Thursday, December 15, 2011

Wait -- Where Am I Going?

"You were given this life because you were strong enough to live it"...
I have always been told that I am never given something that I cannot handle, that there is always a lesson to be learned and that everything is going to turn out okay in the end - and if it's not okay, it is not the end.  As I have stated many times in previous blog posts before this one, I am a firm believer in everything happening for a reason.  I believe that events happen so that we can grow and become better people.  We look back on the past and applaud ourselves for all that we have accomplished and wonder how we ever got through those struggling times and made it to today.   We have a tendency to feel as though we are never going to get through something or that it is never going to pass - we are wrong.  Just like how a rainbow appears after every rain shower and storm, so does a better YOU reveal itself after every trial.   It is as if each time we are tried, that hard and husky outer shell is peeled back to expose that strong inner part of ourselves that we didn't know we had.   It isn't until we are given the opportunity to break down and humble ourselves, do we realize how much potential and strength we really do possess.   It is so comforting to know that God trusts in me enough to give me the struggles I face, having complete faith in me that I WILL make it through them and come out on top as a better person.

Changing ourselves can be the most hardest and trying thing that we will ever have to face.  Coming out of our comfort zone and putting ourselves in a place that may seem unfamiliar is something that we do not adjust to easily.  It is natural for us as human beings to want to stay in our comfort zones and not ever want to get caught up in something different to what we currently know.  We like to feel comfortable - anything that makes us uncomfortable we try to avoid.  I know that I am guilty of running away from change.  It is so hard sometimes to want to embrace something different - to want to face new adventures head on and accept everything that happens along the way.  It is difficult.

Intellectually we know that we need to make some changes, but emotionally we cannot even bear the thought of feeling something different.  Even if those feelings are negative and detrimental to our well being, the thought of feeling something other than that can be confusing.  We have become so used to being the way we are that we keep ourselves trapped in an endless cycle and never give ourselves the chance to experience something better.  We try to tell ourselves that "this is it" - that this is how it is and how it's going to be and that we just need to accept it, when really - we are lying to ourselves and making up excuses as to why we can't let go.  We trick ourselves into thinking that if we let go, we are letting down our guard and giving up our security blanket.  This is false.  The longer we hold on, the longer we trap ourselves - as soon as we let go, we have complete freedom.  The hardest part is actually letting go.

Recently I have experienced some major transitions in my life.  We all come to a crossroad at some point in our lives where we have to choose which path to take.  In most cases, one path shows very little change, temporary happiness, and long lasting misery.  Whereas the other shows BIG changes, temporary difficulties/challenges, and everlasting happiness.  Looking at this in writing or from a distance, it is easy to make the choice - but when we are caught up in the middle of it all, it is hard to differentiate between what we really NEED and what is EASY.  I know that I chose the more difficult path - but it is the one that is going to bring me more happiness in comparison to the alternative.  Having to let go of things and people so I could make the gospel number one in my life was probably the hardest thing I've ever had to do.  Trying to live a Christ centered life may not always be the easiest, but it is the most fulfilling - I am experiencing this first-hand.     I know that it doesn't matter what I've done or where I've been, there will always be a way for me to reach that light at the end of the tunnel if it is what I choose.  A huge part of that process requires letting go and giving ourselves up in order to receive something better.  We have to want a life worth living - a life worth saving - and a life worth fighting for.  In the New Testament, Matthew 16:25 it says "For whosever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it." -- It really is that simple.

Life is constantly changing.  Nothing is ever at a stand-still for very long.  We are all trying to pave our way through this corrupt and destructive world the best we can.  We may not know know the outcome, we may not even know what tomorrow looks like - but what we do know, is that anything and everything we do is for a reason.  We are exactly where we are supposed to be, whether for a trial of our own, or for another - everything happens for a reason.  We know that we aren't given anything we cannot overcome - so don't question it.  As hard as it may be, embrace it - have faith that it will pass.

As I continue to go through this journey, although still in the midst of trial, I know that a greater happiness awaits.  I don't know what life will look like a year from now, or even a month, but I do know that the choices I have made up to this point have helped me move forward.  I am one step closer to where I want to be and another day further away from where I don't want to return.  If that is all it will ever be - I know I can say I tried and did all I can, and for that I will be happy.  Getting to this point won't be easy.  You will want to give up, you will want to quit, and you may lose people along the way - but for every time you get up, every time you keep pushing yourself to go on - more people will come into your life to aid you in your progression. Your support system will grow and you will feel an incomparable love that will be so hard to describe.  Life will no longer seem so bleak and you will start to live a life worth fighting for - the life you were MEANT to live.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Turning A New Leaf

"What you thought before has led to every choice you have made, and this adds up to you at this moment.  If you want to change who you are physically, mentally, and spiritually, you will have to change what you think."

Have you ever wanted something so much, that you let go of the rest of yourself just to have it?  Or has the thought at least crossed your mind?  Have you ever wondered if what you're doing, this strong 'want' or 'desire', is for you and not because of what other people dictate and think?  Although hard to admit, I know that some of what I do in life is because I am overly concerned with how I'm viewed, how certain people may react, and the consequences of disappointing someone who's opinion I care about.  We all do this to an extent.  As much as we like to think that everything we do is for ourselves, it isn't.  We lie to ourselves all the time - trying to justify every action, every thought, and every ounce of expended energy and say that it was for  ourselves and ourselves only.  We are social beings - we crave attention - we need people to survive - and we form our perception of ourselves through the eyes of another.  Without the concerns of how we portray ourselves to other people, the need to be a better person would not exist.  Although along our life's journey we start to gear away from doing things in satisfaction for other people, it initially starts out that way.  Without knowing what it feels like to have to live for someone else, we would never come to know or appreciate what it means to live for ourselves.  Until we've come to this realization, we continue to soak in our own miserable lives of resentment and blame.

I have been told many times to stop letting what other people think, dictate how I feel or what I do.  Have you ever been told this at some point in your life?  If you think about it, if we were letting other people dictate our lives, those around us would have no reason to think that that is exactly what we were doing - because there wouldn't be an issue between what we want to do and what we feel like we need to conform to.  It is exactly because we are not doing what others want, that we have that inner conflict of whether or not we should.

It is hard to take life exactly the way it comes and to accept it in all forms of representation.  We want things to be perfect, we don't want any interruptions, or 'ups and downs' - yet, we still want the lessons learned and knowledge acquired.  It doesn't work that way.

Sometimes life just doesn't turn out the way you want it to.  Sometimes what you want isn't always going to be what is right.   Sometimes what we want most isn't what we get and we get mad at ourselves for not having it.  Despite what you want and what you need, you just have to accept whatever may happen because at the end of the day - you can't change the choices you've made that have led you to the situation you're in.  Everything happens for a reason, whether we like it or not.  Sometimes those reasons are unknown to us and we do not get a form of the bigger picture until the problem has already passed.  When things are unclear, we are less than willing to have the faith that we are going to make it through - once we've seen that it has made us into a better person, we can't help but be grateful that it happened.  None of us welcome our struggles and trials with open arms, it is natural for us to want the easy way out, but when all is said and done - we can't help but embrace and be grateful for the heartache we went through in order to have the long lasting happiness and growth as the end result.

Sometimes I fret over the stresses in my life and withdraw from everyone and everything - other times, I don't let my bad days get to me and I go on my merry way.  I spend hours on end thinking about what I would've, could've, or should've done - when in reality, nothing could have been done differently.   I lay in bed at night wishing there was more to me than the reflection I see in the mirror - not realizing that I'm the only one who is holding myself back.  Being able to let yourself go and being free from conformity requires having a vision of where it is that you want to be in the future - near or far.  Sometimes this can be discouraging when your loved ones or those you hold close do not have the same vision as you do.  This is when living life for you and not for others has to take a turn.  Major events happen so that you can fully prepare yourself to be everything you want to be and more, without someone else taking the credit or dictating to you constantly on what seems to be an overhead surround sound system.  Let others live their lives and take pleasure in living yours.  Be happy with who you are and what you do because you have to live with YOU for the rest of your life.  Make it worth it.

I have come to realize that in order to live a happy and fulfilling life, our top priorities must be those that give us the most happiness in life.  Then, we need to decide that nothing can come between those priorities - they are first in our lives for a specific purpose, keep it that way.  It is always going to be difficult, one way or another, but if it's pure and lasting happiness we are after - it will all be worth it in the end.

Although I am guilty of doing many things that I encourage others not to do, what I have to say would not hold value if I weren't able to identify myself with another's struggles.  Experience reaps wisdom.  If I hadn't "been there, done that" - than nobody would take me seriously because I would not be able to understand what it is that I claim to know and continue to blog.  I'm not here to give you a mushy story or sugar coat what it is that we all go through - I'm simply here to give you my thoughts and words of advice through personal experiences and knowledge I have acquired along the way.

I'm not going to lie - life is NOT an easy ride, but don't let that discourage you from being who you were meant to be.  Surround yourself with uplifting people that are quick to pick you up when you're in need.  Ditch those who constantly bring you down and make you feel as though you're not good enough - because you are.  You ARE good enough, you ARE of value, and YOU are worth more than they could ever offer.  Give yourself a little more credit for what you have accomplished and what you continue to do for YOURSELF and for the needs of other people.  Do not sell yourself short due to the dictations and misunderstandings of another.  You're better than that.  Don't forget it.

"You can't solve a problem with the same mind that created it.... if you change your mind you will solve your problem."

Turn a new leaf, look at life from a new perspective, and change your mind -- take hold of what comes and don't let anyone tear you down in the process.  Start living life for you - it is so much more satisfying.  Be the change you wish to see in the world.

What are you waiting for?

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Song of Remembrance

Yes - I did this myself! :) Took both pictures and did an overlay :)

I started this poem back in April and only just finished it about an hour ago.  It is a little hard to say that it is "finished" because I feel as though it might be a life time project - which is why it took so long.  I want to keep changing and adjusting it depending on my audience and topic.  It doesn't feel 'complete' yet - I'm not sure what it needs.  Maybe just more time and thought?  I don't know... 

Some of you might be wondering how I even came up with such a poem.  Back in April around Easter time, I was challenged by one of my Insitute teachers to somehow incorporate the Atonement into more aspects of my life.  I had already written another poem (which is posted in April's archive!) but I felt compelled to do something more.  Obviously I love to write, and one of my other passion's is music.  Whether it is singing, dancing, or playing an instrument - I absolutely love it.  So, I took some of the hymn titles from the LDS (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints) Hymn Book and somehow formed a poem - no added words, no abbreviations, just simply the names of the songs.  About a week ago my friend Natalie gave a talk in church and she used part of this poem in her talk.  At first I was a little hesitant to let her use it because of my own insecurities, but again - I felt as though someone in the audience needed to hear it from her.  Oddly enough - that someone was me... I've NEVER heard my own creations come out of the mouth of someone else.  It was refreshing, and eye opening.  It was hard to believe that that was my work.  I had a flush of different emotions as each word was said - but, I was totally calm and at ease at the same time.  That sounds crazy - but I don't know how else to explain it.....

Song of Remembrance

God Loved Us, So He Sent His Son
O, Holy Words of Truth and Love
He Died That We Might Live Again
Lead Me into Life Eternal - Beautiful Zion, Built Above

For All The Saints - Come Follow Me
Abide with Me: 'Tis Eventide
The Time Is Far Spent
Behold the Great Redeemer Die

O God the Eternal Father
We Ever Pray For Thee
With All the Power of Heart and Tongue
More Holiness Give Me

The Wintry Day, Descending to Its Close
God, Our Father, Hear Us Pray
Where Can I Turn For Peace?
As Zion's Youth In Latter Days

In Remembrance of Thy Suffering
Upon the Cross of Calvary
In Memory of the Crucified
Jesus, the Very Thought of Thee

What Glorious Scenes My Eyes Behold
The Happy Day at Last Has Come
Men Are That They Might Have Joy
O Love That Glorifies the Son

High on the Mountain Top
Gently Raise the Sacred Strain
Know This, That Every Soul Is Free
We Sing All Hail to Jesus' Name

There Is a Green Hill Far Away
Go Forth with Faith - Come Along, Come Along
When Faith Endures - Turn Your Hearts
Great God, to Thee My Evening Song

Dearest Children, God Is Near You
Ye Simple Soul's Who Stray
Prayer Is the Soul's Sincere Desire
Did You Think to Pray?

How Gentle God's Commands
Love One Another - I Am a Child of God
How Great the Wisdom and the Love
The Lord Is My Light - The Iron Rod

Let the Holy Spirit Guide
Nearer, My God, to Thee
I'll Go Where You Want Me to Go
The Spirit of God - Abide with Me

I Need Thee Every Hour
Oh My Father - God's Daily Care
Though Deepening Trials - Be Thou Humble
In Humility Our Savior - Sweet Hour of Prayer

Lord Accept Our True Devotion
All Creatures of Our God and King
Father in Heaven, We Do Believe
Sweet Is the Peace the Gospel Brings

Father In Heaven
Jesus, Savior, Pilot Me
Before Thee, Lord, I Bow My Head
Guide Me to Thee

By: Talaileva Fa'apoi
October 4th, 2011 

Friday, June 3, 2011

Do You See What I See?

"Good judgment comes from experience, and often experience comes from bad judgment"
How often are we told not to judge?  Yet, it is through our judgment and preconceived notions that we begin to learn and appreciate what life has to offer.  We learn best from our own mistakes, not the mistakes of others.  Although we can look at another and decide whether or not we want to make the same choices, the appreciation for the life we live and the lessons we've learned come from our own experiences.  We start to understand what we are capable of doing.  We come to a fork in the road and are forced to make a decision that can only come from us - because we will do exactly what we want despite the opinions and views of another.  We discover things about ourselves that we never thought we would find.  We learn how to better prepare if this same situation crosses our path in the future.  If experience is necessary for growth and clear skies, then how do we accumulate good judgment if we are trying to avoid making bad judgments?  And if our judgment is bad regardless, because everything we do is a new experience, then who's judgment are we meant to trust?

"I have long since come to believe that people never mean half of what they say, and that it is best to disregard their talk and judge only their actions"
Some of us willingly trust in others until they do something that causes us not to trust them anymore.  For the rest of us, we do not trust anyone until they prove they're trustworthy.  Do we risk getting hurt or do we cover all our bases first?  We are often told that "actions speak louder than words" and something I often heard in my younger years - "If you can talk the talk, then walk the walk".  Both of these phrases hold so much truth!  We all say things that we may not necessarily follow through with.  What we say does not have a hold until we can reflect our words with action.

"We judge others by their behavior.  We judge ourselves by our intentions"
How many of us have said or done something with a certain goal in mind, yet those involved reacted to you in a way you did not expect?  All was done with good intentions, right?  Sometimes I think we all have a hard time finding that balance in treating others the same way we would like to be treated.  We attempt to do things with the intent to end with positive results, but the recieving party does not reciprocate what we were trying to put forth.  Instead, it is blown out of proportion and before we know it - we are caught in the middle of a rip.  The only way to get out of a rip is to completely relax.  The more you try to fight it - the stronger the current pulls you under.  Some of us find it hard to let go and minimize all tension.  We think if we just keep swimming then we will eventually get out - this is why people never make it out of rips and end up drowning, or needing rescue.  We think if we stop to take a breath, and relax every muscle we have, then we are giving up - when in fact, it is when we submit ourselves to the current and stop forcing a paddle, that we come out on top and find ourselves in calmer seas.  A dear friend of mine, Natalie, told me "You can win both battles if you allow yourself".  Troubled waters come with risks but challenge the mind, they're easy to miss but hard to find.  Think about it.

"Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding about ourselves"
We as humans are flawed in so many ways.  We are so quick to point a finger at a fault within another before we even find the strength and humility to realize that three fingers are pointing back.  If we hate a person, we hate something in him that is part of ourselves.  What isn't part of ourselves doesn't disturb us.  I have made several life long friends in the short life that I've lived, and reflecting on those friendships I have realized that each one of them brought out a different part of me.  Most times, those "parts" were ones I did not like, but as time progressed, I saw that I would never have come to accept that part of myself had they not walked into my life.  Embrace what it is that you 'hate' about another, and ask yourself - do I possess the same hated quality?  Remember, judgments prevent us from seeing the good that lies beyond appearances.

"When we judge others, we have no time to love them"
Taking a more spiritual approach, in Matthew chapter 22 versus 36-40, Jesus gives us His two most great commandments - "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy mind, and with all thy soul" and second "Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself".  Both these commandments sum up all traditional ten commandments (if you need a refresher, look in Exodus 20).  Christ's teaching reveals that the first four commandments given to the children of Israel are contained in the first statement above - the last six commandments are contained in the second.  Knowing this, there really is no room for judgment - if it is a law of God, and a commandment given from Christ, then who are we to oppose?

"It took me a long time not to judge myself through someone else's eyes"
It takes more strength NOT to care about what other people think, than it does TO care.  It is easy to let yourself fall into the judgments of another - it is hard to see yourself for what you truly are and then believe it.  You are who you are - embrace it.  What you see is what you get - accept it.  If you don't like who you are, or what you see - change it.  It is a waste of YOUR time and energy, to cut yourself down due to the judgments of another.  You ARE of value.  Your worth IS of great importance.  And you WILL be all that you want to be and MORE!  Do not limit yourself - God doesn't.  Because if He did, you would not be who you are today, let alone even be here.  He sees the same thing you do - your eyes should match His - and if they don't, you are the one who needs to make the adjustment.  Nobody knows you like YOU do - which is why it is important not to care about what others think.  Trust that you are exactly the way God intended you to be - Creation's Masterpiece, cause God don't make no junk! :)

Take time to Reflect.
Learning from your mistakes will be the best thing you will ever do for yourself.  You need that personal growth.

Have no Regrets.
Mean what you say, and say what you mean.  You need to do more of what you say in support of what you mean - people listen better with their eyes.

Let Go.
Allow yourself to fail.  You will appreciate the feeling of success, if you can see how much you have given up to get there.

Be true to Yourself.
Separate yourself from others.  You will never know another, if you do not know yourself - accept the good AND the bad.

Love one Another.
Render everything for love.  Your life will be so much happier when you push aside faults - give and reciprocate.

Look Inward.
Trust and give yourself credit.  You deserve every bit of praise that has come from seeing yourself as He does - keep that eternal perspective.

"[Your] view of the world is a confession of character"

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Black or White?

"Judge a man by the questions he asks, rather than the answers he gives"

Have you ever wondered why you always want to do the opposite of what someone tells you?  Or why a good person can do so many bad things?  Maybe it bothers you to watch your best friend keep going back to her abusive boyfriend?  Or you get upset when someone says one thing but their actions show another?  Do you ever get the feeling something bad is going to take place, so you warn the people involved, but nobody believes you until after it has already happened?  Or maybe you felt impressed to do something, but didn't do it because you didn't have time?  Did it ever occur to you that maybe your life is like a play - each person with a script needing direction in every scene? 

We all have this thing called "agency" or "free will".  If life is divinely guided, and everything happens the way it should in the end - do we still have freedom of choice?  If the end result is going to be the same despite the choices made, then does it matter what we choose?  Are we given a divine path to follow with many choices along the way, allowing for a change in course at any given time?  Or are the choices we make, the ones we were supposed to make, and we are still on this same path given and directed through divine nature?

We tend to think that if our lives are a little rocky, it is because we are doing something wrong.  Do you think that maybe it is BECAUSE we're doing everything right, why all of a sudden we need to be tried?  We don't understand why our child does not want to go to church, and that his spiritual withdrawal is leading him astray.  Do you think that maybe this is the path they are supposed to lead, and that maybe this is our trial and not theirs?  We often look at obstacles as if they come from Satan, and that Satan has nothing to do with God.  Do you think that maybe God uses Satan as a puppet in our lives so that we can reach out and become closer to Him? 

We are told that we are not given anything that we cannot handle.  If trials are put into our lives, that He knows we can overcome - then would it be safe to say that despite how we found the end result, He knew it would turn out the way it did?  So then when and where can we exercise our agency if in the end, the results are the same despite the choices we've made previous to that?

In the Bible, we are taught that Satan is cast out of Heaven and that he took a third of the spirits with him.  If this needed to happen in order for The Plan of Happiness to take place, did God then set up His spirit children for failure?  And if Satan was cast out of the presence of God, how was it that he was able to tempt Eve to partake of the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden where we know she dwelt with our Heavenly Father?  Did she really have a choice - or was it predetermined?

Maybe these thought provoking questions are offensive to you - I don't know.  What I do know, is that there is opposition in all things.  Without opposition, there is no choice - without choice, we cannot learn - without knowledge, we cannot grow - without progression, there would be no need to question.  When our growth is stunted, we have reached a level of ignorance.  We don't care about the amount of information we still need to acquire, nor do we care about anyone but ourselves - because if we did, we would not have come to a complete halt.  When we stop, we let go of responsibility for any repercussions for the choices we have made.  Although it sounds nice to not have to decide, we lose ourselves when we feel a lack of control.

There was a study I learned about in my psychology class.  A group of people were selected to participate in obeying an authoritative figure.  One by one each subject was put in a room with the domineering officer in charge.  When asked, the subject was to push a buzzer that was believed to zap/electrecute another person in the room next door.  The subject never saw the person being hurt, but was able to hear the screams and cries when shocks were subjected.  The subject was released from all responsibility of the damage and pain caused to the unknown person.  All the subject had to do, was listen to the officer in charge.  If the officer said to push the buzzer, the subject would.  As time went on, the officer became verbally aggressive and even threatening if the subject would not push the buzzer.  The subject continued to push the buzzer if they had the reassurance that they did not have any responsibility for the person in the other room (no persons were actually harmed in this study).  In the end, 100% of the subjects killed the unknown person due to having no responsibility for the hurt individual and following the orders of someone in a position of authority.

How easy is it for us to give away our free will if we don't have to claim the repercussions?

Another study we discussed was one that was supposed to last 7 days - but only made it for 3 or 4.  A group of people were selected to fill the roles of prisoners and guards in a prison cell, resembling a hostage situation during the war in Iraq.  As these days slowly passed, each person had literally become their character and the study had to be stopped.  The prisoners started to mentally decline and the guards had become physically abusive.  Each filling their roles, giving up their will to a 'title' or a 'name', had caused negative results all the way around.

This just goes to show that the agency we hold, even with the expected results that are known only to God - we still find comfort in having some kind of control over the lives we lead.  The questions we ask ALL have room for choice.  The answers we are given, give us a choice - we are shown we CAN decide. 

Whoever came up with "Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words will never hurt me" - lied.  Words are the most powerful source of control, so we must be careful in how we use them.  Our names all give us something to live by, and the positions we hold give us a responsibility.  Uphold those names and titles with dignity and reflect what they are meant to portray. 

It is through our inquisition and the magnifying of our personal beliefs, that we find satisfactory answers with the agency we've been given.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Good, Better, and Best

If we have a flow of thoughts that lead from one subject to another, does this mean that we only had one thought?  If we are thinking about our next destination while we are driving, how to operate the vehicle, anticipating the actions of the other drivers, determining the physics involved in simply merging into traffic, and not to mention the road conditions or weather factors - are we able to still think about what we are going to have for dinner when we get home?

I think that several thoughts can cross our mind at once, then we take appropriate action for the thoughts we choose.  Some of these actions are an automatic response.  Our mind recognizes the familiarity of the situation, causing our muscle memory to engage in activity in response to the thought in process.  This can be as simple as turning on our indicator or pushing down on the brake - something that we have done before and takes almost no thinking to do.  Other actions require cognitive thought in order for us to properly perform.  We allow ourselves more time for reasoning and judgment before permitting ourselves to execute the necessary action.  These actions may include positioning one's body correctly in a bench press to maximize muscle strength - defining body language for a specific purpose, or creating thought provoking blogs to probe into the minds of others =) - articulating the change of thought into literature or spoken word.

It is quite obvious that our minds have the capacity to process more than we give ourselves credit for.  We have the ability to delve into activities that depend upon constant brain activity.  We have the power to multi-task and accomplish more in a shorter amount of time.  We have the available resources to continually improve our daily productivity.  We have the knowledge to enhance and expand our learning capabilities.  All of this at our fingertips and what are we doing with it?

So many thoughts only mean one thing - Choice.

In every circumstance, good or bad, we ALWAYS have a choice.  Being faced with a choice may be the onset of many thoughts - or unguided pondering may have lead to having to choose.  We all expect our options to be "one or the other", or maybe the "upside or downside" - when really, the hardest decisions we face are those that are presented with all positive options.  It does not matter which option you choose, it will be good either way.  You believe that in some aspect of your life, you will benefit from it whether you know it or not.  Once the decision is made, you follow through whole heartedly - it's just making the decision that is difficult.  This is when you pull out a piece of paper and write down your pro's and con's for each option given.  Categorize.

If all possibilities are laid out on the table, the less likely it will be for you to feel uneasy after the decision is made.  Be honest with your options, because you're only doing this for you anyway.  You can seek the opinion of others, or wait and risk losing an opportunity - but when all is said and done, your decision and motives are solely dependent upon you.  Nobody can tell you what to do, how to live, or what your life should resemble.  You are the only one who has the power to alter the life you live.  Let your thoughts be filled with clarity and honesty - this will make this part of the process so much easier.  Filter.

Accept the responsibilities that come with the choice you've made.  Don't leave room for blame, guilt and apologies - take what you have, and run with it.  Own who, where, and what you are - you are the only one that can.  Be okay with whatever repercussions may follow.  Enjoy the good, let go of the bad.  From here on out, it is most likely that the chain reaction of events are out of your control.  Recognize.

A good decision will never be a hit to the short-stop - although it maybe the hardest to avoid, easy never meant for satisfaction to be long lasting.

The better decision will be playing fair game for all teams involved - although each player is equally ranked, when expectations fail power play will have it's way.

Your BEST decision will be to cover all your bases - although this is the most difficult, nobody said a homerun hit would be an easy thing to do.

......... but keep running.

Monday, May 30, 2011

To Be Or Not To Be?

How often do we believe that we need to be someone or something we know we couldn't or ever will be?  It is not that we cannot achieve great things, or be more than we currently are - it is just about being who we are, right here and now, accepting it, and not worrying about what everybody else has to say about it. 

Dreams are more than just subconscious worlds we create while laying asleep at night.  Goals have become more than kicking a ball into a soccer net.  Soaring has taken more flight than a paper plane.  The sky is NOT the limit.  We think that we have to stop once we've hit the clouds, but there is so much more out there to discover.  There is more than what meets the eye.  People are afraid of what they do not understand.  Knowledge is power and power is knowledge - without that, we would be little minion's conforming to the views and dictations of another.  The more we know, the more ability we have to be independent.  We give ourselves the power to protect ourselves.  We enable our righteous dominion in trusting our inner instincts.  We allow the sole's of our feet to sink into the back of our shoes and take off in a sprint.  We take note of all the different scenes, picking up bystanders along the way. 

Stop.  Just Breathe.  Don't Think.  Let Go.  Be YOU. 

Sometimes we feel that what we are is not enough.  We trick ourselves into thinking that what we are doing will never measure up.  We betray our peaceful feelings with negativity and doubt.  We spend days on end wondering if we are on our God given path - not realizing we are right on track.  We let people in and out of our lives, for the wrong and right reasons.  Our minds are occupied with worry over situations that are out of our control.  It becomes easier to blame ourselves for other people's failed expectations.  We put fault in places that were without imperfection. 

Stop.  Just Breathe.  Don't Think.  Let Go.  Be YOU.

Let me tell you - everything we face - the hurt, pain, and anguish are ALL purposeful for our personal growth.  Without sadness, we would not know happiness.  We would not progress if we were not tried.  If everything were handed to us on a silver platter, the meaning of achievement and gratitude would mean absolutely nothing.  Who YOU are, and what YOU are doing IS enough!  Those feelings of peace ARE in fact REAL and there is NOTHING in this world that can replicate that.  Your friendships are as meaningful as you make them - make them worth it without the interference of others.  Don't fret over something that is out of your control - put your time to better use and accept your circumstances.  Stop blaming yourself for not letting others live vicariously through you.  I am a firm believer in everything happening for a reason - most times, those reasons are not known or clear to us.  All we can do, is trust that this is part of The Great Plan and to continue living faithfully, finding peace in what brings us the most happiness.

Stop.  Just Breathe.  Don't Think.  Let Go.  Be YOU.

It is because we understand the feelings of disappointment, the never-ending self doubt, and the continual heartache - that we come to appreciate the pleasure we find in the simple joys of life.  Our love for another increases when a baby finds warmth and safety in our arms.  The urge to serve grows deep within us as we aid to someone in need, and see the smile upon their face.  These indescribable feelings would be impossible to explore if we go through life with a security blanket.  Check yourself out of 'Heartbreak Hotel' and start opening yourself to bigger and better opportunities.  Drop the facade and be honest with yourself and those around you.  Do not be ashamed to hold your head high even if many are against you. 

Stop.  Just Breathe.  Don't Think. Let Go.  Be YOU.

In a classroom scene from "10 Things I hate About You" - there is a quote on the wall that says "What is popular is not always right, what is right is not always popular".  If you have become the minority, do not think that what you are doing is wrong.  Discover.  Explore.  There is a reason you are feeling the way you do.  The thought would not cross your mind if the information was not out there for you to find.  Those around you have not walked into your life accidentally.  Sometimes things happen and we are put into situations that have a specific purpose.  We know in our heart that we are exactly where we are meant to be, doing exactly what it is we are doing - but then we start to question our actions, limit ourselves, undermine divinity, and over-analyze with our heads and disregard the feelings within.  This is when confusion overrides, corruption takes place, and human nature takes it's course.

STOP.  Just Breathe.  Don't think.  Let Go.  Be YOU.

Allow yourself the time to dig deep - find what makes you, YOU - look at the life you lead - ask yourself, is this really you?

Allow yourself the space to disperse your emotions - hold onto the ones worth keeping - open yourself to another - ask yourself, are you being honest?

Allow yourself the energy to expand - learn from your mistakes - give yourself power - ask yourself, is this a good investment?

Dream Big.  Aspire Higher.  No Regrets. 

Understand that there is no other YOU in this world.  You are not a clone.  No other person could fill your shoes.  Be who you are without doubt or fear.  Hold your head high with dignity.  Accept yourself and the responsibilities that follow.  Many will try to bring you down - but if you believe in yourself, and are living life for YOU - they will not have power over you.  Hold your ground.  Be true to yourself.. and give yourself a little more credit :)

Move Forward.  Keep Breathing.  Think Freely.  Hold on.  Remain YOU!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

From THIS Moment On...

"The most self-destructive thought that any person can have is thinking that he or she is not in total control of his or her life.  That's when, "Why me?" becomes a theme song."
Right now, we are all living a brand new day - one that has never happened before, and one that will never be repeated.  With a new day, comes a new moment - in that new moment we have a choice, and on that choice depends our personal development.  We choose the thoughts that we are focusing on just in this present moment.  We have total and utter control over the wild or demure escapades that our thoughts transpire.  Are your thoughts simply random?  Or perhaps they are negative?  Are they relevant to what you are doing in this moment of time?  The thoughts you are entertaining may distract you from doing.  Don't waste your energy, keep action provoking thoughts, and create room for the flights of fancy to surface ----- for they're not thoughts - but inspiration, and inspiration only come to the clear minded.

In this present moment, we choose how we behave, act, and react.  Depending on the choice that we make, we can effortlessly change our lives.  How much energy have you simply squandered already today?  How much time have you exhausted sitting in front of your computer screen, staring blankly?  How much of your precious energy have you wasted gossiping and revelling about the misdeeds and misfortune of others?  How much of your time have you misused with colorful self pity parties and attention seeking entertainment?  How much energy have you expounded in creating different false persona's for false gratification?  So much of our time and energy is devoted to doing things we basically shouldn't be doing - like browsing the internet for things that have nothing to do with anything important, reading emails that were forwarded to you to cover someone elses tracks, wading through the sordid details of domestic violence that pad out and surface in the lives of others, worrying hours on end about situations you will never have the power to completely fix??  Every moment you waste is a moment you will never have again - and what we achieve in this life is the sum total of how we spend every precious moment.   

I hope that in considering some of those searching questions you might begin to understand just how much of your energy is wasted doing things that will get you nowhere on your life's journey.  At least these are energy-wasters that you are aware of - because there is something even worse going on.  How much of your life are you wasting that you are not even aware of?  Unless your subconscious mind is fully immersed in meaningful activity in the present moment, it is happily living in your childhood years, thinking that your childhood experiences are actually happening now - and you have no idea whatsoever that this is even happening.  That is the waste of energy that separates us all from the possibilities of the now, from the reality of the now, and from the abundance of now.

So, this is what it all boils down to - do you want to live a more fulfilling life?  Then ask yourself if what you are doing now, in the context of what you truly want out of life, is the very best investment of your energy.  If it isn't, don't do it.

"Someday everything will all make perfect sense.  So for now, laugh at the confusion, smile through the tears, and keep reminding yourself that everything happens for a reason."

"People change so that you can learn to let go, things go wrong so that you can appreciate them when they're right, you believe lies so that eventually you learn to trust no one but yourself, and sometimes good things fall apart in order for better things to fall into place."


Living In Full Effectiveness

As this day of my birth comes to a close for an entire year, I sit here pondering and reminiscing on what has helped shaped the Ileva I am today.  Like anyone else, I've been on numerous rollercoaster rides - but have also encountered and experienced many smooth sails.  With the wind in my hair, the rushing breeze against my cheeks, or the ever expanding horizon in view and smell of the fresh ocean spray - I find that I always have the same tools available to me, in stormy and calm weather.

Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth

Always within reach, either in print or on my cellular device - they never change.  How often do we find ourselves looking to this resource for guidance and upliftment?  It is so nice to know that we all have our own personal hand book that can be applied anywhere through this journey of mortality to enable our strength in returning home.  If we only treated it like we do our cell phones - using it for constant communication, rushing back home to retrieve it if forgotten, knowing every piece of information within it, supplying it with a secure cover for protection, recharging it every night, having every single person know about it, regularly checking for an answer, identifying every scratch and smudge, trusting the GPS system for safe and fast travels, and becoming upset every single time we accidently drop it.  Not only do I need to trust in His written word, but He has trusted in me to use and apply them 24/7.

Jesus, Others, You

It has taken me a long time to realize that loneliness is never a human being's first choice.  I am not very drawn to an activity or place of many people, which sometimes leads me to becoming vey reclusive and often leading to forcing myself into my own solitary confinement.  I know - this is unhealthy.  We all need people to survive, and most importantly - we need Christ.  Without Him, we will be impeccably incapable of doing anything we currently do.  They say that those who are married and have children, have longer lasting and happier lives in comparison to those without an eternal companion and no children.  Happiness is contagious - therefore, making you a host and a victim.  It effects everyone you come into contact with and is more affective when it begins with JOY. 

Forget About Me, I Love You

My family are and always will be a source of comfort.  These people do not only include who I call mother, father, brother, and sister - but also all those who I've met along the way that have made life easier to bear.  My friends are the family that God let me pick while here on earth and blood couldn't make us any closer.  We would be completely lost without the family unit, as Christ's church is strongest when in complete unity with all of God's children.  It starts with being selfless, forgetting ourselves, and being of service to one another out of love.


My name is Ileva - the only one I know.  I was born on May 25th 1990 at 5:45pm, in Greenlane Hospital, Auckland, New Zealand.  I am 21 years old.  I am half Tongan, quarter Samoan, and quarter Maori.  I am one of six children - the third child and third daughter to my mother.  I attend Arizona State University and am majoring in Psychology.  I want to be a Criminal Profiler.  My favorite colors are egg plant purple and bright yellow.  I have a love for music and writing.  I used to be a fan of cats before I became allergic.  I am a chocoholic.  I like to play rugby.  I love the sounds of baby laughter.  I always wear jewlry.  I never leave the house without perfume and lip gloss.  I hate grocery shopping.  Making new friends is one of my favorite hobbies.  I like to hold children.  I sleep best in sunlight.  I love the feel of clean sheets.  I like the smell of a bedroom belonging to a new born baby.  I like hugs.  I like playing in the rain and puddles.  My favorite movie is The Wizard of Oz.  I am sometimes a little OCD.  I like to fold laundry.  I hate vacuuming and mopping.  I know some of the greatest people known to man.  I am discovering happiness.  I am blessed to know what I know.  I know God lives.  I know Christ is my Savior.  I love my family. 
This is a part of who I am ---- I am who I am today because of the JOY I find in LIFE.

Love Overcomes Virtually Everything

Have you started LIFE?

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

What Worries You - Masters You

According to an online dictionary, I found several intersting definitions for this silly thing we do - "worry".
1) to torment oneself with or suffer from disturbing thoughts; fret
2) to lacerate or kill by biting, shaking etc.
3) to disturb the peace of mind
4) to proceed despite difficulties

Obviously, worry is something we inflict upon ourselves. We let ourselves enter a world that comes almost automatically when we see someone in need; are taking an exam we hurriedly studied for an hour before; visit the doctor's office for that cough we've had for months; do something we know we shouldn't; get up on stage to sing that song we've spent months preparing; or even just meeting someone new and making a new friend. It just happens. Sometimes we let that worry encompass our reality - therefore, leading to internal discomfort and hazy views of what is real and what is of our imagination. We torment ourselves over what should've, would've, or could've been - instead of focusing on today and accepting whatever tomorrow may bring.

Someone once told me "Worry doesn't help tomorrow's troubles, but it does ruin today's happiness". When we let something interfere with our peace of mind and allow unnecessary complication into our lives, we indirectly not only hurt ourselves - but those around us. When we can only see the one thing that is causing perturbation, we inhibit our happiness and stunt our personal growth. Without realizing, we push away anyone and everyone we love in fear that they may breach upon this relationship we've now established with "worry". It is as if we've put ourselves under running hot water knowing the tap is broken - we feel the pain and understand the damage, but we've become so fixated on why the water is hot and where it is coming from, that we lose sight of the real problem.. the broken tap. By the time we finally become conscious of our physical suffering, we've already flooded the entire house and burned those who came to help fix the tap. The damage is done, the water is slowly draining, and the only thing left is a broken water fixture. The only way to stop the continual water flow at this point in time, is to disconnect it from the main water supply. From a distance it looks perfectly fine - until you try to turn it on, and it slowly drips unwanted water. It can be fixed - but like a mechanic with a car, it will take patience, an eye to compare, and many 'test drives' before normal daily use.

Worry is as good or bad as you make it. It can be put to better use - we just have to find that handle, or that kitchen tap that fits securely in our hands, immovable without OUR control. When your child is not home on time, the worry of something bad happening is what causes you to go out searching. When you wake up with a headache in the morning, the worry of having it become worse is what forces you to take those pills you hate, but need in order to feel better.  Often we are told "Don't worry about it" or "Don't worry, Be happy" - but I think we all know that these phrases are much more easier said than done.  I read somewhere "Nobody got anywhere in the world by being content".  Whether this "anywhere" is forward or backward is regulated by us.  I think the trickiest part is finding how to position ourselves while walking on this ballerina's balancing beam we call life.  If we put too much weight in either direction, we could fall - if we do not apply any weight or pressure in either direction, we don't move.. we have come to a complete stop.

Do we take the risk of falling?  Or do we stay in our comfort zone and never progress?
If we knew we could get back up effortlessly if we fell, would we still take the risk?  Or would we be afraid of the pain caused by the fall?
If staying in our comfort zones meant we would be alone, would we still be content?  Or would we be happy going through life with nobody by our side?

I'm not even sure where I am trying to go with this, or if I am even making sense - but I think as humans we tend to get so caught up in this thing we call "life" without stopping now and then to appreciate what it is that makes our lives so worth while.  We make friendships along the way - some for a reason, season, or a lifetime.  Whether they are there for an hour or a year - ask yourself, was it worth it?  We make choices every single day - some silly and others in all seriousness.  If you could have done something differently - ask yourself, would it change anything?  We look at ourselves in the mirror while preparing for the day - applying make up and shaving unwanted hair.  If this is who you want to promote to the world - ask yourself, is this the real you?

I think I pay too much attention on wondering about how life would be if I was just a little bit stronger, a little bit wiser, and a little less needy.. when really, life is exactly the way it should be and everything that is happening is for a reason.  All I know is that "worry" is controlled by me, and like I said earlier - it is as good or bad as I make it. 

Don't become a slave to something you can control. 
Discover it.  Master it.  Live it.


Friday, May 20, 2011

Exposure Breeds Similarity

I remember when I was about seven or so, crawling in bed next to my mother and asking her "When I grow up, can I swear?".  This ludicrous question took my mother off guard as she looked down at me with a huge smile on her face, trying not to laugh.  In all seriousness I asked her again, "When I am old, like you, will I be allowed to swear then?".  She found it quite funny that I had referred to her as 'old' - since we had been told many times not to tell people her real age, and that she, unlike anyone else, just stayed the same age forever and ever.  After much giggling and silly laughter, she finally told me "No.  If you can't swear now, then why would you be allowed to swear when you're old like me?".  With very little understanding about what she had said, I replied "Well, because I'll be older and I can do whatever I want.  The people on T.V swear, and the older kids at school do too.  Why can't I when I grow up?".  You have to understand my mother, we weren't even allowed to say "shut-up" - she still hates that phrase to this day, and what is even more funny - I think it seems a little more offensive to see it in writing, let alone hear it out loud.  If saying "be quiet" wasn't enough (which it should have been), we had permission to say "shush up".  A little lame for a kid who only ever associated with the 'cool' and 'popular' children (in partial to my sisters) who said "shut up" as often as I wanted chocolate.

Exposure.  As humans, we naturally like to familiarize ourselves with our surroundings.  We like to find similarity in what it is that we are familiarizing ourselves with.  Those similarities become a base for attitude and behavior.  Attitude and behavior dictate our desires, and our desires influence who we are.  Where we find similarity can come from anywhere.  We are more likely to help another in need if we find that we are similar in some way, shape, or form.  We will be more readily to engage in an activity that we have some sort of experience with - great or small.  We tend to eat or stay away from the same foods because we know how they make us feel.  Our daily routine rarely changes as we have become used to the order of activity.  As long as we can find comfort and similarity in the activities we engage in and the people we come into contact with, then life tends to stay on an even keel.  It is all due to exposure and how much we connect with what we choose to expose ourselves to.

When I was five years old, I wanted everyone to call me Jennifer AND I wanted to be Mexican.  Why, you might ask?  I was the youngest of three girls at the time and they both have 'normal' names.  So naturally, I felt like the odd-child in the family (I don't think anything has changed! :) ).  Kristina and Alison - oh, how much I wanted to be just like my sisters!  Nobody could ever get my name right.  I remember my first day of school in New Zealand, the teacher asked if I had a nickname..... little did she know - Ileva IS my nickname.  Every visit to the doctor's office, the nurse would walk out with my file in hand and just stand there and stare at my name on the front - just from the look on her face and the way her lips were silently moving, I knew it was me she had come for.  "That's me!" I would say before she had the chance to even attempt to say my name.  I just wanted something NORMAL - let alone, pronounceable.  So, how did wanting to be Mexican fall in line with the name of Jennifer?  Well, the only Hispanic person I had been exposed to was Jennifer Lopez.  Yes, J-LO.  I figured, if I'm going to be a 'Jennifer', I might as well be Mexican too, cause then I will be able to sing just as well and everyone will be able to say my name!

Similarity.  After becoming used to our surroundings and accepting those who tend to creep into our worlds, with or without our permission, we subconsciously start to change ourselves to conform to our current environment.  We start to find similarities between our inner selves and the outside world we have created.  We no longer have individuality, but prefer mainstream recognition.  As long as we can keep people thinking that we meet all conditions of 'normalcy', then we have succeeded.  We start to retaliate attitudes and behaviors we have long resented.  People who we held close are effortlessly pushed away if they do not meet our personal quota of similarity. There is an unspoken of and unseen social radar that the followers of 'norms' have to stay beneath - this is where we lose ourselves.

Why do we do what we do when we know what we know?  I'm still trying to answer this question myself.  I don't understand why we sometimes let ourselves return to places that were at one point detrimental - physically, mentally, spiritually, and/or emotionally.  It seems as if it is a neverending cycle - as if we've taken five steps forward and three steps back.  We keep running forward, only to see the good things pass us by because we are stuck on a wheel like a hamster.  Some of us can slow ourselves down long enough to see our lives for what they truly are, and then make necessary changes - for the rest of us, we need interventions.  It is different for everyone.  Each situation similar to another but unique in circumstance.  Each person given their own sets of shoes, specifically designed for them.

I am nowhere near perfect, but I have always been very inquisitive - I had a question for everything.  Some answerable questions, others.... not so much.  But, I think when it comes down to it - Choice, Control, and Closure are my Three C's that I try to include while on this indeterminate journey we call Life. 

Choice is ALWAYS going to presented in every situation - some are just harder to see than others.  Once a decision is made, hold your ground and gain Control of what it is you are trying to achieve.  After all is said done, if you cannot find Closure, then you have not reached true and pure happiness - which should be our end goal in any given situation. 

Choose what you want to be exposed to, Control it, and find Closure in what that exposure brings.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

There's No Place Like Home

My all-time favorite movie is The Wizard of Oz.  No, I'm not kidding.  One of my very first childhood memories consists of myself and little red ruby shoes.  Yes, I did own a pair - now I've converted to red..... heels. 
I had just finished watching The Wizard of Oz (probably for the tenth time over by now) when my mother told me to put on my shoes - because just like every other day, we were going out!  I remember running to the shoe cupboard and and being faced with a difficult decision.  What shoes am I going to wear today?  (Is it sad to say that I still have this same issue NOW!?)  Did I want to wear my most treasured and prized possession - cute, red, sparkly slippers (although they were too small and practically in shreds)... or did I want to graciously give the plain old boring white shoes a run?  Because I'm me, I chose the red.  It didn't matter that they were too small and falling apart with every step, I wanted to be like Dorothy in the movie and wear magic red shoes!  I felt like a princess guarding a secret that nobody else knew I had.  I had something that I thought only I could have - I was special and wanted to stay that way.  I wanted to be different.  I remember the day I went to the shoe cupboard, and my red slippers were nowhere to be found.  Oh, how sad and frustrated I was that I had to wear my white ones - which were actually identical in design, but.... just white.  I remember crying on the floor as my mother told me she had to throw them away because they were too small and not "pretty" enough for me to wear anymore.  I felt as though I had lost my identity.

"There's no place like home" I would sometimes say to myself, while clicking my heels together with my eyes shut tight hoping to wake up in a world that was different to what I currently knew.  When I was young, if I was in a place where I didn't want to be - I would do exactly that.  It never did seem to work instantaneously like I wanted it to.  But, if I was patient enough then someone would eventually pick me up and carry me out to the car to enjoy the ride to our next destination.  It was pleasant and enjoyable - until I was bored of that "world" also.  Then, the clicking of the heels would begin again.

I'm five days shy of my 21st birthday and I still wish I had long lasting red ruby shoes like Dorothy.  How wonderful would it be to click your heels three times and find yourself at "home" again?  I never really realized how applicable this movie has become in my life until recently.  Sometimes I find myself not appreciating or being happy with the life I currently live.  At that point, I conjure up thoughts of wanting to do something a little bit more 'exciting' without taking in the potential negative consequences.  At first it seems all fun and dandy - thrilling even.  But pretty soon something happens and I find myself on a "yellow brick road" longing for the life I never appreciated.  Along the way, like Dorothy, I find a brainless scarecrow, heartless tin man, and a cowardly lion - three aspects of this journey that could be symbolic to what it is that I'm trying to discover within myself?  Knowledge, Love (feeling), and Courage (strength, faith).

Close to the end of the movie, Dorothy finally has everything she needs to go home and is about to take off in the hot air balloon when Toto runs away.  Of course she runs after Toto but she cannot get back into the hot air balloon.  She has come all this way and has endured so much, only to stay stuck in Oz.  Although Dorothy is as sad as can be, the Good Witch, Glinda, tells her that she has always had the power to go home.  Glinda never told her this in the beginning because she knew Dorothy would not believe her.  All she had to do was click her heels together three times and repeat "There's no place like home". 

Throughout the movie you see the shoes have protected Dorothy more than she has realized.  It is because she never took them off, that she is kept safe and out of the sight of the Wicked Witch.

How bliss would life be if we studied the gospel a little deeper, loved a little more, and believed with fewer inhibitions? 

We often wonder why bad things are happening to us after we've done everything we are supposed to, when really - we don't know what it is that we are preventing from happening because of what we are doing.  I think as long as we have a clear purpose in mind, stick to our yellow brick road, and discover ourselves along the way - then we have everything we need within our reach.

Where are your red ruby slippers?

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Mother's Day

She doesn't like it when I post pictures of her
I'm grateful for my mother.  I know without a shadow of a doubt that she has sacrificed more than anyone should to be an amazing mum.  She gave so much of herself to make sure I was happy - something she still continues to do.  She gives meaning to my life in a way no other could give, and I'm blessed and proud to say that she is MY Mum.  If it wasn't for her, I would not be here in the United States.  I would not have met all the wonderful people who have graciously placed themselves in my life.  My mother is the reason I love to write.  She kept many journals and would often express herself without inhibitions through writing.  Although I am not much of a daily journal keeper, I mimicked her uninhibited writing behavior.  Through this, I am able to convey my own feelings and thoughts concerning many different aspects of life.  To her I am endlessly appreciative for the positive influence she has had, and continues to have on me.  I love you Mum.
Mom and I

I tend to find and keep many "mother's" as I move from place to place.  Finding people to fill in that emptiness that can only be filled through a mother.  Like any other child, I crave a mother's hug, the constant reassurance, the random calls just to say "Hello" and ending in "I love you", the feeling of being wanted, and simply - just the perpetual friendship.  There has been only one other person who has been able to fill all of those wants, needs and more - my "Show Low Mom" Terri Holladay.
I started working for her on May 12th 2008 - and because of that, we are where we are, today.  I'm so blessed to have her in my life and for all that she continues to do to be amazing.  She brings something special into my life that could only come from her.  I love you Mom.
This poem is dedicated to the few important women in my life that continue to make life easier.  Who need more than just a day to know how much they're loved.  You're all remarkable women.  Know that all you do, never goes unnoticed.   

A Love Like THIS...
The value of one's love, is not given in coins of gold
Nor is it something tangible, with a price to be bought or sold
The measure of one's love, exceeds the mile marker at each bend
It is as long as it is wide, limitless - at each end
The power of one's love, cannot be beaten even with force
It provides invincible strength, to triumph battles no other has fought
The presence of one's love, is often felt from day to day
As present as the sky above, regardless of weather it is here to stay
The divinity of one's love, comes from He who sits on high
Sending messages through her spirit, to tell each child of His "You're Mine"
  This love is incomparable, to everything we currently know
It is beyond our comprehension, but without words it can be shown
Such love IS among us, available at our will
Recognizable in an instant, potent but tranquil
Without conditions or fine lines of print, it penetrates our soul
Calms our inner struggles, fulfilling a heavenly roll
This love needs recognition, not just a day but a lifetime through
An endless debt of gratitude, for all it does and continues to do
Father in Heaven was truly thoughtful, in His Plan of Creation here on earth
He gave us His crowning glory, making it possible for physical birth
He knew she would best portray, His ever abounding love
He knew her love would exemplify, what could only come from above
It is because of this love we exist, and why we even came to be
This love is more eminent than any other, and prolongs for eternity
It is this love exactly, that illuminates our darkest days
This love is irreplaceable, and incomparable in every way
Who has this love we yearn for, in detailed description like this;
A love never forgotten, easy to find and hard to miss?
A Mother's Love is this precisely, it is something we all implore
A love without inhibition, and indisputable for sure
Words are imperfect to depict, this amity we cannot deny
 No catch phrase or expression, to illustrate how we feel inside
"She is more precious than rubies", Proverbs tell us so
In this we take comfort, more than she'll ever know
The pure joy of a mother, no doubt, no amiss
Is the reason we know, a love like THIS...

Friday, April 29, 2011

Such is Life

My brother from another mother sent me a text message this morning and said "Hey I've got a favor to ask".  As curious as can be, I reply with "What's up?".  Not even two minutes later I feel my cellular device vibrate four times followed by a doorbell like noise - without surprise to see the message is from him, I was surprised with what he had to say... "You like to write right? (Ha I didn't mean to do that) uh have you written any poems?" - what have I been doing for the past week!?  With messages going back and forth traveling as fast as the speed of light (thank goodness for modern day technology!), I had committed to writing him a poem for an English class he is currently enrolled in.  It wasn't due till Tuesday, but I told him I would have it signed, sealed, and delivered by the end of the day.  I needed to look at a picture, and write a poem about it.

This is what I came up with.

Silent, ever so still
This road without end in view
Austere tracks, Beauty arises
Still - surrounded by clouded truths
Walking down a Misty Track

Moving forward, each step with caution
Music roaring in the background
People in the shadows mutter
Alone - now brisk strides, but no sound
Walking down a Misty Track

Holding strong to an intangible force
Enduring harsh winters, gaining power
Running - careful not to fall
Darkness so thick, do not cower
Walking down a Misty Track

Seeing an end, plain in sight
Sweet melodies surround
Head held high, hands outstretched
Light, Peace, now all around
No longer on a Misty Track

This picture reminds me of a picture that was taken while he was on his mission.  He and his companion walking down a railroad track.  While keeping that in mind, words flowed as water does from a tap.  Think.

Such is life - a railroad track.  Misty Mornings, Brighter Days.  Walking down a Misty Track.  Sometimes I think that I go on through this life, not really knowing where I am headed - it is as if I am on a course with an opaque view ahead.  This trek seems like a never ending story, but I think as long as I keep taking each step with vigilance while drowning out the background noise, then Brighter Days will soon be in view.  What is most important, is what I learn through accepting the insensitive winds and worldly torrents - lessons learned and knowledge acquired are compulsory for my growth and future defense.  Focus.   

Someone once told me that pain is weakness leaving the body.  Pain is inevitable - but purposeful.  Let Go.

When we reach the end of this Misty Morning, and find a Brighter Day - all endured will now be of value and No longer on this Misty Track we will be.  Keep Moving.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Easter Poem

A little something I wrote on the morning of Friday April 22nd 2011 - the day of His sacrifice. Not only did I gain a greater appreciation for that Easter weekend, but I allowed myself to openly express my feelings in a simple yet meaningful way. I usually come up with a title before I write a poem - but not this time... and even after, I still couldn't think of an appropriate heading that would be perfectly suited. Maybe, it didn't need one? I'm not sure. All I know, is that it can be personalized for any reader - and maybe because of that, we'll all give it our own name?

Chosen before His birth, The Son of God, The Prince of Peace
He willingly made The Sacrifice, without contract or binding lease
He was more than just a boy, more than just an ordinary man
Perfect in every measure, the only one for this Great Eternal Plan
Walking in footsteps of another, helping those in need
Ministering to those who'll listen, saying "Come follow me"
Speaking words of wisdom, acting in the name of God
Teaching the Plan of Happiness, making His word the iron rod
Leading by example, He showed us how to live
How to love one another, to be of service and to give
In the garden He suffered, excruciating pain - we cannot know
Bleeding from every pore, He knew it would soon be time to go
Asking "Father, if thou be willing, remove thy cup from me;
Nevertheless, not my will, but thine be done", as He wept in agony
Feeling every sin, every emotion and more
Every insecurity, all of this He bore
He knows our weaknesses and pain, unwanted turmoil internally seen
His suffering was for us, so on His ample arm we can lean
Out of the garden He was taken, mocked and beaten, He did not fight
Forced to wear a crown of thorns, and still, He showed powerful might
They spat on Him and cursed His name, "Crucify Him!" they wanted so
Bearing the cross alone, to Calvary Hill He must go
They pierced Him in His hands, His feet, and in His side,
Not knowing He was their Savior, and for them He must die
"Father, into thine hands I commend my spirit", were the last words He spake
Ending His physical death, a crucial step He had to take
Released from public mockery, no longer on display
Wrapped in sheets of white, preserving His body for three days
In a sacred tomb on a hillside, without audience or cheer
He resurrected on that Easter morn, a celebratory day each year
He loosed the bands of Satan, provided a way to return to Him
Let faith permeate our souls, to know this was more than a historical whim
Find meaning in His sacrifice, come closer to The Atoning One
Understand this sacred event, know He truly is God's Son
Before we get lost in worldy hype, of the Easter bunny and fun
Remember who to look for, as we go on this Easter hunt
He is in every creation, all that you touch, hear, and see
Look for His name beyond today, take heed in "Come follow me"
He is the reason for the season, no Christmas without Easter - now or then
Testify of him, live like Him
In Jesus' name, I pray, Amen.