January 16, 2017

Light the World...cute face

You might recognize a cute face at the end of this video!!

January 12, 2017

Success: our final destination

Success. What does it look like? To some it is finally buying a dream car; to others it is landing the perfect job. For every person in the world, reaching success looks differently. Our beliefs on what success could—or should—be stem from a few different sources.

1. Your upbringing. How your parent’s succeeded, or failed to succeed. How they spoke about others who were “successful” in their eyes. How they received you when you did something well, how love was given or with held when you failed. All of these factors play a role in what you view success to be, and what you strive for.

2. Your self-image. The view you have of yourself can play into when and how you will view yourself as successful. Those who have confidence and find worth at a low paying, hard to do job, will most likely still see themselves as valuable at a higher end job. Those who don’t see themselves as successful at the things they are doing, and are always striving to find success at a later date, will most likely never feel successful even when they have reached their goals. Cars, houses, jobs, relationships will never feel satisfying and the next best thing will evenaully come around to replace what originally was viewed as success.  It is all about perception. That’s not to say we can’t have goals and ambitions, but if we can’t find joy in life now . . . it will be harder to find then.

3. Your relationships. What energy do you put into relationships with those around you? What importance do you put on their well-being? How selfish are you? Do you love to get love back, or do you love to see another being be loved? The view you have on relationships and their importance in your life, can play a role on your view of what success should or could be.

4. Your personality. For a more laid back personality, success could be viewed differently than a person who is a little more tightly wound. A perfectionist verses a person less concerned with details. All of these biologically engrained and learned personality traits can play in to the way we ideal what success should be.

5. Your environment. Who do you surround yourself with? What do your friends view success to be? What environments do you feel comfortable in? How do you feel around people you view as “successful”? Do you feel more successful when around someone you feel better than in some way? Do you have encouragement from your surroundings, or do they bring you down? How do you perceive others view of you? Do you compliment others who have found success? Do you struggle with jealousy or hatred? Do you hold on to the past or fear the future? Do you live within your means? Do you hold onto “stuff” or do you keep your space clean and fresh? All of these can play a role in the energy that is around you while setting goals and viewing future success.

6. Your thoughts. Do you think negatively about yourself and others? Do you let your thoughts spiral out of your control when fear kicks in? Can you determine a truth from a lie in your own mind? Do you ask others for approval, or do you have confidence in decisions? Do you like yourself? Do you believe in yourself? Do you trust others? Do you trust yourself? Do you trust God? Your thoughts and beliefs can help to shape, or misshape your view of success.

So what is success? If it isn’t a destination that can be defined by anyone—for everyone—why do we keep spending our years feeling like we have failed at getting there?

Why do so many people keep wishing for the next big thing to bring them happiness and validate a fear or belief that they are not successful without it?—because it is a lie. “Success” is the fish you will never catch. Its goal is to keep you so busy striving for it, that you miss the things that make you successful right now.

We all succeed in our own way. While one woman is out conquering the world in her career, another is a mother changing diapers at home. While one man is making millions in a high-rise penthouse, another is pinching pennies to feed his children in a trailer. Both have found success—just in a different way. But to say one is more successful for all the numbers they have gained, is forgetting that those numbers cannot last forever.

I know a few people who I would say are my hero’s of success—and there is no dollar amount to why. My grandma would feed—what felt like a hundred of—us every holiday, never complaining about the cost or the time—but always giving unconditional love. My mom had five kids of her own and took on seven more with a second marriage. Through all of her ups and downs in life, I never once heard her complain or lose faith in God. To me, they have made it . . . to “success”. They have learned how to love.

And we all have an example who showed what true success looks like. He came to earth—as we all did—with a very unique mission and purpose. His story is one of a poor man who spent his days serving others. He served because He loved. He died, because He cared. He could see what we can’t—but lived as we can.

So success. What is it? It would seem—as we all get cloudy on our definition of when one will reach the success they have worked their life for—we might have all had it all wrong. Success is finding your connection to God, and the reason He sent you here to earth. Success is leaving a great legacy for your family, by the way you show them how to love. Success is being you and finding joy along the way. 

If I have said it once, I will say it again a thousand times. We have to put our family first. The dark clouds are just going to keep getting darker. Keep fighting. The light is going to get dim—at times—don’t let it burn out.


Success—true success—at the end of this thing we call life will not be measured in numbers and dollar signs, it will not be obtained by a dream house or a dream car. It will be achieved by living a dream life. Make memories. Laugh. Find joy—in the stuff that is real . . . the relationships you will take with you.


“I think everybody should get rich and famous and do everything they ever dreamed of so they can see that it's not the answer.” Jim Carrey

January 11, 2017

Didn't deserve to dream

I have received some amazing stories in the past few months. This one seemed fitting for a new year and all of us who are striving to be better for ourselves and God. This woman is a rock and I am so grateful for her vulnerability and rawness as she opens her heart about abuse and neglect and the impact her lost dreams have had in her life. Hold your dear ones a little tighter tonight, and don't forget the dreams that will make the most impact. Life isn't about how much stuff we can collect, or awards we receive. It is about family and taking the time to love.
Ashlee



Didn't deserve to dream 
by Debbie Fox

I always thought someday I would get what I deserved—I dreamed of a family that loved me, and a life surrounded with love. But that isn’t always how life goes, and each new obstacle I had to face made me question if I even deserved to dream.

I was born to two alcoholics—6 generations of known pedophiles, who struggled with addictions and domestic violence. So right from the start I was destined to fail. Under doctor’s orders my mom had to leave California to give birth to me in Montana—without my dad—so my grandmother could help her instead.

But not long after I was born, my mom decided to go back. When she arrived, she found the—carefully set up—nursery full of beer cans. He also had gotten a DUI while she was gone, but she didn’t decide to leave him for good until I was 6 months old. My father has been in and out of my life since—I last heard from him in 2006, so I have no idea if he is dead or alive. 

My mom was an alcoholic and had dissociative disorder so when I was younger I would be having a normal conversation with her and then she would start talking like she was a three year old, a seven year old, or an eleven year old. I grew up never knowing what to expect. Every night she drank, even though she was told she was killing so many brain cells—the addiction was just too strong. As a result I was often neglected and when I was 10, she often left me alone at home. 

At one point, my mom’s best friend and her boy friend moved into our apartment. The boy friend molested me every night for a year until he moved out. Unfortunately, I had no one to protect me. My mom was crazy, my dad was out of the picture (I can count on one hand the times I have seen him and on both hands the amount of times I have talked to him on the phone).

I tried to hold it all together, but it took me quite awhile to forgive my dad. I was angry that my protector wasn't there to stop these heinous actions. I was angry that I wasn't enough to be loved or for him to stay. He would even tell me at a young age it was all my fault—if I had never been born none of this would have happen. I felt depressed and anxious and as a result even as an adult I deal with depression, anxiety and PTSD.

When my mom finally went to treatment for her alcoholism they discovered that she was bipolar. It wasn't managed well as this was the late 80's/early 90's. She had major psychosis once and went after me with a huge butcher knife convinced I was an intruder and not her own daughter. She also hallucinated and thought munchkins were stealing our car. None of this was out of the ordinary in our household. I lived in constant fear that she would harm me unintentionally. I slept with my door locked and did my best to be away from home. 

On June 27, 1999 my grandma found my mom dead. I had a friend rush me home from work and the police asked me to identify her body. They didn't tell me she wasn't covered with a sheet. So, as a young 23 year old, I saw my mom's dead body face up with her mouth open. It traumatized me and gave me panic attacks for a very long time. I had to mourn losing the mother I had, but even more I had to let go of the dream and lose hope that I would ever have the mom I deserved.

So I dated the wrong kind of man whose approval I so desperately sought—I think a lot of that was because of my dad. My boyfriend too came from a line of abuse. One night he strangled and almost killed me . . . but I say he killed my spirit far before he almost killed me physically. 

During all of these years I have faced a lot of health issues that have been literally debilitating. I think that I am the type that holds things in rather than lets it out, but there is something beautiful that happens when you find your voice. 

Through all of these intense trials I have turned to my Savior, and He has heard me. I know He has felt everything I ever have felt. I have no family members anymore— except an uncle I adore in Minnesota and his amazing family—but my Savior knows what that feels like too. He knows what it is like to hurt physically. He knows what it is like to feel abandoned and He is aware of all of our challenges and lost dreams.

In the end, I have learned so much from my earthly parents—though they aren’t the ones I thought I deserved—and from their abuse. I have learned what it means to cleave to the Lord when you have no one else who is there for you. Sometimes I hang on to Him like I would a lifesaver thrown to me in raging rapids.

I have learned the power of forgiveness. I have learned that shame and guilt are corrosive. If guilt moves us to make things right it serves a purpose, but if we've done all we can to make things right and we still feel guilty . . . it is not over. I have taken my experiences and used them for good.

Through what can only be described as a miracle, I was able to go to the UN in New York City and talk to ambassadors about the importance of families because I know what it's like not to have a strong one. I was able to be more persuasive because I know that families really are the frame work and the thread that holds our society together.

I have learned that I could choose to believe people are fundamentally evil—because of all of the sexual, verbal, emotional and physical abuse in my childhood—or I could choose to believe they were the exception and most people are good and loving. I choose the latter. I choose to pray for charity to love my imperfect family, and I do.

At times I have had to deal with the pain of people leaving my life and this poem came at a perfect time and for a perfect reminder for me. The Lord truly knows what He is doing. I love how it says these people aren't tied to your destiny. I know when I trust the Lord—despite the challenges— that is when miracles happen. Sometimes it means letting go of abusive, toxic and/or emotionally unhealthy people in your life, and realizing that those traumatic experiences are not your destiny.

"Let It Go" by TD Jakes

There are people who can walk away from you. And hear me when I tell you this! When people can walk away from you: let them walk.

I don't want you to try to talk another person into staying with you, loving you, calling you, caring about you, coming to see you, staying attached to you. I mean hang up the phone. When people can walk away from you let them walk. Your destiny is never tied to anybody that left.


The Bible said that, they came out from us that it might be made manifest that they were not for us. For had they been of us, no doubt they would have continued with us. [1 John 2:19]

People leave you because they are not joined to you. And if they are not joined to you, you can't make them stay.

Let them go.

And it doesn't mean that they are a bad person it just means that their part in the story is over. And you've got to know when people's part in your story is over so that you don't keep trying to raise the dead.

You've got to know when it's dead.

You've got to know when it's over. Let me tell you something. I've got the gift of good-bye. It's the tenth spiritual gift, I believe in good-bye. It's not that I'm hateful, it's that I'm faithful, and I know whatever God means for me to have He'll give it to me. And if it takes too much sweat I don't need it. Stop begging people to stay.

Let them go!!

If you are holding on to something that doesn't belong to you and was never intended for your life, then you need to . .

LET IT GO!!!

If you are holding on to past hurts and pains...

LET IT GO!!!

If someone can't treat you right, love you back, and see your worth...

LET IT GO!!!

If someone has angered you...

LET IT GO!!!

If you are holding on to some thoughts of evil and revenge...

LET IT GO!!!

If you are involved in a wrong relationship or addiction...

LET IT GO!!!

If you are holding on to a job that no longer meets your needs or talents...

LET IT GO!!!

If you have a bad attitude...

LET IT GO!!!

If you keep judging others to make yourself feel better...

LET IT GO!!!

If you're stuck in the past and God is trying to take you to a new level in Him...

LET IT GO!!!

If you are struggling with the healing of a broken relationship...

LET IT GO!!!

If you keep trying to help someone who won't even try to help themselves...

LET IT GO!!!

If you're feeling depressed and stressed...

LET IT GO!!!

If there is a particular situation that you are so used to handling yourself and God is saying "take your hands off of it," then you need to...

LET IT GO!!!

Let the past be the past. Forget the former things. GOD is doing a new thing for this year!!!

LET IT GO!!!

Get Right or Get Left. think about it, and then...


LET IT GO!!!










Your destiny is what you make it, but as long as you include God, you will never be alone. Hold on to that truth. Grace is the gift that helps us thrive and the strength that will help us stand.



To read more about Debbie and her journey visit her blog at:

http://www.thriveingrace.blogspot.com/



Related articles: Our Choice to Shine


January 9, 2017

A Reason to Stand: Fighting for Me

Arizona . . . We are coming for you. See you in 12 days. January 21st. Gilbert.




For tickets and info about the presenters visit A Reason to Stand.

I am AWESOME

Ok. I have a couple videos for you guys to watch. Boys watch the first one...





Girls, this one is for you...



I love these so much. Truths that God wants us to know, to help us fight the lies.

Be You

This year one of my resolutions is to be genuine. To be real. So a lot of the things I will share on here will be ideas and thoughts that help me and anyone else looking for the same to find hope in fighting for it.

I got an email a few days ago from a company promising to make my Instagram account beautiful—teach me how take pictures that glamorize my life and make others want to follow me. They promised hundreds of thousands of followers in no time. To this—instead of glamour—it made me want to make my account even more real. Not for followers looking to follow the fake me, but to help anyone who follows my account to appreciate the realness right in front of them. Life isn't about posing for fake pictures...it is about capturing moments that are real. This is a picture of all the extra "stuff" we removed from our house the past few weeks. Stuff that promised happiness...but really just added chaos. Life isn't about how much stuff—or followers—we can acquire...it is about what we use it for to help others, and find the real us along the way.



Here is a great article about that realness we all need more of in our life.

http://mike-thayer.com/lifestyle-porn/

January 8, 2017

Anything but Normal

Thank you to Deseret News for publishing one of my stories today! Made my day.


January 6, 2017

Happy Birthday The Moments We Stand

Three years ago today this was the post that started it all . . . Happy birthday to the healing journey this blog has become. Thank you to everyone who has stood by me through the highs and the lows, the tears and the memories. I will never forget that first time I pressed publish. The wave emotions. Fear of letting it go, scared that someone might read it and I would be humiliated again. I am glad I listened to that voice that told me to be brave, because without that I wouldn't have all of you. We are all connected, by stories, by faith, and by strength.

Stand Tall: You are not alone

December 15, 2016

Our choice to shine

Yesterday I talked with a young man—I had never met before—who told me about a struggle he was facing with suicidal thoughts. My heart ached as this young kid described the feelings of insignificance and powerful beliefs that he was a loser. He said there had been many times that ending his life felt like the only way out. Luckily many words came to my mind as I tried to council and encourage and bring hope, but the image of his little face stuck with me most of the day.

I got thinking later of some of the negative battles I fight in my mind—and though they are not the same as this kid—they have at times felt so real and have been followed with feelings of insignificance in a world much bigger than me. Sometimes it is easy to feel forgotten. Negative thoughts bombard our minds. Does my effort really make a difference? How am I important...if I am just one? 

Last night Shawn came inside with a few pictures of our Christmas lights. This one answered some of those questions for me.



Look at this little light bulb. It belongs to a huge strand of lights. I am sure at times this little bulb has felt forgotten on a stand full of lights that look like they shine way more clearer and way more bright. Then the snow comes along and tries to suffocate any warmth that it was trying to give. I am sure at times—if this bulb could think—it thought, “Well . . . here it is . . . proof that I am a nobody. My life, and my purpose are completely forgotten today. In fact, I might just give up because if nobody can even see me . . . then what is my purpose to shine?” And in that moment when the light bulb was thinking of just turning off, it realized it had come to a crossroad. And for a light bulb, this crossroad only has two options. The first being giving up and turning off, and the second being: shinning anyway. Shinning, not because anyone can see or will even notice . . . but because it was what it was created to do. Shinning anyway, because God sent it here to earth to shine.

Lucky for us, this little light bulb—though he couldn’t see the others, or know what road they chose to take . . . he kept shinning. He just knew that once the snow stopped everything would be ok. Even though the snow kept falling on him—he didn’t give up for a second, because he believed at some point it would be over. 

Then pretty soon, the snow stopped falling. He thought for sure that the hardest part was over. Then he realized that nothing changed for him, he was still stuck under a pile of white.

And so he was, at another crossroad. This time he wasn’t sure what the end of the struggle would be. The snow was no longer falling, but he was still scared and alone. So this brave little light, you know what he did . . . HE FOUGHT. Silently, alone, defeated, and scared he decided he wasn’t just going to shine . . . He was going to shine brighter than he ever had before.

And guess what. That determined little light bulb found that the more he shinned, the more heat he let out—and the more heat that surrounded him, the less he felt secluded and abandoned. And pretty soon, that snow—that he thought would never be lifted—began to melt away.

We each have a light shinning from within us. Every moment we get to decide if we will use it to light our path or if we will let it die. If you have ever wonder if you make a difference—let me promise you . . . you do. Your light is significant, your love is powerful, and you are not forgotten. We are all part of a grand strand of lights, not one of us is going to lose it’s light without it effecting all the rest.

So like I told that little boy yesterday, “He loves you, He sees you, He believes in you. To Him you are smart, and kind, and loving, and helpful, and handsome. Don’t you dare ever let anyone tell you anything different, including your mind. Those thoughts in your head—they are the lie. Your life brings light to so many people. Anytime you hear those thoughts, you get on your knees and you say a prayer. God will not forget you—but when it feels quiet—you just keep fighting!”

Just like that little boy I want you to know you make a difference. And remember, even Christ was just one man . . . your light can change the world around you as you follow His example and shine anyway. Even if no one else can see—SHINE.

 
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