Thursday, December 26, 2013

Shake It Out. . . .

I'm overweight. I've always been overweight. I remember being eleven years old and my dad asking me to go on a diet with him and my mom. I always knew I wasn't skinny like the other girls, or more specifically my older sister, but that was the first time I felt fat. I felt like I had let my parents down. I felt ugly. My grandpa made a joke about me to my dad at a family party where he laughed and said, "Every time her mouth opens, her elbow bends." Even though I love my grandpa, and I know he was just making a joke, it still haunts me to this day. There is truth in all humor, that is what makes something funny and relate able, and there was truth in that joke. My older sister never let me forget that I had a large butt. She would come up behind me and knee me repeatedly in the rear end like my butt was a soccer ball she was bouncing around. I think they call it "corn dogging" today. "Bubble Butt" was her endearing name for me. I'd go on power walks with my mom listening to Richard Simmons on tape. It was humiliating to be the only sibling in my family that had to do that. We even went camping and my mom made me hike around the park as to not miss a work out. Even on vacation I was not allowed to forget that I was fat. My food was counted and weighed and my siblings laughed at me because of it. I quickly detached myself from my family, it somehow made it easier to exist that way. If I was in the shadows, no one would notice me, then no one could hurt me. I somehow still live that motto today. 

After my divorce, I quickly realized that I was not the ideal woman for almost any man. I would date men and they would either ask me my bra size on the first date, or mention how good I'll look once they get me into the gym and drop a few pounds off of me. I bought into that mentality and basically starved myself into a smaller size. I limited myself to only 30 grams of carbs or less a day and ran six days a week. I kept telling myself that this is how others want to see me and that this was all positive. And for the most part, it is. However the primal motives for my weight obsession were rooted heavily in the fact that no one wanted a fat girlfriend, a fat daughter, a fat anything. After two years of starvation, plantar fasciitus in both feet from running, monthly bills for trainers and gym memberships, and countless people telling me how proud they were of me, and how good I looked, I was still not happy with who I was. I was still not thin enough, not pretty enough, and still had the fat version of myself looming in the background like a haunting addiction I could not escape. The pressure of being thin, or even acceptable to others was weighing so heavily on me, I began to fail at trying to be thin. I found myself depressed more now than I had ever been. It slowly occurred to me that if I gained back any of the weight I had lost, all those "I'm so proud of you's", praises, attractiveness, and overall acceptance would fade and I would be left with the corn dogging and funny jokes with more than mild undertones of truth that left me so alone in the first place. 

I then so quickly, jumped head first off the diet train and into the arms of my long lost love of food. I figured, if anyone was going to love me, they needed to love me for me. And not for the size I was, not for the weight I had lost, not for the expectation they had for me, but for the fat, funny, beautiful me that had been there from the beginning. I basically rejected the notion that I needed to change to please anyone, especially myself. 

Of course I rapidly re-gained the weight I had struggled to loose and was back to the average weight my body had been accustomed to for so many years. I knew I was fat, it didn't make me happy, but I felt more like me than I had felt in years. 

So now, I tell you all this, not to gain sympathy, but to broaden your understanding of this particular blog's question. I am currently pregnant and just over five months in. I have lost about 30 lbs total, even though my belly has grown immensely. The clothes I could barely fit into before I found out I was pregnant are now baggy and hang off my frame and enlarged belly. For the first four months of my pregnancy I could not eat a thing. I was so ill, I basically starved for those long months. And now that my morning sickness has ended, I find myself regularly unable to eat more than a small child's portion of food at a time before feeling sick. Occasionally I am able to eat more, but I usually regret it because of the over stuffed feeling I have after the fact. Even though I am still wanting to eat because I feel hungry, I no longer experience that desire to ingest food. So the consequence of such means I am still loosing weight daily. I regularly experience comments from family or friends praising me about my weight loss. My husband is regularly supportive of me and laughs every time he sees my butt because he cannot believe the difference in it's size. On some levels I feel blessed to have this built in weight loss program that seems to be working even during a time where I should be gaining weight. But then I also feel that negative side affect of where the fat voice in my head makes me feel like they didn't like me before and now will only like me if I am thin. Even at the expense of me not being able to eat regularly for five  plus months. 

Now I understand the logic in their comments. They are truly supportive and encouraging. It is only me that seems to categorize them negatively. So my question to you is this: Do we ever really get past being fat in our society today? I throw this question out there because I feel I never will. I will always be the viewed as the fat sister, the fat wife, the fat (insert noun here) even though all my other qualities show I have such a pretty face. Until I am ultimately thin and stay that way, do we ever really let go of being fat?

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini. . . .

I read an article today about a video I watched a month or so ago called, The Evolution of the Swimsuit. Please take a moment to read and view both links before you continue reading.
My opinion on the video was supportive since I am against myself and my girls wearing a bikini. I am Pro-Modesty (if that's even a term I can use). I am against the bikini because I believe it exposes them in a way that we cannot control. For example, I cannot control the creepy guy at the pool from oogling my daughter or me while wearing something that's revealing. So in order to take as much control as I can, I choose for us to wear something that deflects that sort of behavior in others. That choice makes me feel happy, like I am protecting the virtue within my daughters, as well as in myself. Not to mention, helping not create a weakness in others that choose to look at us in that manner.
So when I read the article of this author's take on The Evolution of the Swimsuit, she asked a question, not unlike the questions I ask at the end of each of my blog posts. (Makes me feel like I could write for KSL.) She asked this:
"Can we teach modesty while at the same time, teach tolerance?"
Hmmmm. . . . . Well, let's deconstruct the question first. Modesty, by definition, means: "regard for decency of behavior, speech, dress etc." So if you believe/practice/teach modesty as being what is decent, then I think it would be fair to say that the opposite, or immodesty, would be deemed indecent. All of which is completely opinion based and circumstantial to your environment. Tolerance, by definition, means: "a fair, objective, and permissive attitude toward opinions and practices that differ from one's own". Now, to teach tolerance is to basically show acceptance of something others or yourself do not accept. Therefore, by saying you are a tolerant person, you are stating that you are accepting of something that is openly viewed as not acceptable either in yourself or others. And by doing so hope to change that opinion from unacceptable to acceptable. Otherwise, why would you be standing up for  it? Again, all of which is completely opinion based and circumstantial to your environment. (What is one man's trash, is another man's treasure.)
Now, before I dive into my opinion on the question, I want to define one more word. Opinion, by definition means: "a belief or judgment that rests on grounds insufficient to produce complete certainty". This definition alone proves to me that an opinion can only be deemed as concrete truth by and to the person who holds it. Opinions are personal. Opinions are based upon one's own views. My personal opinion is that the color Green is that happiest color on the earth. I believe that is why God created plants/life with the color green. The color green can be seen from space and is the most widely used color in nature. The word green even has been used to represent a higher standard of living. Green, is the supreme color. I believe this with all my heart. Some of you out there might believe it as well. But I know so many that view Yellow as their happy color, or Blue, or Pink. I personally do not like pink. I feel pink makes me look childish and like I'm dressing too young for my age. I am not confident in pink and usually think others are staring at me when I wear it. There is nothing anyone will ever say to me to get me to wear pink. I may have some flecks of it in a blouse or something similar like burgundy shoes, but I dislike pink. And that's okay, it's my opinion.
Going back to the modesty/tolerance debate. I feel that society uses the word tolerance too much. Not that it's negative, but that it's used so much the definition is now being distorted. I don't believe it's about being tolerant when it comes to the example of modesty vs. tolerance, as much as it is about being non-judgmental when holding on to your own opinion. Being Judgmental, by definition means: "tending to criticize, tending to judge or criticize the conduct of other people". This is where I think society has become derailed in it's thinking. We forget that we, at least in this country, have liberty, and liberty is the freedom to exercise our rights. Because of liberty, we are granted the freedom to have opinions. And by having an opinion, we reached that opinion by making a personal judgment. That is what our forefathers sought after when they fled England. They wanted to choose for themselves.
I believe that the word judgmental is also used too much to the point that the definition is being distorted. We forget that as free, human beings, we are entitled to make our own judgments. What we should not do is be a judgmental person. Let me explain further. Making a judgment is personal and only involves the person making the judgment. It's an internal action. Being judgmental is an external action because it involves someone else. Typically defined as condemning another for their own judgment or opinion.
I have made a judgment!! I believe Green to be the color of all colors. What I have not done is be judgmental. I have not condemned another for not believing the same thing. Do I need to tolerate someone for not liking Green?? No. Do I need to go out and condemn someone for thinking Pink is the ultimate color in order to defend Green? No, again. To tolerate someone or their opinion is to be accepting. And no, I do not have to accept anyone else's opinion ever!! What I do believe I need to do is to not condemn another for their opinion. So in defense of Modesty, I will always be pro-modesty. Referring to the KSL article, will I protest Victoria's Secret for their racy commercials in voice or action? Probably not. I will however make a judgment and always change the channel when one comes on. Am I condemning VS? No. I'm just choosing not to support it or accept it in my home. And I will show my girls that action as a teaching tool for modesty.
Ultimately, my answer to the question of "Can we teach modesty while at the same time, teach tolerance?" is Yes, but they do not need to be synonymous. Teaching tolerance and practicing it are two different things. And being tolerant does not mean you must be tolerant of all things. I think it's more important to teach the difference between making a judgment and being judgmental, and practice that, than it is to worry about offending someone else by not accepting their choices. We will always be in a place to be offended or to offend. That is the joy of having different opinions. Believe it or not, it's a good thing. But just like opinions, offense is also personal. If you take someone else's opinion as a personal offense, well then that's your problem. If you personally offend someone for their opinion, then again, that's your problem. If we sit around and worry about opinions and offenses, we are missing the mark entirely. Having an opinion that is different than another's is a normal every day life occurrence. It does not mean you have to accept their opinion and it also does not give you the right to condemn them for it.
I do not tolerate a great many things. It does not mean I am a negative person. (Which I believe society thinks people are when they are not "tolerant" of one thing or another.) It simply means that I hold strong to my opinion. I don't think I will ever be tolerant of the bikini, and even if one of my daughters comes home wearing one, I will not accept it. However, I will always accept her. And maybe that's more the definition we should be searching for.
So what do you think? What is your opinion today?

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Stand By Your Man. . . .

How loyal do you need to be to your spouse?

My hubby decided to tag along to my dentist appointment the other day. He had not been into the dentist for a routine check in ten years. I have been seeing this dentist for almost seven years. I love this dentist. My kids love this dentist. So I was very surprised to find that my husband basically called him a cheat. My hubby went in and came out with a long order of work that needed to be done including a root canal. He walked away extremely upset. I on the other hand was happy to see his mouth be in a healthier state and scheduled it all. My hubby decided otherwise. He went back to his old dentist, the one that caused the needed root canal, and asked for a second opinion. My hubby then called me immediately and bragged how his dentist didn't think he needed X amount of work, only a root canal. He then stopped into my work and told me I needed to stop seeing my dentist because he was a cheat. This upset me greatly, and I told him that. I love my dentist and have never complained about the work my kids or I have needed done. However, I've never questioned it either.

So I ask you, How loyal do you need to be to your spouse?

I feel a sense of loyalty to my dentist, only because it reflects my judgement. I also feel like I should take my  husband's side because, well, he is my husband and I will be with him forever and want to make sure something as little as what dentist we go to doesn't interfere with that. So, what do I do? Do I agree with my hubby and ditch the dentist? Or do I stand my ground and let him go where he feels comfortable, and stay where I feel comfortable? (I don't know if I even feel comfortable going anymore. My whole judgement about the dentist is altered.)
What's your advice?

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Mama. . . .

I believe everything in life can be boiled down to one reason, and one reason alone. Power. Life is all about power. We are either giving it, receiving it, controlling it, stealing it, holding it over someone, lifting someone up because of it, and/or identifying ourselves by the large amount of or lack thereof. Power is the reasoning to life's struggles or the reason there are none.

I read an article today about a daughter of famous, The Color Purple author Alice Walker. In this article, daughter Rebecca, writes about her struggle against her Mother's ideals and way of life. I urge you to take a moment and read her story.

Rebecca's struggle for approval from her Mother and her battle for her own identity struck many chords of thought that are now playing in my mind like the symphony of a child's first encounter with a piano. They are all over the place.

I want to first discuss the Parent-to-Child relationship angle. I think as parents, one of the most difficult moments we face is when our children strike out on their own, and choose for themselves. Especially when they choose against what we had envisioned for them or raised them to be. There are many times as a parent of a blossoming, attitude driven teenager, I find myself struggling with the fact that I am losing power over her, because of the power she has within herself to make independent choices and ultimately become an independent person.

So how much influence do we really have over our children? Are we really in control of their upbringing? Or are we merely exemplars they can or cannot follow? Let me bring to light another point the article brings up. Divorce, or the Parent-to-Parent angle.

As a divorced parent, I see the dramatic difference my children face when with one or the other parent. I consider myself to be an open minded, open loving, Christian that lets my faith fuel my choices but not get in the way of someone else's. I dress conservatively with a mild mannered sense of flare and colour in my fashion and wardrobe. Sir and Ma'am are common place in my vocabulary and I enjoy the uncommonly used phrases that add humour and dynamic to an otherwise bland palette. I love being creative and consider myself musically inclined. I also find great joy in service, I teach the youth on Sundays at church and the idea of pleasing others is at the top of my list. I am LDS and very proud of it. I parent with an iron fist at times. Rules, chores, privileges and consequences, along with family unity is how I run my home. In a caricature, I'd say I look like this, the one on the left:

My ex on the other hand is someone who is of a "dark" nature (his words, not mine-though I agree). He wears make-up, paints his nails, dyes his go-tee odd colors like purple or blue, has tattoos, piercings, smokes and drinks, and almost always wears black. He is musically talented and plays guitar and bass in multiple bands or projects-all music that is of a "darker" design, like goth, scream-o, or heavy metal. Most of that music I find inappropriate for my girls to view. He is open and liberal. He is kind and I see how much he loves his girls. He is not religious and is not around my girls very often (his choice, not mine). And when he does have them, there are no rules, no consequences, and no real structure. In a caricature, I'd say he looks like the guy in the above picture, on the right.
Can you see the dramatic difference my kids encounter when at either parent's home? My ex and I are opposites. I am terribly aware of this contradiction between ourselves and parenting style, but as we both have rights to our children, we also have rights to teach and influence them based upon our own ideals. As in the article about Rebecca and her Mother, Alice, I know my girls battle between their parents. They may not verbally express their stress between the two worlds, but I can see it tear at them when deciding what lifestyle is acceptable to them. And now that I am remarried to someone more similar to myself, I can also see the easier way parenting can be by having the same perspective and execution in parenting. As well as it's direct impact upon my girls. They do not struggle nearly as much between Myself and my Husband as they do with Myself and their Dad.

So again, how much control do we have over our children's choices? Expectations, limitations, and control are placed upon kids every day. Do this, do that, No, Yes, etc. etc. etc. Each day of their lives are patterned by the power, or lack of power we place over them. Most "parental power" is used in a positive way, to sculpt and guide our children into adulthood. Unfortunately, it can also be used negatively and cause issues for them in their lives.

As a parent, I tend to reflect upon my own childhood in order to raise my own children. Let's look at the Child-to-Parent angle. As a child/teen/adult, we struggle for our own identity separate from that of our parent's. For me, I wanted to please my parents to no end. I was crushed any time they didn't approve of me. The slightest negativity still haunts me to this day. My parents gave a certain expectation of how I should turn out and I did all I could to live up to that expectation. I felt like if I didn't they viewed it as a reflection of them and I held the burden of their disappointment on my shoulders. But once I reached crossroads where my very own individuality was to be it's strongest, I failed. Why? I believe I failed because I didn't really choose for myself who I wanted to be. I let other's expectations dictate my choices. It wasn't until I was around 30 years old that I really discovered who I was, who I am. It was a "breaking free" time in my life to really choose for myself my own path. I challenged every expectation placed upon me and took back the power I'd let others have over me.

I believe most children do this. There is usually a stage labeled as rebellion one will go through in order to gain the power needed to become their individual self. Some times that means going against what Mommy & Daddy say, or what Society says is appropriate or correct, to get there.

Some of the things I challenged were, to name a few:

Social acceptance
Family Unit/Unity

I decisively went against what I was raised to believe in on these subjects and more, to be able to choose for myself what I honestly believed in. So if I did it, why would I say my girls can't? Well, it's because I made some mistakes on my path to individuality and self discovery and I want my girls to not make the same mistakes. So I use as much of my "power" as I can to keep them from making those poor decisions. But bottom line, How would you as a parent feel if your kids went completely against your parenting and chose something else, something ultimately opposite?

In Rebecca's article, she did just that. She chose the exact life opposite of her mother's. In spite of everything her Mother did to teach her one way of life, Rebecca chose what was more natural to her. It was a life long struggle of power. Rebecca let her Mother have such power over her that she was still heartbroken when she finally took that last step into owning the power for herself and disappointing Alice.

This power struggle between Parent and Child is a daily lifestyle. It's somewhat the definition of what that relationship is, a power struggle. Parents hold power over their children by setting rules and boundaries. Children take that power upon themselves and break given rules and boundaries. Which in turn, they place power over their children and then those children break those rules/boundaries and so on, and so on. It's a cycular pattern. So now I go back to my original question, Are we really in control over our children's lives?

The answer is No. We are only in ultimate control of our own choices. We cannot make our children follow one path or the other. We can only do everything in our power to convince them our path is the path they should be on. And we do this by setting said rules and being the equivalent example of such in hopes that they follow suit.

I am very much afraid that any one of my girls will follow their father's path. I dread the day that one of them comes home with an odd placed piercing, or hasty chosen tattoo. I am their mother and so it is innate that I worry for them. Will I be okay with a tattooed daughter? Will I be okay with a "darker" version of what I envisioned them to be? I don't know. All I can do is continue what I can by implementing structure and by example, live the life the way I feel it is best for them, whether it is what they choose is best for them or not.

So I ask you this, What type of power do you really have?

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Before My Time. . . .

As mothers, I believe we immediately form a bond of love for our children. It doesn't take long for us to carve a special place in our hearts for the children in our lives. So, if you believe that, you will understand my story.

This is what happened.

My Husband is 14 years older than I am. That may seem like a lot to some of you, but in all honesty, I don't see it. Occasionally his grey hairs will remind me of our age difference but it never bothers me. In fact, I believe I am more mature that he is most of the time. Because of his age, his children are older and even closer to my age than he is. His oldest just had her first child in October, which makes him a grandpa, and by proxy, me a grandma. So when we were dating and the notion of children came up, he wasn't sure he wanted any more. I always knew I had spirit(s) waiting to be a part of our family for years before I even met him. Bottom line, it was difficult for me to chose between him and the wanting of more children. Ultimately I felt blessed to have my three and decided I didn't want to lose him, and agreed to the idea that we may not have any children together.

This pained me. I was willing to not have any more because I could see us traveling as empty nesters in ten years and that brought me happiness. However, the emptiness I felt by not having another baby haunted me. Especially when my two sisters had babies this past year. I know my Husband could see it in my eyes. He'd keep asking me what was bothering me and I'd brush it off as a headache or something. Until one night he cornered me and forced it out of me. He said, "I know how much you want another baby." I was so emotional over what was reeling through my head I could only respond with tears. It was then he asked me if we could have a baby together. I said yes, and we immediately started trying.

Three anxious months later and I still wasn't pregnant. It was frustrating to me because I NEVER had trouble with this before. I practically thought about getting pregnant and then instantly was 5 months along. I never had to try and figure out when I was ovulating or track my periods for variances because it just happened. So one day, out of anger for not becoming pregnant yet, I decided to pee on my last purple pregnancy stick just to get the disappointment of it always being negative out of my bathroom. I didn't even look at it right away because I just knew it would be negative. A little while later I took a look at it just before chucking it with indignantcy into the trash. It said, positive. Nathan immediately started rejoicing. He was ready to tell everyone we knew we were expecting. However, the skeptic that I am, I ignored it. I set a day with my Husband to let him tell certain people, but I wasn't going to count my babies before they were born.

About four days later I started to let myself get excited. I even mentioned it to my boss just to let myself feel that rush of joy. But then later that afternoon I started to feel some odd movement in my abdomen. I kept thinking it was just the need to go to the bathroom, but that never fully remedied the problem. They weren't heavy or harsh pains, they were just there, noticeable. Close of business day approached and I went to the bathroom one last time to discover I was bleeding. I suddenly burst into tears, upset that I let myself get excited knowing I had set myself up for a fall by doing so. The pains progressed to what felt like a miscarriage. They didn't feel like any of my regular menstrual cramps so I knew this wasn't just a false positive. However, the bleeding did not reflect either a miscarriage or a menstruation cycle. It wasn't heavy bleeding, at lease not enough to warrant a trip to the ER, and stopped bone dry after 24 hours.

I decided to find out if it was in fact a miscarriage or a round of spotting by purchasing another set of pregnancy tests. The first one I took was 24 hours after the bleeding stopped. Negative. Then I took another one two days later. Negative. That day I made an appointment to see my OB the following Monday.

At my appointment I did the routine of seeing how fat I am on the scale, scaring the nurse with my low blood pressure, and peeing in a little plastic cup. I explained to the nurse my anomaly and told her I was just confused. I could still feel pain in my uterus reminiscent to ovarian cysts, that I had one positive test, sudden onset of bleeding, and then two negative tests. She noted everything down and then I was left to await the doctor. Partway through my solitary confinement the nurse popped her head in asking me to describe my bleeding. I told her it was steady but not heavy with both bright red and dark red blood and small remnants of tissue. (I apologize for the tmi.) She said, "hmmmmmm" and told me the test was positive but a faint positive and the doctor would discuss it with me further when he arrived, closed the door, and left me with my thoughts.

My sweet doctor ran the routine exam and scraped my tonsils for the pap smear and sent me for blood work to test my HCG level (Human Chorionic Gonadotropin - or pregnancy hormone). The next day my level was at 124, which is low for a pregnancy but not abnormal, or a sign of me coming off of a miscarriage, or sign it is an ectopic pregnancy or pregnancy that is in an abnormal place, or ultimately an abnormal pregnancy. Basically a new long list of worries, but no answers. I went back in for blood work a day later and received a call from my doctor later that afternoon. My level was now at 176, which is about a 40% increase. Again low but not necessarily abnormal or basically all of the above. Now through this whole process I am still experiencing pain much like an ovarian cyst that was slowly becoming uncomfortable, until Thursday the next day. I awoke with nausea and heavy cramps all through my body. I still had the cyst-like pain but I was now experiencing heavy muscle spasm-like pain all over my back and torso, and sharp lightening pain in random places along my abdomen and back.

None of this was severe enough to me to rush to the ER so I called my doctor to try to be seen. And as karma would have it, my doctor was out of the office that day. So I played phone tag with his nurse and the on-call physician. Bottom line, if it gets too much to bear go to the ER, otherwise the doctor will see you after blood work in the morning. I was up until 1:00 am with discomfort at which it suddenly stopped and I was able to go to sleep.

After blood work the next morning and a time of reflection waiting for the doctor, he finally came in to see me and deliver the bad news. He told me my HCG level was at 202 and that it should be at least double what it was two days prior. I began to cry. He so gently told me that it was clear to him I was not carrying a baby but only pregnancy tissue and that it was time to take care of it. In his calm voice he instructed me to go down to the pharmacy, purchase a prescription, and return to his office where the nurse will give me an injection that will ultimately clear out the remaining tissue and relieving me of my abnormal pregnancy. Shaking my head to show I understood, he left me alone in the room, where I sat trying to regain my ability to speak as I texted my husband.

My Husband quickly called me as I left the office making a mad dash for the public bathroom at the end of the hall. I could barely choke out my plea for him to be with me. He was on his way and I was dripping like a broken faucet unable to leave the stall I had barricaded myself in. It took me about 15 minutes just to compose myself for the long walk across the hospital grounds to the pharmacy. I decided to put my ear buds in and listen to some music to distract me and keep me from having to speak to anyone along the way.

After purchasing my prescription I met my Husband at the front of the hospital and then headed back to my doctor's office. They set us in a private room and it wasn't long before my doctor stepped in. He reassured me that there was nothing to be afraid of and if we wanted to wait, we could, but that even in two weeks we would have the same answer. So the nurse came in and administered me the injection.

I didn't feel the prick of the needle, but I soon experienced a sickening feeling and lots of pain. It was somewhat reassuring in that there was a physical pain related to the emotional pain I was feeling.

Now I know I am not the only person this has happened to. I actually feel a little silly at how dramatic I have been. My mother had three miscarriages in her lifetime and I know a number of women who have experienced this in some degree. And knowing it could've turned out much worse comforts me. I am so very blessed to know what I went through was actually minimal. But knowing that does not take away the space I made in my heart for the little one. It does not erase the names I thought of, or the image of what she might look like from my memory. Even though I knew from the moment I started cramping I would not hold this child in my arms, it did not stop me from naturally giving hope that I was wrong.

I believe in my Heavenly Father. I believe in His son Jesus Christ. I believe in the Holy Spirit. I find such peace knowing that I can rest my spirit in their hands and follow their guidance. I trust them. I trust them with my life and the lives of my children.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Caught in the Crowd. . . .

The other day I had a surprising little message from a young girl on Facebook wanting my address so she could send me something in the mail. I quickly replied, intrigued by the inquiry. A short two days pass and I receive a letter from this young woman in my small grey mail box. I quickly opened it to find a lovely hand written letter and token of her disclosed apology.

About four summers back, we had been in a show together. Her letter reflected great sorrow over something that had happened between us during that show. Something I was unaware of but that haunted her up until the day she wrote the letter in hopes of my forgiveness. Now, I vaguely remember the occurrence and honestly don't recall my reaction, but as I continued reading her handwriting's I reflected upon all those many times I deeply regretted decisions I had made in my own life that affected someone else.

I take you back almost 16 years to my senior year in high school. I was insecure and craving approval. My emotions were always on my sleeve and one day I couldn't meet the expectation a certain choir teacher had for me, and ran from the class room crying. Hiding in the girls bathroom wiping away every shred of make-up from my eyes, a sweet friend came in to find out what was wrong. I unloaded every frustration I had on him concerning that teacher and about a small number of his "pets". I was not very kind in my descriptions. I told him I would not be back in that day and to please make up something as to why I couldn't return to class. Well, unfortunately he only told the truth about what I had said revealing all my secret opinions to the entire class. Later when I was confronted by the said "pets" about what I had told the friend, I completely denied it. I was scared. That teacher eventually took me aside and told me I needed to apologize to those classmates I offended. I was angry and confused. I didn't even know exactly what had been said to them by my friend, all I knew was that it caused a huge rift in the class and I needed to fix it. So I lied. I lied to each one of them saying I didn't say those things and did not know why my friend said I did. I was on the last apology when I realized this friend over heard our conversation.

It was weeks before graduation and the look upon his face was ingrained in my memory. I had just thrown him under the bus and he knew it. Our eyes had made contact and his soul spoke to mine as the tires ran him over like a slow kitty cat. I kept telling myself, "Just get through graduation and you'll never have to see him again." How true a statement that was.

The look upon his face still haunted me. The guilt I felt about what I had done burned inside my spirit like a unceasing fire, an ember ever white with pain. A couple years after that I was married and had my first daughter and came to a point in my life that I needed to repair what I had done. I tried to search him out but was unable to locate him. All I wanted to do was write him a sincere letter of apology asking for his forgiveness and explaining my weakness in action. But, I could never find a way to contact him. Even years later when Google and Facebook became an easy way of finding someone I could not find him. The letter I so desperately needed to write became a ghost that stalked me wherever I went. Excuses like, I'll see him at a reunion or find him on Facebook eventually, littered my thinking and eventually comforted me into forgetting. Until one day I did find him on Facebook.

It was not the encounter I was hoping for. There was no way of me contacting him or even sending him a friend request in hopes of a response because what I was reading about him was his obituary.

It wasn't very detailed about how he died, just that he was with loved ones and that his suffering was at an end. Obviously leading my mind to believe he had a difficult illness leading to his death. But my heart sank because I knew I would now never get to write that letter. That in this life, I will never be rid of that burning ember of guilt. And until that day of forgiveness in the hereafter, I will dutifully hold tight to my well laid plans and let the burn fill my senses, echoing my days.

I am nauseous as I write this, visualizing the damage I caused. Wishing I had taken a better path in life. But don't we all feel that way, one time or another? Don't we all wish we hadn't done something in our past? I believe we all have regretful moments in our lives. Some moments we can correct, others we simply live with or forget. Bottom line is, our past is littered with poor choices.

I recall watching an LDS General Conference talk being given by President Faust in the year 1997. He spoke of how when he was little he didn't help his grandmother bring in wood for the stove to make dinner and how he regretted it his whole life. (Watch the entire talk or skip to the story at time marker 18:29) Setting aside the fact that President Faust is my favorite apostle of all time, watching him, such a man of God, get choked up about his "sin of omission" always brought forth the knowledge to me that the closer we get to our Heavenly Father the more in tune we are of all the mistakes we have made along the way. At first I thought, geez, if a man of God like President Faust is so ultimately heartbroken over something as small as not helping bring in firewood, I'm doomed! But I soon realized that it doesn't matter how large or small the marks of our past are, they are still ultimately real to us and that makes the damage inside us sometime too heavy to bear.

So going back to the young girl's example of writing me a letter of apology, I applaud her for taking the short time it took to write me and unload that burden from her heart. How wonderful it is that she still had that opportunity to right a wrong, unlike myself. And the funny thing is, I vaguely remember what happened in that show four years ago. If she hadn't sent me the letter, my life would have still been the same. However, her life was altered because of that choice and only she knew it. So holding on to that was only affecting her.

Long story short, I want to encourage everyone to take that moment to right a wrong. Whether it was today, yesterday, or from long ago, fix what you can now because there will be day it won't be as fixable. And for all you know the other party didn't even realize the offense happened and will feel forgiveness isn't even necessary. Or it will repair something that carried an immense amount of pain, lifting a burden held onto for a lifetime. Either way, it will create more room for God to reside within you. And isn't that what we hope to attain? A more Christ-like way of living? The closer we get to our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, the more we want to flush out the impurities of our lives. And the more intense those impurities can seem. It's all part of the evolution that is when trying to obtain eternal perfection.

For me, I hope to one day be a person that is quick to ask for forgiveness. I know the road is broad and long there, but still, I'd love for my first reaction to be humility over pride. I have so very many dark spots on my record that require forgiveness, and lucky for me (and all of you) Christ is the greatest exemplar on the subject. The words, "Let Go" come to mind at the close of this post. Let go of the past that is holding you captive. You were not created for this world alone. You were created for something better, something amazing that is waiting at the end of your road. Let go of your pride, your sins, your pain. Ask for forgiveness from those you have wronged and release yourself from shadow of the things that have been. Whatever you have done is not that bad.

So I ask you this, Have you asked for forgiveness today?

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Fix You. . . .

If you are reading this blog, please know you are reading a secret.

I am having a difficult time with something, something that I have never before had difficulty with. This particular something, I have never even needed to try at because it always came that natural to me. And now, I am struggling and it's heart breaking to me because time is running out. Time is staring me right in the face and I can do nothing but count the seconds that go by each time I falter, holding my breath as they pass me by.

I am not afraid of failure. I simply do not want to hurt over it.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Day By Day. . . .

I recently wrote a blog post, Spiritchal As Me. . . . about the new LDS youth curriculum, and I came across an article that the church put out discussing the importance of the new lesson plans. I found it to be very edifying and felt the need to share. I hope you enjoy it.

Church Leaders Discuss the “Hastening of Work”

By Sarah Jane Weaver, Church News assistant editor
8 January 2013
In the midst of changes that require Latter-day Saint teenagers to take a greater role in missionary preparation, family history and temple work, and Sunday instruction, leaders say the youth of the Church have been “called to action” and asked to “arise and shine forth” (D&C 115:5).
The changes, which all came to the forefront during the Church’s 182nd Semiannual General Conference this October, make one thing obvious: “The Lord has something He wants to do,” said Elder Paul B. Pieper of the Seventy.

Elder Pieper, Executive Director of the Priesthood Department, recently participated in a Church News roundtable discussion with other General Authorities and officers to discuss the changes that will impact youth in many areas. Also participating in the roundtable discussion were Elder Allan F. Packer of the Seventy and Executive Director of the Family History Department, Elder William R. Walker of the Seventy and Executive Director of the Temple Department, Elder W. Craig Zwick of the Seventy and Assistant Executive Director of the Missionary Department, Elder Paul V. Johnson of the Seventy and Commissioner of Church Education; Dennis C. Brimhall, an Area Seventy and managing director of the Family History Department, and Sister Linda K. Burton, Relief Society general president.

Making reference to an announcement by President Thomas S. Monson lowering the age young men and young women can begin missionary service, to new youth curriculum, and to a First Presidency letter asking that youth get involved in family history research and take family names to the temple, Elder Pieper said he did not see the “three strands coming together” before conference. “I remember going to conference … and asking myself, ‘How did all of this get correlated?’ It was obvious it was the Lord’s hand.”

The Lord was saying, “Let’s get to work and build the kingdom. It is time to step forward and really begin to do things,” Elder Pieper added.

Elder Packer agreed, noting that there “is that underlying feeling of hastening of the work that comes from all of these things that are in the hearts and the minds of the people.”
Making reference to a revelation the Prophet Joseph received in 1832, Elder Zwick said the Lord’s words are clear: “I will hasten my work in its time.”

“The Lord Himself is taking charge here,” Elder Zwick said. “When you think of it in its time, I don’t think there has ever been a generation of youth that have been prepared for the curriculum like we are today. I don’t think there has ever been a group of youth that have done as many baptisms or more ordinances for the dead as this group have done. I don’t think there has ever been a group that have been as close to temple work and all of the facets of that as this group. And certainly all of that has come at a level where it prepares them for missionary service and builds a sure foundation for additional responsibilities in the years following their missions.”

It is a very powerful message that God trusts His youth, said Elder Brimhall.

“It is just like when the Lord does anything—all the things fall into place at the right time, and that is what is happening with this,” said Elder Johnson, noting that those working on the new youth curriculum did not know there would be a shift in the age when missionaries can begin service. “I don’t think it’s by coincidence. That’s the way the Lord works, and I think the youth are prepared. They are ready for it.”

That also speaks well of parents, who have prepared and will continue to prepare their children well, said Sister Burton.

Elder Packer said if one sits back and examines the changes, they indicate a renewed “focus on fundamentals.”

“I can see other things that have been nice to do sliding into the background a little bit and a real focus on what is key and necessary,” he explained.

Elder Walker said one of the most wonderful things that has recently happened is the First Presidency letter encouraging Church members to complete their family history and take those names to the temple. “We have had a cultural phenomenon over the last few years where the youth of the Church have gone to the temple to do baptisms for the dead like never before. And the First Presidency authorized the youth being able to have their own limited use recommend, which has been a really wonderful thing. … But many of them were just involved in going to the temple and doing the baptisms.”

The letter, he continued, promises the youth that their temple experience will be greatly enriched by doing family history work. “When you think about young people anxiously engaged in doing the work in the temple and they understand the doctrine and the rationale, they are not just anxiously engaged in an activity. That really helps to prepare them spiritually for all these wonderful things that are in store for them.”

Elder Packer said that recently he heard of a young woman who stood and shared her testimony of family history work: “This is a whole lot more fun than what the old people said it was going to be,” she said.

Elder Brimhall said family history work gives youth today perspective.

“That is the Spirit of Elijah,” said Elder Walker. “That is the turning of the hearts of the children to the fathers and the fathers to the children. When children’s hearts are turned to their fathers and their grandfathers and their mothers and their grandmothers, they have got the perspective you are talking about.”

Family history work, Elder Packer added, will change how the youth make decisions. It will change how they feel about challenges that come along. “If Grandpa did this, I can do it too.”

He said that a temple president reported that when youth stand proxy in baptism for a name they come out smiling. “When they do it for an ancestor they have tears in their eyes. They feel deeper; they feel something more.”

Helping the youth gain perspective is also a goal of the new youth curriculum—where learning resources replace lesson manuals, said Elder Pieper. The curriculum will allow youth instructors to determine what they need to build into each Sunday experience to prepare youth for temple and family history work and missionary service.

“The new MTC is the home,” said Elder Packer. “The new family history center is the home. This teaching model [the new curriculum] is going to help the youth and the parents, both, in that role.”

Elder Pieper said the changes bring a “real urgency” to parents, who are feeling that urgency.

The message to parents is “Church leaders trust you as parents and trust these young men and young women who are being raised in your homes,” said Elder Zwick. “You can trust them too. They are going to go out with the inspired gifts that you demonstrated and lived in your home. They are just going to get out there and do it a little sooner.”

It is interesting that one year ago the Church began using in-field training for new missionaries coming out of the MTC, said Elder Johnson. “That was not done in connection with the missionary age change, but it is needed now,” he noted. “Sometimes the Lord does that—He puts in place something that is very good and helpful, and if we could see down the road a little ways we can tell it’s not just very good and helpful, it’s necessary. That’s the way He works.”

Elder Zwick said after the missionary announcement was made, many youth tweeted responses across the globe. Some spoke of the convenience of the change. “Then you had the other side who said, ‘This is not about us. This is about the Lord hastening His work.’ … This is about the Spirit of the Lord preparing these young people. He is hastening His work, and they are responding to a prophet’s invitation to serve.”

Sister Burton recently met a stake president who called the now increasing number of young women preparing for missionary service “powerfully pure.”

“I can remember being with President [Thomas S.] Monson on a temple trip,” said Elder Walker. “President Monson said, ‘I think the youth today are stronger than they have ever been before in the history of the Church.’ I think his decision to do this is partly an indication that is how he feels about the youth of the Church.”

All the changes move the “Church to where it needs to be, where it’s prophesied to be,” said Elder Johnson. “The Lord knows what the future is, and … this is just one of the many things He is doing to advance that kingdom, to help it roll forth.”

Elder Pieper said, when contemplating all that happened during general conference this October, he sees “a prophet with keys, flinging doors open and saying, ‘There you go.’ We are inviting you to come and get engaged in this work,” he said. “It is the Lord’s time now. We all know that. We all felt it. The Church is feeling it. Of course it will work.”

Isn't that wonderful?! How exciting it is to come to the realization that we are in a time where the youth are needed more than ever. That their testimonies are needing to be fully engaged and strengthened because they are going to be challenged in the future. This also includes my testimony.

My husband was recently called to be an Indexing Specialist in our ward and I had the privilege to help him talk to the youth about this work that they are being asked to do. He spoke to them concerning the nature of covenants and how once you die, if you did not get the opportunity to do make these covenants while you were living, you could not progress without them being done in your name on this earth. He expressed to them how important temple work is because it is something that cannot be done in Heaven. He asked them to imagine all those people waiting anxiously for their name to be sent in for work. For their name to be submitted for baptism. And how they carry this opportunity on their shoulders as a responsibility to help those waiting. To help those countless spirits that are in need of their help.

The youth were energized. Especially when the Bishopric challenged them to an indexing competition. But what struck me the most was similarly spoken of in this article, "turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers." Malachi 4:6 Those that came before us, those of the past, are in need of help from the people of today, and we need to find them and help them. I believe the youth will soon set the example of how we should "hasten the Lord's work".  That through them, we will be able to bring forth so much love for all of God's children. I am excited to partake in the spirit of the work and honored and so blessed to know I have three girls coming into this age.

So I ask you this, Isn't it wonderful?!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Hands. . . .

So apparently, today is the National Day of Service. I did not know this. I wish I would've known this because I would much rather be out doing good in the world, instead of manning an empty office. But here I am, and here I write. This idea of a day of service reminds me of a conversation I had just yesterday about people of the world. I will explain . . .

A friend and I were discussing a recent event in which a person, through evident rage, accused someone else of things that we know were fabricated and exaggerated beyond reason. That these accusations were not the first and will no doubt, not be the last. This person doesn't even know the accused personally, only in passing, and still has created such anger towards them as to threaten their livelihood, character, and moral standing.

This friend and I discussed and contemplated why someone would do such a thing. Why would someone fixate upon a stranger to the point of becoming a maniacal person and plot the demise of their "foe". Why? My thought was this, that the Natural Man is after power. That power is what the world sees to be supreme. And that you should do anything to attain that power, including but not limited to, tearing others down. You can take almost any situation where two forces come together against each other and define it as a struggle for power. Our brother Lucifer wanted power. He wanted all the glory for himself. Is it no wonder his only goal is to tempt us and make Christ's plan fail. That way his plan will work and will overthrow God's plan giving Satan ultimate power. So being that the earth and all who dwell on it are considered fallen from grace and in a natural man state, I believe the earth in majority is after power. That the natural man views power as absolute.

Now, this brings me to the opposite side of the spectrum. If the Natural Man = Need for Power, what do you think the Spiritual Man is after? I believe in the comparison, that the spiritual man is after the giving up of power. Unlike Satan, Christ taught us to serve our fellow men. Instead of tearing them down, we should build them up. Even to the point of turning the other cheek. One of the greatest examples I think of are when Christ washed the feet of his disciples and then asked them to go out and wash the feet of their fellow men. John 13:1-17 Christ knew that Judas was to betray him, yet he washed his feet. In that simple act, Christ showed love for the one who would turn him over to those that would crucify him. Christ was given great power from God, and yet he set it aside to serve not only those He loved, but those who did not believe in Him.

How apposing those two sides are to each other. What other completely different paths can two men take? The same goes for us, which path should we take? The choice is ultimately up to us, we do have our free agency. However, there is one idea that I hold to be a guide of truth to help me navigate my journey as a natural man and also as a spirit. I believe that things of this earth are influenced of Satan. So whatever the world/majority deems important is not. And whatever the world/majority sees to be unimportant, truly is. This is my answer for many of my theoretical "forks in the roads" of life. It has brought me inner strength to know that regardless of how the world sees what I do and how I think, I know that the Lord supports me, and THAT is all that matters to me.

So as this day of service commences, I will continue to reflect upon the nature of service and the greatest exemplar of such in hopes that I will become more like him.

So I ask you, Have you done any service today?

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Which Part Is Mine. . . .

I have had an itch to write all week, but couldn't decide what to write about. I have about 3 blogs rolling around in my head at the moment but have decided to write about something completely off subject. My ex.

Well not exactly about my ex, but more about my past marriage and all my fears that were involved with it. Since my divorce, I have noticed a few lady friends that were/are in the same boat I was in and felt the need to help them in some way, but never really knew how. For example, how do you tell someone they are in a bad marriage?

I must first state that I am not an advocate of divorce. However, I am an advocate for happiness, and sometimes that is the result of you finding your happiness.

Not really knowing where to begin, I'll say this, at age 19 I had never really had a boyfriend but knew all I wanted to do in life was be a wife and mother. I didn't even want to pursue a career because I was going to be a wife and mother. And not just any wife and mother, but a damn good wife and mother. So I went to college not for an education, but to find a boyfriend. And I did. I found a very handsome man who was a return missionary and was interested in me. (What else does a naive 19 year old LDS girl want? Right?) It felt amazing to have someone like me. To really like me. And not just the, ya you are awesome can you hook me up with your friend like me, but the I think you are beautiful like me. The I'd like to make-out with you like me. The I want to marry you like me. It was wonderful and exciting and satisfying to have someone genuinely like fat, old, ugly, me. To have someone make me feel pretty, and wanted, and feel like a swan. Unlike every boy before that always made me feel like an ugly duckling.

So what else does a 19 year old naive girl do with that boy? I married him.

There were flags, huge blatant flags that I ignored because I loved him. Huge, bright colored flags dripping with excrement I let fly because I wanted him to love me.

It was as if I let everything that made me, me, shrivel up and die because I wanted him to love me.

I was very defensive and protected him more and more as it was more and more evident to everyone else but me, I was unhappy. It was as if the colors of my spirit went from the bright pinks and greens of spring to the charcoal colors of a bleak January. I was torn. And this tear was sometimes unbearable because I now had three girls with him. The guilt I felt for not being blissfully happy with my marriage weighed on me four fold because it now affected my girls as well. I knew that every choice I made affected the person they would become as an adult, and this frightened me.

I knew deep down I needed to try. I needed to put forth every effort I could to make my marriage work. I didn't want to stand at judgement and have the Lord tell me I didn't do enough to keep my family together. So I kept trying, until one day, I just couldn't any more. After ten years I knew my marriage was over. A part of me welcomed the release and the other part of me still  held on for dear life.

Once it was over, I realized I didn't know who I was any more. I literally didn't know my favorite color, what my favorite food was, or even what make-up to wear because I'd changed all of that to try and please him. To try and get him to want me. All those years, all that compromising, all the excuses and trials and pain and yes, even joy, I felt still left me feeling like an ugly duckling.

I felt raw. Like someone had skinned me alive and left me in a cool breeze.

So why bring all this up? Why . . . . pick at old wounds? I say all of this because I know for some, they are very fresh and real wounds to them. I say this so they know, they are not alone. That someone else has gone through it and survived. I have survived. And so will you.

I DO NOT regret my first marriage. I DO NOT hate my ex husband. I DO NOT EVER wish to change my past. My past is what helped create who I am today, and I only ever look back as a motivator to continue forward. I love my ex because he gave me three beautiful girls. I love my divorce because I discovered strength within myself I never knew I had. I love my past marriage because it taught me everything I truly wanted in life. Again I will state, I am not an advocate for divorce. I do not state that it is the answer for all your troubles. But I will say without happiness, you will shrivel up and die inside. It will create an endless ache in your chest that will only pull you in like a black hole each time your heart breaks. The more you put your happiness in the hands of another, especially someone who does not cherish it, the more your heart will break each time that person is not successful in creating that happiness for you.

I want to leave you with a light of hope. Because sometimes when life seems so dark, and you have voices telling you things that only bring you down, and that you deserve only "this much", I implore you to find happiness where it truly lies. My Heavenly Father was the only person who made any sense to me. Everyone else's opinions and judgements, and expectations about my life were like a flood of muddy water drowning me slowly. It wasn't until I prayed every last breath I had before finally succumbing, did the water turn clear and I was able to see the path I was to be on. I know that if you depend upon your Heavenly Father, he will lead you to happiness. He will lead you to the happiness you are starved for, whatever it may be.

So I ask you this, Have you seen your reflection today?

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Spiritchal As Me. . . .

So I have a new calling in my ward. I am leaving the I-don't-understand-them-that's-why-God-gave-me-girls-cub-scouts behind and venturing into the all too familiar world of the Young Women's. I will be teaching the Mia Maids (14 -16 year old) and I was thrilled until my husband pointed out something frightening to me this past Sunday. Let me back up a bit.

Starting in this new year, 2013, the LDS church has changed the curriculum for how teachers will be teaching the youth of the church. Following in the footsteps of the eight year old reorganization of the missionary manual, Preach My Gospel, the youth will now be taught by the Spirit, not a pre-written lesson plan as it has always been in the past. Basically I will be preparing a discussion lesson based on an outline the church has issued called, Come, Follow Me. I am to pray, study, and prepare based on the personal needs of my class room in hopes of involving the girls more fully and in turn, blossom a testimony within them through a more personal lesson. In all actuality, to me, it seems way more simple than the previous alternative. Basically, this way I'm baring my testimony for 40 minutes instead of trying to bring excitement to someone else's written word. However, this past Sunday while the Bishopric was explaining the new program to the ward, my sweet and way too insightful husband leaned over and whispered something in my ear that took most of the excitement right out of my heart. He asked me, "Do you know what this means?" In which I replied, no, shaking my head. "It means the teachers are going to be held more accountable for the youth in God's eyes. They are going to be held more responsible for the youth and what is being taught, in Heaven." I was instantly placed in a state of shock for the remainder of the meeting.

It had suddenly occurred to me how important this calling is. All the questions of my youth were now flooding back to me. Especially the ones that have still gone unanswered. I knew if I were to create the environment the Lord wanted me to by successfully executing this new curriculum, I was to be prepared to answer those questions. I had at 33, suddenly felt the shift from being a student, to being a teacher. And not just primary answers that I had always known to primary questions of kids still aboard their parent's testimonies. I was now the teacher to the kids I still feel I am, needing to answer the pivotal questions they would be questioning. The questions that will shape their own personal testimonies and possibly set them on a permanent path in life. Can we say, "hit me like a load of bricks?" Ha!

Good thing I have the Lord on my side, huh? I do love how this church is a church of constant learning. Constant revelation and personal growth. I know I do not know enough to teach these girls. And I have an overwhelming desire to prepare these girls for the future that is to come, the future that is prepared for them and the one that will inevitably be a difficult one. Subsequently, I will be doing that for myself as well.

I guess what I would like for you to take away from this blog is how important our learning here on this earth really is. The church is full of "primary answers". And for all of you who attend church, know what I am talking about. They are the answers to questions that have been being asked of us since we were in primary and are still being asked of us in adulthood. Why do you think they are still asking them of us? I believe it is because of three things: #1- There is always someone new to the church that needs to learn them. #2- We are what we do over and over again. Just like in theatre, you perform what you practice. And #3- We have not really learned them. It is my belief that we, self tremendously included, have not surpassed our primary answers to be able to understand and ask new questions. We are still in a primordial state.

So you might be asking, what does this all have to do with the Young Women's program and me? Simply this, I believe the church and Heavenly Father wish for us to learn past those primary answers and ask the questions that will truly shape our testimonies for the better, creating within us better saints and better spirits more willing and able to combat the forces that are against us on this earth and in the hereafter. Now you might think I'm digging too deep into this new program, but really am I? Are we not at the door step of the second coming? Are we not the chosen people reserved for this dispensation because we are the ones the Lord knows will prevail over the most evil of times? Or do you still believe those primary answers are all that we need to know?

I'm not trying to start a debate or even a friendly argument. Nor am I stating those primary answers are not as important because they are. They are the basis of everything we learn after them. But, all I am hoping to achieve here is to generate a thought, that will turn into a question, then create a train of deep pondering, that will turn into a desire to find out more, bringing you closer to the answers that will shape the person the Lord knows you are capable of being. Ultimately, stirring the pot a bit and seeing if we can better ourselves (myself).

Also, if you were curious about my song choice this go round, I simply found it a way to bring humor into my rant, because I know I am not as spiritchal as I try to sound on my soap box. Besides, it was a terrible movie but the songs are just so much fun.

So I ask you this, Do you know all of your primary answers?