Monday, December 31, 2012


Have you ever reached that situation where you don't know how you survived up to that point, and you don't know how you can go on, you don't know how much you have left to give and you're just......tired? And you just want to have control over one thing in your life for once, even if it's just for a few minutes? And you just want to be able to see what's in your future because you're so exhausted from stumbling blindly for so long in the darkness until the light somehow miraculously shows up at the end of the tunnel? I just want to be sure of things. Just once.

I feel like I have given my all this year. I have trusted God when I was scared and sick and tired and alone; I have trusted Him when I couldn't see the end result, trusting that He would catch me at the bottom. I have sacrificed so much. I feel like I have nothing left to give anymore. I don't know how He's going to get me out of this situation; it's looking pretty bleak and scary at this point. I never ask this, but I could use your prayers.  Please. Pray for me to trust God like all the times before; pray for me to have courage, to have the strength to do what I must do. Pray for me to be able to accomplish what He has told me that I must do. Pray for me to align my will with His, no matter what happens. Pray for me to find the joy in this bleak situation.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Changed for the Better: Fall 2012 College Graduation

With my college commencement just mere days away a lot has been going through my mind. Looking back on this journey called Brigham Young University-Idaho, I am in awe to see how much I’ve grown and to see how far I’ve come. Starting here four and a half years ago, I was a bright-eyed, bushy-tailed, terrified 18 year old daughter of God who was so incredibly insecure of herself that it was a miracle she could walk into a room without passing out. This scared young woman ironically knew that she wanted to be a performer and she also knew that she would do whatever it took to get there; even if that meant she wouldn’t get married and have a family. I left for college with the mindset that I would prove everyone wrong; that I would soon be on top of the performance world and laugh at everyone who said “you can’t” from on high.

But, I was a great actress, so I hid it all and acted like nothing fazed me when it actually very much did. That year I also made some incredible, wonderful life-long friends that I very much hope to be in touch with for the rest of my life and beyond. Casey and Rebecca Buttle are my rocks; they are my family and I am so grateful for them. They have been there for me through thick and thin and have encouraged me to keep going when I wanted to quit. I owe a lot to them, more things than I can say on this blog, but I love them and I am so thankful that Heavenly Father saw fit to put them into my life. They have changed me for the better.

The end of this week my friends, will bring to a close one journey and start the beginning of another. After meeting new friends while saying goodbye and good luck to old ones, through the ups and downs of relationships and losing my first love, after going through the agonizing decision of changing my major and trading my current dreams for new ones, after the craziness of my home life, late nights studying in the snow building, after being diagnosed with severe food intolerances, crippling, chronic migraines and other health problems, through gigantic spiritual, physical, mental and spiritual changes, after terrifying financial uncertainty…through all of that…I have made it. I did it. WE did it.

And now, four a half years later, through God’s divine love and intervention, I am a 22 year old, educated, beautiful, confident, driven and compassionate daughter of God. Through this journey called college, I have learned to see myself for who I truly am; I have learned what truly matters in life. I have come to embrace this imperfect body of mine for the masterpiece and work-in-progress that it is. I know what my purpose in life is and I also know what I have to do to obtain it and what I will have to do to keep it. God has blessed me so much; through my trials He has taught me lessons that I would not have been able to learn any other way and I am eternally grateful that He loves me enough to hurt me. I would not be the person I am today without His encouragement, guidance, reassurance and support. I would not be who I am today with my trials.

And to all of you who thought that I couldn’t; who thought that I would never get here and made a point of telling me so frequently, take a message back from me…… I’m defying gravity and you can’t bring me down.

So, to start my thank you’s to all of the wonderful, beautiful friends I have made and changed me for the better. Guys, this one’s for you-

To Trish and Russell Dickerson- You have changed me in ways that I cannot even begin to count. You have opened your hearts and your home to me no questions asked and taken care of me like I was family. I will never be able to say how much you both mean to me. I love you.

To Cassie Burton- We’ve been through a lot together, haven’t we? I want you to know that you are a strong, beautiful, and amazing daughter of God. Do not change for others; but instead, love yourself for who you are and do something that you want to do. You deserve that. We have been on SO many ridiculous adventures and outings and made one another feel awkward in ways that I will not even begin to describe here. (Ok, so maybe it was just YOU making ME feel awkward.) We’ve been each other’s support when we had no one else to turn to. Go out into this world my dearest heart and change it. Make them remember Cassandra Burton.

To Abbey Anderson- I have one question for you…do you hear the people sing? Oh geez, we won’t get into that. I could be here for hours. I am so grateful to have decided those TWO semesters out of my sophomore year to live at American Manor. Without that decision, I would not have met you. You have helped me and supported me through so much; you’ve nodded your head when I ranted about auditions and crazy English professors, held me when I cried over some idiot that broke my heart, let me crash at your apartment for a week at a time when I had less than desirable living conditions, eagerly discussed our mutual love for nerdy things and sampled my new, allergen free recipes. Love ya!

To the crazy, awesome, wonderful and downright insane friends and professors in the BYU-Idaho theatre department (there are WAY too many of you to mention by name)- Where do I even begin? All of you, every single one of you, have made my life richer. You've pushed me to be better and helped me to do so. You've helped me to hone my craft into something downright spectacular. It’s great to look back and see how much we've grown. I will never forget all of the wonderful things that we've done together and experienced with one another. I hope none of you ever change. Now go out there and make me proud! (Shout out to all my Quilters’ gals!)

To my sister, Heather and her husband, Jeremy- I don’t even know what to say. You have helped me grow so much. You have been my spiritual support through some of the hardest things that I’ve ever had to go through. You have been my sanctuary, my Mecca; the place I always go back to. Thank you for being who you are and being the incredible examples that you are to me. You’ve helped keep me on the right path, the path that God wanted me to be on and I will be eternally grateful to you both for doing that. I love you.

To my mother, Kelly- how do I even begin to thank you for all that you’ve done for me? I suppose you’ll just say that all that you’ve done is what any mother would do for her child, but you’re different. You’re special and wonderful and I’m glad that you’re mine. I have learned so much from you and I’m glad that you’ve been able to help me the way that you have. Thank you for all of the encouragement, telling me to keep going, telling me that I could do it; for the late night hospital visits and food and medicine runs, for all of the doctor visits and believing me when they wouldn’t; for looking out for my best interests and listening to me and being there for me when I just needed my mum. You are an incredible person. Thank you for who you are and what you do for me every day.

To my incredibly talented and awesome friends in the music department (again, there are just WAY too many of you to name)- Can I just say how awesome you are? I’ve loved our time together laughing and eating and concocting adventures that would make any sane person raise their eyebrows in concern. Thank you for all of the fun nights at concerts, late night sing-alongs to Enchanted and a special shout-out to my friends in collegiate; for embracing and including me as if I were still in choir and joining in on getting mad at a certain English professor. I hope to keep in contact with each and every one of you for many, many years to come and I expect to get free tickets to your professional concerts and copies of your CD’s before they’re commercially available.

To Desiree Ducharme- You have always been there for me and even though it’s been a few years since we’ve seen each other, I know that you always will be. I know that I can call you and talk to you for hours like we’ve never been apart. You probably are the only person on this planet who knows me better than I know myself. You’ve supported me so much and I love you for that. Thank you for just being there. I love you.

There are just too many people to mention that have been a part of my success at BYU-Idaho (Cody Dean, Megan Done, Ethan Bernard, Casey Pappas, Niki Ellis, Danielle Hart, Derek Clareidge, Tamara McLain, Jessica McCown, Allison Vest etc.) and I’m sad that I don’t have time to mention all of you. If I did mention all of you, there would be pages and pages of thank you’s that you or I would never be able to get through. So, here is one last song for us to share together that pretty much sums up how I feel about all of you. 

For Good- Wicked 

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

I'm NOT crazy, though sometimes, I feel like it...

I'm NOT crazy, though sometimes, more often lately, I feel like it. Most of the time I'm flying by the seat of my pants and going wherever the wind and God blow me. I've taken a step off of the edge of the cliff of life into the void, free-falling and hoping that He will catch me at the bottom. Now more than ever, I'm learning what it feels like to take two steps into the darkness before I can even begin to see the light of my future. Even though I KNOW that everything will work out, a large part of me is still terrified that it won't. I am involved in so many different things this semester, most of which have to do with me completing requirements so that I can graduate AND to top it all off, most of these things, in order for them to work out, depend on the continued success of all of the other things and if one tiny thing goes out of place, it'll all blow up and fall down like a nuclear disaster of dominoes and you'll have to cart me off to the loony-bin in a straight jacket. Can ya see why I'm a little stressed out and crazy? Yeah, I thought so.

I just want everyone to know that even though it may not seem like it most of the time, God and I DO have everything handled. It's mostly Him though. ;) In the next coming months, I AM going to take things slow and I am going to involve God every step of the way. I know you think it's your job to make sure I don't do anything stupid, to make sure I don't get myself hurt or heartbroken, to make sure that I don't pounce when I shouldn't, and to make sure that I don't get my hopes up or rush into anything, but you know what? A lot of that isn't your business. I'm not trying to be rude, I'm just stating the facts. I love you all (you know who you are and whom I am referring to), but please let me try and figure this out. I know you are just trying to protect me, but it's not your job. I'm a big girl and I talk to Heavenly Father on a near-constant-basis; 24/7. I am blessed enough to know and be sure of the solid and unique relationship I have with Him, so you don't need to worry as much as you do. I'm not going to go ahead with anything in life without His say-so and approval. SO...chill-ax already, will ya? We've got it covered. I'm going to take things one day and one solitary step at a time because that's what I can do and that's what I can handle. Please try to understand that and know that I trust God enough to let Him lead me to where I need to be and to where I need to go, even if I'm doing it without being able to see where He's taking me.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

As For Me and My House

This song has been a great source of inspiration for me lately. I know things are tough right now, but I also know that I will be eternally blessed for following God's plan and for following Him and trusting in Him even when I can't see where I'm going. He loves you. You are a Child of God! Remember that and remember that glory is your destiny.

Sunday, October 7, 2012


A lot has happened lately and a lot has been on my mind. So many things are happening and going on right now; I don't feel nearly old enough to be making all of the decisions I've been having to make. I don't feel like I'm nearly twenty-two and a half....I actually feel much, much older. If that makes any sense at all. You sometimes reach a point where you're just very, very weary and that also contributes largely to how old you feel. I've been through more than most people go through in three life times and it's starting to catch up to me, I suppose.

Within a few short months, I will be graduating college and going off to Utah to student teach and warp *cough* I mean, shape young minds in the ways and workings of theatre, my baby brother will be getting married early next year and I may or may not apply to graduate school in Oregon or Washington. There are also other things quickly emerging from the inky blue blackness of the ever approaching horizon that I am more than ready for and more than willing to accept and embrace. I am ready to accept with open arms this new and exciting and long-awaited for next chapter of my wonderful life here on this earth. I've learned much while going to school here in Rexburg.

I've learned the value of good friendships and that those treasured friendships will always be there for you, making Shirley Temples and tying knots in the leftover maraschino cherry stems, just to get you to crack a smile.

I've learned that it is always best to be prepared for any type of weather in Rexburg; for one minute it could be sunshiny and lovely, blowing your hair around in a most becoming way with the fallen leaves or it could quite more possibly, with the wind as a helper, blow you over, peel back your flesh from your face, freeze the insides of your nasal passages and make you feel as if you're reenacting the Martin and Willie Handcart Company trek as you struggle your way up the hill to the Hinckley building. Always wear a scarf.

I've learned the importance of pushing yourself to do things that you never would've imagined for yourself, for it opens up so many more doors to wonderful, beautiful, breathtaking, life-changing opportunities. Stretch yourself, push your limits, step outside of the confines of your little cardboard box and just let yourself fly. You may discover a deep love and appreciation for your new found loves and talents, but most importantly a oneness, a rightness and a deep love and appreciation for yourself. 

I have also, much to my dismay, learned what it means to fall in love and then to get your heart broken. There are some things that take a good deal of time to recover from, and some things, as much as you'd like them to leave, will probably always be there until one day, quite suddenly, they're only a distant and faded memory. There are reasons for which I have gone through this particular experience that I am eternally grateful for and I wouldn't trade what I've learned for anything, but sometimes I wish that I could just hold onto the feelings I felt and discovered and then be able to erase the memory of the man that gave them to me.

I have also, while going back and forth between home and Rexburg, what it means to really be in tune with the Holy Spirit and what it means to follow promptings the moment you receive them. I have learned the importance and eternal significance of the role of prayer in my life and what my life might be like without that beautiful blessing. I have also learned to recognize my answers to prayers and to lovingly and with faith, to accept them for what they are, and take them into my person. I have learned and I am still learning, what it really means to have faith and trust in God and to really and truly love Him as my Father. He knows me better than I know myself and ultimately, He knows what plans He has for my life and that they will all work out, one way or another, even if I don't see it that way. He has wonderful plans in store for me within the next few months and I will continue to do everything that is within my power to be worthy of those special plans and blessings, for more than anything else in this world, I need and want what He is going to bestow upon me and I can't wait.

So I guess what I have to say at the end of all of this ridiculous fluff is... don't give up. Keep going, keep trudging forward, one day and one step at a time. Your destiny awaits you, all you have to do is look up, reach out and grab it. It's coming.

"Do not let your fire go out, spark by irreplaceable spark, in the hopeless swamps of the approximate, the not quite, the not-yet, the not at all. Do not let the hero in your soul perish, in lonely frustration for the life you deserved, but have never been able to reach. Check your road and the nature of your battle. The world you deserved can be won. It exists, it is real, is possible, it is yours." -Ayn Rand

And don't let anyone tell you different; not even yourself.

Monday, September 3, 2012

A rant, if you please.

Ok ya'll, this is just a random rant and with that in mind, I want you to also keep the above post on your little check list as you read this.

When it comes to relationships, men need to keep in mind that with me, they're probably getting more than they bargained for. Because of how I have been treated in past relationships, because of my abusive childhood, I am...and I hate to say this...I am extremely high maintenance. I am very needy and I need constant reassurance about my significant other's affections for me. I get scared easily, I get incredibly insecure and when that happens, my mind goes into over drive and pretty soon I've concocted up a horrible scenario in which the boy in question is a veritable Cowboy Casanova and I've convinced myself that all of the lovely things he's said to me were all to get me to give out my kisses like pretzels. If a man has made it far enough into my life that I have started to give my trust to him, them he needs to step it up and do all that he can to keep it that way! I know that sounds terrible and demanding, but that's just the way that I am. My past has made me who I am today, but with that comes a few things that make relationships difficult. I have been used, abused and ripped up one side and down the other and made to feel smaller and more insignificant than any girl should ever have to feel. In my relationships, I need to feel like I matter and that I'm special and valuable and worthwhile. I need to be made to feel like the daughter of God that I am and I don't think that's too much to ask.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Thoughts on Loss

Loss. Whether we like it or not, loss is something that we all have to deal with in our lives, in one way or another, at some time or another. Loss of time, loss of love, loss of a family member, loss of a dream, it goes on and on and yet...we know deep down, despite the pain and anguish we feel, that loss is a necessary part of our lives. We know from learning the gospel and from experience that loss helps us to grow and become the children of God that Heavenly Father knows we can be. Loss gives us the opportunity to rise above the circumstances in which we find ourselves in order to better them.

Loss gives us the beautiful oppportunity of discovering who we truly are and what we truly want in this life, what we are willing and able to endure to get what we want or need and what we are willing to do to obtain it.

Over the past few months I have endured a loss that I never thought I would have to deal with and it has almost brought me to my breaking point. This particular loss has motivated me to look beyond myself and look at what really matters, what I really want and what I am truly capable of. This heartbreak I have experienced has, as a surprise to me, solidified in me the knowledge that I am a daughter of God and as such, that I deserve the best. But depsite the crippling anguish I have felt in this experience, I understand the reason behind it and I have come to be grateful for the experience. Still, knowing the reason behind a trial or a loss doesn't always make it easier to handle, does it?

-Henry B. Eyring, "Mountains to Climb", April 2012:

"...I have another encouragement to those who now wonder if their faith in Jesus Christ will be sufficient for them to endure well to the end. I was blessed to have known others of you who are listening now when you were younger, vibrant, gifted beyond most of those around you, yet you chose to do what the Savior would have done. Out of your abundance you found ways to help and care for those you might have ignored or looked down upon from your place in life.

When hard trials come, the faith to endure them well will be there, built as you may now notice but may have not at the time that you acted on the pure love of Christ, serving and forgiving others as the Savior would have done. You built a foundation of faith from loving as the Savior loved and serving for Him. Your faith in Him led to acts of charity that will bring you hope.

It is never too late to strengthen the foundation of faith. There is always time. With faith in the Savior, you can repent and plead for forgiveness. There is someone you can forgive. There is someone you can thank. There is someone you can serve and lift. You can do it wherever you are and however alone and deserted you may feel.

I cannot promise an end to your adversity in this life. I cannot assure you that your trials will seem to you to be only for a moment. One of the characteristics of trials in life is that they seem to make clocks slow down and then appear almost to stop.

There are reasons for that. Knowing those reasons may not give much comfort, but it can give you a feeling of patience. Those reasons come from this one fact: in Their perfect love for you, Heavenly Father and the Savior want you fitted to be with Them to live in families forever. Only those washed perfectly clean through the Atonement of Jesus Christ can be there......

If we have faith in Jesus Christ, the hardest as well as the easiest times in life can be a blessing. In all conditions, we can choose the right with the guidance of the Spirit. We have the gospel of Jesus Christ to shape and guide our lives if we choose it. And with prophets revealing to us our place in the plan of salvation, we can live with perfect hope and a feeling of peace. We never need to feel that we are alone or unloved in the Lord’s service because we never are. We can feel the love of God. The Savior has promised angels on our left and our right to bear us up.10 And He always keeps His word.

I testify that God the Father lives and that His Beloved Son is our Redeemer. The Holy Ghost has confirmed truth in this conference and will again as you seek it, as you listen, and as you later study the messages of the Lord’s authorized servants, who are here. President Thomas S. Monson is the Lord’s prophet to the entire world. The Lord watches over you. God the Father lives. His Beloved Son, Jesus Christ, is our Redeemer. His love is unfailing. I so testify in the name of Jesus Christ, amen."

Thursday, July 12, 2012

"How we are taught"

This is something that I feel compelled to write about; something I feel like I need to explain in detail. I often say that we are Children of God and with that title, we are unique wholly to ourselves. There is no one else on the earth like us. There are special talents and purposes that only we have, that only we can fulfill. So with that in mind, have you noticed that God teaches everyone differently? Just because He teaches you one way, doesn't mean that He teaches everyone that way.

Heavenly Father, being the great being that He is, tailors our earthly education to us.
I have learned over the past few months that I learn a lot differently than most people and that because of this, Heavenly Father adjusts accordingly and is able to teach me in a way that I can understand. The way He teaches me is different from how He teaches my mother, my sisters, my brother, my nieces, my nephew, my Heavenly Father teaches us is different and specific to each person. The way He teaches me probably wouldn't make sense to most people.

That being said, we need to remember that Heavenly Father teaches each of us differently because of our individuality and we need to respect that. We should never disregard or scoff at someone's personal, spiritual experiences, trials or answers to prayers just because they don't make sense to us. And why would they make sense to us? You are not this other person; you are not inside their head, so you shouldn't presume to think that the way you learn is the right way and that the ways that everyone else learns are invalid. To think that God teaches everyone the same is being belligerent and ignorant. We are different for a purpose and God shows us that through how He teaches us and how we learn from those lessons/experiences.

That is the beauty of this life. That we are able to express our individuality, our divine nature in such a way that we are able to show to the world that we are Children of God. We are unique, we are special and God loves and teaches us individually. If we were all the same, His purpose and plan for us would not be able to set in motion. So, don't worry if it seems like your answers to prayers come in a different way than someone else's, that your spiritual experiences are different from everyone else's, or that your trials seem vastly blown out of proportion in relation to everybody's supposed to be that way.

So just remember, everyone learns differently and Heavenly Father teaches everyone differently, and how you need to be taught and how you learn is valid and true and right and important.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

"Obtaining Your Happily Ever After"

This is a talk I wrote for one of my religion classes and it's something that I think every young woman needs to hear.

“Obtaining Your Happily Ever After”
            When many young women hear the phrase “And they lived happily ever after”, a few different things come to mind; riding off into the sunset with a dashing and valiant prince on a noble steed, a wedding dress that rivals Princess Diana’s, glass slippers and an eternity of bliss after marriage that will put Westley and Buttercup to shame. While many of these things can be true in a young woman’s “happily ever after”, it is not all that Heavenly Father wants or has in store for us in this important time of our lives. These dreams are not the only components that make up a “happily ever after”. In order to truly have a “happily ever after” you must not only learn to love and accept yourself as a daughter of God, never settle,  keep the commandments, follow promptings, be patient and find joy in the journey, but a “happily ever after” is something that you must work at, treasure and cultivate forever.
            In Proverbs 31:10 it states, “Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.” One of the most important things a young woman can do that will benefit her life and her happily ever after, is being able to see herself for the child of God that she is. This is essential because how will she be able to succeed in and enjoy life if she doesn’t believe that she can or is capable of doing so? And ultimately, how will she be able to love someone else enough to marry them if she does not learn to love herself first?
            In Elder Uchtdorf’s talk “Your Happily Ever After” to the young women of the church in the April 2010 General Conference he stated, “Everywhere you look today, you will find promises of happiness. Ads in magazines promise total bliss if you will only buy a certain outfit, shampoo, or makeup. Certain media productions glamorize those who embrace evil or who give in to base instincts. Often these same people are portrayed as models of success and accomplishment… Sisters, they suppose wrong.”
            Each young woman, each young man…each child of God is unique and has an array of talents and qualities that are specific to them. Each of you has a divine purpose that you were meant to fulfill; that only you can do. Beauty, talent and self-worth come in all shapes, sizes and physical and spiritual gifts. Each of you is special in your own way and if you can believe that and begin to see that in yourself, and see yourself as God sees you, your “happily ever after” will be well within reach. “But the Lord said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.” (1st Samuel 16:7) Once these things are realized in your life you will know and value what you deserve and you will settle for nothing less. You will strive to be the person that God knows you to be.
            During our trials as we work towards our happily ever after and during our happily ever after, it is important to remember who we are and what we stand for; to keep the commandments and follow promptings. We must never forget to follow Heavenly Father’s plan for us, even if we don’t understand why He’s asking us to do something. Heavenly Father gives us trials and difficult circumstances in order to give us the opportunity to strengthen our faith in Him and to draw closer to Him and to Christ. During these difficult and trying times He gives us the choice to trust in Him, even though we can’t see the end result or the reason, or He gives us the choice to strike out on our own and to learn our lesson in a different way. Either way Heavenly Father makes sure that we have a choice and He makes sure, that regardless of our decision on how to proceed down our projected path, that we are taken care of and that we learn the lesson we were meant to learn.
            Heavenly Father believes in you. He sees potential in you that you cannot yet see in yourself and He knows what you can handle, what you can’t and when you’ll reach out for help to endure. The trials and experiences He has been giving you are helping you to find that potential and become that person that He knows you can be. Know that the plan that Heavenly Father has for you is so much bigger and so much more brilliant, bright and beautiful than the plan you have for yourself. He loves you SO much and if you just ask, He will help you. In your times of trial and suffering, be thankful that He loves you enough to “hurt” you. He is just waiting for you to humble yourself and ask for His help so that He can bless you with more blessings than you ever imagined.
            In the 2008 October General Conference talk “Come What May and Love It” Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin said, “How can we love days that are filled with sorrow? We can’t—at least not in the moment…But I do believe that the way we react to adversity can be a major factor in how happy and successful we can be in life. If we approach adversities wisely, our hardest times can be times of greatest growth, which in turn can lead toward times of greatest happiness.” (Emphasis Added).
            Even though it is difficult, and often times unbearable, it is important to remember that all of our trials have a purpose; there is a reason behind each and every single one we go through. As we work to remember this fact, we must also work to remember that we must seek out Heavenly Father’s guidance, for He always has our best interests at heart and just like our trials, there is a reason behind everything He asks us to do. Elder Uchtdorf stated, “I understand that, at times, some may wonder why they attend Church meetings or why it is so important to read the scriptures regularly or pray to our Heavenly Father daily. Here is my answer: You do these things because they are part of God’s path for you. And that path will take you to your ‘happily ever after’ destination.”
            In the words of Heavenly Father to Joseph Smith in the Liberty Jail, “7 My son, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment; 8 And then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high; thou shalt triumph over all thy foes.”
            My own personal story with the principle and idea of finding my “happily ever after”, has been a heart-wrenchingly painful and difficult journey. As a young child, my father instilled in me the idea, through his words and actions, that I was worthless and of no consequence. He taught me that no one’s feelings, not even my own or my mother’s, mattered but his. Through his abusive nature towards me and my family and his adulterous behavior, I began to believe that I could trust no man; that all men were like this. By the time my parents divorced in May 2005, I firmly believed everything that he said to me was true. Having this difficult childhood would prove more of a problem than I ever could have imagined as I entered my first semester of college in the Winter of 2009. In my first serious relationship as a young adult, I discovered that I had a lot to learn and a lot that I needed help to fix. And at the end of my sophomore year of college I made the decision to seek help from a certified counselor.
            Through working with my counselor, I finally began to see myself as God and others saw me; I finally saw myself as the princess that I am. I gained confidence and hope in the future to come and my whole outlook on life and relationships changed. Still, through the next couple of years, I discovered that my journey and road to self-discovery and my happily ever after was far from over. The next few years, up until now (in my senior year of college), I experienced a few more relationships and heartbreak, learning something new, essential and important to my eternal progress. I also discovered that even though I had grown to love myself for the daughter of God I was, I still believed that because of the abuse I had experienced as a child had damaged something inside of me. I believed that something crucial inside of me was broken and that no matter how much I gave this burden up to God and to Christ, that it couldn’t be fixed, and that even though I wanted it more than anything, an eternal love and marriage was not in the cards for me. And I had begun to accept that, until I met someone that changed everything. This particular individual helped me to see what everyone said I was missing out on in a relationship; he made me realize that I was more than capable of loving someone enough to want to marry them for eternity. But, for reasons I didn’t understand until very recently, this friendship ended, cruelly and abruptly.
            At first I was angry and terribly heartbroken and just plain defeated. I wondered why things had to be this way and why, if this was a lesson that needed to be learned, why did I need to learn it this way?  And then I realized something. Before I could continue on my path to my “Happily Ever After”, Heavenly Father needed my outlook on marriage and relationships change; He needed me to learn that not only was I capable of loving someone enough to want to marry them for eternity, but that I was not broken and that my dreams could become reality. This lesson that I needed to learn was something that I could not have learned any other way than to be able to experience it firsthand. It would not have worked any other way.
            Heavenly Father has taken away my pain, sorrow and heartbreak over the loss of an eternal love because I asked Him to; because I realized that I couldn’t cope with it on my own. I needed His help; I needed Christ’s help, to be able to and to start to heal. Because of this experience I am now truly ready to accept and follow the plan that Heavenly Father has for me. I am ready to start fresh and accept His guidance towards my future. I am strong enough. I am worthy. I am capable. I am ready to go down the path that will lead me to my future and my eternal companion. Because of what I have experienced previously and as of late, I will always do what Heavenly Father asks of me, even when I don’t understand it because I know the blessings that come from doing that firsthand.
            My dear friends, our journey to our “Happily Ever After” is not a journey that starts and ends after a few experiences. It is something that as we continue to live worthily, we must work at, treasure and cultivate forever. We must learn to love and accept ourselves as children of God, never settle, follow promptings, and ultimately, be patient and find joy in the journey to our “Happily Ever After” and trust that no matter what, God has everything under control. He is the author of our fairytale and if we remember that, why should we worry?
            In closing, in the words of Elder Uchtdorf, “‘Happily ever after’ is not something found only in fairy tales. You can have it! It is available for you! But you must follow your Heavenly Father’s map… As an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ, I leave you my blessing and give you a promise that as you accept and live the values and principles of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ, “[you] will be prepared to strengthen home and family, make and keep sacred covenants, receive the ordinances of the temple, and enjoy the blessings of exaltation.” And the day will come when you turn the final pages of your own glorious story; there you will read and experience the fulfillment of those blessed and wonderful words: “And they lived happily ever after.”


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Something I Need to Remember

I am beautiful, smart, strong and courageous.
I am a future wife and a future mother.
I am a daughter of God.
I am a sister and friend.
I am of infinite worth.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Day Two: Things You Want to Say to an Ex

Day Two: Things You Want to Say to an Ex

You were the first boy that I ever actually enjoyed kissing, the first boy I couldn't get enough of.

And let's face it, the first time I saw you, I thought you were the most gorgeous person since Leonardo DiCaprio first hit the big screen in Titanic. I was thrilled when we became friends in our English class and over the moon when I figured out we could have an actual conversation without it being awkward. I will say that I was disappointed when the semester ended and we still hadn't gone on a date, but I wrote you off and put you on the back burner and moved on with my life. I wish it would've actually been that easy......

I didn't expect to see you that day in church in August and I didn't expect you to be so thrilled to see me. I didn't expect for us to hit it off so well. I loved being with you. I loved flirting with you. It was as easy as breathing......and it was fun. You made me laugh and you made me feel special...and when you kissed blood boiled. But as it always happens in my relationships, I got scared and I ran and I laid your heart on a silver platter for the vultures to feast on.

I never understood what the big deal about break ups was until I ended things with you. I ran to my sister's house five and a half hours away to get away from the aching, oozing hole that had been ripped into my chest. I thought that if I was able to get away from everything that was familiar, everything that reminded me of you, that I would be okay. But it followed...and no matter what I did, no matter what I said or wrote...I thought about you. Even after I ended it, all I wanted to do was be with you. And two weeks later when my vacation ended, I told you that. I thought that if we were really meant to be together then you would understand why I ran, that you would understand why I got scared, that if I explained, that you would nod and take me back and everything would be okay and it would be like none of this mess had ever happened. I thought you were someone worth fighting for. But I was wrong...

I don't think you understood what it meant for someone like me, who's been though what I've been through, to tell you everything that I felt and was thinking about you. It was an extreme leap of faith for me to do what I did and say what I said. Saying what I said to you, me trusting that you wouldn't do anything to hurt me, is probably akin to someone standing stark naked in the middle of a crowd or someone going on stage to sing a solo only to realize that they've forgotten all the words. All they want to do is to escape from the mortification and humiliation; all they're doing is hoping that someone will save them from this hell that they're in. They feel exposed and scared and helpless and anxious and confused.

I'm not saying that you didn't have a right to feel how you did and say what you said, but would it have hurt you to be human?! Would it have hurt you to be kind to someone who was drowning, to lend a hand?! All I wanted was closure, but you didn't even have the balls, the common decency to let me say this to you in person or even over the phone. I know your pride was hurt and your feelings were hurt and what I did was wrong, but was this really necessary for you to try and reciprocate the humiliation you felt by  reducing something so important to me by forcing us to communicate this over text messages? I about died when you said you didn't feel the same way anymore. All this proved to me was that your feelings weren't ever as deep as mine and that you only ever wanted me for one thing...and this knowledge was excruciating.

After this was all said and done, I ached in places that I didn't even know existed. I tried to distract myself by jumping at the chance to move into a new singles ward. I tried to distract myself by keeping myself busy with family home evening and job hunting and shopping trips and cooking and long walks and bawl-fest sessions with my counselor, but there you were. Always lurking in the back of my mind, I was unable to escape from the one person I didn't want to think about. I ached this way for a long time. You broke something inside of me. You destroyed something precious that wasn't very strong or confident to begin with. It took me months to get to the point where I didn't think about you constantly; to get to the point where I didn't sob uncontrollably whenever you popped into my head.

It has taken me and Heavenly Father nearly a year to repair the damage you did. And even now, when I know my worth and potential and I know how special and important I am, there are still very, very faint traces of you left; the memory of how you treated me trying to influence my actions in my current relationship. And even though I am grateful for what this heartbreaking lesson has taught me, even though I'm grateful for how strong it has made me, I want to forget you.

So now, I am writing you off and saying goodbye to memories that don't have a place in me anymore. I am moving on with my life. I am happy and I am making something of myself. I am in a place and state of mind where you don't matter. I don't want the memory of you or how you treated me to have an affect on me anymore and so now, it won't. I have someone who actually cares about the real me.

Goodbye and good riddance.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Day One: Five Ways to Win My Heart

1. Be honest and have integrity. Rarely anything irritates me more than someone lying to me or being dishonest with me. What kind of a foundation is that to build a relationship on? It says a lot about who you are and what you stand for. If we give Satan the power, dishonesty has the ability to destroy lives and families and relationships. It isn't nice; it's sneaky, hurtful and underhanded and has no place inside the bodies of Children of God.

2. Love God More than You Love Me. I want a man to have a real and true testimony of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. I want him to live his life within the church and actively seek ways on how he can honorably use his priesthood. Don't live the gospel because it's what I want you to do; live it because you want to. Live your life in such a way that you will be prepared at any moment for the Second Coming to occur. When we get married and have a family, I want this man to be someone that I can call on in times of need because I will know that he has a solid foundation in Christ and I will know for certain that I can rely on and trust him because of his close relationship with God. I never had this from my father growing up and I want to make sure that my future children have access to it. I know from watching my oldest sister and her husband and family what a blessing having a worthy priesthood holder in the home is.

3. Acts of Service/unexpected surprises ot gifts. No, this does not mean I'm materialistic, this is just one of my love languages. It's one of the best ways to show me that you care by taking the time to get to know me, what I like and what can or will make me happy. Gifts or surprises or acts of service that have a show of time and thought behind them have the ability to prove to me that you care. It doesn't have to be big or showy at all, but rather something that you took time to think of. Flowers when I'm having a rough day, a copy of my favorite book when I need some down time, a picnic on a really warm and sunny weekend, a spontaneous trip to the movie theatre, ingredients to cook dinner with friends or maybe a copy of one of my favorite band's new CD's.

4. A Willingness to Go Along. I love Broadway musicals, Bollywood and foreign films, singing, dancing, lounging in Barnes and Noble for hours on end and bike rides. I like being indoors, nerdy t.v. shows like Doctor Who, Charmed and Merlin...humor me, please. :) I love Glee, cooking, Christian Rock, historical romance movies, Julie Andrews, Harry Potter, fancy dresses (or dresses in general), makeup, cereal, granola, washing my face, The Titanic, springtime, fall, traveling, Switchfoot, books, planning parties and weddings, the rain, doing hair, interpretive dancing with my little sister and I LOVE my nieces and nephew. You do not by any means have to do these things with me all the time, but it makes me feel special when you want to do something with me that I really have a passion for. And hey, this rule applies to me doing what you love too! If you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours! ;) And you can say you don't like something, just don't make fun of it. That really hurts my feelings.

5. (I will put this last one in later...dinner is calling my name!)
Words of Affirmation-  "Actions don’t always speak louder than words. If this is your love language, unsolicited compliments mean the world to you. Hearing the words, “I love you,” are important—hearing the reasons behind that love sends your spirits skyward. Insults can leave you shattered and are not easily forgotten."
This says it perfectly.

Thursday, March 1, 2012


It's hard to be strong, even when being strong is the only choice you have. I'm going to the doctor today to get my test results for my MRI and my bloodwork. The nurse explained that they can't give me the test results over the phone and then she said that my scans showed some abnormalities...what is that supposed to mean?! I'm absolutely terrified.

BUT, on the brightside, my migraines have gotten less frequent and it seems like my medicine is starting to kick in. Instead of being constantly in pain, I usually now only get a few sharp stabs/waves of pain every couple of days. It's not perfect, but it's definitely a start.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Shake it out!

This is my new favorite song. Just listen to it; it'll make you feel good! :)

Friday, February 17, 2012

New Year, New Challenges

This year has been incredibly amazing, yet incredibly tough. I started school, saw friends I haven't seen in years, made new friends, started and ended a relationship, and started a migraine cluster...that never went away. The day before I came up to school in January I started another migraine cluster and like always, I expected it to last for two weeks and then for it to go away so life could get back to normal. That never happened.

For reasons unknown, my migraines, which usually appear every three to four months for two weeks, have become chronic. It has been almost two months since my migraines started. Hopefully by next week though I will have some answers. This is because my new neurologist had me get an MRI and a crazy amount of blood work done and the test results SHOULD be in by next week, if they aren't in already. I am hoping and praying for some answers soon because dealing with chronic migraines and trying to go to school and do homework and socialize and deal with all of the stuff that entails, is exhausting and debilitating. BUT through all of this, I'm trying to stay happy and upbeat and positive because I know that in all of this somewhere, there is a lesson to be learned. I know that Heavenly Father is watching out for me and that He cares about me and I know that He has been with me every step of the way.

SO, just for all of you that haven't been with me or around me since January, this is an excerpt from a letter I wrote to a friend who is on a mission for our church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. This excerpt details some of the scarier beginnings of my migraines this year.

Written on January 20th, 2012

"Last week on Wednesday night/Thursday morning my mum finally came up to Rexburg and took me to the emergency room because it got so bad. They gave me an I.V. with fluids and pain killers and then because whatever they gave me made me really anxious they had to sedate me with a fair amount of Benadryl to help me calm down and to help me sleep. It was really scary. I’ve never had to go to the emergency room for something like that before. We got back to my apartment about 2:00 a.m. Thursday morning and I slept that whole entire day, only waking up for a few hours to email my teachers and submit some homework via email.

I thought the worst was over, but Friday morning I woke up and my head was just throbbing like crazy. I took one type of migraine medicine and then another a few hours later when the first one didn’t work. Even both kinds working together didn’t do a thing. I had two classes that day and I had to get my student teaching paperwork signed so I trudged across campus and quite honestly, I don’t know how I did it. I think Heavenly Father was definitely with me that day; I am surprised I didn’t collapse on campus somewhere. I was somehow able to sit through my first class and afterwards realized there was no way in Heaven I was going to be able to sit through orchestra and I called my mum to see what I should do. She was at work and all of my siblings were either at work or school and she suggested I see if I could get one of my friends to take me to the doctor. Thank goodness one of the first calls I made I was able to get my friend Charles to take me to the doctor’s office and they gave me two shots of heavy-duty pain killers and a prescription for a daily migraine preventative. Saturday was a bit scary because I blacked out in the hallway on the way back to my bedroom and collapsed on the floor. (I hit the wall and fell to the floor.) Luckily it was just because I got really dizzy and I got up a few seconds later!"

I also want to thank all of my friends, family and anyone else who has been helping me to get by these past two months. Your support means so much more than I will ever be able to express. Thank you.

~Stephanie Ann