Here is my New Year’s Resolution: Love

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I think there are many times in life we might ask ourselves, “what was the point of going through that, just to have it end?”

My time away from the blog, I’ve been more fully embracing the life I have chosen and living my life to the fullest. So full, I am crashing to bed earlier and earlier each night.

and, I’ve also been experiencing more joy.

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So my thoughts come from a place of deep reflection brought on by personal trials (that have turn to triumphs?).

As I knelt – or crumpled – next to my bed last night, wondering to God why some things happen – a thing that brings you joy was abruptly taken away – what was the whole purpose of that?

My question did not come from a place of anger, but a sincere desire to know why.

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Here is what I felt after reflection:

When we lose something we love, we should never regret how we loved.

When we choose to fill ourselves with Love, it begets more love.

Bitterness and sorrow begets more bitterness and sorrow.

There have been many things I used to regret in my life.

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For the things I can’t change, I will no longer feel regret. For the things that I can change, well, I’m taking the time to turn them around. For many things, it’s never too late, to make a change.

Some of those changes have been inspired by reading. Reading of scripture (which I consider history), and reading of non-scripture world history.

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The clarity of my goals came while reading about the Siege of (Leningrad) St Petersburg in 1941 – that lasted 872 days – leading to the death of about a million civilians.

During the siege, a Russian composer by the name of Dimitri Shostakovich (what a fun name to say!!) wrote his Symphony No. 7 – not only did they hold a concert in the physically starved and bombed out city – the concert was broadcast on speakers outside the concert hall to allow those who couldn’t enter the packed building to listen and some directed toward occupying soldiers. As bombs fell, it was the banner of “cultural resistance to atrocity.” (Read more here)

While I don’t wish to create enemies at the gate, it is inevitable that others will choose to make me their enemy – for any manner of perceived wrong (hey, I’m not perfect, but I don’t go out of my way to hurt people).

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It comes down to this:

I don’t wish to have enemies. I don’t want to create any, for those who choose to make me their enemy, I choose to not to fuel the flames of anger, but will fan the embers of love and  beauty.

I’m still trying to figure how to do that.

It starts with not arguing, not gossiping, finding something else to put my mind on, and so on, listening better.

This is my new years resolution. That doesn’t mean that I don’t ever feel the desire to reach into my computer screen and punch someone’s face, because on rare occasion, I do feel that way.

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Photo by Jewly Ann Photography

However petty I have been up to this day, I am choosing to learn how to be better today and tomorrow in the face of opposition. This is what I have decided to work on, in my small way, to change the world.

Looking towards the light through depression.

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This morning, after a few hours of anxiety, everything changed and the sun started shining through my soul again.

The day began like any other, woke up started breakfast – except this time I turned on some LDS general conference talks while I prepared food.

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There are things I’ve always known, but today I understood them.

One speaker quoted Neal A. Maxwell,

“Certain forms of suffering, endured well, can actually be ennobling. …

“… Part of enduring well consists of being meek enough, amid our suffering, to learn from our relevant experiences. Rather than simply passing through these things, they must pass through us … in ways which sanctify [us].”

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I know I’ve sounded a bit like a broken record when it comes to trying to find the positive during difficult times, but I’ve passed through something that has given me new perspective on those who suffer depression throughout their life.

I have depression each time I’m pregnant…then I have had post-partum depression following the birth of each of my three children. So, beginning with my first pregnancy in late summer 2011 through, this month…I have constantly struggled [mightily] with things I didn’t quite understand for a long time.

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The first time, I didn’t even know why I felt the way I did.

I wasn’t disappointed in the idea of having a baby, I just didn’t feel joy or excitement about  anything. Things moms are supposed to feel.

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When I held my firstborn after delivery I was in love at first sigh. I couldn’t sleep I was so happy.

The pure excitement and joy that followed the next eight months was in a constant battle with depression. All the changes in my life added to six solid months of no sleep and then eating little – it’s no wonder my brain was off balance.

Just before my first turned one, I got pregnant a second time. Several weeks later I miscarried.  Six months following that, I was pregnant a third time and later gave birth to a second boy.

I love babies so much. Love them and yet…

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This girl is pure gold. I am so happy she came to me.

I constantly felt like I was going to snap in half and I cried all the time. My husband couldn’t fix anything.

My fourth pregnancy (and third child) was a complete surprise.

A tender mercy my last pregnancy didn’t make me feel sick physically, but mentally I was still fighting a mess.

I was vacuuming my carpets three times a day. Three.

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How did I manage to get along? I set my mind to face each day, to put one foot in front of the other and not give up, rest if I must, but not quit.

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So, today, with a morning full of anxiety I heard,  Elder Evan A Schmutz say,

“The purpose and mission of Jesus Christ included that He would “take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people,” “take upon him their infirmities,” and “succor his people according to their infirmities.”17

To fully receive these gifts our Savior has so freely offered, we all must learn that suffering in and of itself does not teach or grant to us anything of lasting value unless we deliberately become involved in the process of learning from our afflictions through the exercise of faith.

Then we can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Elder Jeffrey R. Holland has taught: “There really is light at the end of the tunnel. It is the Light of the World, the Bright and Morning Star, the ‘light that is endless, that can never be darkened’ [Mosiah 16:9]. It is the very Son of God Himself.”20

We can take strength in knowing that all the hard experiences in this life are temporary; even the darkest nights turn into dawn for the faithful.

When all is finished and we have endured all things with faith in Jesus Christ, we have the promise that “God shall wipe away all [the] tears from [our] eyes.”21

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Something about hearing those words sent light through my heart. I hope that hearing those words will send light through your heart.

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I hope that we can all keep trying to be a little bit softer, a little bit kinder especially towards those things around us that we just don’t understand, yet.

Don’t give up, keep trying, you are loved. Things really aren’t as bad as they seem.

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Peace my friends.

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At 4 and a half our oldest decided to be fully potty trained and we are beyond thrilled. Anytime, anywhere.

My (Non) Celebrity Boyfriend and (in my opinion) the Sexiest Man Alive

So I was on Pinterest this week and I happened to be looking at a recipe for candy popcorn – the blogger was telling a story about going to the movies – with her husband – and the amazing (shirtless) abs of the actor on screen… how she was so intently watching this movie (and his abs), she ate too much popcorn.

I aged it to look 70ish...someone told him he looked like a NASA engineer, ironically, we know some of those from the 70's.
I aged it to look 70ish…someone told him he looked like a NASA engineer, ironically, we know some of those from the 70’s.

I realize she was being “funny” and I’m sure she loves her husband – but I for one am too uptight for that kind of “funny.”

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My husband is my celebrity crush, #MCM (mom, that means “Man Crush Monday” and it’s just something people hash-tag about on social media…please don’t ask me about hash tags…again) and will always be the sexiest man alive – to me.

I love it when he smiles.
I love it when he smiles.

It really is the small things that keep marriages strong, especially in a world with so much divorce.

Woman with cameras should not come fishing....
Hey Girl, you’re the only woman I Hey Girl…

Choose your love, love your choice and make it last Forever!

Disclaimer: Does not necessarily apply to the single ladies and gents… Those movies abs are for you!

An Anniversary Of Sorts

Daddy and BabyJanuary 22 was the day of my husband and I’s first date. It’s kinda of an interesting story.

I happened to mention rock climbing to Dan one week after church and he said he was “game” anytime. I worked two jobs, went to school and had a busy church calling, so I wasn’t sure when I would have time, but I hoped that it would happen “someday.”

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Almost two weeks after mentioning rock climbing to Dan, I had a dream about him – which made me feel super weird inside. In the dream, Dan was looking at me and he said very clearly, “we are compatible.” I woke up immediately after I saw this and my first thought was, “that was so weird.” I got out of bed and got ready for my hospital shift. I got to work early, which was atypical for me, and went into the office to find out which patients I was working with for the day – I was told I wasn’t on the schedule and then to find out – I was on the schedule, but they were over-staffed for the day and sent me home….which was atypical too.

What?

I ran errands before returning home and then got on my laptop to check emails. I had an email from a friend telling me about a groupon for the rock climbing gym – it was an incredible deal – and it was a Thursday – who did I know that wasn’t at work in the middle of the day on a Thursday? Eight in the morning and I send a text to Dan, inviting him to go with me.

A few minutes later, he texted me back.

We went climbing in a rock gym, followed by some delicious Korean food – I told Dan why people fart and Dan told me about some of the crazy things he’s done – I definitely did not think I had just eaten with my future husband, I thought I had made a new best friend.

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After our lunch, we found an urban skatepark and took a walk around the park next to a river.

Just before he and I parted ways for the day, he asked me if I would ever date a guy who worked at Waffle House, I told him, I would date a guy who had a job.

"You could be a farmer in those clothes." Clueless, the movie
“You could be a farmer in those clothes.” ‘Clueless’

It still didn’t occur to me that he wanted to date me. Clueless.

Dancer, Singer, Comedienne

Just hanging out, you know, amongst the other flowers
Just hanging out, you know, amongst the other flowers

My mother turned 58 years old today. Which, now that I’m thirty, doesn’t seem that old or that far away from my current age.

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Hoity Toity character in a stage production of Wizard of OZ

Where do I begin? My mother and I are best friends – now that doesn’t mean if I gave “her lip” I didn’t get a lecture, because I would of heard, “you don’t speak to your mother that way.”

That dog is a menace to society!
That dog is a menace to society! I love watching her perform.

Since I was a relatively easy child to raise, it was the type of relationship where I could go to my mom and tell her anything – about anything – she was the first to know.

And your little dog too!
“And your little dog too!”                               Her “cackle” is second to none.

Mama has always been good about telling me and my siblings how much she loves us, about how beautiful we are with no shortage of hugs and kisses. But my mom is awesome because, since we were children she would come into each of our bedrooms before bed each night and sing us songs of our choosing while scratching our backs. Even during high school, if it was requested. I bet she would do it tomorrow if I asked.

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My mom is such a character – she got plenty of practice entertaining her family growing up. She took classical dance and took advantage of the stage, mom can light up a stage. The only show I remember her performing in as a child was “A Christmas Carol” and that’s because she spent the majority of MY childhood being a mother instead of pursuing her hobbies. She holds a BS in nursing and has recently become a midwife after 30+ years on/off as a Labor and Delivery Nurse.

Mother and baby - my youngest brother
Mother and baby – my youngest brother

My mom has also homeschooled all of her children at one time or another.

She has traveled with us, grown food in her garden – canned food from her garden and cooked healthy foods.

Honestly, there is not much my mom can’t do. My dad was gone a lot when I was young – out to sea as a Naval Officer – and my mom played “good cop/bad cop.” She took over mowing the lawn and fixing things that broke.

Mom told her children:

“the food you eat today, is the baby you make tomorrow – so eat healthy.”

“smart mamas, make smart babies.”

“he who serves best, loves most.”

“children will follow the mother to heaven or to hell.” to her daughters – be good mothers, to her sons, choose good wives.

And all she wanted every year for her birthday and mother’s day was:

“a clean house and no contention.” Seriously, a gift is so much easier.

My mom is such a hottie, even just after giving birth to me in 1982!
My mom is such a hottie, even just after giving birth to me in 1982!

To the woman who taught me how to sing! Happy Birthday, I love you Mama.

Katie

Not Taking Counsel From Fear

My older brother – better known as “Uncle Beardo” – told me about a quote stated by the former Southern General “Stonewall” Jackson, “never take counsel of your fears.” This quote was taken from an LDS church leader’s commencement talk to graduating college students in reference to facing the future, in other words, “Go Forward With Faith.”

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I love Mexican food – and you haven’t had good Mexican food if all you have eaten is “Tex-Mex” – that’s all I’m going to say about that.

In 2008, I had this overwhelming feeling to travel somewhere one morning on my commute to work. I frequently get this urge, but this time it was different. I showed up to work and my close friend and manager was on the phone – when I walked into her office, she said, “hey Kate, do you want to go to Mexico?” First words out of my mouth, “yeah, sounds like fun.”

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Parasailing – and in Mexico, no waivers needed, just cash for the ride.
It was so peaceful and beautiful – try it out some time.

My friend hung up the phone and immediatly bought two airplane tickets to Mexico and said, “you can pay me back, I know you’re good for it.”  I started having a panic attack – not because I didn’t have the money, because I did – I wasn’t actually prepared to spend a huge wad of money, even though traveling was really important to me.

Just a lite snack - and they tasted pretty good
Just a lite snack – and they tasted pretty good

For a few weeks, I wavered back and forth about the idea of spending a large sum of money that had – in my mind – little return for the investment. My good friend talked the trip up and told me it was going to be a great adventure and I still questioned the trip up until the week before departure.

She was offended that I would take pictures of her rather than offer to pee on her jelly fish sting....
She was offended that I would take pictures of her rather than offer to pee on her jelly fish sting…. just the day before she offered to pee on my jelly fish sting – I declined

As soon as I decided I wanted to go on the trip – I was at peace – because it was what I really wanted. In this way, it makes me think of marriage and relationships: We get to, “choose our love” and we need to, “love our choice” (Neal A. Maxwell said, “Choose your love, love your choice”). When we come to peace with this information, we can know a greater happiness than we have known before.

Some of the locals had some interesting stories - but meeting them and getting to know them gave a better life perspective.
Some of the locals had very interesting stories – meeting them and getting to know them gave me a better life perspective.

Timing plays a big role in when and where to travel. I didn’t go into debt to travel to Mexico and I didn’t quit my job. I wasn’t married and I didn’t leave people or my financial obligations hanging. They were all still there when I returned to the states.

My friend was about to leave on her LDS Mission, so it was only natural to flag down current LDS Missionaries to say hello and offer some kind words.
My friend was about to leave on her LDS Mission, so it was only natural to flag down current LDS Missionaries to say hello and offer some kind words.

I live with my parents. My husband works and goes to school – we are not going into debt for our upcoming trip to Costa Rica. and we are taking our son.

Totally staged photo with REAL Federales...they were really nice and I promised not to show their faces.
Totally staged photo with REAL Federales…they were really nice and I promised not to show their faces. I don’t look too convincing, but my friend sure does….

There are many things in life that look like they don’t make sense, like taking a big trip – or bringing our young child on an foreign adventure, and jumping into marriage for that matter. But, those things are my choice and I feel at peace with my decisions.

taking a swim fully clothed
taking a swim fully clothed in the ocean – it was as fun as it looks.

So, I say don’t look at what other people are doing to gage what is right for you – talk to God, do what is right and you will have peace after you make a good choice – I’m not just talking about traveling.

Nos Vemos eh?

Katie

Little Did I Know….

This time last year, I was pregnant – SICK – and I didn’t like my job, so I’m going to tell you about December 2010, it’s much happier.

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Pictured above with my older brother and younger sister @Dec/2010.

December 13, 2010 I recorded: “Everything is right and good in the world today.”

That was One Day After a guy came over to my house to tell me he didn’t want to date me anymore and Two Days AFTER I met my future husband….the second time.

The first time we met was May 2010, he was waiting around for a girl – not a woman – a silly girl, so he wasn’t interested in talking to me. We sat next to each other all night and never spoke again, until December at a birthday party.

He looked like this:

167925_186610534683128_2466182_nHey look, it’s Papa Smurf too…..wearing blue, hmmm.

Although it was December, it was a pool party, the pool and hot tub were heated. The Future husband was sitting at a table talking to an attractive female, and I didn’t fancy a swim that night, so I went into the house for some fuse-ball and some ping pong. He followed me in the house and so did the attractive female.

I didn’t think anything of him following me from one activity to the next, my mind was initially occupied with the guy I was dating liking his boyfriends more than me, I soon got lost in having fun with a group of strangers running around a ping pong table. Later, the future hubs ditched the attractive female and played a strategy game with me. I don’t think it even crossed my mind that he was following me.

I was tired, it was late, but I didn’t want to drag my friend, who rode to the party with me, home early. I sat on the arm of the couch and put my head down to think. think, think, think.

I looked up and a handsome, blue-eyed boyish face behind glasses stared straight back at me.

“What’s your name?” I asked. He replied, “Dan.”

My next question was a bit more personal, “Dan, what are you doing with your life?”

He told me, “I’ve been a surf bum the last couple of months.”

I raised my eye brows, “really Dan, and how does that fulfill your role as a man in this world?” zing.

REMEMBER, this comment comes from a 28 year old woman who has had enough with boys. No more boys for this gal. I wanted to scare him away, I was done dating boys, because I was happy with my future plans and I didn’t need some boy chasing me – wasting my time – interrupting my life and then telling me he wasn’t ready for [insert excuse].

Unfazed by this question the future husband asked, “what do you mean?”

I looked at him like a teacher pressing a student, “so God sent you to the earth to be a surf bum? or did he has some other purpose in mind?”

His response, “you mean, like multiply and replenish the earth?”

I was dead serious, “yeah, like multiply and replenish the earth.”

Surprisingly, somehow he and I ended up talking about photosynthesis, surfing, traveling and college. I finally told him I needed to go home, but I enjoyed our conversation. Although consciously I felt romantically void of feelings, unconsciously I couldn’t fight the harpoon of interest that struck my heart…. I was a goner and I didn’t even know it.

I would say meeting him when I did would make everything right and good in my world.

SO Glad it’s Friday!