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lessons-from-crayonsThis week will be the anniversary of when my best friend Kathie lost her fight with cancer.  My life would never be the same after knowing her. As I was doing laundry today I was reminded of her.

One day, she called me crying.  She had pulled a load of laundry out and had found bright red stains all over her freshly cleaned clothes.

Kathie had a teenage daughter, and it turned out the daughter had left a lipstick in the pocket of her pants when she threw them into the laundry.

Kathie was so upset with herself for not checking the pockets before doing the laundry. It made her feel like a failure as a mom.  She cried “this wouldn’t have happen to you, you would have checked the pockets and done the laundry perfectly”

It turns out my husband at the time had been telling her how great I was, and she felt for sure that I wouldn’t make that kind of mistake.

I had to break the news to her and let her know about my own true life laundry horror story.

When the kids were little, I pulled clothes out of a dryer and found multiple colors of melted crayon all over ALL OF THE CLOTHES.  I thought they were ruined for sure. I didn’t check pockets before throwing my laundry in. I assume one of my kids left crayons in little pockets.  I’m pretty sure that after the initial shock, I cried that whole day.  I felt totally stupid.

Fortunately I wasn’t so upset that I couldn’t tell the story to my neighbor.

Being brave enough to share my shameful moment, saved my clothes from the trash. The friend I shared with didn’t judge me or laugh at me. She felt with me and told me I could contact “Crayola” for instructions on getting the stains out.

They didn’t laugh at me either.  They did however share with me their “recipe” for removing crayon stains that get set in from the dryer.  It turns out I’m not the first person whose had this happen to them.

It took several hours and some new cleaning techniques but I saved the clothes.  However I didn’t learn my lesson well enough, to check little pockets before throwing them into the washer.

It happened again a few years later.  And I felt stupid all over again, times 2.

Once Kathie heard my story, I wasn’t sure what she thought, but she seemed to feel better.

Eventually we became the best of friends and she realized that I’m normal, and normal means I make mistakes too.

It’s kind of funny and a little sad that we, as women, tend to judge ourselves so harshly against the perceived best of other women.  Especially after a hard day, like the one Kathie had.

Why do we assume other people are perfect when we struggle?

I think it is natural to look at others and admire their strengths, but I think it becomes damaging when we assume that someone else is “better than” us.

Of course we each have our strengths, and are better at certain things than others.  My friend Sarah makes better cookies than I do.  Susan is a much better photographer than I am.  Theresa throws the best parties around. Possessing different talents doesn’t mean that any one of us is less important.  No one is “better than” another.  We are just all different.

While we each have different talents we also each have our own struggles in life, but everyone deserves to be loved and accepted.

When we realize that we are each a child of God, accepting that He loves each of us, all while fully knowing our imperfections and our weaknesses, we should be able to give ourselves permission to be human.  God sent his son to us, and the gift of the atonement is real, and the very thing that allows us to make up for the mistakes that we will all inevitably make. Using the atonement and repentance when necessary is what will take away the feeling of “unworthiness” or “not good enough.”

We are all worthy of love and belonging. We belong to God’s family and His love is unconditional. But we also belong to friends and family right here.

Once we stop judging ourselves against the imagined perfect life (whether someone else’s or the one we think we should have) only then can we truly begin to live and love and engage with those friends and family who probably could use some connection themselves also.

Please enjoy this video and pay attention to the way Tiffany points out that we are all lacking or broken in some way, but we can be “enough” with Jesus on our side.

Be good to yourself today, you deserve it.

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perfectionismI’ve really been struggling lately with feelings of anxiety and stress, which I believe are stemming from perfectionism.

I used to think that the term perfectionism was related to someone who works hard and is constantly improving in a quest to reach perfection.

Then a friend called me a perfectionist in front of some strangers, and it forced me to really think about it.

I know that I’m not perfect, and not even close. I thought “I’m so far from perfect, what is she talking about?”

Well I suppose I need to put that statement into context.  We were working on scrap booking, and I couldn’t commit to where I wanted to glue my little cutout, and once I put it down I was upset and wanted to move it.

Perfectionism is NOT a healthy striving for improvement… It is a damaging fear of making any mistake at all in the off-chance that someone will find out and realize that we are not perfect.

Perfectionism makes learning new things difficult, because failure can be a big part of learning something new. If I’m afraid of failure, how will I ever be able to do something new?

Today perfectionism looks like this.


Pictures and other decor all over the place, because I don’t know where they will look best.  You see I just moved to a new house, and it’s not quite the same as the other homes I have lived in, so I don’t know what to do. So… I did almost nothing.  Just made a big mess until I magically discover the “perfect” place to put everything.  Or I just get over it and hang things up so I can enjoy the memories in the artwork.

I know that because I just moved in, I should cut myself some slack and let it take the time that it takes, but I struggle with the mess… because of the perfectionism. I’m still working full time, still raising kids, and trying to be on top of all their activities, and in the back of my mind, I still want to be working on this blog!!!

When it all gets to be too much, I get overwhelmed… I feel paralyzed…and I feel guilty….

Guilt that I “should” be able to do better than this.  Guilt that I am not further along by now.  Guilt that I am so busy I don’t have time to get out and meet my new neighbors, or be there for my friends, or that I don’t have a vacation planned for my kids this summer yet.

The greater the guilt the greater the paralysis.  As my brain becomes overwhelmed with the thought of all the things that still need to be done, my body responds by feeling tired…

There is too much to do, if I expect it to all be done by tomorrow, and the perfectionist in me can only see what hasn’t been done, not the small victories that I accomplish every day.

I recognize that it is unrealistic expectations that I PUT ON MYSELF that cause me to break down.

The good news is that after several weeks of “breaking down” off and on, I came to a realization that I no longer want to live this way.  I needed to do something about it, and with a little divine intervention, I think I am on the road to finding some real peace amidst the chaos of my life.

Here are some of the things that I learned as I have attempted to climb back out of the hole that I have dug myself into.

  1. “We get credit for trying, even if we don’t always succeed.” – Elder Jeffrey Holland.   I’ve heard this quote several times this month. Every time it was mentioned in a talk at church or online or anywhere, my brain was picking it up and putting it right in front where I couldn’t miss it.  This is so significant to me, because often, I can’t figure out the “right” thing to do next, but sometimes it is more important to do something… anything in fact, to work towards what ever it is that is holding me up. Trying will lead to something good, even if it’s not a perfect outcome, it will be some type of progress. Even a little step in the right direction is progress.
  2. “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” – Maya Angelou.  Mistakes from my past can make me feel like a complete failure, but the truth is that at the time I was most likely doing the best that I could with what I had at the time. It is okay to put those short comings in the past and decide that now that I know better, it is time to step up and do better.
  3.  “Put first things first.”   A young man in church this weekend reminded us of the story of Enos.  Enos had a wonderful spiritual experience that was probably the highlight of his life, in which the Lord told him he was forgiven and that he would be blessed.  The young man who was sharing this story with us pointed out that Enos was hunting at the time of this experience, and that hunting was very important.  In his time, successful hunting meant whether or not the family would be able to eat. What he was doing was very important to his families physical welfare, but at that moment he felt the need to pray for his eternal welfare. He took the time away from his very important earthly tasks to pray, and as a result had an amazing spiritual experience.  What I took away from this story is that in order to feel peace in life amongst all the millions of things that seem to be needing to be done, I need to stop the busyness once in a while and concentrate on the things that are of the most eternal significance. For me that means making time to build my relationship with my God through prayer and scripture study, making time for my family to further develop those crucial relationships, and to take time for myself and do the things that I find bring meaning to my soul, such as reading and writing.

Although I still have guilt over this being the only blog post I have gotten to this month, I am so grateful for the lessons I was forced to re-learn as I trudge through this transition in my life.


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I laid in bed struggling to want to do anything. Today I just felt like a failure, and I was confused by the feeling. Just the day before I felt confident and strong, yet in one swift moment I felt the world crash down on me as if I had been hit by a train. One minute confident, the next insecure and second guessing everything I’m doing.

Does this sound familiar to anyone else?

I have come to know with great confidence two things.

First, God is real. He is close by me even when I don’t recognize it. His ways are greater than mine, and when I trust him my whole world is more peaceful. He is the reason I have all that is good in my life. I believe that with all my heart.

Second, Satan is just as real. For all the good and hope God brings, Satan strives to bring the opposite. Despair, failure, sadness, anger. He doesn’t really care which emotion will bring me down as long as it does. He only has the power that I give him.

What do I do when I believe his lie, the one that says I’m not enough?  How do I rise above and come back to trusting my God who loves and brings peace?

Yesterday my 17-year-old son read this talk to me. I highly recommend reading it when you have the time. Here is an excerpt I thought was especially helpful.

A BYU student once came to me and asked if we could talk. I said, “Of course. How can I help you?”

She said, “I just don’t get grace.”

I responded, “What is it that you don’t understand?”
She said, “I know I need to do my best and then Jesus does the rest, but I can’t even do my best.”
She then went on to tell me all the things she should be doing because she’s a Mormon that she wasn’t doing.

She continued, “I know that I have to do my part and then Jesus makes up the difference and fills the gap that stands between my part and perfection. But who fills the gap that stands between where I am now and my part?”

She then went on to tell me all the things that she shouldn’t be doing because she’s a Mormon, but she was doing them anyway.

Finally I said, “Jesus doesn’t make up the difference. Jesus makes all the difference. Grace is not about filling gaps. It is about filling us.”

Seeing that she was still confused, I took a piece of paper and drew two dots—one at the top representing God and one at the bottom representing us. I then said, “Go ahead. Draw the line. How much is our part? How much is Christ’s part?”
She went right to the center of the page and began to draw a line. Then, considering what we had been speaking about, she went to the bottom of the page and drew a line just above the bottom dot.

I said, “Wrong.”

She said, “I knew it was higher. I should have just drawn it, because I knew it.”

I said, “No. The truth is, there is no line. Jesus filled the whole space. He paid our debt in full. He didn’t pay it all except for a few coins. He paid it all. It is finished.”

She said, “Right! Like I don’t have to do anything?”

“Oh no,” I said, “you have plenty to do, but it is not to fill that gap. We will all be resurrected. We will all go back to God’s presence. What is left to be determined by our obedience is what kind of body we plan on being resurrected with and how comfortable we plan to be in God’s presence and how long we plan to stay there.”

Christ asks us to show faith in Him, repent, make and keep covenants, receive the Holy Ghost, and endure to the end. By complying, we are not paying the demands of justice—not even the smallest part. Instead, we are showing appreciation for what Jesus Christ did by using it to live a life like His. Justice requires immediate perfection or a punishment when we fall short. Because Jesus took that punishment, He can offer us the chance for ultimate perfection (see Matthew 5:48, 3 Nephi 12:48) and help us reach that goal. He can forgive what justice never could, and He can turn to us now with His own set of requirements (see 2 Nephi 2:7; 3 Nephi 9:20).

“So what’s the difference?” the girl asked. “Whether our efforts are required by justice or by Jesus, they are still required.”

“True,” I said, “but they are required for a different purpose. Fulfilling Christ’s requirements is like paying a mortgage instead of rent or like making deposits in a savings account instead of paying off debt. You still have to hand it over every month, but it is for a totally different reason.”
Christ’s Grace Is Sufficient to Transform Us” Brad Wilcox

Satan’s lie is that when we do our best, our very best, (otherwise interpreted to mean when we are perfect) that is when the atonement steps in. But the truth is my Savior atoned for all of my short-comings and failings. All of them. Not just some of them or when I finally feel like I have laid it all on the line. Brad explained that so wonderfully. We keep trying, we fall short, again. And then we get up and keep trying. That’s all He asks of us. So when the lie that you’re not enough comes crawling back in, remember who paid the ultimate sacrifice and strive to hear His voice, the one that tells you you truly are more than enough, better than you think you are.


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Spring time is my very favorite. It’s starting to get warm without being hot. The rain is light when it comes and is always appreciated. Excitement about summer plans are beginning to grow. Soft colors are coming out in my wardrobe. And then there is always spring cleaning.

This year however I started to think about the spring cleaning of my emotional life instead.  What beliefs or habits is it time I parted ways with? What should I take to the dump and just leave there?  Are their beliefs that are cluttering up my mind causing chaos?  Are there things I am constantly tripping over that I haven’t been ready to get rid of but now I see it’s simply necessary in order for me to feel a greater sense of calm and peace?

For years and years I have struggled, deeply agonized even, over feelings of being inadequate and not enough. As a recovering perfectionist, I think that’s normal. But the more I talk openly with other women, I see it might just be a common theme among many of us.

My spring cleaning needed to begin right here. It was time for me to let go of the clutter, the trash, the lie, that I was not enough, so that I could fill my spiritual home with peace and purpose.

These feelings had prevented me from feeling peace. They had kept me from doing things I had wanted to do but was too afraid to fail. I would often see my failings above my successes.  I never felt like I was getting closer to who I wanted to be because I was only seeing how far I still had to go.

I could see the damage this was causing. I was “tripping over” it daily, and I knew it was time to move forward and throw this lie out. But how?

Just like cleaning house, the first step is to access what needs attention and then coming up with a plan. For me I knew this was my biggest stumbling block. But I had held onto it for so long, I didn’t even know where to begin.

For months I have been chipping away at this and my story is long (I need to write it in a book).

For me the first step was to go to the Lord and seek His guidance. Asking Him to guide me on my journey and then continue to move forward expecting His help.

One Sunday I sat in church reflecting on my Savior’s Atonement. I thought about His love and sacrifice for me. He was perfect. He is perfect. And like a ray of warm bright sun filling my heart, I understood a little more fully, because my Savior is perfect, with Him I am enough.

Even when I fall short, because of His sacrifice, I am enough.

Even when I mess up and make mistakes, I am enough.

Even when I’m in the middle of learning and growing and haven’t made it as far as I want to go, with Him I truly am enough.

And for the first time I began to actually believe the statement that I am enough right now, in this very moment.

There have been many other experiences where I have seen God’s hand as He has been trying to teach me this principle. Just this morning I came across this scripture “if the desires of their hearts were good, that they should also, at the last day, be restored unto that which is good.”  Notice its doesn’t say if they perfectly accomplish all they desired or if they accomplished everything they wanted to in their hearts then they were restored to good.

It’s based upon our desires for good.

I want to be a better mom, but I fall short more than I desire. I desire to serve more and give more in ways that are just not possible at this time in my life. I want to always be patient and kind and loving towards everyone. I truly desire that. But I mess up,  I make mistakes. And yet my desires are still good.

I am enough when my desires are good. I am enough when I mess up. And all of that is the Plan of God. That we remember what the Savior has done for us that we may eventually be made perfect in Him. And for now, in our sins and weaknesses, we are still enough.

What could use a little spring cleaning in your emotional life?


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Hope through the atonement can lead to happinessHope and Happiness can be elusive.  We want to be happy, and positive, and upbeat; but there are definitely times when it is challenging.

Life can get hard. It gets discouraging. And it can happen rather easily.

Neal A Maxwell said

“Doubt and despair, like dandelions, need little encouragement in order to sprout and spread.”

This month I’ve been discussing ways to bring more happiness into our lives. But sometimes it takes more than just trying to be happy.  Sometimes learning to use the atonement of Christ in our lives is what it takes to bring back hope and happiness.

What is hope and why is it so important to have a happy life?

Neal A Maxwell also taught that

“Hope is serene, not giddy, eager without being naive, and pleasantly steady without being smug.  Hope is retained through the gift of the Holy Ghost and faith in Christ

Hope in a bright future helps us to be brave enough to keep going when times seem dark.

Hope in the atonement can lead us to repentance, leaving the past behind and working to become better people every day.

Hope in God’s love helps us to be patient, while we wait for God’s timing to bring us answers we seek.

Hope requires faith, and can bring us to a place of peace and happiness.

When we learn to exercise hope through the atonement in our lives, it becomes much easier to bounce back from the discouragements and difficulties that will inevitably pop up in our lives.

Everyone experiences difficulties. But we don’t have to let them be the whole story in our lives. Turn to the Lord. Learn about Him and the plans that He has for your life.

Enjoy this little video and remember that God’s blessings are all around us to bring up happiness, if we will exercise faith and hope in Him, and allow the atonement to work its magic in our lives.


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How can faith make you happy

Many years ago I had a therapist tell me to make “Faith Cards” to carry with me at all times, to help me through my rough spots.

I was in the middle of some dark and difficult times, and experiencing related depression, and I didn’t see how “faith” had anything to do with helping me survive this trial I was going through.

I no longer had faith in the people, because some important people had let me down.  I certainly didn’t have faith that everything would turn out the way I expected it should, because it didn’t.

I just didn’t have any idea how having faith would help me to handle my current situation any better.

Well, after several therapy sessions, I began to learn more of what she was talking about.  The most important faith that we can have is faith in God.

Faith that He knows each of us individually.

Faith that He knows about the bad things that happen to us, before they happen, and He has a plan for our lives.

Faith that He can send us messages to help along the way, through scriptures, earnest prayer, and good people sent into our lives to help.

So back to “Faith Cards.”  Faith cards are small cards (I created mine on printable business cards) that fit into a purse or wallet, so that the can be pulled out and used to lift the spirits any time it is needed.  The words on the faith cards could be scriptures, quotes, words to a hymn or inspirational song.  Anything that helps to remind me in a hard moment that God is watching over and He is in charge.

Here are a few examples of quotes that I used.

Doctrine and Covenants 6:23  Did I not speak peace to your mind concerning the matter? What greater witness can you have than from God?

Ether 12:27 … if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.

2 Nephi 32:3 … feast upon the words of Christ; for behold, the words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do.

From the Hymn “Be Still My Soul”   Thy God doth undertake to guide the future as he has the past.

If you decide to make faith cards, they will be very personal to you, and have quotes that speak to your own soul.

2 Nephi 2:25 teaches us that “men are, that they might have joy.”

Do we believe that men are created to have joy?  The scripture says that men are that they “might” have joy.  It is still a choice, and it doesn’t say that we will live in a constant state of joy, but we might have some beautiful moments of joy throughout our lives.

Life really is meant to be enjoyed.  Happiness can be found and is even sweeter after the enduring of trials. Having faith that God is at the helm can be just what is needed to carry on and find the sweet happy moments that God has placed in our lives for us to discover.

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Do you ever wonder how to best show love for the ones who truly love you?  It’s one of those things I ponder over and struggle with. Am I giving in a way they are understanding?  Do they understand the deep emotions I feel in my heart?

I read the book 5 Love Languages many years ago and had all of my children and husband take the quiz. It was interesting to notice how completely different all 8 of us are in regards to receiving and giving love. From great hugs to a well thought out gift, it means something different to each of us.

If you have not read it I highly recommend it. As a quick overview the 5 different love languages are

  1. Acts of service
  2. Gifts
  3. Quality time
  4. Words of affirmations
  5. Physical touch

This adorable video is a sweet sum up of the Love Languages.

I thrive on words of affirmation and quality time.  For someone to take the time to be with me and then also express some sort of heart-felt emotion through words that lets me know they care in huge abundance. When I want a person to know how much they mean to me, I tend to tell them so. That comes naturally. I try to always tell people when I appreciate something they are doing. It’s my way of letting them know they are awesome.

As I was studying an old talk from Neal L Maxwell this morning I got to wondering, how do I show love for my Heavenly Father and my Savior?  Can love languages play a part here as well?

My conclusion…absolutely. But am I taking the time every single day to show my God, who has given me everything, how much I love Him?

The one who chooses to love will find appropriate ways to express that decision every day” Gary Chapman

Then I got to wondering, what am I currently doing to show that love?

When I take time to kneel in prayer and pour out my soul in gratitude, I am expressing my love and thanksgiving through time and words.

When I immerse myself in the words of God, I’m letting His love fill my heart and soul. And I’m also showing Him that I understand that He is worth my time.

Studying for and then delivering a lesson at church on Sunday shows my willingness to serve Him even though it might take away from things I would rather be doing.

But I know that’s not enough and I can give more.

When ye are in the service of your fellow being ye are only in the service of your God.” Mosiah 2:17

I can be aware of those around me who need something I can offer. Either time or service or a little note that says I care. I can lend a listening ear, take a friend to lunch or just offer a much-needed embrace.

Never will I be able to show Him the same kind of love He offers to me. The beauty of a perfect God is that He does know and understand what we feel in our hearts, and He sees our efforts. When we wonder if we are giving enough, we can always pray to know “what lack I yet?” What can I do more to show my love and devotion today?

The next question that came to my mind was, how do I feel God’s love for me?  It would seem to make sense that I would feel it through His words and time. But He is not going to hang out with me on my rough days, siting by my side telling me all I need to hear. Or does He?

I can recall a time when I was really struggling. I just felt so down and hopeless. The things I was dealing with felt too heavy for me to bear. I wanted to feel enveloped by my Savior’s love, but I just didn’t know what to do.

And then I heard a knock on my door. It was an older woman from church. She sat on my sofa and let me cry. She listened and understood in a way that was unique to her, because she had been through what I was currently going through. She offered wisdom that can only come with time, and when she left I went in prayer with thanksgiving. I knew God had sent her to me in my hour of need. He did not send her to give me service or a gift, because that isn’t how I feel love. But He sent her there to offer me her time and give me comfort through her words.

That was a rare occasion that I will always cherish. I believe more often I feel my Savior’s love when I read His words and they speak to my heart. Or when I take the time to really listen in prayer. Sometimes it will come through the love of another, as in my example above.

I do wonder how someone with a different love language hears and feels God’s love. If gifts is your love language, do you feel His love as you see the many gifts He has given you?

If acts of service are how you see His love for you, do you feel an abundance of love when He sends someone to your home to help with something you are struggling with?

What I do know is this, He loves us each more than we will ever be able to understand in this life. And He knows us each individually and is able to show that love in a way we will be able to understand, but we need to look for it and express gratitude when we see it. It is all around us.

Today maybe you will feel impressed to send a note or a thoughtful gift to someone you love. And maybe, just maybe, God is using you as a means to show His love for them as well. Susan

If you are interested in the book you can buy it here.

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I slept in Saturday. Longer than normal. You see my kids are finally old enough to take care of themselves, and they were content to let me be. When I finally did wake up, all I wanted was to go on a hike with my people. But instead I continued to be lazy and laid in bed even longer. I started to feel really sluggish and just kind of grumpy. It’s weird how too much sleep can have the same effect as not enough sleep.

Then the thoughts of “I’m not a good mom” crept in, and all I wanted to do was eat candy while laying in bed watching a movie.

Sound familiar to anyone?

It’s a battle I fight, wondering if I am failing or not doing enough or becoming enough. I win some days. And I lose others. But I do keep fighting. I am determined to figure this out that I may teach my daughters and one day my granddaughters how to love who they are, in any situation.

So what is a person supposed to do when inadequacies seem to be staring her in the face? How do we overcome such intense negative emotions?

Here are 5 tips that can help you begin to love yourself.

1st-I have found it to be helpful to delay thinking about the negative. When I’m in a funk is the worst time to analyze what I’m doing right and wrong and how I need to change. It’s never productive or actually helpful. I seem to dig a deeper hole that takes longer to get out of. So instead, I try to involve myself in something else. Change the room I’m in, leaving the house if I have to. Read a book. Talk with a friend. Saturday I went on a bike ride by myself. When I came home the negative emotions were gone and the delay tactic seemed to work.

But then it came back Sunday afternoon, and I had no idea why. The voices came back, and I started to really believe I wasn’t enough. Now what you ask?

2nd- Here is the best tactic I have. The one I sometimes forget about and wait too long to do, pray and study my scriptures and other worthy and uplifting material. Asking my Heavenly Father to show me either His love for me or to show me my worth in His eyes.

When I am sincerely asking for His help, He guides me to the words I need to hear, right when I need to hear them. This morning it came quickly. Other times I have to search a little longer, but I have come to trust that He wants to help me but He can’t until I put my faith in Him.

“To lack confidence is to have feelings of low self-worth. We are preoccupied with our weaknesses, and we lack faith in the Lord’s ability to use those weaknesses for our good. We do not understand our inestimable worth in the eyes of God, nor do we appreciate our divine potential. Ironically, both pride and a lack of self-confidence cause us to focus excessively on ourselves and to deny the power of God in our lives.” Glenn L. Pace

I self-righteously can let myself think that I’m not good enough because I’m not trying hard enough. I profess to have faith in God but I forget Him when I am holding a pity party for one. In those moments I’m not trusting that He will teach me how to use my weaknesses. I’m simply feeling sorry for myself that I have weaknesses. I’m not seeing a daughter of God who is full of potential. I am parked in a spot of stubbornness feeling like I’ll never be able to change.

The problem with that line of thinking is that I take God out of the equation. I forget that I am His daughter, capable of more than my finite imagination can comprehend.

We are the children of God, and as His children there is no attribute we ascribe to Him that we do not possess, though they may be dormant or in embryo.” George Q Cannon

3rd- Trust the people who love you. My children are so loving. I have asked them in the past,”What do you think I do well?” Their answers can be funny and often bring me to tears. They remember the things I have forgotten. My husband seems to have blinders to my weaknesses, and if I ask him he is more than willing to tell me why I really am doing not just ok but fantastic.

When I am in a good place emotionally and spiritually I have taken the time to write down the things I believe I am good at. I made a voice memo on my phone where I recorded those statements. That was actually very difficult for me since I don’t love hearing my voice, but it has been more powerful than I even hoped. I made sure I only made statements I truly believed. So when I am feeling down, I can listen to and trust my own voice telling me why I really am doing ok.

4th- Another action I will try at times is to just let it be a bad day. I’ll tell myself, “I am having a bad moment” and then I will let that moment simply be. I won’t try to do anything with it. Just recognize that this one moment stinks and that I won’t always feel this way. The very hardest times for me are when I worry I will feel the way I do forever.

“Most people never fulfill their human promise and potential because they remain perpetually helpless children overwhelmed by a sense of inferiority. The feeling of being okay does not imply that the person has risen above all his faults and emotional problems. It merely implies that he refuses to be paralyzed by them.” Dr. Thomas Harris

What a fantastic statement. Refuse to be paralyzed by your faults. I will be writing that on my mirror later today.

5th- Utilizing my journal is one I am not very good at yet but am determined to get better. Writing down the good experiences so that when I can no longer feel the intensity of those powerful moments I can look back and be reminded that times can be good, so very, very good.

“With the help of the scriptures, words of the prophets, and personal revelation, we gradually come to an awareness of our true nature and destiny. Once we grasp this reality, we can obtain the faith to move forward and overcome any obstacle standing in our way of fulfilling our foreordained destiny–including the obstacle of feelings of low self-worth.” Glen L Pace

I feel the gradual awareness coming into my life of who I am and who I can eventually become. It hasn’t come as quickly as I would hope, but it has come line upon line, teaching me greater empathy for others along the way. Susan

If you loved the quotes as much as I did you can find the full article I took them from here.

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 I have to admit, in our earlier years of marriage I allowed myself to be disappointed with Valentine’s Day. Maybe I read one too many romance novels but my expectations and understanding of a happy marriage had more to do with the world’s ideas of romance. Flowers, chocolates and fancy jewelry. Expensive well thought out gifts. But that is not who my husband is. He is so much more. And I can only hope my boys take note and strive to be like him. I pray my girls observe the man he is and look for someone just like him.

He wants to give me everything I need and want. And when he can’t I see the disappointment on his face. My needs are often put above his own. He listens to me as I talk about all kinds of topics I’m sure are not interesting to him. He truly cares about me and shows that in word and deed.

Somewhere along our journey I realized romance was so much more than a perfectly thought out gift. Gordon B Hinckley worded it perfectly

“I am satisfied that happiness in marriage is not so much a matter of romance as it is an anxious concern for the comfort and well-being of one’s companion. Any man who will make his wife’s comfort his first concern will stay in love with her throughout their lives and through the eternity yet to come.”

Because of the love and concern my husband shows towards me I want to be a better person. I want to be who he already thinks I am. I fall short all too often but he doesn’t seem to notice or even care. And to me that brings about more loving feelings on a daily basis than expensive jewelry once a year. SUSAN

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The thought that someone we love is doing something special for us—and our excitement about the special thing we are planning to do for them—warms our hearts and fills us with love and anticipation. Add to this the glimmering lights, the delightful decorations, the sublime scenes of Christ’s birth, and it’s no wonder Christmas is such a beloved time of year.” Dieter Ucthdorf

Beloved! Yes, that is the best description and my sentiments exactly.  But what happens when the worry, the stress and the frazzle of it all starts to creep in, trying to strangle the joy and peace, the love and goodwill? Unfortunately as much as I tried, I felt the light of Christmas fading a week or so ago.  As I watched it go I was filled with sadness.  I wanted to cry out don’t go.  Please don’t go. Yet in that moment all I could feel was that I wasn’t measuring up to the expectations I had set for myself.  Why can’t I bake all the things, make all the crafts, be done Christmas shopping and wrapping all the presents, have thought of all the people in need and looked fabulous while doing all of it?

Do you relate to any of those feelings?  Seeing everyone’s best and wondering why you aren’t a little more like you wish you could be?  There is hope, There is peace. I had to be willing to see past what I am not and allow the true gift of Christmas into my heart reminding me of all that I am Because of Him.

In my moment of darkness the Lord sent me this video though a friend. 

It was the reminder I needed to stop focusing on myself and start seeing the Savior more fully in the songs, the lights, the wrapping paper.  For in all of it, if you will slow down and see it, is the reminder that He loves us now just as He did more than 2000 years ago.

Even when the world may appear quite dark—when things aren’t going right, when our hearts are overflowing with disappointment and worry, even in the midst of sadness and sorrow—we sing about “joy to the world” and “good will toward men”2 because of Christ, who came “to give light to them that sit in darkness.” Dieter Ucthdorf

His gift of joy to the world even covers my sorrow and self-doubt.  Joy for what I am instead of what I am not.  Joy for my family who loves me even when I can’t “do it all.” Joy for service given and received.  Joy that I am His daughter and loved without conditions.

This Christmas may you see with new eyes the gift of acceptance and love that our Savior is offering to you. SUSAN