Monday, October 13, 2014

Cast Not Away Therefore Your Confidence


Last night I was thinking I wish I could go back. Not to the marriage, but to the me that was prior to the divorce The me that wasn't terrified all the time. The me that wasn't always waiting for the other shoe to drop. Because even though I am happier now.... I feel less secure and more uncertain about every aspect of my life now. Watching everything I believed in wholeheartedly and without question disintegrate before my very eyes does something to you, to your ability to trust anything completely.....even MYSELF.

This week I found myself in this place of doubt and uncertainty. Where everything I thought I was, everything I know to BE about myself came into question. Was I really strong? Can I really do this alone? Will I ever be truly happy? Will I ever again be loved and cherished by that special someone? Can I put myself out there and still be true to myself?


It made me sad. It made me question where I am...where I am going.....I doubted ME. It brought to surface all my fears and insecurities. It opened the scars on my soul.Scars on our souls can run far and deep. They may appear immediately but often the scars on or souls happen over time. Those scars can present themselves at any given moment...and recently for me...when I least expected. 


I found myself in a situation this week where my reaction was clearly preemptive. The emotions came to the surface in full force ..like a tidal wave. And somehow I figured I would stand in front of that tidal wave and walk away unscathed. Seriously WTH? I had been telling myself ..."you can't do this Jenn. Gear up for the disappointment and rejection. Why would anyone want to have a friendship with you...or better yet a relationship? You are damaged goods. You are divorced......."




Those scars on my soul run deep...and wide. They rock my confidence, my faith, my testimony...my world. I run scenarios in my head to the point of obsession. I can't seem to get myself together....like I'm circling the drain. I convince myself there is no way I deserve to be happy or loved. I tell myself a load of crap. As though I am trying to preemptively end something to avoid the pain later. Why?


WHY? Why do I do it? Why do I let myself get hooked into behaviors and reactions that are so self destructive? Why don't I deserve to be loved? What did I do?..... I loved someone with all my heart and it just didn't work. It wasn't healthy....we weren't good together anymore. I got divorced. I didn't murder anyone....I didn't commit some heinous crime.......



I got divorced!

That's it. That's all I did. But yet I am punishing and shaming myself like a puppy that peed on the floor. I put myself in a corner alone, frightened and broken. I cry myself to sleep begging for forgiveness...from what? From my own thoughts? From the scars on my soul? 

And then I find myself trying to crawl out of the corner. Grasping at straws. Disoriented, battered and lacking confidence in myself. I begin to assess the damage around me....and I realize that I am still breathing...I am still alive. 

And then (by a dear friend).... I am reminded of the awesome words of Elder Holland:


Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward.

For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. . . .

. . . If any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. . . .

. . . We are not of them who draw back unto perdition. [Hebrews 10:35–36, 38–39; emphasis added]



In LDS talk that is to say, “Sure it is tough—before you join the Church, while you are trying to join, and after you have joined.” That is the way it has always been, Paul said, but don’t “draw back,” he warned. Don’t panic and retreat. Don’t lose your confidence. Don’t forget how you once felt. Don’t distrust the experience you had. That tenacity is what saved Moses when the adversary confronted him, and it is what will save you.



.....but once there has been genuine illumination, beware the temptation to retreat from a good thing. If it was right when you prayed about it and trusted it and lived for it, it is right now. Don’t give up when the pressure mounts. You can find an apartment. You can win over your mother-in-law. You can sell your harmonica and therein fund one more meal. It’s been done before. Don’t give in. Certainly don’t give in to that being who is bent on the destruction of your happiness. He wants everyone to be miserable like unto himself. Face your doubts. Master your fears. “Cast not away therefore your confidence.” Stay the course and see the beauty of life unfold for you.

...in making important decisions, fear almost always plays a destructive, sometimes paralyzing role.  To Oliver Cowdery, who missed the opportunity of a lifetime because he didn't seize it in the lifetime of the opportunity, the Lord said, “You did not continue as you commenced.” Does that sound familiar to those who have been illuminated and then knuckled under to second thoughts and returning doubts? “It is not expedient that you should translate now,” the Lord said in language that must have been very hard for Oliver to hear. “Behold, it was expedient when you commenced; but you feared, and the time is past, and it is not expedient now” (D&C 9:5, 10–11; emphasis added).

Every one of us runs the risk of fear. You do, and I do. Did you catch the line I tried to emphasize as I read the account from the Pearl of Great Price? For a moment in that confrontation, “Moses began to fear exceedingly; and as he began to fear, he saw the bitterness of hell” (Moses 1:20). That’s when you see it—when you are afraid.

...Of course our faith will be tested as we fight through these self-doubts and second thoughts. Some days we will be miraculously led out of Egypt—seemingly free, seemingly on our way—only to come to yet another confrontation, like all that water lying before us. At those times we must resist the temptation to panic and to give up. At those times fear will be the strongest of the adversary’s weapons against us.

Fighting through darkness and despair and pleading for the light is what opened this dispensation. It is what keeps it going, and it is what will keep you going. With Paul, I say to all of you:
Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward.

For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. [Hebrews 10:35–36]

“Fear ye not.” And when the second and the third and the fourth blows come, “fear ye not. . . . The Lord shall fight for you.” “Cast not away therefore your confidence.” 




Tuesday, September 23, 2014

My leaves...

The leaves are falling. Everywhere I look the colors are becoming more vibrant. But with each passing day the leaves seem to lose their strength and fall from the limbs that once held them. The streets and sidewalks are covered and as I drive through them or walk along they seem to disintegrate under the weight of my feet.

Last night as I went for a walk the thought came to me that I too am shedding leaves. I am shedding all the doubt and negativity that was clinging to me.That I was holding onto.  As they fall to the ground, they are disintegrating around me. I have been covered in my own leaves...and as the seasons change so am I.

Getting divorced sucks. There are so many negative things that seem to boil over when you are in a relationship that you know is going no where...fast. The truth is I (we)... weren't happy for a long time. So many things happened and so much was said. I became all the things I hated. I was angry, spiteful, cold, reluctant, annoyed, frustrated....I felt unheard. I was hurt.


Someone once said that we hurt the ones we love the most because we know that they will still love us. I suppose there is some truth in that statement, but why? Why would we want to hurt the person we love  the most. It just doesn't make sense to me. Wouldn't we want to lift that person up? Wouldn't we want to speak words of encouragement and respect. Wouldn't we try even harder NOT to hurt them?


My leaves are words and feelings. They are judgments and assumptions. They are negative self talk. They are words said to me in someone else's anger. They are the stares and gossip of my "friends." They are the stigma of being divorced. They are the could of's, the should of's ...... They are every "wrong" thing I have been telling myself. They are every tainted word I was told by that loved one.

My leaves are changing. They are becoming vibrant as I discover each and every one. But they are falling off. They are falling to the ground to disintegrate under my feet. I will be bare soon....and that's OK. As we move into the next season the trees will go dormant. But the dormancy is really just them preparing to come alive again in the passing of the next season.



 Spring will be here sooner than we realize and those trees will be blooming with new leaves....and so will I.  My leaves will be all the positive, hope-filled love that I give myself. They will be words of encouragement from my friends and family. They will be the excitement of this new journey. They will be filled with loving self talk. They will be the new me. They will be the ME that I deserve and have earned. They will be the ME I have always been!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Body vs Soul

So, I was watching this new TV show, Red Band Society. It's about a group of teenagers living in the hospital for various reasons. It is a drama-comedy....so far the plot seems interesting....I will give it a go and see if it stays on my list of "must-watch". But I will say last nights pilot episode caught me with one quote:

"Your body isn't you, your soul is you, and they can never cut into your soul" 

Is that really true? I think it is.Surely illness affects our "souls"; surviving something awful (even the agonies of life) makes us who we are. It doesn't make us bad or crazy or worthy of pity or abuse, but it does alter us. 
 We all have bodies that we may not like...maybe we are overweight, underweight....our hair is thinning, or graying...maybe our eyes aren't big enough or too big...or we have a crooked nose or big ears. The point is that truly our bodies are just a temporary vessel for who we really are. We all have a soul and sometimes we just cant see past our bodies to realize that its our "souls" that count. 

Our "souls" are who we truly are. They are what makes us funny, or nerdy, sensuous or shy. Our "soul" is the you that people love...that you should love. I have often let others view of my "body" overshadow what my "soul" was telling me. I'm not good enough, I'm not skinny enough, I'm not a good mother, wife...or friend. But the truth is NONE of that is true or matters. My body isn't ME....my "soul" is. We can't let others judgement cut into out "souls". I know that I am a witty, lovable, strong, kind, woman. I am a great mother. I was a good wife. I am a great daughter and friend. I am all of these things and they are all of me. They are my "soul" They are the things that people will remember when I have passed. I am striving everyday to be "soul-full" To live according to my divine destiny. To live with no regret and full intent. 
My body is not ME, my soul is me......and I refuse to be cut again.


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Who am I?


Where"No matter how successful, assertive, or powerful some women are, the moment they become involved with a man they begin to give up part of themselves -- their social life, their time alone, their spiritual practice, their beliefs and values," Engel writes. "In time, these women find they have merged their lives with their partners' to the point where they have no life to go back to when and if the relationship ends."
Maybe that's why when many women divorce, it feels so freeing. Suddenly, they have time to return to the things they love or find new interests. There's no one to tell them not to do that, even if it's their own voice inside their head that's been telling them. They don't have to please anyone other than themselves. And, of course, that independence, vitality and renewed passions are exactly the things that make her attractive to someone new.
So why aren't we doing that in the relationships we already have?
Because we think we're being nice. Actually, we're being anything but nice -- to ourselves and to our partner.
By tossing away our own passions and interests, women lose their authenticity. "She'll pretend to agree when she doesn't really agree, she'll go along with things she doesn't really believe in, and if she does that long enough, she'll no longer know what she feels," Engel says.
There can be no truly happy outcome to that. (Vicki Larson, "Why do Woman Lose Themselves in Marriage")

I've been thinking about this a lot lately....and realizing just how true it is...at least for me. 
When I said "I do" I took those vows very seriously. I knew there would be sacrifice, but I made a commitment to love and cherish Him....til death do us part. That commitment was not only to my spouse but also to myself. What I didn't realize was just how far I would sacrifice.
Now some may think that I am over exaggerating the circumstances of my marriage...but exaggerated or not, it was my reality...and my truth, or so I thought.
I knew long ago that I wanted nothing more than to be a wife and mother. I always new I would be. But what I didn't know ...or more like what I wasn't prepared for was just how deep that sacrifice would become.
We all make sacrifices for our spouse and of course as mothers we seem to make the "ultimate" sacrifice for our children, however we often give so much that we become an empty shell of who we once were. This is my truth. I gave to the point that I often felt I had nothing left to give....and in the end it became my truth.
Now, I am not talking to the sacrifices we make as a mom. I mean those sacrifices that compromise who we are as women. I have always been a strong willed, confident, vocal woman. I always knew what I wanted and just how I would get it. But early on in my marriage I began giving in to things to compliment my spouse. I would "go along" with the plans He wanted to do...not because he was forcing me, but because that;s part of being in a relationship with someone. There is give and take. Compromise. But where things went wrong for me was that I evolved into someone that I didn't even know. I was no longer the person He had married. I began "seeing" things in a new way. In a way that wasn't truly me. I started changing my opinion at times to just keeop the peace, if you will. And before I knew it...I was completely changed.
The change wasn't over night it was gradual...and for me it was over 20+ years. I slowly gave up my interests for His, I gave up my thoughts for his. I began to see life as black and white. I became a pessimist, I became a homebody, I lost sight of my faith, of my friends and sometimes even my family. I sacrificed everything.
Of course hindsight is 20/20. I became someone I didn't know. Someone I didn't even like. 
That is changing. I'm re-finding myself. I am re-defining myself. I am emerging from this chrysalis to become what I have always been destined to be.....
ME.
I am finding myself. 
And I didn't even have to look very far!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Seasons: To thine own self be true.

"This above all: to thine own self be true,And it must follow, as the night the day,Thou canst not then be false to any man.Farewell, my blessing season this in thee!"

As the days pass turning to weeks and months, so do the seasons. Each season brings with it a stage of its own presence. Spring brings about growth and renewal, while summer seems to be the the time to revel in the beauty that spring carried to our doorstep. Beyond the expected notions of each season I've have discovered my own view of the seasons....and why we often think of our lives as seasons.

As I look back over the past couple of years, my life has really been about the seasons. This ebb and flow of details, emotions, dreams, plans. This past spring I felt a lot of growth in my self. I discovered that I have to be true. True to me....."to thine own self be true."  

I have always thought that I was being true to myself....eating the foods I liked, or watching the TV shows I preferred. Or even reading books and articles that interested me. I figured I had things covered...but as time has passed I realized I wasn't being true to myself at all...heck I wasn't even sure what it even meant.


Life is hard. The arrows of shame, guilt, despair, inadequacy are all being thrown at us. Sometimes those arrows make contact. Each time we are hit with those arrows they leave a mark. Our hearts can be wounded or even broken. We retreat and build walls in order to protect our hearts...our soul...our true self.. 

Its no secret that I experienced some pretty horrible arrows as a child. Sexual abuse changes who you are...who you become. Its an arrow that pierces through each layer of who you are. It damages your true self to the core. That damage will always be there. It may heal over, but it leaves a deep scar. That scar eventually builds up and encases your true self....traps it within. 

My true self was damaged at 7 yrs old. There were lots of other little nicks and pricks...but when my marriage slowly crumbled right before my eyes .....it was a piercing blow, yet again. But this time that blow allowed a little of the true me to seep out. I realized that I was only wounded. That I could pull myself to safety. That I could protect myself. I began fighting back. I stood up for myself. I began speaking my truths. I found my voice. I realized that all these years I hadn't been speaking my truth. I compromised too much. I gave in too much. I sat silent too many times. I ignored my inner voice....I had given up.


A wise friend told me that some day I would just KNOW when enough was enough. There wouldn't be lights and sirens or even a parade....that my knowing would come over time. That it would evolve....and it did. I began to realize that the things I had thought that I liked , I really didn't. I began to call upon and listen to that inner voice...the one that I had silenced for so many years. That voice became louder and louder....and now I cant shut it off. It is telling me to be who I have truly always been ...who I was meant to be.

I now know what I like and what I don't. I know what is acceptable and what isn't. I don't have to give so much of myself that there is none left. The people that are in my life can be there solely by my choice. And its not about them...its about me. Its about gradually coming into the beautiful creation that our Heavenly Father intended for me to be. The self that I have always been ....but now with the scars removed....the walls down. I can fall down and get back up. I can do whatever I want...I can be whomever I choose. I am free.


With each passing day I have evolved from one season to the next. From a flower in full bloom, to petals falling away...to settling in for a dormant winter to only be reborn in the spring. With each change....with each season I become more empowered, more capable...more true to thine own self.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

A work in progress....


... that's me at the moment. So much has happened in the past 2years. I'm in a "place" I never imagined I would be.............45yrs old and single. Some days it's liberating, some days it just plain sucks! But that is where I am. I am still uncertain as to where I am headed or what I am doing day by day but I know I will get there...eventually.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Where have I been...

I'm not really sure how to answer that question. There have been a lot of changes in my life...our families lives the past 6 months. The one thing I love the most (writing/story telling) and I haven't been doing that. Why? gosh i don't really know. I suppose that there has been so much "dark" that I have let it over shadow the "good". 

There have been some major changes in the dynamic of our family and it saddens me. I have often felt like we are no longer a "family", but in reality we are...we are just a different kind of "family"

I guess what I am trying to say is that I am coming out from under my rock....


I'm going to just use an umbrella until the storm passes


I need to write...I need to continue living in spite of the storm...so I will. I am ...
I am back!

Thursday, March 07, 2013

4 months and counting....

Where has the time gone? So much has been going on and I hate that I have neglected one of the very things that helps me stay grounded...writing.
 Since my last post we have celebrated another wonderful Christmas...spent with family and filled with love.
                                          

We settled Len's work comp case...and such began the search for a new job.
In January, I finally parted ways with my job after 2 long grueling years. It was time to move on. The emotional blackmail was just too much for this girl too handle.
As we moved on from that we began some great remodeling projects here at the house. Finishing off 2 of the "burned out" rooms from the original house, opening up the mud room and remodeling the kitchen.
(I will have to load photos another time...they are not on my computer so not easily accessed)
In February, Len and Adam flew to Tennessee to move Matthew and his family back to Montana. I was over joyed to see, touch hug and smother my little grand babies. I am in love!
I have been horrible about taking photos (other than on my phone...but you can see most of those by following me on Instagram. I'm known there as iluv2scrapp)
I need to get focused and fill my heart and soul with the things I love most....one of those being my art. Whether it be scrapbooking or my photography...I just need to find my footing and that's the best way for me.

There has been a lot of chaos in our lives lately. Lots of changes, some good and some not. Lots that needs to be said, but I'm just not ready yet.
For now this blog will be about retrospect...and introspect. I need to write and create. Its all part of my process. Who knows maybe I'll even get some projects completed and posted to All Things Creative

So you've been warned! (lol) :o)

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

5 months later....

What the heck? Why have I not blogged in 5? That's just plain crazy! I guess there hasn't been a lot going on...just regular life stuff. 

So maybe I will just do a quick check-in for the past few months.

July: 
We had a great surprise from an old friend! One of our favorite church missionaries came back to Montana to visit. We were so happy to see Elder Justin Brown and his Dad...he is a pretty special guy to our family!
We had a great Sunday afternoon with the Hill's hanging out in the Yellowstone River.
We celebrated the marriage of Len's niece Jasper. She married a great guy...John. We are so happy for them

August: 
We ended the summer with a great trip to the lake! We had a lot of fun and as you can see the kids certainly enjoyed the tubes




School started again. Caleb as a Junior and Michaela as a Sophomore. Where has the time gone? wasn't it just yesterday they were headed off to HeadStart?



Of course Wyatte was adjusting to being a big brother just fine...and Wade was getting bigger everyday!
Our little slice of paradise fell victim to the dry summer. Pine Creek burned like there was no tomorrow. Here is a view of the smoke from our backyard:

September:
We took our annual drive through Yellowstone Park. 
Ln and my brother-in-law Denis took the kids on a hike, while Julie and I stayed behind with Joshua and the dogs. 

After their hike we had a nice picnic lunch
Had a great time soaking in the Boiling River
And enjoyed seeing a small herd of mountain goats

September:

We had a creepy visitor for a while. She hung out on the back porch
Michaela turned 15

We had fun taking some family portraits
And even more fun taking pictures being goofy 


And being silly with cousins
I even took a great family portrait for the Hill's

October:
 Before we knew October was here. The kids had fun dressing up for spirit week at school. Michaela was Wonder Woman for Super Hero Day
 The first storm of season rolled in...in all its glory


The kids had their annual Halloween Choir concert. 
Caleb was dressed as his hero...Kermit the Frog.
 Michaela heads out to trick-or-treat in the fairy costume Nana made for her

November:
The kids high school, Park High won the Class A title in football. Something that hasn't been done in 40 some years. Sadly it reminds me of my alma mater, Santa Ana Valley High...
At the state semifinals game which happened to be Veteran's Day weekend, they had a tribute to all our Veterans. Len was honored to carry the US Marine Corps flag
We froze our butts off!! The first real storm hit the day before and man it was COLD!!!

This time last year was a rough time for my family...as we celebrated the life of my nephew 
Charles "Mack" Porter, III... who was tragically killed in a drunk driving accident. In honor of Mack, as a family we all joined together for a balloon release. It was bittersweet.

 Last week was Winter Formal.....Caleb looked so handsome...and his date, Jackie was stunning

I don't quite know how I let this get by me. I guess one day passed and then another...then a week and another...and here we are 5 months later. Shame on me! 
Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and  I am so thankful for my family. They are true blessings to me. I love them very much!
Hope you have a great Thanksgiving Day...gobble till you wobble!