Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Letter to My 17 Year Old High School Graduate Self

Dear Ashley,

Congratulations on graduating High School!

It is a huge accomplishment. Something worth celebrating.
But guess what, my dear?! This is just the very beginning. 

There were many things you wished that would have happened in high school

that didn't, but it's okay. You will succeed in life because you have learned 
one very important principle, to always try and to never give up.

Your high school status and popularity, or lack thereof will not limit you. 

You were destined for greatness and just because you never felt like you fit in,
doesn't mean that didn't have a purpose within itself. 

Listen to the confusion. 

The moment you start to feel confused or conflicted about a situation, 
it probably isn't right for you.

Stand with Integrity over being nice.
You're going to face a lot of peer pressure.
You were blessed to not face a lot of it in high school,
not to scare you... but just you wait!
If you will remember The Lord is on your side and wants the best 
for you, then you will have the strength to say no and avoid these situations.

You have been taught your whole life to be kind to others and accept 
what others believe in.
But there will come a time when you have to choose between being nice
or standing by your values and staying true to yourself.
If you choose to go along with what others are doing,
you're going to loose yourself very quickly and then you won't have 
the ability to help others or help yourself.

Don't get lost in the crowd. 
You are YOU - you are a girl with integrity.
Stand strong to your convictions NO MATTER what
other's around you may believe.

Don't be afraid to start up a conversation.
The secret to having a friend, is to first be a friend.
Reach out more. Give more. Love more.
Take some chances on people and get out of your box.

Your faith is going to be tested. You have prepared yourself so 

well through out your young teenage years to have a testimony in the 
gospel of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. 
This testimony will be your anchor!!! 
At times you will question things, you will have doubts, temptations and trials. 

You will look back often to rely on the strength of your faith you had built upon

in the early years of your life.
You will be able to compare the peace and happiness you felt in high school 
with the confusion, fear and loneliness you will feel in the near future. 
You will know without a shadow of a doubt that
happiness comes from living the gospel and trusting God in everything that you do.

You're going to have many opportunities to break hearts.

Remember how it feels when your heart has been broken, go easy!

You are going to go through things that will later on help you connect and relate

to all the trials and heartaches that teen girls have to face on a daily basis. 
Remember the lessons that you learn so you can teach and mentor girls 
and pass your wisdom onto them.

There will be days when you will feel lost and all alone, thinking you don't even matter

and no one would notice if you disappear off the face of the earth.
This is a trick, a mind game brought on by the adversary. IGNORE IT!
Don't you dare dwell on this thought for more than two seconds.

You will experience heartbreak, many, many different times, in many different situations.

You will justify this and think that this is how it is supposed to feel, 
so you won't do anything about it but be the victim. 

I wish I could spare you this heartbreak, but this will be a pivotal experience
in your life, helping you to become stronger and more independent. 
It will allow you to realize you can't do it on your own, 
and you will need to rely upon the atonement to overcome the pain you will feel.

You will chase goals and dreams, putting your entire heart into a goal 

that will mean more to you than you could ever imagine.
Don't get discouraged if it doesn't play out how you so desperately hope it will.
The hours of preparation and dedication that you will put in, will not be a waste.

You're on the right track, beautiful girl.
Hang on tight and enjoy the ride.
Life won't always be perfect, but when you put Heavenly Father
first in your life - I promise you with my entire heart that you will ALWAYS 

Dream BIG, WISH hard & Be believing!!!
With so much love,

Your 25 Year Old Self

{I graduated 8 years ago from Murray High School}

Monday, May 19, 2014

3 Beautiful things that come from opposition

3 beautiful things that come from opposition:

1. You know something amazing is about to happen - You are on the right path or Satan wouldn't be testing you so much. Satan's entire plan and purpose is to get you to be miserable like unto himself (2 Nephi 2:27). He must see a lot of good and potential in your destiny or he wouldn't even need to try to bring you down.

2. It is a chance to experience happiness. You are given the opportunity to compare the negative you  experience through the trial, with the positive you knew right before it. And if you recognize it quickly enough, you can seek out the truth and you can fix the problem immediately before it eats at you and destroys what you have been working towards in the first place. There is no possible way to know what happiness is without heartache and misery.

3. You are brought down to humility. You realize that this journey is hard and it is SUPPOSED TO BE THIS WAY! There would be no point of this life, no point of the test and no point of Heavenly Father's plan if it was easy. We need the atonement of Jesus Christ to make up for what we lack. We can't do this on our own. There is no way we could return to live with our Heavenly Father again without the atonement. It is through the Savior that we find strength and peace to get through opposition. Once we realize we can't do this on our own and we become humble enough to ask for help, that is where the humility is found and peace and assurance is given. 

In the Book of Mormon, it states:

"For it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things. If not so, my firstborn in the wilderness, righteousness could not be brought to pass, neither wickedness, neither holiness nor misery, neither good nor bad." (2 Nephi 2:11)

I have had two friends in the past 3 months recommend to me THIS talk.

Some mornings I have to listen to it multiple times for comfort and to remind myself that I am not alone in feeling doubt and opposition. And the thing is, this doubt and confusion comes most often right before or right after I have had a very spiritual experience or an amazing breakthrough. I can have so much faith and undoubted trust in The Lord and then BAM - Satan comes along to see if I can be tested and shaken.

Elder Holland states:
"This opposition turns up almost any place something good has happened. It can happen when you are trying to get an education. It can hit you after your first month in your new mission field. It certainly happens in matters of love and marriage. It can occur in situations related to your family, Church callings, or career.
With any major decision there are cautions and considerations to make, but once there has been 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. Certainly don’t give in to that being who is bent on the destruction of your happiness. Face your doubts. Master your fears. “Cast not away therefore your confidence.” Stay the course and see the beauty of life unfold for you."
Opposition never has to define you. You actually become a hero and a warrior once the battle is over and you won the fight. Stay true to your convictions and turn to your loving Heavenly Father when you feel lost, confused or forgotten. I have no doubt he will let you know he is there and that he loves you. I have felt his peace and love in my own life more times than is fathomly possible to count. Even times when I felt like I didn't deserve to feel it. He is there, I promise!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

A Mother's Love - A tribute to my mom


Ever since I was a little girl, I LOVED spending time with my mom. I was the girl that cried when she left the room for just a few moments. I was the girl that always begged to go to the store with my mom. I was the girl that longed for my mom and the comfort she could offer after a hard day. 

When I was 5, I remember we would walk over to Smith's to get doughnut holes and then we would come home and watch the cartoon of Aladdin while we would snuggled under the covers all morning long.

When I was 7, I remember my mom reading the story "Say your sorry" to me over and over and over again to prepare me for my baptism.

When I was 10, I remember coming home one day after school and she was sitting at the dining room table, games all set up and I walked in the door and she said "Let's play." She had even made us a special treat to share.

When I was 13, I remember my mom always taking me out to dinner for some "mother-daughter bonding moments".

When I was 17, I remember my mom going to girls camp and trek with me that summer. It was such a blessing to have her there on such a spiritual journey. My testimony has been anchored and strengthened because of her example.

To this day my mom is there to listen to my heart when it is heavy. She is there to show unconditional love and support when I tell her about my imperfections or worries. She has the strongest ability to comfort and love even when moments seem hopeless.

My mother is the most loving, forgiving and personable woman I know. She inspires me each and every day through her love, kindness and compassion she has for every single person she comes in contact with. She can make anyone feel of their infinite worth. She is always thinking of others and has the biggest heart.

#ItWasMom that was there for me sacrificing so much on my behalf.

#ItWasMom that kept our family together and our house in order.

#ItWasMom that encouraged scripture study and prayers so that I could gain a testimony of my own.

#ItWasMom who encouraged me and believed in me when I doubted myself..

I am forever grateful for my mother and from this day forward I plan on letting her know how much she means to me without letting a day go by. She is seriously an angel in my life. She demonstrates strength and courage that I never knew was possible. I have my own struggles and she went through the same ones before I ever did, I can look up to her and know I will be okay because she is now there to guide me through.

My mom will always be my best friend, I can tell her anything!!

Mom, I love you endlessly!!!