Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The Magic of Beginnings

This week I am saying goodbye from one chapter of my life and starting a new one.  I carefully dusted the shelf and cleaned the lens before tucking my camera case away tonight.  A flood of emotions filled me all at once.  

I was relieved. 
I was sad.
I was excited. 
and I was scared to death!

These emotions are very typical of change.  They also tell me that I am on the right path. I was grateful for the relief that I felt. I was worried that the sadness would take over, but it didn't.  I know that I will be dusting off my camera once and a while for close friends and family members and that makes me happy.  Out of all the things I love about photography, it is about capturing the memories of the people I photograph.  It's about remembering these moments, the smiles, the laughs. 

The excitement came before the fear. I am excited to test my limits.  To achieve my goals. I am excited to finish something I started so long ago... to 

But then came the fear and the doubt.  I am not the student I used to be.  I have no idea if I am still capable of retaining knowledge, learning new things.  Am I determined enough to put in the effort?  
Then I remember where fear comes from... the adversary.  I will not let these feeling overpower the good.

Last night when I was especially fearful I asked Clark if it was too late to back out!!??  He then asked me.... 

Is it Eternal?  
Does it bring me closer to God?  
Does it benefit my family?  

These answers were HARD to come up with!  I have been contemplating them all day! ( He is a wise man, that hubby of mine!)

... and then I read these words from a talk my the beloved President Hinckley:

"You must get all of the education that you possibly can...The Lord wants you to educate your minds and hands, whatever your chosen field. Whether it be repairing refrigerators, or the work of a skilled surgeon, you must train yourselves. Seek for the best schooling available. Become a workman of integrity in the world that lies ahead of you."

Yes, an education is Eternal

Then I read this line:
“With all thy getting get understanding” (Proverbs 4:7).

Yes, an education is of God

As I contemplate the sacrifices that will be made by my family to make sure I succeed I was left with a feeling of doubt when asked the question "Will it benefit my family."  I can make the argument that it will make sure my son see's me accomplishing my goals, and the value of an education.  And then in the talk by President Hinckley mentioned above he addresses women directly:

"You can include in the dream of the woman you would like to be a picture of one qualified to serve society and make a significant contribution to the world of which she will be a part. Set your priorities in terms of marriage and family, but also pursue educational programs which will lead to satisfying work and productive employment in case you do not marry, or to a sense of security and fulfillment in the event you do marry. Education will increase your appreciation and refine your talent."

I have always put my family first. and it is now clear to me that by perusing my education it is not that I am putting me first over them, or ignoring their needs to focus on mine... it is that I am doing this as well as taking care of my family.

I realize that I cannot do this alone.  That I need a support system.  I am grateful for my husband and son who have been so supportive of this decision. I know that Heavenly Father can guide and strengthen me also. I hope to add many more friends and strangers to my support system in order to make it through!  

I saw this quote the other day and found it so fitting for me! I believe in the magic of beginnings!  

What beginnings do you have in your life right now?  What emotions have you felt as you embrace that change?

Friday, October 10, 2014


I don't often highlight my books, but then again, I am not often moved deep down in my soul by a few words.  This is beautiful. It's all about kindness. "Show more kindness than is necessary"
Have you ever seen the face of God in those around you who are showing kindness? Maybe when you needed it most?

This is an excerpt from the book Wonder.  Have you read it?  We LOVE it!  What do you think of it?

Monday, October 6, 2014

7 lessons I Learned About Pornography

The other day I had an experience that I feel that I must share to create a dialogue and hopefully promote ideas that we can use to strengthen our families.

I was scrolling through Facebook and saw an article posted by our local news station with a title I was interested in... SCOUTS!  I clicked on the article and read it and then proceeded to read some of the comments.  I was surprised by the negative tone the comments took so quickly after publishing the article but I was interested in why people were opposed to young men earning their Eagle Scout award at younger ages (This young man earned his when he was 13, which is amazing!  And my hubby earned his at 14 (correct me if I am wrong sweetie)), so I scrolled through the comments... BIG MISTAKE!

Some person posted a picture in the comments like none I have ever seen before in my life.  It was a pornographic picture.  I have had several experiences in my life when I have accidentally seen something online that I wish I wouldn't have... and this was the WORST I have ever seen.  I immediately turned off my phone. I was shocked. Stunned. Unprepared for this. And that is why I need to share it. Because I want to share 7 things I learned about viewing pornography.

1. Exposure to pornography is inevitable.  It is going to happen no matter what you do.  It is going to happen to you and it is going to happen to our children.

"Pornography is more vile, evil, and graphic than ever before. As we counsel with our children, together we can create a family plan with standards and boundaries, being proactive to protect our homes with filters on electronic devices. Parents, are we aware that mobile devices with Internet capacity, not computers, are the biggest culprit?"

2. Satan will use this accident against you.  Satan will fill you will whatever emotion works best on you. For me... it was guilt!  I felt HORRIBLE! But it isn't a stretch to picture how Satan will use this feeling of guilt to entice our children to look again, look at more. Show a friend.

Satan knows how to exploit and ensnare us with artificial substances and behaviors of temporary pleasure. I have observed the impact when one struggles to win back control, to become free from destructive abuse and addiction, and to regain self-esteem and independence.

3. It's important to tell someone.  My poor husband wasn't home 5 minutes before I said to him "something happened to me today..." and explained what I saw (not in detail as i don't want to relive it or put those images in his head!) Telling him allowed me to start to heal and leave the state of shock and guilt behind. And that is when I started to think more clearly and figured out what would have helped even more!  It is important to ensure our children are comfortable telling us when they see things they shouldn't have.  And if you struggling with an addiction it is so important to tell parents, spouses and church leaders so they can help you on the path of repentance.

4. Say a prayer! I don't know why I didn't think to say one right away, I wish I would have, and so this really should be #1!  That is why i am sharing.  I want you and your family to know that immediately after seeing or hearing something you wish you wouldn't have you can pray to Heavenly Father.  The Holy Ghost can provide comfort and protection from all the feelings of guilt or shame and help your thoughts turn to God.

5. Sing a Hymn. Music heals.  It's a fact for me... and probably for you too.

  “Music is given of God to further his purposes. Sweet melodies mellow the souls of men and help prepare them for the gospel. After men receive the truth, songs of praise to Deity help to sanctify and cleanse their souls.”

-- Elder Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine

 I love the line: "Cleanse the soul"... I couldn't describe better how good music makes me feel. Cleansed. Uplifted. Inspired. 

6. Use the Atonement. Often times we think of the Atonement of Jesus Christ to be only about repentance.  It is so much more! Christ suffered all of our afflictions as he bled from every pore in the Garden of Gethsemane.  He suffered for our sins, and our heartaches, and our sicknesses. He knows weaknesses and our strengths. We can call on the power of the Atonement to relieve our burden, erase our minds, and strengthen our bodies.  I am grateful for my growing testimony of the Atonement. 

7. Repeat. It has been less than 24 hours since I saw that pornographic image in my newsfeed.  I have had the image enter my mind again several times. 

Probably the greatest challenge to people of any age, particularly young people, and the most difficult thing you will face in mortal life is to learn to control your thoughts. As a man “thinketh in his heart, so is he.” (Proverbs 23:7.) One who can control his thoughts has conquered himself.

Please leave a comment.  How do you protect yourself and your family from inappropriate images, articles, movies etc in your home?  Has this happened to you?  

Wednesday, October 1, 2014


One of the many ways that I serve in our community is through scouting. At our church scouting is a calling that we receive from our leaders.(in other communities is a volunteer position.) I will be honest...when I got called to scouts I cried for (at least) three days. C was only 5 and the scouting part of life seemed so far away. And here I am 4 years later and I have served in 3 different scouting positions and... wait for it... I have grown to LOVE it!

 My friend often told me that you can't help but to love those who you serve. I have found this to be true. At one point last year we had 12 boys in our Wolf den (HOLY SMOKES! That is a lot of 8-year-olds!) I will admit that some of the boys took me longer to love than others, but I truly love them. One of the most satisfying experiences I have had as a scout leader is seeing the boys who were in my den pass the sacrament as they are now Turing 12! WOW! I can't believe how fast time FLIES!

Last Month C turned 8 and he has moved out of my den and into the Bear den.  Oh how bitter sweet that was for me.  Part of me wanted to move on up with him! But after his first week he came home thrilled and happy and telling me how much he loved Bears.  It makes my heart happy to know that he has such great leaders that will make this year fun for him.

Here is a little pic of all the fun we had at Pack Meeting last week.  There was an arrow of light, lots of rank advancements and super fun games.  The theme was cooperation so they played games that took all four people to cooperate to accomplish their goal.

Was there ever a calling that you received or a job that was given to you that you were so sad and stressed about... and then grew to love?