Hard can be good

Some of the best lessons we learn in our lives, come from something that was extremely difficult to get through.  And some of those lessons seem to be ongoing.  In hisOctober 2017 talk Stanley G. Ellis said, “Hard makes us stronger, humbles us, and gives us a chance to prove ourselves.  Hard can be good!”

Hard can be good

As I studied the words from his talk this weekend, I was taken back to many experiences that were extremely difficult at the time, but that now I can look back on and see the personal growth that came through or because of those experiences.  I’m sure that you can too.  But what can we do when we are in the midst of those hard times?

One of my favorite people ever, Zandra Vranes (I got to meet her personally in October this year), gave this wise counsel. “Rely on the lord, for only He can turn a mess into a message, a test into a testimony, a trial into a triumph, and whats broken into something beautiful.”  I love that so much! And it reminded me once again of the scripture found in the Bible, Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, lean not unto thy own understanding.  In all thy ways acknowledge him and he shall direct thy paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6).

Very many times in our lives we experience pain, suffering, hard trials, challenges, etc.  that threaten to break us.  But it is through our trust in the Lord that we can become strong.  I know that there are people that will argue the statement “Things happen for a reason”,  but I strongly believe that.  We don’t always see and may never see it in this lifetime.  But God does have a plan for us.  It’s important to note that He does not make or intend for bad things to happen in our lives, but He is definitely there to pick us up and carry us along the way.

I also believe the fact that there are no coincidences. It seems that whenever I feel that all is lost, the Lord finds a way to remind me that He is always there and always will be even when it feels like he is not.

I believe that God is always working behind the scenes to build us and shape us.  Are there things that happen that are horrible in this world and in our personal lives? Absolutely! And sometimes we see people go through challenges that may be completely unbearable.  But if we are always putting a negative spin on things that happen in our lives, we will never truly be able to see the lessons we have or need to learn from our experiences.  And sometimes (a lot of the time) we have those experiences so that we can empathize and have love for and help one another.

Again quoting from Stanely G. Ellis’ talk, “Do we trust His commandments to be for our good? His leaders, though imperfect, to lead us well? His promises to be sure? Do we trust that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ do know us and want to help us? Even in the midst of trials, challenges, and hard times, do we still trust Him?”

Hard is part of the plan.  Think of a baby chick who has to break through the shell unassisted.  A seed that has to break through the hard soil to grow into a beautiful tall tree.  A butterfly who breaks free of the chrysalis that binds it.  All of the examples from nature are a beautiful reminder that hard can be good!

I know it’s not easy especially in the midst of something hard, to think about it in a positive light.  But if we can rely on the Lord, trust that He knows what the bigger picture is and then look to Him to help us get through the hard things, we may be able to see that there is a purpose after all.

Please know that you are never alone in your struggles.  And if you ever feel like you are, please reach out. There are angels among us that are meant to help us through hard things.  Please don’t suffer in silence.  God is always there, even when we do not understand the whys.

XO Wendy

 

Go Forward and Remember…

As we look forward to a new year, many of us will be setting new goals and looking ahead as we plan out what 2020 will hold for us. Goal setting has always been a big part of my life from a very young age, I would make lists of what I wanted to achieve in the near future.  For example, in the ninth grade I decided that I was going to try out for the gymnastics team.  The only experience that I really had was a couple of lessons during the summer before, and what my older cousin had taught me (who was very good and already on a team).  But I was determined and I had a goal and was used to hard work having grown up in a home where I was required to help out and contribute (of which I am very grateful).

I remember a famous saying that my dad used to quote, “If ever you are going to do something, do it right the first time and do your best, then you will not have to worry about doing it over.”  And while this is great advice, especially when you only have one chance like trying out for team, I have come to learn that setting a goal and doing your best or doing it in a way that you feel is the “right” way, does not always result in success.  Most times we have to fail forward.  But the key here is not to give up or turn back, but to move forward with a motivation, remember what you’ve learned from the past and that will propel you to try even harder the next time you set the same goal or a new one.

I made the gymnastics team that year in ninth grade, however, I do not attribute it to my skills because they were few, and in my mind I felt that I was not good enough to have made it for sure.  But I had such a good attitude when I tried out and I worked hard and did my best. I think that hard working attitude is what earned me a spot on the team.

I feel like one of the most important keys to achieve goals is to look back and remember.  I know that sounds kind of counter productive.  But just stay with me for a minute.  It’s important to look back and remember what we learned and how we can grow and do better the next time around.  That’s what failing forward means.  We have to have failures in order to reap benefits of successes.

Success in life.png

Many times in the scriptures we are asked to “remember”.  In a talk given by Henry B. Eyring he said, “Remembering may be one of the most precious gifts the Spirit can give you. He will “bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever [the Lord has] said unto you” (John 14:26).  I love this because it promises us that as we remember, the things we did right will come back to us in the time that we most need them.

Doctrine and Covenants section 84:85 treasure up in your minds continually the words of life, and it shall be given you in the very hour that portion that shall be meted unto every man. 

I would encourage you during this time of year that you look back and remember all of the successes that you’ve had the things that you’ve done RIGHT.  And then add to those the do- overs that you might have in your set of goals this next year.  You can always improve upon what you’ve done in the past.  Whether you feel like it was a big failure or not.  Use that as motivation to propel you even faster into the goal that you’ve set for yourself.  And above all, remember that the joy is in the journey.  While destinations are always great.  It is what we have learned along the way that will create a life worth remembering.

XO Wendy

Triggers and obstacles

trauma triggers

When the physical body goes through something extremely dramatic the after effects can last a lifetime.  Many situations can “trigger” a setback or a fall back into old habits.

First of all the definition of this type of trigger is:  is something that sets off a memory tape or flashback transporting the person back to the event of her/his original trauma. Triggers are very personal; different things trigger different people. The survivor may begin to avoid situations and stimuli that she/he thinks triggered the flashback.

Having to be admitted to the psych unit a handful of times over the last 20 years has left a significant amount of trigger trauma in my life.  And while I am learning how to deal with it, it still finds ways to come up and sort of pull me back into those past feelings of reliving the situation.  So I thought I’d give you a few ideas of how I have come to deal with some of these triggers.

Trigger #1. A loved one that was there, makes a comment about something that happened during my past experience.  These are probably the hardest types of triggers to avoid.  Know that it is usually not intentional and the person is not trying to trigger you.  They have memories of the experience too and may be affected in a negative way as well.

I have found for me, that the best way to deal with this type of trigger is to talk openly about the memories.  Not in a negative way, but it a way of “look how far I’ve come”. Talking about it, can be therapeutic for some and definitely is for me.  But I have also found that I need to set a mental timer of how long to talk about it.  Dragging a conversation on for more than, say ten minutes is usually unproductive and can cause you to dwell unnecessarily on the previous experience/s.  That is unless it is in the presence of your therapist or Dr. in my honest opinion.

Trigger #2. Walking into a place where smells or noises take you back to the experience.  This trigger is usually unexpected and comes out of nowhere.  And unless you know that this particular activity is going to be a trigger (for example it’s happened before), it can also be hard to avoid.

One of these triggers for me is a place where there is a lot of noise, distractions, busyness or chaos happening.  For me, when a manic episode starts to manifest, my senses are heightened so big gatherings, or parties, restaurants where there is a lot of loud music and bustling around, or sporting events where people are yelling and cheering and commentating and especially Black Friday shopping haha, all of that sort of thing.

During the holiday season, there can be a lot of those types of events happening, so if your loved one decides not to attend, don’t judge them too harshly.  They are just in survival mode and trying avoid situations that could be threatening to their well being.

Trigger #3. Working or participating in high level stressful environments. This is sort of similar to #2.  knowing that a situation is going to involve a large amount of stress can increase the likelihood of the situation becoming a problem.  Most situations like this can be avoided by simply saying no. Which can also not be easy.  It is simple but still hard to do. Other people have expectations (or at least we think they do) and we feel like we have to live up to the expectations.  But the truth is, our health and well-being is more important than anyone’s expectations of us.  If saying “no” will eliminate the trigger then that’s what you have to do.

I hope these little reminders have helped today, as we move through the busy holiday season.   Happy holidays and stay healthy!

XO Wendy

 

I will go and do…

I LOVE the youth theme and song for 2020.  I have posted it here and I hope that you will take a few minutes to start your day off knowing that the Lord is with you to lead and guide you if you choose Him first!

That theme comes from the Book of Mormon scripture:

And it came to pass that I Nephi, said unto my father: I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them. (1Nephi 3:7)

There are many tasks that the Lord has given us that are hard and standing for what you believe in is not easy in the world that we live in daily.  We are constantly bombarded with negative messages and media that can dull our spirit and lead us on a path that draws us further and further away from the light of Christ.

Positivity and faith in God have always been characteristics that I value.  I find that as I move closer and closer to the light of Christ the more the world seems to melt away.

Yes life is hard and we encounter decisions that are really tough every single day.  But we can depend on our Savior to hold us up when we can no longer stand.  We can fall to our knees and plead with Him to help us find the way.

We are instructed over and over again in the Book of Mormon, Another Testament of Jesus Christ, that if we keep his commandments he will prosper us.  I think that statement can mean so many different things to different people and various situations.  To me it has come to have many meanings.  Not only have I seen the monetary benefits of living and keeping the commandments, I have seen so many physical and emotional benefits.  He literally heals me every day as I listen to and follow His way.

It’s never easy and sometimes it seems impossible.  But the Lord keeps his promises.  He WILL NOT fail us.

I remember one specific time when my husband and I were going through a pretty rough trial.  It felt at times that we were trudging through the mud, sometimes stuck in the muck unable to get traction. One day when it seemed impossible that we would ever get through it all, I had a distinct impression come over me.  I felt in my minds eye the spirit whisper to me, “keep going, there is a light at the end of this tunnel”, and for a moment I felt so much relief.  And then, I heard the quiet whisper again “But……” (uh oh, I thought now what?).  And then ever so quietly I heard the words ” but you are not there yet.”  And I remember weeping at the thought that we had to continue on this hard path for who knew how much longer?  But I’d been given that small moment of relief to know that we were getting there. Slowly.  By our obedience and faith and our positive outlook, we were getting there.  I had hope again.

stand for something IG

Standing for what we believe and know is right, is never easy.  But it will be so worth it. The Lord WILL provide a way for us to do what he has asked us to do. And even though it seems like all hope is lost at times.  He will not forsake us (I will never leave thee or forsake thee.  Hebrews 13:5).  HE WILL provide a way.  For that we can be sure.

Please know that you are never alone.

XO Wendy

 

Training in the off season.

The Lord is strong towerI was reading about Captain Moroni (the youngest Chief commander mentioned in the Book of Mormon) this week in chapters 46-52 and was impressed with the thought of how we can never quit preparing for the “race”.  We are in the race of a lifetime here on Earth.  Battling against Satan at every turn.  And even when we feel like we are at the top of our game, or winning the race, we can’t stop “training”.

When the Nephites battled under Captain Moroni’s command they fought for faith, liberty, their families, their land and their peace.  If ever we have been in a fight like Moroni’s, it is today!

In verses 10-13 of chapter 48 it describes some of the characteristics Moroni had and what kind of person he was.  Mighty and strong (at 25 years old), smart, compassionate, had courage, was grateful, worked hard, he served the people, was faithful and full of integrity and he was obedient.  He was such a good man that in verse 17 it reads: Yea, verily, verily I say unto you, if all men had been, and were, and ever would be, like unto Moroni behold, the very powers of hell would have been shaken forever; Yea the devil would never have power over the hearts of the children of men

First of all it talks about the way that he taught them to never raise arms unless it was against an enemy to preserve their lives. Then they armed themselves with shields and helmets and breastplates to protect themselves from the enemy.  They put on all their armour.  Then he fortified the land.

But what stood out to me in all of these chapters as they fought their enemies, was that even after they had conquered their first conflict, he did not take a break.  After the people had praised and remembered the Lord and given all credit to Him, Moroni knew that he needed to continue to prepare the land and his people for when the wars would start again.

It says that he commanded the people that they should dig up heaps of earth around the city. Then on top of those ridges add timbers the height of a man. Then on top of those timbers a frame of pickets and they were strong and high. But not only that, he had them build towers so they could see when the enemy was approaching.  And also places of security to be built upon those towers.  They called all these “strongholds” which defined, is a well fortified place or fortress.  Moroni was teaching the people how to keep from being defeated.  And I believe that this means both temporally and spiritually.

So the question I have for you today, is how will you build up “strongholds” in your own life?  How will you continue training for the race of life?  Will you sit down once one race has been won or will you keep training even in the off season?

I have some recommendations here.  But ultimately you will have to decide for yourself what you will do to build your own “strongholds” against the enemy.  Because you/we are in this fight for our lives!

Have a great day!

XO Wendy

 

Let the season begin!

Light the worldI can’t believe that it has already been almost a whole year of 2019.  Just a few more weeks until Christmas.  I wanted to tell you about a program that runs through my church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  It’s called Light the World.  On December 1st.  Here is a brief description of how it works.

The idea is to do an act of service each day for the whole Christmas season.  Some things are as little as sending a text with a positive message and others are bigger.  But most are small and simple things that can have a large ripple effect.

Form the official website: #LightTheWorld is an invitation to transform Christmas into a season of service. It’s a worldwide movement to touch hearts and change lives by doing the things Jesus did: feeding the hungry, comforting the lonely, visiting the sick and afflicted, and showing kindness to everyone. Jesus said, “Ye are the light of the world” (Matthew 5:14). #LightTheWorld is the perfect way to let our light—and His light—shine brightly.

 

I hope you’ll join with me and Light the world this year as you enjoy the Christmas Season.  You can find out more HERE.

Live in thanksgiving daily.

…live in thanksgiving daily, for the many mercies and blessings which he doth bestow upon you. (Alma 34:38)

Thanksgiving

First of all, I want to wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving day.  I thought it would be appropriate to speak of gratitude on Thanksgiving day!  What other time of the year do we take one whole day to celebrate all that is good in our lives, all of our many blessings?

If you have read much of my blog, then you already know how important journals are to me.  And my favorite of all the journals that I write in, is my gratitude journal.  It doesn’t have to be a big expensive journal with a fancy cover.  It can just be a notebook that you can keep inside your purse if need be.

The important part is that you write in it.  Not just periodically, but daily.  It’s similar to being consistent that we talked about here.

“Gratitude is a Spirit-filled principle. It opens our minds to a universe permeated with the richness of a living God. Through it, we become spiritually aware of the wonder of the smallest things, which gladden our hearts with their messages of God’s love. This grateful awareness heightens our sensitivity to divine direction. When we communicate gratitude, we can be filled with the Spirit and connected to those around us and the Lord. Gratitude inspires happiness and carries divine influence.”                        Bonnie D. Parkin

A few weeks ago we talked about joy and I believe that one of the ways that we can find true joy is through living in thanksgiving daily as stated above.

Today you will gather with family and friends to celebrate your love and relationships and all that you have to be grateful for.  You will eat a lot of good food, watch football, play games, sleep and love on each other, build on current relationships and maybe start new ones.

I hope that you will take a few minutes at some point during your day to write down all of the many blessings you have in your life.

While everyone’s Thanksgiving might not be perfect, it can be filled with love and happiness.  That really depends on you.  Sure you could give away your control when one of your siblings or parents says or does something inappropriate.  But how much better will your memories be if you can just be filled with gratitude.

I’m not sure who, but someone shared this with me one day, and because I live far away from my family it really stuck with me.

Think about the people in your life, not those you live with daily, but those that you may only see a couple of times per year.  Now think about how many times you will get to see and be with them in their lifetime.  Usually that’s only a couple of times per year for most people.  If it’s a parent, and say they have roughly 10 years more of living, that’s only about 20 more times in YOUR life that you will get to spend with them!

So today, try to make the most of the time you get to spend with all of the important people in your life.  Because you just never know when that might be your last time.

And if you live far away from family, CALL them or FaceTime them.  It would mean so much to them.

Have a great Thanksgiving!

XO Wendy