Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Gavin's Groupies

Jennifer Stevens is my first Positive Person that I'm featuring.

I was so moved by her story and the wonderful things she is doing.

I went to school with Jennifer from Jr. High to High school.  She was one of those girls that I admired from a distance. We weren't really close friends but we exchanged our hellos in the hallways. I remember her mom too. Her mom was always around and I believe she is a big part in her daughter's ability to reach out and touch you.

About a year ago we became friends on Facebook and one thing we had in common was that we became mommies again.  Her son Gavin is about 3 months older than my Maddy.

You know that connection you make with your baby when they are first handed to you?  Well, Jennifer knew there was something wrong the first time she met her precious Gavin. First of all she is very intuitive (which is a gift) and second of all she has that natural motherly instinct.

No one heard what she was saying when she said there was something wrong. She just knew it!  She would share her concerns with the doctors on each baby wellness checkup but they did the normal tests and found nothing.  Can you imagine how she felt? Doubting herself? Thinking she was going crazy?

Approximately 4 months after Gavin was born her world was turned upside down.  These are her words from her blog, Gavin's Groupies:

"Our world as we knew it, was drastically changed the beginning of February, 2009. We learned our 4 month old son, Gavin, has a retina disease that is robbing his sight. He has little to no vision, and has Leber's Congenital Amaurosis (LCA)."

Did she just sit around and complain? Did she say "why us"?  Maybe, maybe not.  I know for me, I would have.  Even if she did, she picked herself up and did something!

She turned tragic news into a positive thing.  She started Gavin's Groupies.  She educated herself.  She's learning Braille and teaching both her sons braille.  She's causing a movement to raise funds for a cure.

Her family is having a Dinner in the Dark as a "Thank You" to those who donate $20 to VisionWalk (click on VisionWalk to go directly to site.  Only $20!

My hope and prayer is that we can 1st, appreciate our sight and take in all the beauty that God created for us and 2nd, that we can help educate all on blindness.

Please share this post and pass it on.


Tuesday, March 30, 2010

A talk: What have I done for someone today?

I enjoy the Sundays in Relief Society when Julie Gleason teaches. I can feel her heart in every lesson. The lesson she taught came from an Ensign article from November 2009 by Thomas S. Monson.

What have I done for someone today? I have to say that I am guilty of not doing anything for someone today, well, that I think is important. I won't say what I did today for someone because I believe my reward should be in heaven but I can honestly say it felt good.

When we lose ourselves in service to others, that is when we are the happiest, full of joy. 

When I start to feel miserable I have to ask myself this question: What have I done for someone today?

I can say that from the smallest thing as a smile (which is actually huge) to helping a sick neighbor, doing things like this daily brings joy and happiness.  You forget about yourself and all your troubles during the time of service. 

I close with this quote:

Albert Schweitzer, the noted theologian and missionary physician, declared: 'I don't know what your destiny will be, but one thing I know: the only ones among you who will be really happy are those who have sought and found how to serve.'

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Did You Fix Your Bed This Morning?

Do you fix your bed every morning?

I found that when you fix your bed right after you get out of bed it starts your day off right.  I actually read that somewhere (sorry, can't remember where).  I used to get up and just go about my day but ever since I started fixing my bed right after I get up (my husband fixes it mostly) I have a smoother day (the rule in our house is last one out of bed fixes it - so yes, I hardly ever fix our bed!) :)  If you don't do this every morning try it, you'll notice a difference.

Are you drinking your daily dose of water?

I usually drink a bottle of water every morning before I eat breakfast.  When I'm getting ready to take Mark to school, which is around 7am, I fill up a water bottle and make sure I drink it all before I start getting ready (which is when I come back from dropping off Mark).  There was a study done that people who drink water at least an hour before breakfast lose weight easier.  That's what motivated me to start doing this.
As the day goes on you should continue to drink your water.  Some days I feel just awful and I think "oh, I'm not drinking enough water" and it's true, the days I drink my water I feel great.  I don't even take any vitamins or drink any type of "juices" and I get through my day fine. (That's not saying we shouldn't take our supplements, I know I need to).

What form of exercise do you do?

My husband will be the first to tell you that I am lazy.  I do not like to exercise or do much of anything (not saying I don't).  I recognize that this is not good so I started slow.  My form of exercise for now is walking.  I started slow and I'm walking for about 30 minutes every Tuesday and Thursday.  I make sure to do this in the morning so that later on I don't have any excuses not to.  Us moms and dads, have plenty to do during the day and won't have time to do our exercises.  I heard it's better to exercise in the morning anyhow.  It's great to walk and just listen to the birds and the breeze go through the trees.  I also take some time during my walk to say my positive affirmations.

What do you snack on during the day?

I try (the keyword is try) to snack on fruits during the day when I get hungry.  They help curb my appetite, I noticed.  When I eat junk food for snacks they weigh me down and then I get a little lazy.  Plus Maddy sees what I'm eating and wants to eat whatever I'm eating.  Thank goodness she loves fruits and veggies.  Her favorites are strawberries, bananas and pears.  I also love to munch on sunflower seeds which are not bad for you at all.

These are just some ways that I noticed can affect the way my days go.  If I do these things I have positive days. 

I would love to know what you do to start of your day positive! Please share!



Saturday, March 13, 2010

Out With the Negative

Do you ever feel weighed down?  Lately I've been feeling like that.

If you walk into my house you can say it's fairly clean (aside from Maddy's toys everywhere which get cleaned up when she's done- well, for the most part) but I mean when her toys are put away my house is fairly decent.

I have to give my husband 5 stars because when we first met he was (I think he still might be) OCD but now he's a little more understanding with kids and all.  Back then I couldn't leave anything anywhere that it didn't belong. The house was always immaculate.

My house is not immaculate anymore.  If you have kids you can understand, especially with elementary age kids, because they bring home so many papers every single day! Sheesh.  Maddy drags things around the house. We find dishes in the bathroom, the remote control in the kitchen, and more things every day where they don't belong. It's not that I don't watch my kid either.  I can be doing the dishes with my back turned and she's quick to put things where they don't belong. Haha!

So recently I've been feeling so....I don't know how to explain it...weighed down!  I look around the house and see clutter.  Unnecessary clutter.  Some clutter that just doesn't make me feel good.  De-cluttering is a constant thing you have to do. 

About 2 years ago I read this book called "Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui" by Karen Kingston.  It was an eye opener!

So I am going to share one chapter that pertains to this post.  I hope you can find it useful.

She talks about Feng Shui and symbology and two ways that symbology of the things in your home can affect you.   The first thing is your personal association with an item and the second has to do with the frequency you are receiving from that object.

A while back I still had the wedding pictures from my first marriage.  Every time I ran across them in the closet I would get sick to my stomach.  I realized the feeling it was giving me and eventually threw them away.  This is an example of what she speaks of. 

What objects do you have laying around in your home that prevent that positivity you need in your life?  What objects do you see everyday that make you sick when you look at them? 

Today I started my 15 day DDR challenge.  What's DDR?  Haha, I made that one up...declutter (straight to the dumpster with some things), donate and recycle.  I will see what needs to be dumped, what can be donated and what I can recycle (make something new with).

I started in my kitchen today because that's where I spend a lot of my time. It feels like I'm making food all day.

If you'd like to join me in this challenge I'd like to hear how it goes for you.  Let's bring that positivity into our homes! ;)


Monday, March 8, 2010

Have Faith

About 2 1/2 years ago (summer of 2007), wow, that went by fast, I was pregnant...or so I thought.

First-a little information before I get started.  Jason, my husband, was diagnosed with testicular cancer when he was 21.  He almost died.  He was brushed off by doctors saying it was nothing. It took months before one doctor said it was testicular cancer.  It also took a few months to get him in for the surgery, thanks to HMO.  Regardless, he survived.  After the surgery he was left with one testical and told he would most likely not be able to have children.

Fast forward to 2001.  We were married in June and five months later were pregnant (to our surprise) with Saryah, our first daughter.  What a miracle!

I found out I was pregnant on the day that he did his sperm count (after the grueling process of course).  I still laugh about it.  We were going to start planning and the doctor needed to find out his sperm count to let us know if it was going to be possible and what we can do to get pregnant.

Everything went well with the pregnancy and we had a healthy 9lb 4 oz girl on August 10, 2002.

A few years later we started getting the baby itch and this time we were trying.  Nothing happened until 2007.

We were in the middle of moving and I found out I was pregnant.  I had all the symptoms (the nausea, the weight gain).

Three months into the pregnancy I finally went to the doctor.  The first thing they did was an ultrasound but they found nothing.  Actually there was a sac but no baby.  I was devastated.  They did some blood work to find out what was going on and came back with the explanation that I had a blighted ovum.

A few days later at home I miscarried the sac.  I bled for hours.  I was so heart broken.  It took me months to get over it.  I kept asking "why" and asked Heavenly Father for understanding.  He helped me realize that I had to appreciate the 3 children I was already blessed with.

The following February I came across Isagenix through a couple I had made friends with through MySpace (of all places) tehe.  I ordered my 30 day cleanse.  (You can go to Crystal's blog by clicking on the word Isagenix.)

At the same time of my cleanse I decided to let go and have faith.  I started researching adoption and foster parenting.  It was refreshing to let go and let God.

2 months later I was pregnant with Jason's second miracle.  Madelyn Rae was born January 28, 2009.

She brings so much joy in this hectic and stressful time in our lives while we struggle financially.

Have Faith!  Never give up!  Let go and Let God!


Saturday, March 6, 2010

Remind Them of Their Beauty

Children are so wonderful!  I love them!  With each new baby I would think "You just came from Heaven".  They are the closest things to heaven.

As time goes on and they are exposed to the world, they start preschool, then elementary school and so on, they are told negative things throughout their little lives.  It's our jobs as parents to keep nurturing the beautiful flower that they are.

When I was growing up I was told that I was ugly, I had big ears and a big nose.  My step-mom would always compare me to others and tell me "why can't you be like ______".  After a while I believed what she told me and it took me a long time to "unbelieve" everything she told me.

Since I have become a mom, I make sure to tell my kids they are beautiful the way they are.  I remind them of the special gifts God has given them.  I let them know of not only their outer beauty but inner beauty as well.
We are all God's children and He created us all to be beautiful and to share our gifts and talents with one another.  It is our duty to remind our children of this.  To lift them up when they are down because of a nasty comment made to them at school that is not true.

Remind them of their beauty...

Below is a picture of a flower I drew for my friend Amy Snell's daughter Mackenzie.  This flower describes Mackenzie to a T! :)


Love What You Got

Have you ever felt like an ugly duckling?  Have you ever wanted what someone else has?  Have you ever looked in the mirror and didn't like what you saw?

I will answer "yes" to all of the above.  If you have answered "no" then I applaud you! That is awesome!
The truth is most people will answer "yes".

When I was growing up I was told that I was ugly, my ears were too big, my nose was too big, why couldn't I be like so and so...and this was from a family member!

After a while you believe what you are told and I believed it!  I disliked myself and I had very low self-esteem.  In high school I felt (and this is my belief at the time) that I didn't ever fit in.  I didn't have the "cool" clothes, the clothes that were "trendy".  I felt ugly compared to a lot of other girls.  I wasn't liked by the boys.  I had a lot of boy "friends" but not boyfriends.  I was the "you get what you see" type of girl.  After a while I didn't care what people thought.  Yeah right!  Of course I cared!  After high school I found out that I was "liked" by boys who so bravely told me years later. haha.  Oh well.

Now that I have kids I tell them that they are beautiful the way they are and to LOVE WHAT THEY GOT!
How boring would this world be if we all were Halle Berrys or Orland Blooms (who are gorgeous by the way) but that's my opinion.  Some people might disagree.  I believe that everyone is beautiful in their way. I truly do.  I also try to see the good in everyone.  My son, Mark, reminds me of that all the time.

It wasn't until I attended a training with MITT about 5 years ago that I realized I am beautiful.  My ears and nose were a part of who I am and what I got.

My point is to Love What You Got and you will be a happier person!  You matter and you mean everything to someone. Love yourself as you are.  Don't try to be something or someone you aren't.

Look in the mirror and tell yourself you Love What You Got and appreciate who you are.  God created you!  How do you think He feels when you say you hate "this and that" about yourself or you hate yourself all together.

You ARE beautiful!  Believe me, once you accept What You Got you will have peace within and your true beauty will shine through and everyone will notice.

I am leaving you with this video.


Forgive and Be Forgiven

Do you sometimes feel a weight on your shoulders but can't figure out why it's there?
There are 2 aspects of forgiveness I would like to cover.

Story 1:
When I was a young girl, between the ages of, well I can't remember (maybe 2 1/2) and 8, I was molested.  In most cases, you love the person because you're a child and don't know any better because they are someone close to you.  You also feel that it's wrong and you feel ashamed and/or at fault.  It's confusing.
As I got older and this person was no longer in my life, I felt anger.  I realized that what this person did was wrong.

It wasn't until I forgave this person that I was free.
Is not forgiving someone holding you down?
I can answer that one, yes.
We can feel joy in our lives when we forgive.

Story 2:
We are human and we make mistakes all the time.  God knew that we would and that's why he sent Jesus to atone for us.  Sometimes we sin because we are weak, we don't want to say no.  Sometimes we sin out of ignorance.  Sometimes we sin willfully.

And then we feel terrible.  It starts to weigh us down because we know what we did was wrong.  We become hard on ourselves and dwell on our mistake day in and day out.  This causes us to hit a wall in our lives.  We don't realize how much it effects us and prevents us from moving forward.
Until we ask for forgiveness, the above continues.

I was beating myself up over a sin I had willingly took part in (even though it was years ago).  I didn't realize that this sin was weighing me down so much.  I had to talk to someone.  So I went to my Bishop and told him what I was feeling.  He offered me advice, 1) instead of taking the sacrament every week I was to think about my sin 2)I was to read a book called "The Miracle of Forgiveness" and 3) talk with my Heavenly Father and ask for forgiveness.  I mean true, deep forgiveness.

A week went by and what happened next was "the miracle of forgiveness".  I was sitting in sacrament in the 2nd or 3rd row.  We had someone from the stake visiting and sitting with the bishopric that day.  The topic for the day was on "Temples" and the wonderful work that is done in the temple.  I have a huge testimony of temples.  I had never met this man, nor did I know of him.  He asked my bishop (as he pointed to me) if I would come up and bare my testimony of the Temple.  My bishop told him no, that I was going through a repenting and he didn't think it was a good idea.  The gentleman was upset.

A couple days later I was following up with my bishop.  He informed me what happened that Sunday and asked me how I was doing.  I told him the book was incredible and how it made me realize how much Jesus had done for me.  I wept as I read the book and I was starting to forgive myself.  He told me the gentleman from the stake wanted to talk to him that night about me and that he would follow up with me.
A couple of days later he told me that the gentleman was bothered by my bishop's response to not allowing me to bare my testimony because the spirit had moved him so much to ask me to do it and he didn't know why.  He found out my story of the Temple later on and understood why.  The gentleman then told my bishop that the spirit had wanted him to tell my bishop to tell me "it is done".  I was forgiven!  Those three words lifted a huge burden off my shoulders and I felt joy that I had missed for so long.

Forgiveness is something that has to be done constantly.  It renews our spirits.

If we will forgive and ask to be forgiven then we will live a life full of joy and happiness and be positive at the same time.


I See An Angel!

I was reminded of a very important lesson today from my 7 year old, Saryah. As we were in line at Wal-Mart, she glanced over at the bags and said, "Mom, Dad, an angel! Do you see it?" I was amazed at how her little eyes spotted this angel from a distance.

To most or everyone walking by it was just a grocery bag hanging on the bag thinga majiggy, but to my little girl, it was an angel!

My daughter tends to do that a lot. She'll see things others don't in everyday objects. Sometimes if we don't see it right away like she does, she gets frustrated with us.

If you ever read the book by Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, there is a section in there that talks about this. Paradigms.

Covey states, “Our paradigms, correct or incorrect, are the sources of our attitudes and behaviors, and ultimately our relationships with others.”

He goes on to tell a personal story to illustrate this. I cried as I read this, thinking "How many times, have I done this?" His story below:
I remember a mini-paradigm shift I experienced one Sunday morning on a subway in New York. People were sitting quietly – some reading newspapers, some lost in thought, some resting with their eyes closed. It was a calm, peaceful scene.

Then suddenly, a man and his children entered the subway car. The children were so loud and rambunctious that instantly the whole climate changed. The man sat down next to me and closed his eyes, apparently oblivious to the situation. The children were yelling back and forth, throwing things, even grabbing people’s papers. It was very disturbing. And yet, the man sitting next to me did nothing.

It was difficult not to feel irritated. I could not believe that he could be so insensitive as to let his children run wild like that and do nothing about it, taking no responsibility at all. It was easy to see that everyone else on the subway felt irritated, too. So finally, with what I felt was unusual patience and restraint, I turned to him and said, “Sir, your children are really disturbing a lot of people. I wonder if you couldn’t control them a little more?”

The man lifted his gaze as if to come to a consciousness of the situation for the first time and said softly, “Oh, you’re right. I guess I should do something about it. We just came from the hospital where their mother died about an hour ago. I don’t know what to think, and I guess they don’t know how to handle it either.”

Can you imagine what I felt at that moment? My paradigm shifted. Suddenly I saw things differently, and because I saw differently, I thought differently, I felt differently, I behaved differently. My irritation vanished. I didn’t have to worry about controlling my attitude or my behavior; my heart was filled with the man’s pain. Feelings of sympathy and compassion flowed freely. “Your wife just died? Oh, I’m so sorry! Can you tell me about it? What can I do to help?” Everything changed in an instant.
I hope that I can continue to see things through my daughter's eyes.


Never Give Up

"When you get into a tight place and everything goes against you, till it seems as though you could not hang on a minute longer, never give up then, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn"~Harriet Beecher Stowe

The other morning I literally woke up saying "never give up" & "perseverance" over and over again.
I didn't know what to think of it at the time.  Throughout that day those two words were stuck in my head.
I spent a little time sitting on the couch thinking about my whole life up until now.

I thought about my birth to a young 16 year old girl, who became a mother on November 16, 1974 and how she brought me to America at the age of 2 1/2.

I thought about a time when my mom and I were hiding behind a dumpster in Los Angeles, hiding from her abusive boyfriend.

I thought about the time my mom left me with my Aunt and Uncle, and I wouldn't see her again for about a year.

There were many times after the time that I moved to Texas, to reunite with my mom at age 5, that I felt like giving up.

The time my mom died when I was 8.  I remember it so clearly. I saw her dying.  I wanted to give up.
I flashed forward to 4  years ago when my husband was injured at work and we had to sell our home that we built. We had to sell a lot of things that we "thought" were important.  Since then, we have struggled financially and I have felt like giving up more than I can count.

It felt like every time we took a step forward we took 2 or 3 steps back.
The only thing I had to do to pull out of my "give up" mode was think of my family, my children.  I can't imagine not being here for them in this beautiful yet crazy world.

We still struggle financially but I see the bigger picture.

What keeps me going?  Why haven't I given up?

It's not about money.  It's all about family.

2010 signifies perseverance for me.


I hope that you will NEVER GIVE UP!



Everywhere you read about the pursuit to being happy you'll find this word:

Gratitude: the quality or feeling of being grateful or thankful.

Every night, a dear friend, Lisa May, asks the question on her Facebook, "What are you grateful for that happened in your life today?"

What are you grateful for?

A lot has happened in the past 5 years where we have struggled financially because of an unforseen injury that happened to my husband.  I won't go into detail but having gratitude for the positive things in our lives has carried me through it all.

You may not believe me, but everyday I thank my Heavenly Father for just about everything.  I literally thank him for my shower, the warm water, my loofah, shampoo & conditioner, body-wash, my towel and I genuinely am grateful for those everyday things I used to take for granted.

When I brush my teeth, I thank Him for my toothbrush, my beautiful teeth, my smile...when I blow-dry my hair, I thank Him for giving me straight manageable hair...when I put on my moisturizer I thank Him for clear skin.   This is not to be vain, it's to appreciate who I am and who He made me to be.  I go on to thank Him for my car, my home, my children....everything, my life!

You get the picture.  I try to do this daily and I tell you what, I have happier, gratifying days when I do this.  It's the little things in life we take for granted that make us happy when we realize how blessed we are.
Look at the devastation in Haiti.  They are predicting the death toll to be as high as 500,000!  Oh my goodness!  I'm grateful to be alive.  I am grateful to live in a country where everything is available to us!  God bless those people who were already struggling to begin with!

Wake up!  We are all blessed!  We are all so blessed.  I'm grateful for my struggles, for without them, I wouldn't be as strong as I am today.

True happiness comes when you recognize your blessings and give gratitude to the One who gives them to you daily.

So, as Lisa says "What are you grateful for that happened in your life today"?


Positive Affirmations

Did you make any "New Years Resolutions" this year?

I didn't make any "New Years Resolutions".  I never do.

Not because I don't have any goals but because I don't want to disappoint myself by saying I'm going to do something and then only do it for a couple of weeks.

Instead, I've decided this year, that every new day will be a "new day resolution".  I will live day by day...and that first day of January I decided that I would finally read twice daily my positive affirmations....and every day thereafter.

For years I was told to read my positive affirmations at least twice daily by men and women who were very successful and now, years later, a couple of them are millionaires!  I first encountered this "affirmations" concept at WFG - World Financial Group.  I hope he doesn't mind me naming him, but I remember Dan Charlier, a tall, handsome Hatian man, saying that he has his positive affirmations posted on his mirror in his bathroom and every morning as he would start his day, there they were staring him in the face and he had no choice but to read them.

If you were like me years ago, I didn't understand what they meant by "read your positive affirmations twice daily".

Affirmation described in the dictionary is something declared to be true; a positive statement or judgement.
So I did it...I wrote down what I declared to be true, what I am to be.  I have not posted them on my mirror yet but I do read them.  It is a habit you need to create and I am still trying to remember to read them twice daily but I will say this, when I remember while I'm doing dishes, I say them right then and there without reading them because I know what it is I declare to be.

Now, it's not enough to just write down your affirmations and read them.  You have to mean what you say. You have to declare as you read!

Below are some examples of my positive affirmations:
I am positive, I am loving, I am happy, I am blessed, I am creative, I am beautiful, I am a loving mom, I am forgiving...

These are just examples.  Everyone has different goals in life so you write your affirmations to pertain to your goals and your affirmations will change as life goes on.

You may want to be a great leader, or an awesome writer, or a respected teacher.  It's up to you but I encourage everyone to write down their affirmations and read them daily.  I know for me they help me "be" the person I strive to be daily and I have a more positive day when I do read them.

If you already have your positive affirmations written down and read them, we would love to hear about the impact it makes in your life.  Thank you


This girl is the perfect example of how we should be...too cute. Click here

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