in touch with the input coming from all of their senses.  Looking at is this way, sensitivity is a great strength, not a fault.

I’ve learned that being in touch with my sensitivity allows for greater guidance by the spirit, and an ability to use my intuition more effectively.

I found this wonderful article at gentlelivingonline.com, entitled “11 powerful ways to protect your sensitivity.”

Orchid-Sensitivity-

I am re-learning how to get back in touch with my powerful sensitive side. I am grateful for others who recognize the importance of protecting this valuable trait in those of us who are sensitive.

Laura

26. February 2015 · 1 comment · Categories: Joy
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friends

Last night I woke up suddenly from a dream in which my best friend, Kathie, called me to congratulate me on a move to a new home.  The problem?  Kathie passed away from cancer in 2012.  But when I heard her voice in my dream I was so excited because she was able to call me from heaven.  When I woke up, I wanted to freeze the moment and I laid there for a long time trying to figure out why she didn’t say more to me.

There is just something extra special when you find a friend that really gets you.

Relationships are important.  Whether it is with family, friends or co-workers, the people that we spend time with will effect us for good or bad, happy or miserable.

We don’t get to choose our family, (other than our spouses), and most of us can’t choose our co-workers.  But we can choose which of these people we will embrace and allow into our thoughts and emotions.

But the friends you choose will be in your life as long as the relationship is nurtured.  It is a more unique relationship.  Sometimes you drift in and out of each others lives, but when you need each other, you can often pick right up where you left off.  And some friends are just for a small period of time, but can still have an impact on our lives.

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I would like to tell you about Kathie today. She would come to our house for dinner, and birthdays. She watched my kids and would come to their sporting events. But mostly she was special because she cared about the relationship. If I hurt her feelings or got real busy and didn’t talk to her for awhile, she would call me up and talk about it. She never gave up on me.

Then when I was faced with the reality that my marriage was ending, she supported me with every emotional phone call. She just listened when I needed to cry. She was honest with me when I needed to be told something hard, and most importantly, she kept my confidences.  She was an amazing woman and a great friend. She is such a great example of what a friend should be.

I know I got a little off topic, but the point I wanted to make is that because of Kathie and many other supportive and wonderful people, I got through a very difficult time in my life. I had to choose good uplifting people to spend my time with, especially when I was trying to get my life back together after the divorce.

Now that my life feels a little more orderly, I need to remember to give back to others, and to be careful who I choose as friends.  Life is too short to spend time with people who bring you down, and dwell on the negative.  I want to choose friends who lift me up and make me smile.

Going through a divorce can be negative, but the people who supported me shared only the positive that could come to me. I want to be that kind of friend to others.  I want to be someone who makes others smile, and makes them feel like they are understood.

As I strive to find good friends in my life, I hope I can remember to be the kind of friend that Kathie taught me how to be.

Laura

 

25. February 2015 · 1 comment · Categories: Hope, Joy
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As a child I was an optimist. Everything was the best ever and I was a pretty happy little girl. I sang every chance I got and I truly believed I was going to be discovered. All I had to do was sing loudly when ever I was out.

I believe that is what is meant when we are told to become as little children. They have not yet allowed the worries and concerns of life to weigh them down. How do we take back that same childlike wonder and excitement? I believe it has to do with making a conscious choice to see the good. Let me share two contrasting stories that helped me to understand circumstances don’t need to determine how we feel.

I had a friend several years ago who seemed to have everything. She was beautiful. Her children were beautiful and smart and good. Her husband adored her and his job seemed to proved them with the nicer things life had to offer. They lived in an amazing house with many extras.

As I got to know her better I remember the shock I felt to see how unhappy she was. In my mind she had it all. What was there to worry over? What was there to be concerned about?

Have you meet women like this before? They manage to complain about the things you could only dream about. They complain if the sun is shining and they complain if it’s not. Nothing is every good enough.

In contrast about 6 years ago I meet another woman. She had 5 kids. They were very plain looking. They were always dressed in worn out clothes. Her husband worked hard but it was not much. They didn’t have any of the luxuries of life. They lived in a run down home that was way to small for all those kids.

I remember feeling sorry for her because her life seemed so challenging. And yet every single time I saw her she was smiling. It was a deep genuine smile. I can still picture it now.

Have you met women like this? Always looking through the darkness to see the light. Pointing out the good even when it can be difficult to find.

Who would you rather be friends with? The one who builds you up by pointing out the good or the one who brings you down because they can never seem to grasp the beauty all around them?

What can we do to see more fully the good? We look for it. You actively make an effort to find something good in all situations. I promise you it is there. Even in the darkest of storms it can be found.

This does not make the storms disappear but it gives us just enough sunlight to find warmth even in the most difficult times.

When Joshua, who is now 8, was a 1 year old we had just moved into a new house. Things were chaotic as we tried to unpack and get settled. A couple days into unpacking and we heard him cry out in pain and we ran to him. We could see no evidence of what was causing his pain. He woke up the next morning looking like this.

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I was so worried for him. It would take three days and several different Drs before it was discovered he had put a pencil into his skull. He managed to miss the eyeball and the lead went all the way through the skull behind his eye and stopped just short of touching his brain. There was no visible entry wound so it was challenging to know what had happened.

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We spent a week in the hospital. He had to have surgery to remove the lead. It was one of the scariest moments of my life. And yet through out the whole experience I was able to stay calm and even be filled with a sense of gratitude. I wrote about it here and when I read his story I am impressed that I was given that peace and comfort.

During those long days I continued to strive to find the good. And when I did, I was blessed with peace and even moments of deep joy.

To express gratitude is gracious and honorable, to enact gratitude is generous and noble, but to live with gratitude ever in our hearts is to touch heaven.” Thomas S Monson

Today write in your journal or take a note on your phone, you could even write on your mirror. But write 5 things that brought you joy today. It might be difficult at first but the more you look for joy the easier it will be to find.

Now once you have done that commit to writing 5 things for 1 whole week. And at the end of the week look at the 35 unique ways you felt joy. Your heart can be filled with a greater sense of happiness as you strive to look for it.

Choose to see the good that is all around you.

Let us know how this challenge has affected you. We love hearing from you.

SUSAN

***Update***

I wanted to share with you some of the things  that brought me joy over this last week. I might have forgotten to write a couple times but I am a firm believer in trying, failing, and trying again. 

Sometimes joy is difficult to be found. But I have observed that when you look for it anyway, those little gems that do pop up are precious to be had and often times can be a saving life boat in an otherwise dark and dreary storms.

Today I woke up sick, not in the agenda. I chose to take the day off to rest and read. I was blessed to read my sister-in-laws book and offer some editorial feedback. I read tutorials I was wanting to get caught up on. I also had time to read a book on my nightstand that has been calling to me to pick it up.

I could have focused on how yucky I felt, I’ve gone down that road before. But as I’m working on seeing the good my eyes were l opened and I felt a greater sense of peace. It’s kind of like magic really.

If you take the time to look you can be blessed to find small packets of light and joy. And all those little packets added up can create a most beautiful glorious sunshine that is difficult to hide from. Embrace the good.

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be-true

I’ll be honest with you.  It is hard sometimes to not look around and see what other women are doing, and not think that maybe I should be doing that also.  When I see someone on the street running or biking, I often think that I should probably do that too.  When I go visit a friend and she has decorations up for the next coming holiday (big or small) I think, I guess I should get out some decorations and do that too.

So can you guess what happens next?  I get stressed out because now I have added more “should have’s” to my already busy life.

The concept I’m talking about today “Be true to yourself and your beliefs” was born out of this type of misconception.  The choices I make in my life should come from me, where I am and what I want to do, because it is how I want to better myself, not because it is what someone else is doing.

There is no happiness when you fail to live according to your convictions…

Ezra Taft Benson

The words used here, convictions and beliefs, have a religious connotation, as they should.  As our lives are in harmony with our religious beliefs, we will certainly be more at peace and have greater joy.

But there is also another concept I want to share.  You and I also need to be true to what we personally believe.  I may believe that it is important to recycle, and I’ll look for ways to do so even when I’m away from home.  You may believe in being kind to animals or volunteering or gardening or any other of the million things that people feel passionate about.

The caution is in not letting someone else’s passion, bring you down because you think it should also be yours.

I believe that family dinner time is really important.  I plan a meal, cook and create a nice setting to eat in, with no music or TV,  just family, because this is how I connect with my family.

This is what love.  I don’t expect anyone else to be the same, so why do I think I should be that same as anyone else.

The real key here is to find out what your beliefs and convictions are.  What is most important in your life?  Are you working on the tasks that you think you ought to do, or are you spend your time doing what you really believe in?  The closer in line to your beliefs that you bring your daily activities, the greater chance you have to find joy in life.

harmony

Challenge yourself.  List a few things that your really believe in, and pay attention to how you feel when you live according to those beliefs.

If you would like, leave a comment and share with me some of the things you believe in.

Now go and find JOY today!!

Laura

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We are so passionate about the concept of embracing your own joy. It’s something we deeply believe in and are striving daily to achieve.

 

  1. Choose to see the good
  2. Be true to yourself and your beliefs
  3. Let go of judgement part 1 and part 2 
  4. Don’t let anyone dull your sparkle
  5. When you fall off the bike, get up again
  6. Enjoy other people talents.
  7. Surround yourself with people you love.

Over the next few weeks we will go into greater detail about how to accomplish those 7 things.

Today I am looking around me and finding such gratitude for the many wonderful people in my life. When I get home tonight I am going to squish the heck out of my husband and kids.

Comment below and let us know how you will choose to own your joy today.

SUSAN

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I came across this beautifully written article the other day.
Putting power in your prayers

It made me think of my journey with prayer and how it’s evolved over the years.

I grew up in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. We prayed at every meal but I didn’t make personal prayer a priority until I became an adult. And even then I wasn’t always consistent.

My prayers were mostly to ask for what I needed and give thanks but I didn’t personally understand how the communication went both ways. I believed it did. I just didn’t know how to enjoy that blessing in my life.

As I grew in my spiritual strength my prayers became more sincere and I began to really feel my Father close as I prayed.

In the last year I came across this precious book. I feel comfortable saying it changed prayer for me. It added a new element that deepened my understanding of how He communicates with me.

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This is the kind of book you don’t have to read from start to finish. I skimmed through and fairly quickly came across this challenge.

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For 30 days I prayed with a specific question in mind. Then I turned to the scriptures expecting to get an answer. EVERY single time I did get that answer. And usually the answer came quickly. I believed the authors testimony that if I expected to get an answer I would.

I felt my Father talk to me specifically through the words of the apostles and prophets. I felt the Holy Ghost guide me and direct me to find what I should read. I now have a deep testimony of the power of prayer coupled with scripture study.

We learn line upon line. I see that in my development of prayer. As I read the above mentioned article I realized I might not always be 100% real in my conversations with my Father. So now that is what I get to work on.

I remember as a kid my dad told me something to the affect of,

I pray and ask for help to overcome a weakness or sin. Once I have finally done that you would think I could rest. But no, my eyes are then opened to something else I get to work on.

Isn’t it glorious we get to learn line upon line, here a little there a little?

Susan

If you too want to get this precious book you can buy it here.

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broken-minds

 

Last week I spoke about our discussion in Family Home Evening, when we read the article about the man who was battling depression and anxiety.

Having come from a broken home, we each have had experiences with minor depression and anxiety.   That was normal and to be expected when life throws you curve balls the way it did for us.

However we also have friends and family members who have dealt with more severe cases of depression, anxiety and other mental health issues such as PTSD.  We have also, unfortunately known too many people who either committed suicide or attempted it.

As a part of our family discussion we talked about what it feels like to have depression and anxiety.  Brady told us that when you are in the midst of a depression, you don’t have the energy to get up and do things, and often, just don’t care.  I imagine it feels like having the flu, when you just don’t want to do anything, and nothing matters but resting to get better.  Then when the depression subsides, and you realize that there are a lot of things you should have done, but didn’t get done because you were feeling down, you begin to feel very anxious because those things probably still need to get done, but by now the tasks are so piled up that it feels too overwhelming to do.  Then you get angry with yourself and feel like you have been foolish for not doing more already.  Then you feel bad about yourself, and the cycle of depression starts all over again.

Although many people deal with situational depression, caused by things that happen in our lives, but there are others who deal with depression that is chemically or biologically based.

Going back to the people who chose suicide, each of there cases were as different as their lives were, but the one thing that is the same is the pain and anguish of the loved ones left behind.

My best friend was one of the people who attempted suicide, but through a couple of miracles she was saved.

I heard a rescue worker once explain how frustrated they get when they have to save someone who has attempted to take their own life.  He felt like it was pointless because “if they choose to end their life, they’ll just do it again later and my rescue was a waste of time.”    Unfortunately this worker didn’t understand this mental illness and his view can sound a bit selfish.

Well, in my friends life that was not the case.  When her attempt failed, she recognized God’s hand in saving her, and she stopped obsessing over death.

What was even more important, she was there for me when another friend died from suicide.  She was able to explain to me that when a person gets to that point, they are so far in the darkness that they can’t understand how other people feel, and they believe that the people they love would truly be better off with out them.

Even though they may think that the world is better off with out them, we (as their loved ones) know that this just isn’t true.  They are caught completely in distorted thinking.  They are not themselves, or thinking rationally.  And if they choose to leave us through suicide, it can leave the darkness behind for us to now try to make some sense out of.

One of my family members to had a loved one commit suicide, and she said of this “suicide is the most selfish thing a person can do.”  Although they don’t see it, it truly can cause deep wounds that are difficult to heal. We are on the outside and have to deal with the aftermath, and we don’t always see the darkness that took over the victims mind.

In fact without having been through a bout of true depression, we cannot know at all how it feels.  We don’t know how alone and helpless it can feel.

I am grateful for my friendship with Kathie… even all of the ups and downs she went through and cared enough (and trusted me enough) to share the details with me.  I came to see what a beautiful person she was, and how important it is to be gentle and understanding when someone is dealing with something we don’t understand.

Elder Holland gave a great talk about depression.  Found here.   He mentioned a few people who have dealt with depression. Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill, and himself.  Three amazing men that the world would not be the same without.

I truly appreciate his addressing this issue.  Both for the benefit of those who suffer with it, the family members and loved ones who are trying to help those suffering and for the rest of us to have a better understanding of this illness.  The only thing lonelier than experiencing depression, is to have the people around you not understand, or worse, to be judgmental of it or you.

I was sick last week with a sore throat and cough, and my kids (thinking they were being funny) said “well stop it.  stop being sick.”  How silly is it to tell a person with a cold, to just stop it, and get back to regular life?  But how common is it to hear someone judge a person with depression, and tell them to just get over…  think more positively… read your scriptures and it will all be okay.  Through history it has been common for people to treat mental illness as though there is something wrong with the person afflicted with it.  Sometimes it was felt that they brought it on them selves.

As disciples of Jesus Christ, we should never let ourselves be caught up in the trap of judging, especially someone who is hurting and alone.

If a friend had cancer and were going through Chemo, even if we hadn’t ever experienced that ourselves, we can be empathetic to how they feel, and give them our love.  We may not be able to do much to relieve their suffering, but we can love them and pray for them.

Well, the same thing goes for those dealing with a mental illness.  It can be uncomfortable to be around some one who is hurting emotionally, but we can give them our love.   We can feel for their hurting.  And we can pray for them.  But mostly, we can start by not judging them.  We may never know what brought them to this state, but we do know that they are a child of God, and He expects us to be gentle and loving to one another, regardless of the burden that we each carry.

Laura

depression