Tuesday, August 22, 2017

The Day I Felt Pure Love

When I was in a really good place, when my diet was good and my body was far more pure than it is now or has been in the past, my mind was full of clarity and my heart was open to receive the messages of love and forgiveness that God wanted to share with me. 

One day I was standing in the kitchen, preparing lunch for my youngest and I (everyone else was at school), and my thoughts focused on my first born son, Austin's deceased Nana, whom I'd never had the chance to meet in this life. We had been working on Austin's family history and wanted to start with her as she had played such a big role in Austin coming into this world. (That's a whole different story that I will share another time). As I was focusing on her, I knew that she was there with me, so close that I felt that if I reached out to touch her I could, but I couldn't really because she was in a different dimension, where space does not exist but only a connection or a bond between all of Gods creatures which flows freely through all of us. I could feel, in that moment, her very existence and how connected we are to one another, not in a physical nature but a spiritual one, and that as she simply entered my thoughts, it was as though we were standing directly together, except that we weren't because, like I said, from my understanding in this moment, there is no such thing as space in that realm. I felt her presence so strong that I could not deny her being with me and I began talking to her, not through words, but through thought. Our existence was simply connected in a way that, without any words spoken at all, she knew exactly what I was communicating to her. 

I remember my first thoughts being about her having part in preparing Austin to come to this world and asking her if she had, in fact, been with him, as we had all expected at his birth. In that moment I felt her thoughts flow through me as though I could hear her every word as clear as if she were standing before me, speaking them. She told me that she had been with Austin, that she had always been with Austin from the beginning, throughout his entire life and that she would continue to be with him always. I felt her immense love for him flow through me as her thoughts entered into my soul. 

For a brief moment my emotions turned to fear as I thought of all that she had witnessed throughout Austin's life...the horrible mistakes that I had made as his mother, the ugly abuse that took place between his father and I toward one another that Austin was witnessed to, my behaviour following his father and my separation for a period of years that was spiraling me toward a terrible destruction of, not only my life, but Austin's also. It's amazing how many thoughts a person can have in a matter of only seconds when communicating in this dimension. But then it happened...the beauty of this entire story, the reason for this sacred experience...

As quickly as my mortal mind went to fear, her eternal presence filled my soul with love. In an instant I felt nothing but pure, eternal love and empathy flow from within her to me. I felt her complete understanding for me, my trials, my mistakes, and the trauma that I caused this sweet boy fill my entire existence and in that moment I experienced a love so whole that I could never again deny how truly, deeply, sacredly I am loved, WE are loved, beyond anything that we, as mortals, could ever begin to imagine or comprehend. It was a love so pure, without any expectation, with absolute forgiveness...no, not forgiveness because they have no room for forgiveness as there is no anger. Empathy is a better word here...with absolute empathy for who we are and what we have endured, that they don't see anything but love in every action we make here in this life. The best part was, that as I felt her undeniable, unconditional love and acceptance for me, I could also feel it for myself, something I have never experienced in this mortal world. 

That day, as that love flowed through my soul, for the first time in my existence, I loved myself. And not only did I love myself but I forgave myself for all that I and others around me had polluted my sweet spirit into believing that I was. As I felt this love pour into me, I fell to my knees in gratitude for what I was experiencing. In all of the darkness, sadness and misery I had ever felt, this moment seemed to wash it all away in only an instant as peace and love filled my soul. I cried for a long time, all the while feeling her loving arms wrapped tightly around me, and when I was finally able to regain enough strength to come back to my feet, I felt her strength lifting me from my knees and I knew in that moment that I never had to do anything alone ever again. 

This was my moment of realization that there are so many loved ones and friends on the other side, continually supporting us through this often confusing and scary journey and although I have always been taught and received great confirmation of a loving Saviour who gave His life for me and all of us, I have never experienced such a personal manifestation as I did this day. This was personal and raw and real and, to me, was as sacred an experience as I could ever imagine. She was undoubtably there with me, as though the world froze in time and there was nothing in this world that could interrupt this moment. 

While in her loving care I knew that the love I was feeling wasn't contained simply within her, but that she was connected to a higher, eternal source, one that was radiating on a greater frequency of light and love and although her love was so magnificent and magical, I knew it was only a mere fraction of the love that was emulating through her from that greater source. I understood that she was a messenger of the love that God has for all of us and that she was sent to share it with me for my knowledge and healing in that sacred moment of my existence. 

It was such a crucial part of my healing, my seeking of spiritual knowledge of who I am and what I am worth. It gave me power beyond anything I have ever felt, because love is power. It is the most powerful tool one can attain in this life and I know that now. I've spent so much of my life building up walls to protect myself from the hurt and the pain that I've felt within me, that I've too often blocked love from flowing freely into my heart, and although I'm nowhere close to the loving being that I hope to be eventually, I try not to dwell on what I lack, but what I am that is love and build strength from there. I still, so often since this experience, let the pain of others negative words or feelings toward me pull me down to often utter self torment but, because of this experience, I am quickly reminded that I am loved beyond anything that anyone in this mortal world can offer me and I find strength and healing through that. 

This experience was one of many that has led me to where I am today. I cannot deny that there is something or someone so whole that is guiding and directing our path here on earth and the love that I feel from that Source fills my being with such faith, love and acceptance that I no longer have room for the constant fear, guilt, or feeling of never being good enough that I have carried for so long. It has left me and I now know that I am perfectly loved and accepted right where I am and that I AM good enough...I am MORE than good enough! I am cherished, I am valued, I am safe in the arms of my Father, my Creator, whatever He/She/It is and I can continue on growing with a more open heart, giving and receiving of all of the love I can get my hands/heart on. 

Saturday, May 6, 2017

It's Been A Long Year...But It's Always Worth It

Where to begin...

Its been a long year...

Many of you are probably wondering what an earth has happened to me over the last while and, quite honestly, I don't have an answer that many will agree with or even understand, but that's the point. I don't write for you to understand. I don't write because I owe anyone an explanation. I don't write because I'm concerned about what you may be thinking about me (although, sadly, many times I am). I don't write because I seek your approval or to convince you that you should share my beliefs and opinions. I do not write to change your values or your beliefs. I write to share my experiences and views. I write to share what I have learned that has helped me grow a little more. I write in the hope that I will touch your heart and enhance your empathy for situations that you may be unfamiliar with. I write because it's part of my story, a story which holds value and meaning to my life and I'd like to share a little of 'me' with you, in the hope that my influence can make even a tiny difference in this often dark and twisted world.

I don't ask you to agree with my words or my opinion but I do expect my opinion be respected for it is my opinion and, wether you agree with it or not, everyone's opinion deserves respect.

As I sit with my head leaned against my pillow, contemplating where to start the first thought that comes into my head is to share (which I have done many times!) that I am a highly sensitive person. I don't generally like to claim title to myself anymore as it usually invites a whole mirage of symptoms and issues that claim hold of my life that I don't warmly welcome but a 'Highly Sensitive Person' is just as it sounds and I try to see it as the gift that it is and not the "illness" that so many claim it to be. 

Unfortunately, with high sensitivity, that's one of the biggest obstacles we face...other people's opinions of ourselves often stick to us like glue. So when some of the most common phrases we hear in our lives involve statements such as, "you're too sensitive" or "you let things bother you too easily", "you need to learn to get over things" and, my all time favourite, "you're so emotional" we believe them and we begin to doubt ourselves and our abilities and fall short of truly embracing the gift that a highly sensitive person is here to experience.

It doesn't matter how many times in my life I have picked myself up from being run down by someone else's view of me, I continue to take the beating. Why? you might ask...because it's part of being a highly sensitive person. Words are not simply words. They cut so deep into my soul and become a part of who I am and what I'm made up of. That's why I never understood that little rhyme that we used to say to each other as children, "Sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me". I felt it a stupid statement because names always hurt me. They hurt me more than any stick or stone ever did. I would take a punch to the face over a hurtful name any day. Don't get me wrong, that punch to the face wouldn't be a walk in the park either, but if I had a choice about which I'd prefer, I'd choose the punch because regardless of how sensitive I am as a whole, my heart is, by far, the most sensitive part of me.

Part of being a highly sensitive person includes a sensitivity for awareness that there is so much more to life than what we know in this mortal world. We are usually seekers of a higher power that we feel connected to on a deep level and once we become aware of that inner truth, we seek it with great determination and excitement for more than what we already have. Spiritual experiences can become so intensely euphoric that we can often feel like we are in another world altogether. On the other side, this beautiful awareness, when not being applied, can lead to a darkness so deep that it can overpower the beautiful light from within that intimately seeks goodness and love and leave the soul so empty, one can quickly lose sight of their value and purpose in this world and want nothing more than to escape it's undeniable entrapment of agony and loathing for oneself. It's why highly sensitive people are often known for being built with an internal compass. When darkness is near, our thoughts or intentions are off. When the light is shining from within, we are aligned with our higher power and are applying the tools that we have been so incredibly blessed with.

Many of you who know me, or have read my earlier blog posts, are aware of my previous diagnosis of, what the medical industry in our society refers to as 'Bipolar Disorder', a branch of mental illness that is so misunderstand and misguided that majority of people faced with sensitivities are forced into the only option known to us anymore...medication. We are placed on high doses of, very often, in my personal experience, negatively effective medication, for which we have no idea of the long term effects that WILL occur, in order to be accepted as "normal" or "functional" in our society. We are taught that feeling anything negative is 'bad' or 'wrong' and, if unable to be suppressed or repressed, but certainly not expressed, we must turn to forcibly hide it all away with medications help. 

Since coming into this spiritual awakening (as I like to call it), that has allowed me the realization that I don't have a mental disorder as I was taught but that I am a highly sensitive person (without the title), I also realize how incredibly sad of a situation it is to live in a society that views us this way. Having experience (very little but enough to have a valid opinion) with my personal compass lately, my eyes are open to how very important of a tool our emotions are in guiding our lives through this often confusing journey that God (or whatever Higher Power you believe in...I call it God, but would never judge you for your beliefs) placed us on. We are all so doped up on medication today, for far more 'disorders' than mental illness, that we've lost our ability to discover who we are and what our purpose is. We are literally in the day of walking blind,  ignorant zombies that we all meme about and think is so amusing. The truth is that it's not funny. It's so incredibly sad that for someone like me who is coming into this awareness, it's nearly impossible to direct my own way because most around me, my loved ones and my closest friends, think that I am completely delusional and living in a paranoid world. They continue to refer to me as 'sick' and 'disordered' and treat me as though I still hold the title of 'bipolar disorder' that society has so ignorantly placed on me and so many others like me. 

Going back to what I was explaining earlier, about how others opinions stick to us like glue, it is extremely difficult for me to keep solid ground and remember who I am and what my beliefs and purpose are. I far too often refer to myself as 'broken' or 'damaged' and scream out in absolute agony that "I want to die" or "I need help". That part is very true. I do often want to die and I very much need help. I too often feel like a prisoner in my own body and literally feel the urge to claw myself out of my own skin, but that isn't because I'm diseased or damaged in the way that society sees me. It's because I am so trapped in the voices and negative judgement that so easily confuses my purpose and forces me to a desperation of wanting to escape this ugly and confusing world that I too often become entangled in the myriad of beliefs and views surrounding me and I lose my ability to listen from within in order to guide me through this turmoil of uncertainty that we live in. Because the help that I seek is not often understood, and refused as legitimate 'help' by most in our society, it is extremely hard to come by and not included in governmental coverage (don't even get me started on the hit the money making mongrels of this world would take if they ever admitted to a healthier alternative to pharmaceutical medication that fills their bank accounts with numbers most of us can't even imagine) and for a single-income family of soon to be 7 people, there isn't much hope in forking out the dollars that could positively impact my health and the health of my family. 

It's a scary world to come into when you don't know which direction to turn most of the time and you are being treated as crazy and delusional by those that are supposed to be your greatest supporters. When loved ones are coming at you from every angle, accusing you of "screwing up your life", "negligent parenting" and "lack of regard for professional help" and informing you that they "can't sit by and watch any longer" you question yourself. Or when they secretly reach out and try to convince your husband, who is one of the very few who truly sees the effort you are making and knows the person you really are trying to be and stands by you, despite the constant highs and lows that seem to be tearing your family apart, that manipulation is all a part of your "illness", you doubt your mentality and you wonder if everything they are saying is in fact true. 

Don't get me wrong, I am fully aware that everything is done out of concern and fear and they just don't understand, but there's no denying that where fear exists, love cannot. And that hurts. And it doesn't just hurt a little bit. It hurts so deeply that it sets me back into that dark abyss that too often entraps my soul and I am unable to be the wife and mother that I know I was born to be. It causes me to doubt who I am and what my purpose is. It causes me to not only doubt myself but also to hate myself and the beautiful gift that I have been given, so much so, that I can't imagine taking another breath and burdening the beautiful family that I am responsible for guiding through this too often dark world into a better world, a world full of love and light and empathy for all. 

God sent me here to be that light. He sent me to be sensitive so that I can recognize when the world that surrounds me isn't how it's supposed to be and so that I can guide my family into the light and the goodness that He created this world to have. He sent me to make a difference and it isn't an easy task. I fail every single day to be that light in one way or another and I am working my ass off to be who He would have me be but there is so much negative energy and doubt surrounding me from every angle that it's nearly impossible to find my way. So I choose to separate myself from darkness when my sensitive little spirit can feel it, and trust me when I say, I can feel it a mile away. No, I can feel it from the other side of the world. I can feel it from the other side of the veil and most of the time don't even know why I am feeling it. I am constantly trying to get away from it...but I'm supposed to feel it, because it's my compass in knowing what is right for my life and what isn't. It's my direction and guidance in knowing if where I am is where I'm supposed to be. 

My world seems recently as if it has fallen apart. It often feels that way and I know that it seems that way to everyone around me. I have walked away from most of my family, my friends, and from what should have been my biggest support system, my church, because I didn't find within it the love and support that I needed and deserved. The light went out for me and it all turned to darkness. God led my path away from what was bringing me down and is guiding me into a better light where everyone is accepted and loved. There are no titles or restrictions where He is guiding me. There is no judgement or criticism for mistakes and there isn't expectation to be something I'm not or something I should be. There is no race to the finish line, no competition, and no punishment. There is no difference in race, culture, beliefs, gender, sexual orientation or standards. There is only love. And all we need is love. Because none of those things leave room for love and if we find ourselves in a place where love is overpowered by differences, then we aren't in the right place and adjustments need to be made and God showed me that. He opened my eyes to an understanding that was given solely to me, for me, in a way that would allow me to grow as an individual and become the light that He has sent me to be. He knows the best way for me to become that light and I have put my undeniable faith in His hands and, against all previous understanding, have followed His guidance and have felt great peace in this change. It doesn't make it easy. Walking away from everything you have ever known and facing a grand, new world that everyone around you tells you is 'wrong' is a scary adventure and can easily be confused, just as anything else in life, but the biggest difference for me is that I'm not scared to make a mistake anymore. I'm not scared because I believe the mistakes are what make us amazing and unique and help us learn and grow. I believe that God intended those mistakes to be made so why are we working so hard to avoid them? I know that I will be loved unconditionally, accepted for who I am and rewarded for where I am, regardless of where I stand and the choices that I make. God knows us better than we know ourselves, and each other, and only He can guide our lives to a place of refuge from the storm, away from all others expectation, criticism and punishment. 

One of the most important lessons that I have learned through this experience is that we are all individuals seeking individual lessons, healing, growth, experience, you name it, and not one persons answers can come from anywhere else but within. All we know is how to learn from others. We learn as children from our parents, as students from our teachers, as employees from our boss', as peers from our friends, as members of organizations from our leaders, as a society from the media and so on and so forth. What we're missing today is the knowledge that we have the answers within us...the important ones anyways. We came with the knowledge that we need to guide us in our lives and if we took a moment to step away from all of the outside noise and tune into what we feel in our hearts, we would have a much better compass to guide us along our journeys, whatever that means to us individually. For no two people are exactly the same, we may share many similarities, but we are all individuals seeking individual outcomes and therefor require individual paths in this life. That's a lot of individual for one paragraph but the point I am trying to make is that if we are all individuals, why do we assume (and I truly believe that to assume IS to most definitely make an ass out of u and me) that we have answers or truth for someone else's life? Why do we claim the right to judge and criticize ones choices and behaviours? Why do we think that because we have learned a certain lesson in our lives that everyone else should have learned it too or that it's even their lesson to learn to begin with? 

Many of you who know me know that I am a seeker of light and truth, I wear my heart on my sleeve, and I expect good things for this world because I believe in a higher power that will bring perfect order to our lives as I believe we've had it before. But first, before that perfect order can come, we are here to learn to maneuver our way through a world of cloudiness and confusion and to attain the biggest lesson of all...to love unconditionally. Regardless of our myriads of differences, the ultimate goal is to love, and with love comes empathy, compassion, understanding and acceptance for all people. 

Please don't concern yourselves with the mistakes or wrong paths that you feel I am taking because I don't worry about them. Ultimately, as a seeker of light and truth, AS A CHILD OF GOD, I will follow Him and I WILL find Him, because it's instilled in me, but it won't necessarily be in the way that you would do it. It will be in a way that's right for me, that's meant for me. It's my journey and I'm trying to enjoy it because that's what I am here to do. I'm here to get messy and to fall and to learn to pick myself back up and grow through it all. My compass is guiding me and I'm not concerned for how far it will take me because, quite honestly, I don't want to live in a protective bubble anymore, constantly worried about making a mistake and losing my way. And in fairness, if God wanted me in that bubble, He wouldn't have sent me here to this crazy and dark world. He would have kept me perfectly wrapped in His loving arms where He could control every experience I have. But He didn't because He knows that experience, positive and negative, is what I need to grow. I'm ready to live! I want to live! I want to live so wholly and completely and know, with certainty, that no matter where my journey leads me, God is right there within me, loving me every step of MY beautiful way! 

I said at the beginning that it's been a long year and it most certainly has. I have allowed myself to be pulled into the depths of utter despair that are happening all around me, wether pointed directly at me by myself or others, or pointed at the world as a whole. I have allowed this to happen because I'm human and I err. I take in bad judgement of what this world is and what I should be at this point of my life. It's what I do. My husband once told me that I'm a magnet for negativity and you know what? He's right! I'm a highly sensitive person. I take in a lot of negativity. But I also take in love, light and goodness. The problem is, like most highly sensitive people, we hate the negativity so much that it's often all we can see. And the more we focus on getting away from it, the harder it is to run from. 

So, my plan...is to face it, embrace it, learn from it, and let it be a part of my compass. I plan to pick myself up from the last several years of being pushed so far down from the stressors of life that I've completely lost sight of who I am and what I'm capable of. I'm  going to live my life according to the dictates of my personal compass. I am going to fall, probably a billion more times in this life but I'm going to do my best to be okay with that. I'm going to walk tall because, regardless of what others may think of me, how unstable or sick I may be, I know that past all of the confusion that I am making my way through, with God as my guide, a brilliant light shines within me (and all of us!) and is meant to be seen and shared! My heart is open to love and I welcome all who want to be a part of it. If not, that's okay too but do me and my family a favour and keep your negativity away because my highly sensitive spirit can only handle so much before I have to let go and move in another direction. 

New beginnings seems to be a reoccurring theme that plays over and over again in my life. This is another one of those times. A time to start fresh with new beliefs, new values, and a new direction. A time to reflect on everything I do and say and ask myself if what I'm speaking or doing is actually something that I believe in or is it something that I've been taught to believe in along the way that doesn't really align with who I am? It's a time to ask myself what is best for mine and my families lives and then to act accordingly. It's a time to let go of all that does not serve me in my higher purpose and for my greater good. It's a time to realize that I am human and I don't have to be perfect right now. I'm not built to be perfect with all of the imperfections that happen around me every day so why would I put that burden on myself? It's a time to see with new eyes, with new lenses, all of the beauty that exists in this incredible creation that we live in, without the judgement and separation that we place on as blinders. 

God sees beauty in everything. He is perfect and is incapable of anything less. So it doesn't matter who you are and what you do because no matter how you see yourself and others, God sees you perfectly, and that is the free gift that was given us by the saviour of this world that we all seek in so many different ways. YOU ARE LOVED AND YOU ARE PERFECT IN THE ONLY EYES THAT MATTER! So live! Live as you seem guided to live and don't ever let anyone tell you that you aren't good enough or that you need to do better or be more! Be you! The most perfect you you can be without everyone else's opinion of what perfect is. And, above all, LOVE! Love others but, more importantly, love yourself! Because you are beautiful! God wouldn't create anything less. 

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

To Each Our Own Path

Most of you know that I had a pretty rough childhood, due to mental illness. Most of my teenage and early adolescent years were spent in a very dark place. I've shared my story on previous blogs and for those of you that know me well, know that I haven't always been an 'all together kind of a girl' (not that I am now). For some reason I insist on learning the hard way. It's just the way it goes with me. I think it's fair to say that I have never insinuated that I am perfect, nor even remotely close to it, but one thing is for certain...today, at this very moment in time, I have an excellent relationship with my Heavenly Father. 
There have been times where I was so full of darkness, I attempted to end my own life. There have been countless times where I didn't feel worthy of God's love for me. To this day I struggle to know for a certainty whether those that I am closest to even love me at all. 
Living with mental illness is not an easy road. I have wanted to throw in the towel many times, but one thing that I know is that the longer that I live with it, the more I learn from it. This is my path on this journey of life. For some greater purpose beyond what I understand at this point, I have to experience this in order to fulfill my role in building up the kingdom of heaven. 
Those of us that struggle with illness of any kind know that in periods of our lives, when we are doing all that we can to receive the light, darkness still manages to creep up on us. Sometimes we see it coming and we are able to prevent it. Other times we do whatever it takes to keep it out, yet it still comes. Most times it hits us like a ton of unwanted bricks and there is nothing that we can do to prevent it. For whatever reason that it has crept up on us and left us debilitated, I want you to know that there is always hope. On the other side of darkness, there is always light. We may not see it as easily as others at times, but we can have faith that it is always there. 
I recently went through a two-year period of depression. Two of my children are very small, my youngest only just over a year at the time that the depression hit, and the next being 2 and a half, both at the age of which we all know to be the most crucial in a child's development. I was unable to properly provide the most basic of necessities for my small children, let alone help any kind of development. The guilt that I felt during that period was unbearable, anything beyond what I have ever experienced. I spent months at a time not being able to leave my bedroom, hardly able to walk myself to the bathroom, let alone care for two small, fully dependant children who needed my undivided attention. Satan deceived me into thinking that family members and friends, very close to my heart, felt that I was nothing short of a burden in their lives (perhaps it was true for some), as he does time and time again. He snuck into my mind at a time where I was vulnerable and convinced me that I was entirely worthless. Many times during that two-year period I felt an unpleasant urge to end my life so that my children could have a life better than what I was able to give them. Each day that I continued to feel this way was one day closer to making the decision to end my life. 
My husband was a constant target. He is to this day. Every time that I have a 'bad day' or week, month, year, etc my husband bares the brunt of it. Thankfully, when in search of my eternal companion, Heavenly Father knew exactly what lay ahead for us and He blessed me with one of the most supportive, loving and humble men on the planet. Although I know this and am forever grateful, I often let life get in the way and my illness take over and how quickly I forget the man that he is. (I'll keep working on that onešŸ˜‰)
During this two years, I rarely felt worthy of taking the sacrament or getting on my knees in prayer. My relationship with Heavenly Father became more of a guilt-ridden burden than what it was truly meant to be. Over time I lost almost all hope and faith in His plan for my life. I had no purpose and no reason to breath. I was a burden to my family, friends and those around me. 
Slowly, through attending my church meetings, listening to the talks during sacrament and learning the basics that I was teaching in my primary class, I learned and then experienced that Heavenly Fathers hand is forever stretched out, waiting for us to reach up and grab hold of His grace. I felt of His love for me at a time where there was no hope. Through the little things that I heard or read, I began to realize that it was up to me to find solace for my life again. I had to push through the endless guilt and torment that engulfed my thoughts and force myself to read and study as much about the gospel of Jesus Christ as I could. I focused on stories full of miracles and began to have faith that if I prayed for my own miracle I was worthy of receiving one. 
Eventually, through inspiration, our family received our miracle. It came in the form of a tiny spirit baby that only blessed us for a very short time but long enough to know that Heavenly Father was and is guiding our lives and that as long as we continue to trust in Him and His plan for us, we will make it through this life that can so often get us down.
Many great and wonderful blessings came from this time in our lives and we are a stronger family because of it. Since then, my eyes have been more open to the beauty that He has blessed us with. The sky is bluer, the grass greener, my family happier. I am able to serve better, love better and let go of more. Don't get me wrong, the darkness still sneaks into my life and I have really, REALLY bad moments, but now I am able to have more faith in the light at the end of the tunnel.
The bottom line is that we all fall short of perfection. Each of us struggles in our own way. If only we could be a little kinder, reach out a little harder, love a little more, we would realize that we are all children of God with one common ground...figuring out who we are and what we have to offer. Heavenly Father is aware of each of us individually and the struggles that we face.
If we only had more empathy for the paths that each of us have walked, we might find that we are all fallen souls living in a fallen world and that is exactly where we are supposed to be. We are all walking the path necessary for our learning and growth that Heavenly Father knows will be beneficial for our future. We are learning lessons along the way, some of which will take us a lifetime to learn. Please don't judge me because you learned it quicker than I did. And please don't tell me that the solution is simple because perhaps in my perspective, it isn't. 
We all receive inspiration and insight for our own lives. Just because one thing works one way for someone doesn't mean that it will work the same way for someone else. Life is so complex. We can't even begin to figure out how it all works outside of walking the path that we are led to walk. Heavenly Father is guiding each of us individually for what He has prepared for us and our lives. He knows us inside and out and He loves us perfectly. May we always be able to push aside the demons that work so hard to bring us down and always be mindful of the end result. We are never alone, no matter how much we may feel we are. Keep going beauties! This life is full of goodness and glory...some of us just have to experience the darkness for a while until we can find the light again, but rest assured that it is always there, waiting and willing to light up your life! 

Monday, May 19, 2014

Heavenly Father Hears and Answers All of Our Prayers

This morning I woke up from a very bad dream, only to realize that it wasn't a dream at all. It was very real and my husband and I had just experienced one of the saddest moments in our marriage. 

Yesterday, 2 days before I was due to clear my 1st trimester of pregnancy (a milestone that every pregnant woman is relieved to reach), I started noticing some mild cramping in my lower abdomen and back. It was so mild that I wrote it off as my uterus stretching, getting ready for this growing baby inside of me. We were on our way home from church when I noticed the pain and had forgotten all about it by the time we walked through the door. 

It's the May long weekend and our family had planned on visiting 'home' to visit friends and family that we hadn't seen for a while, and like always were very excited, but I guess that Heavenly Father knew what the weekend had in store for us more than we did because one of our little girls came down with Scarlett Fever (very scary but she's fine now), leaving us with no choice but to cancel our trip and stay close to home instead. I've learned that when something comes up, causing us to miss out on our adventures, I need to put my trust in Heavenly Father who knows what is best for us more than we ourselves do. So as much as we were disappointed to not be able to go, we knew that there was a reason behind it. 

I came in the house and, like most pregnant women, headed straight for the bathroom. Everything was fine until I wiped and noticed some light red/pink blood on my toilet paper and a red flag instantly went up. Something was wrong and I knew it. I didn't want to panic just incase it was nothing so I laid on the couch and searched the net for any sense of relief that I could find. There were many sites, some medical, which suggested that if there is blood and cramping within pregnancy to seek medical attention right away, as well as some chat groups, which involved numerous women talking about similar symptoms, most of which ended up being nothing to worry about and had carried their babies to full-term. It left me feeling entirely unsure of what I could expect. There wasn't much blood so I decided to wait it out a little longer but to make sure that I was resting.

Our cancelled trip caused us to miss out on some much needed family campfire time, so to make the best out of a disappointing situation, Friday evening we had picked up a fire pit of our own and had planned to have a small campfire in our backyard (which we weren't sure was legal but we were up for the challenge) Saturday night. The kids were so looking forward to our outdoor adventure and had helped daddy set up our new fire pit as well as our new patio furniture and, of course, their camping chairs. 

I had gotten a small nap in and was feeling better so I woke to help Andrew with dinner when all of a sudden I felt a gush of blood flow out of me. I ran to the bathroom with a face full of panic and tears, immediately deciding that a hospital trip was now very necessary. We called our 'London mom', Kathy, who came over right away to play with the girls while we headed to the hospital. Thank goodness for mothers!

This has been my hardest pregnancy yet. Not only was I violently ill for many weeks, causing me to spend most of my time in bed and then leading me into a pretty intense episode of depression, I've also had this sad feeling of not ever getting to enjoy this baby, as if I was just a tool in helping it gain life and then watching as it returned to live with Heavenly Father again. A couple of dreams about losing the baby had left me startled and confused, but with the help of others around me I was able to brush them off as normal pregnancy fears. 

All of the way to the hospital I felt strongly that this was it, that the baby was gone, but as we sat in the waiting room and then the ER room waiting for the doctor to be able to see us, my worry started to fade and I managed to have a glimmer of hope that we may actually walk out of there, still parents-to-be to our number four. The blood work came back and the nurse notified us that my hCG levels were still very high, which was a good sign, so we started to think of other possibilities at this point, much more optimistic than leaving with no baby at all. 

In our faith, we know that families are forever and that even if this sweet baby didn't make it past the first trimester we would still have the opportunity to know and love it once we ourselves return to our Father in Heaven again one day. Keeping that in mind was certainly helpful while going through this experience but (I speak for myself and not my husband at this point) what happened next left me feeling so empty and alone and, at this point, I didn't know what to make of the situation.

After 9 excruciatingly long hours of playing the waiting game to know whether our baby was still with us or not, the doctor finally made his way into our room. It seemed like only moments before he had a bed side ultrasound and was checking for a heartbeat. I looked at the screen and was positive that I had seen a little face and waited so intently to see a beating little heart, but as the doctor spoke the words, "I'm afraid that I can't make out a fetus at all." my heart skipped a beat or two and I lost my breath completely. I looked up at the ceiling with tears streaming down my face as he explained that sometimes during the first trimester of pregnancy, everything seems normal and pregnancy symptoms develop but the cells and tissue do not form a fetus. So my body was going through all of the signs of pregnancy, from morning sickness to a growing sack and uterus but there was no baby being developed. He told us that it was more common than we would imagine and that if we talk to some of our friends they may actually have a similar story to tell.

Needless to say, I left the hospital feeling very empty. I had a million questions that I wanted immediate answers to but my biggest question of all was, 'Does this mean that this little spirit that I had just spent the last 12 weeks bonding with doesn't even exist?'. I mean, 'will I ever meet this sweet spirit or did I really just bond with an undeveloped fetus?'. That is a very uneasy, unfair feeling that nobody should ever have to experience and I can't tell you that I have a logical answer to my question other then, we are all faced with challenges. Some mild, others severe but all are for our Eternal growth and understanding. 

I consider this one of my greatest challenges, above my mental illness, above my unfair upbringing, above the fact that my marriage has been on the downslopes for much over two years now, but I know and believe with everything that I have that it is for a purpose. A purpose far greater than what I can even try to comprehend in this life and one day I, WE, will all have answers to our many questions and we will know that we are loved so very much. I know that The Saviour has His arms around me at this very moment. I've felt Him here since the long drive home last night when the thought of how very blessed Andrew and I are to have three beautiful, healthy children came into my heart and I felt at peace. 

I don't know if it's fair to consider this a blessing, but for the first time in a very long time last night I was able to reach out to my husband and while in his arms, feel a sense of security that we are going to make it together. I was reassured when I lay in bed between my two beautiful girls that I am a good mother and that I deserve this incredible family that I have been blessed with. I am pleased to know that we have raised a good son to his youth and that he is making excellent choices everyday that bring him closer to Heavenly Father. 

I am full of love today. Love for my Saviour. Love for my Father in Heaven. They are both strengthening me and I can feel it. I pray that my love luminates to others around me so they can also feel of the love that our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ have for us because it is the only thing in the world that can make us whole, despite all of our trials and our weaknesses. 

Yesterday at church, in the primary class that I teach, my lesson was on how 'Heavenly Father Hears and Answers All of Our Prayers'. In the lesson it talks about how sometimes the answer that He has for us is not the answer that we want to hear or sometimes He doesn't answer right away and it's hard to remain faithful and strong during those times. I encouraged these young children that I teach to be mindful of those times when Heavenly Father has answered their prayers and it may not necessarily be the answer that they want to hear and to try to be more accepting that Heavenly Father knows what is best for our lives more than we know for ourselves. It is important to trust in Him that He will direct our lives in a way that is best for us, even if we don't understand it at that time. I am so grateful for the opportunity to have taught that lesson to the children because I believe that it was Heavenly Fathers way of preparing me for what was about to happen in my life. I have prayed for a long time to be able to have another baby and I believe that His answer is, 'it's not quite the right time'. I have faith that His plan for me is perfect for the life that He has for me and I am grateful to be able to trust in Him.

I bare you my testimony that The Saviour lives, that the atonement is very real and that through it we can all be saved and feel of His love, even in the darkest of moments. I am grateful to know and serve Him and to be able to feel of His love for me in times when I feel completely alone. I am grateful for trial that helps me grow and makes me stronger and reminds me that there is so much more to life than what we see in everyday situations. There is an incredible plan...a perfect plan...that Heavenly Father has for each of us and if we can all look to Him for guidance, we can and WILL be shown the way. I leave you my testimony and my love in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen. 

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Living a Bipolar Life Through the Gospel of Jesus Christ

Hello everyone! It's been a long time since my last blog and I have been dying to get on here! Life has taken a turn for me lately (that's quite common in my life) and I have been on a bit of a 'high' keeping me extremely busy. For those of you that suffer from bipolar disorder like I do or have someone in your life that does, you'll understand what I'm talking about. For those of you that don't, I'll tell you...

Having bipolar disorder is like being on a never-ending roller coaster of emotions. The track (your life) is full of ups and downs, highs and lows, dips and curves, at all different levels and speeds. Imagine a roller coaster creeping it's way up a really big slope, higher and higher, until eventually you've reached the clouds and you are surrounded with the brightest and most glorious sky that you have ever seen, convincing you that Heavenly Father stands at the head of it. But wait, all of a sudden there is a slight turn in the path and before you know it you are speeding down the steepest hill, faster and faster, until you reach the bottom where you are met with a long, dark tunnel, full of deamons and fire breathing dragons pulling at you from every angle. Of course it never ends there! It continues it's course up and down, alternating between large and small hills, around curves and bends, through more dark tunnels and back into the glorious sky, over and over again, until you are so exhausted that all you can do is shut down and tune everything out around you. 

Sounds fun eh?! Lol! I'm sure that to many of you that enjoy the thrill of a roller coaster, it could sound exhilarating, but imagine this roller coaster never ending. Just when you think that you are getting to the end, it makes another turn and climbs another hill, over and over again, until you realize that you are going to ride this roller coaster for the rest of your life.

In all seriousness, there isn't anything fun about it. It's exhausting, confusing, emotionally draining, and lonely, but most  of all, it's terrifying! The fear of never knowing what mood you will be in when you wake up in the morning, or on the occasion when you are experiencing a really high, elevated day, the fear of going to sleep at night, knowing that eladedness will be gone come morning and more than likely will result in the following day being spent in darkness and despair. But the most terrifying of all (and this takes a great deal of humility for me to admit) is when I'm in a complete fit of rage and I see the fear in my childrens eyes as they watch me try to rip the demons out from inside of me that are convincing me to take my own useless and burdensome life, that is the scariest of it all. That is as dark as it can get for me and I realize how horribly crazy that may seem to a lot of you but for me who has had to live through it on countless occasions, I can assure you, it is far more horrifying to experience than to hear about. One can understand why someone like me (in the past) would turn to drink or drugs to drive away the horridness of these situations. It's no wonder that we have so many people that become destructive and ultimately destroy their lives with substance abuse. I get it! I did it! But I'll tell you, having lived through it and come out the other side of it, I can tell you that it's not worth it. It only brings you deeper and deeper into the darkness of depression. A temporary fix ALWAYS leads to long term suffering. Unfortunately, the pain and fear is too much to bare at times and most become defeated by submitting to their weaknesses. 

Feeling defeated is something that I experience much in my life, making it nearly impossible to experience the feeling of progression that we are all working so hard to attain in our lives. 

I say that but I am also full of gratitude, because as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, I have a knowledge that not only can I learn to lessen my afflictions through the Attonement of Jesus Christ, but I also have the knowledge that one day I can return to live with my Father in Heaven and be completely and wholly healed of them! That is a knowledge that I wouldn't trade for any illness or affliction that I have experienced in my time here on Earth! Because of what I know through the gospel of Jesus Christ, I am able to have hope for a better and brighter future for myself and my family. I am able to maintain a relationship with my Heavenly Father that allows me to receive inspiration and council from Him that helps me to make good choices that will lead me closer to salvation and further away from the darkness that sometimes enters my life. From the guidance of the Holy Ghost, that He has blessed me with through the waters of baptism, I am able to listen and hear answers to my prayers and gain a better understanding as to why I am experiencing these difficult times in this life and I learn how to manage myself in a way that lessons my load of trials. I am fully blessed to have the gospel in my life to lead and direct me each day to live a fuller and more prosperous life that will eventually bring me all of the joy and happiness that I may have for my future. 

The Word of Wisdom (https://www.lds.org/topics/word-of-wisdom?lang=eng) is one of the greatest revelations that we have been given to help direct our lives in the last days, the days in which we are now living. Heavenly Father knew that times were going to get tough and therefore offered this council as direction for a better and healthier lifestyle, which would lead to a more pure mind, body and spirit. By following His teachings, and living the Word of Wisdom, we are more susceptible to His council and can therefor see more clearly of what we need to do to become closer to returning to live with Him one day and receiving all the many wonderful and glorious blessings that He has and will continue to promise us.

There is no other way to live than through the Gospel of Jesus Christ, relying fully on His Attonement to heal and bless us in every detail. It is the way in which our Father in Heaven prepared for us to be able to grow and learn and experience so that we may gain an understanding greater than what we could ever imagine! I know that my eyes have been opened far more because of the trials that I have faced and continue to face in my life. Because I am pushed to my breaking point, I can appreciate so much greater the joy and fulfillment that come from my experiences and although it is heart wrenching while we are going through these horrible trials, we have so much better an understanding as we make it through them.

Faith is something that I pray for continually in my life, and although I feel that I am someone who lacks faith, I can see it strengthening as I am faced with each and every trial that comes my way. I am grateful for the opportunity to feel hardship as I know that I have grown tremendously because of it. Each and every day I am tried but each and everyday my faith is strengthened and I become that much closer to living with my Heavenly Father. Sometimes it feels as though I am not growing at all but when I take a step back and remember where I was a month ago, or a year ago, or a decade ago, I am reminded that my trials have not gone unrewarded. 

My prayer is that I can touch others in my life...my children, a sister, brother, cousin, friend, or even a stranger...and that through my example of faith in my Saviour, I may share the knowledge that our Heavenly Father has a plan for us and that this plan will lead to our eternal salvation. I can't imagine anyone wanting to be without the eternal blessings that He has promised us and I feel so much gratitude in my heart towards Him for preparing this way before us. We so often let our pride get in the way of what we could have. If we could only listen to The Spirit more carefully and hear the words which He is speaking to us, without all of the distraction that block our views each day, we would be so much more blessed by His generosity that He is so desperately wanting us to receive. 

The love that I have toward my Heavenly Father has grown so much throughout each of my trials and I can more clearly see what He is trying to help each of us achieve. I am so grateful for the time that I have been given on Earth to learn and grow and I have faith in the plan that Heavenly Father has for me personally while I am here. 

Coming from someone who has mentally experienced being dragged through the depths of hell and can still remain faithful and full of gratitude on the other side of it, is a sure sign that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the ONLY way to live a fulfilling and accomplished life. It is the reason for our existence and the sooner that we realize it and welcome it in to our lives, the sooner it will begin filling us with richness and blessings beyond anything we have ever imagined! Life isn't about the large houses that we live in or the fancy cars that we drive, how much money we make or how many trips we can take. It's about the way we live our lives, the service that we do, the love that we have for everyone, the growth and knowledge that we attain, the relationship that we build with our Heavenly Father, and the covenants that we make and keep with Him. We will never run out of opportunities to learn and grow and it is our duty to make the most out of lives each and every day.

As I continue to struggle with my severe illness, the most important thing for me to do is pray. Through prayer my relationship with my Heavenly Father is strengthened and I am able to receive council and direction. Through direction I am able to know what will help me to receive the healing that I am seeking for myself and my family. Through healing I receive faith in my Saviour and His sacrificing Attonement. All good things are achieved through the Attonement of Jesus Christ. 

For me, most days are a struggle, but I am learning what can help them to improve. The dark days come and I take them as they come and when the bright days come, I soak them up as much as I possibly can. Each day is different from the last, but the one thing that is certain and will never change is the faith that I have that my Father in Heaven has a greater plan for me than I have for myself and therefor, I look to Him each and every day to see fit that I will grow in knowledge and spirit the way He would have me do. I am so grateful for my testimony that I have built through the Gospel of Jesus Christ and it soothes my mind to know that eventually all will be for a greater purpose, far beyond our understanding in this life!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Snow Day...Tricked You!

Today was a great day!

It started off with all of us getting ready for the day, only to discover that it was a snow day, or so we thought. I jumped on Facebook for my quick 5 minute morning review and saw that a friend, who lives nearby, had posted about a snow day. Again?! Without thinking I commented loud enough for the kids to hear that it was ANOTHER snow day. I'm pretty sure Austin was back in his pj's within 30 seconds flat and ready to enjoy another day at home. As if he hasn't had enough time at home this winter. As I checked the school bus website, just to be sure, I discovered that, although many of the bus routes were cancelled, ours wasn't. Oh man! Austin was ready to kill me. I sadly apologized to him and told him to go get ready for school. He was not impressed. Lucky for him, within about 5 minutes, it started blizzarding and Andrew and I decided that they could stay home anyway. I'm so glad that we did because around the time that they would have been walking to the bus stop and boarding (without wearing a seatbelt-I hate that!), it looked like a white-out out there! I felt guilty that they were missing another day of school but so happy that my babies were safe and warm at home with me. 

The girls needed something to do while they were both home for the day so we got started on some cute snowman friends, made out of styrofoam balls and little bits of craft items that I had in my craft bin. They had a blast putting the snowmen friends together and I was happy to be doing something productive with them (considering that doesn't happen very often). 

Here's the finished snowman friends!
Lili's has a hat and Kali wanted hers to have a surfboard so that he could go surfing. Olaf plays in the hot sun, why can't Kali's snowman, right?!

Austin and I listened to a couple John Bytheway talks today. For those of you that aren't familiar with him, he is an LDS motivational speaker that works mainly with the youth of the church. He's hilarious and the kids just love him! At first Austin was irritated that he had to spend his snow day listening to a 'church talk' but it wasn't long before Brother Bytheway (we call each other brother and sister in our church as we are all children of God, therefor we are all brothers and sisters) had Austin in stitches. I highly recommend his talks to anyone. If you want children with high standards and gods morals, John Bytheway is the man and offers excellent talks. It led to a great discussion between Austin and I and I felt blessed to be enjoying this moment with him. 

After lunch (Austin cooked-bonus!) I put Lili down for her nap and Kali was resting with a movie, I decided that I needed a project. I was in the mood! I didn't want to go out in the storm (although I would have if I had to) so I needed something that I could make from what I had on hand. I knew that I had a bunch of unused fabric in the basement and have been wanting to make a rag wreath for a while now so I went with it! With Valentines Day only a week or so away, I decided to use some of my red and white fabric to make myself a Valentines Day wreath. A few hours later, and lots of tearing and cutting fabric into small pieces like so...

 and then tying them onto a coat hanger that I had shaped into a circle like so...

 I had a finished project. It turned out pretty good!

I still had quite a few pieces left so I started a second one, this time with the coat hanger in the shape of a heart. 

I have the round one hanging on the front door,

and the heart one hanging from the chandelier in the eating area.

I have to say that, paired with the red, white and pink flowers that Andrew brought home for me yesterday, it's looking quite like Valentines Day is upon us. 

Even after Andrew had come home around 6pm, I was still feeling quite ambitious (it has definitely been a high day-even I noticed my speed talking) so Andrew and I decided to go on a little date downtown for some famous poutine from Smoke's Poutinery, while Austin made dinner (that's two meals for Austin in one day!) for he and the girls. I had heard that their poutines were really good but had yet to try them so we gave it a try. I got the traditional poutine with jalapeƱos and sautƩed onions (next time I'll do without the onions-yuck),

while Andrew tried out the Philly Cheesesteak,

which I know looks really horrible in this picture but it was really good! I hate when Andrew and I go out to eat and there are so many delicious sounding items to choose from (I LOVE FOOD!!!) and I carefully select mine (and let's be honest here, I usually select his also because I'm stuck between two things so I pressure him into getting the other item that I really want to try) and his ends up being better than mine! That's the worst! Well it happened tonight, but I am happy to report that I didn't complain, nor did I end up pouting until Andrew finally decided to trade with me. I quietly ate my own poutine (okay and maybe took a few [really big] bites of Andrews). Overall, I wouldn't rave about the poutine, nor the setting (I wasn't expecting much-I still had my track pants on), but it was nice to just sneak away from the kids for an hour and enjoy some alone time. Here we are enjoying our poutines and each other.

Isn't he cute?! I love that he makes an effort to look somewhat presentable when we go out. When we first got married, I was lucky if he didn't have the worst case of bed head known to man every time that we walked out the door! He lived in hoodies, jeans and running shoes and only showered on odd days (okay, so I made that last part up-sort of). Six years later (this month), he regularly wears collared shirts and dress shoes and well, the bed head... I guess it's a trade mark because it's still there. But hey, I was wearing track pants so what can I expect? 

It's getting late now but I hate going to bed after a really good, high-energy day. 99.9% of the time I will wake up the next day exhausted and worn out from all my many ambitious adventures the previous day. Thankfully, I seem to be in a better place lately and despite what 'down days' come my way, I can expect them to be better than any 'good day' when I'm in a bad place. That's positive thinking right? 

One more picture of my sweet Austin before I head to bed. He rarely let's me take his picture so I don't have many of him but here's one that exemplifies him perfectly.

Yes, he is just a big goofball! A goofball that makes his whole family laugh, even if we are laughing at him and not with him! I love him! I love all my babies! 

And on that note...

Nighty night!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

My New Found Love of Reading!

I just went to grab my book, 'Heaven is Here' by Stephanie Nielson for me to reference from when I tell you all about it (as I promised that I would) and I remembered that I lent it out to my brother-in-law. I cannot possibly give you a review without the book in my hand other than to tell you that it was AMAZING!!! I loved every second of it! She did such a such a great job of telling her story, something that was very hard for her to re-live, I couldn't put it down. In fact, I read it in only a couple of days. For me to get through a book in a couple of days, it has to be good! What a heart wrenching story but with the healing power of the atonement she was able to overcome her greatest trials! The last few chapters I literally sobbed like a baby as I read! Just ask Andrew! I sat for at least an hour crying tears of joy and an overwhelming sence of gratitude for the gospel of Jesus Christ in my life! It was truly amazing and I want to share more with you but I don't have my copy in front of me and I also don't want to ruin it for you. You have to read it yourself. Go, right now! Get on line! Order it so that you can read it! Here's the link...

Heaven is Here by Stephanie Nielson

I told Andrew that I was going to buy a second copy because I know that the amount of times I will be lending this book out, I will never get to see it again. I haven't bought another one yet but we shall see how long it is before I get it back and the condition that it's in. I put it neatly into a plastic zip lock bag and expressed my love for it, so I'm sure that I'll be getting it back in one piece.

I didn't realize how much I enjoyed reading! Once I managed to get the kids down so that I could hear what I was reading, without the many interruptions, I actually loved it! I guess I have always enjoyed it, I just have never really made it a priority. I'm glad that I did because it helped me through a couple of 'down' days that could have been utterly waisted on feeling miserable. The combination of the feel good book that it was and the fact that I was making good use of my time helped me to get through those days a little easier. 

I'm now onto 'The Child Whisperer' by Carol Tuttle, given to me by my friend Kathy. It was a gift for helping her throw her daughters birthday, the one that I blogged about last week. She has been telling me about it for ages and I've been saying that I'd love to read it. It was so thoughtful when I received it, all wrapped up nicely in pink (my favourite colour) paper and a pretty bow. I can't remember the last time I got a beautifully wrapped gift like that. I felt so special!

"The ultimate handbook for raising happy, successful, cooperative children." I mean come on, who doesn't want that?! I'm excited to get into it, although I haven't had much time yet. I'm going to cut this short tonight so that I can get a bit of reading in. I'll let you know if there are any genius parenting tricks that I learn along the way. I could definitely use some! 

Andrew and Austin just got in from seeing a movie and Austin will have 500 stories to tell me about the movie before he winds down and goes to bed. He's already begun talking and I haven't even finished my post. Wish me luck! I LOVE MY KIDS!!! (I really do!)

Night night!