Sunday, August 30, 2015

Fear Not: Christ is on your side




I was babysitting my cousin's children last night and these cute girls gave me the wonderful opportunity to see through the eyes of Heavenly Father for just a split second, which taught me an invaluable lesson. 

The older sister who is eight-years-old really wanted to watch "Muppets most wanted" however, the six-year-old sister did not. When the movie was put on, any sound or thought of the movie made this sweet six-year-old burst into tears. She was afraid that watching the movie, would result in her having nightmares. She couldn't even slightly be near the show or she would cry. She longed for her mom so deeply to bring her comfort and to kiss her goodnight. She felt scared and alone. 

I did the best I could to offer her comfort while letting her express her emotions. I knew it would be okay, I knew these fears she was facing were so real in her mind, but I also knew with all my heart she would be okay. As the evening went on, more events occurred leading to more fear in her heart, and more tears from her precious eyes. Even if she did face a scary nightmare from the show, she would still be okay. Why? Because of the love Heavenly Father has for His children, it's always going to be okay. He can see the end from the beginning and He knows no matter what, we will be okay. Christ overcame the world for that very reason.

I was able to take a look through the eyes of my Heavenly Father. Anytime I have fears, fears that don't make sense, He recognizes them and He sends help to calm my troubled heart. But He also knows that there is no need for me to fear, He can see it all. He knows what's going to happen, and He knows that no matter what, it will still be okay because He has made us a promise of eternal happiness and everlasting life as we look to and follow Him. 

There is no reason to fear as we put our faith in Him. I believe sweet little six-year-old, Eva Grace wanted her mom so badly because that is where she had learned to practice her faith. She has attached her faith of trust and protection in the hands of her mother. When her mom is around, her fears can be calmed and she can feel at home because that is where she has placed her faith at her young, sweet age. It's taken her lots of work and practice to even have faith in her mother, but she becomes more perfect each time she looks to her. 

We too have to practice our faith. We MUST place our faith in Him, the one who gave us life and knows all. I have moments where I feel so good at this, and other moments where I feel weak and I plea that He will once again forgive me for having a moment of weakness in fear. I know as I practice my faith in Christ, remembering He is the hope, the light, and the way, good things will come and He will lead the way. 

He knows I have no reason to fear, but He is patient, loving, and understanding anyways because His love as a Father is perfect. 

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Book Tour - Scripture Princesses

Scripture Princesses - Stories of Righteous Daughters of God






About the Book:
Author: Rebecca J. Greenwood
Illustrator: Rebecca J. Greenwood
Released: 2015
Publisher: Cedar Fort, Inc.
Genre: Spiritual/Inspirational/Women in the bible

Book Sources:




My Rating: 4.5 stars

Book Description:

This easy-to-read chapter book shares beautifully illustrated stories, including those of
- Eve
- Rebekah
- Ruth and Naomi
- Sariah
- Abish and the Queen
- Mary Magdalene
- Lucy Mack Smith
- Emma Hale Smith
Full of examples of integrity and courage, this book is the perfect way to reinforce lessons learned in Primary and share scripture stories that will become a gospel foundation to last a lifetime. 

My thoughts:

This cute book is such a great easy read. Reading and understanding the scriptures is something that has always been a struggle for me, especially when I was younger.

Had this book been around when I was a child or teenager, I would have read it over and over again, memorizing the stories that are so beautifully told in this book.

There are such cute pictures to go along with every story, left uncolored so you can color them in. Nothing makes reading more fun, than taking a break to color in between. 

Each story has the simple message under the title so children and teens will know the lesson to take away from each scripture princess. This book is the perfect way to give girls more girl power and help them understand that with God, they will always be unstoppable. 


About the author of this book:




Rebecca J. Greenwood grew up in Texas, the oldest of six, and studied visual art with a music minor at Brigham Young University. She is an author, multimedia artist, illustrator, comic creator, and designer with a love of stories. She has worked in publishing for the last six years. Rebecca lives in Utah with her husband, where she listens to audiobooks, cooks experimentally, has an interest in alternative health, and constantly has a new project in mind. Visit rebeccajgreenwood.com to experience more of her art and projects. 


                                                   I received a free copy of this book for review but all opinions and rating are my own. 

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Book Review: We Are Daughters of Our Heavenly Father

We Are Daughters of Our Heavenly Father - 
Striving to Live the Young Women Values





About the Book:
Author: Jen Brewer
Released: 2015
Publisher: Cedar Fort, Inc.
Genre: Spiritual/Inspirational

Book Sources:



My Rating: 5.0 stars

Book Description:

DRAW NEARER TO GOD and discover your divine destiny in the words you repeat every week. This inspiring book helps you better understand the Young Women theme by breaking down each section and sharing the story of how and why the theme was created.

DISCOVER
- How to stand as a witness at all times
- What it means to accept and act upon your values
- How to strengthen your home and family now and in the future
- The importance of covenants and ordinances
- How much your Heavenly Father loves you

THOUGHT-PROVOKING AND UPLIFTING, this book makes a wonderful gift to share with young women, parents, and leaders.


My Thoughts:

Working with Young Women, speaking to Young Women, helping Young Women come to know Christ, it's all my passion. I feel it's my purpose and what I was born to do. I LOVE this book. In fact, I'm obsessed with this book. I may or may not take it everywhere with me. It so perfectly teaches Young Women why the Young Women theme was born and how they can better live it in their own life.

Jen has done a brilliant job at breaking down the Young Women's theme to show what every single line that is said every Sunday really means. She so perfectly helps Young Women understand what it means to be a Daughter of God and why that is so important. Jen interviewed Sister Ardeth Kapp Perry, who started the Young Women's theme in the 80's. 

This book is a MUST read for every teen girl. Every girl that knows who she is and is looking for a better way to fulfill her role as His daughter, and for every girl who needs to gain a stronger testimony of what it means to be His daughter. 

I LOVE that every single page has so many spiritual gems and truths that really make you think about the gospel and how to live it more fully. There are so many scripture references in this book that a girl could read one page a day, and then study the scriptures on that given page and take SO much away.

Jen has also included great questions to personally ponder on with room to right down personal thoughts. I love this because I believe journaling is a huge key to developing more faith and more self esteem.


About the Author:

Jen Brewer // Jen Brewer got her degree in dietetics from BYU, married a handsome hunk of a husband, and spent the next ten years traipsing around the country with him as he pursued a medical degree, while adding children to their ever-growing family. They have now settled in Minnesota, where she works full time as a mother of seven, as well as pursues her passions of nutrition education, speaking to youth, and writing. She speaks often to various groups of all ages. Her passion is reaching out to the youth and helping them see their true potential in the Kingdom of God. She is a popular speaker at Education Week Youth Track at BYU-Idaho, as well as at stakes and wards all over the country. 


I received a free copy of this book for review but all opinions and rating are my own.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Let's Talk About Mental Illness



Mental illness is real. SO REAL. And sometimes it bothers me we don't talk about it enough.
Nearly one in five people suffer from a mental illness...

So why are we trying to cover them up? 
Why are those that have them so ashamed? 
Why does our society label those with them as "broken" or "weak"? 

I don't have answers to those questions, but I feel it's important we talk about it more. I think these questions are great for pondering whether you have a mental illness or not. Because I wish to be the change I see in the world, and talking about mental illness needs to be changed, especially in our LDS culture, I'm going to start the conversation. 

I have a mental illness, in fact I have a few. Sometimes I forget I have one, and other times it's the only thing on my mind. Sometimes I try to fight it or push it aside, other times I accept it and embrace it because I know without a doubt I agreed to them in Heaven, before coming to earth. No, I didn't do anything wrong. No, they aren't a punishment. I like to think of my mental illness as a blessing. In fact, let me name a few reasons why.

10 Reasons I love my Mental Illnesses.....

1. When I'm having a good day, I love it that much more. I make the absolute most of my good days and I cherish them with my whole heart. You can't know joy without sadness. 

2. I have more gaps in my life, giving me more of a constant reminder that I have great need for the Savior and the atonement in my life.

3. It keeps me humble. Because I am constantly reminded of how imperfect I am, I can remember that other people aren't perfect either and we are all on the journey together.

4. It's a constant opportunity to rely on God, my mental illness saved my testimony at one time.

5. It puts life in such a beautiful perspective in the moments it stops raining.

6. It gives me a desire to help others, love others, care for others, and listen to others because I know how much I need it at times.

7. When I'm  having a weak moment, it gives me greater purpose in prayer. Allowing my faith to grow as I trust my Savior's healing ability with all my heart, might, mind, and soul.

8. I have a strong ability to release emotions, acknowledge my emotions, and embrace them all as they come and go. Emotions are apart of life, they come from Heavenly Father and they help us find answers to some of our most important questions.

9. I have had the opportunity of witnessing God's hand in my life when I needed Him most, He has eased my worried heart more times than I can count.

10. I don't have much of a choice but to embrace change. Change is hard and uncomfortable, but change is constant with a mental illness, so I learn to not worry about it and put my faith in Christ while I enjoy the ride. 








I love this YouTube clip, I love that line that says... "Know your mental illness, and do something about it." Don't try to cover or bury your mental illness. You have no need to be ashamed, and if any one ever makes you feel that way, they aren't a right fit for your life at this time, and that's okay. You are enough with or without a mental illness! Christ doesn't just feel some of the gaps, he fills all of the gaps. While you may be in pain, and relief won't come as quickly or instantaneously as you wish, it will come. In the meantime, allow your mental illness to teach you something! I am a strong believer that trials are our greatest blessings and healing comes after the tears.

If you have a mental illness, and you would like someone to relate to or talk about it with, I would be happy to talk with you. I am not a psychologist. But I am a daughter of God who has found hope and healing the in the Gospel of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I wouldn't be able to get through it any other way than through the gospel. The atonement, faith, prayer, scriptures, and my Heavenly Father is what gives me hope on a daily basis. Comment below or email me if you have any questions or think I can help you in some way! We are all in this together. :)

Also, this talk is a MUST read - Like a Broken Vessel

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Becoming Who You Have Always Been Destined To Be




"Becoming is an interesting process. It is what takes us from where we are to where we want to be."
- Emily Freeman

I want to become...

A selfless and humble wife.
A caring, patient, and constantly engaged mother.
An inspirational author.
A more devoted visiting teacher.
A better friend who takes the first initiative.
A more refined public speaker.
A better singer.
A more talented piano player.
More intelligent and perspicacious.
More humble.
More kind and charitable.
More converted.
A better disciple of Jesus Christ; following in His footsteps always, without any hesitation.

I WANT TO BECOME HIS!

"Have you ever stopped to ponder what the Lord would make of your life if you allowed yourself to become His?" - Emily Freeman

Who do YOU want to become?  - (Take a moment and write your own list)

You can become anything your heart desires!

Usually we desire to BECOME because we want to reach the end result that will occur after we reach our goal. For me, I am happy and content in my life right now, but I believe I will BECOME more happy when I become a wife and a mother because I know that is my divine role and eternal purpose for eternity.

So BECOMING is the action and what we desire is the outcome or end result, but how exactly do we BECOME what we desire to be?

I went to the most incredible fireside a few months ago. We talked about how incredibly perfect our Heavenly Father and Savior are. Perfect architects, perfect writers, perfect, artists, perfect creators. We aren't just talking good and professional or winning awards for what they have created. We aren't talking about the Nobel Peace Prize, or Nobel Prize of Literature; no, what we are talking about exceeds far beyond what we could possibly comprehend because it is unattainable in this earthly life. They far surpass Michelangelo and Einstein.

We have been given many spiritual gifts, but our potential is unlimited. Hopefully and eventually we will do all that we can to become like Him, resulting in learning what we need to learn to have perfect knowledge and perfect ability to make choices so we too can be architects and authors such as He. Some more prominent than others!

Becoming is a process, sometimes it can feel like a very long and even hopeless process, but all things are possible for them that take Christ as their best friend. Learn of Him, walk with Him, seek Him, and think of Him often and everything that seems impossible can suddenly be possible.

If there is a spiritual gift you feel you haven't been given and it is one you desire to obtain, trust in it, seek it, pray for it, work towards it, and with the mercy of our loving Heavenly Father He will bless you and allow you to obtain these gifts, for you possess every attribute as God Himself, it's just not as developed as His... and that's where hard work, diligence, Christ like benevolence and meekness allow us to BECOME even as He. 

You are a child of God, with so much potential to become anything you desire to be. Let Him in your heart and help you to become like Christ, for I testify that is where true happiness is always found.

The more you act on these spiritual gifts, the more you will recognize them in yourself. You have the power to BECOME changed!


Spiritual gifts are a seed just waiting to be developed. 




They are a gift, just like receiving a violin. When you first are given the violin, you hold it, you have it in your hands, but you probably have no idea how to play it. You have to take lessons and learn and then you can create music. Becoming is a learning experience and it's a gift that has to be used for it to have purpose. That is like us when we receive spiritual gifts, we have to act on them, learn about them, and develop the talent before we can hear the music of our own spiritual gifts. Don't let your gifts go to waste! Use them to your greatest ability, develop as many as you can. Become His!

Scripture References for spiritual gifts: (Pick a few you want to develop)

- D+C 46
- Moroni 10
- 1 Corinthians 12

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Stay True to Your Inner Core



You were born with an inner core, it's who you are! Confusion is a warning sign you're trying to change and go against it. Your spirit knows exactly who you are, and exactly what you are capable of becoming!

Clothing security tags are a way to protect the profit of a store. The way these tags set off an alarm is an essential necessity used to alert a store attendant that something that is part of the store is about to be taken without authority or payment. Until it is paid for, the item must stay in the store!

We too have a security tag within us, a device that sends off an alarm as we are about to go too far from our inner core. You see, we were born with traits and characteristics that make up who we are as a person. Each one of us is unique and different. Each one of us has an individual worth that is different from any other person. If we try to change that for another person or for any other reason, our security tag starts to set off an alarm. An alarm of misery, of confusion, of doubt, and sometimes even depression.

Have you ever been so confused or so fearful that you just wanted to break? That confusion where you know something, but you lie to yourself? You lie and say you don't need it or it doesn't sound like it fits but that tiny, ever so quiet voice within you is screaming the correct answer to you. It's screaming the answer that won't make you satisfied in this moment, but it will save you from a lot of heart break and tears in the future. Your inner voice wants to protect you from all of those pieces that could potentially fall apart.

Why do we hide this voice of ours? Why do we bury it and pretend it isn't there or it doesn't know the real way to bring us happiness? Naturally, we are human beings looking for satisfaction and happiness in the moment. We forget that a little bit of pain and sacrifice now will bring us the greatest peace and happiness we will ever know if we wait and sacrifice but just a moment.

Listen to the voice trying to get your attention, that voice setting off all of those alarms of confusion and misery is there to save you. Trust that voice, because I promise you it won't lead you astray. 

Trusting and acting on your inner voice, those gut feelings that are telling you what and what not to do will allow you to live out your greatest potential. If you ignore them, yes there is always hope back, but you will pay a painful price and it will take so much longer to become who you are destined to be.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

My Mission Decision and His Will



I feel inspired to document my story. My mission story that is.

After coming across a post today: 
10 Things Girls Who Aren't Serving Missions Want You To Know
I wanted to share this post because I absolutely loved it. 
And I felt it was important to document my story as well.

I get asked a particular question A LOT, "Did you serve a mission?"

Anytime I get this question, I just wish I could share my whole story with them, because I am confident in my story, just not as confident in the answer no as I should be. 

When I was growing up, serving a mission scared me. I believed it was for others, just not for me. Don't get me wrong, I LOVED the gospel, I LOVED missionary work, and I prayed about a mission decision a lot in high school. I remember my fourteen-year-old-self telling Heavenly Father that I didn't want to go because I wouldn't be brave enough to try new food and that would offend someone, so I wouldn't be doing much good anyways. The desire to serve Heavenly Father was BURNING in my heart in every other way, just not about leaving to serve a mission. So I put the thought aside and the years went on. I saw two of my best friends leave great guys, serve missions and sacrifice these great men to serve the Lord. They both came back, married these great guys, (it was a blessing it worked out for each of them). My heart changed through the process as I watched them serve, but still, I didn't feel it was for me.

Well, come just last September I received revelation that I was to go on a mission. I prayed and fasted about the decision. I started my paperwork, I attended mission prep weekly, I was studying and preparing like nobody's business. I was anxious, but Heavenly Father filled my heart with peace that He would take care of me. The months of preparation were emotionally draining but I fully believed that I would go. A little after that, I received revelation that I wasn't to go anymore. Honestly, I still don't have the full answer of why I was asked to go, then wasn't to go anymore, but the Lord was pleased I was willing to go.

I'm really not sure if the Lord needed to know I was willing to go, or if He knew it already because He knows me perfectly enough to know the future, and it was me that needed to know how willing I was to serve the Lord.

This experience taught me that sometimes the Lord will put a detour on our path, not to change where we were going, but to teach us a few things before we arrive. It was a beautiful confirmation to me that the Lord knew I was willing to serve Him the entire time, but the experiences I had at home were necessary for me. I had a greater ability to be a missionary at home and while I sometimes overlooked it, that is exactly what I did, I was a missionary in more ways than I have ever realized until writing this post. 

No, I didn't need to serve a mission to make a difference.
No, I have no need to feel ashamed I never went.
No, it wasn't part of His specific plan for my life, but He would have supported it had it been my full desire.
Yes, I strongly encourage missions, and yes I would serve the Lord in a heartbeat.

And for each person it is a different situation. My dear sister is serving right now, I think a mission is the PERFECT fit for her life. Mine was a different story, but I know without a doubt I am still choosing His will for my life.

The Lord supports your righteous desires, He would love for you to serve Him and He needs you to serve Him if it is your desire. To each, it is a very personal and sacred decision, but one that shouldn't be taken lightly. 

If asked to go this minute by Heavenly Father, I would go. I will go where He leads me, for that's where my true happiness lies, is in following His will. Every once in awhile I still worry, I worry that I'm on course with what He would have for me, but as I check in with Him often, I feel Him guiding me and I know that He helped me make the very best decision for my life. 

If you're struggling or longing for answers on what is best for your life, ask Him. Pour out the desires of your heart and He will answer! No matter how terrifying it may be to receive your answer, He will answer in the way that is perfect for you. He will help you through grace if you are called, and if He wants you to stay, through time and prayer, you will know without a doubt your on the very best course for your life, following His will.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

50 Truths From a 20-Something Mormon













Photo credit goes to Kaitlyn Sutherland - I LOVE her! (Like her page HERE)

With age, also comes some wisdom and experiences to learn truth. Heavenly Father provides me with many opportunities to learn. When He does, I can't help but write them down and share them.


See my other two posts on life lessons HERE and HERE.


1. There is a simple answer to everything, it's just not always easy to act upon or believe.

2. Your gut always has the answer, trust your intuition!

3. Time doesn't matter...lessons do! God's timing matters though.

4. Satan is the author of confusion, if you feel confused then look up!

5. Happiness and peace are two different things. While the two may coexist, peace will always triumph.

6. You can lie to yourself or hide from the truth all you want, but only if you desire to be miserable.

7. Heavenly Father sends the most perfect people, at the most perfect time to support you and help you when you need it the most.

8. Self esteem will always be rooted in Christ no matter what the world may say or believe.

9. Your weaknesses are often shields of protection for your spirit.

10. God's timing will never, ever fail you!

11. Your journey is different from every other person on the planet, so don't you dare compare!

12. Satan may be a master at what he does, but there is no need to fear when you have God on your team.

13. As you try to do things on your own, you will stumble and fall. With each fall it becomes more and more painful. Just give it to Heavenly Father instead!

14. Heavenly Father can make beautiful out of any and every mess.

15. Every single time we say yes to one thing, we say no to something else. The yes's matter more than you may think.

16. Charity is the ONLY way you will ever come to fully know yourself.

17. When you live what you believe, you're inspiring those around you whether you're aware of it or not.

18. The more you dwell on a problem, the bigger the problem becomes until it paralyzes you. 


19. Your inner voice has to be your best friend or you will never be happy! 


20. No one in this world can determine your worth. Your worth has already been determined for you and it is infinite! 


21. You were born with an inner core, it's who you are! Confusion is a warning sign you're trying to change and go against it. 


22. Never, ever, ever change for another person. 


23. Never desire love from someone more than you desire to feel it from God. Never give love to someone more than God.


24. If a thought to do something the Savior would do enters your mind, ACT ON IT without hesitation. Even if you're not sure it's a prompting.


25. The peace that comes from the Savior will outweigh your greatest pain you experience in this life! 


26. Life is so much easier to handle when you put it in the hands of God. ❤️


27. I'm not quite sure why some are asked to carry heavier burdens than others, but I do know that there is purpose and good things to come.


28. The grass may look greener, but have you ever thought of what fake fertilizer was used to make it that way?


29. Once you know how much Christ loves you, you will never need to be accepted by any other person on the planet.


30. Our moments of fear give us an opportunity to spend more time with God.


31. Pain will NEVER be greater than the peace we can experience from His love. 


32. When people say mean things, it has NOTHING to do with you and everything to do with their inner demons. Don't let it bring you down!


33. A little bit of pain or sacrifice now can save you from greater pain in the future.

34. You have the ability to change the world just by being you.

35. Focusing too much on physical attraction is the result of trying to cover up something deeper.


36. Christ is the only way to hope.


37. Heavenly Father will provide the way for you to escape every temptation, don't let the voice of the world overtake it.


38. Looking to another person for approval is a tool satan has mastered to use as a distraction.

39. Christ didn't need to be accepted by everyone around him, and you don't either.

40. If what you're asked to do something hard right now by the voice of the Spirit, and it causes a little bit of fear, the peace you will feel after will have SO much power!

41. Much of the pain we go through in this life can be avoided by listening to God in the simplest of ways.

42. You have such a bright light within. If you find yourself unhappy, it just means you're allowing something to dim down or cover your light. 

43. It is in the moments we allow ourselves to be vulnerable that we find connections + hope in the healing process.


44. Faith is a muscle that needs to be strengthened daily for it to reach it's greatest capacity.


45. You can try to please man all you want, but you will never be satisfied or feel complete if you do.


46. Sometimes God will send you down a million wrong roads, so you'll know without a doubt when you're on the right road. 


47. God has ALL power! Although He allows us to struggle + make mistakes, He has the power to make ANYTHING happen. Trust Him! // Mosiah 4:9


48. You start to go backwards when you become so focused upon yourself.


49. You have something to offer, no matter what you may believe. 


50. EVERYONE is worthy of love. YOU are and so is the shy girl in the hall who would love a hug from you. 

Sunday, August 9, 2015

The parable of the shoelace



If you were to pull up a "Map of Ashley's tests and trials", you would find an obvious pattern of repeat lessons. Every time I think I learned a lesson or pass a test, I find one very similar in front of my path again and again.

I keep thinking I mastered the way I "tied my shoes" and then I find the shoelace coming undone again and again. After seeing the same pattern over and over, wondering what I was doing wrong and why the same trials and tests kept being placed right in front of me, thinking I had already overcome this and learned what I needed to from it, the spirit taught me a lesson:

If your shoelace comes undone, 
not to worry. 
It gives you the opportunity 
to tie it tighter the next time.

My shoelace kept coming undone, meaning I kept finding myself in the same spot I had walked before, with undone shoelaces (facing my weaknesses). I was mad I was faced with the same weaknesses because they are ones I thought I had already overcome. I thought I had done every needful thing to help me overcome inadequacies and be who the Savior expected me to be, yet I kept finding that my shoelace had become unraveled again and again.

I believe Heavenly Father wanted me to see that I didn't tie the shoelace as carefully or as tight as I could have. I believe He wanted me to see room for growth so I could be made perfect even as He. I wish I knew why some lessons come back into our life over and over. While I don't have all the answers, I do know that each time we "tie our shoelaces", we are becoming better and better at it. Shoelaces usually come undone because they were tied either in an unbalanced or uneven manner. Sometimes we can tie one string really, really tight, but if we don't have balance, will it ever stay?

Practice makes perfect and every test, whether we feel we need it or not, is an opportunity to learn and grow and tie the shoelace tighter the next time. It's not about if the shoelace came undone, it's about what you are going to do to tie it tighter and more efficiently once it does. It's allowing the Savior to be apart of your shoe tying experience, after all, he is the only one that has once walked in your shoes.

There is always room for improvement, there is always room for growth! Don't think that just because you've tied your shoelaces tight that it's permanent. They are bound to become loose over time. It's not about the shoelace becoming untied, it's about noticing it has become undone and tying the shoelace before actually tripping over the laces which is always avoidable as you allow Christ become a bigger part of your life, a balanced part of your life forever.