Hustle and bustle

In the hustle and bustle of the busy world this time of year, we tend to forget the reason for the season.  It’s easy to get caught up in the gift giving and Santa Claus and party atmosphere.

But the Christmas season is a time to celebrate the priceless gift of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. His birth is more than the symbol of a holiday. He is the Son of God and the Redeemer of all mankind.

I hope today you will enjoy this video that reminds us the true reason for the season.  I love my Savior with all that I am.  And I am so grateful that He was born into this world and laid down His life so that we could all live eternally.  What a gift that is!

#sharethegift

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:16

Seeing the hand of God in your life.

Recognizing and seeing the hand of God in your life can be a daunting endeavor.  Especially on regular routine days that seem nothing out of the ordinary.  Recently I read a talk given to CES students in Texas by Sister Bednar.  In it she speaks of the ability to look for and feel the hand of the Lord working in your daily life.  I loved her counsel so much!

She used a song to express 4 steps that we can use to grow closer to our Father and Heaven and our Savior.  Thus being able to recognize and understand when he is at work in our lives. 1. We must have ears to hear the word of the Lord, 2.  And eyes to see His plan, 3. Feet to follow in His path,  4. And hearts to understand. She goes on to explain each one very briefly and I feel like it is well worth the time to read it so that we can learn to recognize and feel Him close.

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There have been many times in my life that I have felt the Lord close and recognized his hand almost immediately and other times when I felt so far away and like he wasn’t there at all for me.

In the talk, Sister Bednar offers a quote by Henry B. Eyring that is very helpful to all of us when we can’t feel him there.  He said, ““I bless you that every day, if you will ask in prayer to be shown where the hand of God intervened in your life that day, I bless you that you will see that. It will be made manifest to you. That you will see that He is leading and guiding and lifting you, and that He knows you”.

Isn’t that such a beautiful promise and blessing from an apostle of the Lord? I am definitely going to start this practice in my own evening prayers.  And maybe morning prayers as well so that I will come to know exactly what it feels like when it is happening.  The Lord wants to talk to us and he wants us to hear and feel him!

I remember one sacred time when I knelt to say my evening prayer. I was exhausted, but I had asked specific questions and then quickly ended my prayer and jumped into bed.  I had the distinct impression saying “why did you get up so quickly? I had things to say to you”.  I kind of brushed it off as my own internal dialogue and snuggled deeper into my blankets.  Then it came again more forcefully, “Get back on your knees and listen to what I have to say”.  And so I did.  And what happened next was one of the sweetest experiences that I have ever had with feeling my Savior so close to me, answering my questions and giving me the counsel that I needed at that particular time.  But it definitely took an open heart and mind to allow for this experience to happen for me.  And I promise that if you follow the counsel from Sister Bednar’s talk you can have similar and equally touching experiences in your life. And even on the daily.

One last quote to consider, Elder Bednar said “It is one thing to know that Jesus Christ came to earth to die for us—that is fundamental and foundational to the doctrine of Christ. But we also need to appreciate that the Lord desires, through His Atonement and by the power of the Holy Ghost, to live in us—not only to direct us but also to empower us”

Today, I encourage you to have ears to hear the word of the Lord, and eyes to see His plan, feet to follow in His path, and hearts to understand.

XO Wendy

 

 

Learning to Love yourself

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I recently went to lunch with friends and we got talking about how hard we are on ourselves.  How we constantly beat ourselves up for every little thing that we do wrong.  And yet if our children or friends were to fall, or fail at something, we are the first to come to the rescue to pick them up, console them and to build them back up.

Why is it that we are so hard ourselves? Especially us women (men too but not to the extremes we see in women)?

It’s funny because sometimes I run across the same message in several different ways when I am trying to decide what to share.  And that’s when I know that it is one that the Lord wants me to share.  Today this message seemed to be everywhere.  I listened to a podcast this morning that talked about how to give grace to ourselves for all of the short falls that we might have or mistakes we may have made in the past.  To learn to live in our feelings of not being perfect, that it’s ok, expected and normal NOT to be perfect.

When I returned from lunch and checked on social media I found this message from our Prophet, Russel M. Nelson.

Ladies (and guys), The Lord loves us and we should love us too. After all we are created in his image.

Think about how awful it makes you feel when your child is down on themselves. When they are saying how stupid they are and what a mess of things they’ve made, or how ugly they are.  It breaks your heart and all you want to do is take all that pain that they are feeling away.  So think how our Heavenly Father (and mother) feel when we are constantly filling our own minds with negative self talk and self loathing.  It must break their hearts and fill their eyes with tears.

Gratefully, this is not something we have to figure out on our own.  As in the statement above we can ask our Heavenly Father, in the name of Jesus Christ and He will let us know exactly how he feels about us.  And that should make a difference in how we feel about ourselves.  If given the opportunity, I’m sure they would wrap their spirit around us in a big hug of comfort, peace and love. Can you even imagine the great love they have for us?

Oh my dear sisters, (for thats what I believe we all are), if only you could see yourself the way God sees you!  What would change in your life if you knew, really knew, how special you are?

One of my friends shared this idea for a practice that we could start that may help and I thought it was such a good idea.  I think I will get a new pretty journal just for this! 😉

So the idea is to learn to love yourself and recognize all that you do and are that is good.  So every night, you will write down 3 things that you liked about yourself that day.  Then in the morning when you wake up, you read over those three things again.  Then that night you repeat the process with 3 more things (different things) that you liked about yourself that day.  And then the next morning you read over again the things from the night before.  You continue this process daily.  As the days progress you will learn to love yourself and all that you are.  You will begin to see in yourself all of the good that everyone else and especially the Lord sees. You will remember who you are and your life will be changed!

I see you my dear sisters.  I see you.  And you are more beautiful and loved than you can imagine!

XO Wendy

Some days we thrive, somedays we survive.

thrive and survive

Yesterday was one such day for me.  Surviving.  I don’t know if it was the weather (regarding seasonal depression), or I didn’t sleep well, or if it was something that affected me in a negative way.  But it was a really rough day.

My daughter always used to say, “a good day always follows a bad one”. So I sort of clung to that idea believing that I’d wake up and I would feel better.  Maybe not significantly better, but better none the less. I also tried to really focus on my self care and tried to figure out what, if anything I’d been missing.

And that’s what got me thinking about these two very different states of the mind.  Having dealt with seasonal depression pretty much every year for my whole life, I know it never gets easier.  But we can become stronger by the habits that we intentionally develop over the course of the year leading up to this time of year.  You’d think that I’d be ready for it when it hits but not so.  It always just kind of smacks me from behind leaving me wondering what hit me.  But that doesn’t mean I have to get knocked down, or if I do, that I can’t get back up again.

I’m sure that may be the same for many of you who suffer with mental illnesses (or any hard thing for that matter).  So I thought it would be great to try to focus on thriving this year instead of just surviving.  Let’s do it together.  I have a friends who I follow on IG that are such an inspiration to me because even in the really tough times, they are very open and constantly trying to practice good self care.  One of them posted this today and I think it is a really good reminder of things that we can do when we are struggling. If we can practice these things regularly through the hard months ahead, we can thrive instead of just survive.

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And if you are barely surviving, don’t be afraid to reach out.  Please just stay.  Don’t quit! I am always here to listen and I know others are there for you too.  Don’t give up.  It will get better.

 

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

 

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.

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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

 

Consistency is Key

Ok So yesterday we talked about making changes and just taking one step in a positive direction. How’d you do? Hopefully it lit a fire under you to make a change that will move you closer to who you want to be. And now how do you make that happen? How do you become what or who you want to be? CONSISTENCY is the Key!
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Guys, I’m not kidding when I talk about this. It’s a critical part of the decision that you just made to make a change. Now, your challenge is going to be that you stay consistent in your goal. Meaning you work on it every day. Every day. Every day! What does that look like?

It looks like filling your life and your mind with the things that support the step forward that you have taken or the change that you are instituting.

When I was a young mom and my children all started school. I decided that I wanted to do something or make a change that would help me kind of find my identity as a woman again. Not something completely selfish but something where I could improve myself and help others along the way.

I had a friend that had encouraged me to get into pageantry. Run for a MRS. title. And so after brooding about it and feeling stuck and telling myself all kinds of reasons why I couldn’t do it. I finally decided to make a move forward. Just do it. I made that decision and then I moved! And you know what? It was one of the best experiences of my life. I got to see so many positive changes in myself and others, because we had a “platform” which was something that we believed strongly about and wanted to make a difference with. I chose mentoring and worked with Big Brothers, Big Sisters of America. I got to see changes in myself, but more importantly, I got to see other’s lives change through me. I didn’t win the title that first year, but because I worked hard and I was super consistent, I placed first runner up. So of course I knew that I would do it again the next year because naturally I wanted to win. 😉

But in order to do that, I had to continue to be consistent. I didn’t just stop working after that first pageant (in the off season). I didn’t procrastinate until it came closer to that next pageant. I worked my tail off. Physically, mentally and spiritually and also with the children that I worked with (including my own family), so that I would be able to present my best self.

And it totally paid off! I won the title of Mrs. Utah in 2001. I reached that goal, and it felt so good to know that I had really made some positive changes in the lives of those around me, my family, my relationships and especially in myself. But a big thing that I learned through that experience is that it wasn’t the end goal that mattered most. It was the things that I learned on journey by being consistent and working hard!

Now that’s a story that I don’t share a lot about because since that time there have been a lot of other changes in my life that have become incredible moments for me. But it was a defining moment for me because I realized I could do hard things! And I could reach big goals! But I had to be consistent in working towards those goals. And so can you!

Take the choice you made for change and make consistent steps toward that change everyday. Everyday. Everyday!

XO